Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Erna Mueller

I was born in Austria and my family immigrated to the U.S. I loved living here as a child and considered the U.S. my home. My family returned to Austria and of course I had to tag along. I missed the friendly faces and the cultivation of the free spirit which America symbolizes. In Austria I completed my education but always wanted to return, so here I am.

I traveled the world and lived in many exciting cities such as Paris, Munich and London. I currently work as an accountant for a large pizza company in Seattle by day and passionately pursue a career as a writer in my spare time.

My new book, K-9 Cop, is adapted from my multi-national award winning screenplay.  The book has won several awards including first place in the 2009 National Good Read Competition sponsored by awomenswrite.com.

Please visit my web site at http://www.k9cop-woofwoof.com for more reviews and other info.

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Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

It’s about a surly cop who lands before the gates of heaven but can’t get in, and about Justin, a 14 year-old teenager who’s trying to find himself.  The cop’s only chance to enter heaven is to go back to earth in the body of his K-9 partner and help Justin and his dysfunctional family.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

I was published for the first time on 2012. I spiffed up my website, I did a book trailer and am starting a virtual book tour. My book will be available as an Audio-book soon.

After that, what happened?

Since I’m in the early stages I’m still waiting for results.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

Presently I don’t see an advance in sales but it still may be too early.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

Pump up your book has a wide array of social networks. I have been on Facebook, Twitter etc.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I am doing a video tour with Pump Up Your Book. I also had a book trailer and an audio book made.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

I would say the most effective for K-9 cop has been winning 1st Place at the Good Read Competition at awomenswrite.com.

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Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus is the author of both adult thrillers and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. As a father of five, he and his wife lead an active lifestyle simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

His latest book is the thriller/horror novel, Night Terror.

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Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

Night Terror is the sequel my bestselling horror book, Night Chill. It take place ten years after the Tremont family survived the attack on their family by the cult who wanted to sacrifice five year old Sarah to possess her powers. Sarah is fifteen now and, although she has kept them secret, her powers are stronger than ever. A new evil, Mama D, seeks her out and the Tremont family is tested once again as they are dragged into a supernatural that threatens to destroy them all.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

I don’t blog but I’ve recently considered starting. I don’t think it adds considerably to sales but it is a great way to interact with fans of the books on topics outside of writing.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

Again, I find that writing a new novel is vastly more important than hours spent on social media. Having said that, it is a great way to interact with people who have enjoyed my books and are curious about what else I’m up to. I also like getting to know new people that way. It’s one of the joys of being an author.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I attend conferences to meet other authors and network. I’ve used some of the major promotional tools online like Bookbub to offer price-drop deals to gain new readers.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

You can’t beat Bookbub to get a lot of interest in your book in a short amount of time. Other than that, blog tours are a lot of fun, a great way to meet new people and gain reviewers.

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Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on William R. Leibowitz

William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years.  He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses.  At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group).

William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University.  He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.

William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times – when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero –and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man. Miracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.

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Q:  Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

A:  Miracle Man chronicles the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history, from the time of his birth and tragic childhood through his extraordinary accomplishments in curing diseases.  The book is a psychological thriller with a fast paced twisting plot that’s full of surprises and drama, as Austin battles abandonment and betrayal and the myriad powerful forces, external and internal, including Big Pharma and its political cronies that seek to destroy him.

Q:  What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

A:  I think that blogging is very helpful.  What has been most important for me is being a guest blogger.

Q:  I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

A:  I use twitter, facebook and linkedin.   For me, the most effective has been twitter.

Q:  Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

A:  Getting as many reviews as possible is an effective means of promotion –particularly if some of the people reviewing the book are bloggers or make mention of the book on twitter (and have a substantial number of followers).  Additionally, I have done quite a few radio interviews.

Q: If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

A:  Book reviews.

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Interview with Douglas Gardham, author of The Actor

Title: The Actor

Author: Douglas Gardham

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

It is 1991 when Ethan Jones finally wins the role of his dreams in an upcoming, big screen movie. With the envelope holding the script clutched in his hand, he arrives at his California apartment where he can hardly wait to tell his girlfriend the exciting news. But when he finds the door unexpectedly ajar, he has no idea that in just a few seconds, the life he has fought so hard to obtain will be shattered.

