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Goodreads Giveaway, The Shadowbearer in Print and New Cover

Goodreads Giveaway, The Shadowbearer in Print and New Cover

It’s been a while in the making but the Shadowbearer finally has a print release. Here’s the cover and a Goodreads giveaway to go along with it.
The Giveaway: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/33816-the-shadowbearer

The Cover.

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Epic Fantasy Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1)The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent Read. Right now for me, it’s a 5.

In the Black Prism, Weeks betters what he did with Night Angel.

The Prism offers a wealth of fantastic worldbuilding, good characters, action, war strategy, political intrigue, and plot twists to keep one coming back for more.

The magic system is well laid out. Simply put, a percentage of the populace known as Drafters have the ability to harness colors through light in a skill called Chromaturgy. This basically takes a force of will and belief to create Luxin which then can be used for everything from buildings to machines to weapons to fireballs. There are other subtleties. Let’s say I enjoyed it very much.

The characterization is good. The characters feel real and are engaging. You can sympathize with some and others you want to kick in the butt. At times, one of them can get annoying with his personality traits, and well almost a second personality. They more than served the story, the plot, the politics and scope of the world.

As usual from Weeks, when the action gets going, it gets going. The clash of Drafters reminds me of the Secret Wars comic books, as they do incredible things. Of course there are touches of mundane fighting, but when you have the magic embedded in this world, that takes a back seat.

The end was well worth the ride, adding another twist in a book chock full of them. Some people might carry on about tropes or cliches, but for me, it’s all about how they’re presented. After all, there’s just about nothing that can be done that is completely original. This is why I base my reviews of my enjoyment, rather than technical merits.

That is to say, I enjoyed this book immensely. Well done, Mr.Weeks.

View all my reviews

 

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Author Interview : Joseph Rinaldo

Today’s Author interview is Joseph Rinaldo. He’s part of the Blog-A-Licious Book launch held by Pandora at Peace from Pieces. In my choice of authors to host that contacted me, I was intrigued by the story Joseph had to tell.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Joseph Rinaldo: For me, genre is very difficult to pin down, and I hate to be put in a box labeled “genre”, but I guess if I had to, I’d call it contemporary fiction. Hazardous Choices follows a young man from Chicago, where he is a member of a deadly gang, to a rural Kentucky college, with a football scholarship and a dream to change his life.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Joseph Rinaldo: I live near Nashville, Tennessee, and there are many gangs here. It shocks me that so many young men are caught up in that lifestyle; there are so many murders, and there is a great deal of “collateral damage” in the process. I am also a huge football fan, and I started thinking, ‘Could a gangbanger reinvent himself if he could get away from the gang’s influence and succeed at something positive?’

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Joseph Rinaldo: I wouldn’t say that any writer “influenced” me, but I do give a lot of credit to Nicholas Sparks, because when I read about his million-dollar advance for The Notebook, I thought, ‘Holy cow! He’s a good writer, but I know I can do this, too.’ I’ve been writing since that day in 2004.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Joseph Rinaldo: The main character in Hazardous Choices, Darnell Jackson, is my favorite character. His struggle to free himself from his past is difficult and painful. He desperately wants to fit in at the college, but his background makes it nearly impossible. I can’t even imagine the “culture shock” of moving from a violent metropolis like Chicago to a rural, small Kentucky town where there is very little crime.

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Joseph Rinaldo: As a rule, it takes me from nine months to a year to write a book. Then comes the hard part, editing, editing, revising, checking for spelling and grammatical errors, choosing a title, more editing, more revising…it seems to go on forever before I am ready to release the book.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Joseph Rinaldo: Just the basic framework. I know what I want the main character and the most important secondary characters to do and be, and then I just listen to the voices in my head and write down what they dictate! When I first started writing, I wrote outlines for the story first, and then began the work of writing it; I don’t do that anymore. Too time-consuming. Now I just start with a thought and let it lead me where it wants to go.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, i.e.: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Joseph Rinaldo: I think my “message”, if there is one, is that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t break away from our past. We carry it with us, and it colors everything in our present and our future.

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Joseph Rinaldo: Finding the time to work on it, and the editing process. It is so difficult to edit your own work, so I hired a professional editor to read it and make suggestions, but before that, I had to re-read the book and make changes/corrections, and then I asked my wife to read it and make suggestions. I believe that now that all those eyes have seen the work, it is the best I can make it, and I am proud to have it listed on Amazon.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Joseph Rinaldo: I really can’t. My schedule and my family’s activities sometimes make it impossible to write any words on a given day; however, for the most part, I write in the evenings after supper and on the weekends.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Joseph Rinaldo: I guess for me it was discovering that I could create a whole world out of nothing, people it, and direct the actions of the characters. That is a heady feeling.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Joseph Rinaldo: “Ignore advice from other authors.” Seriously, each writer has his/her own style, and apart from “edit, edit, edit”, there is nothing I could tell an aspiring writer that would help him/her create his/her own story.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Joseph Rinaldo: Plan on spending time each day promoting your book. It requires Herculean effort, much time, and making lots and lots of connections with other writers, readers, bloggers, etc., if you want to be successful. One of the most important things I’ve discovered is how supportive and encouraging other authors can be, selflessly promoting my work on their blogs and in other places, doing reviews of my books, and just generally helping me succeed. It’s a great community!

