Interview with Judy Fishel, author of Straight A’s Are Not Enough



Title: Straight A’s Are Not Enough

Author: Judy Fishel

Publisher: Flying Heron Books

Pages: 320

Genre: Educational

Format: Paperback

Why do 5000 girls a year not get credit for AP Calculus? How do our mindsets affect our learning? Can we change our own brains, get smarter, or improve our willpower? What happens in your brain when you concentrate on learning? What is the major factor that divides freshmen who do well and those who struggle? These and other intriguing questions are answered in this book. Memorable stories, vivid metaphors, simple images and even a few comic strips reveal ways you can learn most effectively. Many straight A students memorize facts for exams but soon forget nearly everything. What a waste of your time and money! Wouldn’t you rather take charge of your own learning and get a great education? Straight A’s Are Not Enough is definitely not another book on how to make straight A’s. Students who use these powerful strategies will enjoy learning, get a great education, and learn skills employers want most. They can also make straight A’s.

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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?

While teaching in a summer program for gifted children, I asked the students to introduce themselves and share what they wanted to be when they grew up.

A sweet fourth grade girl then asked me what I was going to be when I grew up. I didn’t laugh. I thought a minute and said “When I grow up, I’m going to write a book.” My little fourth grade girl said seriously, “You don’t need to wait until you grow up, Mrs. Fishel. You could start now.” And she was right.

Is this your first book?

While I did have a short story published, this is the first book I’ve published.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

I started writing at least fifteen years ago. I took a few classes, read a lot of wonderful books about writing, and just kept writing. Although a few of my early submissions got nice comments from agents, nothing was published.

Then, I entered a short story contest and won first prize, $100. My next short story was published in a collection. The problem was that I didn’t really like writing short stories.

After some serious reflection, I decided to write something important, something that could make a difference in the world. And that something was a research-based book on learning strategies for college students. The book begins with question I had asked for years. “Why do I work so hard, make excellent grades, but learn so little?” “How can I learn more and remember it longer?” “How can I get a great education?” Straight A’s Are Not Enough answers these questions and more.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?
I learned that many literary agents don’t want to touch a book unless they believe it will be easy for them to sell to a publisher. After a year and a half of sending queries and proposals, even with an outstanding marketing plan, one kind agent finally explained that publishers don’t think college students buy books other than textbooks. Based on my proposal, she said I had an excellent book and that it might sell 250,000 copies, but that I would need to self-publish. I had considered self-publishing a last resort but I am now glad I did it.

I read everything I could find about self-publishing. I avoided any of the vanity presses including those who claim they are not vanity presses. I hired my own editor, book designer, and a publicist who is excited about the book. Now, I’m enjoying the next step, marketing the book. It can be scary at times but what an adventure it is!

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?
I wish I had given up on literary agents when the first 20-30 said ‘Not for me.”

Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?
There were a number of people. Certainly the agent who encouraged me to self-publish is on the list. A dear friend, Leona Bodie, who had already self-published and was doing well was a great role model. My husband supported me all the way, cooking meals as I wrote and acting as my unofficial business manager. My editor, Mark Woodworth actually made editing fun. My talented and patient book designer, Jim Bisakowski encouraged me to do as much as I could. With his help, I even created my own index. Finally, I cannot leave out Amy Collins and her team at NewShelves. Amy refused to take the book until we had a great cover. Jim and I worked on cover ideas for two weeks. It might take a village to raise a child but it takes a talented team to publish a great book.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Don’t just write to get published. Write about something you are passionate about, something that might even change the lives of those who read it. Write what you love.

Judy Fishel was a seventh grader when she first asked the question why she worked so hard, made good grades, but learned so little. She struggled with this question through high school, college and grad schools, and for years as an award-winner teacher. Here she shares her discoveries and insights with you.

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Visit Judy at her website

Night Buddies Go Sky High by Sands Hetherington Book Feature!

Title: Night Buddies Go Sky High

Author: Sands Hetherington

Publisher: Dune Buggy Press

Pages: 144

Genre: Children’s Book

Format: Paperback

Young John Degraffenreidt and his red crocodile buddy, Crosley, show up at the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory and find Big Foot Mae lying on the floor, staring up at her Great Star Puzzle on the ceiling. Crosley only wants a new supply of pineapple cheesecakes, but what Mae points to on her ceiling will start the Night Buddies on a totally new fantasy adventure. A suspicious white dot has passed through the Corkscrew Constellation and is now moving underneath the Hound Dog Stars. Across the Borough, Crosley s brother Crenwinkle sees the same curious speck in the sky. It looks to be a long night for sleepyhead John, but thanks to the time spreader dingus with its sleep retardant setting, he gets right into their next escapade. Join the Night Buddies as they embark on another Program, this time taking them all the way into the stratosphere in their racing blimp.

For More Information

  • Night Buddies Go Sky High is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.


Sands Hetherington, the creator of Night Buddies series of chapter books, credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take. They collaborated many nights on escapades starring John and Crosley, until eventually it occurred to Sands why it was that Crosley was bright red. That was when the first book came together.

Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years: all of the classic children’s stories from Aesop through the Grimms, Lewis Carroll, Frank Baum, Tolkien and Dahl, with a lot of Dickens and Hugo thrown in. When school was out they got in the car and toured Alaska, Canada and most of the contiguous states. John still gets around. So far he has lived in Germany, Scotland, Russia, England and Spain.

Dogs have always been a part of the author’s life, beginning with Whiskers, a cocker spaniel. When his wonderful boxer Hube died, he despaired of finding a boxer who could match him, and instead got a Saint Bernard. He ended up breeding Saints for a number of years and at this point has had twelve as house pets. Sands says dogs can do you a power of good, and if you lose one, go out and get another the next day and you will be surprised at how fast your grief goes away.