Eight years earlier, Ethan is attending university in Ottawa, Canada. One evening after seriously contemplating suicide, he finds his way into a club where he meets Mila Monahan, a beautiful acting student who saves him from himself. After he watches Mila rehearse a university play, Ethan catches the acting bug and decides to pursue his own creative passions, causing a collision with his more secure ideals. But when Mila suddenly disappears, Ethan vows he will never stop chasing the dream she inspired in him, believing in a world entirely different from the one he is living in.

The Actor is a gripping tale of a young man’s unforgettable journey of self-discovery in overcoming the trauma of a personal tragedy. It is a story of love, hardship, persistence and overwhelming joy where The Actor learns he can portray anything he can imagine.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Understanding what the story was really about. I wrote it as one pursuing something they loved to do but wanted it to be more. Editing the original manuscript of 800 pages down to a more manageable 400 pages.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?
“Good try, but you’re not getting off that easily,” Mila added. “What about your drama class in high school? You didn’t continue ’cause someone said you were good in science, right? … The sciences always win. It’s like the arts don’t matter in the real world, and it’s the only thing that’s real.”
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
That life is a journey no matter where you’re at in your current circumstances. Being well and mentally healthy is more important that almost anything else in life.
Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
The inspiration for the novel came from seeing the Titanic movie when it first came out. I became fascinated by what someone would go through—the ups and downs—of getting up from what they were doing and chasing a dream.
Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
I can’t say I really have a mentor outside of my mother and father. My father demonstrated work ethic and commitment and to do what you say your going to do. My mother showed us the importance of family and self and you can do pretty much whatever you set your mind to.
I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?
I don’t know whether reading determines whether you’re a good writer or not, but I don’t know how I could be a writer without reading. One leads to the other. (Good is subjective and determined by the reader.) First, I don’t know how I would know about writing without having read. Second, for me at least, learning to write happens in many ways through reading. Could one play and create music without listening to music? I suppose you could but I’d wonder how you’d even know what it is. I don’t think the converse is true that everyone who reads is a writer. I love reading that’s both entertaining and thought provoking. My reading is wide ranging. Thrillers, horror, fantasy. I do read non-fiction, mostly history. I’m fascinated by creativity and science and marrying the two together. Stephen King is one of my favorites who inspired me to write and I’ve read since high school. I love the classics—Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Melville. There’s so much.
Douglas Gardham is a writer who loves music, movies, and books. He lives near Toronto, Canada, with his wife and dog. This is his first published novel.
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Sharing Experiences by Steven Fujita, author of To Up to 10K

Title: Toe Up to 10K
Author: Steven Fujita
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 168
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Ebook

In June 2012, Steven Fujita went to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with meningitis. After four days of improvement, he was scheduled to be discharged when his condition worsened dramatically. His blood pressure, body temperature and sodium levels all became dangerously low. He started to lose consciousness. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. He had suffered spinal cord damage at the T4 level. Upon regaining full consciousness, Fujita could not speak, eat, breathe independently, control bodily functions, nor move his legs.

“Once we understand what we have to go through, become resolved to see it through, and know we will survive, we feel our ordeal is not so bad,” Fujita writes. In this book, he takes the reader on a journey of recovery from a spinal cord injury. It is not only a journey of determination and hard work, but of positive attitude, of drawing inspiration, of gratitude towards those around him: his family, his friends, co-workers, and medical professionals.

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Sharing Experiences

In June 2012, I came down with meningitis, and as a result, damaged my spinal cord.  I was paralyzed from the chest down, and wasn’t guaranteed to walk again.    But it was an open-ended question, and I really felt I would walk again.  However, I wanted to know how long it would take, and the stages I would go through, and how long each stage would take.  Additionally, I wanted to know when the other consequences of spinal cord injury, such as bowel and bladder issues would resolve, if at all.

It was really difficult to find information, even with today’s instant internet browsing.  So, early on, I resolved to write a book about my recovery, which resulted in Toe Up to 10K.   And I decided I would include the embarrassing subjects of bowel and bladder issues.  However, as I was writing the book, I experienced a significant recovery.  I know all individuals are different, and people with the same type of injury as I have will not walk again, no matter how hard they exercise, but I believe many people do benefit from rehabilitation exercises and do walk again as a direct result of those exercises.  So, the book’s theme changed from what it’s like to damage your spinal cord, to one of how I recovered from a spinal cord injury.

