Monday, December 17, 2007

Dare by Abiola Abrams

Dare is the crazy, sexy, smart debut novel by BET host Abiola Abrams of indie film show The Best Shorts. DARE is the sizzling story of a sociologist who goes undercover and winds up in too deep as a racy rapper searching for love in the glam world of entertainment. this chick lit version of Faust, set in the world of Hollyhood is a searing tale of love, music and temptation.

Meet Maya Hope. Double-dipped in cocoa with brick-house curves, she's a lover of jazz, a political poet, and a sociologist. Her best friend and roommate, Athena Jackson, is her opposite in every way- a petite ex-cheerleader who's always blaring rap, grinding out rhymes, and ready to take the next man home. When Maya is forced to pinch-hit in an audition and bust Athena's rhymes, she finds herself on an undercover escapade in the wild world of hip-hop as the raw, sexy, roughneck Jezebel. After striking a deal with her own personal devil, Maya sets off on the tempting roller-coaster ride of a lifetime -- finding music, more fun than she's ever had, and even a man or two...but not without Faustian consequences.

An off the hook cast of colorful characters includes Lucy, the diva deluxe brand-addicted publicist from hell; Shell the Boy Wonder, wunderkind entrepreneurial label mogul party boy and Thug, the gritty handsome hardcore rapper with something to prove.

Brimming with electric sensuality, Dare is an unforgettable, envelope-pushing odyssey of two gutsy women playing by their own rules.

Abiola Abrams is a BET personality and her debut novel DARE is a romantic comedy available at, Barnes and Noble or wherever you buy books. Find excerpts or more from Abiola and Dare at, or

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Interview with Maggie Ball

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The book was, in many ways, a journey for me. Not so much in terms of
the plot, but in terms of the overall theme. I'm not sure enjoy is the
right word, but I got the most value out of exploring the key theme of
how we make meaning in our lives -- how we make our short time as a
person on earth into something valuable, important, permanent. I needed
to create that meaning for myself and in writing the book I was able to
explore and make that concrete.

What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?

I think the biggest challenge for me was in overcoming my sense of being
not up to the task. I read a lot of good books -- not just good books,
but great books, and so I tend to aspire to producing books of a similar
calibre to what I read. That's daunting when you're reading books
written by Umberto Eco, Peter Carey, Margaret Atwood or Julian Barnes.
It's a hard uphill road and keeping that nagging sense of self-doubt
which is always present quiet for long enough to get the job done was my
biggest hurdle.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Well Marianne the protagonist certainly gets the lion's share of my
attention. It's her story and her journey and although the book is
written in third person, it's all her point of view, so I'd have to say
Marianne. But I also like Miles, the antagonist. I didn't want him to
come across as one sided or evil, and although he's not a force for good
in Marianne's life, I can certainly see both the seductive nature of his
gifts, and the little boy lurking under the bravado (that's my maternal
instincts coming out).

What do you enjoy about writing in general?

One thing I enjoy is how writing provides a kind of mandate for
observation which is very useful when you're under duress. In the
middle of an argument, or when everything is going wrong, there's always
a sense of the art I'm going to make out of the pain. I like to observe
the way a person might curl their lips, or hold their head. It helps
provide objectivity in the most subjective of situations!

What's next for you? I'm working on quite a few projects at the moment.
There's a full length poetry book I'm doing titled Impact Enigma
(exploring the usual subjects -- the universe, parenthood, love,
death...). Then there's novel 2, Black Cow, a treechange story moving
between the corporate world and the country. It's like Dilbert meets
The Good Life. After that there's Evie's Song about my grandmother, who
was a singer in the Catskills during WW2, and after that, well I have a
few other projects in mind. The only thing I need is more time!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sleep Before Evening by Maggie Ball

Marianne is teetering at the edge of reason. A death in the family sends her brilliant academic career and promising future spiraling out of control until resentment towards those who shaped her past leads her on a wild and desperate search for the truth about herself. On the seedy side of New York, she meets Miles, a hip musician busking the streets and playing low-rent venues in a muddled bid to make his own dreams come true. In her new life, she finds anarchic squalor, home grown music and poetry, booze, drugs, sex, violence, love, loss and, above all, exhilarating freedom on her troubled journey from sleep to awakening. This gritty, relentless story unfolds with the same cool detachment that motivates the central character to peel back the layers of her life and expose the painful scalding within.

Purchase on Amazon.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Twisted Fairy Tales, edited by Julie Darcy

I am pleased to announce the release of “Twisted Fairy Tales” by Eternal Press. Familiar children’s stories re-written for adults. Sometimes weird, sometimes sexy. (Warning: some stories are erotica. Eternal Press rates this 3.5 hearts. (Their erotica usually rates in flames.)


Sindarella by Lisa Logon (Mild Erotica)
Man Hunt by Sally Odgers
The Christmas Present by Lisa Logan (Erotic)
Mirror, Mirror by Rob Rosen
Rapunzel By Yu-Han Chao(Erotica)
How Cats Lost the Power of Speech by Joshua Babcock
It Can’t Be Mine by Jane Toombs
Three Twisted Fairytails By Kandy Phair
Pebbles in the Stream by Richard E Friesen
Cinders By Karina L. Fabian
Angel with an Attitude by D. J. Sylvis
I Holler Hot Dog By Jane Toombs

My own story, “Cinders” is definitely in the weird category.

Check it out at

Monday, December 03, 2007

An Interview With Carole McDonnell

Carole tours this month with the Christian Fiction Review Blog.

1. What inspired you to write this story?

Several things. An old Elizabethan ballad, "He's young but he's daily growing." The story of Hagar in the Bible. We Christians never think of her as a person living her own life whose life was then interrupted. I suspect we never really care about what the lives of slaves were before they became enslaved. Don Richardson's great missionary book, Eternity in their hearts. There was also an interview I saw with Pastor Richard Twiss of Wiconi International and World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People. These groups work to establish forms of worship that are more connected to the culture. For instance, Pastor Twiss organizes Christian pow-wows. Most Christians are not Europeans, and yet most of the Christian literature is written by European Christians. In addition, many Christians across the globe have had two struggles: They often have had to choose the religion of their oppressor because Christianity and imperialism were so closely-linked. And they had the European ways of worship pushed on them. Although they had their own ways of worshiping the Creator, they had to use the Lutheran or the Roman or the English ways. It was cultural imperialism. So now there is a large movement among Christians across the globe to understand and worship Jesus through their own culture. For instance, Indian Christians who understand Jesus as the one who frees them from karma and their sin debt, as the one who is the divine Guru and the Light, the Truth, and the Way.

2. Who is your favorite character and why?

I think it's Loic, the male protagonist. He lives in a world where there is a lot of hierarchy, especially in the spirit world. And that is something that is very common in shamanistic societies..the idea that God is so far away, holy, and otherwise preoccupied that we humans can't deal directly with him and we need intermediaries. There is so much of that in spirit worshiping societies. Mountains behind mountains, as some of my Haitian friends say. My main character, Loic, is immature and -- as far as he knows and is able-- a kind of good pagan. He's spoiled but kind-hearted. He's ill. (I always make a point to create main characters with an illness -- emotional, psychological, spiritual, developmental.) He's a Christian-figure, as opposed to a Christ figure. His illness has made him spoiled and arrogant. Plus, he's the son of a clan chief. All this makes him the sort of person who would rebel against the spirits and shaman who want to come between humans and the Creator. So it's a kind of divine arrogance.

3. How have your personal faith and beliefs influenced your story?

I wanted to write a Pentecostal Book of Acts kind of novel. So many Christian novels don't include that and for me, Christianity without the charismatic gifts is merely powerless doctrine. Of course many people wouldn't want that kind of natural supernatural stuff in their books, but that -- I believe-- is what Christianity is supposed to be. Full of power, Christ in us, the hope of glory, treasures in vessels of clay.

4. What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Being brave. I had to trust God that a secular publishing company would accept it. I also had to get the storytelling style right. I wanted it to be high fantasy, but high fantasy with a folkloric style. Not the Euro-tradition. I also didn't want it to sound stilted. I read Native American rhetoric, slave narratives, and old Chinese traditional and classical poetry so I could get the style just right.