Sands is also a Civil War buff. He would like to spend a month of evenings with common soldiers from both sides to see how they felt about the business. And eccentric generals like Jackson, Sherman and Forrest, and most of all Lincoln. Because Lincoln never gets to smile in his pictures.

The author was born in New York City but was transplanted a year later to Greensboro, North Carolina, where his maternal grandmother lived. He never really left the area and has a lot of the South in him. His grandmother was a prominent educator and became a great friend and mentor.

Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He lives in Greensboro now, and hangs out with his longtime friend Ann and their Saint Bernards Dudley and Maggie. He likes visiting ancient Mediterranean sites in Turkey and Italy, and most of all Greece.
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The Diary of a Nobody by Gaylon Kent Book Feature!

The Diary of a Nobody Book Banner

The Diary of a Nobody

From earning a living to getting the dog to poop to running for the United States Senate, The Diary of a Nobody chronicles the life of Sparrow, a funny, average man passing an average life.

In addition to Sparrow, you’ll meet The Wife, the cat, the dog, his friend Bonser and his rug rat Matt and Brian, Sparrow’s co-worker at the Doily Delivery Company.

The Diary of a Nobody is a real-time novel, updated daily at www.writersshack.com. It begins in October, 2013 and was inspired by a 19th century British novel of the same name.

Gaylon Kent, 49, is an American writer.

In addition to The Diary of a Nobody, Gaylon has written the novel The Regular Guys and Backstairs at the Monte Carlo: A Vegas Memoir. He also writes the columns The Daily Dose and The Bottom Ten.

All of Gaylon’s work is available exclusively at www.writersshack.com.

In past lives Gaylon has been, among other things, a radio announcer and a newspaper reporter, as well as working security at the Monte Carlo and Venetian/Palazzo hotels in Las Vegas and working a Brinks armored truck.

Gaylon was the Colorado Libertarian Party’s nominee for United States Senate in 2014, finishing third in a six-person race with a bit more than 52,000 votes. He is a two-time graduate of the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires and is an accomplished high school sports official.

Gaylon served on an old diesel submarine, the USS Blueback, in the Navy and still like his grandfather, Gaylon C Kent, commands his American Legion post.

Gaylon and his wife Marian live in Hayden, Colorado. He is originally from Los Angeles. He enjoys a wine pairing from time to time and is known to not wash his coffee mug.
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Interview with Seth Mullins, author of The Edge of the Known Trilogy

Title: What Casts the Shadow

Author: Seth Mullins

Pages: 240

Genre: Metaphysical

Format: Paperback/Kindle

A troubled young rock musician, a mystic mentor, and a generation of lost souls longing for a new voice to emerge from the wilderness…

When an altercation outside of a performance venue nearly proves fatal, Brandon Chane begins to realize how far his life is spinning out of control. His efforts to channel his pain, frustration and thwarted loves into his music may not suffice to save him. Then he meets Saul, a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man, and a far-reaching journey of healing – one that may teach him how to steer away from the very edge of the abyss – begins.

For More Information:

What Casts the Shadow is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Title: Trust in the Unseen

Author: Seth Mullins

Pages: 234

Genre: Metaphysical

Format: Paperback/Kindle

“We’d all thrown our fates to the wind, trusting in the unknown – in the Unseen, as our EP so proudly proclaimed – and that leap had thus far landed us in a place where we couldn’t even grope our way forward in the dark anymore.”

Brandon Chane was beginning to realize that discovering his voice was only the first step of the journey. Now he must somehow learn to trust the depths from which it comes, and the unknown horizons that it may sweep him away to, even as every part of his personal world seems to be falling apart.

For More Information:
Trust in the Unseen is available at Amazon.

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Humanity's Way ForwardTitle: Humanity’s Way Forward

Author: Seth Mullins

Pages: 246

Genre: Metaphysical

Format: Paperback/Kindle

“The echoes of those scars can clearly be heard in Edge of the Known’s music. But one can also discern, quite distinctly, that other inexplicable thing that is within us all, the undying flame that transcends our wounds and sufferings…” Brandon Chane had always seen life through the eyes of an outcast, a misfit, a young man at odds with the world and with himself. Now they’re calling him a wounded healer; a shamanic Pied Piper for the throngs of alienated youth; a thief of fire. He wonders if he and his band can escape the claims that the world has suddenly laid upon them. But what about the cherished dream that he’s struggled so desperately to fulfill, the dream that finally seems to be coming to fruition?”

For More Information:

Humanity’s Way Forward is available at Amazon.

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

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?

These books follow the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a brilliant but deeply wounded musician. I was inspired by a lifelong fascination with art and also with the people who create it. Why have so many of them, throughout our history, flirted with self-destruction? The Edge of the Known essentially questions whether the ‘suffering artist’ cliché is really inevitable. It also poses a vision of the creative life as one of healing rather than destruction.

Is this your first book?

It’s my most realized work, the work I’m most proud of. I did publish a couple of fantasy novels, each with a metaphysical slant, years back.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

This was my first time attending to all the details of the process myself, and I was a bit astounded to discover how many little details there were! I chose to self-publish, never even submitting the books anywhere, because I was concerned that someone else might try to soften the rough edges. I believe those edges are crucial; they need to be there.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?

Well, whichever route you take, the bulk of promotion falls upon the shoulders of authors. The trick in past decades was to win your way past the gatekeepers. Now, with all the changes that technology has wrought, the challenge is to win the attention of potential readers, all of whom are confronted with myriad choices and oftentimes no clear reason to choose one book over another.

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?

I vacillate on this one: I wanted the covers to in some sense reflect the jagged character of the prose. I wanted them to resemble the old pulp fiction covers. At the same time, I realize that something glossier would be more attention-getting. If I had to do it over again, though, I’d probably still steer the same course.

Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?

