Saturday, February 24, 2018

This Week on Books Direct - 24 February 2018


This Week on Books Direct -
24 February 2018

This Week on Books Direct - 24 February 2018

Here's a list of some great articles you may have missed this week. Enjoy!

Shelley spent nine months by Lake Geneva writing the story of the bringing to life of a monster.

Copies Of Mary Shelley's Original Frankenstein Text To Be Published by Alison Flood for The Guardian


Analysis finds proportion of female authors and characters fell after 19th century, with male authors remaining ‘remarkably resistant’ to writing women.

Women Better Represented In Victorian Novels Than Modern, Finds Study by Alison Flood for The Guardian


Penguin Random House is launching a pop-up bookstore in London that’ll only stock works by women. Like A Woman will be running between 5-9 March in Shoreditch to mark International Women’s Day, which falls in the middle of that period.

Shop Selling Books Written By Women Only Is Coming To East London Next Month by Miranda Larbi for Metro


Toolbox 7: Elements Of A Mystery by Anna Simpson for emaginette
Elements of writing Mysteries are broken down into: victim, suspects, villain, hero(es)/police, support cast + series potential, clues/red herrings, violence + sex, and setting + cross genre.

Toolbox 7: Elements Of A Mystery by Anna Simpson for emaginette


The chief executive of Hachette Livre, Arnaud Nourry, says the industry has had ‘one or two successes among a hundred failures’ and that ebooks have ‘no creativity’.

'Ebooks Are Stupid', Says Head Of One Of World's Biggest Publishers by Alison Flood for The Guardian


The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) is pleased to announce the nominees for the 52nd Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book.

2017 Nebula Award Finalists Announced! by Nebula Awards


How To Drive Meaningful Interactions In Facebook Groups by Megan O’Neill for Social Media Examiner
Are you struggling to get visibility on Facebook? Wondering how a Facebook group could help? In this article, you’ll learn how to use a Facebook group to foster engagement and drive the meaningful interactions favored by Facebook’s news feed algorithm.

How To Drive Meaningful Interactions In Facebook Groups by Megan O’Neill for Social Media Examiner


Strands of the first US president’s hair thought to have been gift to book’s owner from James Alexander Hamilton, son of the famous Treasury secretary.

George Washington's Hair Found Tucked In Old Book In New York Library by Alison Flood for The Guardian


Booksellers Respond To Kid Lit Sexual Harassment Scandal by Claire Kirch for Publishers Weekly
The children's book world has responded quickly to the allegations of sexual harassment leveled against YA authors Jay Asher and James Dashner.

Booksellers Respond To Kid Lit Sexual Harassment Scandal by Claire Kirch for Publishers Weekly


Writing a trilogy or a multi-book series has numerous advantages, especially for writers of genre fiction.

Writing A Trilogy: Essential Tips For Crafting A Three-Part Series by Dan Koboldt for Writer’s Digest


If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit the other This Week posts for links to more great articles.

Friday, February 23, 2018

"Talent Storm" by Brian Terenna

FREE
Talent Storm
by Brian Terenna

Talent Storm by Brian Terenna

Author Brian Terenna stops by to share an excerpt from Talent Storm, which is yours FREE from 23 to 25 February. Don't miss out!

Description
Hundreds of years after the Great World War, America is a distant memory. In the ashes, new civilizations have risen up from the Wilds. Locke’s Coalition and Liberty Kingdom, bitter enemies, have been at peace for seven years. War is never far from politicians’ minds, though, especially when one is the tyrant Archduke Goldwater. For all of human kinds’ positive traits, the character flaws of corruption, greed, anger, and revenge are etched into our DNA.
In the new world, little technology remains and advanced weapons are in short supply, but today’s soldiers fight with innate power. They fight with Talent ... the psionic powers that develop in a random few.
A young Coalition citizen, Jaden Stone, dreams of graduating, having fun, and falling in love. As if his hard-nosed uncle, schoolyard bullies, and exams weren’t hard enough to handle, he discovers that he wields Talent. He’d now be forced to serve in the military, forced to train and fight, all for an organization that killed his parents.
Will Jaden work hard for his people or will his desire for leisure win over? He’s forced to decide when a tragedy shakes his core.

