Friday, October 30, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

In celebration of the fact I am about to hit 100 Blogger Followers, I am doing a free book giveaway!

Please leave a comment here for your chance to win an E-Book copy of Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK! (or a copy of any of The Circle of Friends - your choice!) State if you are currently following or a new follower -
1 entry for commenting
2 more entries for current followers
2 more entries for posting this in your blog or tweeting
5 entries more if you are a new follower! (# 99 and on!)
and ANOTHER 5 entries if you are #100!!
Winner to be announced Sunday (or when 100 is achieved)

Woo-hoo! Thank you so much, everyone.

And now on to the book news...

Guest post from Marvin Wilson on getting published! Mystery Writing is Murder

Using Twitter for targeted marketing Marketing Tips For Authors

Wise words concerning grammar! The Old Silly

Should you sacrifice love for work? CNN

And thanks again to Crystal for doing a surprise feature for me this week!!! Crystal Clear Proofing


I am finally taking on a reading challenge - Revisit Your Childhood Favorites Challenge!
The details and signup are at Debbie’s World of Books
Read five childhood favorites by June 30, 2010.
I can do that! Can you?


Inspired by J. Kaye's Book Blog, who posts her new blogger finds every Friday!

This week, I discovered a delightful new blogger - Eleni at La Femme Readers


Heard good things about this low-budget movie, and I wasn't disappointed! Very well done, very suspenseful, and believable. Well, almost! It does have a sci-fi twist to it! There's about ten seconds of "hokeyness" in the last minute of the film (the low budget shows there and it didn't add to the film) but it was really good.
Give it a B.

We'd never heard of this movie, but it was highly recommended on NetFlix, so took a chance - and wow! A computer-animated fantasy from France/Germany, this one is so stunningly gorgeous. The story is simple - a group of underdogs set off to kill the giant dragon at the ends of the world - but everything about this story is so refreshingly original and imaginative. The artwork is just incredible and it's a shame this movie never received a wide release. It is a work of art! Check out the movie trailer at IMDB
Solid A


As requested by CC-Chronicles - more bungee bouncing - and some rock climbing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - Jonathan Farlow

Please welcome fellow NC author, Johnathan Farlow!

Holy War
Jonathan Farlow

You don't have to be very well read, very well informed, or very bright to realize that the events of the last year and a half have changed America forever. The tragedies of September 11th proved that the ivory tower that was the United States could be rocked and, although most of us heeded our country’s leaders and did not change our way of life, we changed our way of thinking. Our priorities and our view of those things that we took for granted changed, at least for a month or two, and a nagging fear that bordered on paranoia for some crept into our mindset.

The scope and the gravity of the previously mentioned events as well as their aftermath can be judged by their effect on Welbourne County, North Carolina. Throughout the history of this little patch of red clay it has proven to have a sturdy, almost uncanny, resistance to the social and political upheavals of the outside world. This division from the world around it was for the most part voluntary and owing to the pride and thick-headed stubbornness of its people as well as simple rolls of the dice. There's a saying among the old-timers that most people in the county were so poor that, when the Great Depression started, they didn't even notice.

During all the conflicts of this past century the combined lists of casualties from Welbourne County were limited to two during the Vietnam War and one Gerald "the Fink" Finkle, a naval Lieutenant in service during World War II who proved to be so obnoxious that his own men threw him overboard two days out of the Philippines in early 1944. Unbeknownst to all who knew him, the Fink lived for many years on a small uncharted atoll in the South Pacific. He was discovered by a Navy troop ship in 1971 and died on board on the way back to Hawaii.

Welbourne County’s armor, however, was not thick enough to keep out the demons that fell from the sky on 9/11, and that same fear, that same dread that something like this might happen again, began to creep in and fester like an open sore until it all came to a head this past summer.

If you want to be particular about it, it all started when the Sheriff’s Department raided that meth-house out on Adam's Ford Road in early April. Drugs, crime, and the filth that such poison brings with it was another evil of the outside world that occasionally (more and more often it seems) has crept in under the door. The raid was featured on the 11:00 news. Sheriff Leo Dorsey and his deputies took along a news crew from an affiliate in Winston-Salem. It was an election year and "Old Iron Britches," as Sheriff Dorsey is known around these parts, wanted the people of Welbourne County to see the lengths that he was going to "Crush that viper under his heel and send it back to the pit from where it came from." As he was quoted in The Ashewood Falls Harbinger the following day.

Sheriff Dorsey had taken a lot of flack for well over a year since an Ashewood High School freshman was pulled off the house trailer that serves as the school’s computer lab. He was buck naked, screaming something about his auto shop teacher being an assassin for the C.I.A. and, as discovered at Welbourne Memorial that night, stewed to the gills on crystal-meth. This was in contrast to what the Welbourne County Sheriff’s department had assured the people of the county: That drugs had not reached their little part of the world; they were not circulating through the schools, and they hadn't gotten to their children.

Truth is that one of the county's earliest residents, Ashewood Bennett for whom the town of Ashewood Falls is named found a bumper crop of marijuana growing on his land sometime in the late 1870's although he didn't know what it was until an Indian, the same Indian who had planted it there in the first place, identified it for him and introduced him to its euphoric qualities. He became an avid user and most people who knew him before then said it improved his behavior, coordination and personality.

Mrs. Jacinda Mann was also known to be an avid user of marijuana although she claimed that it was called hemp, was no relation to marijuana and, furthermore her physician had prescribed it to uncross her eyes. In more recent times the only well known citizen of Welbourne County to have had his own bout with drugs, or the only one to ever admit it, was our mayor, Johnston Farley, who confessed to developing a fondness for LSD while he was serving a tour of duty in Vietnam. The mayor had no trouble after he returned save one incident in early '78 when he hit Ruby Simpkins in the head with an umbrella because he saw Nikita Kruschev disappear into her beehive.

Jonathan Farlow has been writing for about ten years, experimenting with various styles. His short stories have appeared in online magazines and his articles have appeared in local newspapers. The novel, Holy War, is his first book. He lives in Archdale with his wife, Kathy, and his daughter Sara.

