Friday, March 30, 2012

Mark Duffey Takes Us On Adventure of Good Fighting Evil...

Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718 depict...Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718 depicting the battle between Blackbeard the Pirate and Lieutenant Maynard in Ocracoke Bay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ocracoke's Curse:
The Mystery at Teach's Hole

By Mark Duffey

An excerpt from the book blurb of Mark Duffey Novel, Ocracoke's Curse, provides the important historical background for readers.
On November 22, 1718, Lt. Robert Maynard of the British Royal Navy defeated and beheaded the infamous pirate, Blackbeard, at Ocracoke Inlet off the coast of North Carolina. Hundreds of years later, it is said that Blackbeard’s spirit haunts the area, searching for his lost head and seeking revenge for his untimely death. 
Of course, I had heard of Blackbeard, but not about how he was killed... With this research, Mark Duffey began his paranormal tale of Blackbeard wanting revenge against the man who murdered him... even though he had been dead for centuries...

For 300 years, Blackbeard had stayed there in the Ocracoke Bay area and when somebody--some boat drew close enough, he had captured those individuals on board and tried to use them in his plan for revenge. When Mike Callahan, who, together with his brother, owned a fisherman's boat and supply store in Wilmington, North Carolina, was unlucky enough to actually see the ship sailed by Blackbeard, he was changed...

Blackbeard's spirit had possessed his body and was fighting for supremacy...

Callahan began to drink rum, allow his hair and beard to grow, and his nights were full of nightmares of Blackbeard's life. Often, he would shout out "Ahoy Mates" or sing a pirate song... His wife began to be afraid and she soon started to talk about the changes with his brother, Steve, and Sam, who was their best friend who also worked as their salesmen. Mike now refused to attend church, paid little attention to his wife and children--and soon began to go out alone most nights.

Then on-boat robberies started taking place...A man with a gun would come onboard, speaking in a British accent, using pirate-like language and would take everything of value from those on board. Soon everybody was talking about the pirate! What began the real fear, however, was when the Coast Guard had been able to follow the boat, closing in quickly, only to have it come near Ocracoke Bay, where it disappeared...

As Mike's family grew more concerned about him, they even started to follow him and check up on what he was doing in other ways. Soon, they were thinking he might be the thief...but they also knew that the man that Mike had been was not the same and all of them had experienced weird visions of someone in pirate clothes being nearby, only to have Mike actually appear. They even considered a priest and an exorcism, but they weren't Catholic and didn't know how to proceed...

But there was those who were watching and caring for Mike and when he was in a major accident in his car, they were there to get him out of his car before it blew up from leaking gas...

When the police and EMT's came, they couldn't find anybody who knew how he had gotten out of his car; Mike described them, but, it just had not happened the way he said... And soon Mike went into a coma from his multiple injuries...

There is one significant issue readers will discover--the unexpected transition from Blackbeard's activities to those of, I will say, angels helping Mike... It caught me off-guard and confused, but only for a little while. I include it in my review because others may describe it as a failure of the author. I'm not sure that it was. None of us know when God may choose to intercede in our lives. When a man is possessed by, essentially, a ghost--but definitely what was clearly evil, there is little we as humans can do, except pray and seek help. That's exactly what happened in the last part of this mystery.

I'm not sure I would call this a mystery, though, because solving it was never completed. Blackbeard? Is he still roaming the water of Ocracoke Bay? Is his spirit completely gone from Mike? You, the reader, will be required to decide those answers based upon how the book ended. For me, I came away satisfied and found much to consider about the constant balance of power of evil versus the power of love and prayer. I think the one transition "glitch" was when Blackbeard's spirit took control and it's not worth detracting from what happened next. This is an unusual presentation, taking a piece of history and saying, "what if?" 

Ahoy Matie - a personal question from me...would you have the power of good behind you if evil caught hold of your life? This young author made me overlook a few editorial issues because his overall goal in writing is so very important to all of us... Highly recommended, for many reasons...


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marketing Expert Penny Sansevieri Always Shares Stuff I Want to Know! You Too?

Feature Article:

How Being an Expert Can Help You Grow Your Business and Get More Sales
(Reprinted from Penny's Newsletter - Free!)

