Category Archives: Guest blog posts

Are You a Bibliophile? by Karen Wojcik Berner & Giveaway

karen berner authorKaren Wojcik Berner lives a provincial life tucked away with her family in
the Chicago suburbs. If it was good enough for Jane Austen, right?
However, dear Miss Austen had the good fortune of being born amid the
glorious English countryside, something Karen unabashedly covets, so much
so that she majored in English and communications at Dominican University. Like the magnificent Miss Austen, Karen could not help but write about the society that surrounds her.

Thank you so much, Evangeline, for inviting me to guest blog today. I am very excited to be here.

My series, The Bibliophiles, is about the members of an American suburban classics book club. Each novel spotlights one or two Bibliophiles and tells the story of their lives up until joining.

For example, A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) is about Sarah, an overwhelmed, stay-at-home mom, and Annie, a P.R. executive dealing with fertility issues. My next book, due out in spring 2012, follows Bibliophile Catherine Elbert as she bounces from coast to coast in search of her true self.

They might be completely different people, but all of the characters share a love of reading and discussing the classics.

Do you have what it takes to join Edwina Hipplewhite and her Bibliophiles for their monthly meetings?

Take this quick quiz and find out.

  • Whenever you walk into a bookstore you…
    1. head straight for the fiction stacks?
    2. get sidetracked by the magazines?
    3. I don’t go to bookstores.
  • On your bookshelves, whether they are physical or on your e-reader device, are there…
    1. so many books, you can’t help yourself?
    2. games?
    3. Bookshelves? I thought those things in my house were for family photos.
  • When relaxing on the beach, your favorite thing to do is…
    1. READ!
    2. play beach volleyball and spike it at my sibling’s face?
    3. drink beverages with tiny, colorful umbrellas in them while napping intermittently?
  • Do you carry a book or e-reader with you wherever you go?
    1. Of course! One never knows when there might be time to read a few pages.
    2. Only if I can remember it.
    3. Oh, heck no.
  • When you ponder a world without books, which answer is closest to your reaction?
    1. What? A world without books? It is unfathomable.
    2. Wait, what will all the movies be based on now?
    3. Who cares? There is still television.

Scoring

If you answered mostly As, welcome, kindred spirit. The Bibliophiles would greet you with open arms.

If you answered a mixture of As and Bs, you have potential. Just stay away from the readers at the beach.

If you answered all Cs, I guess it doesn’t matter, because you are probably not even reading this blog.

If you are interested in starting your own classics book club and tackling the literature the Bibliophiles will discuss throughout the series, I have some tips on my website, www.karenberner.com, on the “Read Along with The Bibliophiles” page.

First up is James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, followed by As You Like It, by William Shakespeare, both of which appear in A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One). There are even food and beverage suggestions, because that is definitely part of the fun.

Good luck!

a whisper to a scream book coverAbout A Whisper to a Scream:

Annie Jacobs has dreamed of the day she would become a mother since the first time she held her Baby Tenderlove doll. Unfortunately, biology has not cooperated with her plan, and she finds herself dealing with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility instead of picking out baby names.

Across town, stay-at-home mom Sarah Anderson is just trying to make it through the grocery store without her toddler hurling a box of rice at a fellow shopper. She is exhausted from managing the house, a first grader and a toddler, all without any help from her work-obsessed, absentee husband.

A Whisper to a Scream is the story of two women on opposite ends of the child-bearing spectrum who come to realize the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, the novel speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry.

And now for the giveaway! This giveaway is international. Residents of US/Canada will receive a print copy of A Whisper to a Scream, while residents of all other countries will receive the eBook. This giveaway ends on January 19th.

Click here to enter the giveaway

As you will notice, the Rafflecopter form is different from previous forms. This form is the new and latest version. To enter, you can either fill in your name and email address, or log in using Facebook. The advantage of logging in using Facebook is that you can edit your entries if you make a mistake, and you don’t have to enter your Facebook name when you enter the Facebook like entry. If you choose the name and email address function, you don’t have to use your real or full name. A pseudonym will work just as well. The biggest change this new Rafflecopter widget offers is that it helps to “remember” you so that you will not log in duplicate entries. Of course, this only works until you delete your browser cookies.