5. What was easiest?

The battles with the demons. That was fun to write. I knew instinctively what the demons would say.

6. What's next for you?

I have to decide which of three works-in-progress I'm working on. I have to work on getting some sleep. I battle fibromyalgia so it's interesting writing through the fog and the sleeplessness. I keep thinking that I'm always writing stories where my characters have trouble sleeping. I suspect that when I start sleeping again, they'll start sleeping also.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

CFRB Presents: Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell

Although it is not entirely to her liking, grief-stricken Satha, a dark-skinned woman from a poor Theseni clan weds young Loic, the wealthy Doreni son of the king's First Captain. Loic, graced with ability to see into the hearts and minds of others, begins to help Satha overcome her sorrows. Despite coming from different tribes, they begin to forge a life together. But when Satha's own compassion is used against her and a treacherous enemy contrives to dishonor her in Loic's absence, Loic's love turns to anger and disgust. Embittered, Loic must still avenge his honor and Satha's and he sets out on a journey that brings despair as well as spiritual discovery. Battling him are the Arkhai, the spirits of the land who know his quest will lead him toward the God whom they have usurped. After his departure, Satha is kidnapped, sold into slavery and learns, first hand, how cruel the pioneering Angleni tribe can be. Both face great hardship, danger and anguish apart, but with the Creator's aid there remains hope they will be reunited and heal the love the world has torn asunder.

Learn more at the CFRB Blog Tour.

Order at Amazon!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Losing Kei by Suzanne Kamata

A young American mother living in Japan fights impossible odds to be reunited with her child

Jill Parker is an American expat artist living in a remote town on the southern coast of Japan and making ends meet as a hostess at a seedy waterfront bar when she meets Yusuke, a sensitive art gallery owner who believes in her talent. As their affair leads to marriage, Jill is convinced that her life has finally opened to real love, to a measure of artistic success, and an insider’s connection to her strange and beautiful adopted culture. Instead she is trapped as she had never imagined. Under the demanding oversight of Okasan, Yusuke’s cold and tradition-bound mother, Jill is expected to apprentice herself to the womanly arts, to sacrifice her life to her husband’s pleasure and the family’s honor. The long anticipated birth of Kei, a beautiful baby boy, only serves to increase her failure in the eyes of the family. Divorce is one way out but according to Japan’s rigid laws, a foreigner has no rights to custody and Jill is essentially told to disappear and leave her child behind. Rendered with tenderness, humor, and an insider’s knowledge of contemporary Japan, Losing Kei melds the off-kilter cultural misunderstandings of Lost in Translation with the wrenching family drama of Kramer versus Kramer and marks the debut novel of an exceptional expatriate voice.

Suzanne Kamata's short work has appeared in over 100 publications. She is editor The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan and a forthcoming anthology from Beacon Press Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs. She is a five-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and two-time winner of the Nippon Airways Fiction Contest.

Order on

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Fireborn Chronicles by Mary Andrews


The inevitable fusion of man, machine and the paranormal

The Universal Government has found an enticing strategy to bolster cooperation and membership. Each planet remains free to determine for itself what constitutes an unacceptable faction. The Universal Government will remove the members of that faction and employ them on the Hive Planet.

Workers of the Hive are addicted to a wonderful and all-encompassing drug that can only be earned by working, thus converting each planet's formerly unproductive and dangerous elements into a universal workforce that provides the ultimate interplanetary temp service across a truly universal web.

Since its creation, only one person has ever escaped the Hive Planet: A newborn, fully implanted with compu-link interface temple plates, but not yet introduced to the drug. He now leads a Dark Ops unit for The Gov on a mission to uncover a psionic ring of criminals who have inexplicably taken control of an important Government Ambassador.

What they find will change the universe.

Available at Swimming Kangaroo Books.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Darrell Bain talks about his book, Savage Survival

SAVAGE SURVIVAL is not just another testosterone driven science fiction novel. At the basic level, it explores the personalities and attitudes of men, women and children when stripped of the comforting insulation of organized society. Invulnerable aliens have captured millions of humans and are subjecting them to the most brutal and horrible environments ever encountered, in essence a survival test of a magnitude heretofore undreamed of.

Lyda Brightner is an eleven year old girl when she is suddenly and without warning separated from her parents and thrown into the midst of undisciplined humans in a harsh desert environment. Food and water and clothing are fought over. Those who control it can do as they wish—and their wishes are terrible.

Lyda is weaponless and alone, like almost everyone. Raped at eleven. Forced to kill. Grieving for her parents. All that stands between Lyda and death is her own innate bravery, her quick mind, her unwavering integrity and ultimately, her belief that someday she will find someone to love.

Lyda's strength of character and fighting spirit make her a leader, even at a very young age. Over the next six years she must constantly fight the ever changing and ever more dangerous environments the aliens subject them to. But she must fight other humans as well, those who have survived by brute strength and ruthless plundering of the weak.

But even if she lives through all this, Lyda must still face the final question: What do the aliens have in mind for the few hundred remaining humans, those few left of all the millions who died?

SAVAGE SURVIVAL is a coming of age novel like no other and Lyda Brightner is a character you'll never forget.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An Interview With Darrell Bain

1. What inspired you to write this story?
Probably my own childhood history of adversity had something to do with it and seeing young orphans in Vietnam making a life by themselves when still very young was in the back of my mind, too. But really, one day the whole theme and plot came to mind like a vision, something that happens very seldom to a writer.

2. Who is your favorite character and why?
Lyda, of course is my favorite character for the reasons listed above.

3. How have your personal faith and beliefs influenced your story?
I don't have a religion. I believe a person is responsible for whatever they make of their life.

4. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
There was no hard part. It practically wrote itself. Again, something very rare.

5. What was easiest?
It was all easy. I like this story about as well or better than anything I've ever written.

6. What's next for you?
I'm currently collaborating on a novel and possibly a series with Travis S. Taylor, a well known science fiction author and scientist.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Savage Survival by Darrell Bain

Genre: Science fiction

Publisher: Twilight Times Books,

Darrell Bain's finest novel to date. Savage Survival is a coming of age novel like no other and Lyda Brightner is a character you'll remember forever. Raped at eleven. Forced to kill. Subjected to suffering in one brutal and horrible environment after another, with no parents or guardian to protect her as she grows up. Millions of earthmen have been captured by invulnerable aliens and are being put through the strangest and most terrifying survival tests ever imagined. Young Lyda Brightner's first experience after being thrown into the midst of undisciplined humans is horrible enough, but she doesn't know that the trials are just beginning. She doesn't know that only a few hundred of the millions of captives will live through the vicious and cruel winnowing process. Again and again as she grows into a young woman, she has to call on the only resources she has available: her own innate bravery, her quick mind, her unwavering belief in the goodness of the majority of humans and ultimately, an enduring hope that one day she will find someone to love. But even if she lives through all this, she will still have to face the final question. What do the aliens have in mind for the few survivors?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Interview with Grace Bridges

What inspired you to write this story?
It kind of came from daydreams I've had since early childhood. They were vague at first, wondering if heaven might be able to include reliving childhood. Later, they solidified into the ideas that became Faith Awakened. I formulated the first story idea when I was 14.

Who is your favorite character and why?
I suppose it's Mariah. Faith is too similar to me, but Mariah is me as I would hope to be if I ever got in as much trouble as she did.

How have your personal faith and beliefs influenced your story?
Faith's journey of faith is much like my own. Both her life and Mariah's leave a lot of unanswered questions, but certainty in the things that matter. I have a lot of questions I'd like to ask God, and I think that's all right. I'm happy I don't have to know all the answers.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
There were some chapters around the middle where I got quite stuck for a while. The plot was planned out, but between crises there are bits that aren't as exciting as others. That's always difficult.

What was easiest?
The crisis chapters where all the strands are bound together. That was really fun!