If you are ready to take your business, speaking career or book to the next level, consider becoming an expert. There's a lot of talk these days about "being an expert," and many folks who say they are experts really aren't. Becoming an expert isn't an overnight process, it takes time. In my view, however, it's time well-spent.
I often get requests from folks wanting me to make them an expert and while it's somewhat doable, it's not entirely realistic that someone else can bestow you with expert status. Even if you pay them. You might argue that that's what a media/marketing person should do and to some degree, that's true. But what a lot of speakers, business owners and authors fail to understand is that becoming an expert isn't something you do overnight, and if you hire a company to do this for you you'll need a pretty big budget and a whole lot of time.

First, why would you want to become an expert? Because experts get considered for potential speaking engagements, acknowledged by the media, and noticed by potential customers. But being an expert, in a sea of experts, isn't always easy. Doesn't it seem that these days everyone is calling themselves an "expert?" Yet so few are. Being an expert shouldn't be an ego thing, you should do it only if it benefits you, your goals, your business and your book (if you have one). You can't bestow expert status on yourself (and it doesn't count if you add it to your bio); people in the industry have to start viewing you as the expert and you can only get there one way: hard work. Being an expert and holding onto that expert status requires a daily dedication. I promise you that if you stay true to this, becoming an expert will really help enhance your business and professional opportunities. Here's how you get started:

1) Have a voice: Yes, this means a blog and yes, this means writing blog posts at least twice a week. Speak to your topic and do this on your blog. It's important, trust me. The blogs don't have to be long, 500 or so words, even less. The reality is that as long as the blog contains helpful information, that's all that matters.

2) Content, content: Generate helpful, insightful content that speaks to your end-user. Mike Stelzner talks a lot about this in his book: Launch ( Creating helpful, useful content is a great way to drive interest and readers to your website.

3) Be Trendy: Right now Pinterest is all the rage in social media, and you can bet that every social media expert is jumping on this site to see what it's about. Is it a fad? Will it become the next Twitter? Whatever the trend is in your market, be sure that you're on top of it, know what's happening and what's hot. This will also help you create insightful blog posts and other content.

4) Participate in media requests: If you don't subscribe to HARO and other media leads services (and most of them are free), you should start doing that and make it a rule to respond to at least one media lead a week. If you aren't sure how to respond to leads, check out my article ( on using media leads to grow your career.

5) Get social: This means that you do need to get out there and do some social media but don't just go "everywhere" - go everywhere that matters. If LinkedIn isn't part of your demographic, there's no need to be on it. Find out where the other experts are in your market and then go to those sites.

6) Go to events: Being an expert isn't always about networking online, sometimes it's also about going to events, getting to know others in your industry and staying "in the know" when it comes to the latest technology and trends.

7) Be generous: Giving information is really a way to capture a bigger audience. I've seen people bristle at this statement but it's really the way to go. While it might seem counterintuitive to give away information, consider this: the psychology of giving information is that your consumer will think "if they are willing to give this away, I bet they know a whole lot more" and then they will be willing to pay for that "whole lot more." We've always given away a ton of information, sometimes to the point that people say, "How do you make a living?" Well, we do make a living and have for 11+ years living by this model. We've never run a single paid ad for our business, it's all word of mouth, and, free information that brings people to our door.

8) Network online: It's always important to make online networking part of your daily/weekly routine. What do I mean by online networking? Consider following several of the biggest experts in your category and then retweeting their tweets, and commenting on their Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn posts. Generally make sure that you are sharing their info and hopefully someday they will help you share yours.

9) Review other people's books: If you're in a market with folks who author books, you should consider reviewing their titles on Not only is there a lot of goodwill in that, but it's a great way to connect with other experts in your market.

10) Be helpful: This is right up there with being generous. Be willing to extend a hand to someone else in your industry to help them with a launch, offer to share their promo with your list, or give some insight to an industry newbie.

Becoming an expert isn't just doing one thing consistently, it's really a blend of many different things that should be part of your daily and weekly routine. Having a voice in your market will not only help to raise your profile, but it will also help boost your business. You'll find opportunities coming your way, and marketing your speaking career, business, or book won't seem like such an uphill battle. At the end of the day, becoming an expert is really about joining the conversation both online and off. It's about lending some helpful insight when warranted and about sharing your wisdom with others. Give and you'll get; it may sound corny but it works.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spotlighting Poetry by Thomas T. Kemp...and Moi...


