Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Scott Thompson "Young Men Shall See"

Available on Amazon and Kindle and your local book stores.
Scott is a winner of the Great American Novel contest, from Tag Publishing, for 2010.

The Book:
Sometimes peace means silence,and justice means murder.

Life for Gus Ambrose in the small community of River Falls, Georgia, is a constant struggle to seek wild adventure, understand the mystery of love and escape the pervasive boredom of high school. On the surface, River Falls is a peaceful and perfect world - a mix of quaint southern charm, happiness and safety. But the scars of the past have a way of working their way to the surface and slamming headlong into the present, shattering innocence and revealing the worst humanity has to offer.

Reviews on Amazon:

"The author describes the characters and scenes in a way that make them vidid enough to allow the reader to visualize the person and the scene that is taking place."

"Scott has a beautiful way of telling the story of 4 teens during their senior year of high school in 1980's Georgia."

"The book was written with such detail and emotion that I felt like I was with the main character Gus during this coming of age story. I found myself unable to put the book down, I had to find out what was going to happen next."
From the author:
Places, Characters, and Introverted Writers

Often my stories start out with real places, people, and events, but quickly become their own.  I like to write about what I know and to learn more about what I care about through my writing, always hoping that I might help others learn more in the process.  Writing is a solitary endeavor, but, often, is eventually shared where it is digested by others.  My novel, Young Men Shall See, is a coming of age story that takes place in River Falls, Georgia, in 1989 and 1990.  The story follows several teenagers through their senior year in high school.  This story of teenage misadventure changes when they encounter hate, political corruption, and eventually death.  They are faced with decisions that challenge everything they know, or thought, to be true.

When I write about a place, like River Falls, it is often based on a real place.  River Falls is based on my hometown of Newnan, Georgia.  When I was growing up this was a fairly small town that has exploded since I left for college over twenty years ago.  I could have used Newnan as the town, but chose to create a fictional place so that I could change the setting as needed to fit the story.  This gave me more flexibility and also allowed me to let the town become a character all its own.

Creating characters in stories is something that must be done delicately, and even though I often start with real people, the characters become their own quickly.  A character may start out 90% of the person it is based on, but by the time the character lives, they are almost completely unique and different.  Every character has a bit of me, as well as several other people, and by the time a character speaks their first words they are as unique as a child is from his parents.  There are parts of the parents in the child, but ultimately the child is his own person.

About Me:

           Like many writers I’m something of an introvert.  Writing is the perfect pursuit for introverts as it allows many hours of solitude with one’s thoughts.  It provides hours to sit quietly, dream, and create.  It can be very rewarding.  Many writers never chose to publish and simply enjoy the process of creating, but those of us that do publish become authors.  As an author you have to go against everything that is natural to introverts to promote your work.  Even the sub-head above titled About Me goes against my natural tendencies because it feels a bit egotistical.  But promotion is necessary, and there are rewards in book promotion when authors look for them.  Rewards like meeting new people; discussing books with other bibliophiles; and having others read and appreciate your writing, even if there’s always the possibility that some will not like your work. 

            Where I’m not introverted is with my family.  When I hug my family I’m reminded that I’m the most blessed person in the world.  I have a beautiful and supportive wife, who is a talented photographer, and two crazy little boys who have taught me the meaning of life.  We all live just outside of Suwanee, Georgia, with a Jack Russell Terrier that met his match when the boys were born.  Of course, I love to read, but also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, camping, kayaking, and fishing.  

If you want to read about the teenagers from River Falls pick up a copy of my novel, Young Men Shall See at Amazon, Kindle or at your local book store.

You can interact with me on Facebook,  where I often share news about upcoming readings and other book events I think my followers will enjoy. I'm available to speak to groups about my book and writing. You can reach me via the contact form on my website.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Book Store For Self-Published and Indy Authors

A book shop for self-published authors

Jon Renaud has a different kind of book shop. Back to the Books is the very first bookstore to stock only Independent Titles by self-published authors and small press titles where authors still own all rights to their books. If you are looking for a place to market your book, Back to the Books may be just the spot for you.