The book I wrote serves two purposes. First, it gives the reader a glimpse of what people experience when the spinal cord is injured.  I also wrote about my own timeline and stages, so people newly diagnosed with a spinal cord injury can have a timeline for comparison.  Second, I believe the book serves an inspirational purpose.  I know 100% of people who try will not walk again, but 99.99% of those who walk again try very hard.  Later, after I recovered, I found out that I was given only a fair chance of walking again.  I wanted to inspire those who are facing the same challenges I faced, and perhaps they could adopt the same strategies I used during my recovery.

I learned the power of social media and message boards to share experiences.  Even after two years, I still learn about strategies to deal with spinal cord injuries, and also share my experiences with other people in the Spinal Cord Injury community.    Sharing experiences lets you know that others have gone through what you are going through and lets you share information to others of what you have gone through.

Steven Fujita was born in Los Angeles and raised in Torrance, California. He attended college in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Long Beach, California.

Listen to Steven Fujita’s interview on the Book Club with John Austin, which aired November 2, 2010, about his novella, Sword of the Undead, a re-telling of Bram Stoker’s vampire novel, Dracula.

http://www.internetradiopros.com/bookclub/?p=episode&name=2010-11-01_zbookcub_for_110210_1st_segment_steven_fujita.mp3

His other book, $10 a Day Towards $1,000,000, is available on Kindle. This book promotes the idea of using time and savings to build wealth.

His new book, Toe Up to 10K, was released in September 2014. This book chronicles his recovery from spinal cord injury he sustained in 2012.

Visit his website at: www.stevenfujitaauthor.com

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How to Promote Your Book With Quote Images

Don’t you just love those quote images or sometimes called ‘teasers’ that authors promote with on Twitter and elsewhere?  Here’s one I made with my own image program for one of my clients:

But what if you don’t have an image program and would like an alternative way of doing them?

I have come upon an excellent article that lists different sites you can go to make your own quote images to promote your book.  While you can’t really customize these with book covers and added text beside the quote, these are marvelous and they are free.

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Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Glenn Bassett

Title: Wordplay
Author: Glenn Bassett
Publisher: Organization Diagnostics
Pages: 270
Genre: Business
Format: Paperback/Kindle

WordPlay lays out the functions of language as the foundation of what is loosely called mind. Studies of language in primitive cultures by anthropological linguists demonstrate the existence of a basic set of words called semantic primes in every cultural setting. Language is extended and elaborated on the foundation of semantic primes to construct a mental map of the perceived phenomenal world. Once in place, a rich culture of language is passed on from each generation to the next by example. Words ultimately become so ubiquitous and necessary that they take on a reality all their own. Mental maps become more real than the reality of direct experience.

Establishment of a critical capacity for knowing truth demands a study of psycholinguistics. The fund of social psychological research made available through research over the past century offers a window on the way words are used to captivate, illuminate, intimidate, inform and imbue us with intelligence.

WordPlay is a compilation of the most salient research that pertains to language use. It is a layman’s introduction to psycholinguistics. The emphasis is on how words shape behavior and become the substance of the mind. This is knowledge of those habits of mind that can interfere with straight, clear thinking. It is antidote to functional social ignorance of our rich language culture.

