Monday, December 27, 2010

Garasamo Maccagnone , St. John of the Midfield, Virtual Tour

Tour Schedule
Writers in the Sky authors' assistant, Vonnie Faroqui, invites readers to join WITS for a virtual tour celebrating Garasamo Maccagnone's release of St. John of the Midfield.

St. John of the Midfield, virtual tour begins on December 16, 2010, and runs through Christmas day, December 25, 2010, with every stop offering unique content.

December 16, 2010, Day one of the tour will be hosted by Irene Watson, of Blogging Authors, at www.bloggingauthors.com. Blogging Authors will host an author written article, "Prodigy Syndrome." Follow this blogger on Twitter: @bloggingauthors.

December 17, 2010, Day two, host Karen Pierce Gonzalez of Folkheart Press, http://folkheartpressblog.blogspot.com hosts a Q&A written interview. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @folkheartpress

December 18, 2010, Day three,  Dallas Woodburn of http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com hosts an article about using YouTube for promotions and the book trailer for St. John of the Midfield. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @DallasWoodburn.

December 19, 2010, Day four, Vonnie Faroqui will post a review of St. John of the Midfield, at her blog  http://inkslingerswhimsey.blogspot.com/. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @inkslngrswhmz

December 20, 2010, Day five, Garasamo Maccagnone will be joining Suzanne Lieurance, of The Working Writer's Coach, for a podcast interview you won't want to miss. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @WritersCoach

December 21, 2010, Day six, Carolyn Howard-Johnson of The New Book Review will host a Midfield review written by Irfan Faroqui. Follow this blog on Twitter: @frugalbookpromo

December 22, 2010, Day seven, Lisa Jackson hosts a Q&A written interview with Garasamo Maccagnone at http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @lisajjackson

December 23, 2010, Day eight, Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz will host an excerpt from the book and a Q&A written interview at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @pennyehrenkranz

December 24, 2010, Day nine of the tour visits Writers In The Sky Podcast , for an author interview between Garasamo Maccagnone and virtual tour manager Vonnie Faroqui. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @writersinthesky

December 25,2010, Merry Christmas! We have a special bonus stop for everyone who has followed Garasamo’s tour.
Vonnie Faroqui, http://inkslingerswhimsey.blogspot.com,
offers a review of, For the Love of St. Nick, a Christmas short story written by Garasamo Maccagnone. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @inkslngrswhmz

Saturday, December 25, 2010

For the Love of St. Nick

Merry Christmas!

I have a special bonus treat for everyone that has been following Garasamo Maccagnone's St. John of the Midfield virtual tour. I had intended to post my review of For the Love of St. Nick, a Christmas story by Garasamo Maccagnone. Instead, I have been moved by Mac's story, to dedicate this post to the men and women of the US Armed forces at home and abroad, by sharing an excerpt from the book.

Told from a narrative perspective by the oldest of two sons, For the love of St. Nick is a story of faith and love that is perfect for Christmas. Garasamo once again captures the experience and joy of childhood in this moving story of brotherly love and faith.  I was transported to Christmas past, Michigan winters, childhood fears and faith.


Author: Garasamo Maccagnone

Book Title: For the Love of St. Nick
ISBN-10: 1439210128
ISBN-13: 978-1439210123
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (October 7, 2008)
Link to purchase

Synopsis:
Two boys who have lost their mother tragically, worry they'll never see their father,a Naval Commander, after he embarks on a secret mission with the United States military.


For the Love of St. Nick, Excerpt: Page 31-33

Before we could go, all the men insisted we make snow angels in the clearing. That's when Lieutenant Morrison told the group, "Make em big so we can see em from the sky. It's the first thing we'll look for when we return." While the men weren't paying attention to us, Lieutenant Morrison leaned over on his side and waited for Johnny and me to finish making our angels.


"Boys, boys," he said twice in order to get our attention. Johnny and I popped up to see what he wanted to say to us. Lieutenant Morrison bit his lip, then spoke to us. "I'm bringing him home to you. Don't worry. He'll be home before Christmas I promise."


"You promise?" I asked.


"Scouts honor?" Johnny inquisitively asked.


"Yes, yes, scouts honor."


"How will we know he's close?"


"I'll send you a signal."


"What kind of signal?"


"I'm going to buzz your cabin."