What's next for you?
A space-epic Pilgrim's Progress inspired by and vastly different to Frank Creed's Flashpoint.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Review of Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges

There's a saying in literature: There are no new plot lines, just new ways of approaching the same plot lines. Grace Bridges has shown that she is a master at novel approaches with her book Faith Awakened.
Faith Awakened tells the story of two women: Mariah, one of the last survivors of a dystrophic world in which a virulent plague has destroyed 99.9 percent of mankind, and Faith, a woman who has dealt all her life with depression, bizarre memory loss and a struggle to serve the Lord even when she doesn't "feel" His presence.
Familiar plotlines? Sure--until Grace mixes the two so that Faith is Mariah, living out a new life in a virtual reality program while her body is in stasis to wait out the death of the killer virus.
That clever mix caught my interest and kept me reading. Even a month after having read the Faith Awakened, I still find myself pondering the story. Were the memory losses because of the badly connected sensors or faults in the program? Was her depression a natural extension of Mariah's circumstances or difficulties interfacing with the machine? What about her tie to the Lord: did the computer, her misconnected probe or some aspect of her personality prevent her from feeling God's presence in her alternate life? I loved how she persevered despite not having an overwhelming emotional faith experience. It reminded me of the words of a child's father to Jesus: "I believe. Help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24)
I found the Biblical messages a little heavy at times, but that's a personal pet peeve. Besides, it's part of the genre. What I find significant is that Grace wove these so well into her story that I could easily chalk them up to the characters' thoughts rather than an author-induced sermon and go on with my reading--and I wanted to go on. Grace has written a wonderful, unique story and I recommend it to any Christian reader who's looking for something out of the ordinary.

Even a month after having read Faith Awakened, I still find myself pondering the story. Grace has written a wonderful, unique story and I recommend it to any Christian reader who's looking for something out of the ordinary.

Download or buy now:
Faith Awakened at! Free e-book - or the print copy at cost price!
Faith Awakened at Printed copies only

Monday, November 05, 2007

CFRB Presents: Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges

If you could design your own virtual world to live in, what would it look like? If you lived on a dark and empty planet, how far would you go to save your life? Is God a computer programmer? And can he take you to heaven... before you die?

"A fascinating tale of playing God over one's own virtual life, while the real God influences the real one... or both." - Angela Brett, 1995 winner of the Young Writers' Katherine Mansfield Memorial Award

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Future Happens Twice by Matt Browne


Book 1 in the trilogy: THE PERENNIAL PROJECT
Paperback, 732 pages
ISBN: 978-1844018307
Date: June 14, 2007
Published by Athena Press, London

For decades scientists have dreamed of sending deep-frozen humans on interstellar missions. But until this dream comes true, they must settle for a much simpler technique available: the freezing of human embryos. However, long distance space travel of this nature poses other challenges, none more so than the management of artificial pregnancies and how to raise the children produced.

One viable solution comes in the form of advanced biotechnology and highly sophisticated androids, and a large scale project has been implemented to explore these options. To prove that it can really work, the project's scientists go a step further. Somewhere in the Nevada desert and well hidden underground, they conduct an eighteen-year-long experiment using a young starship crew unaware of their true environment. Surrounded by complex simulations, the crew believes they are approaching a distant star system, one that appears to host a planet suitable for human colonization. What they also don't know is the fact that their embryos had been split prior to the implantation in the womb devices.

The scientists' bold plan is to send the twin embryos on the real mission, pioneering the frontier of space. From both identical genes and an identical environment inside the starship, they arrive at the assumption that the future is a mere repetition of the present events. And indeed, about 42,000 years later the twins grow up with the very same android parents.

But then things start to drift away from the original plan. The real starship crew now faces a constant battle for survival. Only their fortitude and strong determination to land on the extrasolar planet averts a disaster. The reward is the new exotic world that awaits them, full of overwhelming potential.

Matt Browne's beautifully worked space epic explores the bounds of human hope and invention and plumbs the depths of human duplicity. Tender relationships between the budding astronauts are pitched against the disillusion they feel when an embattled President confronts them with their true origins and purpose, only to reveal the real culprit in the entire project - something closer to all of us today.

The author's fascination with the fields of bioengineering and information technology sustains the reader's interest all the way in this futuristic roller-coaster ride. And he asks a terrifying question. Setting aside man's inhumanity to man, what if Nature herself turns against us?

This gripping novel of epic proportions skillfully mixes elements of drama, medical thriller and science fiction. As the story unfolds, Matt Browne takes his readers on a breathtaking journey through vast stretches of time and space.


Matt Browne is a computer scientist with an M.S. degree from the University of Kansas. He works for a large, multinational company in the information technology division. He lives near Frankfurt, Germany, is married and has two twin children. In 1996 Matt Browne began his part-time writing career. Currently he is underway completing "Human Destiny", the second novel of the "Future Happens Twice" trilogy.

Find out more at my website at

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Tesserene Imperative by Mark Chapman


It was supposed to be a routine prospecting mission, but something went wrong.
With 43 billion souls crammed together on Mother Earth and using up natural resources at an unsustainable rate, the essential minerals that support human civilization are in desperately low supply. Tesserene, the mineral that makes starflight travel possible, is especially critical. Without it, humans are effectively imprisoned on their home world.

When prospecting ship Shamu is almost destroyed in a distant asteroid belt, Swede Johansen and rest of the crew of five is left with three days of air, little water, a smashed starflight drive, and no hope of rescue. It will take every ounce of ingenuity and stubborn pigheadedness they possess to find a way to survive.
Assuming they do find a solution, the ultimate jackpot awaits them in the shadows of a distant moon—if the galaxy doesn't kill them first.

Now available available from (paperback), (ebook), and other retailers. For more information about The Tesserene Imperative, or author Mark Terence Chapman, visit

Mark Chapman on Becoming A Published Author

Mark is doing something new on blog tours--a serial blog essay. Enjoy and check otu the rest on the other blogs.

My long, strange road to becoming a published novelist (Part V)
By Mark Terence Chapman

(This entry is a continuation of one on writer Suzanne Kamata’s blog. Click here to return to Part IV.)

Following the release of my OS/2 book in late 1995, I began thinking about writing a novel. (After a 20-plus-year layoff from fiction writing, most people would have started with a short story. I prefer to make things as difficult as possible for myself….) The problem was I had no plot in mind, just a desire to write something. I thought I had to have a detailed outline written before I started, laying out the major plot points. And for some reason, I was unable to sit down and do that. I just couldn’t think that far ahead.

So, I put off writing a novel. The next year, I put it off again. In 1997, I thought I’d take a stab at writing a children’s picture book. (You know, one of those books you read your kids to sleep with, with a page of illustrations for each page of text.) I ended up writing With a Name like Jeremy Hippenzoodle, about a little boy with a funny name that no one could seem to get right. The twist was that no one had a problem with Hippenzoodle. It was Jeremy they could never remember.

That got me thinking again about writing a novel, but I continued to struggle with the idea of needing a detailed outline of a story before beginning to write. This continued until November 2002. I heard about something called the National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal was to write 50,000 words of a story during the month of November. I found out about it in the middle of the month, too late to participate that year. But it got me thinking again about writing that darn novel. Finally, on May 8, 2003 (I marked it on my calendar), I finally had enough of procrastinating. I told myself to sit down and just start writing. Even if I didn’t know how the story would turn out, just…start…writing. Something, anything. So I came up with a simple premise: A small crew is trapped aboard their disabled spaceship, running out of air and water, with no hope of rescue. How do they save themselves?

I began writing with no more to go on than that. My only rule was that I had to work on the book every day. If I couldn’t think of anything new to write, I’d edit what I’d already written. I soon found that editing often jumpstarted my writing again. While editing, I’d think about what was happening to the crew and possible solutions to their problems and additional crises to confront them with when they got past the first one or two.

This system worked so well that 69 days later I had a finished first draft of 81,000 words. It needed a lot of work, both for polishing and to flesh out some scenes, but at least the worst was over—I had a complete story.

To find out what happens next, click here for the next segment of the story, on Ron Berry’s blog.
(510 words)

The Mars Imperative by Mark Chapman

It's the year 2174. With 30 billion people choking Planet Earth, civilization is near a breaking point. Too many cars, too many skyscrapers, too much of everything is straining Earth's ability to supply humanity with the raw materials needed to keep the machinery of civilization going.