Holy War is a slightly irreverent satire of the world of fear that we presently find ourselves living in. Both Daniel McDaniel and the locals, who think that they are “onto” the supposed terrorists, find themselves in a world where they are not in control of their own lives. They try various methods to regain control but with differing levels of success.

You may contact Jonathan at
Order Holy War through Parkway Publishers

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Author Ariel Allison & Quick Note From Spunky

Hi guys! Spunky is on the road today for two seminars - and I'll be out doing two more tomorrow - so forgive me if I'm quiet in the Bloggy world for a day or so.

Also, might need to do contest or celebration or something! I'm about to hit 100 official Blogger followers! Any suggestions???

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
eye of the god Abingdon Press (October 1, 2009)
by Ariel Allison


Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books will be published by Harvest House in June 2009. Ariel is a weekly contributor to and has written for Today’s Christian Woman. She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at

From Ariel: I am the daughter of an acclaimed and eccentric artist, and given my “unconventional” childhood, had ample time to explore the intricacies of story telling. I was raised at the top of the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity (think Laura Ingles meets the Hippie Movement), and lived out the books I read while running barefoot through the sagebrush. My mother read to me by the light of a kerosene lantern for well over a decade, long after I could devour an entire novel in the course of a day. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and L.M. Montgomery were the first to capture my heart and I have grown to love many others since.


eye of the god takes the fascinating history surrounding the Hope Diamond and weaves it together with a present-day plot to steal the jewel from the Smithsonian Institute.
We follow Alex and Isaac Weld, the most lucrative jewel thieves in the world, in their quest to steal the gem, which according to legend was once the eye of a Hindu idol named Rama Sita. When it was stolen in the 17th century, it is said that the idol cursed all those who would possess it. That won’t stop the brilliant and ruthless Weld brothers.
However, they are not prepared for Dr. Abigail Mitchell, the beautiful Smithsonian Director, who has her own connection to the Hope Diamond and a deadly secret to keep. Abby committed long ago that she would not serve a god made with human hands, and the “eye of the god” is no exception. Her desire is not for wealth, but for wisdom. She seeks not power, but restoration.
When the dust settles over the last great adventure of the Hope Diamond, readers will understand the “curse” that has haunted its legacy is nothing more than the greed of evil men who bring destruction upon themselves. No god chiseled from stone can direct the fates of humankind, nor can it change the course of God’s story.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of eye of the god, go HERE
The book link is:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photo Tuesday - Character Behaviors

Sometimes a stressful situation will force a character to act in an unusual manner. He or she will suddenly do something wild or crazy.

But what about natural weird behaviors?

When writing, we need to be sure our characters are as diverse as real live people. Not every person in our books needs to be "out there," but at least one or two should be a little off kilter.

A violent outburst from a character prone to anger would seem perfectly natural. In fact, it would be odd NOT to have that character act out his or her frustrations or use words that might be considered harsh.

Some characters are physically capable of doing more than the average person. Take into account athletic ability or even the effects of outside stimulus, such as alcohol. And remember that some people are just natural daredevils.

If you've a character with some real mental hangups, moments of complete craziness are to be expected!

So, what quirky behaviors do YOUR characters possess? What "out-there" things do you like to see characters in books attempt?
(Meanwhile, I am still trying to work a dancing cat into one of my stories...)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Marketing Website Resources for Authors & Writers

Over the years I've compiled quite a list of sites that feature promotional tips for authors, both traditional and self-published. Since I've a lot of authors and writers who follow my blog, I would like to share some of those sites!

Some marketing & industry resources:

Writers Digest - has list of 100 best sites
Dan Poynter’s ParaPublishing - self publishing & promoting resource
Book Market - John Kremer’s site
The Literary Market Place - book publishing industry resource (and if your local library has a copy of this two volume set, I recommend spending the day researching those books!)
The Publicity Hound - publicity resource - be sure to sign up for her newsletter!
Selling Books - book publishing, marketing & writing resources
Ink Tree Marketing - self publishing & book marketing
Aeonix - independent publisher resource - Pete really knows his stuff, too!
Mystery Promotion - book promoting
The Writing Show - writing & promoting tips - Paula Berinstein is an incredible host!
Selling Books - promoting resource

And some great databases:

Book Connector - list of reviewers
Online Newspapers - lists all newspapers worldwide
On The Radio - lists all radio stations
Contact Any Celebrity - for celebrity addresses

Happy web surfing!

And I woke up this morning to this delightful entry over at Crystal Clear Proofing
Thanks so much, Crystal!!! What a wonderful surprise.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Sillies!

After an incredibly busy week (actually, a whole month!) I needed a good laugh. Thought everyone else would enjoy a laugh, too.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

And my favorite LOL Cat of all time...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Don't you feel better now?

Friday, October 23, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Book news, books-to-movies, and more!

* In the news this week *

Carol Denbow’s new marketing book A Book Inside

YA novel contest, with a twist Debbie’s World of Books

The war between WalMart and Amazon Straight From Hel

Benefits of attending the Muse Online Writer’s Conference Terry Lynn Johnson
Good stuff, Terry - congratulations!

Paul Krupin lists some of the biggest reviewers out there! Paul Krupin’s Trash Proof Marketing and Publicity Blog

A great book giveaway (plus a recipe!) Pudgy Penguins Perusals

And oodles more giveaways... Jo Jo Loves to Read

An awesome cookbook for us busy folks! Missy’s Book Nook

And the clearest example of how to use a while and awhile Crystal Clear Proofing

* Movie Corner *

Books-to-movies - the ones I DON'T want to see.

Where the Wild Things Are
Okay, first off, I must be the only one on the planet who didn't like this children's book. As a kid, I found it very creepy. And since they selected an 'odd' director, I bet the movie is even weirder. Ironically, while the critics have liked it, parents have voiced that their kids were either scared or bored with the film.

Full Moon
That's right, I am not a Twilight fan. For a vampire fix, I think I'd rather go see Cirque de Freak instead. I had a foster daughter who was hooked on those books and the storyline sounds more interesting.
At any rate, I've already seen the best horror-themed movie of the year - Zombieland!