Book Video


Excerpt
Ben turned away from me before picking up a few small rocks. “Let’s see if you’re any stronger from lifting all those weights. Maybe you’ll beat me for once.”
Nodding and smiling, I pointed at him. “You first.”
Ben stood, then stretched, his back popping as he rotated his torso. Hefting a rock, he wound up and then threw it. The projectile crossed the wide creek and bounced in the distance before skidding to a halt. Lips pressed in a straight line, I shook my head, annoyed. He topped his last week’s throw by a yard; he always beat me. He turned and smiled, stretching his long toned arms above his body.
I shrugged. “Eh, an all right throw,” I said with a wry smile.
Ben faced me, his eyes crinkling. “Riiiiight,” he said, while slowly bobbing his head. “Okay… beat me then.”
Images of my uncle’s flushed-face appeared before me, fueling my strength. I gritted my teeth while drawing back my arm. In a flash, I whipped my arm forward, releasing the rock. It sailed over the creek, whizzing through the air. With a loud crack, it slammed into a birch tree, punching a hole through the trunk. My jaw dropped halfway to the ground.
Out of the corner of my eye, Ben wavered, looking like he’d topple over. He shook his head, his hazel eyes wide. “Wowww… how did you do that?”
What had just happened? I lowered my head to stare at my hands, turning them over repeatedly.
“Jaden?”
I slowly raised my eyes to fixate on the hole again.
“Jaden? Hello… Jaden.”
“What?” I asked, just realizing Ben was speaking to me.
Ben patted my arm quickly, conferring a sense of urgency. Reluctantly, I tore my eyes away from the hole to face Ben.
He leaned in close, shaking. He spoke in a low voice, eyes darting side to side. “I think it was green.”
“What?” I shook my head, attempting to re-ground myself in the world. What was going on?
Now, he spoke louder, emphasizing with his hands in rapid motion. “The rock… it was green. It glowed green. Don’t you see? You’re one of the Talented.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"I have to say that Talent Storm was a fantastic read. I thought that the story and plot were original and well developed, and the characters had a great deal of depth and accurately depicted the complexity and at times ugly side of human nature. Once I started reading Talent Storm, I had a difficult time putting it down. I was really able to visualize myself fighting for survival in the post-apocalyptic world created by the author. The novel also touched on many of the contemporary social, political, educational, and military issues facing our world today which kept me engrossed from beginning to end. I would recommend this book to anyone." ~ Ken
"I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in SciFi/Fantasy, especially ones dealing with post-apocalyptic power struggles. I can't wait to read more from author Brian Terenna." ~ Matthew T.
"There were some exotic plot twists that kept me engaged to the very end of the book. In particular, the ending was satisfying. Fight scenes abound in the book and the action is endless, although there was plenty of romantic elements as well. The science part of the fiction was accurate and the fiction part of the science, a real possibility in a future world. Good job, Mr. Terenna." ~ B. James Hobbs
"Talent Storm made me wish I had talent for reading faster. I couldn't put it down. The battle scenes were so well written I'm already watching the movie (which surely some smart Hollywood producer will snap this up) in my head. It's like the Hunger Games and Harry Potter got together and had a baby that goes around and bullies Twilight. Adult readers especially will appreciate a mature fantasy read. Please write another book Brian!" ~ JScramo
"In a word amazing. I could not put this book down. It had all my favorite things; action, adventure, romance. The changes in Jaden from boy to man, from selfish to putting others ahead of himself came naturally. I won't give away the story. READ IT! This book needs to be a movie. Brian Terenna, I cannot wait for your next book." ~ Isabel book girl

About the Author
Brian Terenna grew up in Doylestown, Pennsylvannia, reading fantasy and science fiction. He is now a fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal romance writer. Talent Storm is a dystopian post-apocalyptic fantasy. His second novel, Kissing the Intern, is a multicultural romance.
Brian runs a book review blog and a Youtube meditation site. He is an avid chess player, a vegetable gardener, and he meditates regularly.





