Friday, December 19, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'Miracle Man' William R. Leibowitz



William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years.  He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses.  At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group). 

William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University.  He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George. 

William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times – when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero –and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man.  Miracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.
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Q:  Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

 A:  I wanted to be an author to express myself creatively and to be able to use the
entertainment context of a novel as a means to share ideas with my readers that are important to me.  Specifically, I wrote Miracle Man because I wanted to create a believable modern day ‘super hero’ who is an ‘anti-celebrity’.  I thought that a literary character like this could be inspirational when contrasted with the meritless celebrities that dominate media today (e.g., the reality TV stars who are famous for being famous, but have no real talent).  The cult of self-centered “non-entity” celebrities has undermined our social fabric and in my opinion, created a bad role model for kids today.  The protagonist in Miracle Man, Robert James Austin is an antidote to this—a refreshing change.  I also wanted Miracle Man to be the vehicle within which I could convey, in an entertaining format, certain spiritual and humanistic messages.  Miracle Man also involves the reader in the crisis that we all are facing today with Big Pharma failing to want to cure diseases.

Q:  Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

A:  The biggest perk is when you get great reviews and feedback from readers telling you, not only that your book has entertained them –but that they were touched by the characters that you created.  The negative is that writing novels is really demanding and takes a great deal of discipline, mind and soul searching, and focus.

Q: Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

A:  After speaking with several lawyers who represent authors and then doing research, I decided to self-publish Miracle Man because the financial and marketing opportunities for new writers of fiction that were once available from major publishers no longer are.  I decided that I’d have more control by self-publishing.  I’ve been very pleased that I made this decision.

Q:  What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

A:  Any industry that relies on “gate-keepers” is fraught with problems.  The publishing industry is similar to the music industry in that certain people (often of dubious vision) are put in charge of deciding what is worthy of the public’s attention. J.D. Salinger’s  Catcher In The Rye was rejected by publishers over 50 times.  The Beatles and The Who couldn’t get record deals.  What does that tell you?

Q:  Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

A:  I think my family reacts with an odd combination of support and skepticism.  Because they know that writing is important to me—and they see how hard working and enthusiastic I am about it, they want to be encouraging and supportive.  But at the same time, they know that the reality is that such a venture is highly speculative and very difficult to succeed in.

Q:  What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

A:  I was sitting on a New York City bus checking my email one morning, when I received an email that told me Miracle Man had won a national Best Thriller award.  I was so dumbfounded and excited that I wanted to scream out loud, “I won, I won,” but I knew that wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do on the New York mass transit system.

Q:  How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

A:  I think facebook, twitter and linkedin are helpful.  I actually haven’t had any bad experiences with social networks.

Q:  Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

A:  I’ve done several things to spur sales.  Firstly, I’ve told everyone I ever met in my entire life that my book was available for purchase.  Secondly, getting reviews is very important-- as is working social media.  I’ve had PR releases that are geared to be entertaining in and of themselves, as opposed to just being informational -- and  I’ve also done quite a few radio interviews. 

Q;  What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

A:  I wish I could reach a truly large number of people and tell them about  Miracle Man’s unique plot and protagonist –and ask them to check out the reviews on Amazon or on my website (miraclemanbook.com).  I think that if they did—their interest would be piqued.

Q:  Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

A:  If you are proud of what you’ve written that’s a great feeling.  Your work defines you and written words will survive you as they can always be found somewhere.  Writing fiction is an art form and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to express oneself artistically and communicate with people on that level.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Tips About Your Website by Corey Perlman, author of Social Media Overload


Title: Social Media Overload
Author: Corey Perlman
Publisher: Garnet Group
Pages: 169
Genre: Business
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 You shouldn’t be on any social media site without a clear direction or purpose. This book will help you: • Determine which sites are right for your business and ignore the rest • Avoid website mistakes that are costing you business • Attract more prospects by outperforming your competition on Google • Stay “Top of Mind” with prospects using content marketing • Strengthen customer relationships and earn referrals using Facebook and LinkedIn

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Five Tips About Your Website That Your Web Designer May Have Missed
By Corey Perlman

If you leave your website’s look and feel strictly to the designers, be prepared to get a beautiful, sexy, artistic site that does everything but make you money. Why? Because they know website design, but they do not know your business. The five tips below will help ensure that you not only have a website that looks professional, but a website that’s open and ready for business!

