Sunday, May 31, 2009

Guardian Angel Publishing Authors Go On Tour


May 27, 2009 - In an effort to promote their books, six children’s authors published by Guardian Angel Publishing team together to tour the blogosphere in a two-week long virtual book tour.

Bounding for Books Blog Tour will last from June 1st until June 15th. Blog stops will include reviews, interviews, spotlights and inspirational articles. People who leave comments will be eligible for prizes.

Participating authors include:

Mayra Calvani, author of Crash!, www.mayrassecretbookcase.blogspot.com

Jennifer Gladen, author of A Star in the Night, www.jgladen.blogspot.com

Donna Shepherd, author of Dotty’s Topsy Tale, www.topsyturvyland.com

Kim Chatel, author of A Talent for Quiet, www.kimchatel.com/H1A_Daily_News/H1A_Daily_News.html

Margot Finke, author of Rattlesnake Jam, http://margotfinke.blogspot.com

Shari Lyle-Soffe, author of Nothing Stops Noah, http://sharilyle-soffe.com

Also joining the tour is Joy Delgado, publisher and illustrator of Zooprise Party/Fiesta Zoorpresa, http://goingbeyondreading.blogspot.com

Each author will be hosting another author three times a week (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for the duration of the two-week tour. For more information, visit http://www.kimchatel.com/N2A_Bounding_For_Books.html

Aggressive book promotion is a must these days for all authors, but especially for small press authors whose publishers don’t have the resources for expensive advertising. It’s wonderful to see authors team together like this in order to bring visibility to their books and their publisher.

For readers and book lovers alike, this is a wonderful opportunity to check out the latest print and electronic titles for your children’s summer reading.

For more information, contact Mayra Calvani at mayra.calvani(at)gmail.com
Visit the publisher’s website at www.GuardianAngelPublishing.com

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Video Trailer for The Crypto-Capers



Author Renée Hand will be going on a virtual book tour in June with Pump Up Your Book Promotion. She'll be discussing the first book in her new interactive children's detective series, The Crypto-Capers. In The Case of the Missing Sock--which we reviewed here--the Crypto-Capers go to Florida to investigate the theft of a missing sock.

Readers can also check out the author's website at www.reneeahand.com for more Crypto-Capers fun and to join The Crypto-Capers Fan Club!






Check out The Crypto-Capers video trailer:

Friday, May 29, 2009

SLOB by Ellen Potter--Book Review



Both funny and poignant, I never knew I could enjoy a middle-grade novel as much as I did SLOB by Ellen Potter.

Owen Birnbaum is fat. But he wasn't always that way. Something bad happened and now he's the fattest kid at school, spending his days being teased endlessly by his classmates, afraid that the new school psycho who carries a switchblade in his sock is out to get him, tortured by his cruel gym teacher, and dealing with his sister who has decided she wants to dress and look like a boy and be called Jeremy.

Life isn't all bad though. Owen is a genius and he can invent cool stuff, like a TV that shows the past--a past that is scary, but one that can answer the questions burning inside his head...if only he can get it to work.

When the Oreos from Owen's lunch keep disappearing, he's sure the school psycho is the culprit. Owen puts together a plan--along with a neat new thief catching device--to help capture the Oreo snatcher. What he doesn't consider, however, is that science might not hold all the answers.

My unprofessional review is: I loved, loved, loved it!!!!

My professional self says that every middle-grade reader will find something to enjoy in SLOB. More than a story about an overweight kid who is teased profusely, SLOB is the story of one boy's quest to uncover the truth about the tragic event that altered his life forever.

Speaking directly to the reader, Owen shares his struggles at school--which stink, but he's not overly upset about because he's smarter than all those guys anyway, his sister's involvement in GWAB (Girls Who Are Boys), the torture he endures at the hands of his gym teacher Mr. Wooly, and how things change for him once the psycho comes to school--not only is Mason Ragg a psycho, he's a smart psycho.

Opening with the line, "My name is Owen Birnbaum, and I'm probably fatter than you are.", Owen does not suffer from low self-esteem, as one might imagine. His being fatter than you is "pure statistics". Immediately, the reader is drawn in by Owen, and Owen is so entertaining and engaging that the reader will never want to stop learning more about him until the last page of the book. But then again, if the reader is anything like me, she's hoping for a sequel.

The contraptions Owen invents are amazing, and Owen describes them to you in detail and shares how they work. I can see a lot of middle-grade boys trying to recreate or improve upon Owen's inventions after reading SLOB.

Potter has done such an excellent job of making Owen real for her audience that you'll soon forget that an adult woman wrote this book. And if parents are cool enough to pick up a copy of SLOB or to sneak their child's copy when he/she is off at school, they will be treated to references to The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, Mork and Mindy, Charlie's Angels and other hits shows from their youth. Of course, in Owen's world they are Retro TV, but we adults like to call them classics. I have to admit Owen's mother's name--which is Zelda--reminds me of The Legend of Zelda game my son played on his original Nintendo video game system. Gosh, I'm as old as dirt!

I highly recommend SLOB by Ellen Potter. Funny and offbeat, yet equally poignant, SLOB is destined to add more awards to this talented author's portfolio.

Title: SLOB
Author: Ellen Potter
Publisher: Philomel Books
ISBN: 978-0-399-24705-7
SRP: $16.99 (U.S.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kathye Quick on Romance and Cynthia and Constantine



Today's guest blogger is Kathye Quick. Kathye has been writing since the sisters in Catholic School gave her a #2 pencil and some paper with ruled lines.

From stories about her family for Writing Week in fifth grade, to becoming editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper, The Blueprint, to 1999 when she realized her dream of being published, Kathye’s love of the written word span numerous genres.

She writes contemporary and career romances for Avalon Books, romantic comedy and historicals for Wings Press, urban fantasy for Cerridwen Press, and most recently medieval historical romances for Wild Rose Press.

Kathye is one of the founders of Liberty States Fiction Writers, a group launched in January 2009 to help writers of all fiction genres in their journey to publication. She has been a member of New Jersey Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America since 1988 and considered it an honor to have been NJRW President in 1992 and 2001.

In her “other” life, Kathye works for Somerset County government. She is married with three sons.

Please stop by Kathye’s website and say “hi.”

Kathye will be talking about the different subgenres of romance she writes and telling us about her latest release, Cynthia and Constantine (The Wild Rose Press).

Kathye's turn:

When I began to write, I was told to write the book you want to read. What came to mind almost immediately was a book on the wonderful myths of the Greek gods and goddesses.

A little back story of my own - when I was in seventh grade (I lived in a small town and the 7th and 8th grade shared a building with the high school), I was going up the steps to my class one afternoon when a horde of kids, all dressed in robes; the girls with flowers in their hair, the boys with crowns of twigs, came flying down the steps. I moved to one side to let them by, fascinated. They were laughing and talking and headed outside to the courtyard. Behind them came a beautiful lady all dressed in black, but also with flowers in her hair. She looked at me and smiled and I knew I would never forget her eyes. (I never have.)

Later I found out it was the high school mythology class celebrating the Ides of March. From that day on I was hooked on the myths and legends. I could not get enough of them.

When it was time to write my first novel, I wrote DAUGHTERS OF THE MOON, a Greek historical romance. But that was in the early 90’s. It was a 100,000 word novel of love that no one wanted to even look at back then.