No, I’m a self-made author in that respect.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Take time to uncover and explore your own unique voice. That’s where the most powerful writing comes from. And try not to get distracted from that pursuit by pestering thoughts that you should be cleverer, more verbose, etc. Just let the writing reflect the natural unfolding of your thought.

Seth Mullins first conceived of his dream to write novels in his early teens, and this one desire has stayed with him throughout all the other myriad twists and turns of life. His inspirations include methods of inner exploration such as dream-work and shamanism and his experiences as a songwriter and performing musician. He studied creative writing at Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico and Lane Community College in Oregon.

Seth has lived in Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon and (currently) Vermont.

For More Information

Visit Seth’s website.
Connect with Seth on Twitter.

Interview with Harry Bingham, author of The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths

Title: The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths

Author: Harry Bingham

Publisher: Orion

Pages: 391

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Format: Paperback/Kindle
British author, Harry Bingham, blew critics and readers away with his crime debut, Talking to the Dead. His second novel, Love Story, with Murders, established DC Fiona Griffiths as the most compelling heroine in crime fiction. With this, the third novel in the series, comes Fiona’s darkest, strangest and most challenging assignment yet . . .

It started out as nothing much. A minor payroll fraud at a furniture store in South Wales. No homicide involved, no corpses. Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths fights to get free of the case, but loses. She’s tasked with the investigation.

She begins her enquiries, only to discover the corpse of a woman who’s starved to death. Looks further, and soon realizes that within the first, smaller crime, a vaster one looms: the most audacious theft in history.

Fiona’s bosses need a copper willing to go undercover, and they ask Fiona to play the role of a timid payroll clerk so that she can penetrate the criminal gang from within.

Fiona will be alone, she’ll be lethally vulnerable – and her fragile grip on ‘Planet Normal’ will be tested as never before …

For More Information

  • The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths is available at Amazon
  • The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths is available at Barnes and Noble
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

In order, probably – building and sustaining a family; writing books that I’m happy with; and creating a couple of businesses (Writers Workshop and Agent Hunter) that do really good work for our clients and make me a little money too. Both sites are writing-related – the WW offers writing courses and editorial advice; Agent Hunter helps writers find literary agents – so I’m working in an area that I love.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

In two ways, I think. The first is an obvious one – I spent a lot of my childhood in Wales, though I am definitely English not Welsh, and Wales has become the setting for my books. I love the place and it has bags of atmosphere that hasn’t yet been picked up by much other crime fiction. I’m lucky to have real freedom to explore it without worrying about all the things that other fine writers have already done.

The second is an odd one, which I can explain. I have a real father-theme in my novels. All of them, but my current Fiona Griffiths series has the theme present in a very upfront way: Fiona learns that the person she’s always thought of as her father adopted her when she was two. Her actual biological parents are unknown. So, as a detective, she starts to investigate, of course. My books each have a murder-mystery at their heart, but the mystery underlying the series is who is Fiona Griffiths really? And why did she become the way she is?

So that’s the theme, and presumably there’s something in my relationship with my father than underlies that. But I always had a great relationship with my dad, so why I write obsessively on the topic, I just can’t tell you.

When and why did you begin writing?

I used to come home from school and bash out stories on my mother’s manual typewriter. The stories were probably terrible, but I loved doing it. What I do now is really a more grown-up version of that. Certainly my desire to be a writer was there from very early. For some strange reason, I took  side-turning into investment banking and got stuck there for ten years, but luckily I managed to find my way out. Today, I don’t really work for a living – I just play and somebody gives me money. It’s a nice life.

What inspires you to write and why?

Well, a book contract that says “you have to write another novel within a year of this date or else the Special Ops boys at Orion Books will come and terminate you” – that’s kind of an inspiration I suppose. [Strict veracity note: it’s possible that I haven’t precisely remembered the wording of the relevant clause.]

More pertinently, I guess, I’m half in love with my character, Fiona. I just love being in her head. I love how surprising she is, how funny she is – and she has this weird sort of confidence mixed with total openness and vulnerability which makes for a magical cocktail. Life truly seems a little greyer if I don’t have Fiona to play with – and I’m always sad when it’s time for me to hand my novel over to the publisher. I miss working on it!

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I’ve written a fair few genres in my career – financial thrillers, historical, serious and less-serious non-fiction – but there’s no doubt that I feel most at home in my current crime/mystery niche. I love the sense of community and I love the fact that writing a series-character allows me to build stories over a huge scale, not just the individual 100,000 words or so of a novel.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My wife got sick and I needed to quit work to look after her. (This was 15 years ago now, and she’s a lot better now, thank goodness!) I’d always wanted to write, so it seemed like a great opportunity. I wrote my first novel (The Money Makers), got a literary agent, and got a publisher. All that happened quite easily . . . it’s only now I truly realise how rare and lucky that kind of introduction is.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

Nothing much. I don’t want to be influenced while I’ve got a novel underway. My character and my story have to predominate over everything else.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

It’s a hard industry. Whether you’re conventionally published or indie or whether (like me) a mixture of the two, it’s a tough way to make a living. The simple truth is that most books don’t sell very many copies and most good books don’t sell very many either. That fact isn’t going to change – and the price of books isn’t suddenly going to skyrocket – so any writer just needs to accept that this is a hard way to earn a buck. My instinct is still to advise writers, if they can, do get a literary agent and get an advance from a regular publisher. Easier said than done!

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

An odd one! This novel came backwards. I knew what the denouement was first. Then I figured out what the crime would have to be to generate that denouement. Then I figured out the rest of the plot from there. Goes to show you don’t have to do things in the most logical order sometimes. (NB: I teach writing courses from time to time and I’d never give that advice in class!)

Do you intend to make writing a career?

Um. This year I’ll be publishing my ninth novel, and there have been four non-fiction works, and I’ve ghosted/edited at least three other books . . . so, yep, you could say I’m starting to think about a career.

Have you developed a specific writing style?

I write in the first person as Fiona Griffiths. She’s tough, funny, nuts, staccato and oddly and unexpectedly vulnerable. My ‘voice’ has to inhabit all those different modes and do it without seeming strained. I hope I achieve that. I work really hard at editing and re-editing my stuff until it reads just right.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I’m not sure that’s for me to say! I do hope that my prose style is original and engaging . . . and I want people to remember my character, Fiona, long after they’ve forgotten details of the plot.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I’m creative & persistent. I value both qualities a lot.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

I’m a fidget. My tolerance for boredom is exceedingly low.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.” – Samuel Beckett. I love that

Harry is currently writing a crime series, featuring a young Welsh detective, Fiona Griffiths. The series has sold to publishers in the UK (Orion), the US (Random House), as well as FranceGermanyItalySpain, the Netherlandsand elsewhere. The first novel was televised by Bonafide and broadcast onSky Living. The novels are notable mostly for the strong voice and strange character of their protagonist. The first three titles in the series are Talking to the Dead, Love Story with Murders, and The Strange Death of FIona Griffiths.

The books have had nice reviews in the BooksellerPublishers Weekly,KirkusNew York TimesNew York Daily NewsBoston GlobeSeattle Times,Washington PostDaily MailTelegraph, Times, Sunday Times, Western Mail (all behind paywall) Shelf Awarenesscrimefictionlover, and many more fine publications.



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Interview with Margie Howd, author of Love Letters From a Doughboy


Title:
Love Letters from a Doughboy
Author: Margie Howd with Melissa Watkins Starr
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 178
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Thomas Fletcher first sees her in 1916, at a drug store in Birmingham, Alabama. He doesn’t know her, but her brown hair and beautiful eyes captivate him. He soon learns her name—Juliette Wilcox—and she would learn his. Their attraction cannot be denied, but something stands in their way.

Thomas is a drafted soldier, about to be sent to Europe to fight in the dreaded World War I. Although Juliette begs for them to be married before he goes to boot camp, he doesn’t want to leave her a widow. Their letters will keep them close. Letters are all they will have until he returns from the battlefield—hopefully, alive.

For the next four years, letters arrive from far off France and Germany to Juliette’s front porch in Alabama. For the next four years, their love grows, develops, and increases. Even so, war is a dark force, and many men never return. Will Thomas be one of the soldiers lost, or will he come home and make Juliette’s dreams of marriage a happy reality?

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How did you come up with the title for your book?

That’s an easy question to answer, I was an infantryman in WWI that were called Doughboys.

What is your writing environment like?

Well, it is kind of a mad house. I live in a log cabin with 4 other siblings. My two brothers and I share a bedroom. I have a desk in my bedroom and that is where I write – when my brothers and sisters don’t bother me.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers?

Right now what I have is a typewriter which I paid for by helping my my neighbors cotton. That spends teepd the procedure and now there are more and more people going into the business of printing books.

What inspires you to write?

Being in the service and having to leave my love Juliette, the feelings I was having and the things I was seeing I needed to get them out of my head and on paper. It was truly better for me that the person reading the book, although I hope a lot of people do read it.

Margie Howd has a degree in sociology from the University of Evansville. Now sixty-three, she lives with her husband, Jim, in a large retirement area in central Florida called The Villages. This is her first book.

Interview with Rebecca Marie, author of One Month Week Day Hour Minute Second



Title: One Month Week Day Hour Minute Second

Author: Rebecca Marie

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 113

Genre: Self Help/Personal Growth

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Abuse knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, old or young. It can enter your life at any time and stay as long as you let it. In One Month Week Day Hour Minute Second, author Rebecca Marie discusses that the key is to release the secrets, talk about the abuse, and take the power away from the abusers. In this memoir, she shares her personal journey surviving sexual and physical abuse, describing how abusive patterns started at a young age, how negative self-esteem continued to grow, and how it ended in her falling in love with a psychopath. One Month Week Day Hour Minute Second narrates how Marie was victimized and lived in daily fear and despair, but discusses how she chose not to remain a victim and took power over her own life. Hoping to break the cycle of domestic abuse one victim at a time, Marie tells her emotional story to call attention to the problem of domestic violence. Her story shows there is hope for others.

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Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what do you listen to?

Yes, I do like to have background music. My
favorite is good old fashion rock and roll from the 70’s or 80’s.

Do you have any suggestions for upcoming writers?

Every voice is worth hearing, words can be
powerful. No matter what your topic, fiction or non-fiction if you have a
desire to write about it then do it. You will be grateful and happy you
fulfilled your goal and dream to be a writer.

What is it you like to do when you are not reading/writing?

I love camping, especially the late nights
around the glowing campfire. Long drives outside of the city exploring new
towns and taking in the scenery. I enjoy being with my family and friends and
my two adorable cuddly dogs.

Is there an author/authors that have inspired you?

I cannot narrow it down to an author,
however I have always been inspired by biographies/memoirs and the strength it
takes to share a personal story.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a wife and have a large
loving family. For my careers I once wanted to be a Doctor then I changed to
wanting to be an Interior Decorator, neither of which I did pursue. Life has a
way of guiding us to where we were meant to be.

How do you/would you react to a bad review of your book?

I believe
that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and controversy can be a positive
thing because it creates more awareness around whatever it is talking
about.  I would hold my professionalism,
but have a feeling of defense because I feel this is such an important cause.


Rebecca Marie enjoys being a mentor and her goal in sharing her story is to help others see there is hope.

Interview with Nathan Chandler, author of Warrior of the Way

Title: Warrior of the Way

Author: Nathan Chandler

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 376

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Civil war is a curse that touches everyone, including King Tashdar of the Mulamar. When he is ordered by a powerful and mysterious stranger to send warriors toward Kanai and Kadisha to slaughter everyone, Tashdar has no choice but to obey. As the Hebari emperor’s palace is invaded, only one man escapes—a captain of the guard to whom the emperor has entrusted the safety of his remaining two children. Moments later, the emperor’s legacy is erased from the face of the earth.