#1 – Keep your important information above the fold.  64.9% of people don’t scroll. And 77.3% of statistics are made up on the spot. So forget the statistics, just remember that your phone number, physical address, “Buy Now” button all have a greater chance of being clicked on if you don’t require people to scroll down to click on them. Make sure all of your important information is eye level and consistent on every page throughout your site. 

#2 – Include an Opt-in Form on your Website. By securing a person’s contact information prior to them leaving your Website, you’ve ensured that you can continue to communicate with this person down the road. This is critical to your success via the Web. 

#3 – Link Clarity – Another rule of thumb: if the user doesn’t feel confident they know where the link they are about to click on is taking them, they won’t click on it. So take the guess work out of it and make your links abundantly clear. Contact Us. Yep, that’s pretty clear.

#4 – Mobile Responsive – Just having your site shrink down to the size of your device is not enough. A truly mobile responsive site will adjust its functionality based on the size of your screen. So if someone is on their phone, it will allow them to easily navigate your site via their thumbs.

#5 – Include Key Words in your homepage content – Key Words are those words your users will type in search engines to find you…or your competitors. You want any word or phrase that they might type in to be scattered throughout your homepage as the search engines will give you credit for those words and that will increase your likelihood of a higher search engine ranking.

 Corey Perlman is an entrepreneur, author and nationally-recognized social media expert. His most recent book, eBoot Camp, (Wiley) became an Amazon.com bestseller and received global attention with distribution in both China and India. Corey’s company, eBoot Camp, Inc., provides digital marketing services to small and mid-size businesses. A proud member of the National Speaker’s Association (NSA), Corey conducts his critically acclaimed Social Media for Business Keynote to audiences around the world. He’s the proud father of a 3-year-old daughter who has already tweeted, has a youtube channel, and asked for a Mark Zuckerberg doll for her brithday. The apple truly doesn’t fall far from the tree.
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of T.W. Fendley, author of The Labyrinth of Time

The Labyrinth of Time Title: The Labyrinth of Time
Author: T.W. Fendley
Publisher: Silent Partner Publishing
Pages: 226
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Can Jade restore the Firestone’s powers before the First Men return to judge humanity? 


 Spending spring break in Peru with her grandmother isn’t sixteen-year-old Jade’s idea of fun. She’d much rather be with her friends at Lake of the Ozarks. Then she meets Felix, a museum director’s son. Jade discovers only she and Felix can telepathically access messages left on engraved stones in the age of dinosaurs. Following the ancient stones’ guidance, they enter the Labyrinth of Time and–with a shapeshifting dog’s help–seek a red crystal called the Firestone. But time is running out before the First Men return on the night of the second blue moon.   

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12 things I wish I knew before I became an author

1.     Finding “your” readers is the hardest part of marketing. Seek them out early by building your author’s platform before you finish your book. Be active on sites like Goodreads and Library Thing. Follow blogs in your genre.
2.     It’s best to have your author website in your name instead of your book’s title—that way you don’t have to start over with each new book.
3.     Self-publishing isn’t free. To do it right, you need professionals to edit the manuscript and do the cover design.
4.     Some indie bookstores won’t carry books published by CreateSpace. To get around that bias, self-pubbed authors sometimes create a publishing company in another name.
5.     If you self-publish, think carefully about the subcategories, tags and keywords you choose. When you list your book on Amazon and other sites, aim for subcategories with fewer competing books to have a better shot at reaching the bestseller rankings. For instance, if your genre is science fiction, your book might fit equally well under subcategories for Alternate History (9,408), Time Travel (2,359) and Steampunk (1,752). Choose Steampunk!
6.     You need a different ISBN for each format of your book—ebook, print, audio. It’s much cheaper to buy ISBNs from Bowker in bulk, but you’re limited on who can use them since one segment of the bar code identifies the publisher.
7.     “Reversion of rights” is an important part of your publishing contract. If possible, have the interior design and cover rights revert to you, or you will have to redo those before you can re-publish the book. The Authors Guild offers its members a free contract review, or check to see if your city has an organization like St. Louis’ VLAA (Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts).
8.     Goodreads’ best practices recommend offering at least ten books in a month-long giveaway. However, to take advantage of how they promote titles “recently listed” and “ending soon,” consider keeping your giveaways short (maybe two weeks) and offering fewer books each time. Plan Goodreads giveaways before and after the book’s release date.
9.     Sites like QueryTracker.net and Duotrope.com make it easy to identify agents and publishers for your genre and to track your submissions.
10.  Shaw Guides to Writing Conferences and Workshops offers a comprehensive list of conferences where you can hone your craft, meet readers and/or pitch to agents.
11.  Preditors & Editors and Writer Beware are two of the watchdog sites that monitor agents, publishers and contests. Check them before you sign a contract or send your money.
12. ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) has a royalty share option that makes it easy and free to get your book made into an audiobook. After production, distribution via Amazon Audible and iTunes is automatic! To help with promotion, ACX provides free copies to authors and producers.