Still I persisted in sending it out until I finally had to give up when one editor specifically said no books set in ancient Greece during a talk. I knew she had to be talking about me. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t, but I put it away for a while and switched to contemporary romance.

While my heart was always in Greece, I did rather well writing and ultimately selling contemporaries. My first ONE RAINY NIGHT sold to an eBook house in 1999, back in the day when eBooks had just been born. That particular house is no longer in business, but ORN has found a home with Wings ePress.

And in 2003, so did DAUGHTERS OF THE MOON, I am happy to report. DAUGHTERS been heralded as a fascinating glimpse into the world of the ancient Greeks and has garnered 4-star reviews. I would like to think I helped break that ground because now there are plenty of Greek gods and goddesses living on bookstore shelves now.

While my contemporaries are alive and well, I have a three-book series coming out this year from Avalon Books, I still love the old days, especially ancient Greece and also the Arthurian Legend.

I have always loved the adventure and story lore of Camelot. When I was a very little girl, and I know I’m dating myself now, there was a black and white television program on called “Tales of Sir Lancelot.” I watched it religiously. I wish I could find it now just to have on DVD to reminisce.

I chose to write CYNTHIA AND CONSTANTINE, a story from the Arthurian time because it is so much a part of me. I could watch Camelot with Richard Harris every day.

So now I find myself writing in many genres – contemporary, romantic comedy, historical and even urban fantasy (as P. K. Eden with writing partner Patt Mihailoff from RWA-NYC). I know we, as writers, have been told to stick to one genre, but I can’t seem to do that. There are too many people and stories in my head. I have to get them all out of there.

Thank heavens for Bluetooth. When I’m talking to all those characters, people just think I’m on the phone!

Thanks for having me today. If you have time, please visit my website at www.kathyequick.com or my alter ego P.K. Eden’s at www.pkeden.com and you can check out the different stories I have managed to get out of my brain.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Lady Cynthia of Abertaine is trapped. Not only has her fiancé, Sir William Leyborne, not been back to the castle for over ten years, but she’s also not a titled Lady. Lord Simon of Cowell, a renegade warlord aligned with Mordred against Arthur and his Knights, has declared himself sovereign over Leybourne Castle and everything that once belonged to Sir William--including Cynthia.

Sir Constantine, Knight of the Round Table, has come to the shire to give Cynthia the news that her fiancé has fallen in battle. With him is William’s oral will giving all he owns to Cynthia as though they had been wed. But when he finds Cynthia and discovers the shire under the control of an evil warlord, he knows he cannot leave without first driving Simon and his soldiers from the land.

Drawn together by an attraction older than time, Cynthia and Constantine soon discover that though a vow made by a knight’s honor has brought them together, it may just also cost them their lives.

WATCH THE TRAILER!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

LIZZIE’S RAKE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR JUNE ‘09


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Join Regency romance author Hazel Statham as she travels the blogosphere in June 2009 with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on her fourth virtual book tour to discuss her latest release, Lizzie’s Rake (The Wild Rose Press).

When infamous rake and Corinthian, Maxim Beaufort, Earl of St. Ive, finds himself in possession of a property in Yorkshire, he is irresistibly drawn to Elizabeth Granger, the former owner’s daughter. Whilst attempting to help the family, he ends up filling the role as benefactor. When the house is razed, he arranges temporary accommodations for Elizabeth and her siblings on his estate but when he proposes to Elizabeth he is rejected.

Trust doesn’t come easily for Elizabeth and determined to protect her heart, she struggles to resist her longings, especially considering the earl’s reputation. At times, their difficulties appear insurmountable but the earl is widely known as ‘The Indomitable’ and the name was not lightly earned.

PRAISE FOR LIZZIE’S RAKE:

“Lizzie's Rake… is so well written with delightful characters, one is caught up in events making this a most satisfying story of a rocky road to love.” – Camellia, Long and Short Reviews

PRAISE FOR OTHER BOOKS BY HAZEL STATHAM:

“His Shadowed Heart by Hazel Statham is a richly detailed and well-written historical romance.” – Christina, Romance Junkies

“My Dearest Friend is a very tender love story… The reader cannot help but be caught up in their life.” — Cherokee, Coffee Time Romance

Hazel Statham lives in Staffordshire, England. Her first two novels were published in 2005. She has been married to her husband Terry since 1969 and they have a grown daughter and beautiful grandson. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, her other ruling passion is animals and until recently, she was treasurer for an organization that raised money for animal charities. She currently shares her home with two lovely yellow Labradors named Lucy and Mollie, who are her constant companions.

You can find Hazel online at www.hazel-statham.co.uk.

If you would like to follow Hazel Statham on her virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Hazel Statham’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

SEA CHANGES VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR JUNE ‘09



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Join author Gail Graham as she travels the blogosphere in June 2009 with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on her first virtual book tour to discuss her latest literary novel, Sea Changes (Jade Phoenix Publishing).

When Sarah’s husband dies suddenly, she is left with no anchor and no focus.
Grief is an ever-present companion and counseling a weekly chore with minimal results, but when Sarah decides to end her life her suicide attempt takes her to an underwater world where she finds comfort and friendship. Afterwards, back on the beach she wonders – Was it a dream? Was I hallucinating? Or am I going mad?

Her efforts to make sense of the experience lead to Sarah’s becoming a suspect in the alleged kidnapping of a young heiress. Now her worlds are colliding – and the people she trusts are backing away, not believing a word she says. She must decide what is real and what is not. Her life depends on it.

PRAISE FOR SEA CHANGES:

“This lyrical novel conveys incredible emotional depth within a fascinating storyline.” — Today’s Adventure

“An intriguing plot and fantastically detailed descriptions make Sea Changes a great book to read while pondering the possibilities of life.” — Holly Scudero, Sacramento Book Review

“…an avenue of hope and inspiration…” — Good Books in Bad Times

Gail Graham’s previous novel, Crossfire, won the Buxtehude Bulle, a prestigious German literary award. Crossfire has been translated into German, French, Danish, Finnish and Swedish. Three of Gail’s other books were NY Times Book of the Year recommendations. Gail lived in Australia for 32 years, where she owned and operated a community newspaper and published several other books, including A Cool Wind Blowing (a biography of Mao Zedong) Staying Alive and A Long Season in Hell. She returned to the United States in 2002, and now lives in Tucson, Arizona.

You can find Gail online at www.gailgraham.net

If you would like to follow Gail Graham on her virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Gail Graham’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

THE CRYPTO-CAPERS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR JUNE '09


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Join author Renée Hand as she travels the blogosphere in June 2009 with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on her first virtual book tour to discuss the first book in her new children’s detective series, The Crypto-Capers in The Case of the Missing Sock (North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.).

In this story siblings Max and Mia Holmes, along with their good friend Morris and their flamboyant Granny Holmes, are know as The Crypto-Capers. They are a group of detectives who unravel crimes by solving cryptograms that criminals leave behind.

The Case of the Missing Sock leads the Crypto-Capers to Florida, where they are hired by a Mr. Delacomb. The mystery leads the team to different locations. Clues flourish throughout the mystery. Suspects by the handful seem to pop up at every turn, but who committed the crime?

