Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pump Up Your Book! Announces June ‘11 Authors on Virtual Book Tours


Join a talented and diverse group of 38 authors who are touring with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours during the month of June 2011.

Follow these authors as they travel the blogosphere from June 6th through June 30th to discuss their books. This month is filled with a variety of genres: thrillers, children’s books, fantasy novels, historicals, memoirs and more!

The month of June finds several authors continuing their virtual book tours. Returning are Buzz Bernard and “Eyewall,” Sandi Gelles-Cole and “The Memoir of Marilyn Monroe,” Emily Sue Harvey and “Homefires,” Douglas Jacobson and “The Katyn Order,” Tom McLaughlin and “Borneo Tom,” M.J. Rose and “The Hypnotist,” Alexandrea Weis and “Recovery,” Nzingha West and “Is My Kid Stupid?”and Lory Kaufman and “The Lens and the Looker.” Kaufman will also be touring with “The Bronze and the Brimstone,” the second book in his Verona Trilogy.

Short story collections come to you from Hank Aaron and Garasamo Maccagnone, while Michael Scott Miller talks about his contemporary novel, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Redeemers.” Thrillers are being promoted by Steve DeWinter, Julia Madeleine, bestselling author Aaron Patterson and Chris White, L.L. Reaper, and Dave Zeltserman.

Check out literary fiction offerings from Patty Friedmann, Lynda Simmons, and Carole Waterhouse. Mysteries come to you from Ray Ellis, Larry Jukofsky, and Wayne Zurl, while Paul Levine promotes his hardboiled crime novel, “Flesh and Bones.” Amazon bestselling author Mayra Calvani talks about her children’s picture book, “Frederico, the Mouse Violinist,” and award-winning author Renee Hand tours with the second book in her Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill children’s mystery chapter book series, “Mineral Mischief.”

Also on tour in June are F.J. Dagg, P.J. Hoover, Leonora Pruner, and C.W. Gortner, who is promoting the paperback release of “The Confessions of Catherine de Medici.”

Memoirs come to you from Neil Cullen McKinlay, Jessamine Rose, and Jane Rowan. Other nonfiction authors on tour are Harriet Cammock, Barbara Conelli, and Dr. Frederick Lukash. Pump Up Your Book! is also running a one-day promotional event on June 14th for author Laurel Dewey and her crime thriller, “Revelations.”


Visit YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PujAarlkpBo to view a video trailer introducing our authors on tour in June.


Pump Up Your Book! is a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service at an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/.



Contact Information:

Dorothy Thompson
Founder of Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague, Virginia 23336
Email: thewriterslife@yahoo.com

Interview with Michael Tabman, Author of Midnight Sin


Michael Tabman is a former cop and veteran FBI Agent, who has been interviewed and quoted by national and local media on matters ranging from workplace violence to fraud and street crime. He is also the author of Walking the Corporate Beat and Midnight Sin.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Michael. We are honored to have you with us.

Where did you grow up?

New York City

When did you begin writing?

I started writing immediately after retiring from the FBI.


What is this book about?

Midnight Sin is an inside look at the dark and mysterious world behind the cop’s badge. Rookie cop Gary Hollings quickly learns that wrestling street thugs and arresting drug dealers while trying to track down a serial rapist is nowhere near as tough as watching his back from his fellow cops. He must also fight his inner demons – ones that he never knew he had until he put on that police uniform. Becoming a cop changes everything he thought he knew about life. Midnight Sin is a gritty cop novel that explores the complexities of the cop psyche.

What inspired you to write it?

I am inspired by the freedom writing gives us to express our thoughts, opinions and creativity. Midnight Sin is a reflection of the interesting people and unusual events I encountered during my 27 years of law enforcement experience.


Who is your biggest supporter?

The most significant supporter of Midnight Sin, on a professional level is Law and Order Producer Peter Giuliano. He has set the bar for cop stories. As for my biggest supporter on a personal level, I think my wife and mother are tied.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

My books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in all formats.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

MichaelTabman.com


Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

On my website.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Find your own voice.

What is up next for you?

I am working on a novel centered on an FBI agent struggling with a complicated investigation only to find his life become even more complicated as the rules of the game change suddenly and without warning.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Michael. We wish you continued success.

People of the Book Giveaway Winner!


Our congratulations go out to PoCoKat, winner of a copy of People of the Book by Kathi Macias!

Thanks to all who participated. Feel free to check our sidebar for additional giveaway opportunities.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Summer of Gomez! Contest

It's the Summer of Gomez!

Get free books and win a Kindle or iPod.




As reviewers have been calling “No Hope for Gomez!” the perfect summer read - light, fast, fun - I decided to give this summer's Gomez readers some exclusive content and the chance to win prizes.

About No Hope for Gomez!


It's the age-old tale:

 -   Boy meets girl.
 -   Boy stalks girl.
 -   Girl already has a stalker.
 -   Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

  
We've seen it all before, many times, but this time it's different. If only slightly.

    When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. 

What Gomez isn't ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, the phone-sex salesman who hounds him day and night, the super sexy lab assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science.

   But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced delusions, he decides it's time to go underground and work out a devious plan.
Read a chapter.


Nominated for Book of the Year by both ForeWord Reviews and USA Book News, here's what reviewers have to say about "No Hope for Gomez!":

“Extremely witty and clever writing.” -- California Chronicle

"An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers' film in book form." -- BookReview.com

"A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!" -- Reader Views

"A Party for your Brain!" -- Warren Baxter

Warning: clinical studies have shown that reading this novel is likely to make you more attractive to the opposite sex and elevate your random luck by about 9.5%**

(** These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

With every cool summer party comes a gift bag, so here's just some of the stuff all summer readers will get:
  • Exclusive new story collection
  • No Hope for Gomez: The Lost Chapters
  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook
  • Signed hi-res poster + bookplate

Additionally, several lucky readers will win a prize. I'm raffling off a Kindle, an iPod Nano 8GB, and five exclusive spin-off paperback novels that are not available elsewhere!

All you have to do to have a "Summer of Gomez" is get the book from any store before July 12th 2011 and forward your receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com.(Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, Amazon DE)

Every purchase counts as an entry so increase your chances by stocking up on some extremely cool birthday presents ;)

Points towards additional entries are gained by getting your friends to join in, and tweeting/blogging/face-booking (is that a verb?) about the summer of Gomez.



Bio:
Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

http://www.grahamparke.com/
http://www.grahamparke.blogspot.com/
GoodReads
Facebook

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review: Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

Be prepared to be blown away by this astounding novel of love, friendship, loss, and forgiveness.