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Joseph M Rinaldo: Well, of course, getting reviews is crucial. I also have done many author interviews, and I have stayed connected to the community of writers/bloggers and contributed where I could to their good work. I tried using paid advertising on Facebook and Google, but did not see any sales results from that. Likewise, using bookmarks. Because my books are in ebook format only, it limits what I can do in terms of promotions like book signings and so forth, so my main focus is on the internet. I also hired a website designer, book cover designer, and SEO consultant to make sure my books look good, and to get as much exposure for my books as possible. I belong to a variety of forums and discussion boards, and I try to participate in any online event that will put me and my work before an audience.

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Joseph Rinaldo: “Breathe.”

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books?

Joseph Rinaldo: Yes, I have seven other books waiting in the “pipeline”. One is in the editing process right now and should be released in early 2012 if not sooner. That book is called Mountain Meadows Aftermath, and there is a blurb about it on the Upcoming Releases page of my website:  http://www.josephmrinaldo.com.

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Joseph Rinaldo: Both of my currently-available books: A Spy At Home and Hazardous Choices are listed on Amazon. In addition, I have a web page (see above) and a blog: http://www.josephmrinaldocom.blogspot.com and, of course, I am on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I will be promoting the newest ebook release, Hazardous Choices, on many other websites in the days and weeks to come. I welcome any offers for reviews and comments from readers.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in this interview. I have enjoyed it immensely, and it gave me much food for thought.

Amazon buy link for Hazardous Choices:Hazardous Choices

Amazon buy link for A Spy At Home:Spy At Home

Website: http://www.josephmrinaldo.com

Blogsite: http://www.josephmrinaldocom.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/joseph.rinaldo

Twitter: @jmrinaldo

Goodreads: Author Joseph Rinaldo

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/josephrinaldo



		
 

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Author Interview : Stephen Hise

So for today, we have Stephen Hise, author of Upgrade. I first encountered Stephen in my facebook group, Book Junkies. He was and still is one of the funniest and most engaging people I’ve met there. He’s also a person who devotes his time to helping other authors get the word out.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your book about?

Stephen Hise: I can’t really identify a recognized genre for it. I call it a bodice-ripper with a Twilight–Zone twist. It is the story of a wealthy computer geek who has everything going for him but looks. Rather than pursuing plastic surgery, he undergoes a procedure that makes microadjustments in his facial contours, counterbalancing asymmetries in his face. This has the effect of distorting the metric used by the human brain’s hard wiring. He looks the same after the procedure, except people subconsciously register him as appearing attractive instead of unattractive.

Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?

Stephen Hise: I was home-schooling my teenaged daughter. One of her subjects was creative writing. We had watched a Twilight–Zone marathon, which gave me the idea for a writing assignment for her. I told her to write a short story that she thought would be a good Twilight–Zone episode. She challenged me to do the same. I started writing what I had intended to be a short story, but it just kept coming, so I went with it.

Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?

Stephen Hise: I liked the early works of Stephen King, and practically everything by Michael Crichton.

Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Stephen Hise: The main character is Brent Schoenfeld, the computer software designer who has the procedure. He is intent on getting what he wants in life, and because he had no experience of a romantic nature before (even though he is nearing 30 years of age) he has trouble. My favorite character though was Marcy. She is so deliciously flirty and manipulative.

Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?

Stephen Hise: From pillar to post on the first draft, I’d say about two months.

Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Stephen Hise: I pretty much only knew the framework. All the character development and little twists and turns developed as I was writing the story.

Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

Stephen Hise: Well, I want them to enjoy the book, but I also hope that it provokes some introspection and discussion about the nature of self-image. I would like them to reflect on that and then buy a dozen copies to give to their friends. (Ahem.)

Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Stephen Hise: I guess I’d have to say I had concerns about how people who know me would feel about it. The book could not be classified as erotica by any stretch, but it has some pretty steamy stuff going on. I had reservations about how my family, in particular would receive it.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

Stephen Hise: I just can’t make myself a slave to word count. I’ve tried that approach and just end up very unhappy with what I write. I just have to write when the muse is upon me. I never prosper by trying to force it.

Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?

