Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Gary Mancuso

TLPoE Cover

Gary Mancuso has seen how fast the world’s biological and cultural diversity is being obliterated by rapid globalization. In 2005, He saw the earth reaching a major turning point, when the last remnants of primal humanity and nature would soon be gone. So, in a life-changing gamble, he set off on a six-year journey to see the earth’s remaining wildernesses.

This intensely personal account of Gary’s journey includes feasting with New Guinea’s former cannibals, hunting with Pygmies in the Congo Basin, and attending a Madagascan highland death ritual with an exhumed corpse as the guest of honor.

Gary paid a price for his journey: lost his wife to divorce, half his net worth to financial malfeasance, and a dear friend to suicide. He fell sick several times, got electrocuted, and struggled with the inevitable disorientation borne of long rootlessness. But he overcame each hurdle and even found romance in some unlikely places. By dumb luck, some smart luck, and an instinct for improvisation, he pressed on and somehow staggered home.

The Last Places on Earth: Journeys in Our Disappearing World is a timely and powerful reminder that the wonderment and mystery that we humans naively assumed would always be there is dying fast.

For More Information

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?
This is my memoir of a six-year journey I recently completed into many of the last great wildernesses and intact traditional cultures on earth. Many people I met along the way, especially after I was three years or more into the journey, encouraged me to write a book about the experience. Near the end of my long journey, so many people I knew—passing acquaintances, friends, and family members—became more and more insistent. I had to do it, they said. I had to write a memoir of my journey. So, on my last serious trip of the entire epic, which was to the Antarctic, I decided to write my story.
Is this your first book?
Yes.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?
I did most of the work creating my book before working with a small, local publisher. I have a business development background, and specifically had once overseen the creation of a software based payments automation service. So, I just get things done. My understanding was that to follow a more “traditional” route to getting a publisher would likely require getting an agent, which could take a long time and a lot of work. So, when writing the book, I hired my own top editor to work and coach me through the process, did the same with top designers for the book cover and interior layout of the book. At that point, with a book that was basic print ready (and the eBook versions—Kindle and Nook– were done) it was much more attractive to small publishers like the one I went with.
What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?
Everyone that I dealt with indicated that the traditional publishing houses were mostly slow and technologically behind. Apparently, lots of things are still done by hand, and processes and procedures haven’t changed much over the past two decades. I can’t personally verify this, since I bypassed it.  However, after all the time it took to write my book, I didn’t want to spend two more years of my life trying to first get an agent, then wait for that agent to eventually sell my manuscript to a big publisher, only to then wait more for the slow process of finally having a published book.
I also wanted to keep control of all the rights to my book, including its design, appearance and all content. By bringing my book to a high quality and polished print-ready level before seeking a publisher, I was able to keep all rights and control over my book.
If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?
Nothing. I like what I did.
Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?
Since most of my effort was self-directed, there isn’t really anybody to credit. I learned important things along my book journey from many different people—and from resources on the internet.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Work with a really good editor. Unless you want to just put out a book for the heck of it, that most likely no one will buy but some of your friends and family members, you need a first-rate book written in a high quality manner that really grabs the reader. Then, your real work has just begun.
Books don’t sell themselves, and unless you’re famous, notorious, or have some type of sensational or salacious story, no one will buy your book unless you relentlessly promote and sell it. There’s tons of materials out there for would be authors to learn how to do this. Determine first what it means to be “successful” as an author—i.e. your goals in your book journey. Most non-fiction books are a means to an end for an author, such as reputational development as an authority in a given area, to promote a certain viewpoint and so on. After you’ve identified your goals, do what successful authors who share similar goals have done, as well as implement strategies that fit your own situation and personality.
  • Share/Bookmark

Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. A Wedding and a Killing is the eighth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder. Dead on Ice (A Lovers in Crime Mystery) was released September 2012. The second installment, Real Murder was released to rave reviews in June 2014.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

For More Information

  • Visit Lauren Carr’s website.
  • Connect with Holly on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Visit Lauren’s blog.
  • Is your group looking for a speaker for your next event?  Click here.
  • Contact Lauren.

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

In A WEDDING AND A KILLING, things go horribly wrong when Mac and his lady love, Archie Monday, decide to elope to the little church where his ancestors had all married—along the tranquil shore of Deep Creek Lake. Before they can say, “I do,” the sanctuary erupts into chaos when Gnarly finds a dead body in the church office.

As they dive into the investigation, Mac and his team discover more questions than answers. What kind of person walks into a church and shoots a man for no apparent reason? Who would want to kill the quiet, mild-mannered church volunteer? How do you solve the murder of a man who has no enemies in the world?

And then, there is the all-important question, how long do Mac Faraday and his lady love have to wait to get married?

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

I publish my own books through my publishing company Acorn Book Services. So, once I decide that this book is ready to start the publication process, then I start working with the cover designer. That is Todd Aune, of Projetoonline.com. Your cover is the eyes to your book’s soul. Tremendous covers can sell books, and bad covers can kill a book. Todd is a wonderful talent. He does all of the covers for my mysteries.

Once we have a cover, I will reveal it on my website and social network and give an approximate release date.

After that, what happened?

I will start talking up my next book with the previous book. Since I have been writing series with continuing characters, I will put a synopsis at the end of the previous book of what is coming. So, when readers finish my book, they will be waiting for the next book.

This puts me under the gun. I am usually on tour while my upcoming book is in editing and I get the cover. So, during my tour for the previous book, I will slip in little comments at the end of blogs about the next book. Comments to the blogger like, “See you in December when THREE DAYS TO FOREVER is released.”

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?

Blogging is essential to authors who want to sell their books, especially if the author is independently published. Even if they aren’t, they need to get out there and blogging is the best way to do it. Basically, it is free advertising and you don’t have to pay for gas and travel, or even get dressed.

I do have a blog called Literary Wealth. I promote other authors on this blog. I am better with guest blogging because that gets me out there to appear on other blogs where I can meet new readers.

The thing about blogging is that you need to do it regularly. Now, I don’t regularly post to my own blog, but I am always on the lookout for blogs where I can make guest appearances. Also, I do a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Books with every book.

The key to a successful book tour: Promoting every single appearance through social media.

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?

There are so many out there and each one is different in how to use it and how effective it is. I use Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus, and LinkedIn. There are a ton of others, but I don’t use them regularly.

Social networks are very useful, if you know how to use them and you use them regularly. Twitter is one of my most major tools. But, I’ll be honest, it has a big learning curve and I was pushed into it by another author. I now spend approximately three hours a day on Twitter. Most of that time is spent promoting other authors, who in return promote me.

That is the key to social networking. If you give to other authors by helping them, they will give back by helping you.

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

Speaking engagements. I rarely do book signing events. Usually when I appear at a book fair or book signing event, it is for a good cause and I don’t go expecting to make any money. However, I do speaking engagements and workshops where I will speak about writing and/or publishing.

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 can’t pick just one.