Whispers falling over each of us,
as we roll amidst ivory perfumed sheets,
a canopy of light blue comforters
support in turn our heads.
It is a pity
but sleep will be the last turn
of the shadows our bodies make,
for some one must fall
through the glowing heavenly stars first.
If it is me, I know I will toss and count
the times I remember the words you spoke to me
and the centuries of love will go on
without delaying mornings sun
or wet cool mist.
Thomas kemp/poet 05/17/2011

Can It Exist?

Oh, to read of such love,
to know that some lovers love forever...
How is that possible, I wonder
These days, nothing lasts for more than a brief time
of coming together, not knowing anything about each other
except two bodies entwined--for physical satisfaction alone...
Never taking time to share what lives in our hearts, our minds.

Yet, some do speak of forever love...
You might even see older couples walking hand in hand
Having known their lovers for a lifetime...
I have not known that type of forever love, few have
It has touched me once or twice, in passing arms of tenderness
So I read poetic words of love  wondering, the question
Can it really, really exist?

Maybe...but just not for me...

GABixler, 03/28/2012 

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Christian Mystery and Romance from Anne Patrick!

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24:  A general vie...
"Preliminary findings of the coroner suggest she died from smoke
"She also had a skull fracture."
"You've seen the body?" he asked.
"Well, she could have received the head injury when she woke
up disoriented. She was found next to the bed. She could have
tripped and struck her head on the corner post."
"That's one possibility..." "I don't give theories, I see facts,
and I develop opinions."
"Opinions based on what? Most of the physical evidence, if
any, is destroyed or drastically altered during a fire?"
"The basics of fire behavior, dynamics and investigative
experience based on what is visually seen, smelled, heard and
touched." She glanced over her shoulder.
"And just so you know,
my opinions are seldom wrong..."

Fire and Ash

By Anne Patrick

When a somewhat chauvinist man and a expert professional woman meet, there might be sparks flying. In the case of Sadie McGregor and Quinn Harrington met, things happened quite professionally, even as the ash moved while they walked through the building that had burned. Quinn, a police officer had been sent because a body had been found and he was also already considering how the fire might have started. But when Sadie turned to introduce herself, she quite calmly proceeded to explain to him why his assumptions were wrong...

I love novels with strong female leads, especially if they are in male-dominated professional fields. Sadie, as she was quick to point out to Quinn, represented the State Fire Marshal's Office--and was seldom wrong in her findings...

Of course I love many male lead characters as well, but, having worked in a male-dominated profession for many years, I must say that the reality is rarely how it's written in books, so I enjoy escaping into a fantasy where the female "rules." LOL And, of course, Sadie and Quinn will begin a relationship, but later in the book!

Larissa Ingram had apparently been house sitting for her parents, Mike and Donna, who were away on vacation. Quinn was upset that arson was suspected, since the Ingrams were such a nice family and well respected in the community. If it was arson, was it someone within the family or a crime against them?

It was after she had left the scene of the fire, with a promise to get her report to him, that Quinn learned from another officer who had known Sadie for years, that her own family had been killed in a fire and that Sadie had been raised as part of her uncle's family, who was fire chief...

As he got to know her and wanted to know more about her, he realized that there was one thing that could prevent the relationship that he soon began to hope for: Quinn was an active Christian and Sadie wanted nothing to do with God. And worse, she could not forgive herself for having started the fire that had killed her family...

I enjoyed watching as the relationship between Quinn and Sadie developed. In her professional life, she had grown confident and self-assured, while Quinn, around her, seemed to be lost for words--even admitting she had him bested from time to time. Sadie's teasing was a natural outgrowth, except when Quinn forced a serious discussion about her past.

Everybody reading the novel will catch the amount and quality of the forensics expertise displayed by Sadie and how it was used to finally solve the case, unfortunately not without her being hurt in the process. Many issues keep readers fully interested, not the least of which is the romance. Well written and thoroughly enjoyable!