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Thank you for your time in answering our questions  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?
I have read widely in linguistics and concluded that the subject as usually presented is excessively formal and impersonal.  In trying to be scientists, linguistics scholars have focused on the mathematics of computer language or the presumed contribution of genetics to the uniqueness of language to humans.  There is an extensive body of research into the ability of other primates, mostly chimpanzees, to acquire a limited level of language in the laboratory.  The results have been surprisingly encouraging. Some chimps and a bonobo have become conversant in a lexicon of several hundred words, most using sign language.  Linguists have yet to come up with an explanation for how this happens in primates, much less how humans typically acquire language from infancy with such ease.  The issue of language as a coping personal tool seemed unaddressed.  WordPlay takes that issue on and explores it in depth.
Is this your first book?
No, I have published or written a dozen other books, mostly in the field of management. My Ph.D. is in Management which, at the Yale graduate school, is a hybrid of social psychology and operations research.  WordPlay allowed me to take the Social Psychology limb of my degree, combine it with research into Neuropsychology and Cultural Anthropology and extend my interest in primate language learning into the realm of human language acquisition and usage.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?
I began with articles, then books written for the editors at the American Management Association’s Book and Journal division.  They were superb editors who helped me hone my writing skills up to a professional level.  Later as a University Professor I negotiated book contracts with academic publishers that would support my professional status.  My interests have always been much broader than just the management field, and it was natural that my broad interest in the social sciences would lead me into the realm of psycholinguistics.
What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?
When I began writing for publication, editors were still looking for and nurturing talent.  That has all changed.  Publishers rarely gamble on unknowns today.  They want sure things from known names.  Celebrities publish readily because there is certainty in sales and profits.  Unknowns must now self-publish and take the risks publishers no longer want to take.  That has opened a whole new business of printing and distribution support for self-publishers.
If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?
It is always nice to let someone else take the risks of business enterprise but if youhave something worthwhile to say it may be necessary to roll the dice on your own dime.  With WordPlay, I am breaking ground by popularizing what has been an over intellectualized academic field.  The people I am working for are wonderful and, whether I win or lose, it is a grand experience.
Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?
I couldn’t do this without the support of Amy Collins and her group at New Shelves Distribution.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Write what you are passionate about, seek out solid editorial support, find any avenue you can to put your book in print and don’t be afraid to take the necessary risks.

Dr. Glenn Bassett is Professor Emeritus of Management and former Dean of Business at the University of Bridgeport.  A graduate of Berkeley and Yale, as well as a former corporate staffer at General Electric, Dr. Bassett’s career has focused on applied Social Psychology.  WordPlay is the result of exended research into the science of psycholinguistics. He is the author of numerous articles and published books, including The Managers Craft.

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Interview with Daron Kenneth, author of Pieces of Me

Title: Pieces of Me

Genre: Poetry

Author: Daron Kenneth

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Pages: 108

Language: English

ISBN – 978-1-46852-289-1

Pieces of Me, is Daron Kenneth’s newest offering of poetry that takes the reader on the real and often surreal ride through the mindscape of the author’s soul. Pieces of Me is an electric journey into some of life’s richest and most memorable moments.

Purchase your copy:

authorhouse

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
My books are merely my personal reflections on the things that I observe and that they were things that inspired me to write about.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?
The biggest challenges are being able to retain a books interest and to try to have the reader see things from the point of view even after it is finished.
Do you plan subsequent books?
I’ve written seven books now and even though they are all different from each other they are all similar. I plan to write more short stories, they are my favorite.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in high school when I took a creative writing course and started writing poetry. I’ve never stopped writing, I write every day.
What is your greatest strength as an author?
My ability to write in a way that is describing something in an interesting (or hopefully interesting way).
Did writing this book teach you anything?
The writing of this book has taught me that I need to write things from points of view. I write when I am manic as well as depressed but should only write when I am in a manic state as it is when I am most descriptive.

ABOUT DARON KENNETH

Author, Daron Kenneth, a teacher, writer, play wright and poet gives us his current collection of poetry and insightful observations about the things that mean the most: life, love, friendships and relationships.

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Writing, Caregiving and Alzheimer’s Disease by Barry Tutor