"What does that mean?"


Lieutenant Morrison turned back to see if the other men were listening. Realizing they were not, he turned back to us and said, "You"ll know when he's near. I'm going to fly so low, it'll sound like a freight train coming through the middle of your cabin."


"Pinky promise?" Johnny asked. Lieutenant Morrison put out his pinky. The three of us joined our pinky fingers in a deal-making pact.


"Pinky promise. You boys got a deal," said Lieutenant Morrison.

**************

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Writing From Experience

Today Ink Slinger's Whimsey would like to welcome guest blogger, author Rowena Portch.  Rowena has recently published book two in her Spirian Series, The Union.  Both book one and two of Rowena's paranormal romance series were published in 2010, with book one of the series, The Protected, receiving the Readers Favorite 2010, silver medal for general fiction. The Spirian Series has captured the attention of  reading groups and is garnering positive attention and feedback from reviewers across the country. Take it away Ro . . .



Writing From Experience

By Rowena Portch                 
(Photo of Greg and Rowena Portch Right)

When I explored writing over 30 years ago, a speaker I had listened to mentioned something about writing from experience. At that time, during my younger years, his profound bit of knowledge didn’t really stick. Years later, however, I decided to write about the odd set of circumstances that culminated my life. My memoir, “This is Not the Life I Ordered!” was born.

It was a two-year project comprised of anecdotes, and quotes I had conjured over the years. Though the stories were good, there was nothing to really tie them together; nothing to entice anyone to want to read them. My imagination kicked into high gear, and in three months, my memoir turned into a three-book series about a race of gifted beings called Spirians.

The challenge came with writing from the perspective of a blind massage therapist. Skye Taylor, the woman portraying me, was legally blind. Like me, she was not completely blind. She could still see shapes and some detail providing there was enough light. To keep the story interesting and descriptive, I had to draw upon my memories of what things looked like when I had good vision. Like Skye, most of what I see is in the form of energy, or vibrations that radiate from everything, even rocks and furniture. Describing objects the way that I actually see them would confuse the reader. Hence, I had to translate my experience to match those that a sighted person would recognize.

Many of the events that happen to Skye, happened to me in one form or another. For example, when Skye is in the hospital, she is visited by a mysterious man that leaves her with the gift to heal. This is an actual event. The part where the Shadow woman injects her with a tracking chip was fiction. It was a necessary element to stimulate a sense of danger. This is what keeps readers hooked.

Too many writers try to write about something that they have researched, or have written a story that they have always wanted to read but could never find. All of this is good, but if the personal experience is lacking, it will show in the story. To demonstrate this point, try writing about something you have heard about but have never experienced. Now, write about something that you have experienced. If you put full effort into this exercise, you will notice that one piece of writing lacks passion. The other shows emotion and heart, because the experience is a part of you.

Try this—the next time you go to a coffee shop, write about the people you observe, their displayed emotions, their body language, tone of voice, and appearance. Don’t forget to include your senses. What do you smell, hear, taste, feel? Now, take that short segment and see how you can weave your experience into a fascinating story. Make it short and sweet as if you were recounting your experience to a friend. The more you practice this, the more observant you will become to your surroundings. As a result, your writing will be stronger and much more believable to your readers.

By combining real-life experiences, and weaving them in with a good measure of fiction, what is revealed is a believable story that will keep your readers’ attention and make them yearn for more.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Welcome to Day Four of the St. John of the Midfield Virtual Tour

Happy Holidays!
I especially want to offer a warm welcome to the followers of the St. John of the Midfield virtual tour and author Garasamo Maccagnone.

This is day four of Mac's virtual tour and if you haven't had a chance to visit the other stops you really need to go check them out. Every stop is unique and well worth the click.

Midfield Tour Schedule   

And now. . .
It is my distinct pleasure to present to you, St. John of the Midfield, a review . . . by me, Vonnie Faroqui.

Photo right: Author Garasamo Maccagnone


Author: Garasamo Maccagnone
Book Title: St. John of the Midfield
Genre: Sports Fiction - Adult
ISBN-10: 1608607925
ISBN-13: 978-1608607921
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Author Site:  http://garasamomaccagnone.com/

Link to purchase 


Reviewed by: Vonnie Faroqui for WITS





St. John of the Midfield Scores!