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"Jessica and James" by Kimberley Montpetit


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Jessica and James:
A Love Story
by Kimberley Montpetit

Jessica and James: A Love Story by Kimberley Montpetit

Jessica and James by Kimberley Montpetit is ON SALE for only $0.99 to 27 February.


This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by I Am A Reader as part of the Romance is in the Air promotion.


Description
Jessica and James is a boxed collection of two romances set in Snow Valley, Montana - the saga of rising star ballerina Jessica and the sparks that fly between her and gorgeous James Douglas, the new pastor in town.
This collection includes new chapters, and a Brand New Bonus Wedding novella!
Suffering with a broken heart, Jessica has struggled to forgive herself for that fateful night when her childhood love was killed in a car accident. After staying away from home for years, she finally returns for Christmas and meets James Douglas who is unlike any minister-in-training she’s ever known. James can not only dish back Jessica’s finely tuned sarcasm but understands grief all too well, turning Jessica’s world and her faith upside down. Is she ready to take another risk on love?
Living 2,000 miles apart proves difficult and Jessica and James’ love is tested in a myriad of ways, but James can’t get the spitfire Jessica out of his mind. When she comes home to Snow Valley to accept an inheritance with her male ballet partner in tow, James and Jessica’s passion for each other takes on a new edge.
Clean romance with heart, and a surprise wedding you won’t see coming.

Excerpt
It was only a small-town Christmas talent show, but Jessica tried to become the Sugar Plum Fairy and dance as well as she did for her job at the New Orleans ballet company. Lighter, lighter, float through the air, she repeated in her mind when the final leaps and spinning began. She was almost finished. The performance had been flawless. Jessica could go home knowing she’d done her best for her old ballet teacher and the people of Snow Valley.
Then she spotted him, and her heart stopped inside her chest. He was sitting in the audience. Right in front of her parents, sister, and younger brother, Sam.
The man. From the cemetery. James Douglas.
A tiny whimper sounded in Jessica’s throat.
Second row, stage right, crisp white shirt, suit coat, red tie, one leg crossed over his knee while the other stuck out into the aisle seat due to their long length.
No, it couldn’t be that same guy. He was too uptight, too perfect and suave and—and crisp in his starched white shirt. He wasn’t the type to come to a ballet, was he? In Snow Valley of all places. Maybe it was someone who just looked like him. But this dude was staring at Jessica. Intensely staring. She stared back, shocked, wondering if she was seeing things, but the stage lights were too bright, blinding her.
The Sugar Plum Fairy crown began to slide off her head. Her left leg that was supposed to bow in the concluding move of the dance stiffened up from the raw Montana December day. It probably hadn’t been the wisest decision to sit in a snowy cemetery earlier that afternoon.
That man watching her leaned forward in his chair and gazed at her in such a mesmerized stance, that the auditorium whirled around her in a frenzy of faces and self-consciousness.
Jessica crashed to the stage, falling into an ungraceful heap, her ankle burning as if she’d broken it. There went her ballet career. All because of some guy’s gorgeous crystal blue eyes.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“A sweet love story of two people who have their own callings that interfere with their relationship. It takes a lot of work to find their happily ever after.” ~ Sue Stinnett
“This was a very moving romance about loss and moving forward with life and forgiveness. It shows how much we can inhibit our growth after a devastating event. Recommend this collection for teens to adults, along with a few Kleenex . Have liked the Snow Valley Series wish it was a real place to go and visit for Christmas!!!” ~ Kindle Customer Riding Reader
“I absolutely loved this book! It is a touching & emotional story about family, friendship, love, and faith. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story of Jessica & James. A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE!!!” ~ Doni
“This was another awesome book by Kimberley! I really liked the bonus chapter at the end to tie it all together! Thank you so much for writing books that are full of romance but still appropriate. It’s really hard to find.” ~ Charlene
“All those Happily Ever After lovers out there, this is a story for you to grab, snuggle up with a comfy blanket and get lost in the love story of two characters who are not perfect but growing, healing and learning to love and be loved. Be warned that you might just be sucked into it and not want to set it down or to say goodbye to these characters once the final page has been read. I can’t recommend this one enough.” ~ Julie C