TW Fendley T.W. Fendley is an award-winning author of historical fantasy and science fiction for adults and young adults. She began writing fiction full-time in 2007 after working twenty-five years in journalism and corporate communications. In October 2011, L&L Dreamspell LLC published her debut historical fantasy novel for adults, Zero Time. She fell in love with ancient American cultures while researching story ideas at the 1997 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Since then, she’s trekked to archeological sites in the Yucatan, Peru and American Southwest.

When she’s not writing, T.W. explores the boundaries of consciousness through remote viewing and shamanism. She currently lives near St. Louis with her artist husband and his pet fish. Her latest book is the young adult fantasy, The Labyrinth of Time.

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T.W. is giving away two $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 17 and ends on December 12.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 15.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 5, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of Ed Grizzle, author of It's Your Decision


Title: It's Your Decision
Author: Ed Grizzle
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 128
Genre: Family Relationships/Parenting
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON

 Children are gifts from God, but parenting those children can often be a difficult task. In It’s Your Decision, author Ed Grizzle shows how parenting can be successful when it’s carried out according to God’s plan. Using his life’s experiences as a guide, Grizzle explores the importance of making the right decisions in life—from choosing the right lifestyle and the right mate and to raising children according to what God has planned for you.

It’s Your Decision discusses
 • planning for children;
 • knowing what children need;
 • being aware of the important years in a child’s life;
 • understanding that children will test parents;
 • valuing the role of grandparents;
 • dealing with abused children;
 • communicating openly and honestly;
 • clarifying family roles.

 Grizzle presents a guide to strengthening lives and making your family life more enjoyable. He shows how this is possible when you accept Jesus Christ into your life; he will show you the way in the difficult times.

  amazon 

Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I wanted to share my life story with as many people as I could.  Since I had a terrible life growing up, I wanted to share Jesus Christ with as many people as I could since He was the answer to my wonderful life today.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

I personally felt good that I was able to share with as many people as I could about my life.  That was the perk for me.  There were no demands.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 

I took self publishing because it was recommended to me by a wonderful friend. I don’t have any regrets.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you? 

I lived alone because my wife passed on and all my children were raising their own families. My family was totally supportive of what I was doing.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late? 

That was not a problem because I lived alone as described in question 4.

Ed Grizzle started a ministry called It’s Your Decision that helps addicts, prostitutes, and others who face difficult circumstances. He and his late wife, Mary, raised two children. Grizzle currently lives in Illinois

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Real Benefit of Social Media by Steven Fujita, author of Toe Up to 10K

Toe Up to 10K 1Title: Toe Up to 10K
Author: Steven Fujita
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 168
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Ebook

 In June 2012, Steven Fujita went to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with meningitis. After four days of improvement, he was scheduled to be discharged when his condition worsened dramatically. His blood pressure, body temperature and sodium levels all became dangerously low. He started to lose consciousness. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. He had suffered spinal cord damage at the T4 level. Upon regaining full consciousness, Fujita could not speak, eat, breathe independently, control bodily functions, nor move his legs. “Once we understand what we have to go through, become resolved to see it through, and know we will survive, we feel our ordeal is not so bad,” Fujita writes. In this book, he takes the reader on a journey of recovery from a spinal cord injury. It is not only a journey of determination and hard work, but of positive attitude, of drawing inspiration, of gratitude towards those around him: his family, his friends, co-workers, and medical professionals.