ABOUT NEVER GIVING UP & NEVER WANTING TO

Like most, I knew about Alzheimer’s disease. It causes old people to forget. When my relationship with this disease began, it highlighted how little I knew. Following my widowed mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, I researched this disease to gain insight about my new role as her caregiver and decision maker. What I learned and experienced during her affliction still left me somewhat unprepared for what was yet to come. Sixteen months following my mother’s diagnosis, my dear wife and best friend was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Though now I was familiar with this silent killer, my wife’s diagnosis set into motion many changes and challenges in our lives. Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every sixty-eight seconds. Currently, Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the top-ten causes of death that is on the increase and has no means of prevention and no possible cure. Given these facts, support for those afflicted relies on increasing levels of caregiving as the disease progresses. Let me explain something about this “old folk’s disease.” Alzheimer’s affects more than just parents and grandparents. It is also the disease of siblings, spouses, and children. Alzheimer’s forces many families to decide between home versus institutional care. An estimated fifteen million caregivers provide some level of care to the Alzheimer’s victims still living at home. No matter what level of care you are providing, the importance of preparation is paramount. Arming yourself with knowledge begins that preparation process. I was unprepared for the roller-coaster ride my life became as the sole caregiver for two Alzheimer’s victims. To meet their varied challenges, I adapted and developed multiple techniques for targeted personalized care. If only I knew then what I know now. By sharing my knowledge and experience, I hope to better prepare you for your caregiving journey.

Purchase your copy:

Trafford Publishing

Writing, Caregiving and Alzheimer’s Disease

When you become a new author questions always arise from interviewers, publicists and readers: “Why did you write this book” or “What was your inspiration?” While I would have enjoyed writing about wizards, superheroes, spies or master detectives I chose instead to write Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To about the true heroes that often go unnoticed in the world of Alzheimer’s care. This is a world I know far too well as I have faced the horrors of Alzheimer’s twice; my late mother lost her battle in 2010 and my wife is currently in her fourteenth year fighting the disease. What sets my book apart from most who have authored similar books; I cared for both of them on my own and simultaneously until I was forced to put my mother into Alzheimer’s assisted living in 2007 because, even though I am talented at all things caregiving, I could not be in two places at once.

At present, there are some 5 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States and most are cared for by approximately 15 million caregivers. What do the majority of these 20 million people have in common? When the newly diagnosed receives the bad news, they are essentially cast to the wolves with little more than a patient starter pack of medication and instruction to go to the Alzheimer’s Association website for assistance.

In Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To I assist caregivers in recognizing many aspects of caregiving and planning that are often overlooked when assuming the responsibilities of another adult’s life as the disease takes over. Along with addressing the activities of daily living I make the reader aware of facility planning, financial and legal preparation, hospice care, psychological issues, clinical trials, and evaluating institutional care facilities should home care become unrealistic or impossible. In my interactions with other caregivers, both professional and volunteer, I found that I was not alone in my “seek, and ye shall find” instructions from the diagnosing physician. While I am an experienced computer user, it dawned on me that so many of the people that receive this diagnosis and the “instructions” may not be computer savvy enough to access the necessary information for what’s next.

One of my inspirations for writing Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To came from another author. A few months after my mother was diagnosed my wife and I attended a health fair where an independent author was speaking about her husband’s diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s and his care. Being fairly new to Alzheimer’s care, like most others in my situation, I welcomed the chance to gain more information from someone who had been there before. By the fourth chapter, I realized this woman did not author a book about Alzheimer’s care but instead penned a book about Alzheimer’s care in Fantasyland. I occasionally think back to her book having spoken with hundreds of other caregivers, watched over my mother until her death and while I stand watch over my terminally ill wife of nearly 32 years and feel this woman must have had it pretty easy in caring for her Alzheimer’s patient.

I did not set out to write the next bestseller but instead an unvarnished, no holds barred look at the real world of Alzheimer’s caregiving. While I would like to sell many copies; becoming the next longtime resident of the bestseller lists; I am a realist that understands that nobody, let me repeat nobody, expects this disease to come barging into their lives until after losses begin.

When I began my “career” as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, I knew little more about the disease than it causes old people to forget things. In that regard, I feel I was as informed as the average person that has not experienced Alzheimer’s or the caregiving involved. Every 68 seconds someone receives the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. It is imperative that the potential Alzheimer’s patient, as well as his or her caregivers, understand the disease, caregiving requirements and how to plan for the future.

The purpose behind my book is to help current caregivers, especially those who are new, potential caregivers of which there are many and the Alzheimer’s patient who may not fully understand that Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative neurologic condition that is always fatal and there currently exists limited treatments to assist them through the course of the disease.

I have written my book with an “I have been there, so I know what I am talking about” attitude. I wish for the reader to come away with an appreciation of what my wife and I lost when Alzheimer’s invaded our lives, but also the level of care that I render everyday from a knowledge-base of observation, in-depth research and the love and respect that I have for my best friend.