One that is extremely essential for authors who want to succeed is a website! I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you will not believe how many new authors I work with who cringe, and even run and hide, at the idea of a website. Your readers need a central place to go find you and your books. My first two websites were free websites. It wasn’t until my fourth book that I invested in a paid site. Most of them are very user friendly.

The others are a combination of two things: Virtual Book Tours and Twitter. I have done several tours. Pump Up Your Book Tours with Dorothy Thompson is the best out there. But, when you go on a tour, don’t just sit there and read your appears, send them to your social networks and forget about them. Promote, promote, and promote that appearance via Twitter. I’m still promoting blog appearances from my tour last March!

Something to remember: Once it’s on the Internet, it is there forever! So promote it. Your guest blog posts and interviews and book spotlights will always find new readers even months or years after you’ve written them—if you tell them about it.

  • Share/Bookmark

Interview with Ralph Sanborn, author of China Red

ABOUT CHINA RED

Title: China Red
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Author: Ralph Sanborn
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 292 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-47598-293-0

Heroin, called “China Red” on the street, is being smuggled into the United States. Zhou Jing—who fancies himself a fifteenth-century Chinese warlord, is using Muslim Uighers in western China to produce the heroin. In exchange, Zhou arms, trains, and provides security from the Chinese government for the Uighers. Caleb Frost is a professional assassin in a deep cover, black operations team that specializes in wet work. His team includes two ex-Navy SEALs and a Greek beauty and former New York City escort. Funded by the US government, the team operates autonomously in total secrecy. China hires Caleb’s team to destroy, with prejudice, the smuggling operation in the US. Zhou’s partner is a brilliant, psychopathic killer—a Harvard Business School graduate named Wrath. He founded the Visigoths MC, a hard riding, vicious motorcycle gang which protects, delivers, and collects payment for the heroin shipments. When matters become personal and Caleb’s sister Rebecca is kidnapped, the team’s task gets messier. It becomes more than an “assassination engagement” for Caleb—it becomes a bloodthirsty vendetta. “This tornado of a thriller drags the reader into a world of guns, bombs, swords and death and won’t let go.” -Rob Swigart, Author of The Delphi Agenda “China Red plunges the reader into a world of evil intrigue and high adventure. You won’t be able to put it down.” -Antoinette May, author of The Sacred Well, Pilate’s Wife, and Haunted Houses of California

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

For the first of your questions I unfortunately have a very dry answer. Maintaining Point of View. POV, the three letters I hate in writing. Not that I don’t use POV, it’s just that I like the freedom of being in whoever’s mind I feel offers me the greatest opportunities at a moment in a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence to move the story. Then the POV-Nazis, the editors (generally I really appreciate them), jump on me. So that’s it. I like to be free.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?

The scent of pine needles mixed with the sour fragrance of spilled wine filled Caleb Frost’s left nostril. The right nostril seemed to be clogged. The back of his head throbbed like Ginger Baker’s drums in Cream’s Toad. A dull, persistent ache echoed throughout his skull, ricocheting like a 22 caliber bullet without the power to exit.
There was enough dim light for Frost to make out the irregular surface of a slate floor. A few pine needles clung to his eyebrows like stalactites from a cavern’s ceiling. He blew to clear them way. The screaming pain from a split lip soared an octave or two joining the chorus of other pains reporting from his extremities.
Like a journalist organizing a first paragraph, Frost’s mind tried to sequence the Who What, When, Where, Why, and How leading up to the present. The answers to his questions floated just beyond his grasp. A tentative movement of his head sent a shaft of lightning through his eyeballs. No fast head motions he told himself. He closed his eyes to rest them. The last images etched onto the back of his eyeballs were of bottles and racks and casks. He slipped into a state somewhat approaching sleep.
His memory slowly gathered enough hints to put him back on the ground of the piney woods. He recalled James Fenimore Cooper’s “a twig snapped”. How did high school English Lit enter the picture he wondered?  That querulous memory was suddenly replaced by another recollection of a blow to the back of his skull and a swan dive into a black pool of needles and the scent of pine. And now he found himself still smelling the ground, but lying on slate.
His shoulder signaled shrilly from beneath his body. He rolled from his side to his stomach, arching on his forehead and knees to ease his position on the hard floor. The pressure on his forehead opened the Paris doctor’s fine stitching in his eyebrow. Blood seeped out of the open wound joining the droplet pattern on the slate floor started by other facial contusions. His feet were bound and his hands were tied behind his back. The ropes were tightly tied. He felt nothing in his hands. They were numb. Hunks of useless appendage. His fingers might as well have been on vacation. They did not respond to his call to action
A flash of light seared his eyes as a door was flung open. The beat of boots on the floor reverberated in his head. He shut his eyes and pretended he was still out. Large hands grabbed his elbows and hauled him up. Relaxing his body as loosely as possible, Frost opened his eyes a very narrow crack. In the dim light, he could make out denim-covered knees. Then a leather vests came into view. A 1%-er patch scrolled down past his slitted eyelids as he was hoisted semi-erect. A biker. Then a huge hand grabbed his whole face and bent his head backwards with a violent twisting motion. He found himself staring into a pair of black marbles. They were surrounded by wrinkled, bluish, red-veined skin. The wind-burned face of the biker was wreathed in short, black hair and a beard. The nose appeared to have been broken in two different directions multiple times. Black hairs bristled from nostrils.
“Wake up, asshole,” the biker’s rasping voice commanded. Bad breath accompanied the command. And the bad breath was accompanied by a backhand thrash across the left side of his face. He shook his head to fight off the pain bounding around inside his head like a jack rabbit trying to outrun a coyote. Christ, he thought, if I ever get out of here, I’m coming right back to deliver some righteous damage to this guy.
At the moment, all he could offer in the way of conversation was a murmured “Uh huh?” He was flung onto a chair. Then hands lifted his arms high behind him and over the back of the chair. By now, Frost’s eye had cleared enough to pan the room through squinting eyes. There were rows of racks filled with bottles of wine. The rows ended at a white-washed wall. A stairway led up to what must have been a ground level delivery door. He was seated in a chair in the middle of a wine cellar in a space that had been cleared of a wooden table now lying on its side against a wall.
“Now fuck-head. Let’s find out what you were doing spying on us.” This statement of the meeting’s objectives was followed by another “wake up and pay attention” slap across Frost’s face.”Talk or we’ll avoid this whole mess by stuffing you into one of the casks and let you age for a year or so. Clear? Answer me, asshole! What were you doing and why?”
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
Not the killing, although a little delicious chill might be normal and for my genre a good thing. What I really hope is that a character will stick with them. I’ve had readers ask if Wrath will be back, despite the fact he went off a three hundred foot high cliff on a motorcycle onto rocks and the ocean below, I never say that he dies. They want to know if the homeless Brown Man, the witness to the kidnapping of Caleb’s sister, Rebecca, will be back.
Someone spoke fondly of the gang member, Creek. I wonder about that person.
Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
Two issues came up. One was how would someone react to the fact that their parents were brutally murdered by an assassin. How would he seek retribution?
And in doing so, how would he change and react?
The smuggling of heroin into the United States led to think about China White, the street name for some heroin, and that evolved into the Chinese wanna-be warlord, Zhou Jing who wrapped his heroin in red plastic—China Red! A street name.
Those two concepts plus what I read about the persecution of the Uighers, a Muslim ethnic group which arrived in western China one thousand years ago. The Chinese are trying to suppress them and oust them today. It is in the news today, although I got onto it three years ago when nobody in the US was aware of what was happening to the Uighers.
My publisher asked if the book would anger anyone. I told him, no, only China.
Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
I have had seven or eight mentors, plus a couple of readers who have contributed. Any writer who does not have a Writing Group to critique his WIP is definitely missing the boat. A friend, currently working on her fourteenth book, told me that she still attends a writing group and couldn’t do it without them.
It would have been impossible for me to accomplish what I did without the backing, the shepherding really, of my group. They are all published authors; they have been there and back. Their knowledge of writing was a huge education. They all were writing in different genres, but mainly fiction.
One writes historical fiction. Another writes short stories and science fiction. A third wrote a book about the evolution of mankind as seen through the growth of cities plus several mysteries and think pieces, and a couple are writing fictionalized memoirs. Four are or were associated with universities. One is a psychologist. Another is an editor.
We meet every other week for six hours listening to and giving critiques. Then we go out to dinner for another couple of hours and the conversation and enthusiasm never stops.
Aside from my family, they are the most important people in my life.
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 have approximately three hundred books in my library at home. Just about all of them are in the thriller-mystery-crime genre. It is what I read . . . when I’m not writing. I try very hard to avoid even seeming to copy anything from the authors I read. My murders and my assassins are unique.
James Crumley, George Pelecanos, Walter Mosley, and Ian Rankin have influenced my voice I think. There is rhythm in their writing and I try to have a pace to my words and sentences. Crumley in particular had attitude. I try for it.