The saying goes “Sometimes in soccer you have to score goals.” Well Mac, you did it. St John of the Midfield is in the net.

Garasamo Maccagnone, is one of the best authors I have ever read. He has a talent that is remarkable and St. John of the Midfield doesn’t disappoint.

I think what I like best about Mac’s writing and St. John of the Midfield in particular, is that it is so . . . manly. There is nothing flat, politically correct or whitewashed about a Maccagnone story. He writes with depth and raw humanity. I like being in the head of his characters. As alien as the male perspective is for me, the realism is comfortingly honest. I don’t feel lied to.

It doesn’t matter that the story line might be shocking or disconcertingly painful, the characters and situations ring with truth. I laugh with the Santini Brothers in the kitchen as they tease their boy, Luca. I see Frankie call out and Mario shadowbox the dance of the heavyweights. Later, I feel Mario’s guilt and fear. I believe in Bobo. I suffer with Mario and I rage with Frankie.

Garasamo Maccagnone writes life into his stories; from the littlest observation –the waitress “with rugged facial skin like the underbelly of a rhino,—“to the bigger issues of ego gratification, responsibility and ethics. Mac writes it all in, Life and all of its dirty, selfish, poignant, angry, triumphant, beautiful, heartbreaking confusion, and he does it again with St. John of the Midfield.

This book is easily finished in one sitting, it is that good. I recommend it as a great gift for the reading men in your life, husbands, fathers, brothers, grown sons, and nephews. Women will love it too. One thing is for certain, you will never forget the character of Bobo, the true St. John of the Midfield.

Synopsis
St John of the Midfield
World-class soccer star Bobo Stoikov makes an escape from communist Bulgaria and finds his way to America. Landing a job as a youth soccer coach, Bobo builds a reputation for himself as a successful, yet unorthodox, coach who propels his team to the championship title. But things go far beyond the soccer field when arch rival Sonny Christopher seeks to destroy Bobo's reputation, along with that of his best player and the player's father, Mario. Before he realizes how serious the situation is, Bobo finds himself in sudden death and soon realizes there is more at stake than just a soccer game.

Next Tour Stop . . .

December 20, 2010, Day five, Garasamo Maccagnone will be joining Suzanne Lieurance, of The Working Writer's Coach, for a podcast interview you won't want to miss. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @WritersCoach


Friday, December 17, 2010

Claudy Is Back! Out of Retirement and Hitting the Paranormal Romance Scene

Author of 40 top selling romances, Claudy Conn, comes out of retirement after nine years to present her latest book, Spellbound - Legend.

This is the first paranormal romance she’s written but it is just the beginning. “What I have done is outlined my series in my head. Each installment will have a new heroine and hero with circumstances that will develop for them alone. The ongoing story will evolve through each of them. Important secondary characters will take part in all of the books.”

Claudy continues by sharing that “Writing is a must for me. Inspiration comes from everything, but especially from my hot Irish husband, our incredible daughter and her handsome husband.”

Claudy brings a wealth of writing experience, talks about eBook publishing, and romancing the book industry.


Click Play to listen . . . 



MP3 File



Visit the author's site at http://www.claudyconn.embarqspace.com/ to purchase your eBook today.












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Thursday, December 16, 2010

St. John of the Midfield, virtual tour begins TODAY!

St. John of the Midfield, virtual tour begins on December 16, 2010, and runs through Christmas day, December 25, 2010, with every stop offering unique content.

Author: Garasamo Maccagnone
Book Title: St. John of the Midfield 
Genre: Sports Fiction - Adult
ISBN-10: 1608607925
ISBN-13: 978-1608607921
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Release Date: November 2010
Tour Date: December 16-25, 2010
Link to purchase

Garasamo Maccagnone has enjoyed writing since the age of sixteen. He is inspired by the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, and Jack London, and is currently working on his next book, The Fish and the Fox. Garasamo has owned a soccer club and coached and trained players for over twenty years. He lives with his wife, Vicki, and his three children, Garrett, Anthony and Sophia, in Shelby Township, Michigan, where his daughter plays soccer for the Michigan Gators.