PRAISE FOR THE CRYPTO-CAPERS:

“In this carefully crafted novel for kids, the author was able to create an atmosphere of mystery and wonder through likeable and well-known characters such as Sherlock Holmes… this interactive novel would be an immediate hit in classrooms all over the world.” — Nicole Harris, AllBooks Review

“A great new interactive mystery series that your children will love!” — Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection

Renée Hand is the award-winning author of Magic Hearts and Seduction of the Lonely Heart. The first two books in her new children’s detective series, The Crypto-Capers have recently been released by North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.

You can find Renée online at www.reneeahand.com.

If you would like to follow Renée Hand on her virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Renée Hand’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

HOW TO WIN A PITCH VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR--PRESS RELEASE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Join author Joey Asher as he travels the blogosphere in June 2009 with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Public Relations on his first virtual book tour to discuss his new business book, How To Win a Pitch (Persuasive Speaker Press).

How to Win a Pitch will help you learn how to: Develop presentations that win contracts. Create connections to secure business relationships. Identify, discuss and fulfill client needs effectively. Veteran business coach Joey Asher has helped his clients win over five billion dollars in new business contracts. He uses his former experience as an attorney and journalist to help readers and clients rise above their competition. He has authored two previous books, Selling & Communication Skills for Lawyers and Even a Geek Can Speak: Low-Tech Presentation Skills For High-Tech People.

PRAISE FOR HOW TO WIN A PITCH:

“How to Win a Pitch…should be considered required reading for every sales professional.” — Karen Schweitzer, Business School Guide for About.com

“This book will definitely change the way sales presentations are made.” — Vivek Singh, All About Presentations

“How to Win a Pitch is a fine choice for those who want to pitch themselves in a more appealing way.” — Midwest Book Review

“If you like winning, you will want to read this book…This book is bound to improve the presentations of anyone who reads it.” — Charles F. Bowman, Finance Business Executive and the North Carolina Market President, Bank of America

Joey Asher is one of the country’s preeminent experts on selling skills and communication. As President of Speechworks, an Atlanta-based communication and selling skills coaching firm that has been helping business people deliver presentations that win business for over 20 years, Asher combines his skills as an attorney and journalist to help sellers communicate a clear, simple message that connects with prospects and wins business.

Asher is author of Even a Geek Can Speak: Low-Tech Presentation Skills For High-Tech People, which was originally published by Longstreet Press in 2001 and is now in its third printing by Persuasive Speaker Press, and Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers, which was published in 2005 by American Lawyer Media. How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition is his latest book.

A graduate of Cornell University, Asher earned his JD from Emory University Law School. Prior to attending law school, Asher worked as a newspaper reporter for the Gannett newspaper chain in Georgia and New York. Asher practiced law with Troutman Sanders L.L.P. in Atlanta, and worked as an adjunct professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

Joey Asher lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area with his wife and family

You can find Joey online at www.speechworks.net.

If you would like to follow Joey Asher on his virtual book tour, visit the official Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour site at http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Joey Asher’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours, a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service for an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

New Video for Across the Pond by Storyheart


Someone recently drew my attention to a promotional video for Across the Pond by Storyheart. Across the Pond is a teen romance between Fred, a boy visiting the United States from England, and Brittany, whose parents are entrusted with Fred's care while he is in the States.

We reviewed this title here.

One of the things that can be most challenging about book promotion is to find a unique angle. Barry Eva, the writer known as Storyheart, did just that when he created this silent movie video trailer to promote Across the Pond. It looks like he got some help from his family.

Check it out!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Video Trailer for Herbert Howard Jones's The Pyewiz and The Amazing Mobile Phone

Herbert Howard Jones is on a virtual book tour to promote his young adult fantasy novel, The Pyewiz and The Amazing Mobile Phone. Herbert stopped by The Book Connection recently to talk about his antagonist, the Pyewiz. You can find that post here.

Since his visit, a video trailer has been created by yours truly for The Pyewiz and The Amazing Mobile Phone. View the trailer below and feel free to leave your comments here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Interview with C.W. Gortner--Author of The Last Queen



Today’s special guest is author C.W. Gortner. The trade paperback of his historical novel, The Last Queen, was recently released by Ballantine Books (the hardcover was released in July 2008). We’re going to talk to this talented author today about Juana of Castile, the heroine of his novel.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Christopher. It’s a pleasure to have you with us. Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?


I write historical fiction; my novel is THE LAST QUEEN, published by Ballantine Books, Random House, was recently released in trade paperback. I’m passionate about books, animal rights and the environment. I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past twenty–five years but I’m half-Spanish by birth and also call Spain home. I hold an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies and have traveled extensively to research my work.



When did you decide that you had to write about the life of Juana of Castile?

I’ve been fascinated by Juana for most of my life. In my childhood I lived near a ruined castle that had belonged to Juana’s parents; and during a trip to Granada, where Juana is buried, I found myself entranced by her marble effigy. Most school children in Spain know the tale of Juana la Loca but I immediately wanted to know more. What was she like in real life? Did she really pull her husband’s bier behind her throughout the country, venerating his corpse? Was she truly mad? What happened to plunge her into such despair?

The book is full of period details and rich descriptions. How long did it take you to perform your research for this book and did you travel to any of the locations mentioned within its pages?

It took six years to research and write THE LAST QUEEN, including several trips to Spain. I did visit most of the sites mentioned in the book, as fortunately many of them are still extant, if somewhat changed since her time. The challenge after the research was to sort through it all and decide what I wanted to write about. Fortunately, it soon became clear that I wanted to focus on the woman herself— the fallible, humane, courageous and often lonely woman, whose experiences, while different from ours, certainly, are universal in her struggle to balance life and duty, betrayal and love. I even took a drive from Burgos to Toro in Spain, tracing Juana’s own trajectory.

You’ve written The Last Queen from Juana’s point of view. Did you find that difficult?

I didn’t, actually! What I found most difficult was getting up the courage to actually do it. I had written a previous version of the novel in third person, but my agent told me she felt something was missing, that Juana seemed too enigmatic. My agent didn’t tell me how she thought I could fix this, but as I began revising the manuscript, it soon became apparent that what I really needed to do was slip into Juana’s skin, to experience her life as she might have, through her eyes. It freaked me out at first, to attempt to write in the first person as a woman, but then I realized that writing is one art form where gender shouldn’t matter. We are invisible: our characters tell the story. And while I had to do some research to portray certain experiences, like giving birth, there were many other moments and emotions that Juana felt that were very familiar to me.

You’ve portrayed a different picture of Juana of Castile than what the world has been led to believe about her. Were you ever concerned that someone would question your portrayal of Juana?

Well, I thought it might raise some controversy but it wasn’t something I worried about. No other novelist had attempted to depict her side of the story before and frankly parts of her myth were so ludicrous I was surprised no one had challenged them before. I have had a few e-mails from readers who actually sounded offended by my portrayal of her, which to me just proves how deeply we want to believe the myths told about historical characters. In a way, it’s much easier to say, “Oh, she was crazy, the poor dear,” than look at the far more unsettling possibility that she was in fact not mad at all. Juana herself left almost nothing in her own hand, and much of what she said and did was recorded by men whose prejudices reflect the era. I always kept in mind that whatever I read about her was, in essence, an interpretation by someone who wasn’t necessarily disposed to show Juana in a kind light. While today we understand the effects of prolonged stress on the human psyche, in Juana’s era no one would have considered this as a possible cause for her behavior. When I carefully examined each of her allegedly erratic moments within the context of her circumstances at the time, her behavior became not only reasonable but often quite justifiable. I think that we need to challenge the old historical guard at moments; in the case of women in particular, history can deceive.