ABOUT RALPH SANBORN

Ralph Sanborn was raised in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and earned a degree in psychology from St. Lawrence University. He has lived in several different countries and worked in a variety of manufacturing and software enterprise marketing capacities. He currently lives in Northern California with his wife, Susan, and their two dogs.

  • Share/Bookmark

Interview with Natsuya Uesugi, author of grydscaen

ABOUT GRYDSCAEN

grydscaenTitle: grydscaen

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Natsuya Uesugi

Publisher: Xlibris

EBook: 288 pages

Release Date: July 21, 2011

Follow the lives of the main characters as they come together in the backstory to grydscaen:retribution, the first volume of the grydscaen saga. Faid is tired of life on the run in the Echelons, trying to keep his psychic power in check, he founds the Packrats establishing a safe haven for psychics. As a hacker he uses his jack to support his neurocyne habit. Lino is recruited by the Psi Faction and is sent on a mission to kidnap Faid. Riuho, Lino’s half brother becomes a prisoner of the Elite military and they experiment on him, train him and subject him to mind control, then send him out on a mission. On his return, Riuho is set on escaping and recruits Faid who hacks into the Psi Faction systems. They escape and return to the Packrats leading up to the start of grydscaen:retribution.

Xlibris

Question1: What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The grydscaen series is an epic. The hardest part of writing is keeping the entire grydscaen world together which includes warring factions, governments, nation states, political parties and corporations. The world is vast and the affiliations are deep. That took a little bit of doing to keep it together. Also grydscaen: beginnings was not the first book written or released in the grydscaen saga. I went back and wrote beginnings after I had written a few books. The characters grew with the story and I had to bring them “back home” to write beginnings because technically it is the very start of the series.
Question2: Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?
From Chapter 9 of grydscaen: beginnings
Faid stood in the center of the street, he sent a psi shock wave down the street after the target. The target evaded the blast and it slammed into another building and blew up the wall. The target psychic vanished. Another person materialized and ran up on Faid and held him in place. Faid tried to shove him off but the guy was anchoring him there, he couldn’t teleport. The initial target appeared in front of Faid. They were ganging up on him, he was outnumbered. A third person appeared. These were the three Faid was after. He didn’t know how he was going to get out of this. The initial target walked up to Faid and looked him directly in the eyes and sent *Die!*
It was a block command. Faid felt his body respond. He started to feel a pain in his head. He had to stop the command from taking hold of him. He bore down with all his strength and closed his eyes and blew the area. He vaporized the targets and the buildings surrounding him for a half mile radius. When he opened his eyes, his attackers were gone, the block command was no longer in control of him and there were dead bodies in the street. A bloodied arm fell out of the air and dropped in front of him. He backed up from it.
“What did I do….” Faid trailed off and just stared out into the devastation.
Question3: What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
I hope readers will take a look at themselves and look at where they stand and what their belief systems are. Take an inventory and see that the world is not black and white there are many perspectives on things. Just like in grydscaen the Packrat hackers can be cyber terrorists or freedom fighters it all depends on your perspective.
Question4: Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
This book is inspired by technology. I am a systems analyst and I work with computers and technology every day. I think the advances in technology have inspired me. When I originally came up with the grydscaen idea I was in the 9th grade and my parents were computer programmers talking about code, mainframes and technology at the dinner table. This inspired me then and it still inspires me now what we can do with technology. The tech in the books comes from my life of IT.
Question5: Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
I don’t really have a mentor. When I was a junior in college there was a priest/monk who inspired me to write my college essays and I got into the Ivy League school I ended up graduating from.  I think he was the closest thing to a mentor that I could have, he taught me to read books from authors like C. S. Lewis which is both theology and fantasy, science at the same time. I think this had some influence. I wanted to be a priest for the longest time and I think the Prophet religion that the psychics follow in the grydscaen books was ultimately inspired by this monk. Then there was also my piano teacher. I studied piano for a long time and loved playing music, the bands I write about in grydscaen, Athens and Painbox and Pilot26 are all coming from my love of music and the music teachers that inspired me to be creative and strive for perfection in my music which also carries through in my writing.
Question6: 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?
Yes I have heard that. I read different things including manga, graphic novels and comic books as well as novels. I mostly try to read science fiction. I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was in high school. I tend to want to read things that make me think.
  • Share/Bookmark

Interview with authors Catherine Hemmerling and Joan Avery


Title:
Tempting Her Reluctant Viscount
Author: Catherine Hemmerling
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Pages: 225
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook

A pretend courtship…a real scandal

London 1814

Hope Stuckeley has lusted after the handsome and charismatic Michael Ashmore, the Viscount Lichfield, for ages—never mind that she’s never actually spoken to him. When the two join forces to investigate a London stock market scandal, pretending he is courting her gives her the chance to prove she’s more than the bookworm he takes her for.

After years of service as a soldier and newly titled as a viscount, actual marriage and settling down are the last things on confirmed bachelor Michael’s mind. But when their investigation puts the delectable Hope in danger, discovering the truth about the scandal could jeopardize the future he didn’t know he wanted.