ST John of the Midfield . . .
World-class soccer star Bobo Stoikov makes an escape from communist Bulgaria and finds his way to America. Landing a job as a youth soccer coach, Bobo builds a reputation for himself as a successful, yet unorthodox, coach who propels his team to the championship title. But things go far beyond the soccer field when arch rival Sonny Christopher seeks to destroy Bobo's reputation, along with that of his best player and the player's father, Mario. Before he realizes how serious the situation is, Bobo finds himself in sudden death and soon realizes there is more at stake than just a soccer game.

Link to Tour Schedule

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Promotion TIPS: Be A Guest

For Promotions there is no doubt that the Internet is the strongest place to market your product, in this case . . . your books.
There are a few online publicity tricks you can employ that will strengthen your marketing strategy and assist in elevating your site page ranking, self and your book in keyword searches with Google, Yahoo and others.

  • Become a blogging author
  • Become a commenting author at the sites of others
  • Become a guest blogger for an established blog or site
If you aren't interested in becoming a blogging author or in maintaining your own blog the other options are still open to you. Maintaining a blog however does open avenues and opportunities for promotions that shouldn't be passed up without serious consideration.

Each of these options will provide an opportunity for your byline and URL to be placed in front of potential readers and will create important cross and back links to other sites; which is important when you are seeking to improve your page ranking with search engines or when building toward monetizing your site.
Each of these options will also help establish your name and credibility as an expert or established author and will place your work in front of readers, providing sales opportunities; and all three are available and FREE ways to publicize your books.

Join me as a guest blogger
  • Blog about your current or past projects
  • Blog on your chosen theme
  • Submit an excerpt from your book
  • Send me your book trailer
  • Join our network of virtual tour blog hosts
  • Invite me to be a host for the virtual tour you are organizing
I am happy to be there for you.

Contact Vonnie Faroqui for information about being a guest blogger with http://inkslingerswhimsey.blogspot.com or at one of the Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services' blogs.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Spellbound - Legend: A Review

Have I got a treat for you!

Spellbound – Legend is "Smokin’ HOT!"


Book Title: Spellbound - Legend
Author: Claudy Conn
EBook ISBN: 978-1-59705-390-7
Paper ISBN: 978-1-59705-595-6
Publisher: Wings Press
Link to purchase
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui for WITS


After a nine year hiatus [we won’t call it retirement,] Claudy Conn returns to the world of romance fiction writing with Spellbound – Legend. You might remember the author as Claudette Williams and think of her regency and historical romances. Claudy wrote over 40 mass market bestsellers in that field using the pen names Claudette Williams and Melanie Davis for Fawcett, Zebra and Doubleday book club. Claudy Conn is back and writing with a vengeance to bring us her first paranormal romance.

Make no mistake this is top notch romance writing and Claudy embraces the paranormal aspects of her story with obvious enjoyment and ease. Paranormal and fantasy fictions are my absolute favorite reads and she has made the switch seem effortless. She has nailed the genre as if she was born to write it. No disrespect intended toward the historical and regency set . . . I cut my reading chops on those romances.

Spellbound – Legend is a masterfully written tale that pits a contemporary young woman against ancient forces. Maxie Reigate descends from a long line of Druid priests and priestesses. She’s always been aware of the family legend but what she doesn’t know is that her fate is tied into the world of the Tuatha Dé, the fairy people, also known as the Fae, who are at the heart of Irish Myth and folklore. The wall of power, set up to protect and separate the world of man from the Fae, is in danger of collapse; there is a blood sucking, evil and ancient beauty that wants her dead; the hero of her family’s legend, Julian, the High Druid Priest is about to wake up after a two hundred year coma and walk into her life; and then there is a Fae Prince who wants to protect and keep her for his own. There is danger at every turn and enough sexual tension to launch an arrow.

Talk about steam . . . Spellbound – Legend has all the elements needed to get your heart racing and in a good way. Claudy Conn has stepped onto the stage of paranormal romance writing and is going to give Harris, Hamilton, and Feehan a fight for their audiences. Conn is a master story teller returned to give us more of what we want. I don't know which is hotter Breslyn, Prince of Dagda or Julian of Talbot?! I am so conflicted! Best of all, Spellbound is just the beginning of an incredible new series.



Visit the authors site at http://www.claudyconn.embarqspace.com/

Saturday, December 11, 2010

St. John of the Midfield Virtual Tour Announcement

Writers in the Sky authors' assistant, Vonnie Faroqui, invites readers to join WITS for a virtual tour celebrating Garasamo Maccagnone's release of St. John of the Midfield.