Juana is betrayed by so many people she should have been able to trust. How do you think that impacts how she has been viewed by future generations?

I think that we want to believe that somehow she was to blame for her misfortune. It’s very discomforting to think that she was betrayed, that very few people actually fought to save her from her fate. Future generations were indoctrinated by the historical record to believe that she was unstable and incompetent to rule, and she had to be dealt with accordingly. It was a concerted effort on the part of those who usurped her throne to obscure the truth and build up a legend of this mad queen so distraught over her losses she fell apart. Her son Charles V in particular had to justify his continuing imprisonment of her because he held her throne, and to admit that an injustice had been done to his mother would have been to admit he was not, in fact, the rightful ruler of Spain – which he wasn’t, not until her death. Juana was locked away because others wanted her power, and I think that’s one of the hardest things of all to accept. We want to pigeonhole events and people so we can better understand them, and to look at Juana’s fate as I think it occurred is not easy.

Let’s assume for a moment that tragedy did not strike Juana’s family and she did not inherit the throne when her mother died. What do you think this would have meant to Juana’s marriage? Do you believe her husband, Philip would have acted differently?

I don’t honestly know. Juana and Philip seemed quite happy in the initial years of their marriage, and it’s possible they might have remained so had she not become her mother’s heir. In my opinion, Philip was not as mature as she was, and perhaps later on they would have gone through difficulties. I certainly don’t think it was in his nature to remain faithful to her, and that no doubt would have caused friction. But their roles would have been reversed; as his father the Emperor’s heir Philip would have eventually inherited the Habsburg Empire and Juana would have been empress, his consort, mother of his children but not a ruler. In becoming queen of Spain, she in fact inherited more power than Philip and he just couldn’t accept it, not in a woman and not in his wife, whom he believed, as did most men of his time, should be subservient to him.

One thing that comes through clearly in The Last Queen is the level of greed and lust for power on the part of many of the male characters. Was the level of corruption as bad as is portrayed?

It was probably worse! The 16th century was very brutal as far as politics go; and at court power was everything. Men sacrificed their souls in pursuit of it. I think we desperately want to see the past as a glamorous, damask-laden time of castles and chivalry, but the truth is romance was a rarity, especially among royals. Women often were married off for political and familial advantage, and disposed of limited legal rights. And still, we find many examples of courageous and defiant ladies, Juana among them.

What is one thing you would like readers to learn about Juana of Castile?

That she was a woman who did the best she could under extraordinarily trying circumstances.

Could you recommend a good resource for readers wanting to know more about Juana?

Unfortunately, there are few biographies in English about her, and fewer in print. I can recommend Bethany Aram’s nonfiction study, Juana the Mad: Sovereignty and Dynasty in Renaissance Europe.

What projects are you working on now?

I’ve just finished a novel about Catherine de Medici, which will be published by Ballantine Books in 2010. Catherine de Medici is a very misunderstood and maligned woman in history, accused of some of the 16th century’s most heinous crimes. But during my research I uncovered a different picture of this Italian woman who became mother of the last Valois kings and one of France’s most influential queens.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you so much for spending this time with me. I hope readers will enjoy THE LAST QUEEN as much as I enjoyed writing it. I always enjoy meeting with reader groups / book clubs and as a Random House Readers Circle edition, THE LAST QUEEN is a perfect book for discussion. If you want to schedule a chat with me, please visit my website for more information. I also always appreciate hearing from readers, who can write to me via my website at: www.cwgortner.com

Thank you, Christopher for sharing more about Juana of Castile. Best of luck with your virtual book tour.



You may read my review of The Last Queen here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No Teachers Left Behind -- Why I Keep Thinking about It


Did you ever read a book that you can't seem to stop thinking about? That's the case for me with No Teachers Left Behind by Hopeful But Frustrated Teacher (HBF Teacher).

Here's my review of this realistic fiction book that details the day-to-day life in a fictional middle school. I admitted to having mixed feelings about it because I am not only a parent, but I also volunteer at my daughters' schools. I've heard the complaints about large class sizes, but my repeated offers to help out in the classroom aren't taken advantage of. Neither was my offer to run a fundraiser for the school library. It's sometimes a frustrating position to be in.

No Teacher's Left Behind did leave me with many thoughts to ponder--and I am still pondering them.

* Is it true that schools are so concerned about their discipline records that the administrators try to keep the children in the classroom, forcing the teacher to deal with unruly and disruptive students whose behavior impacts the entire class?

* How can educators be expected to prepare engaging lesson plans with limited supplies?

* What has easy access to illegal drugs done to our public schools?

* Why does violence run rampant through our schools and how can we stop it?

* Why are some parents unsupportive of their children's teachers? Do they see their children as blameless?

* Have teachers complained about large class sizes, undisciplined students, and unsupportive parents for so long, that everyone now turns a deaf ear?

I wish I had the answer to even one of these questions.

No Teachers Left Behind can't answer these questions for me. What it does, however, is make you sit up and take notice that America's public schools are in trouble. It makes you think of all those dedicated teachers working in America's public schools who truly want to help their students succeed. I also believe, that once you read No Teachers Left Behind, you'll be thinking about it for many days after you've turned the last page.


ABOUT THE BOOK: Explored through a series of poems, emails, and brief conversations, No Teachers Left Behind is a fictional yet realistic look at the frustrations of middle school staff.

AUTHOR'S BIO: HBF Teacher has been a public school Middle grades teacher for three years. Before that, HBF substitute taught for two years. HBF has also worked as a live-in nanny and an accounts payable representative.

Today when not nurturing young minds, HBF enjoys travel, photography, culinary arts, and the cinema. The Cohen Brothers and Tyler Perry are among her favorite artistic contributors.

TO SEE WHERE HBF TEACHER STOPS NEXT, VISIT http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/

HBF Teacher Discusses No Teachers Left Behind


Our special guest today is Hopeful But Frustrated Teacher (HBF Teacher). The author’s new book, No Teachers Left Behind, tells the story of a fictional school system—the frustrated teachers, its overpaid administrators, and the ignorant and unsupportive parents of the students who show little respect for authority.

Welcome to Book Tours and More. We’re thrilled to have you with us.

Please tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been teaching? What made you want to become a teacher? And, did you ever envision yourself as an author?


I live in Atlanta Georgia, and I’m a happily married mother with two children. Growing up, I was lucky enough to have some really caring teachers who challenged me and inspired me to learn – that is why I had to become a teacher. My desire to become an author arose sort of from a similar path. As a student, I was disappointed in the endings of so many books and stories that I got to the point where I was constantly complaining about them. A teacher suggested that I rewrite an ending one day, and the writer in me was born.

How long did it take you to bring this book from the first draft to the final published product?

The 1st draft is always the easy part. I actually think I wrote No Teachers Left Behind in a month. The editing and proofreading seemed to take forever – around 3 months.

Were there any obstacles or challenges you faced during the publishing process?

I really don’t feel like I went through any major obstacles or challenges during the publishing of No Teachers Left Behind. Still, publishing is such a pins and needles ride. You’re always on your seat because you want to make sure that you end up with your very best efforts.

Tell us about No Teachers Left Behind. What is it about and where did you find the inspiration for it?