A Christmas Carol
Yes, it looks visually amazing. But I still really like the 60's vesion. And in all honesty, I ADORE The Muppet's Christmas Carol! We watch it every Christmas Eve...

Books-to-movies - the ones I DO want to see.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader
It's not until next winter, but I can't wait for this book in the series to hit the screen. As long as they overcome the problems encountered in Prince Caspian, it should be really good. And it was always my favorite book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Hobbit
Okay, who's NOT excited for this one? With Peter Jackson writing the screenplay and Guillermo del Toro directing, it should be awesome. LOTR is the highest grossing trilogy ever for a reason and I'm sure The Hobbit will live up to the first three movies.

Sherlock Holmes
Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes? Okay, count me in! Same with Iron Man 2.

Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp - need I say more? I wonder what took them so long...

* Photo of the Day *

Since my husband and I will again be manning the rock wall at our church's fall fest, I thought I'd let you see Spunky scaling the wall as well!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - Book V...Heather

The Circle of Friends, Book V…Heather

When confidence turns to frustration…

A new beginning waits at Clemson for Heather Jennings. Honored with the position of assistant, she will finally realize her dream of coaching basketball. Heather is ready to focus on her duties, using sheer force if necessary, and prove her independence.

Unfortunately, her triumph feels subdued as Heather’s father and greatest advocate lies dying of cancer. Battling her grief, she must also deal with a sister who appears incapable of responsibility or achievement. And once basketball season begins, a talented but cocky player who resembles her in every manner challenges all that remains of Heather’s patience.

During her quest for a new car, she encounters a man capable of handling her bold and feisty attitude. Straightforward and smug, he entices her to date him, and despite his gruff nature, shows compassion toward her situation. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…

From Chapter Five…

Entering the sanctuary at her mother’s side, Heather hardly noticed that not a single pew sat empty. Elbow locked with Lauren’s, she kept her eyes focused straight ahead and chin held high. All morning she had prepared for this moment. Heather felt determined to maintain her composure, even if it required emotionally detaching herself from the scene. She refused to exhibit another loss of control as she had last night at the wake.

Her father’s casket, now closed, loomed closer and closer. Upon reaching the front of the church, Heather and her mother took their places in the empty pew. She did not even glance at the row behind them, fearful of making eye contact with either her aunt or uncle. She waited until Dawn settled in her seat before raising her eyes to the casket. Adorned with flowers, its visible surface shiny even in the low light, the coffin appeared almost beautiful in its serenity.

They were the last to enter the sanctuary, and the minister stepped up to the podium. He quietly adjusted his papers and paused as if to gather his thoughts. Grasping the sides of the podium, the minister raised his head and surveyed the crowd. Fearfully Heather awaited his opening words, her hands clutched tightly together. She suddenly realized she was holding her breath and exhaled at the same time he began to speak.

“Beloved, we are gathered here today to pay final respects to Thomas Richard Jennings.”

His voice seemed to echo in the large church, the sound further escalated by the unnatural silence of those gathered. The finality of his statement caused Heather to momentarily drop her eyes. She focused on her hands, as they lay tightly clasped across one thigh. In the dim light of the church, they appeared as thin and frail as her father’s had in his final days. Disturbed by that thought, she quickly returned her attention to the minister and the beautiful eulogy prepared for the memorial service.

Lauren appeared focused on his words as well. Almost stoic in her stance, Heather’s mother gave no indication of her pain and sorrow. Heather occasionally glanced in her direction, fully prepared to comfort her mother should she begin to cry. However, Lauren’s strength in the face of death remained unwavering. Heather decided to follow her mother’s example, determined to get through the funeral service without shedding a tear.

The musical piece her mother had selected was beautiful, although Heather blocked out the words. When the minister resumed speaking, Heather’s mind began to wander. She tried to hold fast and force herself to follow his speech, but her thoughts refused to be silenced. Her attention abruptly shifted to her childhood and a much happier moment with her father.

She remembered the evening her father brought home a basketball for his seven-year-old daughter. A basketball hoop and stand had been erected the previous evening and Heather recalled eyeing it with growing curiosity. When Thomas produced the ball from his vehicle, she had eagerly taken it from his hands. Instinctively shooting at the basket, her first attempt fell short by several feet. Retrieving the ball, her father had smiled and told Heather to try again. They remained in the driveway until Heather had sunk three baskets in a row. She could still hear her father’s jubilant cry as the basketball fell through the net for a third consecutive time.

That night had proved pivotal for Heather. It had signified the beginning of her love for basketball, a passion that would sustain her for almost twenty years. Watching the ball drop into the net had felt incredibly satisfying. However, it was her father’s encouragement and patience that Heather remembered most dearly. At the time, she had selfishly assumed her father simply wanted to lavish his oldest daughter with attention. As she matured, Heather realized how much Thomas loved the game as well. Eager to please her father and share in his joy, she had poured everything into excelling at the sport. Her life’s goals had been set as a result of that one evening shooting baskets in the driveway.

A noise returned her to the present and Heather quickly focused her attention on the service. Dawn sniffed beside her and Heather glanced apprehensively in her sister’s direction. Head down, Dawn’s face lay hidden behind her brown hair, but her irregular breathing was readily apparent.

Not now, Dawn, Heather thought to herself. She chanced a look at her mother’s face, but Lauren’s eyes were dry. Heather’s memory had produced a surge of emotions and she squeezed her hands even tighter. She had to be strong.

A gasp escaped Dawn’s lips, audible only to her sister. Heather leaned closer, determined to forestall the flood of tears.

“Dawn!” she hissed softly.

Her sister did not look up and Heather wondered if her warning had even registered. Another noise escaped from Dawn and suddenly she leaned against Heather’s arm, her damp cheek pressed against her older sister’s bare shoulder. A shudder ran through her body as she gasped once more.

“Dawn…” warned Heather, her head almost touching her sister’s.

“Make it all go away,” whispered Dawn, one hand grasping her arm.

