Thursday, September 21, 2017

30 Red Dresses by Johan Twiss

Genre:  Adult, Realistic Fiction, Thriller
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This was a phenomenal book. The main character is an author. His books don’t sell well in the United States. However, Cambodia can’t seem to get enough of him. While on a book signing tour in Cambodia a natural disaster occurs.  He and his translator Munny trying to survive find themselves in an area they really should not have ventured into. However, this turns out to be a most fortunate occasion for the other main character, eight year old Veata.  She calls  him her giant. When their paths cross, lives will be changed forever.  This book takes you into one side of human trafficking.  The writing was so smooth that I had to keep reading from beginning to end. I was right there fearing for the characters in this book. I found myself reading faster to find a resolution. There were so many things I hoped for.  The ending was very satisfying.  I found myself talking to my students about this book since we have been discussing “causes” and how horrible people can be to each other. I think this would make a wonderful book for high school.  I will not only recommend this book to everyone I meet, I will remember it and its message for a long time. This is one of those stories that just sticks with you.  I absolutely loved it.

Read about the author here.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Penitent Part II Blog Tour and Giveaway

Genre:  Young Adult, Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
The next novel in The Immortality Wars series continues . . . Her parents are viciously murdered by a band of killers. Hidden in the bottom of a roadside ditch as a baby in swaddling clothes, Evangel is only steps away from them. An old hermit, Matthew Greatworth, finds her the day after this tragedy unfolds. She is touched by a rare spiritual power and raised by Matthew in the heart of a sylvan wilderness. Evangel grows up in the quaint hermitage Matthew built years ago. In her 17th year, outlaws terrorize Matthew while she is away. The young girl reaches him just as his eyes are carved out of their sockets and placed on a stump before him. The miracles and struggles against those seeking to kill her, as well as those disbelieving the power of her presence, all come together in a battle of good versus evil. In a vision of clarity and prescience amidst her struggle for survival and meaning, she finds her future soul mate, Pall Warren, on a battlefield of death, and casts a prayer of protection around him. Evangel's remarkable journey to save herself, her newfound friends and then those who believe in her, brings to the reader a hauntingly beautiful and startling tale of wonder.

My Thoughts:

This book far exceeded my expectations, I loved the premise when I read it. The characters are so well developed. It is extremely believable.  I love both Matthew and Evangel.  Their spiritual growth and strength are what you want to read about in a book like this. At one point, Evangel sees a wolf give birth. The mother and all but three of the pups die. She takes the pups home where she and Matthew raise them.  It was at this point as the story began to unfold I was reminded of C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe".  The wolves had a role I had not foreseen which made this so endearing.  I really don't want to say too much. I had not read the first book in this series. I did purchase it because I loved this one so much and I wanted to find out what came before. This one reads as a stand-alone book, so if you have not read the first one you will be pulled in from the very first page. I had not heard of this author before. I will definitely recommend this book to others.

A. Keith Carreiro's Bio: A. Keith Carreiro earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education, with the sequential help and guidance of three advisors, Dr. Vernon A. Howard, Dr. Donald Oliver and Professor Emeritus, Dr. Israel Scheffler. Keith’s academic focus, including his ongoing research agenda, centers upon philosophically examining how creativity and critical thinking are acquired, learned, utilized and practiced in the performing arts. He has taken his findings and applied them to the professional development of educational practitioners.

Earlier in his teaching career he was a professor of educational foundations, teaching graduate students of education at universities in Vermont, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. He currently teaches as an adjunct professor of English at Bridgewater State University, as well as teaching English, philosophy, humanities and public speaking courses at Bristol Community College.

He lives in Swansea, Massachusetts. He has six children and 13 grandchildren. He belongs to an eighty–five–pound golden retriever, an eight–pound Maltese, and an impish Calico cat.

Due to his love of family, he has seen his fervor for history, as well as his passion for wondering about the future, deepen dramatically.

Starting on May 23rd until October 9th of 2014, he sat down at his computer on a daily basis and began writing the first book of a science fiction/fantasy thriller in a beginning series about the quest for human immortality. 