Anne Patrick is the author of more than a dozen novels of Romance, Mayhem & Faith, including the award-winning and bestselling Fire and Ash, Lethal Dreams and Sabotage. Her heroines are usually strong willed, witty, and often very opinionated...combinations that usually land them in situations where death seems imminent. When she isn't killing off people or falling in love with dashing heroes you can usually find her surfing the web. Check her out on Facebook.
To learn more about Anne, please visit her website: or blog: She loves to hear from her readers!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Enjoy First in Mystery Series by Wendy L. Young!

oyApple pie.Apple pie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"The center of town was still a relatively simple affair. Most of
the town was made up of houses spiraling away from an
intersection of three main streets. The Corner Pie Shop was
right in the middle...
"The pie shop was, and had been for the past seventy-nine
years, a Campbell Creek institution. The story went that first
they built the factories. Then they built the gas station. Then
there was the church. And then there was pie...
"Ricky raised an eyebrow. 'Pie? For breakfast/'
"Pie, Ricky-Bob, is a Southern virtue," Will said, "and one
I believe in with all my heart.
And that's all you need to know."
Come the Shadows:
 The Cabin Creek Mysteries
  Book 1

By Wendy L. Young

You know it's a quiet little town when the central meeting place is the Pie Shop! What a cool idea--pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner! At least it was for Will Harmon, a member of the police force in this small town.
We meet him first at the site where a body had been found in an empty bread factory. He hoped to get the case since there hadn't been a murder in 17 years, but once again it was already assigned--to somebody who would never share details with him! So, since he also learned at that time, that he had a new partner, Rogers, he told him to meet him at the Pie Shop for breakfast! They hadn't had a new officer for more than 10 years and Will knew that he would be expected to train him. Then when he got home, Laura, his wife announced that they had new neighbors--the Rogers... Too much togetherness?

Most of the town enjoyed living in Cabin Creek, but recently a developer had proposed a new project for the town. All of the old factories were now deserted so many would find work if approved. Laura was very concerned that they didn't know much about what would take place and that it was moving so fast, so of course, Will was also involved. The town seem to be moving toward a division.especially when Laura took on the lead role in requesting detailed information, including building plans. But then the developer started to talk with individual property owners and was offering enough that many started to make commitments to sell.

In the meantime, Will knew little about the dead body except what the new ME, his sister, Jessa, was willing to share. This was her first case, however, so she was holding to procedure. Until she realized that she was also being led by her superiors to hurry and close the case...

That's when she called her brother, she told him it was murder! And sought his guidance...
Will of course jumped on the case, investigating even when he wasn't supposed to, happy to realize that his new partner was willing to help and had some experience with homicide.

Sure, the murder mystery investigation was important, but readers also become involved in Laura's fight against the town's politicians regarding the new development--and we learn quickly that Laura is a formidable woman! In fact, readers will enjoy meeting the whole family and will begin to look forward to meeting them again in the series. The ending was a surprise and was handled quite effectively even though it involved an unexpected turn.

Spotlighting the plight of small towns which are built when work is available and then are hurt when the factories close or move away is one that can be often found across America. But new development is not always the answer and must be thoroughly investigated! Wendy Young has taken a routine situation, created caring people, as well as criminals that do what they do best. Adding murder makes this one I would include in the "cozy mystery" genre since Laura got into the investigation!...You'll know you want to continue the series because of the setting, the people...and the great writing style that's been presented. Enjoy this one!


Wendy L. Young has been writing for more than twenty years. She writes character-driven mystery and suspense set in the fictional town of Campbell Creek, North Carolina and is currently at work on the third installment of the series. 

Wendy lives in East Tennessee with her husband, son, and one grouchy cat.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sandy Nathan Introduces Us to The Angel...

The Angel and The Brown-Eyed Boy

By Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan had a dream--and she named it! You are now reading my thoughts about this quirky little book that was dreamed--"something that is strange, not normal but cool" according to the Urban dictionary. Strange, for one thing, because as I read, the word quirky came to my mind! I've never used it before! But I have dreamed an entire story, which I never published...but just might now!  Certainly there are other books out there about the end of the world and I've read quite a few recently due to the "2012" scare... But I don't think there is ever going to be another like this one!

What I found interesting was that the story is just before the very end, but there is more important "stuff" to engage readers! Like The Angel and the Brown-Eyed Boy... These are quirky characters--"different--in a good way."

Sure, there are strange things happening in the world--like being watched continuously. And, oh yeah, Russia has made a comeback and now is the leader, more like overlord, of the world. And there doesn't seem to be many people left, in fact, some of the "land" is already gone. But none of this is too surprising, at least not for me... Those of us at my age seem to be more aware that this is really going to happen one of these days and, Sandy, as an economist, uses her expertise to hypothesize and fantasized what will happen. Unfortunately, with her expertise, some of her thoughts may indeed be prophetic..