This book shop owner and independent author (Dereliction of Duty ) is a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer and former CID Special Agent who earned two Bronze Stars for tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2005. 

Back to the Books had its grand opening March 2012.

From a recent interview:

1.     Tell us a little about Back to the Books… does it only stock Indie books, or traditionally published as well?

      Thanks for taking the time to speak to me about Back to the Books. I           believe we are the very first bookstore to stock only Independent Titles. Now, please don’t misunderstand, these are not all self-published titles, but also small press titles where the author still owns  all the rights to their own book.

2.     Where did you get the idea for it? Are you an author yourself? Have you worked in book retail before?

      The idea came to me a few years ago shortly after my own book was published. I wrote and published Dereliction of Duty  to use to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. During the process I discovered how difficult it was to get Indy books into bookstores. Anyway, during that process I also met a lot of other Indy authors who had some incredible books but were faced with the same problem. I always felt that if bookstore would just give them a chance, and if we could get the prices competitive, they would sell. So, the idea was there for some time and then one day I was talking to friend who owned two storefronts in Manitou Springs and he offered me one. Idea met opportunity and I jumped on it. 

3.     What made you think an Indie bookstore would be a viable/profitable business venture?

I always knew it could be a viable business plan if I could just find the right location, and Manitou Springs is the perfect location. Nobody will go out of their way to drive to an Indy bookstore but Manitou Springs is 95% foot traffic and when people walk in and see all of the great books, most stop, look around and buy books. As for profitable, I never thought, or said, if would be a profitable business ventureJ My goal is to get the store to a point where it is self-sustaining and new titles are rotating in and out to give Indy authors the exposure they need. If the first month is any indication, that goal will be met and maybe there could be some profits left over.

4.     Tell us a little about Manitou Springs, and why you thought this would be a good home for BTTB.

Like I mentioned before, Manitou Springs is an amazing little town that draws millions of visitors every year. All of the stores in town are trendy art galleries, cafés, and other similar type business. It is almost entirely walking/foot traffic through the town and has a culture that embraces everything independent and dislikes corporate. It is the perfect location to attempt something like this.

5.     How long did it take you to set up the whole venture, including your online store?

The plan has actually come together very quickly but I could not even begin to count the hours I have put into this project. The storefront became available on February 10, 2012 and I have been running since that day. So, in about one month I was able to get the physical store loaded with books and ready for the grand opening, the website and online store up and running, and arrange the pull off a spectacular grand opening. So, it has been a crazy few months but everything has come together perfectly. I finally got the employees trained so things should be slowing down for me a little.

6.     For a long time, authors have struggled against the stigma of self-publishing… In your experience, what does the general public think of self-published books?

There is no doubt there is a stigma out there for some. The biggest problem is quality and price. People believe that SP books are too expensive and poorly edited. I am working hard to help change that stigma. Although it is impossible to read every book I get in, I will read a few chapters of every book to make sure the formatting is professional and there are not a lot of typos. Unfortunately, I have had to decline a few titles because I feared they would not help our cause and just perpetuate the stereo-type. But overall, the customers that I have met do not care how the book was published as long as it is a good book.

7.     Are you still accepting new authors? How many titles do you plan to stock at any one time?

I will continue to accept new author as long as my doors are open. That is part of the business plan to continue to roll the inventory. Although Mantiou Springs is a big tourist town, I have also been very warmly received by the locals who have purchased many books already and have expressed their happiness at having a bookstore in town. They will continue to come back as long as I keep new titles coming in for them.

If you are interested in having your books featured at Back to the Books complete the form on this link.