More than forty years later, Pasha Nuvahli of the Sashramans tribe, greatest of the king’s warriors, is devastated when his wife is murdered and his son is kidnapped. Overcome with despair as war and a dangerous sorcerer threaten the southern tribes, Pasha soon finds himself in a crisis of faith as he ponders why Daiyu has allowed such sorrow to befall him. But after he learns of an ancient prophecy and his hidden connection to the last emperor of the south, Pasha is sent by King Juktan to seek an alliance with the five other Hebari tribes and lead them against an ancient enemy from the north. Suddenly, his life takes on a new meaning.

In this compelling story, a worried king looks to his greatest warrior to unify the south with the hope the young soldier can save his people before all is lost forever.

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What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The hardest part was learning how to structure my story, how to make it flow right and how to set the tone of the tale. I had to learn how to consider the needs of my readers while reconciling their needs with my need to create. That is something my brother Andrew helped me with.

Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?
I like Chapter 9. It really gives the reader insight into what the politics are of the character’s world and how the tribes relate to each other and the depth of the challenge that Pasha must overcome.
CHAPTER 9
The Messenger
Pasha crashed into the unforgiving stone floor as the guards
threw him out of the throne room. His first attempt to resist was
met by a strong blow to his throat. The impact was too much
and caused Pasha to fall back and curl up while they kicked his
stomach. A blow to his head robbed him of all strength and left
him open for more abuse.
Looking up at the guards through his bloodied eyes, he
expected more. Instead, two of the men grabbed him by each
arm and began dragging him down the opposite end of the
corridor from where he had entered. Already his arms felt like
snapping twigs and his knees like soft meat being cut into many
pieces. The guard who held his right arm continued to crack at
his head with a thick piece of dried cowhide.
It seemed clear they were tired of dragging him. With that
in mind, Pasha resigned himself to an uncooperative posture.
Though he was too weak to fight, he would not allow them to
take him to his death easily. Pasha began to look around the long
corridor. At the end he could see three more men in different
robes, all armed. Pasha could not accept that they were his
execution party. Hanasa had to be more cautious than to simply
murder a messenger of the Sashraman king, he thought to
himself.
Pasha flew into the air and then felt more of his head tear
open as it was ripped by the stone beneath him. He knew he
was at the end of the corridor, but how he would meet his last
moments, he could not decide.
Instinctively he curled up into a tight ball as they flayed him
with the ends of their spears. Not one of the men held back as
they tore Pasha’s skin apart. One pegged his head with the dull
spear end, forcing Pasha to open up his body to them once more.
The last blow to his head was so intense Pasha nearly lost
consciousness. He knew as the blows kept coming that they were
about to kill him. His vision began to fail him along with his
other senses. One more blow came, and all was black. Pasha’s
body moved no more.
“Is he dead?” asked one of the guards.
“We haven’t gone far enough to kill him. These Sashramans
tend to bleed easily. Throw him out!”
Quickly they opened the door behind them and tossed Pasha
into the room’s embracing darkness.
The place bore a foul stench that, like the darkness, seemed
to cling to every part of the room. Inside, the Sashraman lay with
others like him. Beside him were piles of the troublemakers, the
shameless, and fearless whose quick tongues, failing virtue, and
offensive nature had resulted in their numerous broken bodies,
those whose names had forever been erased by the shroud of
darkness.
Still, they had been left with constant company. Each day,
their little rodent friends came to call upon them. Most came
from the damp, open walls, invisible to all with living eyes.
Happily, they arrived like friends invited to a celebration, ready
to join in the festivities, ready to feed upon the abundance of
rotting flesh.
When they moved to the newly arrived Sashraman, they
huddled in delight. Moving carefully, they drank in his warm
blood and body’s juices. However, as their teeth sank into his
sensitive parts, they awakened the nearly faded life within him,
causing them to attack more ferociously. He was a good feast, and
they would not let him go so easily. But eventually they broke off
and fled as a stranger approached and drew them off with flame
in his hand, something they had learned long ago to fear.
Pasha’s eyes opened with blood inside of them and blurred
vision. Eventually his eyes fell upon a red light in front of him.
Two servants lifted Pasha and took him to the wall near the door.
They propped him up against the wall and began to clean his
wounds with strange potions with offensive odors.
The man of Sashra looked down in quiet terror. His black
body was covered in purple bruises, welts, and long gashes. All of
the fingers on his right hand had been broken, and his entire left
side was riddled with the punctures of many small teeth that had
cut away much skin.
Pasha did his best not to move any part of his body. Despite
his efforts, his head was like a battered boat in the middle of a
tempest at sea. His eyes eventually began to focus and looked out
in disgust at the place where he had been left to die.
It was like an enormous stone box that had been filled with
bodies left to rot. The liquid and dampness that he felt upon his
hands was the blood and fluids of the men who had expired long
ago. Though he lowered his eyes, he could not block the halfeaten
corpses, spiked heads, and the remains of disemboweled
men from his mind.
“What is this barbarity?”
The servants ignored his words, continuing their work.
The words had been painful to release, for he still felt the
many blows the guards had inflicted upon his throat.
“It is what happens in a world where we must be as fierce as
lions in order to survive.”
Pasha quickly recognized the voice of King Hanasa. He
looked to his right as the man came toward him.
“I should have known to expect this from the Halor. Your
people hunger for blood. It makes sense that a place like this is
where you keep your stores.”
“I see my men broke your body but left your tongue. You
should be grateful to them for that.”
“Yes, I believe so. Most boys possess the strength to draw a
sword from its sheath, but I suppose your men were just too worn
out.”
The king came closer and pulled Pasha’s face directly toward
him. “Are you a sorcerer of some kind?”
Pasha did not answer.
“Who was the woman in black? The warrior in silver armor
whom none could see?”
“They are obviously signs of a mind that has succumbed to
the madness in Halor blood.”
Hanasa suddenly released his dagger and dug the blade’s dull
end into Pasha’s tender throat.
“I saw the warrior in armor cause all of my men to be unable
to draw their swords against you. It is obvious that he protects
you.”
“If this supposed . . .” Pasha coughed hard, sprinkling the
ground with blood. “If this supposed warrior was protecting me,
more than likely I would not look like this right now,” Pasha said
through heavy, gasping breaths.
“You just want me to kill you, is that it?” Hanasa flipped
the blade and pointed the sharp end toward Pasha’s exposed,
throbbing throat. “I see men like you all the time, warriors who
do not fear offending even a king. But let me tell you a little