ABOUT BARRY TUTOR

As a lifetime problem-solver, I faced the challenges of caring for my two AD victims by researching the disease and developing caregiving skills to assure their comfort and care.

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Interview with Randy Coates, author of More Precious Than Rubies


Title: More Precious Than Rubies

Author: Randy Coates

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 174

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Paul Brager is twelve when his father tells the story of Iduna and her apples. Mr. Brager always tells stories before bed to entertain Paul’s little brother, Adrian—a ritual that has become even more important since their mother died. Iduna was a goddess who grew apples that made the gods younger and stronger, but one day she disappeared, along with her apples. Paul doesn’t think much of the myth; he has other things on his mind.

Paul and his best friend, Chad Tremblay, are excited to start the school year as seventh graders at Dorian Heights Public School. Even when they hear about the new principal, Mr. Theisen, they aren’t worried about ending up in his office. When Paul finally meets the principal, however, he finds him to be strange, mysterious, and extremely fond of apples. That’s when things start going wrong.

Theisen develops an uncomfortable interest in Paul, claiming he once knew Paul’s father. It becomes apparent to Paul and Chad that Theisen is after something, maybe some kind of treasure—and it involves the Brager family. Paul believes his family must be protected and that Theisen must be stopped. Still, he can’t get the story of Iduna’s apples out of his head; there seems to be an odd connection to the tale his father told. He and Chad want to know the answers, but learning them may put their lives in danger.

amazonWhat was the hardest part about writing your book?

I wanted to make this book in the genre of fantasy since many children’s books aim at fantastical happenings to draw in their audience; however, I am not very knowledgeable about mythology which plays a major part in my novel.

The most difficult part in writing this book was to first research various myths and then, secondly, to tie in the myth with a school setting. Since I wanted the book to be in the present and not to involve time travel, Ihad to think of a way to bring the mythology to the students.

Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book?  If so, can you share it?

The novel takes place most of the time in an elementary school and involves many scenes in which students interact with each other and with their teachers.

As a teacher myself, I have been witness to these types of interactions. Therefore, I believe that these scenes in the book are the best-written and the most intriguing because I use precise dialogue that one would use in schools. Plus, I believe that I have accentuated the type of rapport between students even when they don’t always agree with each other. Students have a habit of not getting along one moment, then getting along the next.

What do you hope readers will take away after readingthe book?

I hope that the story entertains young readers. It is not the kind of sprawling fantasy book that is so popular today with whimsical creatures and heroic people; however, it is engaging in its simplicity of showing human frailties and emotions. Plus, there are still conflicts that are overcome by people workingtogether.

Ialso hope that my readers are stimulated by my use of Norse mythology and are spurred on to learn more about it the way Iwas when I researched the content.

Who or what is the inspiration for the book?

The book is based upon the reoccurrence of a story in Norse mythology: the tale of lduna’s apples. lduna had an orchard of apples that, when eaten by the Gods, brought them strength and vitality.

In my novel,the apples make a reappearance and, because of their power, one might consider them “more precious than rubies,” gems that are comparable in colour and value.

Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?

Probably the most influential person in my life was a teacher who taught me English Literature in high school. Sadly, he died ten years ago.

He taught me the value of the written word and was a writer of poetry. He knew how to communicate creatively with his students and he made us discover meaning in literary passages where we thought none existed.

My parents have also been an influence. Though never writers themselves, they always encouraged me to pursue my interests and never dissuaded me from my creativity although I don’t think they always understood it.

I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well?  Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?

In almost every interview with a writer that I have read, the writer says that one must read voraciously to become a great writer. I agree with that. As a teacher, I have also come across this statement in the curriculum guidelines for Language Arts in schools.

When I read, I take particular notice of the nuances of the author, how he composes his sentences, and so on. Often, sometimes subliminally, I find these authors’ styles influencing my own.

As a reader, I do not have a favorite genre. I just know that if the characters are appealing to me (e.g.,make me feel for them), then I would read the book, regardless of genre.

Interestingly, watching a movie sometimes causes me to read the book that the movie is based upon,and vice versa.

This is why I am reading Doctor Zhivago at the moment.

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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