8.     What genres of books are selling best?
So far, children’s books, Young Adult and Self-Help/Improvement books have been the best seller. And surprisingly poetry books have also been very popular. I expected the children’s books to be hot sellers as we just finished the Spring Break season and lots of kids and parents were in town during the week. I also publish a weekly bestseller list at so authors can see what is selling and share their strong sales with friends and family.  I expect the fiction titles to start to pick up as the tourist begin to arrive and are looking for good books to read while sitting out by the pools.

9.     How important is a good cover?

There is nothing more important than a great cover except maybe great content, but if you don’t have a great cover, no one will ever see your content. The unique thing about Back to the Books is it is designed so every book is face out towards the customers. No books are hidden on back shelves or just have the spines facing the customers. So because of this, the cover has to be able to grab attention. It is fascinating to me to watch what books draw the most attention simply because of the covers.

10.  If you could give three pieces of advice to Indie authors trying to sell their books, what would they be?

The first piece of advice is what I stated above, design a great cover. Don’t do it yourself or have your friend that is really good with Power Point do it for you. Find a great cover designer and spend the money to have a fabulous cover for your book.

Second, price your book competitive. Customers do not want to pay $25 for a 300 page paperback fiction novel. You will never be able to get your price point where it needs to be if you use most of the online publishing services because that is how they make their money, buy charging high prices for the print books. Work with someone that knows the industry a little and can help you navigate the process. I provide free advice to authors everyday.

And finally, just keep producing the great books that I have seen come through my store. Be persistent in your marketing and people will buy your work and sometime, come back and buy the sequel.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this new venture with all of your readers. If I could add one last piece of advice, if you want people to take a chance on you as an Indy, you have to do the same. Commit to only buying Indy books and then recommend them to all of your friends and family. We only succeed if we are willing to do what we want customers to do.

Jon Renaud  Owner/Author
Back to the Books

Like Back to the Books on FACEBOOK.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ellery Adams "Pies & Prejudice"

 Available on Barnes & Noble

This post came from Facebook today from Jessica Faust Bookends. I am reposting it here to reach out to other authors.
Authors are an amazing group of people. Today authors from all over the Internet are coming together to support my friend and client Ellery Adams whose sister-in-law died tragically of complications from a C-Section. Ellery's newest book Pies and Prejudice, the first in an incredible new series launches this week and I know Ellery would be dedicated to promoting if she could. Instead these incredible authors are putting their own work aside to do what they can to support her. Thank you everyone. I'm touched by what you're doing.
About the book:
The first in The Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries.
When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LaFaye bakes pies. So when she catches her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flakey crust. But her pies aren't just delicious. They're having magical effects on the people who eat them--and the public is hungry for more.

Discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae makes her own wish come true by opening the Charmed Pie Shoppe. But with her old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor making trouble, and her old crush Hugh Dylan making nice, she has more than pie on her plate. and when Loralyn's fiancé is found dead--killed with Ella Mae's rolling pin--it'll take all her sweet magic to clear her name.

About Ellery Adams:

Photo from author's web

Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children's books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.  (from author's website).
Are thoughts are with the author and her family. I hope she will join us later on Book Talk to talk about her book in her own words.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lynn Steigleder "Rising Tide"

"Rising Tide" is a finalist in the 2112 Indie Excellence National Book Awards Contest.

"Fantastic! Join Ben in his exciting journey discovering that without evil good cannot exist. You won't be disappointed."
- Ronnie Hale

A category six hurricane above and the habitat below that he just left destroyed by the blast, Ben finds himself all alone in a decompression chamber wondering, “What’s next?” He receives a mysterious message in Morse code, “Seek C 7.”  Is he dreaming or is someone or something trying to reach him? 

 Buy the book on Amazon.

Rising Tide is an action packed, spellbinding novel filled with twist and turns that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Each character is created with depth that will make you emotionally captivated by their exploits and personality. It's going to make you feel as if you are there intertwined with the characters throughout their journey.  It contains a little bit of everything, from mystery romance, to fantasy and science fiction. It is definitely a must read for any serious book reader.  Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online book sellers.

Lynn's Story:

Just a few months prior, I had received the heartbreaking news that my leg weakness was not sciatica but was instead multiple sclerosis, a nerve degenerating condition that could lead to immobility.  I had seen several doctors and therapist over the years prior to this news.  Needless to say, hearing the news was a shock.  Then shock number two came. 

I had worked for a pharmaceutical company for over fifteen years.  I was the supervisor of the warehouse and fabrication shop directing a team of talented men in drafting and constructing pharmaceutical displays.  I had survived several reductions in staff and was hopeful to retire from this company.  Therefore, the news that they had decided to outsource our department was a bitter disappointment. 

My options seemed limited. My physical abilities were already compromised in that my stamina and mobility were impaired.  With an uncertain future, my son, Eric, and I went on our annual fishing trip to Cape Hatteras.  It was during this trip that Eric suggested that I should try writing.  I was known for being creative and loved making up crazy tales.  I had written a few short stories but had never seriously thought about writing. 

I toyed with the idea of accepting the challenge. Initially, I wrote a few short stories. While I liked short stories, the idea began to take shape for a book. Over the next four month, the story flowed with ideas coming freely as the story line grew. I enjoyed the development of my characters and the challenge of bringing them together to a surprising ending. Rising Tide, my first novel, is a book of fantasy and adventure, released for retail sale late April 2009. I'm now working on my fourht book in the Rising Tide series and a personal biography related to living with MS.

Learn more about Lynn's writing and interests!

Visit the author's website and blog. 

Listen to Lynn Steigleder on radio.

What they are saying about Rising Tide!

This book is a nice mix of reality and fiction and very interestingly depicts that good can not exist without evil. I was addicted to reading this book and stayed up late every night for a week to find out what happened next. The plot twists kept me pleasantly surprised.

Loved the book! Held my attention from start to finish! Lynn Steigleder does a great job at character building and story telling! Many unique turns and events!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Helen Ross "10 Yellow Bananas"

10 Yellow Bananas
Written by Helen Ross
Published  by Little Steps Publishing (Division of New Frontier) Released 2010.
Illustrations by Dee Texidor

AboutThe Book:

Excerpt from review by Megan Blandford on Kids Book Review.

 "Ten yellow bananas, clutching teddy bears, race through the doorway, then nine sleepy pears..." So begins the story of ten different fruits involved in a frantic, crazy chase. Led by the ten yellow bananas who stole the nine pears' teddy bears, we follow them as they gather lemons, apples, cherries, pineapples, kiwi fruit, grapes, watermelons and one little berry. But watch out for the near-disaster at the end!

With Helen Ross' signature of laugh-out-loud, clever rhymes, this book takes children on a reverse-counting escapade that should come with a warning: kids will want it read to them over and over and over again. The other beauty of the story is the educational aspect. Young children will love naming the different fruits, and as they grow older they will recognise the colours and then begin counting with you.

The cover is completely irresistible to any child, with its bright colours and beautifully expressive fruit faces. And this follows right through the book, adding to the charm of the rhyme and the pace and fun of the adventure.  

Helen Ross

Why I wrote it:

The first run of verses tumbled into my head in 1993. At the time, I was a secretary and was answering a client’s phone call when the bananas charged into my brain followed by some pears singing a giggly rhyme.

After 13 years of sitting in my ‘ideas’ box, alongside other poems, I decided to self publish Ten Yellow Bananas (note original title) as I felt this story would appeal to young children. Sales of this 2006 published book were great but I knew it needed more commercial appeal/a peel – pardon the pun.  Literally hundreds of rewrites were carried out as part of Dr Virginia Lowe’s writing for children e-course.

As I wanted to keep my rights, I forwarded my manuscript to Little Steps Publishing, whereupon they offered me a partnership publishing contract.

Read about the book, learn more about Helen Ross, and illustrator Dee Texidor on 10 Yellow Bananas Cyber Launch.

What you may not know about me:

At home, I sometimes wear a silly pink wig – for fun!

More about Helen:

Helen Ross is an Australian published children's author, an award winning children’s poet, freelance writer-photographer, and blogger. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and their beloved pets.


Also by Helen Ross

To read more about Helen check out her website and blog Helen Ross writes.

Purchase Books:



author's site
Helen Ross writes is a permanent link in our Book Talk Favorite Links series.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Deborah Batterman "SHOES HAIR NAILS"

Visit the author's website!

Buy on Amazon

Like the author on Facebook.

Symbols, and their metaphoric underpinnings, play a large part in the stories I write. The title stories of my collection, SHOES HAIR NAILS, for example, might, at first glance, conjure images of frivolousness and vanity. And, yet, by putting them center stage, at the heart of the collection, I'm asking readers to leave aside presumptions, step into narratives built around those very images, look at them in a different light - one that gets beneath the surface and reveals the deeper resonance of everyday symbols. I see writing fiction as a way of making sense of situations - a girl whose mother takes off and leaves her in the hands of a friend, a mother ostracized for being a little offbeat by conventional standards, a man who thinks a trip to Vegas is the antidote, if not the cure, to his father's dementia - and exploring what compels individuals to act the way they do.

When I write essay-type pieces, like the ones on my blog, it's more about reflecting than shaping something into a story. Which brings me to my other book, Because my name is mother. This is a small book, just six essays, whose publication as an e-book I timed to Mother's Day.  I think any short piece -- be it a story or an essay -- has to stand on its own. At the same time, a collection reflects a writer's conscious choices re: what to include/what to leave out, in the interest of a cohesive whole. The essays in Because my name is mother are linked by the reminder that every mother is a daughter, too.  There's a progression in the way they hold together -- the first two from the perspective of the daughter reflecting on her mother, the last two from the perspective of the mother reflecting on her daughter. Smack in the middle sits 'Cute?#@Sixty', a favorite in the way it serves as a fulcrum on which both my mother and my daughter sit. 

Writing tips:
1. Trust that the words/sentences/paragraphs you're trying to shape often come when you stop trying so hard. Take a walk. Listen to music.  Read something. 
2. Don't be impatient and put your work out before it's ready.
3. Revise. Revise. Revise.

A native New Yorker, Deborah Batterman has worked over the years as a writer, editor, and teaching artist. A story from her debut collection was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in anthologies as well as various print and online journals. She recently finished a novel.

Buy on Amazon

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Shane Etter "Bottom Dwellers"

Visit the authors website. Book signing this Saturday in Gainesville.
Link here for details.

Author, Shane Etter

My name is Shane Etter, and my first novel, Bottom Dwellers, was published in April of 2011 by Black Rose Writing, a Texas-based small press ( Dwellers is a supernatural thriller about green mutant people with gills living on the bottom of one of the largest manmade lakes in the U.S., in north Georgia.  It’s the first of what I anticipate being a series of books to follow with the Dwellers theme of a worldwide mutant community. 

While scuba diving in Lake Lanier, Patrick Dylan encounters a lost community of green people with gills who have been living on the bottom of the lake since being built in the early 1950s.  Mutants due to radiation leakage from the Georgia Nuclear Laboratory, built in Dawson Forest, around the same time as the lake, the have survived, quietly and until this time with no one discovering them.

Despite their warnings to Patrick to stay away and not return, he does come back and a battle with an evil element of the bottom dwellers ensues.  It’s also during this time he that he meets a beautiful Lake Lanier park ranger, Trudy Price.  They start dating, quickly get engaged and marry.  While on their honeymoon in NYC, they get involved in a murder investigation that leads them into the abandoned subway tunnels under the city, where they encounter the mole people of New York.  A different kind of bottom dweller and a different struggle ensues.

Bottom Dwellers may be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Shane started writing after suffering a stroke at fifty years old and during his recovery period a brain shift occurred causing him to become creative virtually overnight.