Her desperate entreaty reminded Heather of when they were children. Dawn had often made that request of her when frightened and no one else was around to offer comfort. Coupled with the vivid memory of her father, Heather felt her sister’s plea tug at her heart. Their father’s passing had devastated Dawn. Angrily, she realized her own eyes had filled with tears as her resolve to remain in control dissolved.

Feeling defeated and vulnerable, Heather grasped her sister’s hands. Dawn pressed even closer and clung tightly to her only source of comfort. Unable to move, Heather felt tears run unchecked down her cheek as she cried in silence with her baby sister.

Release date: March 16, 2010, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
$19.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 282 pages, Fiction/YA
ISBN 978-0-9816210-5-0 / 0-9816210-5-8

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Author Linda S. Clare

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
The Fence My Father Built Abingdon Press (October 2009)
by Linda S. Clare


Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them (with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She has also published many essays, stories, and poems in publications including The Christian Reader, The Denver Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Linda grew up in a part of Arizona, where the dirt is as red as it is in Central Oregon. She graduated summa cum laude in Art Education from Arizona State University and taught in public and private schools. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!


When legally separated Muri Pond, a librarian, hauls her kids, teenager Nova and eleven year-old Truman, out to the tiny town of Murkee, Oregon, where her father, Joe Pond lived and died, she's confronted by a neighbor's harassment over water rights and Joe's legacy: a fence made from old oven doors.
The fence and accompanying house trailer horrify rebellious Nova, who runs away to the drug-infested streets of Seattle. Muri searches for her daughter and for something to believe in, all the while trying to save her inheritance from the conniving neighbor who calls her dad Chief Joseph.
Along with Joe's sister, Aunt Lutie, and the Red Rock Tabernacle Ladies, Muri must rediscover the faith her alcoholic dad never abandoned in order to reclaim her own spiritual path.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Fence My Father Built , go HERE
The book link is:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Photo Tuesday - My Book 'Em Experience

If you are a reader, writer or author and you've never been to one of the Book 'Em Festivals, you need to check it out!

The Book ‘Em Foundation was founded by Officer (and author) Mark Kearney and author p.m. terrell. At the moment, events take place in three states and Mark is working to expand to two other locations. The Foundation's slogan is "Buy a book, stop a crook!"

This was my setup. We arrived at the school Friday evening after I'd spent a full day at two middle schools, instructing over 300 students how to create a character. (The response the next day from the students and teachers was rather overwhelming, too!) But I got my table all set Friday night so I'd be ready to go the next morning.

This is my setup AFTER I remembered I needed to make room for the DVD player! We played my book trailer on it all day long.

There were many awesome authors in attendance! Here is Kathy Erskine at her table.

Dirk Robertson has come from Scotland every year for this Book 'Em Festival!

In fact, he so loves the area, that he has now moved here!

Dirk is quite the character...

I have to tell you about this young lady!
I had a talk in the auditorium from 10-10:45 that morning, shortly after the doors opened. Chelsie and her mother came up to my table not long after I'd begun my talk. (It was on book publishing & promoting.) Chelsie was one of the students who'd participated in my characterization session and she really wanted to meet me in person. She and her mother wandered the tables for over thirty minutes and when they returned to my table, her mother said she needed to get Chelsie to her dance lesson. Chelsie said no, she was not leaving until I signed her book! So my husband told them to wait one minute and slipped into the auditorium, where I was wrapping up and taking questions, and announced that I had a fan who had to see me NOW! I was so touched she would go to so much trouble to talk with me in person. Hugs to you Chelsie! You made my day!

Another surprise came from author Judy Walter! She came over to my table and said she'd gone through my websites and HAD to get a couple of my books! Hey, authors don't go to buy other authors books at these events, so I was really honored she picked up two of mine!
(She writes about healthy living, so I did pick up her book, too! Plus a few others...)

This is Cindy, one of the two volunteers at the register.
She said they watch the books that come through there, and she'd seen SO many of my books come through, she HAD to have one!

Again, super-warm fuzzies for an author!

And finally, this is Bonnie Watson!

She's a talented illustrator and an author. (Bonnie designed the Book 'Em logo.) She has grown so bold over the years, and Bonnie is just a HOOT! So full of energy and life.

And yes, I am aware she gave me the rabbit ears!

All in all, this was the best Book 'Em I have ever attended and I can't wait for next year! The response from the students who enjoyed the characterization session was great, as so many came in Saturday to get one of my books. Got to chat with some old friends, like AJ Rodriguez, and really get to know new ones, like Pamela June Kimmell. Had a good turnout for my auditorium talk and sold a whole lotta books!

But it's the friendships I've made and the kids who were inspired that matter most!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guest Post and a Q&A with Tony Eldridge!

Today I'd like to welcome Tony Eldridge, a marketing master!

Tony was nice enough to supply today's guest post as well as answer a few questions...

Leveraging Your Marketing Efforts By Cultivating Relationships
By Tony Eldridge

There are so many things that an author can do to market his or her book. But for many authors, the word marketing sends chills through them. Most authors, given the choice, would rather be writing than marketing. That’s totally understandable, but at the end of the day, authors must engage in marketing activities in order to find readers for their books. After all, writers write to be read and long gone are the days, even for the vast majority of traditionally published authors, that authors can rely on others to do the marketing for them.

As you start to put together your marketing plan (yes, you really need a marketing plan), I want you to consider a strategy that will pay compounded dividends for you as a marketer. Instead of trying to reach every reader yourself, spend a significant amount of time cultivating relationships with people who can help you market your book.

The truth is that building a following takes time. While you can count on a portion of your followers to help spread the word about your book, if you can tap into the established follower of others, you can spread the word about your book exponentially. Here are some ways you can tap into existing followers by cultivating relationships:

1. Blog Owners- Blog owners have followers. Reach out to these people and they can do wonders by introducing you to their readers. But don’t expect blog owners to just offer you their followers. Develop a relationship with them. Read their blog, comment, offer to guest blog for them. If you invest in them, they will be more likely to invest in you.