Stephen Hise: I was just so very pleased and surprised by the warmth and mutual support in the indie author community. I had an image of a bunch of people with tweed jackets and condescending attitudes. It just isn’t like that at all.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Stephen Hise: I’d advise anybody starting out to get engaged early on with social media and to connect with the indie author community. Neophytes will find a lot of help and encouragement among the indies.

Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?

Stephen Hise: I’m not sure of what works or works best, but I do know people do not liked to be spammed. If you join Facebook groups, show up and participate every once in a while, don’t just drop by once a week and remind everybody to buy your book.

Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Stephen Hise: I’m on Facebook and twitter. I have over a thousand followers on both my Facebook page and on twitter, but the best way I’ve found is just to connect with people, let them get to know you. You do not have to be your book. I think if people find you interesting, they may think perhaps your book would be interesting as well. That’s a theory, anyway. I’m still trying to find someone who thinks I’m interesting.

Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Stephen Hise: “If everybody was reading right now, all this unpleasantness could have been avoided.”

Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books

Stephen Hise: I am also a contributing author to a short-story anthology with my daughter and my youngest son. The title is “Creepier by the Dozen.”

Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?

Stephen Hise: On my website: http://stephenhise.com/

Buy Links : Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

 

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Amazon ups the ante in 2011.

With its release of four new kindle versions this year, including the touch and the tablet, Amazon is digging in and daring others to step up before they put more of a strangle hold on the ebook market. Lets run them down, shall we?

Latest generation Kindle – Lighter, faster, and more affordable than ever – only $79

The Kindle Touch : Ringing in at $99, it has an IR touch system, similar to the latest Nook and Kobo, and there’s no physical keyboard . It’s slimmer, smaller and lighter than the existing Kindle, and looks almost nothing like your usual Kindle. The UI is different and the Eink is supposed to be the latest tech. There’s also a 3G enabled model for $139


Kindle Fire Tablet: 

Boasting a 7-inch IPS panel, Gorilla Glass coating, a dual-core 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage. Not bad. Considering the $199 price point and the fact that most of your media is synced online anyway it makes it even better. There’s also access to Android Appstore but not Google’s Android Market. As usual Kindle books, magazines, and the like via Amazon Cloud Storage. Whispersync now works with movies and TV shows so you can start your movie at home where you left off by syncing it with your TV. The Ui itself is different, not looking much like your typical Android UI. There’s also possibly a 10 inch version coming.

The device will also run a custom-built “split browser” called Amazon Silk, which “accelerates the power of the mobile device hardware by using the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services Cloud,” according to a statement provided by Amazon.

“The Silk browser software resides both on Kindle Fire and on the massive server fleet that comprises the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2),” Amazon’s statement also reads. “With each page request, Silk dynamically determines a division of labor between the mobile hardware and Amazon EC2 (i.e. which browser sub-components run where) that takes into consideration factors like network conditions, page complexity, and cached content.”

Of course all this is what Android was built for as an Open source project. Now, let’s see how many developers jump on board and see if the Amazon’s app market will make having an Android based tablet not as lackluster as it seems for me as this point, being an owner of a Motorola Xoom. Will it trump the Ipad? No. I don’t think so. Apple has the market locked and I myself often gaze at my wife’s IPAD 2 with envy. Will it trump the Nook, which it seems to be where the target begins along with offering a well priced tablet option? Possibly. Time will tell.

See videos here on Engadget for Kindle Touch

 
 

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Social Media Experience

Things sure have changed.

So, yes, finally I’m on facebook, twitter, goodreads, have a blog, a website and I wonder how much else I will be getting into as I connect with fellow authors and fans.

I remember back in the day when all I had were Aol online chat rooms and things like Blackplanet. Yes, maybe I’m showing my age a little, but it is what it is. Back then, we used to get laughed at for being on Aol in the chat rooms meeting people. Half the time the people you met didn’t even have a picture.  I wondered back then what was the point of it all besides fun.

Around that time was also the advent of Mp3s.

All these things are the forefathers of what we have today. From what I mentioned at the start to the Itunes movement and now the ebook movement.

I feel like any person who has a product of some sort who wants to get themselves out there should get into the social media experience. It’s a must. There has never been a greater, easier way for us to connect, promote, allow fans to get to know us, increase our potential, and in the end show we have a quality product and we care that those who are interested in us get the most fulfilling experience they can from our work.

Do you remember when you would buy an album based off a single and the rest of the songs sucked? Well for writers, you should be looking to put your samples out there. If you’re an indie take the necessary steps to make yourself better, make your work better. Get a cover artist and an editor. Your work will let your potential buyer/fan know that you care about him.

In a world dominated by social media like you tube,  facebook, twitter, myspace and blogs, to do anything less is folly. To avoid using the platforms you have available to you as well as making sure you have a quality product  will be your own death knell.

Our digital world is here to stay. Social media is here to stay. Like in the days when telephones were first introduced, either you get with the times or get left behind.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Announcements, Social Media, Tech

 

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