Ahhhh, then I met Eliana, she was such a delightful character that my focus narrowed...where did she come from? Why was she here? Was she really an angel--or an alien?

You see, she showed up on the streets, with little clothing and in a pair of ballet slippers...and a big oversized, heavy coat to which she was so attached, it seemed like her version of a "blankie" that she had never given up from her childhood...

Actually, the pockets held many strange things, one of which was the address of Hermitage Academy, a school for the arts. Once she got there, she was immediately accepted and pulled in by the dance instructor. Because she thought she was a new student from Russia. Eliana was from a place much further away than Russia...

But when they asked her to dance, she danced for more than three hours without stopping--nor did anybody try to stop her. They were spellbound by her ability, dancing to any music that they played, joyously and with skill like no other...

Eliana was here for a reason, she was to find the golden boy. Of course, the problem was that the lead male dancer in the school was called that--and he was known for skills in much more dangerous areas than Eliana wanted to deal with...

At the same time, in a secret place of that school, a boy was working in his computer lab. He is brilliant, although some have diagnosed him as autistic. Jeremy Edgarton was the son of a rich woman who was known all over the world and now traveling with the highest general in the Russian army. She constantly financially supported her son's needs for computers--which were now banned for the general public. And he had done much research and had set a plan for what was going to happen in the future...

But then he met Eliana...and helped to save her from that male dancer. Then they were on the run as the boy had been killed...

This dream goes on and on...until we learn how the end of the world had started, moving across the earth, a city or a country at a time, was being destroyed...

This dream also includes a love story like no other--really!

Enchanting, fascinating, and heartwarming are the words I am left with as I think about the story. The end of the world? Yes, it did happen...

Highly recommended!


"I write books that touch the heart--and the mind and soul. While my books have thrills to spare, they're about making the world a better place. I've won twenty-one national awards, many of them in visionary fiction. My vision is unusual--my stories don't always have happy endings and sometimes they're plain old scary. Whatever I write, originality and creativity are my hallmarks. You won't get a story you can predict from me." 

Born in San Francisco, Sandy Nathan grew up in Silicon Valley's competitive corporate culture. A full time writer since 1995, Sandy Nathan holds master's degrees in economics and counseling. She has been an economist, negotiation coach, and businesswoman. The visionary part of her writing flows from her meditation practice and spiritual experience. A lifelong horsewoman, Sandy is a wife and mother of three grown children. She lives on their California horse ranch. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

So You'd Like to Blog? Guest Aaron Lazar Shares Excellent Guidance!

For Writers: Blogging - What's the big deal?

The Beginning

I'd just finished my sixth book in May of 2005, when I was approached by Bob Burdick to create a piece for his book-lovers' website. "Just tell us about your writer's life, how you manage to work and write at the same time. Tell us about the person you are, and how it all fits together."

I'd never really written much more than fiction, emails, and tech reports at work. And I wasn't sure how to begin. So, as I normally do, I just started writing.

I think back to that day as the unleashing of a whole different type of writing. This was personal, easy-to-read, and fun writing. Sort of like emailing one of my fans, or speaking one-on-one to a newbie writer who approached me for advice at a book signing.

At the time, I didn't think of it as blogging, per se. I didn't really know what a blog was back then. So I called the torrent of mini-essays that ensued "Seedlings" columns. I thought of them as "little seeds of ideas that sprouted in my brain while driving to work or before falling asleep. Not enough to flesh out into novels, by any means, but insistent enough to require capturing, all the same."

A Blog by Any Other Name...

Since 2005, I've written over a hundred and fifty articles. These pieces range from 500 to 1500 words, and cover topics like writing tips and advice, a writer's life, book reviews, promotional tips, slices of life, etc. I keep a spreadsheet that lets me track where and when I've posted or guest-posted, and the list, in itself, has grown

Writers need to establish personal blogs to help promote their work, network with readers and writers, and to provide a home for their articles. But that's not really enough, these days. It's also good to get on a regularly published list of literary journals, group blogs, social media sites, etc. if you can. For example, my short pieces go up monthly at sites like the Future Mystery Anthology Magazine, and The Voice in the Dark Literary Journal.