secret. In the end, we are all afraid. You will tell me everything of
this sorcery and how to combat it. The woman and the warrior,
tell me who they are.”
“I think you already know, King Hanasa of the Halor. They
are a sign, a sign that you need to rethink your response to the
message I gave you. Before I left, my malik told me it was written
that no evil would touch me while I was in your house.”
“So it is Juktan who has cursed me.”
“The only curse is that of ignorance and violence, which you
have shielded yourself with ever since my arrival.”
“It is not as simple as you might believe, Sashraman. Do you
know what you would represent if I acknowledged you and your
message?”
“I am not the emperor, and I shall never wear his crown.”
“Many would not see it that way! The prophecy has plagued
the minds of our priests ever since the emperor’s death and the
death of his family. Some say that since the emperor’s family was
dead, the warrior would come from among one of us. Others say
the oracle’s prophecy is not to be trusted. But now you are here.
After what I have seen today, I cannot deny that a great power
resides around you. Your very presence is an affront to all of the
Halor who died to free us from the empire!”
“There is something else. There must be. Something about
this woman and this warrior gives you a greater reason to fear
them. If not, I would not be alive right now.”
“The woman in black has come to me every fourth night past
twilight. She would tell me to prepare for the path I must follow.
Eventually, she told me of you. I did not believe her at first, but
soon reports began to come in, and everything was falling into
place as she said. The woman told me that if I took my dagger,”
Pasha’s throat throbbed once more, and he began to sweat as
the cold blade pressed down into his throat, “and put it to your
throat like this and ended this before it has a chance to begin . . .
She said if I did this, none of my children or my wives would
survive the night.”
“You must be asking yourself, Is this man worth it?”
“You do not scare me! My family is under triple guard, and
you are under my hand!”
“You do seem in control. But as a man who has seen
equally strange things in his own lifetime, I caution you. Never
underestimate what you do not fully understand. I am ready.”
The king began to respect the selfless nature of the man
whose life lay between his hand and dagger. A heavy silence filled
the room as Hanasa considered what he was about to do.
Pasha took deep breaths, knowing it was over.
King Hanasa stood and went toward the door, stopping to
speak to one of his servants.
“Wash his body and tend to him. Give him a bed where my
physicians can see him.”
Dismissing their bows of obedience, Hanasa left Pasha once
again in the hungering darkness.
At first, his healing was slow. For many days, he had been unable
to sit up, let alone walk. Pasha slept for days and was awoken
solely by the physician who came to change his bandages and
tend to his wounds.
The man who seemed to be charged with his care was
an older Halor man called Yaradai. Like most Halor, he was
very black, and his face did not hold back his disgust towards
Sashramans or Pasha in general. Every day he came, he would
rub some sort of salve or potion along Pasha’s opened flesh.
Though Pasha assumed it was something to help close the gashes,
every night his flesh would open and bleed, making him weaker
the next day. It was as if the old man was trying to keep him
bedridden.
Pasha began to doubt that, however, when he awoke one day
with enough strength to sit up. Sliding back, he laid his back
against the wall. Stretching out his arms and pushing hard onto
the stone beneath him, he pushed himself up.
In spite of reaching his feet for the first time, his legs failed
him, and he crashed to the ground. Pasha rolled onto his back,
content to stay there as he began to sweat profusely, and his
breathing became ragged.
Nevertheless, all that his mind dwelt on was his mission and
whether or not it would be successful. Not knowing disturbed
Pasha greatly.
Again he cursed his weakness, beating the ground beside
him, scraping the skin on his hand. Pasha’s distraught mind did
not allow him to hear the sound of another entering the room.
“You must think me a fool if you think I am going to clean
that too.”
Pasha looked up to see Yaradai coming slowly toward him,
his look of disgust and irritation unchanged.
“Scum, Sashraman, you bleed like a gutted pig!”
He bent his knees deeply to wrap his arms around Pasha and
lift him to his feet.
“I don’t know what you’re doing on the ground. You can walk
now. I have more important things to do than look after you.”
Stepping back, he let Pasha balance himself, holding out an
arm for support.
“Really, I don’t see what the king wants with you anyway.
When I was young, we killed Sashramans on sight! Now I am
expected to bandage and heal them. There’s something good to
be said about the old days.”
“I never asked for your help, old man!”
“You had best be grateful for it, bushim. One more session
with Naylok and Kishei, and I would be burning your wretched
corpse instead of wasting my skills on you.”
Pasha’s head was swimming. His insides burned and felt
constricted. He could not stand to be on his feet much longer.
The old man thought differently as he pushed Pasha forward.
Immediately Pasha fell onto his knees.
“Walk, bushim! Walk!”
“I cannot.”
“I am wasting no more time on you. Now walk!”
He bent forward to pull Pasha up.
“Leave me be, old man!” said Pasha, trying to push away his
hands.
“I’ll leave you be when I decide to.”
“I said leave me be!” Pasha pushed harder, trying to direct
a quick blow to the man’s face, but that only caused him more
pain. Yaradai caught his slowly moving fist and threw it back to
the ground. He kicked Pasha, though not as hard as the ones who
had beaten Pasha before. Nevertheless, the all too familiar pain
shot through Pasha’s insides like a flaming arrow.
“Daiyu damn you, you worthless bushim! You either walk or
I will send you back to Naylok.”
“You must be a fool if you think that you scare me. Halor
bastard!”
Yaradai responded quickly with a thick strap of dried goat
hide that he struck Pasha’s head with. He continued by striking
Pasha’s hands repeatedly.
“Get up or you will never use those hands again!”
Pasha could feel the embedded pieces of metal and glass
tearing away the skin. Already his hands were covered in blood;
his right hand’s fingers were not completely healed. Yaradai
seemed to remember this; he paused in order to draw a thin
stick from his robes. Using the stick, he continued to beat Pasha’s
hands without mercy. Pasha began to cough, his throbbing body
continued to weaken, and the pain continued.
With one final effort, Pasha pressed his palms to the stone
and pushed up as hard as he could. Yaradai did not stop until he
finally came to his knees and raised himself up.
“Good, bushim. Now walk!”
Dreading even more pain, Pasha moved his right leg forward,
and his left soon followed. In spite of his dizziness and difficulty
breathing, he began to follow Yaradai who was leading him to the
open, oval shaped doorway. Drawing back the overhanging cloth,
Yaradai stepped out from the room into the long corridor.
Pasha paused. He was in a completely different part of the
palace. The stone around him was white but not finely cut as that
in the hall that led to the king’s chambers. Cut into the opposite
wall was a small circular chamber that held what appeared to be
small animals, sealed inside by thick reinforced cedar bars.
Moving closer, Pasha saw they were in fact men curled into
tight balls, their knees coming to their mouths for lack of space.
All were like filthy balls of dark flesh. Many cried out to Yaradai
for mercy, and others for food. Pasha noted one who tore at the