Five years ago, in the little town of Avalon, Illinois, Julie Evarts's world changed forever. Her son Josh died in a tragic accident and not even the birth of her daughter Gracie could help bring her out of the grief and despair that have filled her life since that day. Her husband Mark doesn't know how long he can handle the ever-growing distance between them. A starter bag and a set of instructions for making Amish Friendship Bread mysteriously arrives at their front door. Could this be the key to begin the healing process?

Madeline Davis, now a widow, moves to Avalon and opens a tea salon. Residents in town are wary of newcomers, so business is slow, but she's hoping it picks up soon. While she waits, she has plenty of time to think about the secret she's carried with her all the way to Avalon.

Hannah Wang de Brisay is hesitant when her husband Philippe suggests they buy a house in Avalon to get out of the city. Both classical musicians, Philippe has always been the one to decide how things are going to be, while Hannah is the one who goes along, always unsure of what she really wants. She soon discovers she'll have more than enough time to consider what she wants when her marriage comes to an abrupt and surprising end.

Livvy, Julia's younger sister, is plagued by guilt. She and her husband Tom struggle to make ends meet, knowing they would love to have a child of their own.

Edie is an activist and reporter with the local paper, and friends with Livvy. When Amish Friendship Bread starts appearing all over Avalon, she runs with the little information she has, hoping to create a great story that will get her noticed.

No one in Avalon realizes how that one bag of starter will impact all their lives.

Amazing. Superb. Phenomenal! All those words and more describe Friendship Bread
by Darien Gee. There is so much I could say about this novel, and yet, I am hesitant to say too much, because it is one of those books you must experience for yourself.

Back in the late 80's, maybe early 90's, I remember those bags of starter sitting on the kitchen counters in my relatives' homes. I never understood what the big deal was. I certainly wasn't interested in spending my time squeezing, measuring, and baking. What Gee has done, however, is taken that sometimes beloved, sometimes despised, infatuation and given it a much higher purpose--one that changes the lives of those in an entire community and beyond.

Intertwined with the unfolding stories of our main characters, Gee includes snippets of happenings in the lives of other residents of Avalon, giving the reader a real town feeling, where at the end, she might think she could drive to this town and meet its residents. How Amish Friendship Bread manages to touch people from all walks of life in Avalon from a copy machine technician to a therapist, from a police sergeant to the town librarian, from a pharmacist to a bike shop owner, and more, is inspiring, and proves just how connected we are to each other.

Gee blends a superb cast of diverse characters with a unique plot to come up with an amazing story that will make you laugh, make you cry, and leave you feeling good all over. The perfect book to take on vacation or a long drive, you won't be able to put this one down until you reach the satisfying end.

Friendship Bread might be about love, friendship, loss, and forgiveness, but it is so much more too. It's a book that celebrates coming together for the greater good. It's a book that reminds us of the little things that mean a great deal. It's a book that shows us no matter how lost we get, we can always find our way back. And it's definitely a book you won't want to miss!


Title:  Friendship Bread
Author: Darien Gee
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN-10: 0345525345
ISBN-13: 978-0345525345
SRP:  $25.00

Also available in a Kindle edition.



The publisher paid me to promote Friendship Bread through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Interview: Dave Zeltserman, Author of Dying Memories

Our guest today is Dave Zeltserman, author of Dying Memories. Dave won the 2010 Shamus Award for ‘Julius Katz’ and is the acclaimed author of the ‘man out of prison’ crime trilogy: Small Crimes, Pariah and Killer, where Small Crimes was picked by NPR as one of the five best crime and mystery novels of 2008, and Small Crimes and Pariah (2009) were both picked by the Washington Post as best books of the year. His recent The Caretaker of Lorne Field received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it a ’superb mix of humor and horror’, and has been shortlisted by ALA for best horror novel of 2010. Outsourced (2011) has already been called ‘a small gem of crime fiction’ by Booklist and has been optioned by Impact Pictures and Constantin Film.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Dave. It's an honor to have you with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m someone who when I was younger never thought I’d be a writer. I always read a lot, but my interests were in Math and Computer Science, and it seemed like my life was pretty much laid out—that I’d go to college, get a degree in Math and Computer Science and work as a software engineer. That’s what happened, but I always found myself drawn to writing.
Where did you grow up?
Newton, Massachusetts. (Interviewer's note: Always great to have a Massachusetts author visiting our blog.)
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Probably when we got our first dog. He was a Black Lab – Collie mix that we brought home in a shoe box, and in a very short time grew to about 90 pounds. A great dog, very gentle, and incredibly stubborn. 
When did you begin writing?
I always tried writing at different times – as a kid, in college, later when I was working. It was around 1992 when I started taking it more seriously and believed I could be published.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
These days I’m writing fulltime. When I was working as a software engineer, I’d have to sneak in writing whenever I could within an 80-hour work week.
What is this book about?
Dying Memories is my first pure thriller. The book opens with a woman shooting a man to death on a crowded Boston street, and then telling the police the man had raped and murdered her eleven-year-old daughter. Except she never had a daughter. When a reporter, Bill Conway, discovers a link between this and another killing to a biotechnology firm, he soon finds himself framed for murder, as well as being hunted by shadowy forces. The danger for Bill increases with each chapter as he searches for a way to reclaim his life, understand what’s happening, and ultimately stop a sinister plot to enslave the country. There are a lot of twists and turns throughout the book, lots of surprises, all leading to an explosive ending.
What inspired you to write it?

I’m driven to write stories and novels that readers will enjoy. In some cases they’re dark noirish journeys, in this case a page-turning thriller.
Who is your biggest supporter?