For More Information

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 guess I have always had stories bouncing around in my head. Every now and then I would try to write them down as books, but I either never finished them or they became short stories. Then the idea foe Lady Lancaster hit me and I couldn’t shake it. So, I started writing. It turned into a full-fledged, honest-to-goodness book! I was floored, excited, and eager to write another one. The rest, as they say, is history … and romance … and mystery!

Is this your first book?

This is the third book in my series (my first and only series thus far), but I wrote it and the others to be read as stand-alones, in case someone hasn’t read the others.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

It was surprisingly fast. I expected the journey to take years, but I lucked out on finding a fantastic agent pretty early on. She really did the hard part by finding a great publisher. Having been a technical writer for most of my career, I found the editing portion of the process relatively easy. I have a great editor and we work well together. Lots of give and take until the final book comes out.

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

It’s not for the over-sensitive. An editor’s job is to help you get your book to the best, most SELLABLE, place it can be. That means edits, cuts, re-writes. As much as your book can feel like your baby, you need to be willing to make changes to it for the greater good.

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

Not a thing. I only wish I had done it sooner.

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

My agent, Kathy Green. She is and always will be the best agent in the world, in my opinion.

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

Don’t give up. Finish your book(s). Buy the current Guide to Literary Agents. And have fun!

Catherine Hemmerling has spent most of her career as a technical writer in the software industry, but in the last few years has realized her dream of becoming a novelist. Every day she pinches herself to make sure her new life is real. Living with her family in the hills of southern California, Ms. Hemmerling spends her days devising plot twists, agonizing over titles, and making a lot of new imaginary friends; and loves it.

Her latest book is the historical romance, Tempting the Reluctant Viscount.

For More Information

Title: Love’s Justice
Author: Joan Avery
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Pages: 215
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook

He holds her fate in his hands…

London, 1879

American heiress, Victoria Wentworth has spent her life blithely ignoring her father’s wishes…until he enters her into an unwanted marriage contract with a despicable man. She has two choices: marry the bounder or fight the archaic English laws in court. Her only hope is Hugh Worth, the Earl Montgomery and Lord Chancellor of the Exchequer: her judge and jury. Society paints him as stern and subdued, yet fair. Society didn’t warn her that beneath his somber façade beats a passionate heart and soul.

Hugh finds himself irresistibly, inexplicably, drawn to the spirited American, despite himself and his better judgment. As the inconvenient heiress takes on the fight against the very foundation of his life and career, another battle wages in his once cold heart. Everything about her is inappropriate, illogical, and unexpected. Yet, she is a woman he could admire. A woman of intelligence and beliefs that challenge the existing world.

But she is forbidden.

For More Information

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?

Many years ago, I left a very satisfying career as a writer/producer of radio/television commercials for a major advertising agency to stay home with my children full time.  I soon found I needed a creative outlet.  Between changing diapers and feeding hungry little mouths I started my first book.

Is this your first book?

No.  I’ve written both for traditional publishers and epubs.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

I began my journey so long ago that traditional publishing was the only way to go.  With the changing industry I now have self-published my older titles in eBook format and am comfortable with ePublishing in general.

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

Like so many other arenas the publishing industry feels safest when they publish clones of previous successes.  Unfortunately, this means trying to introduce something new or different is very difficult.

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

I don’t think I’d change anything.  It’s been a fascinating journey.

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

I must say that, when I was starting out, I found the RWA (Romance Writers of America) was very helpful in learning the practicalities of publishing.

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

If your first book doesn’t sell put it aside and begin another.  Too many people try to re-work their first attempt and end up getting stuck in a cycle of re-writes from which they never escape.  If the first book didn’t sell try to be objective about criticism you’ve received and incorporate those changes in your next attempt.

Joan Avery was an award-winning writer/producer at a major national advertising agency for over fifteen years before she retired to raise a family and write. Joan has been blessed with a daughter, two sons and two stepsons. She and her husband now have five grandchildren. Although she has lived in the Detroit area her entire life she has traveled extensively for both work and leisure. She and her husband, an attorney, have visited many fascinating parts of the world. Joan feels her travels enrich her writing. THE WORTH BROTHERS TRILOGY takes place in three of her favorite places.

Her latest book is the historical romance, Love’s Justice

For More Information

Don’t miss out on great books from Entangled Publishing – Check out their Steals and Deals!

Catherine and Joan are giving away a $25 and $20 Amazon/B&N Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 2 winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 2 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Share/Bookmark

Interview with Linda Bond, author of Alive at 5 – Win a $25 Amazon/B&N Gift Card!

Title: Alive at 5
Author: Linda Bond
Publisher: Entangled Ignite
Pages: 249
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Ebook

TV news reporter Samantha Steele is one panic attack away from losing her job. Future on the line and cameraman in tow, she follows her mentor on an exhilarating adventure vacation. When he dies while skydiving, her investigative instincts scream “murdered”, and lead her to gorgeous thrill-seeker Zack Hunter.

Zack is an undercover police officer investigating his uncle’s death through the same adventure vacation company. Samantha is a thorn in his side the moment they meet. Not only is she investigating the same case, but the emotionally wounded loner doesn’t want another partner, especially one whose goal is to splash evidence all over the evening news. But Samantha’s persistence is quite a turn-on, and Zack’s overpowering desire makes it harder for him to push her away.

When the killer turns his attention to Zack, Samantha might be the only one who can save him, forcing the anxiety-riddled correspondent to finally face her greatest fear.

For More Information

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’ve been dreaming up characters and conflicts forever. When my step-dad took us hiking, and I got bored, I’d create stories in my head to pass the time. I didn’t actually write any of the stories down until high school. A very busy professional life as a journalist and five kids kept me too busy for years to spend the time required to write a really good book.  But, once I joined our local RWA group (Tampa Area Romance Writers), the desire to write fiction became too strong to ignore. I learned from my fellow writers that it’s important to take the time to learn your craft, so it’s taken years to see Alive at 5 in print.

Is this your first book?

This is my first book, but I’ve already completed two others. Cuba Undercover is based on my own real life love story.  I met my husband while on assignment in Cuba. If you head to www.lindabond.com you can read a synopsis and see pictures from my actual trip. The third book I wrote is a women’s fiction book called Glory, Glory, the Majorettes are 40. It’s a tale of five former college majorettes who meet again after 18 years apart to find they have little in common now. When one of their friends disappears, the others must work together to find her. Each must face their own mid-life crisis before their journey ends and their lost friend is found.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

It’s been a long one. (She smiles as she writes this.) Alive at 5 did well on the RWA contest circuit, so I never gave up on it. What I did was put it down and write two more books. Then, when I picked up Alive at 5 again, I was a better writer, and it sold almost right away.  I pitched it to an Entangled editor at RWA. ( The annual Romance Writer of America’s conference ) She requested it, but passed it on to another Entangled editor. About a year later it’s up on Amazon and for sale.