bars so furiously with his few teeth that his mouth was nothing
but blood. The moans and groans echoed through the open hall
like a death cry Pasha had heard many times in battle.
“Move!” Yaradai prodded him with the stick.
“What is this place!” Pasha whispered more to himself.
Yaradai ignored him, stepping sideways to avoid a mound of
excrement.
“Animals! Daiyu curse all of you!” His thick spittle sprayed
the different cells, an obvious sign of his contempt for them.
Being able to focus more, Pasha could see that the corridor
led to the outside. Yaradai was leading him to what appeared to
be an open garden where a figure stood waiting.
Coming into the light for the first time in weeks
overwhelmed Pasha; he lost all balance and fell forward. Yaradai
came down hard with his stick, causing Pasha to cry out, but he
could not stand again.
“Bushim dog!”
“That will do, Yaradai,” King Hanasa spoke softly. “Let him
rest.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“That will be all.”
Once Yaradai had left, Hanasa wrapped arms around Pasha’s
waist and brought him to several cushions that sat by a well.
“I hope you can see why this idea of an alliance is
impractical,” said the king as he wrapped Pasha in a bright new
robe. “Little has changed since the war. Especially for men like
Yaradai.”
“Where I come from, a man has too much respect to lock
another away in tiny cracks in a wall!”
“What do you mean? Oh, you have seen my enemies. Do you
not do the same to your enemies in Sashra? Does your king not
have a place like this?”
“In Sashra, we kill our enemies and let their souls rest in
peace, not beat them from men into quivering children like you
Halor.”
“You are quite right, my friend; we are quite different.
Nevertheless, you still believe that our peoples have a future
together. How can you expect our people to rise from the war
and become the people of the south? The Hebari spirit the
stories speak of is dead. You obviously must expect a miracle or
something.”
“If it is our destiny.”
“Destiny! Hah! Tell me, after what you have been through,
can you really believe that! Can you believe that more than fifty
years can be erased, and we can go on and become friends?”
“I do not pretend to know, King Hanasa, but my path has led
me here.”
“Well I do not, Sashraman. The prophecy says that the evil
one comes upon us again with a massive army to destroy the
faith of the people. There is only one person who has been called
that in our history. You know of whom I speak.”
“Janaha the witch king.”
“Who lived nearly one thousand years ago! Are you telling
me that we have to come to your aid to help defeat someone who
has been dust for centuries!”
“His body was never found after the Battle of the Mahara
Fields.”
“So what, you believe that a one-thousand-year-old man is
leading the men of the north?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you believe any of this, Sashraman?”
“I haven’t the luxury of beliefs anymore, not since . . .”
“Not since what?”
“It does not concern you!” Pasha turned his head as small
tears came to his face. For so long he had tried to not think on his
wife or son, but he was weak, too weak to fight.
“I used to believe that I was always in the right. That Daiyu
smiled down upon me and my work and upon my family. Ever
since you came though, all is different. You must think me a
heartless man, Sashraman. Like you, I have many defenses.”
“We are nothing alike.”
“Says the man who continues to say that we are all alike, we
are one people. I know now that there is a better way, better than
all of this. I pray that I can find it with you, Sashraman, for our
people.”
“Then you will acknowledge my malik’s message.”
“I will do all that I can so as not to upset the wrath of that
woman in black and her silver armored warrior. Whether the
other tribes wish to follow or not, I will send warriors to Sashra,
but rest assured of one thing, Sashraman. I do not trust you, nor
do I trust your king, but I hope that if we go to war together, a
bridge of trust can be built.”
“Perhaps it will be built between our people, but never
between you and me.”
“I understand. I will have the servants bring you some food.”
Pasha fell onto his back. Though exhausted with pain, he
gazed upon the sunlit sky, content that no more pain would come
that day to his body.
Hanasa walked around him, looking down upon his body.
“Daiyu be merciful! My men sure do their work well.”
“Granted.”
“I shall pray for your recovery. Yaradai shall tend to you no
more. You can stay here awhile if you wish.”
Pasha ignored the king, who left him alone upon the sweet
grass beneath the warmth of the sun.
Warrior of the Way- Book
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
I hope people will be encouraged to continue living their lives honorably, doing what is best no matter how hard and unfilling it may seem. I hope people will come away with a more nuanced perspective about spirituality or the lack thereof and it what it means in one’s life.
Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
The inspiration for the title of my book and certain parts of the story come from sermons my dad gave in church. In one sermon he spoke of how the ancient Christians called themselves people of the way and referred to their faith as ‘the way’. The sermon touched on the trouble they had living out their daily lives while trying to stay true to their new faith. I had always wanted to write a fantasy book with lots of mysticism and spirituality. I came upon Pasha Nuvahli who is in many ways a tortured anti-Messianic figure who must fulfill the Messianic role despite his strong desire not to. I used Pasha to examine the good and bad of religion and blind faith and how sometimes there are some wounds that faith cannot very quickly or at all. I also like stories with magic in them so I incorporated magical elements into the story as well. Fantasy stories and historical fiction have always been my favorites especially stories with sword play. I am a big fan of Conn Iggulden and his writing and the advice on writing that he gave me inspired me to tell a story of my own. The idea of creating something always appealed to me and that idea inspired me to take a chance and write a book.
Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
My father is my biggest mentor in regards to faith and spiritual issues. As for writing my brother Andrew was biggest mentor. He really helped me understand what I needed to do to write a good story that people would read. He discussed the mechanics of writing a novel and he really made me consider the perspective and needs of the readers. I believe I have improved my writing alot because of Andrew’s input.
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 agree with that statement that one has to be a good reader in order to be a good writer. My writing didn’t improve until I started doing what Andrew suggested, reading. When I first started writing I thought I didn’t need to read anything. I thought my book was the only important one on the planet. The reality is I needed to read in order to understand how books arranged and what kind of writing styles are out there. By reading more I was forced to think of what I as a reader wanted from the author and whether I was getting it. I agree reading is important when it comes to writing a book. The major books I read while writing my story were Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Imaro, Harry Potter, and the Caesar and Genghis books by Conn Iggulden. My favorite genre is fantasy/science fiction. I’m not sure what category Conn Iggulden’s historical fiction falls into but he’s been my favorite author for years. I read his books alot while I was writing my own. J.K. Rowling is my other favorite author but Conn Iggulden comes first.