The only way mankind can survive long term is to expand to the stars, but that's somewhere off in the future. Until then, we must find a way to mine the solar system for iron, copper, and the many other minerals needed in daily life. Thus far, Mars, Luna, and the asteroid belt are being explored and mined.

Enter James McKie, a recent graduate of the University of Manitoba with a degree in areology (Martian geology), on his way to his first job in space. Starry-eyed, he looks forward to making his mark on the Red Planet. But first he has to survive the trip there. A mysterious fire aboard his ship is followed by a crisis on the giant space elevator high above Mars.

If he survives everything, he has to brave the perils of Mars itself: rock slides and planet-wide dust storms that leave the unwary traveling blind in red-out conditions, unable to find their way home before their oxygen runs out.
And then there's the terrorist....

In the end, there's an incredible discovery waiting to be made: the key to terraforming the planet for human habitation—if it doesn't kill everyone first.

Now available available from (paperback), (ebook), and other retailers. Or visit my web site at or my blog at For more information about The Mars Imperative or author Mark Terence Chapman, visit

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Memsaheb and the Thief by Chandra Ghosh Jain

The ten tales in Memsaheb and the Thief are a collection of stories that make the reader travel from rural India, small towns and the great metropolis with ease.

In Memsaheb and the thief, life as a pampered daughter and wife had been easy for Simran. As a Memsaheb she is fond of Hindi film songs and sings one befitting each situation in her life. But somewhere along the way, she finds herself alone with only a thief for company…

Politics of the Virtuous shows us how the innocents are betrayed and misled…
The loneliness of a career woman is captured in the Net as Netting?

The allure of power associated with politics can undermine all relationships and loyalties as Kolya the hapless son discovers in the Cadaverous Chief.

The stories are often less than linear in structure; and they have a knack for the ungracious character - the one who gets kicked under the table, argued with, and often sighed over. The tales present such people in all their irascibility and mess, and then somehow like those psychologists who prove that pessimists have a more accurate view of reality than their optimistic and normal counterparts.

By the end the tales reveal the cranks' greater humanity and even make the "better" characters seem cardboard in comparison.

This is a collection of stories of anger and bitterness, love and loss, loneliness, change, oppression, grief, endurance, fear and death. They move one through a gamut of emotions but most importantly they move the reader to give a cry of recognition - yes this is what it feels like being a human in this way, time and time again.

Order It Here

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Review of Flashpoint by Frank Creed

Book One of the Underground
Author: Frank Creed
Published by Writers Café Press
ISBN: 978-1-934284-01-8
200 pages

Frank Creed pushes the boundaries of Christian fiction with Biblical cyberpunk—when he talks about "God in the machine," he's quite literal. He's been thinking and playing in the genre since long before William Gibson made it popular—and Creed can give Gibson a run for his money.

Creed starts with the basics for both cyberpunk and Biblical speculative fiction: a dystopic world run by a totalitarian global regime, with a pretty wide division between the haves and have-nots.

Those who support the regime live a prosperous life, while those who do not are left to the squalor of a crime-riddled underworld at best and slave camps, or "reconditioning" at worst. True to the Christian angle, the government has established a watered-down "feel good" religion, and true Christians (dubbed "Fundamentalists") are forced to hide their practices or go totally underground by joining the Resistance.

Dave and Jen are our young heroes. When the government finds out their family is part of a secret home church, they are taken to the underground by their father to save their lives. Daddy leaves them in order to draw off the authorities and is captured with their mother. Meanwhile, Dave and Jen are taken in by the Resistance and discover they have amazing abilities. They receive cybernetic mind enhancements that enable them to become the kind of perfected humans God created, before we were damaged by Original Sin. Dave becomes a superhero with Matrix-style abilities, while Jen becomes e-girl, the computer wizard no cyberpunk novel is complete without. They join the Resistance; their first mission: Save Mom and Dad and the members of their home church. And as they fulfill their mission, they learn what it means to be part of God's army.

There's nothing especially spectacular in the plot, but the real magic is in the execution. Creed does a fantastic job of weaving in all the things that make cyberpunk an exciting genre to read: the melding of human capabilities with highly technological advancements, exciting scenes that deliver the adrenalin rush, earthy but clever repartee, cunning twists to the mundane, some well-thought-out fight scenes… But what about the Biblical message? Here again Creed shows his genius. He immerses you in the Word of God just as he immerses you in the cyberpunk culture—in thought, word and deed. The thing I personally love about cyberpunk is the complete cultural mythos, right down to vocabulary.

Creed does the same thing; in addition to some really fun slang, he's woven in Scripture and the ideals of his Christian "Army" so that as you read, you are neither preached to nor pulled out of the story. It's all part of the program—literally and figuratively.

Flashpoint is a fast, fun read, something I was comfortable in giving to my 13-year-old son, and which I wouldn't mind re-reading again. (My husband can tell you that from me, that's high praise.)

If you are looking for Biblical speculative fiction the way it should be done, you need to read Creed!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Flashpoint by Frank Creed

Persecution in Chicago has reached the Flashpoint.

In the year 2036, all nations are run by a one-world government.
The One State has but one threat:
Fundamentalist terrorists.
The One State has declared that Bible believing Christians are now terrorists.

But the One State has not yet encountered
Calamity Kid and
e-girl . . .

When peacekeepers bust a home-church in Ward-Six of the Chicago Metroplex, brother and sister, Dave and Jen Williams, are the only members who evade capture. Their only place to turn? A Christian ‘terrorist’ cell known as the Body of Christ.

In their shattered world, Dave and Jen adopt codenames and slip between the Underground cracks of the Chicago Metroplex. They must save their home-church before their parents, brother, and neighbors are all brainwashed by the One State Neros or worse.

Calamity Kid and e-girl fearlessly walk the valley of death, because He is with them.

But they’ll need every molecule of their re-formed faith to face down ppeacekeepers, gangers, One-State neros, and fallen-angels, in America’s dark Post-Modern Humanist age.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Doorman's Creek by Lea Schizas

Several months ago, I promised to tour Doorman's Creek by Lea Schizas. Sadly, the realities of life got in the way and then my HP Pavilion (aka the Lemon) crashed for the third time, taking my notes with it. I'm finally getting my act together and post this now with my recommendation and a review by The Book Pedler.

When Kyle Anderson and his two buddies decide to explore a cave hidden within Doorman's Creek, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton... and an unknown entity, throwing them right into the path of a serial killer.

Faced with a sudden gift of visions into past and present disappearances, Kyle must now track down who the murderer is before another family member gets killed.

Excerpt of review by The Book Pedler (link here to read the full review)

"Doorman’s Creek by Lea Schizas has to be one of the best books I have ever read, period. Part mystery, part paranormal thriller, Doorman’s Creek is an incredible read that starts with a bang and just keeps going. From the moment the novel starts, you’re taken on a whirlwind of secrets, murder, sacrifice and death that just gets better with every page."

See more of Lea's stuff at

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blessing Tour: Poet Stephen Todd Jones

Hi, folks,

Today, VBTdeNet is doing something a little different. A writer friend, Karen McSpadden is arranging a "blessing tour" for Stephen Todd Jones. She writes this about him and his poetry:

Stephen Todd Jones is a writer and poet from Virginia Beach, Virginia. While a sophomore at Liberty University, he sustained injuries in a car crash that left him in a wheelchair, and this perspective forms the basis for much of his writing. Through his poetry, he gives us a window into his world and his faith.

Stephen, I can hardly imagine what you must go through, but I do know there must be periods when you are frustrated and discouraged and ready to give up. In those times, call on your faith. God is with you, and He has a purpose for you. You may not feel it's true, but you are an inspiration, both in your struggle to do all you can despite the prison of your body and in the way your soul continues to soar free of that prison through your beautiful poems. I pray for your healing, but most of all, I pray that you are sustained in your struggles and that you do not forget taht you are loved and admired.
Please remember Stephen, both in your prayers today and when things seem too difficult for you in your own endeavors.

Some of My Dreams
by Stephen Todd Jones

Some of my dreams have had to
Alter beyond any doubt
As happenings necessitated change
Along this daily route.

Dreams of great “success” here in
Certain fields is out of
The questions, because of limitations
Brought on-- I still love!