I also post weekly on my collaborative blog, Murderby4. Every Sunday, I write my piece then post it here on my personal blog, too, and copy it over to one of my favorite social media sites, Often I'll have the energy to do the same at some of the .ning groups, like The Book Marketing Network, or Book Blogs. There are other sites I used to frequent such as,, etc. Lately I've had a hard time keeping up with all their requirements about so many allowed links per article, etc., so I've sort of slowed down there. But they're all good, and I'm sure you can find your own assortment of places to post your blog pieces in addition to your personal writer's blog. The message here is to take advantage of the time you spend on these articles, and post them all over the place to get more coverage.

From each of the postings, I then tweet the article by simply clicking on the small Twitter icon at the end of each piece. I add key words to the canned pretweet, and often add "Plz RT", which signals my pals on Twitter to retweet the link to their followers. In order not to overwhelm my friends on facebook, I generally post a link to that site just once, linking to Gather, where many folks add their comments and their own observations about the topic of the day.

I also keep a list of subjects I want to write about so I don't run out of ideas. Don't get me wrong - sometimes I come up empty-handed. It's hard to have a column ready every week, never mind while keeping up with the current WIP. I don't know how those newspaper columnists do it!

Why Blog? (I Just Wanna Write!)

Why do we do this? What's the benefit? And how can we justify taking time away from our "real" writing to do these short little blogs?

First of all, it's about connecting with people; connecting on a deep down, personal level. If you can relate to your readers, they might wander over to see what else you've written. Perhaps they'll check out your books. And maybe even buy some! More often than not, however, you'll find the benefit of blogging is a gateway to meeting wonderful people who often are in your boat. These writers may have their own blogs, may be looking for guest posts, just like you. Little by little, by sharing, networking, and helping each other, you can all gain more exposure to readers and blog followers by holding hands and posting each other's pieces. There's a lot of synergy in that model. And eventually, assuming your books are good, you'll start to grow a nice audience for your work.

Giving Back

Of course, you also want to offer something of value to your followers. In addition to hopefully entertaining them, giving them a bit of a laugh from time to time, and offering the benefit of your own observations and experience, you want to help them on their own journey. Be open to newbie writers who have never written a blog in their life. Offer to showcase their new book. Ask folks whose books you've read to guest blog for you. You'll be surprised at how many of the best selling authors actually respond and appreciate the option of reposting their blogs on your site. Always be willing to pay it forward, and offer freebies off and on like contests where folks can win a copy of your eBook(s) or print books. You can host other author's giveaways--that's always a treat for readers--but be sure you don't make the conditions for winning too hard. That never works. Usually I just ask someone to comment on the article to be eligible to win. Simple and effective!

The Rules of the Game

I've sometimes read that blogs should be "short and sweet", that My version of blogging doesn't necessarily meet all the "rule of thumb" advice that I'd stumbled on over the past seven years. I've sometimes read that blogs should be "short and sweet", that you should blog every day, and that if you write something longer than 500 words, people lose interest. I'm not so sure about all that.

So, I don't follow those rules, and in the course of letting myself navigate through this mire with my own instincts, I've managed to create a pretty decent platform. The last time I googled my name, I got over 4,000 hits, mostly from the articles I've written. I've tried to help writers by sharing advice and tips, and have connected on a deep level with so many wonderful folks, not limited to writers or readers. It's been a good run, and I'm grateful for all the folks I've met through this process.

How to Get Started

Don't let all this scare you if you haven't ever blogged or are just about to release your first novel. It's a growing and learning process that comes with time.

Start with your own blog. Gather up your book cover images, a headshot if you like, and links you might like to add to the side bar. If you already have books to sell, sign up for Amazon Associates and get your product links. You can also create mini-slideshows where you feature your own book covers, and it's really easy to copy the code onto your own blog sidebar. 

Blogs are fairly easy and intuitive to create, using a platform like Blogger or WordPress. Usually it's all free, too.

Once you have your template in place with photos and links, etc., then it's time to write something! There's no wrong topic with which to begin. Talk about yourself a little, if you wish. Pick a subject you're wondering about in the literary world. Or offer a chapter from your book(s). (tip - make sure you have your publisher's approval before you publish more than a blurb from your own work - check your book contract.) 

How to Get Followers

Some blogs go a long time without any official followers. And that's okay. You can check your stats to see how many hits you've had. Just keep writing, check out other blogs, and comment/follow them if they suit your interests. Then you can invite folks back to read your blog, and the whole process begins!

Final Caution

It's really easy to get so caught up in the promotion of your work that your free writing time for your WIP almost disappears. Try to get on a schedule. You need to balance this aspect of your marketing plan with the time to actually create more products to market! It's a real challenge.