Nathan Chandler received an associate’s degree in technical Spanish translation from Oklahoma State University–Oklahoma City and currently attends the University of Oklahoma, where he is majoring in international business with an emphasis in Chinese language. Nathan resides in Norman, Oklahoma, where he continues to write.

Suburban Enterprise by J.P. London Book Feature




Title: Suburban Enterprise

Author: J.P. London

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Pages: 138

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Format: Paperback/Kindle

If You Like Breaking Bad or the Stieg Larsson Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Books, You Will Love J.P. London’s Suburban Enterprise.

Brian has it all as a championship high school athlete in the suburbs, until a devastating injury turns his life upside down in an instant. With his athletic career ruined, and all hopes for a college education gone with it, Brian loses all hope of ever getting out of town and out of poverty.

This town is where you either have money or you want money. Brian figures he will just continue being one of those that wants money. But, he wants it bad.

Then along comes a spider in the form of an old coach, who gives Brian a chance to turn everything around, if he’s willing to pay the price. He shows Brian how he can take the money he wants. Brian must choose on which side of the law he wants to operate. His life depends on it.

When everything starts to spiral out of control, Brian learns he can either lie down and die or come out fighting.

Does he have what it takes to survive?

For More Information

  • Suburban Enterprise is available at Amazon.

J.P. London a New Jersey born and raised fiction author. He writes fictional stories about the social issues that he sees in everyday life which include the spread of opiate addiction to the masses, the lack of opportunities to war veterans, and the crippling weight of student loan debt on recent grads. Most of his stories take place in New Jersey and include locations that can be seen today.  You can visit J.P. London at the author’s website http://jplondonauthor.wix.com/jplondon

For More Information

Visit J.P.’s website.

Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Eve Picquette

Eve Picquette has been looking for love, joy and fun all her life. Along the way she has had lots of experiences – some with more fun than others! A licensed attorney, she served as director of risk and quality management at hospital corporations in California and Arizona for thirty years. She is also a certified NLP life coach, matrix, EFT and Angel Therapy practitioner. Eve Picquette received her MSN in community mental health at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis.

Author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys -What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries and companion Mini Meditation MP3’s, she lives in Arizona, and her present happy work is teaching and advising clients regarding having more love and joy in personal and business relationships.

For More Information

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

Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships – 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries – is a beautifully illustrated gift book with an angel theme.

I believe that angels have inspired thoughts and ideas that work for us, down through the ages.  The book contains some of those ideas that work.  I wanted to live the Prayer of St. Francis – “…let me sow love… where there is darkness, light….” I wanted to feel happy and have happy relationships – but I was not.  As an attorney, I always feel like there is an answer, so I asked for help.  These are the 10 practical Shift Keys – ideas that actually work – that lightened and opened my heart and made a real difference in my life and relationships.

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

I am self-published on Amazon and I contacted Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book to help me with promotion.

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?

It depends on the size of the readership and their interests.  For my own site and Facebook – I will be blogging, but I believe that it will depend on how much I spend to promote my blog posts on Facebook.

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?

I am just starting this journey.  But from what I have seen in email list building – I think Facebook can be very effective with paid promotion of posts.  The important part is knowing who might be interested in your book and being able to target an audience for the posts.

I also use Twitter and that has helped increase my email list.  I have a Free Angel Reading that I promote at AdvisorIsIn.com that also increases my email list.

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

Working with Pump Up Your Book, as above and later will consider doing some paid advertising and possibly some paid advertising through other’s email lists.

Thank you so much for the interview!

Eve Picquette

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