Tour Schedule


St. John of the Midfield, virtual tour begins on December 16, 2010, and runs through Christmas day, December 25, 2010, with every stop offering unique content.

December 16, 2010, Day one of the tour will be hosted by Irene Watson, of Blogging Authors, at www.bloggingauthors.com. Blogging Authors will host an author written article, "Prodigy Syndrome." Follow this blogger on Twitter: @bloggingauthors.

December 17, 2010, Day two, host Karen Pierce Gonzalez of Folkheart Press, http://folkheartpressblog.blogspot.com hosts a Q&A written interview. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @folkheartpress

December 18, 2010, Day three,  Dallas Woodburn of http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com hosts an article about using YouTube for promotions and the book trailer for St. John of the Midfield. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @DallasWoodburn.

December 19, 2010, Day four, Vonnie Faroqui will post a review of St. John of the Midfield, at her blog  http://inkslingerswhimsey.blogspot.com/. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @inkslngrswhmz

December 20, 2010, Day five, Garasamo Maccagnone will be joining Suzanne Lieurance, of The Working Writer's Coach, for a podcast interview you won't want to miss. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @WritersCoach

December 21, 2010, Day six, Carolyn Howard-Johnson of The New Book Review will host a Midfield review written by Irfan Faroqui. Follow this blog on Twitter: @frugalbookpromo

December 22, 2010, Day seven, Lisa Jackson hosts a Q&A written interview with Garasamo Maccagnone at http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @lisajjackson

December 23, 2010, Day eight, Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz will host an excerpt from the book and a Q&A written interview at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @pennyehrenkranz

December 24, 2010, Day nine of the tour visits Writers In The Sky Podcast , for an author interview between Garasamo Maccagnone and virtual tour manager Vonnie Faroqui. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @writersinthesky

December 25,2010, Merry Christmas! We have a special bonus stop for everyone who has followed Garasamo’s tour.
Vonnie Faroqui, http://inkslingerswhimsey.blogspot.com,
offers an excerpt from, For the Love of St. Nick, a Christmas short story written by Garasamo Maccagnone. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @inkslngrswhmz

Friday, December 10, 2010

Inside Murder: An Interview with Author Olivia Rodan Jacobs About The Poisoner's Agenda

WITS host Vonnie Faroqui and author Olivia Rodan Jacobs talk in depth about writing of Jacobs's novel, The Poisoner's Agenda.


From the Author:

I am not now nor have I ever been a spy! But it's fun to write a who-done-it, a thriller. Why set the story in Israel? What an exciting place! Besides, I've studied, visited, and "bummed around" Israel enough that I could picture all the places I wrote about. But how could I (not a spy!) write a mystery involving espionage? Well, my cousin was a real life spy, and then there's all those international intrigue mysteries I've read... To be candid, the "story" of THE POISONER'S AGENDA sprang full-blown from a careening imagination.






Click Play to Listen . . .



MP3 File

http://www.thepoisonersagenda.com/




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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Promoting Your Book

I wrote this article for the WITS Fabulous Friday Newsletter several weeks back and am only now getting around to publishing it here on my blog. I hope you find it useful.

Promoting Your Book Using YouTube

The era of publishers marketing books for authors is gone. Traditional publishing houses are no longer flush with funds and are not willing or able to promote the majority of the books they publish. If you are a self-published author you have always been responsible for marketing your books. Publishers, both independent and conventional, are increasingly advising authors to promote themselves online using virtual blog tours, podcast interviews, book trailers, and through the popular Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube social networking sites. The difficulty arises in knowing how to use these tools. Unless you are a teenager or surfing the Internet has become a major part of your life, you may not see all the marketing opportunities. You probably don’t know what to do, where to go, or understand how to integrate social networking into your marketing strategy as a means of redirecting internet traffic to your author home page, where readers can buy your book.

Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services [WITS] offers authors assistance with promotions, including consultation and management for a growing number of social network marketing strategies. This week we would like to highlight one aspect of social networking that will help you bring your book to the world market of YouTube.

YouTube was founded in February 2005 and has risen to become the world's most popular online video community. YouTube allows “. . . millions of people to discover, watch, and share originally-created videos.” It does this by allowing “. . . people to easily upload and share video clips on www.YouTube.com and across the Internet through Web sites, mobile devices, blogs, and e-mail.”

If you are not familiar with the Internet jargon . . .

YouTubing: is surfing the wave of Internet video posting.
YouTuber: is one who surfs the YouTube wave.

There are an estimated 30 million new video posts uploaded to YouTube every day from across the globe, in every language, with YouTube currently reporting “. . . 2 billion videos viewed a day [and a] . . . user base age range of 18-55, evenly divided between males and females, and spanning all geographies. Fifty-one percent . . . of users go to YouTube weekly or more often, and 52 percent of 18-34 year-olds share videos often with friends and colleagues.” ~ http://www.youtube.com/t/about

This is important to authors because the reading audience is hanging out and being entertained on YouTube and we want them to find, buy, and read our books.

What Can I do as an author to benefit from YouTube?

The first thing you need to do as an author is to have fun! Go exploring. Familiarize yourself with what YouTube has to offer. In the beginning you probably won’t have any videos of your own created or you will need to have a way of attracting YouTubers to your video clips. If you are going to attract attention you need to understand what YouTubers are looking for, to be where they are and to do what they are doing.

• Search for videos related to your own interests, e.g. video clips that share your book’s genre or major themes
• Create your own YouTube login account and channel (see WITS’ channel http://www.youtube.com/Writersinthesky)
• Keep your personal YouTube channel separate from your author channel
• Decide on a focus of interest for your author channel, choosing a genre, topics, or themes that relate to your book or that are in harmony with your book’s message
• Create playlists by theme on your channel
• Surf YouTube, using key words to find video clips you like, and begin adding videos to the playlists you’ve created under your chosen themes. By creating a playlist using other people’s videos, you are tapping into and harnessing pre-established searches. This saves time spent building a following and it places your author interview or book trailers where they can be seen.
• Post your author site URL and information through your YouTube channel to redirect traffic where your book is available.
• Use the subscription functions of YouTube to allow others to become a fan of your channel
• Allow followers to make comments. Even negative comments attract viewers and sell books. Google recommends, for increased search engine ratings and site traffic, that you do not monitor or block commenting.
• Become someone else’s fan and make comments on your favorite video posts. Leaving comments will create a back trail or back-link that allows others to find your playlists and video material
• Begin creating your own video vignettes, between 1-3 minutes in length is ideal.
• Have a trailer created for your book.
• Seek out video interview opportunities like those offered by WITS.
• Use video blogging on YouTube to talk about your book or current projects
• Key word tags are used to assist searching for and finding videos. Don’t forget to set up key word tags to any playlists and video clips you create

In this way you can begin to use YouTube to redirect traffic to an author site where your book is available. YouTube is a key component to integrating social networking into a marketing strategy and it isn’t necessary to have videos of your own created in order to begin benefiting.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Poisoner's Agenda: A Review



Book Title: The Poisoner’s Agenda: Jerusalem 3,000
Author: Olivia Rodan Jacobs
ISBN: 978-1432759117
Publisher: Outskirts Press (August 16, 2010)
Link to purchase
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui for WITS


The Poisoner's Agenda, written under the name Olivia Rodan Jacobs, is an exciting tale of murder and espionage. The story is set in 1996, during the year marking Israel's 3,000 year claim on Jerusalem as the center of Jewish religious and political life. The author uses the contention and the heated religious and political differences of the time to creative advantage, treating the political and religious tumult of the Middle East with care and a measure of generosity.

Jacobs draws extensively from her own experiences of living and working in Israel to cultivate her plot. Characters feel well placed within the story, coming alive in a world that is deeply textured and realistic. All the characters including the terrorist have been given interesting and well thought out back-stories that drive their choices in a realistic manner, true to individual culture, heritage, and religious affiliation. The political and personal motives of the terrorist are woven into the story, as are those of the other main characters. Although I did not find the poisoner's character to be a sympathetic one, I did find his back story illuminating and was able to empathize with his personal story in a way that made me appreciate the book on a level I had not anticipated.

I found much in this book surprising. As a historical fiction the book is educational and relevant. As a murder mystery the focus for the reader is not on discovering who the murderer is, but on discovering the how and why, with clues dispersed throughout for reader speculation and gratification. The Poisoner's Agenda is the most effective as an espionage thriller, being quite exciting.

While I was reading I was surprised by the volume of information and historical content relayed. There was much concerning the Middle East conflict which I was previously unaware of. I found myself checking information and historical references. The author seems to have researched the historical data well.

I found The Poisoner's Agenda to be fascinating on many levels . It is wonderful book, especially for those who enjoy spy stories or who are interested in the Middle East from a historical perspective.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Say It: I'm No Bitch, I'm No Ho, and I'm More Than Just Another Vagina

An Interview with Host Vonnie Faroqui and Author Elsie Spruill


Elsie Spruill, author of Say It: I'm No Bitch, I'm No Ho, and I'm More Than Just Another Vagina, loving yet firmly addresses a culture of sexual promiscuity and its impact on today’s youth culture. Join WITS host Vonnie Faroqui as they discuss the author's motivation for and approach to writing this book, and Spruill’s crusade to help young women value their bodies, their choices, and their self.



Click Play to Listen . . .


MP3 File





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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Article Marketing: An Example

November 17, 2010, I ran a small piece called Article Marketing: Promoting Your Book
This week I would like to offer an example of an article that has a search-able topic which ties in with an author's book promotion.

Retinitis Pigmentosa
Spirian Series Author Brings New Dimension to “Blind Seer” Heroine.


Ink Slinger’s Whimsey and Writers in the Sky [WITS] would like to share with readers information about an eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa and introduce a fiction author, Rowena Portch, writer of The Spirian Series, who has overcome the condition in her own life, using it to enhance her work.

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of degenerative eye diseases affecting one in 4,000 people in the United States and roughly one out of 5,000 people Worldwide. The retina, which is located at the back of the eye, sends visual images to the brain. In patients with this disease, damage to the retina gets worse over time. RP commonly runs in families and can be caused by a number of genetic defects. For those with RP, the photoreceptors in the eyes progressively degenerate, causing side or peripheral vision, to slowly worsen over time. Night vision is also diminished, with central vision typically declining in the advanced stages of the disease. The condition may eventually lead to blindness, with most patients retaining at least partial vision, total vision loss being rare. Wearing sunglasses will help protect the retina from ultraviolet light and may help preserve vision, and vitamin A may slow the disease from getting worse but there is currently no known cure or effective treatment for RP.

Signs of RP can usually be detected during a routine eye exam however; symptoms usually do not develop until adolescence, around 10 years old. Severe vision problems do not usually develop until early adulthood.
Author Rowena Portch retired from her successful career as an editor at Microsoft, when she lost her vision to RP. After leaving Microsoft, she and husband Gregg opened the Abel Wellness Center on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. Portch had already been writing professionally for over 30 years when she set out to write her ambitious 5 part Spirian Series. The Protected, book one of the series was released on May 11, 2010. The Union, book two was released October 26, 2010. The series is already gaining popularity, favorable reviews, and has garnered the 2010 Readers Favorite Silver medal for General Fiction for The Protected.

The Protected, are a supernaturally gifted race of beings, not quite human but not fully spirit that secretly share this planet. Among themselves they are known as Spirians, a race caught between the physical and spiritual realms – where anything is possible. Skye, a blind massage therapist, has lived her whole life as human and is unaware of her race and the path her life is about to take. Skye may be the prophesied “Healer” whose gifts are pivotal in the course of her people’s future; a future that could bring about the enslavement of humanity. The Protected, book one of the series, takes the reader with Skye into the hidden world of the Spirians, where a few stand in the balance ready to teach Skye to use the power that is her birthright before she becomes a pawn in a much larger game.

Author Rowena Portch was featured on the Writers in the Sky Podcast aired over the Internet on August 6, 2010.
“The depth of realism and texture Portch has written into the character and world of her ‘Blind Seer’ heroine is untouchable by the writings of sighted authors. Once you read The Protected you’ll never believe another author trying to write blind again. Portch has written a unique and engaging series that will thrill and inspire readers.” says book reviewer and podcast host Vonnie Faroqui of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services [WITS]
Learn more about Rowena Portch and the Spirian Series from her website at http://rowenaportch.com/ or by following her on http://twitter.com/RowenaPortch and at http://bit.ly/Facebook-RowenaPortch. The author will meet and sign books for the public with events to be announced through BookTour.com.