Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Great Guest lineup

I have been fortunate to host a number of SUPERB AUTHORS on this blog since the start of the year and it's my custom to provide readers with an easy to use SUMMARY of their articles in time for the summer break. Here you will find practical tips and tricks, as well as entertaining accounts about the writers' lot.
(Click below photos to read the blog post - will open in separate window).

ENJOY... 

Read Article



Melodie Ramone


Reviews, Nuclear Physics and cashiers!





Read Article



Yelle Hughes


Yelle? What’s a Yelle, you ask?





Read Article



John Dolan


Writing About Foreign Parts




Read Article


Laurence O'Bryan


Books Go Social

Services for Authors



Read Article





Scarlett Flame


Steamy Scarlett Unbound




Read Article



Paul Cude


Forging Flaming Fantasy!








Gunnar Angel Lawrence


Television and Movies Have
Changed Your Readers




Read Article



Margo Bond Collins


Marketing Strategies for Authors: 
Holding Successful Online Release Parties
Read Article



Charity Parkerson


The secret life of 
an Erotic author






Read Article


Joanne Wadsworth



Ebooks or Paperback? 

What’s your Preference?










And last, but not least, a couple of contributions from Yours Truly:

Amazon Link



Eric J. Gates


Time for a Selfie...  Read Article



The Death of GENRE?   Read Article









Many more Guests and interesting articles to come so follow the blog and have it delivered straight to your email.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Guest: Katie Lindon

My Guest this week is not a writer, at least not of books, though she's a dab hand with computer code. That may surprise regular followers of this blog. What will surprise you even more is knowing she is an ex-NSA super-spy, with a wealth of covert and clandestine missions in her file. Let's see if we can't prize out a detail or two. Ladies and Gentlemen...



My friend and fellow thriller writer Seumas Gallacher has tagged me in a little game called 

Meet My Main Character
Blog Tour


The Rules are simple...
…the taggee must write a post answering the same seven questions about their Main Character… then the taggee becomes the tagger and chooses five other authors… sort of like a chain letter with all the potential to become a global virus.

Now with several suspense thrillers already penned and a plethora of personas to chose from, who should be subjected to the interrogation is an interesting dilema.

My readers are particularly enamoured of the dynamic I created between two that share main billing in the series of novels that form 'the CULL'. Special Agent Amy Bree, the ex-FBI agent who is the younger half of the duo, has already been subjected to an uncomfortable interview; an experience she didn't enjoy (you can read that here: http://www.ericjgates.com/Winks5thecull.html ) so it seems only fair her enigmatic partner should be placed in the spotlight this time.

…now meet my main character.

1. Tell us a bit about your main character? Is she fictional or a historic person?

Katie Lindon is a fictitious character, firmly based upon others who have worked in the clandestine world of cyber-intelligence and who have had the misfortune to cross my path at some point. Her name, however, originated from a request by a cousin of mine to feature her 12-year-old daughter in one of my books. Katie, my Katie that is, is a little older though, which could explain why the younger version is still not speaking to me.

When we meet Katie Lindon she has just left the Tailored Access Operations unit at the National Security Agency for a job with a strange outfit called Office 312, a covert operation within Homeland Security reporting directly to the Vice President, although it's a Vatican priest who appears to be running the show. Why has Katie given up her long career in intelligence for this peculiar adventure? Well, as she nears her sixty-second birthday, she's thinking about retirement; the chance to develop her pet project, and make some serious retirement cash selling it to the Intelligence community, is foremost in her mind. She's been an active field agent on many a dangerous assignment, especially in the 'bad old days' when to access an enemy's computer, you had to be in the same room with it. Despite still possessing a sharp mind, keen instincts, an abrasive no-nonsense attitude and an agility that defies her age, she has been relegated to a windowless room at the Fort Meade headquarters of the NSA for the last few years.

Now she finds herself partnered with a disgraced ex-FBI agent with almost no field experience and tasked to hunt down a serial killer.

Yet not only is everything very distinct from how it initially appears, what will happen to her, and her new partner, will radically change them and the way they view the world.

2. When and where are the stories set?

The tale kicks off in Washington DC in the present day, but quickly takes the protagonists to Houston and Chicago, then onward to Europe (Austria, the United Kingdom, and Slovenia), then back to the States (for Amy) while Katie is off to Bolivia. The first three books climax with a return to the Eternal City of Rome, Italy. They get around, and having access to a private jet helps.