About the Author
Kimberley Montpetit
When she was in Paris, Kimberley Montpetit spent most of her souvenir money at the La Patisserie shops with their beautiful and delicious pastries. She grew up in the fabulous city of San Francisco, loves all things chocolate, and now lives in a small town along the Rio Grande with her engineer husband and three sons.
She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland and didn’t sleep a wink, sailed the Seine in Paris, rode a camel in the ancient world wonder of Petra, shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.
Kimberley also writes Award-winning Middle-Grade novels with Scholastic and epic Young Adult novels with HarperCollins, under the name Kimberley Griffiths Little.

Also by the author:


Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


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Thursday, February 22, 2018

"Revision is a Process" by Catherine E. McLean


GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Revision is a Process:
How to Take the Frustration Out of Self-Editing
by Catherine E. McLean

Revision is a Process: How to Take the Frustration Out of Self-Editing by Catherine E. McLean

Revision is a Process by Catherine E. McLean is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
A first draft holds the possibility of what will be a great story. Revision turns that rough diamond into a spectacular gem worth a reader's money and time.
Writers are individuals but to be a producing writer means creating a system to revise and polish a work so the reader thoroughly enjoys the story. Revision is a Process is a guidebook for writers and authors that shows how a simple 12-step process can be tailored to eliminate the most common and chronic maladies of writing genre fiction. This valuable guidebook contains secrets, tips, practical advice, how-to's, and why-to's for taking the frustration out of self-editing.

Excerpt
From Section 9 - Said is not Dead
One of the most controversial aspects of writing dialogue is the use of said as a speech tag. Some think using said is pedestrian and boring, others pepper every line of dialogue with said for fear the reader won't know who is speaking. The fact is that said is nearly invisible to a reader. However, overuse is a common problem, so delete as many as possible without jeopardizing clarity or use beats. (Revisit the Oubliette example on the previous page. Said was not used. Beats were.)
In your review to minimize using said, watch for LY or ING ending speech tags like: "Drop dead," she said dramatically. That tells (and does so poorly). Instead show with a beat: "Drop dead." The anger in her voice was unmistakable. You should avoid such tags as "Of course," he said knowingly (which has an ING and an LY). You may catch the LY and ING tags in the passivity check, which is discussed in Section 11. However, don't mistake the ING words when they're necessary, such as "Oh, that dialogue speech tag has a participle added to it," Marsha said, squinting at the underlined word on the page.
Yes, that's right, squinting is part of a participle phrase, which can be useful in speech tags.

Praise for the Book
“... this book was so well organized and clearly written that I was motivated to pull out an old abandoned story I had attempted earlier. That story had proved difficult to revise and Ms.McLean's book now provides the guideposts I need to get the revisions completed. I definitely recommend this work to any writer (beginner or experienced) who needs a simple, direct road map to revising their written project.” ~ Willow
“A good book for those who are learning to write. The book is worth reading because it has a few nuggets worth reading for.” ~ ALS
Revision is a Process by Catherine E. McLean is a nicely detailed guideline of the steps that need to be taken to polish a manuscript. […] This is a great reference work and I highly recommend it.” ~ Elf2060
“Her book is not only a convenient source of knowledge, it is also a welcome addition to any writer's library. […] Years of trial and error have produced this excellent work that will save you many hours of editing and frustrations encountered in all revisions.” ~ Cal McFarland
“Excellent book. Catherine explains things clearly and leads you through the editing process with ease. Her book Is very educational and a excellent tool.” ~ Lou Gross

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
In order to enjoy a book, the reader needs to become immersed in the story and not be dragged into reality by glaring errors in logic, punctuation, or grammar. This handy guide points out the most common errors writers make, many of which annoy me as a reader but which I was previously unable to pinpoint. The author breaks down the editing process into manageable pieces, thus making the task less daunting. She also provides concise advice and examples to illustrate the process. There is even a summary and checklist of the twelve steps at the end of the book.
This is an invaluable guide for the self-published author or any author who wants to polish their work before showing it to anyone else. I’m glad the author states that, even after undertaking the self-editing process, you will still need to give your manuscript to “the best fiction editor you can afford.”
I'm disappointed this book is not available in an ebook edition.