Well, my wife, by far.
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

No. I have a group of early readers made up of people I’ve known for a long time, as well as other authors I know. All of them are very vocal and have no problem giving me their opinions.
Who is your favorite author?
I have a lot of favorite authors, but for crime, it would have to be Dashiell Hammett. I marvel at the five crime novels he wrote, as well as his 24 Continental Op short stories. You can look at him as inventing the hardboiled PI genre.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
Yep, I have an agent. A film agent also.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
The very first short story I wrote for publication I sold to the first magazine I submitted to. After that, a very bumpy 12 years or so before I sold Small Crimes in 2006. Every US publisher rejected Small Crimes for being too dark or not formulaic enough or other such reasons, and I was days from throwing in the towel when Serpent’s Tail called me to tell me they wanted to publish it. The book ended up being published in 2008 and NPR picked it as one of the 5 best crime and mystery novels of that year, and the Washington Post also picked it as one of the best books of the year. Every US publisher rejected Outsourced also, and not only is the book optioned for film, but it’s now looking very likely that they’ll be going into production very soon.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
I don’t know. I understand the publishing industry much better now. I understand that the idea of the large publishers being any sort of gatekeeper is only a myth—that it’s all business with them and what they care about is how low risk they think a project is and how commercial they believe it is. But knowing that, I don’t think if I would’ve tried dumbing down my writing to satisfy them—I think I still would’ve been trying to write the best books I can.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Dying Memories is an e-book only, so from www.amazon.com or www.bn.com.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
My website is www.davezeltserman and my blog is:
smallcrimes-novel.blogspot.com.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
Probably spending time doing book events and getting to know bookstore employees and owners who now do a lot of handselling of my books.
What is up next for you?
My novel, A Killer’s Essence, is out from Overlook Press in the Fall, and I’ve already had one movie producer with a great track record make an offer to option the book, but I’ve been working with a film agency in developing the book as a TV series, so not sure yet whether I’ll be changing gears and accepting the offer.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I’d like to thank The Book Connection for interviewing me.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Dave. We wish you continued success.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interview: Douglas Jacobson, Author of The Katyn Order


Today's special guest is Douglas Jacobson, author of The Katyn Order: A Novel. He is an engineer, business owner and World War Two history enthusiast. Doug has traveled extensively in Europe researching stories of the courage of common people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. His debut novel, Night of Flames: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007 by McBooks Press, and was released in paperback in 2008. Night of Flames won the “2007 Outstanding Achievement Award” from the Wisconsin Library association. Doug writes a monthly column on Poland’s contribution during WW2, has published articles on Belgium’s WW2 escape organization, the Comet Line and other European resistance organizations.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Doug. It is a pleasure to have you with us.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Summer vacation trips to Army Lake, where we could swim any time during the day as long as we waited for one hour after eating.

When did you begin writing?

In fifth grade, our teacher encouraged us to write whatever we wanted. My buddies and I wrote horror stories. Regardless of how stupid they must have been, our teacher would very diligently correct all the grammar and give them back.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write mostly in the early morning and early afternoon, but never after the five o'clock cocktail.

What is this book about?

The German War Machine is in retreat as the Russians advance. In Warsaw, Resistance fighters rise up against their Nazi occupiers, but the Germans retaliate, ruthlessly leveling the city. American Adam Nowak has been dropped into Poland by British intelligence as an assassin and Resistance fighter. During the Warsaw Rising he meets Natalia, a covert operative who has lost everything—just as he has. Amid the Allied power struggle left by Germany’s defeat, Adam and Natalia join in a desperate hunt for the 1940 Soviet order authorizing the murders of 20,000 Polish army officers and civilians. If they can find the Katyn Order before the Russians do, they just might change the fate of Poland.

What inspired you to write it?

My Polish heritage and my European relatives who lived through the Nazi occupation and shared their stories with me.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My wife, Janie. She's also my best promoter.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Yes, I am. Redbird Writer's Studio in Milwaukee.

Who is your favorite author?

Ken Follett

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I do not, and I'm not actively looking, but I would listen if one is interested in my work.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

It was bumpy, a box full of rejections, but it had a happy ending.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have joined Redbird Writer's Studio at the very beginning of my writing effort.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

On-line at Amazon, B&N, or at any bookstore.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

http://www.douglaswjacobson.com

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

It's on my website. Just click on "Watch the Video."

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Pump Up Your Book!!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

DO NOT GIVE UP!

What is up next for you?

I'm going take some time to market The Katyn Order, continue writing my two monthly columns on WW2 and think about my third book.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Only to reinforce my earlier comment to would-be writers. This is a tough business and you have to be able to handle rejection, honest critique and KEEP GOING!


Thanks for spending time with us Doug. We wish you continued success.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview: Christine Norris, Author of The Mirror of Yu-Huang

Today's guest is Christine Norris, author of the YA fantasy novel, The Mirror of Yu-Huang. Christine Norris is the author of several works for children and adults, including the Library of Athena series and the Zandria duology. When she’s not out saving the world one story at a time, she is disguised as a mild mannered substitute teacher, mother, and wife. She cares for her family of one husband-creature, a son-animal, and two felines who function as Guardian of the Bathtub and Official Lap Warmer, respectively. She has also done several English adaptations of novels translated from other languages. She reached a new level of insanity by attending Southen Connecticut State University Graduate School’s Information and Library Science program, so that someday she, too, can be a real Librarian. She currently resides somewhere in southern New Jersey.

Thanks for joining us today, Christine. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Thanks for having me. I was born on a cold winter’s night…wait, no, that’s not right. Actually I was born in the middle of summer, but that’s not what you mean, is it? I am a substitute teacher looking for a full-time job, and a mom to pretty terrific 8 year old boy, and a graduate student in Library Science. Which has all come about during the almost ten years that I’ve been writing. Five books in ten years isn’t too bad, is it?

Where did you grow up?

Wait, I grew up? When did that happen? Just kidding (sort of…). Actually I grew up about two doors down from where I live now. Yep, I live on the same street in New Jersey where I lived most of my childhood. Some people think it’s weird, I actually like it. My neighborhood is very nice and my son’s school is right across the street.

When did you begin writing?

I believe it was a Thursday, just after lunch. Ha! I don’t know exactly what day, just being silly. I had a few false starts over the years, ambition getting ahead of my talent or time. I started writing my first book, Talisman of Zandria, in September of 2001. It was such a weird time, and I remember it very clearly. I handwrote then, into notebooks, and then would transcribe into the computer. Now I do pretty much everything on computer.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Mostly whenever. I have summers off, so I get quite a bit done then. Otherwise I just have to take the time whenever I can grab it. Between work, grad school, and my family, I have to be flexible.

What is this book about?

Which book are we talking about again?…oh, yes. THE MIRROR OF YU-HUANG is a thrilling adventure about Megan Montgomery and her friends. The headmistress of her school has wheedled her father into hosting a huge formal ball at their big English manor on New Year’s Eve. Which Megan is not happy about, because there’s a big secret at the Parthenon, (which is the name of the manor)—The Library of Athena. That’s a huge secret chamber under the house that holds some really rare and important books, including a collection of enchanted books that protect magical artifacts. So you can see why doesn’t really want a bunch of people traipsing all over. Then she has to play hostess to a Chinese ambassador and his family, and it seems that one of them knows about her secret. She suspects everyone, and eventually she winds up inside one of the enchanted books, chasing someone who wants to steal the Mirrror of Yu-Huang. It’s all very exciting and edge-of-your seat and twisty-turny.