Purchase Your Copy At:

 


The Real Benefit of Social Media
Like many people, I joined Facebook to keep up with current friends, and to re-establish ties with old friends.  I joined Twitter for my “more real time” updates.  Alas, I didn’t have much to say, and I was pretty inactive, even when it came time to promote my books.

Back then, Facebook didn’t have community pages, and Twitter, in its infancy, was used to post whimsical tweets, such as “I am now sitting in front of the tv.”  When my current book, Toe Up to 10K was released, I found it easier to get involved because it was so much easier to “syndicate” posts, i.e, what I posted to my blog could easily post to Twitter and Facebook at the same time.
As I re-acclimated myself back into social media, however, things had changed.  Facebook now had community pages for causes, and such, and Twitter was basically scooping traditional media regarding breaking news.

But I learned the real power of social media is in creating a world community.  On Facebook, when someone has taken ill, or is facing some other obstacle, a “page” is created so that person’s friends can be updated.  On Twitter, I follow people who share inspirational and motivational tweets (in addition to the whimsical and promotion of entertainment mediums, such as books, movies, music, photos).


With a click of the button, I can “like” someone’s page, or “follow” someone’s tweets.  I don’t have to personally know the person.  Upon that action, we get updates from that person, and we can comment, reply or share that post with others.  With these posts we can be inspired or inspire other, be motivated, or motivate others, receive support, or support others.  And what’s cool about this?  Many times, it is strangers inspiring, motivating, and supporting each other. 

Steven Fujita was born in Los Angeles and raised in Torrance, California. He attended college in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Long Beach, California.

 Listen to Steven Fujita's interview on the Book Club with John Austin, which aired November 2, 2010, about his novella, Sword of the Undead, a re-telling of Bram Stoker's vampire novel, Dracula. http://www.internetradiopros.com/bookclub/?p=episode&name=2010-11-01_zbookcub_for_110210_1st_segment_steven_fujita.mp3

 His other book, $10 a Day Towards $1,000,000, is available on Kindle. This book promotes the idea of using time and savings to build wealth. His new book, Toe Up to 10K, was released in September 2014. This book chronicles his recovery from spinal cord injury he sustained in 2012. Visit his website at: www.stevenfujitaauthor.com   

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of Mary-Lou Stephens, author of 'How to Stay Married'




Mary-Lou Stephens studied acting and played in bands before she got a proper job -in radio. She writes whenever she's not behind the microphone or heading off to a meditation retreat.

Mary-Lou has garnered rave reviews for her memoir Sex, Drugs and Meditation, the true story of how she changed her life, saved her job and found a husband, all with the help of meditation. She lives in Australia with that very same husband, their dog and a hive of killer native bees. 

How To Stay Married is the sequel to Sex, Drugs and Meditation and is the truth behind the happy ending.

Mary-Lou is a blogger for The Huffington Post, a columnist for Holistic Bliss and a regular at writing festivals and events.

Visit Mary-Lou’s website at http://maryloustephens.com.au




About the Book

Title: How to Stay Married
Author: Mary-Lou Stephens
Publisher:
Nelson Bay
Pages: 203
Genre: Self-Help/Relationships/Love and Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON


Do you dream of finding the right person to spend your life with? Are you in a strong relationship already and want to keep it that way? Or perhaps your marriage is a little tarnished and you hope to make it shine again? 

You’ve come to the right place. While How to Stay Married isn’t your regular ‘how-to’ book, it is about creating the kind of relationship you want. 

This is the story of a marriage; a journey from fear, resentment and financial devastation, to a place of love, joy and trust. 

Mary-Lou Stephen’s first book Sex, Drugs and Meditation chronicled how meditation changed her life, saved her job and helped her find a husband. How To Stay Married, is the truth behind the happy ending. 