Hmm. Maybe my next blog will be about how to achieve that balance...

Best wishes and good luck to all, and remember to write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar

A ReBlog - Used by Permission at
Book Readers Heaven

Aaron is a man that I admire greatly...Since I've done and said much of what is here, I know we think alike and would be friends--if we ever met! LOL! That's what is so wonderful about the Internet and Blogging. Most of my time, in addition, to Blogging is of course taken up by reading YOUR books, Aaron's among them and I love his work! When I started Reviewers Roundup on Facebook, this was the reason! You can never have too much publicity...and to ensure your message gets out, you have to build in time to do it and think creatively as to how to accomplish this! It's not hard! Aaron and I have thought independently of the same activities, so all you have to do is think HOW...and read great articles from Aaron and many others!

Join Reviewers Roundup Right Now--It's Open to the Public! Just stop by and visit whenever you can!
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Elegy--The Last Rose - Poetry by Adolfo

Late roseLate rose (Photo credit: Mary Hutchison)
Elegy—the Last Rose

By Adolph Caso

Transfixed onto my eyes
The lonely player
With a saddened look on his face
Plays a mournful planctus
From the lower register
Of his violoncello,
The sound
With the diminishing scent
Of my sister’s Luise’s single rose
Its pink petals standing above
The dark stem
Surrounded by thorns
Hardened by the long winds
Of the better half of November.

The sound lifts my eyelids
Onto multi-colored leaves
Corralled by the wind and rain
And blanketing the grass
In its deep sleep.
Against a red sunset,
Here and there a few leaves
Standing erect as if antennas--
Are receiving secret messages
Who knows from whence or where
While processing
Both the music and the perfume
Through the dying leaves--
Their delicate membranes vibrating
As much to the cool evening breeze
As to the tremolo
Travel through my receptive veins
As though I were living the Middle Ages.

By the edge of the lawn
A thick patch of Creeping Carpet Bugle
With its variegated purple-bronzed foliage
Seeks deeper roots in the moist soil.
A sheen of redness mixed
With traces of purple and deep green
Mark the presence
Of the coming winter
As tombstones record
Those of my recent departed:
Chris, and Florentino,
And you,
Mia cara Luisa,
Now that you are enjoying
The splendor of heaven,
Think of the beauty
You left behind
On earth,
For us to enjoy.

A myriad beams of white light
Shoots down onto the horizon,
One bouncing off toward my head.
On morphing into your face.
You place a kiss on my mouth
And quickly disappear.
I bring my fingers to my lips
And feel the softness
Of your tender kiss
As though it were real.


Adolfo Caso, Friend,
Poet, Author, Photographer, Publisher
is a regular contributor to
Book Reader's Heaven...

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Nina Vida Shares History/Alternative History of Mexico!

Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico wit...Image via Wikipedia
The first and last Emperor of Mexico!
1800's; Later Executed

Children of Guerrero

By Nina Vida

History in itself is sometimes more chilling that real life, especially so when it is woven into a novel that contains many historical facts merged by an author who has thoroughly researched and studied the story to create a tale that is both informative as well as fascinating.

Nina Vida goes back has far as 1511 and begins with the sailing of a ship from Spain to the Americas. This historical text is spread throughout the novel, often merging with what is happening during other parts of Mexico's history. Many of us will recognize names such as Maximilian, Trotsky and others who fled from Europe from either war or danger from Hitler, Stalin, These touches of reality serve to pull the reader into the story as we then accept the characters' lives as part of an alternative history corresponding to fact. I have found that I enjoy this type of novel more and more as it helps to understand the setting, the climate of the times and the emotional impact of how history molds our present lives. Kudos to Nina Vida for pulling not only our heads, but our hearts into Mexico's past...

Much of the early story was provided by Father Aguilar who sailed on that first voyage and made it through alive, only to be captured with Guerrero. Gonzalo Guerrero was also a seaman on that ship and until most of them had been killed and Guerrero and Father Aguilar had been captured by savages. However, one of the trials by his tribe was to throw those captured into a deep well and if one was able to live, then he was seen as sent by God... Guerrero did indeed remain alive and climbed out of the well on the third day. It should be noted that, by this time, religion was a merge of Catholicism and those gods and practices followed by the Indians and Mayans...