What inspired you to write it?

This is the third book in the series, but I knew I wanted to do something different. So many books use Greek and Egyptian mythology, which were included in the first two books and I think a good introduction to the series. There aren’t a ton of books that include Chinese mythology, and there’s probably a good reason. It wasn’t the easiest to work with, making Mirror probably the most difficult book I’ve written so far. But I think the end result was worth the work—I am really happy with how it came out.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I don’t have one yet, but I am looking. I’ve sent out a completed manuscript to a few people, and I’ve gotten really great feedback on it, really close to that illusive yes, I think. Then again I may be delusional, you never know! Did some revisions and it’s back out again.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Just about everywhere! Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com, and it’s available for both Kindle and Nook, and in multiformat ebook at Fictionwise.com. Of course it’s available at the publishers website: www.zumayapublications.com/thresholds.php,  and any bookstore should be able to get it or you.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

I have EVERYTHING! My website is at www.christine-norris.com, my blog is http://christinenorris.livejounal.com. You can get to my Facebook page through my website, and I am on Twitter at @cnorrisauthor.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Read! Read everything you can get your hands on, and then figure out what makes it work and what doesn’t. I find that if I’m not feeling the love from my writing, reading is a good way to ‘refill the well’ so to speak.

What is up next for you?

I could tell you, but then men in black suits would be here to destroy your notes. Oh, no, that’s something else, sorry. I have several things going on right now. The next Library of Athena book, of course. And I’m working on a YA historical fantasy-with-bits-of-steampunk novel, a retelling of a classic fairy tale. I am getting it all shined up to submit to agents. I don’t have an agent yet, but I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about the manuscript, so I must be on the right track. I just have to keep at it, because the next one might be a yes.

And somewhere in between, I’m getting a Master’s in Library Science so I can be a School Media Specialist. I just got a new job, hopefully I will start soon, as a librarian in a Pre-K and Kindergarten school. I’m pretty excited for that.

Thanks for spending time with us, Christine. We wish you great success.

Book Review: The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God by Dr. Labib Mikhail

A thought-provoking look into the role and significance of Mary from a Biblical perspective is what you'll find in The Virgin Mary In the Light of the Word of God.

Theologian, apologist, journalist, counselor, and evangelist Dr. Labib Mikhail puts decades of knowledge to writing this book that seeks to provide a clear picture of what the Word of God says about Mary, the woman who bore Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In under 160 pages, Dr. Mikhail examines what the Bible has to say about Mary as opposed to how some religions view her role and significance.

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to start off this review by stating that I am a former Catholic. I was a member of the Catholic Church for 30 years. I taught C.C.D. for 10 years, and directed our church's elementary C.C.D. program for 5 years. My decision to leave the Catholic Church was for very personal reasons, but don't reflect upon the Catholic Church as a whole.
I currently attend a non-denominational evangelical church; the same church I was married in almost 11 years ago. We believe that the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God.

It is also important to note that I was paid by the author's publicist to promote this book through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not, however, include a review of the book.

Now that's all out of the way, let me get to the meat of my review.  The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God by Dr. Labib Mikhail is an excellent book if you're looking for information on how Mary is presented in the Scriptures. The author has obviously studied theology a great deal, he cites Scripture passages to back up what he says, and overall, I can't disagree with him.

That said, I see how this book could be controversial and only widen the chasm that exists between those who have given Mary a revered position in the Church and those who don't. While Dr. Mikhail gives Mary her full due as a blessed virgin woman who was chosen by God to bear the Savior of the world, he is forthright in dismantling basic tenets of the Catholic faith. Again, I don't disagree with what he says, I only wish that the style of writing was more compassionate and understanding.

I feel it's also important to mention, though, that this book was originally written for a non-American audience. It was geared toward Muslims in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and those in Latin America. As the author and translator/contributor, Dr. Nasser S. Farag, point out, in Africa and Latin America, "nominal Christianity is at times only a thin veneer over-lying deeply embedded native pagan beliefs and practices." That would, in my opinion, be a good reason for the author to provide such a strong position on how Mary is viewed in the Bible. Yes, the book dispels the ideas that Mary acts as a mediator for Christians and should be prayed to along with the other saints; that Mary should be given exalted titles such as: Queen, the ladder of Jacob, the Bride (of the Lord of Glory), and the Holy of Holies; that she performed or performs miracles; and that she has appeared to people after her death. It also states there is no Biblical reference for the Immaculate Conception (Mary being born without original sin) or her body being assumed into Heaven.  I have to say again, however, that if you are seeking to reach those nominal Christians, don't you have to make your arguments clear and leave no room for gray areas?

The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God by Dr. Labib Mikhail is not going to be for everyone. If you are looking for a book that will help you understand Mary as viewed in the Holy Scriptures, then you'll want to buy this one.

Title:  The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God
Author: Dr. Labib Mikhail
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing
ISBN-10: 0982707495
ISBN-13: 978-0982707494
SRP: $12.95



I received no monetary compensation for providing this review.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Elizabeth I by Margaret George Winner!


Our congratulations go out to Farrah the winner of a hardcover of Elizabeth I by Margaret George.

I'll be contacting Farrah by email soon. She'll have 72 hours to respond. If I don't hear from her by then, I'll select a new winner.

Thanks to all who participated in this giveaway. Look in our sidebar for other ongoing giveaways.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: People of the Book by Kathi Macias

A masterfully told story that is both timely and powerful, awaits you in People of the Book, the fourth and final installment of Kathi Macias's Extreme Devotion series.

What do you do when what you've most believed in changes?

Farah Mohammed Al Otaibi wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. During the month of Ramadan, she hopes she will get her chance to draw nearer to Allah. Then the prophet Isa (Jesus) appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself.

A favorite of her father, he has allowed Farah many liberties, much to the anger of her brother, Kareem. He feels his father is too weak with the women. But Farah is certain even her loving father would not tolerate her accepting Isa as more than a prophet.

Farah's cousin Nura has already begun to consider that Isa may be more than her Muslim faith indicates. Nura explores the possibilities in an online chat room where she corresponds with Sara, a girl of Muslim ancestry who lives in the United States. Sara's family has converted to Christianity, and she shares the message of Jesus's salvation with Nura. When Farah approaches Nura to talk about her dream, the two girls are happily connected by their new discoveries; though they know if their infant faith were discovered, it would be disastrous for both of them.