How to Stay Married takes us around the world; from the glitter and glare of Las Vegas to the sub-zero temperatures of the French Alps and the tropical heat of Thailand, all with cabin luggage only. 

The discoveries Mary-Lou makes regarding herself and her marriage are a modern day parable about learning to travel light in life, love and relationships.




Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I never intended to be an author. I wanted to be a famous singer/songwriter. I played in bands for years, touring and releasing CDs. I didn’t think about writing prose until about 12 years ago when I went on an overseas holiday and came back with a few out of focus photos taken on a disposable camera. A friend said “Clearly photography’s not your thing. Why don’t you write about your holiday instead?” So I did and I’ve been writing ever since.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

There are times, I must admit, when I wished I wasn’t driven to write. I have a full-time, full-on job in radio so I squeeze my writing in around it. That means pretty much no social life. My husband relaxes on his days off while I’m glued to my laptop. But there’s something in me that needs to create, that needs to be expressed and will not be denied. And when the muse is in full flight I feel as though creation is flowing through me. It’s a sensation like no other. And then to hold that creation in your hand, to know you and your muse, the Universe or whatever you want to call it, created something from dust, from whispers and gossamer threads. Well that, my friend, is a thrill.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I guess I’m what you’d call a hybrid author. My first book was with a major publisher and now I’m self publishing How To Stay Married. I’ve been on a steep learning curve and I’ve had lots of help along the way. Being with a traditional publisher is great too - they pay for everything, and the editing support is phenomenal. With self publishing it’s hard to know how much to spend because you don’t know how many books you’ll sell. However one of my frustrations with my first book Sex, Drugs and Meditation was, and still is, that I had no control over the pricing of the ebook. My publisher has never done a special on it or dropped the price. I’m in negotiations to have my World erights revert to me so that I can tie it in with How To Stay Married, do bundles and specials to deliver value to my readers.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

I think the thing that surprised me the most about getting a publishing deal was that it didn’t matter that my publisher loved the book, it didn’t even matter that the head of the publishing loved my book, they still couldn’t offer me a deal. It wasn’t until Sales and Marketing agreed that it was marketable that the offer was made. There are many hoops to jump through. But I’m very grateful to them. They published my book and did a great job. 

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My dog is pleased I’m at home so she can thrust her nose in front of my computer screen and demand a pat. A dog is more interesting than a laptop, so she tells me. The Hubby deposits cups of tea beside me at regular intervals and reminds me to come to bed. He’s very proud of me but wishes I would take a break more often.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

Seeing my book in a national ad for a book chain. I had do idea they were going to use it. Mine was one in a pile of other books by very well known personalities and authors. I was so delighted I wrote to the book chain and thanked them. They replied and said good writing deserves to be be promoted. Double wow.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I think of social networks more in terms of being social rather than networking. I enjoy Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. I dip my toe in others occasionally - Instagram can be fun and Google+ but if I use too many I’d disappear into the social whirl and never return. I really only joined Facebook i to play Scrabble online. I love Scrabble. I did get a bit competitive about Facebook Likes for a little while and it just made me miserable. Yes, I promote myself and my work on social media but hopefully in a way that doesn’t seem pushy or impersonal.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

I’m having some help with marketing and lots of advice from those who’ve gone before me. When the World erights for my first book revert to me I think that will help. I’ve been told that you sell more books the more books you have for sale, so I’ll keep writing. I have no expectations. When Sex, Drugs and Meditation was picked up by a major publisher I thought my ship had come in. Instead it floated on by. I’m much more realistic these days.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I’VE ONLY JUST MET YOU AND I LOVE YOU! (I learnt that from my dog. She’s there with me on the roof. Give her a pat, she’d like that very much.)

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

For me connection is a huge part of what this life is all about. My job in radio is very much about connecting one on one, with my guests and with my audience.
Writing gives me a broader scope for connection. When I read great writing I feel connected not only to the author but to something much greater. I’ve had emails and letters and messages on social media from people who’ve read my books and felt the same. My writing has been called ‘brave’ more than anything else and I like to think I can help others be a little braver too, just through the knowledge that they’re not alone. We are connected.