Guest Post by the Author
What are the most important elements of good writing?
My three essential elements to good writing are:
1. Clarity trumps all rules.
2. Craft can be learned.
3. Ruthlessly self-edit to generate a worthwhile manuscript.
W. Somerset Maugham said, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” I disagree. I think clarity trumps all rules. After all, if the message isn't clear, who will understand it?
One of my favorite books that drives home clarity is William Zinsser's On Writing Well, in which he advocates for simplicity and says that “Every writer is as obligated as every other writer to make themselves understood.”
If clarity in fiction and storytelling is to be achieved, it begins with sentences that are clear and understandable. Those sentences must naturally sound like words belonging to the story's narrator (through their opinionated view, diction, syntax, and vocabulary).
Two elements make sentences awkward and hard to understand. The first are clauses. Keep this in mind: clauses clog a sentence. Cut as many of them from your sentences as you can without destroying the narrative voice.
The second element of awkward-to-understand sentences is the overuse of prepositions. They often pepper sentences, making them lengthy.
Did you know that the experts consider 20 words to be an average sentence? So, when self-editing, look for long sentences and see if clauses and prepositions are hampering clarity. And do ask: can some of the sentences be broken into two sentences or reworded for clarity?
Now for learning the craft. I often use this analogy about writing - if you wanted to learn to swim, would you jump into the deep end of a pool and expect to swim without any problems? Of course not. Instead, you would go to a recreational center that offered swimming lessons. You would learn the basics, and you would learn how not to drown. If you really liked swimming and were good at it, you would take more lessons and do butterfly strokes and breast strokes, maybe even enter competitions to see how good you were.
It's the same with writing. You have to learn the basics and then test the waters, then learn more and more about storytelling and its techniques and devices which will turn your work into a winner of a marketable story.
Talent will take a writer only so far. It is craft that enhances and liberates talent. Best of all, craft can be learned.
Now let's look at ruthlessly self-editing to generate a worthwhile manuscript. It took a six-month binge of reading only texts about revising fiction to open my eyes and realize that revision should not be the frustration it is. I discovered a writer needed to change their mind-set about how to revise and concluded a writer should consider revision is a process, and treat it as such. Once I gained such insights, I created my Master Revision Cheat Sheets so that my manuscripts are edited in weeks, not months or years. In 2015, I shared my insights in a twelve-part series at my Writers Cheat Sheet blog and at the end of the series promised to put the posts into a guidebook. Revision is a Process: How to Take the Frustration Out of Self-Editing was released in April 2017. This guidebook contains more information and examples than the original posts. Also, at the end of the text is a Master Revision Cheat Sheet check-list.
Does a writer have to go through each of the twelve steps? Of course not. You see, some things a writer knows they did right from the onset and won't have to look for them. However, other things need to be checked so an editor won't waste their valuable time pointing out the same things ad infinitum.
Having a revision process also means a book is less likely to have errors that will turn off readers, editors, and agents. Having a process means a writer doesn't read through a story a million times trying to find and fix things. (Such multi-tasking doesn't work.) However, searching for specifics and fixing them (and only them) before moving on to the next item, does work.
I welcome your comments, thoughts, and insights on clarity, learning craft, and ruthlessly self-editing.

About the Author
Catherine E. McLean
Catherine E. McLean's lighthearted, short stories have appeared in hard cover and online anthologies and magazines. Her books include Jewels of the Sky, Karma & Mayhem, Hearts Akilter, and Adrada to Zool (a short story anthology). She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes lighthearted tales of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal) with romance and adventure. She is also a writing instructor and workshop speaker. Her nonfiction book for writers is Revision is a Process: How to Take the Frustration Out of Self-Editing.


Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or B&N gift card.

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