2. Other Authors- Authors are a close knit group of people. Authors like to see other authors succeed. They like to help each other (well, most do). Read authors who write similar to you and correspond with them. Ask their advice and be willing to follow it if it’s sound. If you have written a good book, and you develop a good relationship with an author, he or she will be more likely to tell their readers about you than if they don’t know who you are. We talk about our friends more than we talk about people we don’t know.

3. Gurus- A guru is an expert who serves as fountain of information. Gurus have followers and their followers are very loyal to them. If a guru suggests that their followers check you out, they will. So, where do you find gurus? Do an internet search and see who people are talking about. What experts are people recommending? They may be (and often are) blog owners, but they don’t have to be. Many gurus are active on Twitter or other social networking sites. Many gurus are group or forum owners. It won’t take long to find them when you start to look for them. They are the ones people are asking questions to and giving thanks to.

4. Offline Groups/Clubs- Look around for writers groups, local meet-ups and other offline groups you can join. Be active in the group and you will be surprised at the support you will receive. Members like to see fellow members succeed and they can do wonders in helping spread the news about you and your book. Don’t focus on joining “writing related” groups only. Civic groups, non-profit groups, and professional clubs will support you just as well, and maybe more, than writing related groups. After all, you can be a celebrity if you are the only author in a club.
Think about what life as an author would be like if you had an army of people helping to spread the word about your book. The quickest way to develop this army is by cultivating relationships. Here are two articles from my blog that you can read to look into this further. One is written by a legitimate guru, John Kremer: Create Relationships On The Internet With Key Websites and the other is written by me: 8 Tips on Creating An Army Of People To Market Your Book.
Want to see a real life example of this principle at work? A few months ago, I ran across Diane and asked her to be a guest blogger for my blog, Marketing Tips For Authors. She was able to get in front of people she never would have met without that opportunity. And now, you know about my award winning novel, The Samson Effect, through the relationship we have forged. The same thing can, and should, happen with you. Cultivate relationships with others and you will find a lot of people who will help spread the word about you, your book, your product and your services.
Tony Eldridge is the author of the award winning action/adventure novel, The Samson Effect, which NY Times Best Selling authors Clive Cussler calls a "first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure." He is also the creator of Marketing Tips for Authors, a site the publishes free tips and videos to help authors learn marketing techniques for their books. You can read the serial release of The Samson Effect at Marketing Tips For Authors

And now for the questions!

What types of things do you offer at your blog, Marketing Tips For Authors?
Marketing Tips For Authors is a blog that offers authors low cost/no cost ways to market their books. I use my years of experience as a successful marketing director for a local internet company to adapt proven strategies for authors.

At what point did you feel you were a “book marketing expert?”
The “marketing expert” came after years in my role as Marketing Director for Techniacllead, a company that creates videos to teach people how to use products like Flash, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and other technical software. I was fortunate to be exposed to tens of thousands of dollars in training and learned from one of the best internet marketing gurus I have met. Though you don’t have to be an author to have the skills you need to market books, having written a novel did help me understand some of the nuances of book marketing. But in the end, a book is a product, and my marketing experience has helped me outsell in less than month what the average self-published authors sell in a lifetime.

Tell us about your upcoming book & video series.
My next book/video series is on conducting Twitter contests. I am excited about this because I am bringing together my experience with a company that produced video tutorials with my experience as an author. More to come about this on my site very soon.

Which do you enjoy writing more – fiction or non-fiction?
It depends on the mood you catch me in. I love to research and teach so non-fiction, especially instructional material, is a passion. But when I need to get away from it all, I love to get lost in a world that I create and interact with characters that I breathe life into. It’s an experience that’s hard to explain but one that another novelist understand explicitly.

Is it true “The Samson Effect” is going to be a movie?
I hope! A major Hollywood producer did acquire the film rights to it and is currently working it with the studios. The way this came about is something that even Hollywood could not contrive. You can read about how The Samson Effect caught the eye of Hollywood by reading Los Angeles Producer Acquires Film Rights For Adventure Novel.

How on earth do you stay looking so young?
LOL- Well, I really need to update my pic. It was taken when I got married at age 30. On September 18th, I just celebrated my 40th birthday. I have a few more gray hairs, especially after spending over three years with 3 year old twin boys (whom I adore).

And the last word Tony… ?
Thanks so much for the opportunity to meet your readers Diane. Along with visiting my blog, I invite your readers to check out my free video subscription. Here, authors and business owners can learn some of the more technical aspects of internet marketing.

Find Tony Eldridge here-

Author of The Samson Effect and
Creator of Marketing Tips For Authors
For free Video Marketing Tips For Authors: Video Tips

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Muse Wrap-up

This past week was The Muse Online Writers Conference

If you did not get to participate this year, you won't want to miss next year's event! Online chats, week-long forum workshops, and pitch sessions with many, many publishers.

I did a chat session this past Wednesday, "When do Promotions Begin?" and covered items to consider before and during the writing phase. I certainly want to thank my moderator, Kari Wolfe - she did an outstanding job, and as she pointed out, us Wolfe's have to stick together! And a special thanks to Donna McDine at Write What Inspires You, J. Aday Kennedy at A Writing Playground, and Karina Fabian at FabianSpace for listening in on my chat! It always helps to be among friends.

Join us next year!

And tune in tomorrow for a special guest!

Friday, October 16, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different!

Book news from Spunky while she's on the road! (And likely to hit snow in Virginia, too.)

Fantastic book giveaway contest!! Ramblings of a Teen Age Bookworm Check it out!

Word choices for the fussy writer Fiction Matters

Shel Horowitz & how to get great endorsements Book Marketing Tips For Authors

Real numbers – EBook sales- A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing
(From Words Myth Ampers and Virgule )

More FTC information- J. Kaye’s Book Blog

Publishing success articles – a whole lotta them! Writers Digest

Bonnie Grove provides us with her Show-Don’t-Tell workshop notes! Fiction Matters

Dialogue Tips- Blood Red Pencil

Marketing Plan tips- Marketing Tips For Authors


I love finding new book blogs and came across this one recently!
Reviews By Martha’s Bookshelf


This movie isn't for everyone, but... Zombieland is the funniest and the best movie I have seen all year! Yes, the gore is over the top, but the dialogue is snappy, witty and engaging, and the characters are all realistic and three-dimensional. And did I mention funny? My husband and I laughed so hard we about fell out of our seats! You'll never look at bathrooms - or Bill Murray - the same way again!


see more Lolcats and funny pictures


This is what I am doing right now!
The Book 'Em Festival is this Saturday in Waynesboro, VA, and I always spend Friday visiting several local schools. I do a character-building session with the students and it's always a big hit.
So pray for me as I visit two schools, four classes total, talking to several hundred kids!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - Connie Arnold

Today please welcome talented author and really sweet person, Connie Arnold!