As Farah's, Nura's, and Sara's worlds collide, a jealous brother seeks to uncover Farah and Nura's secret, while Sara experiences a crisis of faith.

Wow! Kathi Macias continues to amaze me. She has been my client and friend for the past few years. I've read her fiction and her nonfiction; but I have to say that with her Extreme Devotion series, and People of the Book especially, she has outdone herself.

Not only did she tackle the timely issue of honor killings, she created a powerfully told story, written by her masterful hand, that captivates the reader from the very first page. I have been astounded by all the books in this series:  No Greater Love, More Than Conquerors, Red Ink, and People of the Book. After each book I would say, "This is my favorite of the series." Without a doubt, People of the Book will remain my favorite.

The characters truly make this story all that it is. You have Farah who is called by Isa (Jesus) in a dream, throwing everything she has ever believed about her Muslim faith into an uproar. Nura has secretly been participating in a chat room to learn more about Isa. Both girls, know, however, that if they are discovered, it will mean death. Nura's friend, Sara, is on the other side of the world. When her once easy life is turned upside down, she's no longer sure of the faith she has been sharing with Nura.

Not only these characters, though. You have Kareem, who has always been jealous of Farah. He's willing to do whatever it takes to discredit her to their father. You also have Sara's brother, Emir, who makes some unwise choices that come with a very high price tag.

Macias connects all these lives so well. She's done this with some of the other books in this series, but here it's just amazing. I couldn't put the book down. I went to bed late many nights reading this one.

The ending is superb. I was crying right along with the characters.

The four books that make up this series are total stand-alones, each having its own set of characters and circumstances. I highly recommend reading all of them, but if you only have time for one, make it People of the Book. You won't be disappointed.


Title:  People of the Book
Author:  Kathi Macias
Publisher:  Hew Hope Publishers
ISBN-10: 1596692820
ISBN-13: 978-1596692824
SRP:  $14.99



The author paid me to promote her book via a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. This fee did not include a review. This review consists of my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

 
Now that I've told you how amazing this book is, I'm sure you'll want to own a copy. Kathi Macias and New Hope Publishers, in conjunction with Pump Up Your Book, is offering our readers a FREE copy of People of the Book. Please see below the details of this contest. Only those who follow these guidelines are eligible to win.

1) You must be a follower or subscriber of The Book Connection to win.

2) Your first comment should state if you are a follower or a subscriber, and provide your email address.  You can't win if we don't have your email address.

3) One additional entry if you follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1110037692 Leave a comment to say you're now a follower.

4) One additional entry if you follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ccmalandrinos Leave a comment to say you're now a follower.

5) Two additional entries if you Like Kathi on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kathi-Macias/75996188045 Leave two separate comments to say you're now following her.

6) Five additional entries if you blog about this giveaway. Post five separate comments to let us know you blogged about the contest and please leave a link.

7) You must be 18 years old and a resident of the US or Canada to be eligible to win.

Deadline for entries is 11:59PM Eastern on Sunday, May 29, 2011. Winner will be selected from all eligible entries received. The Book Connection will ship directly to the winner. Prize will be sent by USPS media mail. The Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Interview: Carla Malden, Author of Afterimage

Our special guest today is Carla Malden, author of
Carla Malden grew up in Los Angeles, California. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from U.C.L.A. with a Bachelor of Arts in English and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society for her academic achievement. She worked extensively in the film business, both in production and development.

With her husband, filmmaker Laurence Starkman, she wrote twelve feature screenplays; they also served as rewrite guns-for-hire. The team of Malden & Starkman wrote and produced the short romantic comedy Whit & Charm, which screened at eight major film festivals, including The Hamptons, and won several awards. They also wrote and created a series of Cine Golden Eagle Award-winning Art History films produced in association with The Detroit Institute of Art and The National Gallery.

Along with her father, Academy Award-winning actor Karl Malden, Carla co-authored his critically acclaimed memoir, When Do I Start?, published by Simon and Schuster.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Carla. It's a honor to have you with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. I have spent most of my professional life working as a screenwriting team with my husband, Laurence Starkman, but since his death four years ago, I have segued into writing prose, which I am finding enormously rewarding. I am crazy proud of my daughter who is currently attending grad school at The American Film Institute. I consider myself beyond lucky that we see each other several times a week and spend most of that time laughing.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Los Angeles, ten minutes down Sunset Boulevard from where I now live. My mother still lives in the house I grew up in.

When did you begin writing?

I can’t really remember not writing. I have a distinct memory of being home from school, sick in bed, and writing little stories to pass the time when I got bored with “I Love Lucy” reruns. I began writing professionally in my twenties. I majored in English in college, but never took a Creative Writing course, though I now teach a Creative Writing workshop at a rehab facility.

What is this book about?

AFTERIMAGE: A Brokenhearted Memoir of a Charmed Life is about my transition to widowhood. It’s about a last year and a first year: the last year of my husband’s life and my entire life up to that point, and the first year after his death and the rest of my life. It is not a primer; it’s a personal story, an account and an accounting. It’s about giving in and riding the wave of grief however it crests. And, at its heart, it’s a love letter.


What inspired you to write it?

It was one of those “I had to get it out” projects. I wanted to describe the journey that his brief illness set us on, but also to bear a sort of witness to my husband’s life – to who he was. It kept me connected to him, though, of course, it was also excruciatingly painful to relive. It took on a life of his own and began to shape itself.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I am so lucky to have so many magnificent supporters: my daughter, my sister, and several spectacular friends who genuinely want to see my succeed.

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have a favorite author. Recently, I went on a Meg Wolitzer jag and read everything of hers. Tennessee Williams is my favorite playwright – I love him for the poetry of the dialogue and because every single line is heartbreaking.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
I have a literary agent – though we have never met face-to-face. I have been with my screenwriting agent for eighteen years.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon has already begun shipping. They shipped early! The official release date was May 3, 2011. The book is available in book stores everywhere, as they say, as well as Amazon. It can also be ordered through my website: www.carlamalden.com.

I was dragged kicking and screaming into the website world, but I am very pleased with the finished product. www.carlamalden.com. I don’t blog, however.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

If you feel that there’s something else you can do that gives you as much pleasure, you should do that. If, on the other hand, you have no choice but to write.  If finding the “most juste” or nailing a character with that single detail thrills you like nothing else can, then keep writing.

What is up next for you?

I am just completing my first novel. I have also finished a children’s book that my daughter, Cami Starkman, illustrated. It’s about a little boy and the Beatles – how can you co wrong?

Thanks for spending time with us today, Carla. We wish you continued success.

Book Spotlight: Borneo Tom by Tom McLaughlin


Join award winning science teacher Tom McLaughlin as he moves from America to Malaysian Borneo as he tracks orangutans, dances naked in an earthquake, swims with jellyfish AND MORE DANGEROUSLY…falls in love.

Walk with him through a cacophony of emotions including great joy when he finds the love of his life and marries in a village ceremony, reunites with one daughter after a divorce, travels with another and flies the entire family on his honeymoon in Bali. Oh, yes, did I forget? His vasectomy and his wife’s diagnosis of barrenness produces a son, Dzul Patrick, now a few months old.

Each stand alone chapter is humorously sketched by Water Front Niki, a familiar face to all who visit Kuching. Niki’s sensitive portraits of the national bird, the Hornbill, decorates living rooms world wide.

**Proceeds from the book go for items that support the Matang Wildlife Center that rehabs orangutans and other amazing wildlife.**

Read an excerpt!

Bukit Tinggi, Sumatra Indonesia – Women rule here. The culture, matriarchal, requires the land pass to the daughters. The custom predates the arrival of Islam and no number of Saudi Arabian missionaries, whose job it is to ensure pure Islamic tradition being observed, are ever going to change it to the Qu’ran required patriarchal system. They have tried. And believe me when I tell you, these ladies would have no part if it! Local customs and religious belief coexist side by side as they have for hundreds of years.

I wandered into one particular village and stopped at a house and chatted with the owner. She was lovely lady in her 40s with two teenagers, a son and daughter. She informed http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpher husband had divorced her and left. I teasingly asked her if I could marry her and move in but I think she thought I was serious. She looked me over, considered the idea and said yes but everyday I would have to work in the nearby rice fields. There would be no freeloader man in her house, I surmised.

Read the reviews!
"I was drawn by the uniqueness of this book once I received it. There are cartoon sketches for each and every story in this book. The black-and-white sketches are wonderfully, and sometimes comically, done. They correlated well with each story they represented.

There are sixty separate stories, or essays, in this book which are arranged in chronological order. Tom’s essays are informative, cheeky, humorous and, sometimes, eye-opening."

–Literary R&R

"I enjoyed the read and found myself giggling over some of the silly things that Tom does or says..."

--One Day at a Time

"If you are looking for an inspirational and at times humorous book, made up of short stories, this is the book for you."

--Inspired by Savannah



Science teacher Tom McLaughlin battled a rare neurological disease to a stand still, packed up his life and moved to Malaysian Borneo from a Washington D.C. suburb.

Landing in Kuching, he quickly learned the Malay language and involved himself in projects which includes orangutan rehabilitation and research about the famed naturalist, Alfred Wallace, whose thunder was stolen by Charles Darwin.

The advent of cheap air travel to many destinations in Southeast Asia transported him to many adventures. From dancing naked in an earthquake in Sumatra, to getting lost in a warren of World War II Japanese caves to walking the rim of a volcano with poisonous gas, he has jumped with foolhardiness into everything wild and wonderful, all related in his book Borneo Tom.

Reuniting with his Peace Corps family of thirty five years ago, sharing adventures with one daughter, then reconciling with another after a divorce, marriage with full kampung ceremony and then taking both daughters on his honeymoon to Bali are a few of the highlights of his remarkable personal life. Oh, but we can’t forget? His vasectomy coupled with a wife diagnosed as barren has reproduced a son, Dzul Patrick, now a few months old.

Tom teaches at the Lodge International School in Kuching, Malaysian Borneo while writing about his adventures as a US expat living in Borneo.

You can find him at:

BorneoTom.com
On Twitter
On Facebook
On Kindle!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interview: Chad Coenson, Author of Me and Bobby McGee


Today's special guest is Chad Coenson, author of Me and Bobby McGee. Chad was born in Orlando, FL, but he can barely remember that and pretty much spent most of the years following his birth in a nomadic state of perpetual motion until finally finding a home in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two dogs. He has a degree in creative writing from the University of Arizona and spends his time “trying” not to take life too seriously. Despite his generally adventurous nature and willingness to attempt almost anything, he has never had the opportunity to cast the first stone.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Chad. It's wonderful to have you here. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was originally an inhabitant of the east coast but by the time I graduated from high school in Georgia, the western half of the country beckoned to me. It's not always easy to be akin to the highway as it often leaves you in a perpetual state of unrest; it ripples within your blood. And thus, while working to get my degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, I spent quite a bit of time on the road exploring the country with intrepid eyes in a never ending search for adventure and good old fashioned mischief. During that time I could also be found playing music in a rock band, for which I wrote most of the lyrics, and competing regularly as a performance poet in Tucson. The music led me to Tasmania, Australia where I spent quite a bit of time composing and playing gigs with my partner in melody, whilst exploring the many pleasantries and occasional provocations of the South Pacific. Upon returning to US soil I found myself in a whirlwind of transiency that dropped me off in Boston, spun me back across the country to Southern California, and eventually let me loose in the Pacific Northwest where I currently reside with my beautiful and notably patient wife along with our two dogs; our first child will be joining us in October. As I am a family man now, I am also a recovering adrenaline junky though I doubt I will ever be able to fully kick the habit as I have an unabashed affinity for bungee jumping and big-wave-surf-kayaking. Beyond that, I love live music, hiking the backcountry, and brewing my own beer.

When did you begin writing?

It's funny because shy of the actual date, I can pinpoint the moment that I began writing. I was in third grade and the entire class was given a paragraph long prompt and told to finish the story on the half-page of blank lines that followed it. After stapling six additional full pages to the original I realized that writing was all I wanted to do. I started constructing stories on a weekly basis and reading them to my class every Friday. By the end of that year I had won a countywide writing competition and had become addicted to the sound of lead and ink against the page. Naturally I continued to write and during my freshman year of high school, I had my first piece published in a small local newspaper outside of Atlanta, GA. I also wrote several poems and short stories that appeared in the award winning literary magazine, Chrysalis. The ten year span which I have just described is what I would classify as my larval writing stages.

What is this book about?

Me and Bobby McGee is a blatantly humorous adventure that examines several aspects of our modern social infrastructure from the perspective of a former CIA assassin turned Jack-of-all-Vices, Keesey Cypher. Constantly the victim of his unabashed alcoholism and penchant for games of chance, Cypher finds himself sea-leagues deep in debt after waking from an Absinthe inspired blackout in the back alleys of New Orleans. In an effort to avoid death, Cypher is given the option to make a risky cross country delivery for his "merciful" creditors. Upon excepting their offer he meets his chaperone, the beautiful and infinitely unstable Miss Bobby McGee. Their journey together unfolds into a frighteningly funny reality as the novel uses the vehicle of an illicit white-baby-slave-trade to ponder a host of humanistic issues including: apathy and indifference, corporate greed, human commoditization, and the supremacy of personal desires over what is best for the whole of civilization. At its core, the novel looks to inspire both laughter and thought as it scrutinizes the absurdity of ape-descendents with a perfect balance of ashamed love and playful distaste.


What inspired you to write it?

Me and Bobby McGee was inspired by a number of elements, but two in particular strike me as the most prominent. The first and most obvious is Kris Kristofferson's song by the same title. The concept that "freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose" is a prevalent theme throughout the novel that is pensively examined under several types of lenses. This notion is in many ways the essence of the story and the primary reason for the title. In parallel to that, the current state of human affairs in the US and abroad was a further mode of inspiration. I wanted to create a story that was relevant to the modern social and political climate without being preachy, something that would rouse both thought and laughter, while avoiding telling people what to think. This is also the motive behind the main character, who doubles as the narrator, being such an uncomfortably likeable antihero, barren of role-model-qualities but brimming with seductive charm and rationalized evil.

Who is your favorite author?

Hunter S. Thompson is probably my all time favorite but Terry Southern, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Ken Kesey are not far behind. I am also a sucker for Jonathan Swift, Tom Robbins, and Henry Miller.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
At present I do not have an agent but truth be told, I am working on a new novel and in parallel, I am actively looking for representation. I could probably be more active in this search but I tend to enjoy writing the new book a bit more than writing query letters.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

All of the major online retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble carry Me and Bobby McGee, it also available in Kindle format. If readers are local to the Portland, OR metro area, the novel can be found on the shelves at Powell's Books, Broadway Books, or Murder By the Book in addition to some other local bookstores.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

My website is www.chadcoenson.com and it is filled with all types of information ranging from useful to useless, depending on what you are looking for. Folks can find out about upcoming events, new works, reviews, and check out the catalog of media available for viewing and listening as well.

What is up next for you?

I am currently working on a new serving of comedic American cynicism which I hope to have completed by the end of the year. The upcoming novel will include illustrations by E. Cobb Hoelzer as well. In addition, we are potentially collaborating on a book of poetry as I have a vast collection of works that I have written over the years that have been gathering dust for far too long. And to that point, there is a very talented, up-and-coming band out of Southern California called BISAHA. I collaborate with their front-man lyrically from time to time in addition to some other musical projects I am co-developing in the Northwest, so keep your ears open too.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Chad. We wish you great success.

Interview: Thom Hunter, Author of Surviving Sexual Brokenness

Our guest today is Thom Hunter, author of Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do.  Thom is a Christian married father of five who fought, fell and rose again to fight against unwanted same-sex attraction. He encourages others to press on, moving beyond excuses, to claim responsibility and power through the Grace of God. Thom believes the church has failed in its responsibility to provide hope and healing for those who struggle with sexual brokenness.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Thom, It's great to have you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a former newspaper editor, former journalism instructor and former chief of staff for AT&T. Formers aside, I am now a full-time writer, working on my fourth book at the moment. I’ve been married for 35 years, raised five children and have seven grandchildren, so far. I live in the country in Oklahoma on a hill so windswept I am concerned my two big black dogs may one day blow away. If it happens, I’ll write about it.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the state of instability, most often in Texas. In other words, we moved a lot, the frequency depending on the impact of alcoholism on my father and then step-father’s employment prospects. It was, however, enriching, from the dusty back roads of tiny Bridgeport to the concrete apartment jungles of Houston. I grew up pretty fast.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

My fondest memory is from the early ‘60s in my father’s tiny apartment in downtown Fort Worth, standing at the huge window on a summer night watching the neon bank sign revolving on top of a neighboring building. We baked homemade jelly rolls from canned biscuits and grape jelly and watched a storm come in. I saw him less after that, as alcoholism claimed his life, but I treasure the simple memory more and more.

When did you begin writing?

I was identified by a teacher in the 7th grade who was the first person to ever use the word “gifted” to refer to me in any way. I hung on to that and have been writing since. I probably wrote well before then, but never allowed anyone to read it. I can not remember when I was not writing. Now I really am one of those writers who must.

What is this book about?

Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do, tells, from a personal perspective of a broken man – myself – of the journey into and out of sexual addiction. The key words here are “Surviving” and “Grace.” The book speaks to two audiences: the man or woman who finds life dominated and endangered by a sexual activity or temptation they believe is inconsistent with what God intended for them . . . and also the man or woman – husband, wife, father, mother – who loves someone who struggles with a sexual issue and needs encouragement and support to find freedom. The “grace” in the book is what God extends to us as well as the grace we extend to each other through great patience and forgiveness.

Surviving Sexual Brokenness is designed to be truthful, but also compassionate, moving beyond the shame and guilt to bring strength and clarity.

What inspired you to write it?

While sexual brokenness can take many forms, for me, as a Christian, my difficult struggle was with unwanted same-sex attraction. Despite my faith and Biblical understanding, I was giving in to homosexual temptations and living a double-life. I could not reconcile it and explored it and it became clear that people of faith who understand what the Bible says can never really accept homosexuality as God’s intent for them. In the meantime, I almost lost my marriage, did become separated from my five grown children and took it on the chin careerwise as an AT&T executive.
In the process, I discovered many men and women secretly fight pornography addiction, adulterous sexual addiction, unwanted same-sex attraction, idolatry and emotional dependency. The issue is more difficult for Christians, caught between what culture tells them and how the Bible instructs them. I hope through my transparency others can avoid the great pain that I have endured and inflicted.

Sexual addictions are as debilitating and destructive as any addiction known to man.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My wife, Lisa. Having been the closest witness to the changes in my life, she is the one who cheers me on in hopes that others will be able to learn to control temptations, build healthy relationships, overcome the brokenness of the past and accept the grace of God that allows us to rebuild our lives.

Who is your favorite author?

I enjoy Max Lucado and Frances Chan.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

My agent is Joyce Hart with Hartline Literary.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Joyce was able to get Surviving Sexual Brokenness before some very good publishing firms, primarily major Christian publishers. Despite great praise for the content and the quality, each eventually backed off. I think it is difficult even for Christian publishers to take on books today that do less than heap praise on homosexuality due to the cultural shift achieved by pro-gay advocates. As a result, I thought it better to assume the risks myself and go with WestBow, a division of Thomas Nelson. That decision made, the process has not been difficult. The bumpier part may be in getting reviews and speaking opportunities as so many people are sorting themselves out on the issue of sexuality in the 21st century. The words “tolerance” and “affirmation,” confuse people to the point of shying away. Still, “truth” and “compassion” are not scary words, so I think the opportunities will come when more people are familiar with my message content.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I might have spent a bit less on some of the promotional programs offered by the publisher, realizing that their efforts in those areas were probably not that much beyond what I can do myself with available technology.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, WestBow Press, or directly from my website or blog.

What are your website and blog links?

My website address is www.thomhunter.com. My blog is Signs of a Struggle.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

I have a YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt7LdZwegkU

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

The best investment has been personal time, being patient enough to make sure the quality and message are consistent; the writing creative, clear and inspiring; the cover dynamic and supportive of the content. Interaction through social media has produced sales. Creating and promoting a personal website and YouTube video have certainly been worth the investment.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Target. If you have a burning desire to write something, then make sure your effort is directed to the right audience. I toyed with trying to be general and kept hearing “Oh . . . another book about grace.” Then I realized my audience, and, even though some people might shy away from “Surviving Sexual Brokenness,” those who need it and want it will find it and, hopefully, but it. The truth is, this book would help anyone who is dealing with a personal issue that dominates his life. Still . . . my heart is for those who struggle in the area of sexuality. We should follow our hearts.

What is up next for you?

I am nine chapters into a new book tentatively entitled “The Weigh of Who I Am,” which is more autobiographical and very transparent about the impact of childhood sexual abuse and father abandonment. Here’s a link to a sneak preview: http://thomhuntertransparent.blogspot.com/

Is there anything you would like to add?

If you have – as my 7th grade teacher said – the gift, don’t let anyone discourage you. Gifts should be shared.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Thom. We wish you great success.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interview: Mitch Stephen, Author of My Life and 1000 Houses

Our special guest is Mitch Stephen, author of the nonfiction title, My Life and 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom. Mitch has been a full time investor since March '96. He's flipped over one thousand properties in his career. In 2007, Mitch was honored by the San Antonio Real Estate Investor's Association (SREIA) when the board voted to dedicate the offices in his name, and the “Mitch Stephen Investment Center” was born. This author is also an avid songwriter.


Thanks for joining us today, Mitch. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


I am the owner of several real estate related businesses:

www.Cash4Houses.NET  – We buy houses
www.Homes2Go.NET – We sell houses
www.Loans2Go.NET – We loan money to investors
www.CanyonLakeStorage.com – We offer boat and mini storage

I like writing songs and investing in real estate in San Antonio, Texas. I am also the author of the book My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas.

What is your fondest childhood memory?


Hunting with my brother and my mother and father.

When did you begin writing?


I began writing songs in the 7th grade (1974).

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I like writing whenever and wherever I’m at. I especially like to take writing vacations in Play Del Carmen Mexico.

What is this book about?

My Life & 1,000 Houses is the autobiographical account of an amateur entrepreneur who stumbles upon the longstanding revelations of money, business, love and life while struggling to find financial freedom. Readers will see what happens to this entrepreneur after the “get rich” seminars and CDs and experience this investor’s highs and lows as he moves towards into becoming a professional at his craft.

What inspired you to write it?

Something tragic happened in my life. Forest Gump ran…Mitch Stephen wrote. Certain people had been prompting me to write for years. I wanted to write but always seemed to be too busy. After the tragedy, I made time to write.

Who is your biggest supporter?

Momma! God Bless mommas! The truth is I have a lot of great support; from my wife to my father to my sister-in law, all my business partners and friends. I am a very lucky guy!

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I believe a person could wait a long time for a publisher to bless their project. I’m sure more than a few have died waiting for the mail to arrive every day for years on end. There are too many reasons why publishers may not choose to get behind your work and it may not be your fault or the lack of a great product. Maybe they already spent their budget. Perhaps they don’t understand your market. It could be the simply didn’t have time to get to you. Personally, I didn’t wait for anyone’s approval. I self-published!

Let’s face it, in today technological world, you can write a book and convert it into a digital download for a few hundred bucks…and be for sale in a very short period of time. I was thinking of holding a physical book in my hand when I wrote My Life & 1,000 Houses, but, I now know I could have gotten off the ground without the time and expense of shooting for a physical book – paperback version.

In today’s market, book stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble can sell your book using “print on demand” (POD). Smaller shops can offer a digital download of your book and share in the proceeds. Beyond that, you can open shop yourself with a simply home page website built with credit card acceptance and digital download capabilities, making the need for physical inventory and a non-issue. Sell enough digital downloads and your paperback version could be paid for in advance.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

My book is available in almost any format you could ask for at my personal website www.1000Houses.com. It is also available at Amazon.com, but you will not get a CD of my music represented in the book if you order from others.

Paperback
e-Book
e-Audio
Audio CD
Kindle (Amazon)
Nook (Barnes & Noble)

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

I have a blog at my website www.1000houses.com or you can go to www.Mitchstephen.wordpress.com

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I self-published through BookSurge.com. John Rieck was my representative through BookSurge. He was very helpful. I also took the initiative and got my book into every format I could.

Aaron Peterson 208-514-6631 was very helpful in helping make many of these versions of my book available. I’m not making any money for referring him, but please tell Aaron that Mitch Stephen recommended him…so that he’ll know I appreciate his help.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Be yourself
Write!
Find your audience
Learn to market yourself

What is up next for you?

The book is just over 400 pages. The first half of the book is autobiographical and on a timeline from beginner to professional. The second half of the book consists of 18 stories. These stories lend to the adage that life is stranger than fiction. It would have been hard for me to make this stuff up. I already have about 20 more stories in waiting. So, there may be some More Stories from My Life & 1,000 Houses.

www.1000Houses.com in the Education Store (Bottom – Right corner). While I try to keep the reading lively, it is more of a lesson plan by nature because so many have asks for literature drilling down into various aspects of investing; How to start a real estate investing business, how to start with little or no money, how to find bargain properties, how to find private money for investing, how to deal with contractors, how to sell your properties etc., etc.

Is there anything you would like to add?

www.MitchStephen.com
(Music site…I’m a songwriter on a good day)

www.Homes2Go.NET
(My house selling site)

www.1000Houses.com
(My book selling site and Education Store for investors)

Thanks for spending time with us today, Mitch. We wish you continued success. 





Mitch Stephen
210-669-4020
Mitch@MitchStephen.com