Other fields are beyond my ability,
But if one is hurting here,
I am most willing and as able,
In time of need, to draw near.

Why Not Internally?
by Stephen Todd Jones

Why do you not peer inside yourself,
Revealing what you see in review
As relates to the simple, yet complex
Matter that indeed is you;
Why do you not evaluate your own self
In light of that true indeed here
In order to best prognosticate what
Lies in an eventual year?

You may not like what you see inside,
Turning your gaze that way.
Oh, is that the reason behind avoidance
Of looking inside? Okay...
I see your reasoning though avoiding
That makes no less sure
The demons and devils, residing within,
As more than conjecture.

How They Are!
by Stephen Todd Jones

Things are how they are
In shades life gives it;
However things prove to be,
It's live-- live it!

Pretend, if you must do so
In order to feign the
Happiness foreign for now
Until it's reality.

Nobody wants to hear how
Life turned sour
For, to make it turn out is
Beyond their power, ----

And they have their share of
Troubles their own
To face also unaided daily
When they feel alone.

Companion of The Word
by Stephen Todd Jones

Words are constant companions
When nobody is around
Since various degrees of solace
In those here are found.

Sometimes not enough are they,
Having no flesh or bone
Though, in all honesty, they have
A substance all their own.

The letters, once here combined,
Compose skeletal formation
As of living and thriving humans
For our God-willed duration.

Words have a longer duration for
They can be recorded that
Later generations may share in the
Wisdom of one then at.

The Word is my Companion even
Though others will fade
Over the expanse of history years
If written or even said.

If Seen As God Sees
by Stephen Todd Jones

If I were transparent,
What would people see
Of which God is aware
Deep inside of me?

What blemish would
Appear-- before unseen--
If others saw, as God,
a panoramic scene?

Would some loving here
Draw back in disgust
If they knew, as God does,
Every deed and lust?

I am glad He is patient,
Loving and forgiving
When I come unto Him;
Sin is part of living,

I see the wickedness when
I honestly do inspection
To see what should not be
So on an introspection.

Who I Am Before
by Stephen Todd Jones

I must know who I
Am before
I can hope to be known
By one for---

If I am not aware
How can I
Expect others to distinguish
This guy?
I can not realistically
Hope for such
If I fail to really know,
Being out of touch

With reality. Reality, some say,
Is overrated here,
But we all need to dwell in
An actual sphere.

Why Sorrow Over
by Stephen Todd Jones

Why sorrow over
That had not
For the same is a
Heavy thought?

Why not enumerate
All here had
Rather than accounting
For those bad?

In content, do you
Not strive to
Obtain that reserved,
It seems, for few?

Or is content a state
Where you are
Never seeking that
From way afar?

Is dreaming wrong to
Do here when
You are dissatisfied in the
State you are in?

Are we not to seek to
Improve our lot,
Or as the fatalist here,
Are we not?

God, reveal to me the
Answer to those,
Or is there a definite
As I here suppose?
We Dream Still

Only some dreams
Are God's will
For us to obtain here;
We dream still.

Some are contrary to
His loving fill
Of events for our life.
We dream still.

Some are meant to be
Ours though until
Comes the proper moment,
We dream still.

Some of our dreams
God will not fulfill
For He knows better than we;
We dream still.

We think we know better
From our clouded sill,
Facing what we see dimly;
We dream still.

Through a glass darkly,
We see and we will
What may be impossible;
We dream still.

God, may dreams sifted
Be like wheat until
Chaff is winnowed out;
We dream still.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Interview with Jack Stinson

1. What inspired you to write this story?

I helped with an inner-city homeless ministry for about five years where I got the inspiration for High Street. I saw just so many people who’d hit bottom because of horrible decisions – many of them barely out of high school. I wanted to write a story that would be a vehicle for many things: the salvation message, warning to kids & parents, present a glimpse of this dark area normally swept under the rug…

2. Who is your favorite character and why?

Boy, that’s a tough question! I’m going to say Harold. He was such an innocent, childlike guy.

3. How have your personal faith and beliefs influenced your story?

Salvation and redemption through Jesus was something that came up often. Also mankind’s inability to ‘do it alone’ without God is a Biblical teaching that was in the back of my mind always.

4. What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Sticking to the despair and gloom of the homeless culture and various addictions. From my experiences in ministry to the homeless, I saw the victory of the enemy over and over again. It’s ugly, and I wanted to stay true to that reality. Maintaining that for an entire book was hard. But I felt it was necessary.

5. What was easiest?

The plot. I knew the entire story before I started the book. I struggled with descriptions and details, but I knew what I was writing about.

6. What's next for you?

I actually just finished a book of short fiction titled Hard Pursuit. It’s similar to Sherwood Anderson’s book Winesburg, Ohio, in that it is a collection of short stories centered on a common theme. (Actually, in his case it was town.) Hard Pursuit is about middle-class people affected by a corporate downsizing in a bad economy. I’m currently doing a lot of reading and plan to start another novel later this year.

For more about Jack or reviews of his book, High Street, check out the CFRB book tour. Click on any of the links under the banner to the right.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

High Street by Jack Stinson

Jamie Boyer sits in a stark homeless shelter in one of the seedier areas just off of High Street, certain that he has messed up his life forever. The young man had left his home on the farm just six months earlier for college in the big city. After falling in with the wrong crowd and getting mixed up with alcohol and drugs, his life is shattered. From the times he attended church while growing up, Jamie knows that he is running from God. The squalor and hopelessness of the homeless culture horrifies him, yet in shame he refuses to call home. Back in Shelby County, Martha Boyer worries about her missing son. She knows that she is not right with God herself, and is guilt-ridden. The occasional church visits have only made her more miserable.
High Street cuts through the heart of Columbus, Ohio. On the way, it snakes along a sprawling college campus offering rowdy bars and good times to young people who have just left home, and slides by dirty, crime-infested areas of the city that most try to ignore.
Can Jamie work his way out of his problems alone⎯and will anything really be different if he gets back to the college bars on High Street?

About the Author
Jack Stinson was born and raised in rural, northern Ohio. After college, he became a technical writer, living and working in several states on the east coast and in the Midwest. For many years he helped with a Christian outreach program for the homeless, which was the inspiration for High Street.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Interview with Caprice Hokstad

What inspired you to write this story?

AOL used to have a huge free-form roleplaying forum. That's where I caught the "bug" to write. It completely amazed me that anyone outside the group I actually played with were reading my posts and told me they looked forward to what I would come up with next. When the forum dissolved and all my story-weaving partners went their separate ways, I found I missed the creative outlet. If no one would write with me, I was going to have to write by myself.

It lost something without the interaction, but there's also more control when you do it alone. No more crazy twists that forced my characters into weirdness that didn't go anywhere, or went in a direction I didn't like. I also didn't have to wait on anyone else in order to advance the plot. My novel's hero was based on a roleplay character created by a brilliant writer named Rhoderick C. Hayes (Duke Vahn was adapted with his permission and blessing).

At first, the story was just kind of a way for me to extend the fun I'd had in the forum that died, and it was only going to be a novella shared with a few friends. But the more I wrote, the more it mushroomed until the idea became a trilogy and the story (in my opinion) blossomed into novel quality.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Hermione Granger. I see a lot of myself in her. Yes, I'm the nerd who would read ahead in the textbooks and read stuff that wasn't assigned, just for fun. And yes, I did, on occasion, find myself reading a big unabridged dictionary for hours on end. I'm not as likely to break rules as Hermione is though. I was always too goody-two-shoes for that. But I'm way too boring to make any kind of decent fiction character.

Oh, wait. You meant you want me to name which of my own characters is my favorite? You realize this is like asking a mother to say which of her children is her favorite. Didn't the story of Jacob and Joseph teach you nothing? At the risk of condemning my beloved child off to slavery in Egypt, I'd probably say Duke Vahn. Chivalrous. Handsome. Kind. Devoted father. What's not to like? But as I said above, I can't take full credit for Vahn.

How have your personal faith and beliefs influenced your story?