Guerrero was seen as sent by God...he was tattooed, painted and holes were made in his body to hold gems! Later, Guerrero also had become more savage than Spanish and fought with the tribes against Spain...

Maximilian and his entourage came in the 1800s when he was made Emperor of Mexico. In Spain he had been an Arch Duke, and really didn't have the drive to take over a country; however, his wife declared that she had a vision and so they traveled with everything they needed, having been financially supported by Napoleon. However, Maximilian was really not a leader and spent much money beautifying buildings and gardens that pleased him and he would stay there until another building was found, always needing much work. But little was done to take over as Emperor or to claim some of the riches for Spain. 

Until Napoleon was no longer willing to support his continued draw on funds! By that time, years had passed and Maximilian was more in tune with Mexico...and became a beloved leader as he fought with limited soldier support against the Spaniards who invaded!

Just a short note to explain that Father Aguilar had, (after seeking God's forgiveness) begun to use his prayer book to write about what was happening, in the margins, so that this book was later passed down and became an important part of the lives of the children, telling much of what had occurred during the hundreds of years that had passed.

The later stories, of the lives of the children, carry into the 1980's. We learn of the great-granddaughter of Maximilian, who had taken the wife of a man who had saved his life and who was also his daughter. Her name was Conception and her beauty was more that the emperor could deny himself. It is those descendants who later become actively involved in revolution and fighting for freedom of Mexico...

The chapters are titled to explain the characters as they appear as readers are moved back and forth in history. I believe, though, that the one concept that you will realize and see carried through the novel is the fierce love and loyalty of those who either lived or came to Mexico--developed as they lived the simple life, enjoyed the beauty of their surroundings and came to stay, even when they were given opportunities to return to their own countries. Certainly a tribute to the appeal of the country!

There is much to learn historically about Mexico. As is often the case, it is hard to understand the military actions of killing, stealing, etc., to capture land and its riches. So there are some gory scenes, such as when Guerrero is "changed" to sit as a leader of the tribe. Still it was what happened during the wars when the European countries came to claim new lands. The author has created an outstanding collage of what occurred and then gives us a much more in-depth view of those more recent times that brings us a story of a slaughter that many never heard about...There is much to learn and ponder in this historical sharing of our border neighbor. 

An important addition to the historical and alternative history genre. Highly recommended!


Grave of Leon Trotsky and wife in the
House of Leon Trotsky Museum located in
 Coyoacan borough in Mexico City

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Would You Do If Your Child Was Dying?

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome. HGPS is ...Image via Wikipedia

The Immortalists

By Kyle Mills

What would you do if your child was dying? Of course, everything possible! But what if you had personal professional knowledge that could be used to help find a cure? How far would you be willing to go then?

Draman's daughter had been born with a genetic defect, progeria, that caused her to age faster than normal. The little girl was just 8, but she was old enough to understand--to know that this would bring her death. All of the family had become resigned to making the most of their life while they were together. Draman had sought fiinancial support for research; however, this condition was rare. Too rare to have limited funds invested in something which had a lower number of patients. When something like this is said, the mind can accept it as logical, but the heart never will.

And Richard Draman would never give up...

Then someone broke into their house and tried to kill the little girl...

Of course, they went on the run!

Draman, a microbiologist, had received research data from a colleague, Annette Chevalier, who was now dead--Richard felt it was a suspicious death! Annette's research revolved around the "fundamental structures of life." As he reviewed the material, he realized that the information could potentially be used for Susie if he could figure out how it could be applied!

But there were others who had also realized the potential--against aging--and wanted those research materials!

The story is well-written and well-paced, and even though there is travel as the chase takes place, for me, it lacked the depth to pull readers in to the overall action as once again rich, powerful men pull the strings... . On the other hand, the research activities being spotlighted are important for all of us, knowing that not every disease or medical problem can be solved. I was moved more from the sympathy toward the family then by any other emotion that normally comes with a thriller. Still it is recommended for many who find that medical novels provide a much-needed knowledge that few lay people would ever learn about.


      • From the Author
      Kyle Mills is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve books, including the latest in Robert Ludlum's Covert-One series, The Ares Decision. Growing up in Oregon, Washington, DC, and London as a the son of an FBI agent, Kyle absorbed an enormous amount about the Bureau, giving his novels their unique authenticity. He and his wife live in Wyoming where they spend their off hours rock climbing and backcountry skiing.

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