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Art Imitates Life by Wayne Zurl & Giveaway

a new prospect tour banner
When it comes to writing, I’m usually fairly honest. I’ve got more memory than imagination. Every book or story I write comes with a standard disclaimer about any similarities to persons living or dead or actual events are purely coincidental.

But I really do base my stories on the real cases I worked, supervised, or knew a lot about. Of course, to keep myself out of trouble, I fictionalize everything, embellish the storyline, and change the names to protect the guilty. Those are the people who could take me to civil court. The TV series Law & Order aired episodes based on the hot news of the day for almost twenty years, why can’t I?

I also know every character you, the reader, meet in all the Sam Jenkins mysteries. Like the stories, which may be one or more incidents melded together, these people can be composites of two or more individuals I knew. They may not be the fictional characters you’re currently reading about, but they are former acquaintances cast into the roles of the story for logistical purposes. All that helps when I write dialogue. If I can “see” how a person acts and “hear” how they speak from memory, I can give these “imaginary friends” a unique voice. This is especially helpful when writing the dialogue for female characters.

Then there’s Sam Jenkins. It would be foolish to say I didn’t put a bit of myself into him. In doing so, I’m only making things easy for myself again. Sam and I share many common experiences. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he trudged along with me during my days in the Army and he sat across the aisle from me in the police academy. When we both retired and moved from New York to Tennessee, he took the job of chief at Prospect PD and I decided to chronicle his adventures—like Holmes and Watson.

I like presenting the reader with authentic police procedural having lots of “insider” details. I also like telling my stories in the fewest number of words. To do that efficiently, I use lots of dialogue. Sam does all the narrating in these 1st person stories, so it only makes sense that in the personal or professional situations, he speaks as I would speak. Similarly, he acts as I would act in his investigations and police procedures. So, our relationship is symbiotic and our similarities, so far, translates well into fiction.

We’re both sarcastic at times, humorous when we can get away with it, and when it comes to our law enforcement abilities, we’re not shy about telling everyone we were or are pretty good. But Sam is much less modest than I ever was. His ego is just slightly smaller than North Dakota.

Buy A New Prospect at*: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Books-A-Million

Find Wayne Zurl at: Website | Blog/Diary | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook page

*Note: Links above are NOT affiliate links. I am not affiliated with any book sale sites.

Continue reading for the giveaway Continue reading

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Nine Myths and a Truth: The Real Story Behind the Scenes at a Local Television Station by Lauren Clark & Giveaway

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Stay Tuned eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 2nd, so you don’t miss out.

To Win the Prizes:

1. Purchase your copy of Stay Tuned for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (You’ll need it for the big contest on Friday)

2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes

3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!

…And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Radio Interview with Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We interviewed Lauren on our radio show Sunday night and have embedded the full podcast and blogged about its highlights. Give it a listen and then leave a comment on the blog post. This is a great chance to get to know more about this fun and bubbly author. One commenter will win an autographed copy of Stay Tuned. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. The winners will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet: Take a break from the holiday frenzy, and read Stay Tuned. It’s fast, fun, and reduced to just 99 cents! http://ow.ly/7zA1e #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. Two chances to win with just one click! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Stay Tuned either in paperback or on an eReading device, tag Lauren Clark’s Facebook page, and you can enter to win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the most creative photo, $50 to the best BFF photo, and $50 to the photo with the most people in it. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. If you need help learning how to tag a photo, you can visit Lauren’s Facebook page for detailed instructions.

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Stay Tuned: What happens when a #1 news team becomes the top story instead of reporting it? For TV producer Melissa Moore, crisis management comes with the job. From employee disputes to her high-maintenance boss, there’s not much she hasn’t seen or can’t handle. But no one—including Melissa—expects a fistfight during the ten o’clock news. When sexy-but-crazy Alyssa Andrews lands a punch on her co-anchor’s face, Melissa jumps on set to help. She’s determined that WSGA’s reputation won’t be destroyed on her watch. Both anchors are fired and Melissa agrees to fill in—but not before polishing her look from haircut to heels. While the new Melissa wows WSGA viewers, her personal life starts fraying at the edges. Melissa’s husband is away more than he’s home, leaving cryptic Post-it notes in his wake. Her mother’s antics spiral out of control at the nursing home and a stalker decides Melissa is her next target. What happens next? Stay Tuned to find out… Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Lauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Now please enjoy this guest post from the author….