"Abiding Hope and Love is my newest book, and the following is an excerpt from it:"

Abiding Hope and Love

When troubles and trials of life
Like winds are howling around,
A place that is quiet and sheltered
Is what needs to be found.

As in the hurricane’s eye
The destructive winds cease,
So also within the soul
Is a haven of calm and peace.

When the winds of fear and hatred
Rage and roar along their course,
Through prayer their strength is weakened,
As faith subdues their force.

There’s a safe, secure retreat,
A place down deep inside,
The center of life’s storms,
Where hope and love abide.

This poetry collection is filled with optimism, revealing hope and love that may be found throughout life. There are poems about hope, love, children, music, the Bible, and nature. Life is filled with difficulties and trials, and finding hope and love in your life can help you to overcome these problems and find peace in your life.

Connie Arnold is also the author of Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Tom, and they have two children and three small grandsons.
Connie lives with the daily challenges of lupus, and the pain and weakness it causes. She has found the source of hope and love in her life and desires to share it with you through these poems. A children's picture book has recently been accepted for publication.

Please visit Connie at her website - Connie Arnold

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Author Kathryn Cushman

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Leaving Yesterday Bethany House (October 1, 2009)
by Kathryn Cushman


I graduated from Samford University with a degree in pharmacy, but I’ve known all my life that I wanted to write a novel “some day”. For me, “some day” came about five years ago, when I started writing and never looked back.
My third attempt became my first published novel.
A Promise to Remember was a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers Book-of-the-Year in the Women’s Fiction category, and Waiting for Daybreak was a finalist in Women’s Fiction for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Leaving Yesterday just arrived on scene and I’m very excited about it!
On the homefront, I’ve been married to the wonderful and handsome Lee for over twenty years now, and our two daughters are currently braving the worlds of elementary and high school. We’ve lived in Santa Barbara for the last seventeen years. When I’m not writing or reading or braving seventy degree holidays, you’ll find me watching the younger daughter play softball, or the older daughter building amazing high school theater sets


Alisa Stewart feels like she's lost two sons: her youngest to a terrible tragedy and her eldest, Kurt, to a life ruined by addiction. But now Kurt has checked himself into rehab and found a healing faith that seems real. It's like he's been raised from the dead.
But then a detective arrives at Alisa's door asking questions about a murder--the death of a drug dealer before Kurt entered rehab. Alisa fears losing her son again, and when she finds evidence linking him to the killing, she destroys it. Her boy is different now. He's changed and deserves a second chance.
But when another man is charged with the crime, Alisa finds herself facing an impossible choice: be silent and keep her son or give up everything for the truth.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Leaving Yesterday, go HERE
The book link is:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perspectives - Photo Tuesday

During my recent flight to Oregon, the difference in perspectives between ground level and 10,000+ feet really struck me. (And being the height-junkie and photographer that I am, I had to take a lot of photos as well!)

There's many ways in which we as writers can gain a new perspective...

Sometimes we must set down our work and return later when we are refreshed.

Often it helps to have an impartial person read our manuscript.

If we are struggling with a scene or character, we can seek out someone who has gone through a similar experience and ask his or her opinion.

If we are bogged down with details or direction, we can refer back to the original outline for an overall view.

Sometimes just switching POV will give us a fresh perspective.

Any other methods you can suggest?

Oh, and happy flying!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Special Surprise for Some Unsung Heroes

Last day of the tour and a special surprise.

BTW - today I am visiting Angie's blog, God Uses Broken Vessels, so stop by and say hello!

I'd love to thank all of my hosts for graciously allowing me to visit your site via an interview, review, giveaway, or guest post!

CC Chronicles
The Book Muncher
Bookland Heights
Debbie’s World of Books
Pop Syndicate
Simply Books & Review
The Old Silly’s Free Sprit Blog
Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee
Writers in Business
God Uses Broken Vessels

You guys rock!

And I'd like to thank another special group of people, one my blogger friends rarely get to hear about - my Deviant Art buddies.
This past week, sixteen wonderful DA friends assisted with my tour through the site. Spunk On A Stick – Deviant Art They each sent an interview question, and posted my answer along with the announcement of Book IV and a giveaway in their journal. For six days, there were 2-3 posts. And while I've toured through that site previously, this book garnered the most comments by far! I had so many Deviants following the tour - it really surprised me.

So as a special thank you to each one of my hosts, I'm posting their questions here:

* What character’s personality traits reflect your own?
* think there’s at least a smidge of me in most of the characters!
Book II’s Sarah probably boasts the most traits, though. Like her, I am bold to a fault and sometimes a bit blunt. I definitely share her tomboy attributes – no one can accuse either of us of being ‘prissy!’ Sarah feels more comfortable with men than women, and I often feel the same way, too. I also shared her struggle with low self-esteem when I was her age, although my self-image is much better now.
I share Lori’s (Book I) optimism and attitude as well, and there’s a few of James’s (Book III) traits with which I identity. But overall, I’d have to say that I am a Sarah.

* What advice can you give to unpublished authors that hope to have their work published?
* Study the industry & market!
Make sure what you are writing will actually SELL. Determine your niche audience and how to reach your potential readers. Without a specific, target audience, you cannot succeed – there is no such thing as a ‘general appeal’ book!
Always hire a professional book editor before submitting your work. Most writers skip this step – and it shows! Make your work stand out from the masses.
If submitting to a publisher (agents only required for the largest publishers) send only what they require. Learn how to craft a proper query letter, synopsis, and outline. If self-publishing, do your research online and through books. You are starting a BUSINESS – treat it as such!
Finally, believe in yourself and you work!