3. What should we know about her?

Katie was born in the UK, the daughter of the then Head of the London CIA station. Her mother was English and they lived in the UK for the first 13 years of her life. Curiously, despite returning to the States, Katie has retained her British accent... and a preference for tea. She is an expert with a computer and has developed her own Artificial Intelligence surveillance system called SANTA. Many people refer to her as Mrs. Lindon, which prompts the inevitable question about a Mr. Lindon, but it's not until book 3 of the series that we learn about her other half.

Her skills are not limited to computers, however; she possesses the full range of abilities of any top covert agent, everything from martial arts, through weaponry to thinking on her feet while under extreme pressure. When we meet her, she's a 'kickass granny' but events ramp this up to an awesome new level, unsuspected by her or her partner when they start out on their quest.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

The series is primarily a fast-paced tale that spans three continents (so far) and is reminiscent of the level of action of '24' or the Bourne movies, yet there are hidden depths. The overall theme is the effect of change upon individuals and society; how we handle it, how we accept or reject it. In the climatic scene in book 1, Katie undergoes an experience unlike any she has encountered before; something that will mark her life for ever. How she reacts to this, how her friend and colleague responds also, is the underlying subject of books 2 and 3.

5. What is her personal goal?

All she wanted was to make some money and be able to travel to some of the places her missions have taken her during her career, but this time as a tourist. A simple-enough goal, one that prompts her acceptance of this one last job-change. Yet matters go terribly wrong and her objective is forgotten in the light of the new challenges she faces. To say more would mean major spoilers, so, dear reader, you'll have to read the first book to find out what put her on this new path and how she handles it.

6. What are the titles of your novels, and can we read more about them?

Currently there are three full-length novels in the series:


And these are the global Amazon links where you can find them:

the CULL book 1 – Bloodline   http://authl.it/B00AGZ27FA?d
the CULL book 2 - Bloodstone http://authl.it/B00HDGEHVC?d
the CULL book 3 – Blood Feud  http://authl.it/B00K5VD85S?d


All three books can also be obtained in one download here:
the CULL books 1-3 - Blood Box box set

http://authl.it/B00KFN3HK2?d
7. When can we expect the next book to be published?

The fourth book in the series, 'the CULL - Blood Demon' has been announced and will be available for Christmas 2014. 

There are some MAJOR surprises lined up for this one!

Mysteries are revealed...

...some characters are not who they seem to be...

...and the tale goes ballistic! Hang on to your seats!






And now, for the next victims…


1.  Gritty Crime Thriller author, and one of the most admirable people I know, Andy Laker   andylaker.blogspot.com 
2.  Blogger of the Year and author Scarlett Flame   http://missscarlettflame.blogspot.co.uk/
3.  Fantasy novelist and part-time Dragon, Paul Cude   http://www.thesoberhockeyplayer.co.uk/
4.  Conspiracy author mate Laurence O'Bryan   http://www.lpobryan.com/blog/
5.  Fellow mystery thriller writer Jan Ryder   janryder.blogspot.com

…many thanks to Suemas Gallacher, a.k.a. That Man!, for press-ganging me aboard the Tour… check out his blog http://seumasgallacher.com/ (Scottish-English dictionary required). 


Eric @ www.ericjgates.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Guest: Melodie Ramone

My Guest this week tackles a subject dear to the heart of any writer... Nuclear Physics. No, seriously, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present...




Melodie Ramone

Reviews, Nuclear Physics and cashiers!


It is such a common theme in our lives as writers. We got a bad review, it ruined our day. We went into our writer’s group and vented. Our friends came to the rescue and voted down the review. We felt better. And if we’ve got the skin it takes to make it in this business, we jumped right back into Word and began a new chapter in a new story.

I often wonder why writers bother to read their reviews. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but I rarely ever do and I’ll tell you why. It’s not that I don’t understand that most of us spend hours upon hours, days upon days, working on
Check for more details
our stories. What’s a story if nobody reads it? So, of course, we want to know what readers thought. But what happens when they don’t like it? In a nutshell, it hurts like crazy and anybody who writes has trouble exactly pinpointing why.

Well, I can. It’s because those words we wrote mean so much to us. It’s like being pregnant for ten months while another organism inhabits your body and destroys you from the inside, makes your brain shrink to the point where you are clinically insane and then you spend weeks in hard labor only to end up with a c-section where the editor rips the thing out of your guts and slaps it on its brand new, pink bottom until it screams. It’s a relief to have it on sale, it’s a joy the book’s been born, but, really, it’s been such a toil. You’re destroyed mentally (sometimes physically depending on if you took the time to eat or sleep) and you’re permanently scarred from the process. But the book’s yours. You created it. You dress it in a lovely book cover that you also tormented yourself over and bring it out into public, hoping that people will see the beauty of what you have done. And then – WHAM! There’s the insensitive person who looks at it and cries, “Holy heaven! What is THAT monstrosity! Kill it before it lays eggs!”

It’s crushing. The truth is we get too close. We get too attached to our work. We fall in love with our characters (literally), we become fascinated with the scenery. We become intertwined with the meaning inside the cover. We build a home in a little fantasy world and there we escape our actuality. The story becomes our happy place and the safety of going there after a long day of reality is intoxicating. We look forward to it. We want to share it and we want people to love it as much as we do. The practicality is, not everybody is going to and that’s just not our fault.
Amazon Link

A bad review is genuinely no reflection on a writer. It’s more a reflection on the reader. Think of it this way. If we were at a dinner party and six of the seven guests were Nuclear Physicists and the other was a cashier, the cashier probably wouldn’t have a very good time. She’d either be intimidated, annoyed or bored silly. She’d be left out of the conversation. If it was the opposite and the Physicist was the odd man out, he’d probably pick the cashier’s conversation to bits as trivial. Point being? Inviting either was a mistake. They didn’t understand the conversation. The same goes for a book. We send an open invitation for people to come to our party and find a place at our table. Not everybody’s going to like what we serve. That’s not our fault. They just joined the wrong gathering.

I see authors all the time agonizing over what they think readers are going to like, actually catering to an anticipation of what will be demanded. It’s an energy drain. Not that one shouldn’t care what readers think, quite the opposite, but the trick about that is to find the RIGHT readers. That’s where targeting an audience comes in, which is a skill you gain along the way of mastering your marketing. Even with all of that down to a science, there will always be a party crasher who buys a book they shouldn’t have read and hates it. Occasionally, that person will fire off a horrible review. It’s their opinion, they are entitled to it, and it hurts to read it. But the truth is that you probably weren’t talking to them to begin with. They came to your table, you didn’t directly invite them and you certainly didn’t force your book on them. This being said, why should you care what they think?

The best advice I can give any author is to write what they want from their own heart and not worry about what other people are going to say about it. There are many voices out there. Some will think you are wonderful, others will hate what you do. Not all of them are trolls. Some of them were just reading a book that’s wrong for them. Again, their loss and not the author’s problem. If there are enough good reviews,
Amazon Link
authors who obsess over the bad ones are really only harming themselves. They are there for balance and, honestly, in this business, balance is a goal. It helps us improve. Distressing over every bad review is poison to the joy of the writing process. We need to stay in the middle and do what we do, regardless of the feedback. If we’re doing it right, we’ll land somewhere near the center, maybe a little to the high side. All that reflects is that people are buying your book and that is ALWAYS a good thing. The more that read, the closer you should fall somewhere near the center.

You own what you write the way you own your children. You can only bring them to this world, love them, put all you can into their formation, watch them grow strong and send them out into the world with the faith that you have done all you could and they have what it takes to make it in a big, messy, wonderful, topsy-turvy universe. Beyond that, what people think of them is not up to you. Love the stories anyway. Let the voices of those who don’t understand roll past. Write another book with joy. Trust the process. Look for balance with enthusiasm and no matter what comes your way, never give up. Your stories are yours and you are the only one who can tell them. If somebody can’t relate, that’s fine. Somebody else always will. You never need to worry about either, because both opinions will be there should you choose to take a peek at your reviews. But keep in mind that you certainly are never required to torture yourself. That is a choice you make on your own and may be one of the only things in this business you actually can control.   

Notes:

Reviews for Melodie Ramone’s work can be seen on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.  She is currently in the editing process of her upcoming novel 'Burning Down Rome', slated for release in autumn 2014. The image for 'Burning Down Rome' is only a placemarker and is not meant to represent the book's cover.

Bio:

"I'm a keeper of fuzzy critters, author, speaker and certified Kitchen Witch. When I'm not creating Culinary magic, I can usually be found writing stories, reading books, relentlessly tweeting, knitting or delving into fringe Physics. Super geek? Oh, yeah. 
 
I'm obsessed with the Science of Physics, particularly Particle Physics, although in the last few years I am drawn more and more toward Astronomy. I’m fascinated with Outer Space and what’s going on out there. Hubble and the Mars Rovers have sparked a passion in me that goes back to the first time I saw Star Wars. And that was a long, long time ago. I’m a curious person by nature. I want to know everything about everything, I want to see it. I want to understand it so I can understand the origins of our universe. But, then again, I want to understand everything in general.

In short, I’m a happy person. I’m not perfect and I’m not entirely sane, but I don’t pretend to be. In the end, when I look back at my life I will see an amazing smear of color. All the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the strength and weakness that was me. I’ll see all I did and all I failed at. And I will sigh and I will say that I lived. I really, truly lived. I was real. I wrote books. And that, I think, will be good enough for me."


When Melodie is not writing, staring at the stars or conjuring in the kitchen, she can be contacted at:

Website:  http://www.melodieramone.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Melodie_Ramone

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/melodie.ramone

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6540025.Melodie_Ramone


Thank you Melodie for a superb article which presents a refreshing look at the writer's relationship with the reviewer. Best wishes for 'Burning Down Rome'.

Eric @ www.ericjgates.com




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Guest: Yelle Hughes

This week's Guest is going to help all who have problems finding inspiration for their novels - been there, done that, right? Her approach is to look back to a time long, long ago... Ladies and Gentlemen...



Yelle Hughes



Yelle? What’s a Yelle, you ask?

Well, Yelle is my nickname, as well as my author name. It came from two sources and my family still fights over its origin: My mom says she named me Yelle because I was very loud as a child. My grandma (God bless her soul) said I was named after Ellie May Clampett, from her favorite show, “The Beverly Hillbillies”.

My uncles still call me Ellie to this day.

Now that you know this little tidbit about me, let me tell you some more.

I became a writer some twenty odd years ago and only recently became a published author. What do I write
Amazon Link
about? Why, I write about everything pertaining to Greek mythology. From Sci-Fi to Historical Fiction to Romance, maybe even Horror one day. I consider myself a Greek freak and have been this way since I was a kid.

From reading my first ever story, Cupid and Psyche, I became an avid reader and studier in all aspects of these fascinating myths and teachings. I learned how it influenced the English language, architecture, our daily lives, and especially, our films. I could go on for days about how the world of Greek mythology is inundated in our movies. I am an unpaid critic you know. So much so, our stars, galaxies and space movies drip with ancient names. Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars and even the USA’s own NASA program was bitten by the Greek bug.

The great visual arts creator, Ray Harryhausen played a vital role in my obsession. He brought to life on screen, the very creatures and characters I loved to read so much about. The first “Clash of the Titans” was the catalyst for my writing career. There was love (Perseus & Andromeda), there was action (a lot of sword play and flying Pegasus), monsters (Medusa, Kraken and Calibos) and there were the gods in all their selfish and foolish glory (they always meddled with mortals for no apparent reason) J

I was riveted.

But, real life made me make a choice back then. Either wallow in my fantasies or grow up in the real world. I chose to grow up. Got married, kids and a career. Now that the kiddies are grown and out of the house, it’s me time!

First thing I did, I booked a flight to go on an architectural tour of Greece and its islands. I was in heaven, I tell ya!
Amazon Link

It was a magical moment for me. I’ve never left the US…well, Canada, but it’s like a second home to me, and I’d been there so much. I guess I can say, I’ve never been to a country where English was not the top language. And all by myself! At first, I was too scared and then a friend of mine told me, “Stop being a little bitch. You have the money, the kids are gone…you’ve been talking about Greece for all the time that I’ve known you. If you don’t go now, I’m going to hound you for the rest of your days.”

So yeah, I went and so glad I did. I went to the Acropolis. Saw the Oracle of Delphi, visited where the original Olympics started and got to see the great Mt. Olympus. But what really brought me to tears and still does when I think about it, was when I visited Thermopylae. Now the story of Leonidas and his 300 was a true story, but there are a lot of fantastical memes that went along with this historical event.