I think my faith shows in the themes. Jesus said the greatest in God's Kingdom would be the servant of all. My heroine is a servant. She's not especially beautiful or physically strong or even especially intelligent by our standards. There are a few other Christian themes running throughout, but I don't try to hit readers over the head with them. They're there if you look, but the story appeals to people of all faiths, or so I have been told by Wiccans and agnostics as well as Christians.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Accepting that some of my natural tendencies weren't best for the story. I originally wrote "The Duke's Handmaid" in totally omniscient point of view. After attending a writer's conference and hearing over and over that I could never sell it the way it was written, I finally broke down and rewrote the entire book. Now I didn't go so far as to make it what the commercial market prefers (Deep Limited) because I write very cinematically. My descriptions are written like a camera which can see everything, even things the POV character might not see. But I cut the head-hopping and limit the thoughts to one character at a time. Maybe someday someone will convince me that dropping the Cinematic POV for description is "better" but so far, I'm not convinced.

What was easiest?

Anything related to writing fiction is infinitely easier than anything related to promoting. Writes. Rewrites. Critiques. More rewrites. All of that is easy as far as I am concerned. But ask me to fill out an interview such as this and I am a fish out of water. I also don't particularly like writing query letters, synopses, proposals, or anything like that. Yes, I know all this promo stuff is a necessary evil, but it's still evil.

What's next for you?

I've just finished the sequel to "The Duke's Handmaid". The second book of the trilogy is called "Nor Iron Bars a Cage". It's a much longer book. My cover artist just finished and I'm letting my fans chime in on their favorite of the different color combinations for the front cover ( ). I am hoping to release "Nor Iron Bars a Cage" around September 15. I'm also working on a long-neglected study guide for "The Duke's Handmaid", a project I started a while back, but had to put on a back burner in order to focus on getting the second book done. Eventually, I'll be starting work on the third book in the trilogy, but with my less-academically inclined daughter in high school now, I may not have much time for writing. (I am homeschooling her)

CFRB Presents: The Duke's Handmaid by Caprice Hokstad

Keedrina is a young peasant maiden who lives on the outskirts of a prosperous seaport town until marauders kill her family and burn her farmhouse. She reports the tragedy to Duke Vahn, who champions her cause, apprehending the outlaws and meting out justice. Orphaned and homeless, Keedrina envies the slaves who live in fine homes with luxuries she has never had. The duke offers her a position as his indentured servant. With very little left to live on and intrigued with the handsome young noble, Keedrina accepts. Can the simple farmgirl find a home among the refined servants in the duke's house? Not if the prejudiced and conniving duchess has her way!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Infinite Space, Infinite God Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Here's the schedule of the ISIG virtual book tour. Some folks have gotten excited and posted early. Please leave a comment; bloggers are getting a prize for most comments, and anyone who comments gets a chance to win either a copy of our Christian SF eBook, Leaps of Faith, or a gift certificate at Twilight Times Books.


1: (summary), Day 1 (summary)

2:, Day 2 (interview)

3: (interview)

4: (interview)

5: (interview)

6: (interview) (interview)

7: (interview) (interview)

8: (interview)

9: (interview)

10: (review)


12: (interview)

13: (review) (interview)

14: (review)

15: (interview) (trailer)

16: (review) (interview) (summary)

17: (interview)

18: 12 Noon: Live Chat:

19: (review)
7:00-9:00 PM: (Live Chat)

20: (interview)

21: (review)

22: (review and interview) (review and interview)

23: (interview)

24: (interview) (interview)

25: (interview) (interview)

26: (interview)

27: (guest blogger) (interview) (interview)

28: (guest blogger) (review) (review)

29: 12 Noon: Live Chat "Infinite Space, Infinite God and the Infinite Possibilities of Book Marketing" (guest blogger)

30: (interview)

31: (review)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Dear friends: My computer just went comatose or dead--not sure which--taking a wonderful interview and summary of Cheryl's book with it. When--if--I can get the information back, I'll post it here, but in the meantime, I present you this review From Booklist:

Originally published in Canada in 2003 (but never distributed in the U.S.), this moving story features Sarah Richardson, whose family moves from the Montana countryside to Vancouver Island just as she's about to enter sixth grade. Sarah soon finds that island life suits her perfectly--thanks, especially, to her new best friend, Goldie, whose Native American heritage Sarah finds fascinating, especially the wisdom passed to the girls from Goldie's grandmother, Nana. Sarah is also intrigued to learn that her marine-biologist father shares a passion with her new Indian friends: killer whales, which the natives revere and her father studies. Life isn't all native spirituality, however, as Sarah must confront a family tragedy that will change her life forever. Though overly melodramatic in places, Tardif's story has that perennially crowd-pleasing combination of sweet and sad that so often propels popular commercial fiction, especially coming-of-age stories. Tardif, already a big hit in Canada, may soon be a name to reckon with south of the border. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Friday, July 27, 2007

Interview with Marion Webb-DeSoto

How long have you been writing?

I've always held a strong interest in writing and, as a child and teenager, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of composing essays and written work for school. At the age of 10, I won an essay competition that was offered to certain schools. We had to write about the home we would love to live in and, apparently, what I wrote was very descriptive and believable. At the age of 14, my aspirations of becoming a teacher turned to an interest in pursuing a career in journalism. However, my parents were against this change of direction and I was persuaded by them and the principal of my school to abandon the idea. Then, as a working adult and, eventually, a wife and mother, there was no time available for creative writing. The only outlet offered to me for documenting the written word was in writing theses and reports.

In 1998 I developed a neurological illness that forced me to take early retirement from work and I was suddenly presented with many hours of free time. After recovering, I turned my attention to my long-term desire to write, and my first manuscript was completed toward the end of 2000. Since then I have written four more books and am presently working on another one.

Why the different angle on angels?

Samael's Fall is placed in the Fantasy genre because for many the notion of angels is pure fantasy. To present them as fictional characters will, hopefully, give the non-believers the opportunity to become acquainted with them without the usual trappings of religion and New Age beliefs. My own experiences with the angelic realms have been quite startling and I wanted to share some of these insights with others.

What do you mean by "blending of fantasy with esoteric teachings"? Are these esoteric teachings you've read or are you attempting to teach something in your book?

Some of the incidents within the book can be seen as traditional teachings, e.g. the first archangel's fall from grace and banishment from the higher realms; the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness. Other occurrences in the story are a retelling of information that I've received during my years of metaphysical work. My intention is not to teach others about these revelations; it is just a sharing within the book of a different point-of-view. However, if Samael's Fall is to be viewed as a teaching tool, I suppose it does emphasize how duality exists and is played out in the eternal battle of goodness versus evil.

What was your favorite thing about writing this book?

This was my first attempt at writing a novel and I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the words flowed, particularly as it was not a short story. With each of my non-fiction books I always spent time detailing an outline for the manuscript that pinpointed the number of chapters and what each would contain. This did not happen with this book. The words that tell the tale of how the Devil came to be seemed to almost write themselves, as though the characters were dictating the storyline. I didn't experience any 'writer's block' or uncertainty about what to tell the reader. By the time I had finished the manuscript I realized I love writing a story even more than documenting facts.

In addition, I was very fortunate to find a talented artist, Fanitsa Petrou, who created the illustration and cover design for the novel. Her artwork is very inspiring. She has just completed a striking illustration for the cover of my next book to be published.

What's next for you?

Samael's Fall is the first book of The Angelic Chronicles trilogy and I recently completed the second book of this series entitled Abbadon. While that one is moving through the publishing process, I am writing my fourth non-fiction book which looks at the use of the mineral kingdom within metaphysics. Its working title is Crystal Companions. Once that manuscript is finished, I shall begin writing the last book of the trilogy about the angelic realms. Then I hope to work on a book about The Bach Remedies which are amazing flower essences for promoting wellness. After that, who knows?

Samael's Fall: The Angelic Chronicles by Marion Webb-De Sisto

A stirring account of how and why the first and most radiant archangel fell from grace and became the Devil. This is a story of angels and demons, love and hate, goodness and evil. An angelic tale of long, long ago that predates Creation and even the beginning of time. Religion has taught us that the archangels and angels are extremely wise and have faultless purity. However, this is not the author's controversial portrayal of them. These heavenly beings possess a child-like quality; they make mistakes and use poor judgment. Several also display a whole range of emotions and motivations, from being supremely good to unrighteously evil. Could it be their initial frailty was the opening gambit for the duality of the human race? This book is the first of The Angelic Chronicles trilogy. It is a blending of fantasy with esoteric teachings.

This book can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and

Friday, July 20, 2007

Interview with Larry Moniz

What inspired you to write Self-Promotion for Authors?

I was a journalist and publicist for 35 years before becoming disabled by breathing problems. When I decided to pursue book writing as a new career direction, I joined several different forums. While working on my first mystery novel, INSIDE STORY: Murder in the Pinelands, I was bothered that so many newbie book authors had no real clue about how to market themselves. Many were and are devoting massive amounts of time in unproductive efforts--unproductive in that they are one-on-one efforts between themselves and prospective buyers. I've done the math and it's physically impossible for a new author to sell sufficient books to earn a living or even have a nominal bestseller with such promotional methods.

Having handled publicity for several authors and publishing houses, including nearly half a decade as PR agency counsel for Harlequin Books, as well as having been a journalist on the receiving end of promotion techniques by other professional book industry publicists, I felt I had some meaningful insights to share. However, it was another writer friend, Lea Schizas, founder of the annual Muse Online Conference who provided me with that final spark. After her first conference she suggested via e-mail that I do a brochure on how to self-promote a book. At that point I realized a brochure just couldn't properly cover the topic.

I also realized that I didn't want to set myself up as the sole authority on how to promote oneself. That's really what it's all about. Novels typically have a shelf life of only two or three months in most bookstores. An author must promote their name rather than a particular title.

I started encountering some other authors who had invaluable information to impart, but it was not reaching newbie authors in a cohesive fashion. There would be a forum comment here or there, a website posting of tips in another location. Essentially new authors were in a hit/miss situation. Additionally, there is a massive amount of misinformation being advanced as gospel by people who have never worked as publicists nor, in some cases, even had writing published.
The result was Self-Promotion for Authors, which is a compilation of my experiences and those of eleven other published authors, some quite well known, like Tim Bete; J.A. Konrath; Jonathan Maberry, 2007 winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel; Publisher Karen L. Syed; Robert J. Sawyer, Best Novel Hugo and Nebula Award Winner and Robert W. Walker. Their consenting to be included greatly enhanced the knowledge base contained in my book.

What’s your experience with promotions as a publicist?

I have 15 years experience as a senior public relations executive and wrote the first public relations program for Coleco's Cabbage Patch Kids. That publicity campaign subsequently won the Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America. The Silver Anvil is recognized as the most prestigious award in public relations.

My public relations skills are augmented by being an experienced journalist and winner of 12-business writing awards (including seven first places) for articles in 2000 through 2003 competitions.

I also have 20-years experience as a skilled radio, daily and weekly newspaper publisher, editor and reporter for major media outlets in New Jersey, New England and Europe.

What’s your experience with promotions as an author?

An author who fails to promote sufficiently will fail to sell enough books to earn a living, and will short-circuit their opportunity to be picked up by a publisher for a second or third book. To be successful an author needs to spend 20 percent of their time writing and 80 percent promoting.

What will folks find in your book they won’t find in other marketing books?

Perspective and a professional viewpoint based on 35-years successful experience in the media.

What’s next for you?

Currently I'm reworking, enlarging and updating a manuscript I originally drafted in 1996 entitled ESCAPE INTO HISTORY: Declared Rebellion. It's about two former special operatives who travel back in time to foil a Tory plot to prevent the Declaration of Independence from being written. I'm also beginning work on the second INSIDE STORY book. The first will be available in November from Swimming Kangaroo Books. I also have about a half dozen other novel concepts just waiting to be penned.

Learn more about Larry and his books at

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Self-Promotion For Authors by Larry Moniz

Self-Promotion for Authors is a step-by-step guide to promoting your next book in a professional manner. Written by Larry Moniz, an award-winning publicist whose clients included Coleco’s Cabbage Patch Kids (for which the agency won a Silver Anvil Award, the highest accolade in public relations) Harlequin Romances, Shorewood Fine Art Books and several authors.

The electronic book, now available in PDF format on CD, details the how-to steps for preparing and sending out press releases, arranging media tours, setting up collateral events and such traditional items as bookstore appearances and signings. After August 1, the retail price will be $45. Special introductory price: $35. Shipping is included.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Circle of Friends, Book Four: Mike by L. Diane Wolfe

Past mistakes can never be forgiven...

Mike Taylor is the epitome of stability. His family is proud of his academic and athletic achievements at Georgia Tech, and despite the temptations of college life, he has maintained his moral standards. Yet beneath the peaceful surface, Mike is consumed with guilt, fearing condemnation and rejection. A former girlfriend’s abortion and the intense love he feels for his roommate’s wife constantly remind Mike of his failures. Unable to forget and full of shame, he refuses to forgive himself. When Danielle enters his life, he realizes he can no longer hide the past. Will she be able to reach him or is Mike past the point of redemption?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Interview with Sandy Lender

Sandy is finishing up a virtual book tour, which began in May! today, she tells VirtualBookTourdeNet about her tour as well as her book. Check out her website for all the details about her, he stops and her book!

Some folks along the Choices Meant for Gods online book tour have asked if any of the characters in the novel make it autobiographical in any way. One of your answers is that you've placed your main character Chariss in similar situations to your childhood. Could you explain that for visitors to my site?

I moved a lot as a child (18 times before I got to college), so I realized, once I got to the marketing stage for CMFG, that I'd put Chariss through that same sort of upheaval all of her life. She and her wizard guardian have been on the run from benefactor to benefactor for sixteen years while this insane sorcerer has been chasing them with the intent to kill her.

And then a friend of mine from college contacted me through Nigel's blog recently (Nigel manages the site "Nigel Presents Sandy Lender" at, and told me that he guessed I was either divorced or going through a divorce because of some comments in the novel. So I figure Chariss's stellar attitude toward marriage and longterm commitments, which kinda takes her beau by surprise in chapter 22, gives away my cynical view on all that. But, for all the tidbits of frustration I let Nigel, and the reader, feel from Chariss there, I think I make up for it when she gets through her arc and...well...I'll let folks read the story.

You had a guest blog early on in your online book tour in which you described your pitch session for Choices Meant for Gods. Could you recap that for my visitors and tell us why you opted for that means of approaching the publishing industry?

My pitch session was a riot! I actually had it a week earlier than I thought I was supposed to so I was totally unprepared and went into it with about three hours of sleep (this was before I was conditioned to function normally on three-hours-of-sleep-a-night, by the way) because I'd been up most of the night before typing the proposal, complete with treatment and synopsis. Color me nervous. Then the session itself, which was with the publisher himself (I'd given up on agents by that point because a year of rejection letters is a ridiculous thing to put yourself through - don't do it), took place in a large, busy room, about 8 to 10 feet from an elevator as people were returning from a lunch break. Read: crazy high traffic. I don't remember right now how many times we got interrupted, but people knew Bob was a publisher, so they wanted to walk up and talk to him...and they did. One lovely gal, whom I still adore, walked up to talk to me. So it was bizarre, but it went well, and Bob accepted my book. A couple weeks after that "fateful day" (typed with all the airy breathiness you can imagine into it), I got my contract attached to an e-mail. I was ecstatic.

Now, the reason I went that particular route to get my foot in the book publishing industry door is because no agents were interested in representing a magazine editor in the fantasy realm. How could a journalist possibly write something creative?

How long did it take for Choices Meant for Gods to get released once it was under contract?

About 13 months. I got the contract in February of 2006 and Choices Meant for Gods was released - my lifelong dream came true - in March of 2007. This is nothing compared to some of the waits I've heard of authors enduring. I consider myself fortunate to have been on the short-end of the "interminable wait" timeframe.

Tell us about your tour.
I've been doing this for almost two months now. I've been appearing at peoples' blog sites, websites, chat rooms, in their online newsletters, and in their online yahoo groups promoting Choices Meant for Gods...and that two-month segment of my life is about to come to a close. It's been absolutely exhausting to keep track of all the details and keep everything in order, but it's been thrilling, too. I've met some amazing and energizing people along the way. On Saturday, July 21, I end the tour with a bang. I'll be announcing the winner of my contest from and I'll be guest blogging at a variety of sites. It'll be a bit of a party-online, if you will. I'm just really looking forward to having a good time with some of these new friends I've made. And that's a cool thing for me as a new author.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Choices Meant for Gods by Sandy Lender

Not even the gods noticed when Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector. Now she and her wizard guardian seek shelter from a mad sorcerer in a household not just full of secrets and false hope, but watched by the god who will unwittingly reveal her role in an impending war.

When an orphan sets aside a lifetime of running and fear to accept the responsibilities of guarding an arrogant deity, can she face the trials in the prophecies she uncovers? And will Nigel Taiman of her latest refuge dare to use his dragon heritage to bind her to his estate or to help her in her duty?

Choices Meant for Gods is the story of a young lady who's been on the run from a madman all her life. When she finally chooses to stand and fight, she discovers she's wrapped in centuries of prophecy that demand she protect the very gods themselves. The epic fantasy novel is now available from ArcheBooks Publishing. You can get information about the novel as well as grammar and writing tips from author Sandy Lender at her main blog at

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Angelos by Robina Williams

Title: Angelos
Author: Robina Williams
ISBN: 1-933353-60-0
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Retail Price: U.S. $16.95
Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Distributor: Midpoint Trade Books
Publication Date: May 15, 2006
Available on
Author's Website:
Summary of Angelos:

Quant, the cat, is back!

The Minotaur is a quiet home-loving creature. So he's not too happy when a falling rock in the lower reaches of his labyrinth bounces off his head, giving him a splitting headache and flinging him through time and space. He's relieved to find his horns haven't been broken, but where in Zeus's name has he landed up?

Brother Jerome, pottering around in the friary shed, is suddenly hurled through red-hot air into a maze of corridors, all of which seem to lead him to a room containing human bones. Where is he now? Terrified, and desperate to be rescued before he's eaten by a monster, he yells for Quant.

When the quantum cat turns up, he's short-tempered with Jerome, telling him there's no monster, and anyway what does he mean by 'now'? Time, as he shows the friar, is a somewhat fluid concept.

Meantime, the friary's new Guardian, Fr. Aidan, is also journeying—through his dark night of the soul, and wondering if he will ever see the light again.

Two storylines united at the end of the book by Quant, the Lord’s seraphic envoy—the angelos of the title.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

CFRB Presents: True Light by Terri Blackstock

The darkness deepens in a world without power. But, daring to defend a young outcast, one family strikes a light.
In the face of a crisis that sweeps an entire high-tech planet back to the age before electricity, the Brannings face a choice. Will they hoard their possessions to survive—or trust God to provide as they offer their resources to others?

Number one bestselling suspense author Terri Blackstock weaves a masterful what-if series in which global catastrophe reveals the darkness in human hearts—and lights the way to restoration for a self-centered world.

Now eight months into a global blackout, the residents of Oak Hollow are coping with the deep winter nights. But the struggle to survive can bring out the worst in a person—or a community.

A teenager has been shot and the suspect sits in jail. As the son of a convicted murderer, Mark Green already has one strike against him. Now he faces the wrath of all Oak Hollow—except for one person. Deni Branning has known Mark since high school and is convinced he is no killer.

When Mark finds himself at large with a host of other prisoners released upon the unsuspecting community, Deni and her family attempt to help him find the person who really pulled the trigger. But clearing Mark’s reputation is only part of his battle. Protecting the neighbors who ostracized him is just as difficult.

And forgiving them may be the hardest part of all.

Learn more at

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Interview with Heather Ingemar

Where did you get the idea for such a unique twist on an old tale?

I don't want to say I had an 'idea' for it because Lear kind of came to me rather than me seeking him out. One day, in August '06, I just had this vivid image of this dark-haired man with grey eyes walking into his apartment late at night. He had a gun and was a cop, and somehow, I knew he was different. So I sat down at my computer and started writing. Next thing I knew, he was a vampyre--though not in the tradional sense, he had a girlfriend, there was this thing with a mad scientist, and wham! It was all there. I think I wrote it all in about three days. A lot of my fiction is like that. I don't write until the character comes to me and essentially says, "Hey! Lady! I've got a story for you!"

Are you a vampire fan yourself? If so, what are your favorite shows/movies/books?

Definitely! Although it's rather funny--I still have not read Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (don't tell my Brit. Lit. professor!). So, I guess I should say: yes, I'm a vampire fan, but with the caveat that they aren't nasty. I like my monsters to defy the concept of "monster." You'll find that a lot in my fiction. Nothing is quite how you'd expect it.
Anyhow, my favorite vampire media. I am a fan of the Underworld movies and of course, "Nosferatu," although it's got to be the 1800 vintage black-and-white film. As far as T.V. goes, the few episodes I saw of Buffy were good. Ironically, I haven't read much vampire literature, although I really liked "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer and "Covenant with the Vampire" by Jeanne Kalogridis. I read a poem in Brit. Lit. class called "Cristabel," I forget who by. The vampire lady in that one was nasty, but I was rather fond of the poem because the vampiress wasn't at all like the more traditional concept of a vampire. She didn't suck blood (at least, it wasn't mentioned), and she was more akin to a snake with hypnotic powers than a bat or something. Rather unusual.

This is short fiction? Tell us how the eBook differs then from a more conventional novel:

Yes, "Darkness Cornered" is a short story. As for how the ebook differs from a more conventional novel, well, for starters, the format. There's a big difference between paper and a computer screen. Secondly, you can purchase it online and read it right away--instead of having to wait for two weeks while it's in the mail. In my opinion, the short story really excells in the digital medium. The demands on a reader's time are less, not to mention, people who don't want to invest the time and effort into reading a novel tend to be more willing to pick up a short. The ebook medium also allows for greater expression of creativity. For example, in my experience, print magazines are are looking for a certain kind of fiction and they only have so many pages to display it in. In the ebook medium, however, there aren't the space constraints. The author has a bit more leeway with length. It isn't so crucial that it be over so many words, or under. There's breathing room. And with breathing room, creativity blossoms.

Why keep it short? Is there more story you’d like to develop later?

Keeping "Darkness Cornered" short was an editing call I made early on. A couple weeks after I'd written the story, I started filling in the backstory. I started where Lear met Kai and began writing up to the time when he enters his apartment. Halfway through, I got bogged down. There was too much, it was interfering with the sharpness of the part I'd already written. So I decided to start cutting. Then I realized that there was a lot of good info on the V-mutation that wasn't in the story I'd written. I made the call. Cut what I can of the slog, and keep the necessary info for inclusion in the short. It was tough, but that's what I did.
Looking back over it, I think, "you know? There are parts that could have been fleshed out a little better." Then again, who can't not look back over their work and continue to see room for improvement? They say hindsight it 20-20....
As for further development of the story later, I don't know. Certainly not with Lear, but Kai is still out there. She's got a whole life to pick back up again. She's starting over. If she wants her story told, I'll know. As for right now, no more development is planned.

What’s next?

Aaah, what's next. I've got two upcoming works with Echelon Press ( a horror short story titled "A Slip of Wormwood" and a fantasy novella titled "Prophet's Choice." "Wormwood" was really a hoot to write, it's morbid and wonderfully twisted. "Prophet's Choice" was a story I'd started about three years ago that I couldn't leave alone. I slogged away on it as a novel for, well, about three years, and managed to finish it last Thanksgiving. It was horrible when I shelved it, terribly lack-luster. Then around February, I got to thinking about it again and pulled it out. I realized it needed a serious trim to give it the necessary shine. So I set about it. In short order I had the story I'd envisioned all along. Much happier about it, I polished it and sent it to my publisher. The rest, as they say, is history.
As for current projects, I'm working on a novella series tentatively titled "The Angels of Shadow." I refuse to divulge too many details until it's finished, but I will say that it's a rather odd love story. Kind of like "Beauty and the Beast," only not. (As if that didn't confuse you!) I'm also working on another horror short story and a fantasy short story that's been bugging me since December.
Other than that, it's just life on the farm.