* If you could be a character in any book, who would it be, what book, and why?
* Hmmm… I can think of a few!
I love Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider series and would love to be Lord Jaxom, rider of the white dragon, Ruth. He’s in such a unique position, as he’s the Lord of a Hold AND rider of the only white dragon in existence.
I’d love to be Pippin in The Lord of the Rings. No, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer! But he’s got a good heart and has fun no matter what the circumstances.
And of my own characters, I’d choose Matt. He’s fun-loving, genuine, and well-grounded, and possesses such athletic ability.
Is it odd that I’d choose only male characters? LOL

* Where will your journey lead you? What do you think?
* I hope it leads me to a place where I can reach thousands upon thousand of people! I want to raise others up, help them to be better people. I want my speaker’s platform and Spunk On A Stick to become my ‘ministry’ so that I can reach out to more people, both through my talks and my books.
True success is based upon how many lives one can touch in a positive way. If I can make a difference in this world, then that will be total success for me!

* What are your plans for your next book, assuming you're going to write one, and if so, can you hint at what it will be about? If you don't intend to write another series book, what's your next project going to be?
* The next book out will be Book V…Heather – and that one about kicked my butt! Heather is the complete opposite of me. Ironically, despite the challenges, I believe it will be the best send-off I can give the series!
Or is it????
Okay, plans for NEXT book…
I do intend to write another self-help – probably along the lines of “Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK” only geared towards children.
But I DO have an outline for a sixth book in The Circle of Friends series, one that will catch up with the friends a few years down the road. As they transition into their 30’s, they will face new challenges. Of the ten main characters even dies…
(Oh, I’ve done it now, haven’t I?)

* If you could trade lives with any of your characters in your books, who's life would you want and why?
* That is a tough question! (Especially as I like my own life a lot!) Which character…?
Her character most closely resembles me, so I would feel more comfortable in her life. She has a pretty good life by the end of her story, too – husband a top receiver in the NFL, lives in a beautiful house in Denver… But what I like most about her life is her relationship with Matt. Their relationship is so playful and fun. Despite all odds, he is the most devoted and loving of all the main male characters, too. He’s grounded, responsible, and understands what’s important in life.
Come to think of it, that sounds like Craig! Guess I’m already living that life!

* Why the self-help line instead of science fiction?
* Oh, Roo, you know I love sci-fi!
But as I have learned through my experience with this YA series, fiction usually doesn’t pay the bills. Speaking engagements are how most authors make their money, and a non-fiction title that ties into one’s speaking platform is much more profitable. “Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK!” sells well at my seminars, and I will likely pursue another non-fiction title next.

PurrrpleCat ( You guys know her as Crystal Clear Proofing )
* What, if any, differences have you encountered in writing a story with the main character being male? How differently they look at things and deal with issues...
* Men view the world in a whole different manner than women! I even wrote an article about the male POV.
Personally, I’ve found it easier to write from a man’s perspective. Men are so much simpler than women. They say what they mean. They know how to focus. I admire their no-nonsense way of thinking. One might think it’s more difficult to effectively convey emotion through a male character, but I find it easier.
I’ve always related better to men as well.

* When you’re writing, do you ever picture your books becoming movies?
* I’ve thought about movies, but I think a TV series would better serve my stories. Since The Circle of Friends overlap and follow many characters, I feel an hour-long weekly show would be far more effective. A movie per book would just not be enough time to really delve into their lives, but a series could follow each of the main characters and really reveal who they are as a person.

* My question: Which character from Circle of Friends is your favorite and why?
* I love all my characters!
However, I do have a favorite or two.
Sarah would be my favorite female character. She possesses a few of my own personality traits (not all!!) and I easily identify with Sarah. But she’s very bold and dedicated, and I do envy the wonderful life she will have with Matt.
This leads me to my favorite male character – Matt!
What’s not to love? He’s - all about the fun; tall, lanky & muscular; very genuine and with a good heart; and not that complicated. He understands not only his role in life but also his responsibilities and moral honor.
Both characters are adventurous & outgoing, and just generate a lot of energy when together.

* If you could be omnipotent for a day what would you do?
* I had to look it up to be sure I was answering this correctly – omnipotent means having unlimited authority or influence.
I would make everyone realize that life is too short!!!! Too short to waste time arguing and fighting with each other. Too short to place dreams & goals on the back burner. Too short to let the person you love slip away. Too short not to take time to change the life of a young person forever. Too short to waste time with excuses. Too short not to live life to the fullest!!!

* What is the main message you hope your readers will take away from your book series?
* Hope! I want readers to find hope and inspiration in my series. I want them to see themselves in my characters and identify with the struggles, and through my character’s triumphs find ways to overcome their own obstacles in life. We all need encouragement and belief that we can achieve our goals.

* Which is the greater challenge: writing fiction or giving speeches?
* Writing fiction! No comparison. Yes, it required time & effort to research the base topics upon which I speak. But now that I have my seminars organized, it’s easy to tailor one to a specific audience or compact it for time. Writing fiction is such a long process – research, writing, rewrites, editing, etc. It takes me a year to complete a book, but only a few hours to organize a speech. Plus, I make a lot more money as a speaker.
Besides, it’s every woman’s dream – I get PAID to talk!

* Do you need any special things when you’re writing? Like a certain kind of music playing? Peace and quiet of the outdoors? A Twix bar? Can of soda? Anything like that?
* A good stiff drink? Just kidding!!!
I can write anywhere and anytime I have a spare ten minutes. I hand write all material first, so I just need pen and paper. But for prolonged periods of writing, I need an area devoid of massive stimuli. It needs to be plain and without a ton of distractions. I find it difficult to write at my desk due to the computers and other objects occupying the room. It’s like a rainbow of colors and after a moment, I’m like, “Oooo, pretty…” My favorite spot is on our super soft, oversized couch, nestled in the corner with a lap tray. I also like to stretch out across our bed.
Music always makes the experience more productive, especially for emotionally charged scenes. Water or soda must also be present. And the ultimate bonus is if my cats are sleeping at the time! Difficult to write with a furry body stretched out across my tablet…

* How do other authors you know personally (Morgan Mandel, etc.) influence your craft?
* Those authors force me stretch! I hear what they are trying and accomplishing, and it spurs me to do more. Morgan or Trish will post about a successful event and it motivates me to try that venue as well. Plus we share our experiences and offer suggestions to one another. I also see what genres and areas are more successful, and that affects my writing. I want to write what I love, but I also want to be successful doing it, too! And many authors offer tips on grammar, characters, storytelling, etc. I learn far more from other authors than I’ve ever learned from books!

* What is your favorite thing about your speaking engagements and book tours?
* Meeting the people! I love people and speaking gigs and book signings are a great way to meet them. I love the speaking engagements, because it gives me time to get to know some of the attendees.
I also have an opportunity to impart a word of hope. During my talks, it’s like magic sometimes. I’ll watch another human being simply come to life, believing that they can accomplish his or her dreams! That is what I live for – to ignite a spark of enthusiasm in another person.

Thank you my wonderful Deviant Art friends!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dealing with Authors, Reviews, and the Like!

I'd posted this in Friday's "And Now For Something Completely Different," but as the conversation continues to grow, I wanted to touch upon it once more.

If you missed J. Kaye's post about author reactions to poor reviews, go read it here: J. Kaye’s Book Blog

It's incredibly insightful and delves into many areas. Most of the book bloggers have enjoyed only positive experiences with authors, which is good! They also discuss review policies and dealing with publishers & publicists vs. dealing with authors. (Since I rarely do reviews, I prefer dealing directly with an author.)

I'd left a comment and then emailed J. Kaye an additional thought. At her prodding, I posted it as a comment as well:

I'd like to add food for thought for authors - don't give up after a less than stellar review.
A reviewer posted a 3 out of 5 review for Book II of my series. And while I was a little bummed, I listened to her objection - the characters had no money struggles, which made the story less dramatic for her. (Both main characters came from wealthy families, so money just wasn't an issue.) Before Book III was released, I contacted her again, as the characters in that book DID struggle with money big time! And guess what? A 4 out of 5 for Book III!
This past Tuesday, Debbie’s World of Books posted a 4 out of 5 for Book IV, claiming it's the best one yet.
I am SO thankful I did not give up on Debbie - and even more so she didn't give up on my series! Perhaps if all authors just stopped and considered the fact that ONE book might not be THE one that rocks a reviewer's world - but the next just might.

So, authors and book bloggers, what are your thoughts?

And thanks J. Kaye for posing such a great question!

Friday, October 09, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

Okay, hold on to your hats! It was a busy week around the Internet...

Carol Denbow is looking for suggestions on book promotion in a brainstorming session! A Book Inside

Alyce goes over some more FTC blogging & disclosure rules At Home With Books

Walt discusses the new site Walt Shiel

Mayra Calvani discusses Halloween promotions J. Aday Kennedy

Tony talks about The Elevator Pitch Marketing Tips For Authors

Helen reveals a new piracy site Straight From Hel

Google deal to be amended… The Feathered Quill

J. Kaye wants to know YOUR thoughts on negative reactions to reviews J. Kaye’s Book Blog

School ditching all books and going digital… Southern Review of Books

The Muse Online Writers Conference begins next week!!! The Muse Online Writer’s Conference

2009 Book ‘Em Event is next weekend! Book ‘Em Foundation
Including author Dirk Robertson, coming all the way from Scotland! And this Alan Krugel of Los Angeles is bringing police dog Leda this year.


And thank you to my wonderful hosts!

Oct 3 - The Book Muncher – book giveaway
Oct 4 - Spunk On A Stick – Deviant Art Full week of stops & interviews on Deviant Art, plus book giveaway
Oct 5 - Bookland Heights
Oct 6 - Debbie’s World of Books
Oct 6 - Pop Syndicate
Oct 7 - Simply Books & her Review
Oct 8 – The Old Silly’s Free Sprit Blog
Oct 11-12 - Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee
Oct 11 - Writers in Business
Oct 12 - God Uses Broken Vessels


This is my contribution to Friday Finds and you're not following CC Chronicles, you are missing out! She fairly new to the book blogger community, but my gosh has she taken it by storm! And she covers far more than books, too.

Chris is also a very special friend in the real world. We met eighteen months ago (or so) at one of my seminars, and Chris graciously invited my husband and I to see one of her plays. (It was a HOOT!!!) Since that time, we've kept in contact, and when I returned to her area for another seminar, she and I (and her friend) went out to dinner in between appearances. And now that she's blogging daily, it's just amazing the things I discover about Chris. (She worked on The Crow - I LOVE that movie!)

This is a big virtual hug for you, Chris! Thanks for your friendship, encouragement, and the big box of goodies you sent to me this week! Mellowcreme pumpkins, body wash & stuff, and lip balm - all things I love! Thanks, Chris!

Now, go tell her she's awesome! CC Chronicles


Alice in Chains is back! Article & news video here - CNN
I was always a fan back in the 90's and their new stuff does not disappoint! New CD is incredible.
Also, Arjen A. Lucassen has a new project - Guilt Machine!
Arjen is the mastermind behind several European Prog Rock bands, including my favorite, Ayreon. He also created Stream of Passion.
The Guilt Machine CD is slower than his other music and reminds me of the first disc of The Universal Traveler. (I affectionately call it the "Mars" CD.)
Info on Guilt Machine and his other projects here: Arjen A. Lucassen


You get several today!

First, this is from one of my signings this past weekend... It was a tiny table, but I made it work!

The main character in Book IV, Mike, comes from a small town in Georgia called Perry. I snapped this shot as we were driving from Valdosta to Atlanta this past weekend:

Mike also attends Georgia Tech! Caught this on the way home. Book II's Matt and Sarah also go to GT, and I've appeared at the Barnes & Noble @ Georgia Tech, too!

It's good to be home, though!
Have a great weekend!