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Using Humor in Your Writing by Debra Stang & Giveaway

hospice tails book coverI get a lot of strange looks when I tell people that reviewers say my book, Hospice Tails, is funny.

“But hospice is about dying!” they respond. “Shouldn’t that be serious?”

Yes…and no. The end of someone’s life is indeed a serious matter, but that doesn’t mean hospice patients should have to focus on doom and gloom every second of their lives. They can and do laugh, just like everyone else.

The good news is that if I can write a funny book about hospice, you can certainly use humor to spice up your own writing.

Types of Humor

There are several types of humor. As you review my admittedly incomplete list, think about what tickles your funny bone.

Slapstick/Physical Comedy (Examples: The Three Stooges, The Home Alone movies). This kind of pie-in-the-face comedy can be difficult to capture effectively in writing, but if you’ve got a knack for it, most readers love it. There’s nothing quite as amusing as a jerk slipping on a banana peel.

“Broad” Humor (Examples: knock-knock jokes, kids’ riddles). Why did the Egyptian man go home? Because he missed his mummy. This type of humor works great if you’re writing for kids, but it’s likely to elicit more groans than laughs from an adult audience.

Observational Humor (Examples: Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin). Humor of this type focuses on the absurdities of everyday life. It’s usually not difficult to write, especially if you’ve got a beef about something. Better yet, most readers enjoy it because it gives voice to their own frustrations.

Dry Wit (Examples: Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw). This type of humor usually consists of a clever or biting remark inserted subtly in the prose. True, the remark will go unnoticed by some readers, but that makes it all the more fun for those in the know.

Dark or Gallows Humor (Example: The Darwin Award series). Gallows humor is often shared by groups who deal with violence and tragedy as part of their jobs. This kind of humor pokes fun at serious situations or those who are involved in them. It is usually cynical and has a razor sharp edge. For instance, in some emergency rooms, people who require medical care due to their own foolishness may be given the unofficial diagnosis of TSTL (Too Stupid to Live). Obviously, this type of humor can be offensive or wounding, so use it with care.

Do any of the types of humor I’ve mentioned tickle your funny bone? More importantly, do any of them fit with a project you’re currently working on? If so, take the risk and add a little humor to your prose. At best, your readers will love it. At worst, your editor will blue-line it, and you can try again next time. Continue reading

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Writing About Negativity In Las Vegas by Jay Rankin & Giveaway

under the neon sky tour banner
My background is in psychology so in some ways it’s natural for me to try and see what’s between the lines, what’s below the surface. Las Vegas is certainly a place where people have a lot of fun. Most of the people whom I came across were having a blast, blowing steam and I’m sure feeling a wonderful sense of freedom. I know that the marketing depicts Vegas as a place where you can live out your fantasies, be treated like a king or queen and experience all the town offers.

All that being said, I also witnessed and experienced the pitfalls that can come with this kind of freedom. Remember I was in a position where the guest is always right even if the guest hadn’t slept or was drunk. It was important for me to constantly stay on my toes in this environment because my job depended on it. I saw what a Vegas weekend could do to some people. Many went way overboard, lost much too much money and crossed way to many of their own boundaries. The alcohol never stops, the chemistry and electrical charge is very potent and some people just couldn’t handle it. Continue reading

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Guest Post at Yaminatoday.com

Today, I am guest posting at Yaminatoday.com about my run-in experience with a publicist. Read the article to find out what happened and my take on honest, but negative book reviews. I’d love to hear your opinion on the subject on negative book reviews. Leave your comments at the post! Click here

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Male Pen Name and the Drama by Barbara Kyle & Giveaway

entrapped tour banner

My pen name – ah, therein lies a tale! When my first three thrillers were published by Warner Books over ten years ago, I wasn’t well known. Those books were big-canvas stories, the kind of thriller-adventure structure used by best-selling authors Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy, and I had a theory that male readers browsing in bookstores and seeing a big thriller by a new author might subconsciously think: How exciting can it really be if it’s written by a girl? I had no market research on which to base this, mind you; it was just a gut feel. I’d noted that women don’t care much if a book is written by a man or a woman, but I sensed that men preferred books by men. I didn’t take it personally, I just wanted to sell lots of books! So I created the male pen name Stephen Kyle. Continue reading

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