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Friday, September 8, 2017

Guest Post: Judy Alter

Backlist blues – a happy look at the business of publishing
The backlist traditionally has been the backbone of publishing, providing a steady income in contrast to the spurts and uncertainty of front-list sales. Most of the cost of producing backlist titles has already been covered—and recouped in lucky cases. Backlist sales are often permanent, whereas the front list can suffer from the onslaught of huge returns, cutting profitability in half or more. These days, the backlist would seem to be even more important to publishers as Amazon encourages third-party sales of new titles, often at prices lower than those the publisher offers. Don’t ask me about the economics there, because I don’t understand it.
But what do authors do about their backlist? If they’re with a traditional publisher who does not want to revert the rights to the author, they’re stuck with whatever the publisher does with their titles. But if rights revert, and both major and small presses revert rights although one can’t always figure out their reasoning, authors have several choices in today’s bright new world of publishing.
If you think print copies of the book will sell you can choose POD (print on demand or print to order) and use such agencies as Create Space or Lightning, affiliated with Ingram distributors or it used to be. Easier and cheaper for many of us is the ebook format. You can post a book through Kindle Direct Publishing, Draft2Digital, or Smashwords for next to nothing—and sometimes nothing. Just remember that each new edition—print, digital, audio—needs a new ISBN.
Or you can license your book to a distributor yourself. And that happy occurrence is what happened to me. I have eight young-adult novels. Two are with an academic press that still holds the rights. The other six were with small presses that have since gone out of business, reverting the rights to me. Those six books have been requested and licensed to Speaking Volumes, a company that seems, from its web site, to have a strong interest in writing about the American West. Their list includes an impressive number of important writer of what we sometimes mistakenly call westerns. I will be, however, one of the few living authors. But Speaking Volumes also has a respectable front list—I just seem to be scooting in on the backlist side.
The six books will appear once a month, starting mid- to late-September. The first title is Callie Shaw, Stableboy. After that, I’m not sure of the order of the titles, but they are After Pa Was Shot (my first novel, published by a major New York house now gobbled up in the many mergers and later reverted to me whereupon I licensed it to a small press), Katie and the Recluse, Maggie and a Horse Named Devildust, Maggie and the Search for Devildust, and Maggie and Devildust—Ridin’ High! I am truly excited by this prospect.
Callie Shaw, Stableboy is set at the old Arlington Downs racetrack, midway between Fort Worth and Dallas. Here’s what Booklist said about the novel: “It's 1933, and the only economic boom in Callie's North Texas town is in horse racing. Fourteen-year-old Callie lives with Aunt Edna, who declares that the new race track is ‘the devil's work.’ When the girl loses her job as a maid, she disguises herself as a boy and finds work at the stables. Looking after a race horse becomes a labor of love, but soon Callie is trying to unravel a shady plot to fix races by doping, stealing, and even killing horses. Meanwhile she uses her new contacts to locate her father. As the pace quickens near the end, the loose ends are tied up …. this first-person story will engage readers while giving them a glimpse of bare larders, broken dreams, and stout hearts during the Depression.”
Authors need to remember that their backlist is a valuable asset. No, I don’t expect these books to make me rich at all, but they will provide some income, and they will help get my name and books into the hands of more readers. Every little bit helps, and I intend to be as active in promoting these titles as I am with my front list.
I’m excited about stepping back into the world of young-adult fiction. Another learning experience.

Author Bio

Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, two books in the Blue Plate CafĂ© Mysteries; and two in the Oak Grove Mysteries. Pigface and the Perfect Dog follows The Perfect Coed in this series of mysteries set on a university campus. Judy is no stranger to college campuses. She attended the University of Chicago, Truman State University in Missouri, and Texas Christian University, where she earned a Ph.D. and taught English. For twenty years, she was director of TCU Press, the book publishing program of the university. The author of many books for both children and adults primarily on women of the American West, she retired in 2010 and turned her attention to writing contemporary cozy mysteries.
            She holds awards from the Western Writers of America, the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Texas Institute of Letters. She was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and recognized as an Outstanding Woman of Fort Worth and a woman who has left her mark on Texas. Western Writers of America gave her the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement and will induct her into its Hall of Fame in June 2015.
The single parent of four and the grandmother of seven, she lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her perfect dog, Sophie.

Buy link for Pigface and the Perfect Dog:

Buy link for The Color of Fear: