Jack Cannon's American Destiny

Rachel Thompson

Friday, May 30, 2014

Donald J. Amodeo's Thoughts on Real Life Informing #Fiction @DonAmodeo #Christian #AmReading

We’re told that good stories are about the characters, and good characters are supposed to be relatable. But what about when your characters are riding dragons or breaking free from a prison planet on the outer rim of the galaxy?
I’ve always had a love for over-the-top fiction. A book is a journey, and if I’m going to embark upon one, why not make it a grand and exotic journey? Suspending disbelief is seldom an issue so long as the rules underpinning an author’s world are consistent. As such, when I began writing my own stories, I naturally gravitated towards high fantasy and far-flung science fiction.
As I soon discovered, crafting relatable characters in otherworldly scenarios can be somewhat of a challenge. In the beginning, it wasn’t a problem that I really gave much thought to. Sure, my characters needed to be interesting, but relatable? When one of your protagonists is a 10,000 year-old immortal with a sword that tears open seams between dimensions, it’s hard to imagine anyone relating to him.
And yet it can be done. As it turns out, it’s as easy as giving your immortal, dimension-hopping protagonist a weakness for cheesecake. Being relatable doesn’t have to mean that your character works in an office all day and struggles to pay the bills (although you can certainly go there). Often, it simply means that he or she has loves and hates that correspond to the things we love and hate.
It’s wise to let a bit of real life creep in, both to color your characters and the themes that shape your story at large. You might have written a tale of dark sorcery and ancient demigods resurrecting to devour the mortal world, but what is your story really about? What do you want to say? This wasn’t a question that I broached at all when I first started writing. The adventure was everything. As a result, my stories felt exciting but ultimately hollow.
I’ve heard it said that depressed people make the best writers. I’m not so sure that that’s true, but I can see the rationale. When you’ve got strong emotions to pour out onto the page, readers can tell, and since most of us have seen hard times at some point in our lives, depression and despair are easy themes to relate to.
With my novel Dead & Godless, I decided from the outset to draw inspiration directly from life experiences. Being raised in a Christian home and living in a post-Christian society, I’d spent much of my early life arguing the case for God against my atheist and agnostic friends. I wanted to infuse my story with the spirit of those debates, while keeping it very much an adventure, not an apologetics textbook. Doing so meant capturing both the logical back-and-forth – the sparring of ideas – and the emotions stirred by existential questions.
Whether or not I’ve succeed in that endeavor is another question, but even if some critics tell you that your story lacks brilliance, a tale imbued with your life’s struggles and passions won’t lack heart. And when it comes to connecting with readers, a little heart does the job better than a boatload of lucid prose.

When outspoken atheist Corwin Holiday dies an untimely but heroic death, he’s assigned a chain-smoking, alcoholic angel as his defense attorney in the trial to decide the fate of his soul.
Today many cast Christianity aside, not in favor of another faith, but in favor of no faith. We go off to school or out into the world, and we learn that reality is godless and that free thinking means secular thinking. But must faith entail an end to asking questions? Should not the Author of Reason be able to answer the challenge of reason?
Dead & Godless is a smart and suspenseful afterlife adventure that explores the roots of truth, justice and courage. In these pages awaits a quest that spans universes, where the stakes are higher than life and death, and where Christianity’s sharp edges aren’t shied away from, because we’re not called to be nice. We’re called to be heroes.
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Genre - Christian Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Richard Parry Says Stories Have Less Meaning Without Settings @TactualRain #Fantasy #Thriller

Stories are all about people.
I know we’re supposed to be talking about the setting, and you want to know about magical towers in the sky or abandoned subways or starships.  I’m getting to that.
The thing about people is that they live in places.  They have tribes, families and friends they call their own (or they don’t: they’re a loner, a wolf at the edge of shadow).  They style themselves as ganguro punk, or carry the raiment of the aristocracy.
They probably have a house.  Or live in a sewer with their brother turtles.
It doesn’t matter, but all of these highlight why setting is important: the things around us help define us.  It’s not that we are making a political statement about the rich or the poor, but that it gives our reader something to attach to, and necessary motivations to the way our people act and react to what’s around them.
Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice is likely to react to an alien invasion quite, quite differently to Kastagir in Highlander.  Setting helps define where we come from so our plot can take us forward.
Setting also provides a powerful catalyst against which change occurs.  That sounds heavy, but some of the best stories are about coming from a time or place and being challenged about our preconceptions.  Thor is an arrogant, vain, warmongering imbecile partly because he is Odin’s son, and partly because he is from Asgard.  He’s a god, right?  Changing this basic setting, yanking him from the heavens and putting him on Earth as a mortal lets Marvel explore what it takes to change the nature of someone, all within a nice tight two-hour movie script.
That story has less meaning without the setting: if Thor’s a kid from the Bronx, he can’t undergo the change that makes him real, and makes the audience have sympathy for him.
Setting is a powerful tool, just as important as the names of your characters or the plot outline you define.  It can get a lot of heavy lifting done just by changing the context of how you frame the start of a story or where the people sit.

Valentine’s an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. His boss is an asshole. He’s an alcoholic. And he’s getting that middle age spread just a bit too early. One night — the one night he can’t remember — changes everything. What happened at the popular downtown bar, The Elephant Blues? Why is Biomne, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, so interested in him — and the virus he carries? How is he getting stronger, faster, and more fit? And what’s the connection between Valentine and the criminally insane Russian, Volk?
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Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Rating – R16
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 Connect with Richard Parry on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, May 23, 2014

Steps Into Darkness (Shakertown #Adventure) by Ben Woodard @benswoodard #YA #Mystery

The unknown figure’s back was to them as he connected the wires to the detonator. Will shoved Tom. Only minutes remained.

They located the last connection point where the blasting caps were wired to two sticks of dynamite. The wires to the plunger snaked up the hill. The connecting strands were twisted, tightly, as with pliers. Tom snatched a rock, but Will grabbed his hand and pointed up the hill. Tom understood. The man would hear the pounding. They each took a twisted connection and tried to pry it apart with their fingers. They would need to break only one.

The wires resisted. Tom gritted his teeth, then remembered his pocket knife. He pulled it out, flipped the blade open, and wedged the tip between two strands. He twisted and the blade snapped. The sound startled the man. He whirled around and stared directly at the boys. Tom forced the broken blade into the gap in the wires. Will put his finger on top of one and pulled as Tom twisted. Blood ran down Will’s hand as the metal bit into his finger. They strained, and watched the man. His eyes darted in all directions. Then he made his decision. He pulled the plunger up, hesitated a moment, and slammed it down.


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Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG – 13
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Merry Farmer's #WriteTip for Promoting Your Book Online @MerryFarmer20 #AmWriting #Romance

The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Promote Your Book Online
Okay, I’m going to say this right up front at the beginning.  Pay attention, because if there is only one thing you take away from a discussion on the right way and the wrong way to promote your book online, it’s this:  DO NOT send anyone an unsolicited email announcing, promoting, showcasing, or otherwise pimping your book, EVER!  This includes Twitter spam and Goodreads announcements too.
Whew!  Got that out of the way.  I feel better.
But why not, you ask?  Emails get your books noticed, don’t they?
Well, yes, but for all the wrong reasons.  Sending someone an email asking them to buy or review your book is pretty much akin to those people who hand out fliers for causes on street corners or in airports.  They’re annoying and three seconds after you walk past them, you throw that flier in the trash.  The trick of online promoting is that you want to be noticed for the right reasons by the right people.
I’m sure you’ve heard that old adage, “Work smarter, not harder”.  That certainly applies to online book marketing.  The most important thing you can do to get your book into the hands of readers who will appreciate it is to know your book and to know who those appreciative readers are.  Have you written a romance?  Seek out the romance readers.  Is your book futuristic science fiction?  Look for the trekkies.  Have you written a brilliant YA zombie novel?  Find out where young people get their books from.  The only way you’re going to hit the target with your marketing is to know what the target is.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools out there for you to accomplish this seemingly impossible mission.  Book tours are a great place to get a lot of exposure and a few reviews from people who are specifically interested in the kind of book you’ve written.  Most reputable book tour companies have a diverse pool of book bloggers interested in different genres to pull from.  And since the bloggers in question are generally familiar with the reputation of the blog tour company, neither side has to look very far to connect with each other.  Where do you find a reputable book tour company?  Well, you’re in luck, because if you’re reading this post, chances are there’s a link to the company hosting this blog tour nearby.  Look for the book blogs, look for links on their pages.
Book club groups and other specialized groups—like reading mom groups, of which there are a lot—are another good way to go.  These are people who love to read and talk about the books they read, and in my experience they are hungry for new authors.  Search for them.  If you have to ask other authors who are achieving success, then by all means do it!  Authors want to help authors, believe me!
Okay, but what if you want to kick your book marketing strategy up to the highest level?  Ah, now you’re talking!  Now it’s time to hire a publicist.  Do they cost money?  Yes, although maybe not as much as you’d think.  Do they get results?  Oh mommy, yes!  Publicists make it their job to get your name and your book’s name out there.  They work with you on a much more personal basis to craft a marketing strategy and to go out there and put it into action.  Like book tour companies, a lot of the time they have a whole list of resources who already know and trust them with whom they can work.  Publicists do the marketing work so that you can get back to doing what’s really important, writing the next book.  There are a wealth of publicists out there who will gladly work with indie authors too (Bad Ass Marketing and Novel Publicity come to mind).
Of course, either way you look at it, you get out of marketing what you put into it.  Whether that’s time or  whether that’s money, you’re going to have to commit to a long-term strategy with a specific focus.  But whatever you do, please don’t contribute to the internet’s spam problem with a scatter-shot approach.  You’ll catch more readers if you know exactly where to fish and what kind of bait to use.

Eric Quinlan was born a cowboy and a rancher and intends to die a cowboy and a rancher. But when his ranch is in danger of failing, he travels to the wilds of London looking for a business deal to save it. What he finds there are stuffed shirts, odd manners, and a damsel in distress.
Amelia Elphick’s life is over. She may have been born a lady, but when she finds herself jilted by a lover who leaves her pregnant and refuses to marry her, she seems destined for a life on the streets. When her employer’s rough but handsome houseguest, Eric, offers to rescue her from ruin, she has no choice but to say yes, even if it means moving halfway around the world.
But Amelia finds herself saying yes to more than a ticket west. What starts with a harmless lie tangles Amelia and Eric in a web of desire and deceit that exposes passions and turns their worlds upside-down. Eric believes Amelia holds the key to saving his beloved ranch and giving him the family he always wanted, but can he save her from the demons of her past without losing himself in the process?
People do foolish things when they’re in love….
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Western Historical Romance
Rating – R
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