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

Now that I’ve had a chance to go through the editing process with a publisher, I’m learning how hard those on the other side work too.  I’ve emailed my editors, publicist etc at nine at night because that’s when I have the time to work on my fiction. I usually get an email right back.  We’re all working hard and trying to make a living.  We’re all in this together.

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

It would have happened faster!  LOL No, I believe everything happens for a reason, and Alive at 5 is a faster, better read because of the two editors I worked with at Entangled. Thanks Nina Bruhns and Kate Fall!

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

Well, Nina Bruhns picked me out of her slush pile and said those magic words, “I love your voice.”  And I’ve loved my experience working with Entangled Publishing. But I’ve had many writer friends help me, give me advice and inspire me including Vella Day, Julie Leto and Karen Rose.

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

Don’t give up.  I’ve never been in this for the money. (That’s probably a good thing because I would have starved!) I write because I love it, and I can’t stop.  Write what you love and love what you write.

Author Linda Bond was born in San Francisco, California but spent most of her life in the south, attending middle and high school in Greenville, South Carolina and college at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.

She’s worked as a television news reporter and anchor in Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa, Florida. For the past fifteen years, she’s been a health reporter, sharing important information with viewers on the latest medical breakthroughs and writing emotional, human-interest stories on those who have the courage and spirit to fight for their lives.

She writes every day, under deadline, but has always loved losing herself in a good fiction story. Her love for writing fiction actually started in high school, but a thriving, busy professional life, along with five kids, kept her busy for many years.

Entangled Publishing is releasing her debut romantic adventure, Alive at 5, July 14th 2014.

She has received numerous writing awards in Romance Writer’s of America chapter contests for Alive at 5 and her other manuscripts Cuba Undercover and Glory, Glory the Majorettes are 40.

She has also won 12 Emmy awards, numerous Society of Professional Journalist, and Associated Press awards, as well as a Florida Bar award and Edward R. Murrow award.

This former baton-twirling beauty queen from the Deep South, now lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, adopted son from Cuba, two daughters, and one stubborn Bulldog named Sanford.

Her latest book is the romantic suspense novel, Alive at 5.

For More Information

Linda is giving away a $25 Amazon/B&N Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins July 14 and ends on July 25.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, July 28 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Share/Bookmark

Interview with Lisa Burstein, author of The Possibility of Us


TPoU_1600 (1)Title
: The Possibility of Us
Author: Lisa Burstein
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Pages: 150
Genre: Contemporary
Format: Ebook

One weekend together could change everything…

When her friend called to tell her about the funeral, Cassie wanted to say no. She had enough to handle with her own hollow existence. But she knew she should pay her respects to her old camp counselor…as long as her ex, Ben, wouldn’t be there.

Except Ben is there. Still gorgeous, still angry, and still able to penetrate her defenses with one intense stare. All the reasons they left each other in a flurry of heartache start to fall away over one long, snowy weekend.

But tough Cassie can’t truly open up to Ben when she knows confessing her secrets will leave her raw, defenseless. And the possibility of forever might not be enough to gamble on all the impossibilities of now.

For More Information

Is this your first book?
No it’s my fourth.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?
I started publishing 3 years ago, but my journey started almost fifteen years ago. I received my MFA in Fiction and then wrote my first book, it took me almost five years to get it published. Within that time I had two agents and it was shopped to several publishers.
What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?
Never give up, also anything can happen and anything can change. Also MAKE FRIENDS with people, writers, bloggers, readers, and other authors your support system is everything.
If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?
I would probably want to take the anxiety out of it. So much of being on the other side of being published is filled with worry about how good your book will do, if people will like it. I’d love to have been able to go back and tell myself not to worry because you have many more books to write.
Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?
My agent. My group of friends in “the pit” and most definitely my editor.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Everyone says it, but it’s really true: WRITE, WRITE, WRITE the only way to get better is to practice. I’m still getting better.

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?Is this your first book?

No it’s my fourth.Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? I started publishing 3 years ago, but my journey started almost fifteen years ago. I received my MFA in Fiction and then wrote my first book, it took me almost five years to get it published. Within that time I had two agents and it was shopped to several publishers.

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She is the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever, Dear Cassie and Sneaking Candy. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, The Possibility of Us.

For More Information

  • Visit Lisa Burstein’s website.
  • Connect with Lisa on Facebook.
  • Connect with Lisa on Twitter.

Lisa is giving away 2 Believe in Love or Dwell in Possibility Pendants (US only) and two $15 Amazon gift cards!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Four winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins July 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

:http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/27d80711/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Share/Bookmark

Interview with Michelle McLean, author of Romancing the Rumrunner

RTRR_500Title: Romancing the Rumrunner
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Michelle McLean
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Language: English
Pages: 203
Format: Ebook

Prohibition Era Chicago

She’s worked too hard to be run out of town…

Jessica Harlan spends her nights as The Phoenix, the owner of the most popular speakeasy in town. Her days are spent running her respectable butcher shop and dodging prohibition agents and rival club owners who all want to put her out of business.

He’s worked too hard to let his heart get in the way…

When the opportunity arises to go undercover for the Feds to catch The Phoenix, Gumshoe Anthony Solomon jumps on it. But he never suspected the notorious rumrunner would be a dame – or that he’d be so drawn to the feisty little minx.

They play a dangerous game of cat and mouse, knowing they can’t trust the other, but unable to walk away. While their hearts dodge the crossfire, the mobsters raise the stakes, and even The Phoenix may not rise again.

AMAZONBARNES & 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?

Honestly, I’m not sure :-) I’ve always written stories, even when I was little. My mom saved one I wrote back when I was four :) I always thought it would be amazing to write for a living, but I never thought of it as a viable job option, just as some elusive dream that I’d let go of once I grew up. And one day I just decided to try and get published. Figured I had nothing to lose, but I’d for sure never be published if I never tried. I think I just wanted to see if I could do it :)

Is this your first book?

Romancing the Rumrunner is my seventh book (my sixth novel – I also have a educational NF book out).

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

I queried my first book for probably 2 years (with a million rewrites and resubs in there) and then on a whim wrote a NF book on how to write essays and term papers. I had an agent within a few weeks and a publisher deal within a couple months. But fiction is what I wanted to focus on and my agent only repped NF, so we parted ways and I queried again. I was about to self publish my novel when I thought I’d give it a last ditch effort with a few of the new small publishers who didn’t require an agent. I had two solid offers and a “maybe” within a few weeks. A complete shock since I’d queried that poor book for so long ;-) I chose Entangled and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

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

(In no particular order) 1. It requires a LOT of patience. Everything is hurry up and wait, and wait, and wait some more ;-) 2. When I first started out, I was really intimidated by industry professionals. But editors, agents, and especially other writers are, for the most part, just regular people. Most are genuinely nice and awesomely entertaining. 3. This is a relatively small industry – always be courteous and professional. You never want to burn a bridge you may need to cross someday. 4. There are a lot of distractions that come with this job – marketing, social media, and everything that goes along with publishing can sometimes become too much of a distraction. You’ve got to make sure you aren’t overextending yourself on all the surplus parts of this job to the point where you don’t have time to actually write. Or live your life. It’s really easy to burn out if you get overloaded, so make sure you are taking time for yourself and getting out in the real world to actually live, away from the keyboard ;-)

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

I don’t think I’d change anything. Yes, it would have been incredibly fun to get a huge publishing contract on my first book with less than 10 rejections. But I think having a harder road to success has made me appreciate it all that much more. I spent a lot of very frustrated years writing and querying and getting ohsoclose and then getting rejection upon rejection. But all those years gave me a tough skin, more patience than I thought it would be possible for me to possess, and a greater understanding of how to actually do my job. Not going to lie, there were a lot of years of sweat, tears, and even a little blood (and still are) but every moment of the crazy roller coaster that is this business has helped me learn a valuable lesson and/or helped to make me a better writer.

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

Too many people to name :-) My husband for sure. Without his help, my life would be a lot more difficult. My mom and sister who are my biggest cheerleaders and love everything I write :-) Everyone needs a good cheerleader or two. And my group of close knit friends, who are not only my support group but also an amazingly talented group of writers who both lift my spirits, encourage me when I need it, shred my manuscripts to pieces and then help put them back together again, often over and over again, and without whom I’d be certifiably insane.

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

WRITE! No matter what else is going on in your life or publishing journey, find the time to write. Practice will never make perfect (because there is no such thing) but practice does make publishable ;-)

ABOUT MICHELLE MCLEAN

Romance and non-fiction author Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and Goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, and loves her romance with a hearty side of suspenseful mystery.
When Michelle’s not editing, reading or chasing her kids around, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book. She resides in PA with her husband and two children, an insanely hyper dog, and three very spoiled cats.

TWITTER *FACEBOOK* BLOG*GOODREADS

Don’t miss out on great books from Entangled Publishing – Check out their Steals and Deals!

Michelle is giving away a $25 Amazon/B&N Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins June 9 and ends on June 20.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 21, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Share/Bookmark

Book Excerpt: Semi-Coma: Evolution of My Intermittent Consciousness by Gulten Dye

Title: Semi-Coma: Evolution of My Intermittent Consciousness
Author: Gulten Dye
Publisher: Gulten Dye Publishing Company
Pages: 205
Language: English
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Paperback & eBook

Purchase at AMAZON

This book is about self-discovery and the journey that awakened me to the many facets of life. The road hasn’t always been easy with its tolls and junctions. It’s about my struggle to discover who I really am, what I believe in and how I’ve arrived at a place where I am able to appreciate myself and my surroundings.

Most of my life I lived in a state of arrested consciousness without being aware of it. Then one day out of nowhere my eyes opened just enough for me to question my way of living and my state of mind. That was the day questions started to arrive. They were nothing like the questions I had before. As if they weren’t even questions they were an unraveling string of realizations followed by overwhelming sorrow. How could I have lived my life as if I was in a semi coma and in turn induce my own suffering?

Of course in the beginning of seeing I didn’t realize that my eyes would open slightly from time to time to give me an illusion of happiness, but because I had no idea what true happiness was I would drift back to my state of familiarity. I lived my life mostly on an automatic life-sustaining machine by my body without my mind interfering with it.

It is my hope that the stories I share with you will somehow touch your heart, perhaps crack open a door and shine a light for you to embark on your own quest of self-discovery. I don’t presume to have all the answers; I don’t even know all the questions. At the very least, I am seeking to understand and allow life to happen; learning to take responsibility and ownership of myself and my actions, and appreciating all that is.

Read the chapters, each on its own. As you move through them, you will uncover my intermittent consciousness as I explore my thoughts or beliefs and might be able to even get a glimpse of my evolution along the way.

I am blessed to have had so many people touch my life and, knowingly or unknowingly, helped me on my journey. I have come to realize that because we are all one, that anything I come to know and am willing to share with others affects all of us in a positive way. With great humility, I open up my imperfect, yet perfect, life for you to walk beside me. I am forever grateful and honored.

Book Excerpt:

Clinical rotations started during the second year in nursing school. As you can imagine, after being in school for a year and not even seeing the inside of the hospital other than the morgue, was boring and seemed like a waste of time for a nursing student who chose her profession to be around the patients. Who needs microbiology when you can be in the middle of the action, in the hospital with patients?

Although we had a few boys in our lab technician division, our mostly female boarding school was kind of exciting, especially when we lined up in front of the school bus in our uniforms to go to the hospital. There were thirty-five girls, who were divided into groups of seven in my class. One of the criteria for graduation was that we all had to rotate to every clinic in the hospital over a three-year span.

Nursing student uniforms are definitely different than the all so exotic nurses’ uniforms. Our pale blue, cotton, short sleeved, tent-like dress buttoned all the way up to our chin. We always had to wear white stockings, white shoes and a white cap. We had to put our hair in a bun under our cap and were not allowed to have long nails, make-up or any jewelry.

In the winter, we wore a long, dark blue cape to stay warm. All in all, I think that our uniforms were designed on purpose to make even the most beautiful girl unattractive. But no matter what we were wearing, we all thought we were all that at the time.

First rotations consisted of behind-the-scene things like, diagnostic and research labs, allergy and immunization clinics, and home health. One of my personal favorites was home health. That was when one of our teachers would take us to visit families in mostly lower income neighborhoods. We would teach them about birth control, childcare and the importance of having regular check-ups.

Since they knew of our visit, it was customary in Turkey to “force feed” anyone who dared to pass by your home, and we were always fed delicious food. Our visits were always in the afternoon, and like the English, we love our hot tea, pastries, tea biscuits and cookies.  It was these that we were mostly served. At times, someone would really go out of their way and feed us traditional foods, which were heavenly.

Even with all the food I loved eating, I didn’t want to teach home health. I grew up doing most of that with my mother. She was a midwife nurse, and besides delivering babies, one of her many job descriptions was to teach home health, and I often tagged along with her. My job as a child was to help Mom do all that.

I wanted to go to the hospital where the patients were, or so I thought at the time, anyway. But, then again, those rotations which lasted 3 months were still much more exciting than being stuck in a classroom all day long.

Besides being in the huge university hospital, no matter what clinic we had to go to was beyond anything I had known up to this point. Each clinic was like a small city unto itself, housing several buildings, each several stories high.

There wasn’t a day that went by that I personally didn’t experience or live drama through the stories of other students. Each night after mandatory study sessions, we would gather on our beds and share mind-blowing stories until our mandated bedtime.

  • Share/Bookmark

Book Spotlight: Evolution of My Intermittent Consciousness by Gulten Dye

Title: Semi-Coma: Evolution of My Intermittent Consciousness
Author: Gulten Dye
Publisher: Gulten Dye Publishing Company
Pages: 205
Language: English
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Paperback & eBook

Purchase at AMAZON

This book is about self-discovery and the journey that awakened me to the many facets of life. The road hasn’t always been easy with its tolls and junctions. It’s about my struggle to discover who I really am, what I believe in and how I’ve arrived at a place where I am able to appreciate myself and my surroundings.

Most of my life I lived in a state of arrested consciousness without being aware of it. Then one day out of nowhere my eyes opened just enough for me to question my way of living and my state of mind. That was the day questions started to arrive. They were nothing like the questions I had before. As if they weren’t even questions they were an unraveling string of realizations followed by overwhelming sorrow. How could I have lived my life as if I was in a semi coma and in turn induce my own suffering?

Of course in the beginning of seeing I didn’t realize that my eyes would open slightly from time to time to give me an illusion of happiness, but because I had no idea what true happiness was I would drift back to my state of familiarity. I lived my life mostly on an automatic life-sustaining machine by my body without my mind interfering with it.

It is my hope that the stories I share with you will somehow touch your heart, perhaps crack open a door and shine a light for you to embark on your own quest of self-discovery. I don’t presume to have all the answers; I don’t even know all the questions. At the very least, I am seeking to understand and allow life to happen; learning to take responsibility and ownership of myself and my actions, and appreciating all that is.

Read the chapters, each on its own. As you move through them, you will uncover my intermittent consciousness as I explore my thoughts or beliefs and might be able to even get a glimpse of my evolution along the way.

I am blessed to have had so many people touch my life and, knowingly or unknowingly, helped me on my journey. I have come to realize that because we are all one, that anything I come to know and am willing to share with others affects all of us in a positive way. With great humility, I open up my imperfect, yet perfect, life for you to walk beside me. I am forever grateful and honored.

First Chapter:

Clinical rotations started during the second year in nursing school. As you can imagine, after being in school for a year and not even seeing the inside of the hospital other than the morgue, was boring and seemed like a waste of time for a nursing student who chose her profession to be around the patients. Who needs microbiology when you can be in the middle of the action, in the hospital with patients?

Although we had a few boys in our lab technician division, our mostly female boarding school was kind of exciting, especially when we lined up in front of the school bus in our uniforms to go to the hospital. There were thirty-five girls, who were divided into groups of seven in my class. One of the criteria for graduation was that we all had to rotate to every clinic in the hospital over a three-year span.

Nursing student uniforms are definitely different than the all so exotic nurses’ uniforms. Our pale blue, cotton, short sleeved, tent-like dress buttoned all the way up to our chin. We always had to wear white stockings, white shoes and a white cap. We had to put our hair in a bun under our cap and were not allowed to have long nails, make-up or any jewelry.

In the winter, we wore a long, dark blue cape to stay warm. All in all, I think that our uniforms were designed on purpose to make even the most beautiful girl unattractive. But no matter what we were wearing, we all thought we were all that at the time.

First rotations consisted of behind-the-scene things like, diagnostic and research labs, allergy and immunization clinics, and home health. One of my personal favorites was home health. That was when one of our teachers would take us to visit families in mostly lower income neighborhoods. We would teach them about birth control, childcare and the importance of having regular check-ups.

Since they knew of our visit, it was customary in Turkey to “force feed” anyone who dared to pass by your home, and we were always fed delicious food. Our visits were always in the afternoon, and like the English, we love our hot tea, pastries, tea biscuits and cookies. It was these that we were mostly served. At times, someone would really go out of their way and feed us traditional foods, which were heavenly.

Even with all the food I loved eating, I didn’t want to teach home health. I grew up doing most of that with my mother. She was a midwife nurse, and besides delivering babies, one of her many job descriptions was to teach home health, and I often tagged along with her. My job as a child was to help Mom do all that.

I wanted to go to the hospital where the patients were, or so I thought at the time, anyway. But, then again, those rotations which lasted 3 months were still much more exciting than being stuck in a classroom all day long.

Besides being in the huge university hospital, no matter what clinic we had to go to was beyond anything I had known up to this point. Each clinic was like a small city unto itself, housing several buildings, each several stories high.

There wasn’t a day that went by that I personally didn’t experience or live drama through the stories of other students. Each night after mandatory study sessions, we would gather on our beds and share mind-blowing stories until our mandated bedtime.

Although it did not become clear to me until years later, there was no emotional attachment to the labs, morgues or in teaching home health. Personally, as long as I didn’t come into contact with a patient in human form, it was easier for me to deal with anything that had to do with paperwork.

It felt somewhat unreal to find cancer cells with a microscope in someone’s blood in a lab and then be the one to document on a piece of paper their unfortunate fate. It was as if it were a game, not reality. But it was quite different to hear the news of someone you only met once that he has cancer. No matter how interesting it was to be in the lab and to search for diseased cells, it still wasn’t my cup of tea.

As the rotations continued, I remember moments that had rendered me speechless. One such moment was when I saw a dead body for the first time. It was shocking! It was even more shocking to cut with a blade on a dead body, all in the name of science.

When a patient I got to know passed away, I felt deep grief. Early on, I somewhat understood that getting to know the patients wasn’t a brilliant idea. I don’t think anyone intentionally wanted us to learn any life lessons; rather, overall, going to the clinics was designed to make us mechanical caretakers of the body, and its needs.

But you would have to be dead inside not to be affected by what goes on in human lives in and around the hospitals. I stared straight into the fearful eyes of people who were in intense pain…people who looked at me, deep into my eyes, with a need for compassion. Some even reached to grab my hand to ask for mercy to stop their pain and misery. At the time of its happening, I didn’t pay attention to my real emotions or the attached lessons since I was pretending to be very strong. They surfaced years later.

But, let’s get real! Of course, we were all affected from such a dramatic work place! After those rotations, often a student would drop out of school since it was hard for most to handle such things on a daily basis. Unlike most work places, mine was full of saintly lessons if your heart was wide open. In hospitals, humans are most vulnerable. They willingly or unwillingly must let their guards down, and they have to trust and depend on total strangers. It is very humbling, to say the least. Usually in such a place, ego has to go into its dormant state and, in my opinion, where it should remain for eternity.

In a hospital, human drama in every stage is out in the open for all to witness. Often, after we or someone we know gets critically ill or is dying, we crumble. As students, we crumbled along with the patients and their families to almost the same small pieces under the heavy burden. Witnessing and being a part of human suffering on a daily basis has its difficulties, especially when you are very young. In such an environment, you don’t get to take your time to grow up. You sort of grow up over night.

Not all things that make you grow up in a hospital are considered suffering. In the beginning, there are mostly times of hardship where you get to learn your lesson often under very rough circumstances. Though your fate is being tested on an hourly basis, if you allow it, this is a place you can become saintly after many tears, heartaches and lessons. Even if your heart is too small, you are sort of forced by nature to become more compassionate in your caring for others.

At the end of our required four-year education, which at the time felt like a long, dreaded winter, we completed our metamorphosis beyond any shadow of a doubt, but without the few students who had to drop out. We emerged as beautiful butterflies.

I know and acknowledge the need and the importance of a nurse in human existence. Beyond the ideal glory job, I don’t think there is much glory in nursing. Like anyone else who has had hands-on job training around the critically ill, no one can ever claim they didn’t cry at one time or another.

I remember questioning the existence of God through tears after witnessing the death of a young child with leukemia in the Pediatric Oncology unit. I remember feeling overwhelming sorrow, while watching a person shrivel right before my eyes, after hearing the news of losing a loved one in the emergency room. I remember being crazy afraid to forget to give someone their pain pill and cause them further suffering.

There were a few occasions when the fear I felt was not for someone else, but was for me. Like the time when my teacher locked the door behind me, right after I had entered the male lock-down psychiatric unit. For years, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of being dragged through the long hallways.

In reality, what had happened as soon as she locked the door behind me, a chain-smoking, smelly, male patient grabbed me by my arm and made me walk with him what seemed like an eternity until one of the unit nurses came to my rescue. It’s not that she really cared to rescue me because it wasn’t a secret among students those days in Turkey that while most nurses sat behind their desk and chain-smoked, we had to do all their chores. And believe it or not, in 1987, I even remember smoking in the lounge of a surgery center where I worked in Shreveport, Louisiana. Wow! Imagine that! Thank God, times have changed!

Sometimes, though not nearly enough, there were divine moments where your faith was restored and reminded you of the other side of the coin. Like the times I, along with other students, breathed in and out for long periods and began puffing with the women who were in labor, bringing new life into this world; or when I was the one delivering the news after just learning that after a long, fierce battle that someone was cancer-free, and together through tears of joy, we shared a life-affirming moment.

Although I remember some of those feelings and recall them as my memories, they are now mostly faded like background noise, and only occasionally occupy my mind.

But there is one memory of a moment still as fresh as the day of its happening. In my third year of nursing school, we were given more and more responsibilities, such as working in places like the Burn Care Units, Intensive Care Units and the operating rooms. By this time, I was becoming a cockier, seasoned pro and I knew it. However, it soon became apparent how little I knew. I never will forget the moment when I carelessly walked into one of the rooms in the step- down Intensive Care Unit. I literally felt all my blood draining, rushing out of my body. I froze at the sight of a patient who was in a semi-coma.

There was a young girl in a hospital bed, her body propped up with the help of several pillows. Her head had slipped to its side and was now tilted at an angle. It almost looked as if she were looking down, but had lifted her head halfway to look at you without straightening her body. Her eyes were unnaturally open. After my initial shock wore off, I noticed a large ventilator with a thick, white tube going from the machine to an opening in her neck.

I later learned that she was in her early twenties and had slipped into a coma seven years earlier due to a brutal car accident. She now was in a semi coma, her life being sustained with the help of the external ventilator. For me, the most haunting thing was her eyes.Her eyelids had atrophied due to years of not using them, leaving her eyes exposed. Although her eyes were open, they were empty like someone had sucked the life right out of them, but forgot to do the same thing to her body. She was alive, but without the presence of emotions. There appeared to be no signs of life in her.

After the first day, I somehow got used to her just lying there. Each day, we would care for her with the help of her devoted family. It was like taking care of an infant, but because her body was much larger, it made it harder for us to handle her. It usually took two of us to care for her needs. Besides the usual need to change her diaper, give her a bed bath, comb her hair and brush her teeth, there were added things, like cleaning the tracheotomy site, suctioning her airway, and nourishing her with a feeding tube.

Since her circulation was diminished, we would have to reposition her to prevent bedsores, which were deadly for anyone in her condition. When we turned her and tried to exercise her limbs, she would moan an almost invisible moan. At times, while I massaged her frail body with talc powder, I would think to myself, “Why bother, as if after all these years later, she will wake up and have a life that is worth living?” In my mind, I was thinking since she was not conscious of what was going on around her and could not control her bodily functions, she would not experience feelings nor would she have the ability to interact, experience awareness or make the choice that her life was not worth living.

After I spent two days a week with this girl for several months, I went into her room one day and found the bed empty.

“She must have passed away,” I thought. As I inched my way to the usual hustle of the busy nurse’s station, I was surprised at my conflicting emotions. On one hand, I felt the same emptiness inside of me as I did after the passing of each patient I had come to know. On the other hand, I was happy for her. Her suffering finally had come to an end. Afraid of looking weak, I didn’t want to ask if she had died.

But soon I could not overcome my curiosity as I heard myself asking in a small voice, “Did she die?”

“No,” said one of the nurses. “She went home!”

“She went home?” I repeated back, without being able to hide my shock.

“Yes, she went home.” repeated the nurse before handing me a list of things that had to be done that morning.

Apparently, one day, out of nowhere, she had regained her consciousness. Did that mean that she could now breathe on her own, and have voluntary movements? Did that mean she could now see when she looked? Did that mean she is now like the rest of us in a semi-coma in consciousness only? Her brain might be back to do its job and to take care and help sustain her body, but her state of mind will remain in the state of Intermittent Consciousness.

To tell you the truth, at the time, I was not awake enough to have noticed such thoughts. Not until years later did I have enough clarity to question what it means to wake up after seven years of being in a coma.

From that shocking moment up until now, many years have passed. Along the way, I experienced rare moments of pure joy, as if I could zoom in and see myself and everything around me with such clarity, in great detail. In those rare moments, I felt intense aliveness. I often felt like I could fly! It was as if I were a butterfly, who landed on each and every flower petal to take a closer look. I could smell scents I didn’t even know existed. I not only saw the colors of things, but the depth of the colors themselves. In those fleeting moments, I felt utter contentment, peace and happiness. I didn’t know to question where these feelings of bliss came from or if I had the power to make it happen more often. In my innocent ignorance, I attributed those moments of random happiness to external conditions outside of me because they usually happened during long, intimate moments, while dancing, or after a super long walk in the wilderness.

I thought that the other person or the condition was the cause of my happiness. So when I felt that way, I believed that I was in love with that person and wanted him to give me more of those moments. As for dancing, I went every weekend and danced for four or five hours nonstop. I didn’t understand that when I experienced those moments of joy, even if only for a split second, my overloaded brain stopped thinking and went into a meditative state where all mental chatter ceased. It was only then that I became aware of all the beauty around me. Since I had not heard about Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, or Eckhart Tolle at the time, I went on living my life on an automatic invisible life sustaining machine, wishing for more of those moments.

It took years of mental suffering before I learned the simple truth about living in the present moment. I seldom had moments of clarity. Conscious presence was a rare occurrence for me. Even when I had moments of clarity, I wasn’t aware of them until years later. It would take me years to get to this point of feeling alive and being able to zoom into my inner self, as well as the inner self of all those other beings around me.

There is a real joy of knowing the way to true happiness that doesn’t depend on outer conditions.

Perhaps you will find the story of my Intermittent Consciousness and my search for enlightenment resonate with you, or better yet, start to awaken something within you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Share/Bookmark
Powered by WordPress | Designed by: seo services | Thanks to massage bed, web designers and crest whitening strips