I wrote No Teachers Left Behind as medicine for myself. I was at the point where I was starting to feel quite disillusioned as a teacher. I was depressed by the red tape and all the other stuff thrown at teachers on a daily basis. No Teachers Left Behind helped me deal with my frustrations. In the book, I reveal the frustrations through the voice of a fictional middle school staff.

Why did you choose the format of poetry, emails, and excerpts to portray the lives of the people at Vilyon Middle School?

It just sort of came to me when I thought about the diverse group of people who choose, everyday, to become teachers. We come from so many places and speak in so many different voices. It just made sense.

Some of the language in this book is on the strong side. How do vulgarities and obscenities help or hamper the message you’re trying to get across?

Yes some of the language is kind of strong, but No Teachers Left Behind is realistic fiction. In the school where I work, this language is all too frequently the norm. Some people may find it offensive and choose not to read the book because of it, yet at the same time, as an author, telling my story, I had to be true to my story.

One of the themes that runs through the book is how administrators claim that their decisions are to help the children. Do you believe that to be true?

Not being an administrator, I can’t really speak as far as the intent behind an administrator’s decision. Sometimes though, as a teacher, who has to deal with the same bad behavior from the same child over and over again, I have to wonder about the logic behind my principal’s decision to keep that child in my class. Children are important, but at the same time, I can’t help but think teachers are just as important. Without them, where would the students be?

Do you think the politically correct desire to not leave children behind is what has created many of the challenges teachers face today?

I think the “no child left behind” act did indeed create many of the challenges that teachers are now facing. So much emphasis was placed on “not leaving children behind” that too much responsibility was taken away from the students and their parents and placed onto the teachers. Education is not a one-sided thing. It takes parents, students, and teachers working together to be successful.

There is an email on Page 187 that states, “Please be reminded that as effective teachers you should never sit down when you have students in your class. Statistics show that teachers who sit down during classes have a higher rate of discipline problems.” I have to ask, is this for real? Did someone ever send you a memo like that?

Word for word – LOL, I have never received an email like that, but I have had an administrator say something similar to that in a speech once. It made me laugh then, and it still makes me laugh now. If you’re an effective teacher, then it doesn’t matter where you are in your class. If you’re not an effective teacher, as a teacher, I’m the first to say, “Get out. You’re in the wrong field.”

In our daughter’s second grade classroom, the teacher removed all the tables, installed a reading loft with seating, and brought in a couch and several easy chairs. Instead of sitting at tables, the students use clipboards and sit where they choose to perform their daily tasks. What do you think of that idea? Is this something that would be allowed in your school district?

I love the idea of allowing students to create their own comfort zones. Students learn best when they’re comfortable. I don’t think my school district would have a problem with this idea. I can see them being all for it if the students can achieve their academic goals in an environment like this one. If I was teaching second grade, I would definitely enjoying having a similar setup in my classroom. Right now, in middle school, with the students I have, I’m not sure it would work for me because my students are so easily distracted.

What challenges have been brought upon teachers because of English as a Second Language students and the increased amount of students requiring evaluation and special arrangements for special needs?

There are some challenges because of the increase in the number of ESOL students and students with special needs, but these challenges are minimal. One good thing about the United States’ system of education is the fact that it is always producing new strategies and teaching methods for teachers to reach their entire student populations. The neat thing about these strategies is that they don’t stand out as being different. Most of the strategies are methods teachers can use with the entire class. At the end of the day, most students learn in similar ways so once again, the challenges are minimal.

Is there a way for America’s system of education to better address these issues than they are now?

As a teacher and a parent, even I am conflicted on a solution to this problem. There are so many variables. Still, I must admit to feeling teachers should have a greater input into America’s system of education. If nobody asks us what we think and then changes are made, then we truly are being left behind.

It seems that students have changed a great deal since I was in school. In high school, I remember there being one stabbing incident and the whole school was in an uproar over how something like that could have happened. Nowadays, it’s not abnormal to read in the news about shootings, stabbings, even massacres in our public schools on a regular basis. How are teachers able to deal with these issues?

It’s confusing. We think about it, and we don’t think about it. You know it’s out there and a possibility so you keep your eyes open, yet at the same time, you pray it never happens. You can’t do anything else except quit, and if you became a teacher for the right reasons, then quitting is really not an option because deep inside, you truly believe you can make a difference. I think that’s why I keep showing up everyday.

What kind of support do you get from parents when discipline issues arise?

It depends on the parents. Some are really supportive, and it’s a great thing. Problems arise when the parents are nonchalant and/or just live in a state of denial and look immediately towards the teacher as the source of the problem.

How does lack of support from parents make your job harder? Do you think some of the lack of support is due to there being so many families where both parents are forced to work?

A lack of support from parents makes my job incredibly hard. Both parents working – I can see that being a minor factor in the lack of support, but I don’t see it as being a huge factor. Both my husband and I work. He works 60 to 80 hours a week, and I’m often grading papers at home and creating lesson plans. Still my children know I will not tolerate them disrespecting an authority figure. My children also know the importance of a good education, and even my youngest, in the fifth grade, is always asking her teacher for extra work (and this is on her own) even during holiday and spring breaks.

What is the main thing that you want readers to come away with once they’ve read your book?

After reading No Teachers Left Behind, I hope readers will view teachers differently. I would like for parents to reach out to their children’s teachers and get to know them better. The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is still very much true.

Where can readers purchase No Teachers Left Behind?

Readers can find the book at amazon.com.

Do you have a website or blog?

The website to learn more about No Teachers Left Behind is http://www.noteachersleftbehind.info

What are your plans for promoting No Teachers Left Behind?

I am doing a lot of direct marketing as well as an exciting blog tour with pumpupyourbookpromotion.com. I am also meeting readers through myspace, twitter, and facebook.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today. I have enjoyed the interview.

Thank you for spending so much time with us today, HBF Teacher. Good luck with your book.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HOW TO WIN A PITCH VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '09


How to Win a Pitch will help you learn how to: Develop presentations that win contracts. Create connections to secure business relationships. Identify, discuss and fulfill client needs effectively. Veteran business coach Joey Asher has helped his clients win over five billion dollars in new business contracts. He uses his former experience as an attorney and journalist to help readers and clients rise above their competition. He has authored two previous books, Selling & Communication Skills for Lawyers and Even a Geek Can Speak: Low-Tech Presentation Skills For High-Tech People.



AUTHOR'S BIO:

JOEY ASHER is one of the country’s preeminent experts on selling skills and communication.


As President of Speechworks, an Atlanta-based communication and selling skills coaching firm that has been helping business people deliver presentations that win business for over 20 years, Asher combines his skills as an attorney and journalist to help sellers communicate a clear, simple message that connects with prospects and wins business.

As a professional communication and selling skills coach, Asher has worked with executives, managers, and salespeople at such firms and organizations as The Home Depot, Skanska, Hardin Construction, Georgia Pacific, Global Payments, The Weather Channel, UPS, Kimberly-Clark, Alston & Bird, PricewaterhouseCoopers, AMVESCAP, Verizon, Cisco, and Kurt Salmon Associates.

Asher is author of Even a Geek Can Speak: Low-Tech Presentation Skills For High-Tech People, which was originally published by Longstreet Press in 2001 and is now in its third printing by Persuasive Speaker Press, and Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers, which was published in 2005 by American Lawyer Media. How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition is his latest book.

A graduate of Cornell University, Asher earned his JD from Emory University Law School. Prior to attending law school, Asher worked as a newspaper reporter for the Gannett newspaper chain in Georgia and New York. Asher practiced law with Troutman Sanders L.L.P. in Atlanta, and worked as an adjunct professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

Joey Asher lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area with his wife and family.

You can visit Joey online at www.speechworks.net.

TO SEE WHERE JOEY STOPS NEXT, VISIT www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com.

THE SEA CHANGES VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '09



Sea Changes is a passionate look at one woman’s struggle with grief and independence. Love, loss and Sarah’s search for hope will inspire all readers to believe that ultimately, anything is possible.

When Sarah’s husband dies suddenly, she is left with no anchor and no focus.
Grief is an ever-present companion and counseling a weekly chore with minimal results, but when Sarah decides to end her life her suicide attempt takes her to an underwater world where she finds comfort and friendship. Afterwards, back on the beach she wonders – Was it a dream? Was I hallucinating? Or am I going mad?

Her efforts to make sense of the experience lead to Sarah’s becoming a suspect in the alleged kidnapping of a young heiress. Now her worlds are colliding – and the people she trusts are backing away, not believing a word she says. She must decide what is real and what is not. Her life depends on it.

AUTHOR'S BIO:

Gail Graham’s previous novel, CROSSFIRE, won the Buxtehude Bulle, a prestigious German literary award. CROSSFIRE has been translated into German, French, Danish, Finnish and Swedish. Three of Gail’s other books were NY Times Book of the Year recommendations. Gail lived in Australia for 32 years, where she owned and operated a community newspaper and published several other books, including A COOL WIND BLOWING (a biography of Mao Zedong) STAYING ALIVE and A LONG SEASON IN HELL. She returned to the United States in 2002, and now lives in Tucson, Arizona.

You can visit Gail online at www.gailgraham.net.

TO SEE WHERE GAIL AND SARAH STOP NEXT, VISIT www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com

THE CASE OF THE MISSING SOCK VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '09



In this story siblings Max and Mia Holmes, along with their good friend Morris and their flamboyant Granny Holmes, are know as The Crypto-Capers. They are a group of detectives who unravel crimes by solving cryptograms that criminals leave behind. Mia is an expert puzzle solver. Max is great at deduction and reasoning. Morris is a computer genius, and Granny…well, Granny is the muscle of the group. Don’t let her size or age fool you—she is quite handy.

The Case of the Missing Sock leads the Crypto-Capers to Florida, where they are hired by a Mr. Delacomb. The mystery leads the team to different locations. Clues flourish throughout the mystery. Suspects by the handful seem to pop up at every turn, but who committed the crime? Help the detectives solve the case by solving the cryptograms and puzzles.

AUTHOR'S BIO:

My love for reading and writing started when I was a child. I always had a passion for it. I remember frequently wearing out the stone steps to the local library. When in a bookstore I would sit in the middle of an aisle perusing a novel that I was eagerly going to purchase but couldn’t wait to read. Often, when I had extra time, I would write stories that would pop into my head locking myself in my room for hours. Now that I am older my love for reading and writing has not diminished. In fact, it has only become a bigger part of me. It is because of this that I chose to share my interests with other readers who love books as much as I do.

My goal in writing is to entertain, but more importantly it is to build a connection with my readers. If I make another person feel some kind of emotion while they read my books, whether it be love, anger, or compassion, then I did my job as a writer and that makes me feel good about what I write about. Romance is something in all of us. It is something that brings passion to our lives and happiness to our hearts. It is the strength, courage and determination of when two souls find each other and their journey, that inspires me to write in this genre. It shows that love, of any kind, is not an easy path to take. You must fight everyday to keep it for it is never easily attained and can so easily be lost or forgotten.

Since my first novel has been published I have done over 50 events. I have been on radio, TV, and have been in over 30 newspapers. I have experience talking in classrooms about writing. I have presented at various libraries, have done several book signings and many other venues with more going on in the future. My family has encouraged my talents and creativity and I couldn’t have gotten this far without their support and love. Having Magic Hearts published really was a dream come true and I am thankful to God for all of the blessings in my life. I have also received an award for Magic Hearts for Best 2006 Fantasy Romance. I am thrilled. My second novel Seduction of the Lonely Heart has won a National Literary Award for Best Romance of 2007. I am thankful for these two awards.

I have also ventured in writing other genres. I have a new children's detective series out. The first book of the series, The Crypto-Capers in the Case of the Missing Sock, is currently released. This story is filled with adventure and heart. With relatable characters and you, as the reader, a part of the story, helping the detectives solve the case. I love being an author! Thank you for all of your support.

You can visit Renée online at www.reneeahand.com.

TO SEE WHERE RENÉE, MAX, MIA, MORRIS, AND GRANNY HOLMES STOP NEXT, VISIT www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com.

LIZZIE'S RAKE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '09



Can a rake reform his ways and truly love? Lizzie's head tells her one thing, her heart another.

Infamous rake and Corinthian, Maxim Beaufort, Earl of St. Ive, finding himself in possession of a property in Yorkshire, is unprepared for the changes it will bring into his life.

Irresistibly drawn to Elizabeth Granger, the former owner’s daughter, he attempts to help the family, finding himself filling the role of benefactor.

When the house is razed to the ground, he arranges for temporary accommodation for Elizabeth and her siblings on his estate and when Elizabeth rejects his proposal of marriage, he is nonetheless determined to win her over.

However, events and his reputation conspire to thwart his efforts and his course is one fraught with dangers.

Trust does not come easily and determined to protect her heart, Elizabeth struggles to resist her own longings. At times, their difficulties appear insurmountable but the earl is widely known as ‘The Indomitable’ and the name was not lightly earned.

AUTHOR'S BIO:


Hazel Statham lives in Staffordshire, England. She started writing at fifteen and has written on and off ever since. She has always been fascinated by history and writes mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, although she has had a short medieval story published. When she was a child, she often told herself stories and this just progressed to committing them to paper to entertain family and friends. There have however, been gaps in her writing years where marriage and employment intervened, but now that she no longer works, she is able to return to her first love and devote her time to writing. She had her first two novels published in 2005.

She has been married to her husband Terry since 1969 and they have a grown daughter and beautiful grandson. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, her other ruling passion is animals and until recently, she was treasurer for an organization that raised money for animal charities. She currently shares her home with two lovely yellow Labradors named Lucy and Mollie, who are her constant companions. They are real sweeties, but it’s not always easy working at the computer with a large Labrador trying to get on your knee!

You can visit Hazel online at www.hazel-statham.co.uk.

TO SEE WHERE HAZEL AND LIZZIE STOP NEXT, VISIT http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

Lizzie's Rake is available at Amazon.com and at The Wild Rose Press.

Feeding Lions by Paul Ibbetson--Book Review



A thought-provoking, well-written, and often humorous collection of articles can be found in Feeding Lions: Sharing the Conservative Philosophy in a Politically Hostile World by Paul Ibbetson.

Ibbetson has collected some of his most widely read articles in an easy-to-digest format that shares the overall conservative philosophy. More than preaching to the choir, Ibbetson's engaging and conversational style will appeal to both conservatives and liberals. Discussing such topics as: the Fairness Doctrine, the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, global warming, and border security, the author accurately and effectively presents the conservative worldview, how it differs from the liberal worldview, and how those differences shape world events.

Included with these articles is additional commentary by the author, black and white photos, a selection of reader responses to some of Ibbetson's articles, a conservative website directory and a conservative radio directory.

An absolute must read for anyone interested in politics, current events, or in understanding what conservatives truly think. Feeding Lions by Paul Ibbetson is just as brilliant as it is funny.


Title: Feeding Lions: Sharing a Conservative Philosophy in a Hostile World
Author: Paul Ibbetson
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1-4389-2008-5 (sc)
SRP: $12.50 (U.S.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How Math Helps Make Relationships Work by Tim Kellis



Today's special guest is Tim Kellis, author of Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage.

The journey through Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage includes a trip through history, where the most significant lessons civilization has learned over the last few thousand years are used to demonstrate not only the way to set up a positive relationship, but the causes of that relationship turning negative.

Additionally, Kellis dives into the science of psychology to answer the most basic question anyone asks who goes through the pain of divorce, “why didn’t we work out”?

The basic premise of the book is that we have a 50% divorce rate yet there doesn’t appear to be anything happening to help solve this problem. Just because divorce has become a significant part of our culture doesn’t mean we should simply sit back while countless families suffer through the agony of splitting up.

The toll to society tomorrow because of our culture of divorce today is impossible to determine but future generations will have to deal with this change to the culture that has occurred over the last two generations.

For the first time in history Kellis elaborates on a psychological solution to our psychological problems so that couples can learn how to change the direction of their negative relationships. In essence, the psychological objective is to understand what happens mentally between two people who make one of the most important decisions of their lives, to get married.

The objective of this book is to provide real, logical help to couples so they can learn how to stay out of the divorce trap. The bottom line is to learn how to set up your relationship so that you can maintain a happy, healthy, harmonious, loving, affectionate, intimate marriage.

Tim's Turn:

How math helps make relationships work?

Almost without exception, observed the great 20th Century philosopher Bertrand Russell in his exhaustive study of the history of Western philosophy, modern Platonists “are ignorant of mathematics, in spite of the immense importance Plato attached to arithmetic and geometry, and the immense influence that they had on his philosophy”.

As it turns out math provides the foundation to not only science, but philosophy and psychology. What Bertrand Russell is saying here is modern thinkers in the field of philosophy have forgotten logic as the basis for thought. I am extending this thought to include the psychology industry, for as it turns out psychology has been misplaced as an educational tool. Psychology, as an extension of the psychiatry industry, has been brought up as an extension to the medical field.

Consequently, because of Freud’s biology theory, the focus of therapy is almost exclusively the research of not only the brain, but also the emotional side of our mental lives. The basic component of therapy is referred to as “cognitive behavioral therapy” where clients of therapists discuss feelings behind the behavior within the relationship, and completely leave out the logical side of our mental lives.

And this is the fundamental basic reason why modern psychology has not been able to solve the marriage problem. My joke is of the 100 books that went into the research for my book, all were non-fiction, with the lone exception of the relationship books. No we are not from different planets, despite the success of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. There is no logic to that concept, but that concept permeates relationships today.

The key to solving the relationship problem is by using our logical mental lives to solve our relationship problems, even the emotional side of our psyche. And math provides the foundation for logic. No the answer isn’t as simple as a math problem, but the philosophical notion that we can think through our mental problems. This is the point that Betrand Russell is making with his statement. Math can provide the foundation for solving our relationship problems, not literally but philosophically.




After a successful career that eventually landed him on Wall Street, Tim Kellis met what he thought was the girl of his dreams, only to see that relationship end with bitterness and anger. The journey included work with a marital therapist, and after he discovered the therapist wasn’t really helping decided to tackle the issue himself.

Ambition and a strong aptitude for math helped lead Kellis to discover how to make relationships work. His math skills led directly to an engineering degree, nine years in the telecommunications industry, an MBA in finance, and finally on to Wall Street, where he became the very first semiconductor analyst to focus on the communications market.

After publishing a 300-page initiation piece entitled "Initiating Coverage of the Semiconductor Industry: Riding the Bandwidth Wave", Kellis became a leading semiconductor analyst at one of the biggest firms on Wall Street. The experience he gained as a Wall Street analyst provided an excellent backdrop for becoming an expert on relationships, and resulted in his relationship book entitled Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage.

You can visit his website at www.happyrelationships.com or his blog at http://questforthehappymarriage.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Herbert Howard Jones and The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone

Today's guest blogger is Herbert Howard Jones, author of the young adult fantasy novel, The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone.


Journey to a frozen planet to find a long lost twin. An amazing crystal phone with incredible powers. A cunning old pirate wizard who must be stopped.

Schoolboy Terry Mctrain thinks the new tenant in his parent's guesthouse is strange. Stranger still is the reason why she is here. Then Terry learns about a twin brother he never knew he had, kidnapped by a pirate wizard years ago. Baffled by all this, Terry realizes there's a mystery to be solved, and a secret to be uncovered. But when he discovers that the fate of the world is also in his hands, he wonders...

Could this turn into the adventure of a lifetime?

Perhaps, but unless Terry and his friend Will travel to the other side of the solar system to solve this puzzle, there's a danger that the world would be destroyed, and his twin brother lost forever.

Who the devil is the Pyewiz?
by Herbert Howard Jones

I'd love to say that the Pyewiz is the very devil himself, but he's too human, possessing frailties that mere mortals know only too well. But despite what people think about the Devil, the one thing you can accuse him of is greed, because, according to some quarters, he possesses the world! And greed is what the Pyewiz has in abundance! To be fair, the Devil could also be said to be rather ambitious, and this is something the Pyewiz definitely has in common with him. Aside from this, the Pyewiz does not entirely consider himself to be a law-unto-himself. He is in fact fiercely loyal to his Queen, Queen Elizabeth I, and in his own mind is still fighting Elizabethan battles with the Spanish! But being sequestered on a planet millions of miles from earth does make this rather impractical, and so his MO is to pressgang the innocent into naval service, and he does this on his frequent and secret sorties to earth, in the dead of night. His objective is to become a force to be reckoned with in the known universe. But let's be honest, this is not a glorious pursuit, because he is primarily doing this off the back of slavery. In this respect he deserves to be taken to task. Also the Pyewiz, or pirate wizard, relies heavily on modern technology despite hailing from an overtly superstitious 15th century, and has actually never cast a magic spell in his life! But to sum up his best and worst characteristics, he has been said to be a scoundrel, a demon, the worst possible person you could meet, a rotter, a crook, a liar, a trickster, a person not to be trusted, a rotten so-and-so, a manipulator, a drunkard, a no good cheating gambler, a dirty stopout, a person to be avoided, a man of extremely poor character, an advocate of corruption, a snake in the grass, someone who is economical with the truth, a fruit cake, a loud mouth, an authoritarian and spiritually bankrupt bossy brute, and by his own reckoning, a bit of a loveable rogue. He is also a big man with a big mouth with a veracious appetite for food, liquor and treasure!

About the author:

Herbert Howard Jones was born in London in 1955, and went to Eccles Hall, a boarding school in Norfolk. Jones attended Lisburn college in Ireland and then worked in a wide variety of occupations, including law, as a porter at the BBC, in jewellery manufacture, publishing, and commercial art.

It was only in his fifties that Jones seriously sought publication. The Pyewiz and The Amazing Mobile Phone is his first book.

At the present time he is busily writing his second book and is painting. He hopes to have his first exhibition of art in London in the near future.

You can visit his website at www.science-fiction-fantasy.com.

View the trailer for The Pyewiz and The Amazing Mobile Phone:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pump Up Your Book Promotion's May Authors on Tour

Follow along as these talented authors travel the blogosphere all month long with Pump Up Your Book Promotion to talk about their books, their lives and their future projects. Leave a comment at their blog stops and you could win a FREE virtual book tour if you’re a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate if you are not published. So, pick your favorites, follow their tours, and make sure you leave them a note to tell them you stopped by!

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Barry Eisler, author of the thriller, Fault Line (Ballantine Books), will be stopping off at Chic Book Chick! A full-throttle thriller that is both emotionally and politically charged, Fault Line centers on a conspiracy that has spun out of the shadows and onto the streets of America, a conspiracy that can be stopped by only three people–three people with different worldviews, different grievances, different motives. To survive the forces arrayed against them, they’ll first have to survive one another.

You can visit his website at www.barryeisler.com.

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NY Times bestselling author Jamie Ford, author of the WWII historical fiction novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Ballantine Books) will be stopping off at The Koolaid Mom! In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II.

You can visit his website at www.jamieford.com.

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Therese Fowler, author of the women’s fiction novel, Reunion (Ballantine Books), will be stopping off at Book Reporter! Celebrity talk show host Blue Reynolds is the queen of daytime television—she is smart, funny, and as down-to-earth as her adoring fans. In the eyes of the world, she has it all. But no one knows about the secret she has harbored for the last twenty years—a secret that could destroy her image, her reputation, and her career. Twenty years ago, she gave birth to a son and put him up for adoption through illegal channels. And every day since, she’s been filled with regret. Now Blue has hired a private investigator to find her son, knowing full well the consequences.

You can visit Therese’s website at www.theresefowler.com.

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Chet Galaska, author of the Christian nonfiction book, Finding Faith in a Skeptical World (Triad Press), will be stopping off at The Writer's Life! This book was written with the intent of providing brief shortcuts for curious unbelievers, those seeking faith, those new to it, and for Christians who may not be familiar with some of the ideas covered. The author realized that a book like this would have been valuable in helping him come to faith. Since none was available, he wrote Finding Faith in a Skeptical World to share the things he learned in a reader-friendly, direct and concise way.

You can visit Chet online at http://findingfaith.us.

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C.W. Gortner, author of the historical fiction novel, The Last Queen (Ballantine Books) will be stopping off at Ramya's Bookshelf! Daughter of Isabel of Castile and sister of Catherine of Aragon. Married at sixteen and a queen at twenty-five. Declared mad by history. Juana of Castile, the last true queen of Spain. Ruled by her passions, Juana’s arranged marriage to Philip the Fair of Flanders begins as a fairytale romance when despite never having met before their betrothal, they fall violently in love. Juana is never meant to be more than his consort and mother to his heirs until she finds herself heiress to the throne of Spain after tragedy decimates her family. Suddenly she is plunged into a ruthless battle of ambition and treachery, with the future of Spain and her own freedom at stake. Told in Juana’s voice, The Last Queen is a powerful and moving portrait of a woman ahead of her time, a queen who fought fiercely for her birthright in the face of an unimaginable betrayal. Juana’s story is one of history’s darkest secrets, brought vividly to life in this exhilarating novel.

You can visit C.W. on the web at www.cwgortner.com.

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HBF (Hopeful But Frustrated) Teacher, author of the realistic fiction book, No Teachers Left Behind (2nd Avenue Publishing), will be stopping off at American Chronicle! Explored through a series of poems, emails, and brief conversations, No Teachers Left Behind is a fictional yet realistic look at the frustrations of middle school staff.

You can visit her website at www.noteachersleftbehind.info.

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Herbert Howard Jones, author of the young adult fantasy novel, The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone (YouWriteOn.com), will be stopping off at The Writer's Life! Schoolboy Terry Mctrain thinks the new tenant in his parent’s guesthouse is strange. Stranger still is the reason why she is here. Then Terry learns about a twin brother he never knew he had, kidnapped by a pirate wizard years ago. Baffled by all this, Terry realizes there’s a mystery to be solved, and a secret to be uncovered. But when he discovers that the fate of the world is also in his hands, he wonders..could this turn into the adventure of a lifetime?

You can visit Herbert on the web at www.science-fiction-fantasy.com.

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Tim Kellis, author of the relationship book, Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage (Gilgamesh Publishing), will be stopping off at The Book Connection! The journey through Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage includes a trip through history, where the most significant lessons civilization has learned over the last few thousand years are used to demonstrate not only the way to set up a positive relationship, but the causes of that relationship turning negative.

You can visit Tim online at www.happyrelationships.com.

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Rie McGaha, author of the fantasy erotic romance novel, Blood Line (Noble Romance Publishing), will be stopping off at Marta's Meanderings! Truck driver, Joshua Kaine and his wife, Jessie, enjoy the freedom of the open road until one night on a lonely country road Josh is attacked by a rabid dog. After killing the animal, Joshua becomes very ill, but quickly recovers. Weeks later, when the full moon rises and Josh begins howling, the trouble has just begun. Drawn by an unknown force, Joshua finds himself in a remote mountain area at The Gathering where he meets Garan, a gray wolf who has walked the earth for thousands of years, and Joshua learns the rabid dog was actually a werewolf and his clan is now after Josh. On the run, hunted by a clan of werewolves, and searching to undo his plight, Josh ventures into the swamps of Louisiana in search of an old, black woman who holds the key to his existence. Josh is pushed to the limits, and when the merciless werewolves kill his wife, the hunted becomes the hunter.

You can visit Rie on the web at http://riemcgaha.com/.

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Kathye Quick, author of the historical romance novel, Cynthia and Constantine, will be stopping off at Beyond the Books! Lady Cynthia of Abertaine is trapped. Not only has her fiancé, Sir William Leyborne, not been back to the castle for over ten years, but she’s also not a titled Lady. Lord Simon of Cowell, a renegade warlord aligned with Mordred against Arthur and his Knights, has declared himself sovereign over Leybourne Castle and everything that once belonged to Sir William– including Cynthia. Drawn together by an attraction older than time, Cynthia and Constantine soon discover that though a vow made by a knight’s honor has brought them together, it may just also cost them their lives.

You can visit Kathye on the web at www.kathyequick.com.

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Elizabeth Walker, author of the memoir, The Tablet of My Heart, will be stopping off at Paperback Writer! The world turns upside down for a young girl when her father begins a fatal battle with the merciless affliction cancer. Before his illness finishes it’s devastating rampage through her adolescence, she is confronted by a new demon. She falls victim, by the hands of a trusted adult, to sexual abuse. The devastation of these events causes her to question God’s roll in her life, and whether He ever loved her at all. The Tablet of My Heart is a collection of poetry from the journal of that young girl. It is narrated by the author of the journal herself, who paints a portrait of words illustrating her emotional journey from hopelessness to healing. It is dedicated to victims of abuse; to bring to them the realization of hope that there is a light at the end of the silence.

You can visit Elizabeth on the web at www.tabletofmyheart.net.

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Dawson Church, author of the nonfiction book, The Genie in Your Genes (Energy Psychology Press – Elite Books), will be stopping off at Reader Views! The Genie in Your Genes is a breakthrough book linking consciousness to genetic change. For the first time, a single book summarizes a chain of remarkable scientific discoveries that are revolutionizing the ways we think about health.

You can visit him online at www.genieinyourgenes.com.