The trip to Thermopylae was not on our itinerary, but since I talked the ears off of our guide, Michael, he announced we were making a quick pit stop, all because I asked so many questions. I have to tell you guys and I’m not kidding, I went to the monument…couldn’t read a darn thing, then I crossed the highway over to this large hill that had steps leading up. Know what I saw? I saw a large oval stone with Greek wording. Still didn’t know what it said but, I felt a quietness, a calm and something told me to honor this stone. I looked around the grass and saw a single red poppy flower among a bunch of yellow ones. That same intuition told me to place it on the plaque. I did and bowed my head for all those who lost their lives in that area. From historical maps, Thermopylae looked vastly different from before. There was no goat pass and there were no “Hot Gates”. It was all filled in with dirt and rocks, so I couldn’t grasp where the fight actually was. I felt a peacefulness the rest of the day till we were taken back to our hotel. I had internet, so I looked up the wording that was on that stone.

I freaked!

That hill I was standing on, was the actual burial mound where they buried some of the Spartans and the Greeks who helped ward off the Persians. Here’s the actual picture I took of the stone:

That was a little bit more about me, now on to what I’ve written. Jumping into the indie-publishing world was not as easy as I thought. I had to put down what was in my head in neat, coherent sentences that made sense to someone other than myself. So I joined a group of like-minded individuals and studied up. My very first, published, legit (I say legit because even though I published short stories on blogs and websites, I never actually had a published book) story was for Janet Morris’s “In Hell” series. This was dark, historical fiction and I’ve never written anything so gloomy and have it entertaining at the same time. Mrs. Morris saw my work and said to me, “I want you to write a short story for me”.

Of course, I was scared pantless and told her so. Her comeback, “If you don’t try, you’ll never know.” I did
Amazon Link
it, I wrote “Essence Helliance in Dreamer’s in Hell”.  I took mythological characters, placed them in hell and had a ball. In my work, my life influences the story and my character Medea in hell, ran a plasma donation center, which is what I did in real life, only, I didn’t damn people’s souls when I took their blood.
J Mrs. Morris liked it so much, that she asked me to write another story for her upcoming anthology, “Poets in Hell”.

Now my stuff? I like to have a good time and for my characters to have a good time. My first short story “Tritonium (Greek Gods in Space)" introduces you to my main guys that star in my EK Chronicles series.  It’s all in the title, the gods of Greece are sent on a mission, to save a world from the wrath of a fickle goddess. I put an astrological twist to a classic mythical tale.  If you read this first, you’ll find out why they all have nicknames.

"Triton the Aegean Chronicles" is all about romance, there’s the girl, the enemy, gods and goddesses acting straight fools, and you will be entertained. If any of you are familiar with the story of Perseus and his birth, well, you get a glimpse of what happened. How he and his mother, Danae, affect the mortal Ariadne Phillips in today’s time. From then on, I wrote, Triton, from my imagination. You’ll meet Taz “Triton” and why he’s sent to protect the little human. Once he lays eyes on her, he comes up with a crazy scheme to keep her safe and spend a little time together. They go on an adventure through Greece and the Greek Isles to keep one-step ahead of the enemy. Along with the antics of Ari’s girlfriends, and Taz’s fellow immortals, you will find yourself laughing and shaking your head.

I invite you all into my world of the Greek gods in the modern age. I want to make you laugh, cry and yell at the bad guys for being so stupid, and to enjoy my visuals I’m going to include with the books.

BIO

Hi guys. I'm Yelle Hughes, mum of three and now a proud grandparent. I'm an avid reader as well as author. I enjoy canoeing, studying the Greek myths, watching action and western movies, and I'm also an unpaid movie critic. My work is written from the heart and pays homage to people who have passed through my life, just as the seasons pass each year.

I discovered the world of Greek Mythology in Jr. High and the idea of adding the modern and fantasy worlds together began to take form. Twenty years, a marriage, three rugrats and a trip to Greece finally brought to life my series, the Aegean Chronicles (coming soon). A mixing of cultures, humor, sadness and weird sex takes you on an adventure in finding out that romance can be achieved, no matter who you are.

When Yelle is not communing with the (Greek) gods, she can be found at:

Website and Blog: http://yellehughes.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11825146-yelle


As Yelle mentions, the history of many bygone civilizations has been the inspiration for many a contemporary novel and movie. So if you're stuck for ideas, check out Homer (and I don't mean Simpson!).

Eric @ www.ericjgates.com