Shane likes creepy books, and he is pictured with one of his favorite bestselling authors, John Connolly.

Shane makes his home in north Georgia, where he is currently working on the next Patrick Dylan and Trudy Price adventure and where he lives with his wife, Ellen, and their two standard poodles, Hawk and Pearl. He is the president of his own small high technology company and collects books and wine and enjoys working out in his spare time.

What they are saying about the book: Shane has crafted a great first book! He has written a fast paced story that allows you to suspend disbelief and enjoy the story!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tori Bailey "Ethel's Song"

Visit the author's website.

About the book:

Ethel's Song, is the second book in the Coming Home trilogy.  Although, it is a second book in a trilogy its story and characters can easily stand alone.  Tori is able to transition the reader into meeting existing characters and weave their backstory, to where the reader does not feel  they are lost with the characters' histories.  Aunt Ethel, the family matriach, is thirty days from marrying Madison Barfield.  In the midst of managing a sucessful catering busines, loving her family, and planning her wedding, there is one small detail of her life she quietly needs to expell.  Her marriage to the man that abandoned her twenty-seven years ago, leaving her with two small sons to raise. 

The night Howard Song walked out of her life had been a blessing.  His disappearance had been a reprieve from his abuse.  Ethel focused on raising her two sons.  The death of her sister expanded her family to her brother-in-law and niece.  Life had been filled with home, children, and work.  Ethel never thought that love would have a place in her life.  Howard had left more than physical scars.  That was until Madison Barfield.  In thirty short days, Ethel's divorce would be final and she could become Mrs. Madison Barfield. 
Howard Song knew his prescence in his wife's dinning room came as a shock to her.  He was back in her life now and had every intention of reclaiming her and  his family.  It seemed he'd returned in the nick of time before she could marry someone else.  He just needed to convince her and his oldest son, Thomas, that he was a changed man.   His youngest, Mathias, was already on his side.

Madison did not need an introduction to the man standing in the dining room.  The look on Ethel's face and the way she trembled with fear was enough.  Madison had never asked many questions about Howard, but always sensed that his departure had not brough a lot of regret to Ethel.  Madison had enough troubles with his ex-wife, Liz, meddling and manipulating him through their daughter, Janet.  Madison moved close to Ethel and placed his arm around her waist.  He would not let this man bring any more harm to the woman he intended to marry.

Tori's story:

Writing has become an adventure that started with as a way of dealing with grief.  My first book, Coming Home, evolved after the death of a close friend.  At the time, I had no idea of where the path of putting words on paper would take me.  Since, I have found myself not only writing, but enjoying a lifelong dream of having my own business.  One shortcoming I often find when talking to other writers is the lack of realiziation that this is a business.  It does not matter if you go the traditional or non-traditional route of being published.  You are your best salesperson.  Just as your books have to have structure and vision, so does your writing career.  You must be just as diligent and dedicated to promoting, networking, and making yourself marketable as you are to character development, plot, and story line. 

On a personal note, I am always going in many different directions at one time.  I don't think there has ever been a time in my life since my early twenties that I didn't have too many irons in the fire.  My full-time steady paycheck is being a 9-1-1 Communication Operator, working the night shft.  My part-time job is working from home with a virtual call-center.  In my spare time I am constantly working and promoting my writing.  In the mix of all of it I share my life with my husband of sixteen years and five rescue cats.  For relaxation, I enjoy working in my flower garden.

A little known fact about me.  I have an Airline Transport Pilot's license.  Flying and aviation were my world and dreams of a career in aviation had once been a hope.  My wings have long since been retired and life has taken different avenues.  But, I still have my ATP license.

Join Tori's short story of the month club.

Buy Tori's books:

Tori encourages readers to support local small businesses.  View the list of local retailers or visit her online store. Both books are available on Amazon. Coming Home and Ethel's Song.

From Dew on the Kudzu: