Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Straight from the Mouth of James D. Bell, Author of 'Maximilian's Treasure'


You Don’t Have to Wait 40 Years to Publish Your Novel!
I should know.  It only took me 35.

         Okay, I’m not proud that it took so long to publish my first novel, but it only took seven years to publish the second!  That’s big improvement!

         In 1977 my best friend and I were young lawyers defending citizens charged with crimes in Mississippi.  We attracted a bit of attention because we kept winning cases.  Jack was a loyal friend, an intrepid investigator, and a great researcher.  Together we regularly accomplished what at first seemed impossible.  Jack died twenty years ago; too young; too soon. 

Our practice created many novel opportunities.  For instance, forty years ago a weathered elderly Choctaw man told us that he believed that Civil War gold was on his farm in Mississippi.  He believed that Maximilian, the Emperor of Mexico, sent gold to support the South’s war effort, and that none other than Jesse James (then a member of the Confederate Cavalry) was involved with the shipment.  The war ended when the gold was near his farm and was hidden there.  He asked us to help him look for the treasure.  This was too far-fetched to believe, but my friend and I said, “Why not?”  We traveled with him to his farm and had a great day listening to his stories while we searched with him. 

You might think this unusual.  It’s not.  It’s just another day of law practice in Mississippi, where the unusual and outlandish is an everyday occurrence.

            I started writing novels based upon some of our adventures over forty years ago, but I lacked the discipline to finish a whole book.  I didn’t have the right motivation.  I penned a few short stories and sent them to magazines, hoping that would kick start my writing career. 

Crickets.

No response.  At last I received a rejection!  I thought about framing it as proof that my writing had finally attracted the attention it deserves from a publisher.  Years passed.  The unwritten stories kept bubbling up, needing to be told.  Yet, I couldn’t make myself finish a novel. 

For years I shared my book ideas with my wife, bless her.  Finally, on New Year’s Day 2011, she dared me to finish a book that year.  She asked me, “Why do you want to write?”  I didn’t have a quick answer.  Then, it struck me that every book and every movie used to have a purpose, a “moral to the story.”  I feel that we have lost that purpose with some of today’s entertainment.  I am motivated to bring back the moral to the story.  That gave me my reason to write.  I finished our first novel, Vampire Defense, that year.

“Okay,” she said.  “You have a novel, now what are you going to do?”  I found a course at Millsaps College, “How to Sell What You Write,” taught by a publisher.  I followed the advice in the course.  Then, good fortune struck.  The teacher of the course agreed to publish my book.  I put as much work into selling the book as I put into writing it.  The work paid off.  The publisher told me it was his best-selling novel.  He was happy to publish my second novel, Maximilian’s Treasure, a book inspired by actual experiences.

Don’t wait 35 years to finish your work.  You have a purpose.  Find it.  Live it.  Write it.  Be ready to spend as much time selling your work as you spent writing it.

By the way, you really need to buy Maximilian’s Treasure.  It is an action-packed legal thriller filled with treasures that will enrich your life.  

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////


Genre: Romantic Adventure 
Author: James D. Bell
Find out more on Amazon       

About the Book:

Rumors of a legendary treasure fuel a battle over possession of a Choctaw family farm.  Two young lawyers, John Brooks and Jackson Bradley, agree to help the family keep their farm.  Early legal success prompts the drive-by murder of the patriarch of the family.  The grandson chases the suspects whose bodies are found on the farm, scalped.  At the same time clues to a vast treasure are found on the farm.  Jackson, pursued by fortune seekers, adventurers, an exotic beauty and a homicidal maniac, follows the clues from a Caribbean reef to the Chiapas jungle.  John stays behind to defend the grandson and continue the fight for the farm.  His efforts are complicated by arson, murder, race riots, and the realization that he lost his one true love.  Though there is great distance between them, their adventures are intertwined as they rush toward a triple climax that could shake the world.  Join the adventure and discover your Maximilian’s Treasure.

About the Author:

James D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America.  He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure.  His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Mardi Allen’s collection, Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others.  The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne.  They live near Jackson, Mississippi and have four children.  Judge Bell returned to law practice but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments.

Find out more: 




Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Straight From the Mouth of Author TG Wolff




How to Write for Fun
by TG Wolff

Everyone has a different reason for writing, but one thing should be universal: writing is fun. For many, the mandatory writing on uninteresting subjects forced on us from elementary school on up has left a bitter taste in the preverbal writing mouth. It’s akin to my distaste of plaid after twelve years of Catholic school even though I haven’t worn a schoolgirl’s skirt for thirty years. But fear not, you can overcome the rigid constraints of noun-verb-noun and intro paragraph-body-summary paragraph. It may be hard to overcome the Pavlovian habits, but it won’t be painful.

So, here’s the secret of how to write for fun…write like nobody’s going to read it.

Counterintuitive, right? Well, I’m sure you’ve heard these other popular sayings…

Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt.

Writing, like any another other form of art, is personal. Which means how you do it is completely unique to you. When you feel like you have to follow certain rules, or if you  worry about how nameless, faceless readers will react, you stifle the very part of you need for good writing. Ergo, put aside all the rules and write like nobody’s going to read it.

If it’s a funny scene, make yourself laugh. If you don’t, nobody else will.
If it’s a sad scene, make yourself cry. If you don’t, nobody else will.
If it’s a thrilling scene, make your adrenaline pump. If you don’t, everyone else will be bored.
If it’s a sexy scene, make yourself…well, you get the picture.

True story, in one of my books, the soon-to-be ex-wife of my main character dies and he has to go back to arrange the funeral. He comes back from the funeral determined to walk away from a budding romance. My editor told me I had to write the funeral scene, without it, the hero’s actions weren’t believable. It took me three days to figure out how to frame the funeral of a failed love affair, but I did. When I wrote it, I cried so hard, I gave myself a headache that lasted for three hours! The husband laughed with me, not at me (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

I started writing to entertain myself. I was doing a lot of driving for my day job and found the radio just didn’t hold my attention. I began playing with characters in my head, which evolved into storylines. I wrote them down when I could, often in 20-30 minute spurts. Much of writing is in the figuring out of what is to be said. Some people “figure” in front of a keyboard. For me, it happens everywhere else. Walking the dog. Swimming. Chilling on the back porch. Driving across the Midwest. Writing is my reward at the end of a long day and where I go to play when life is heavy.

I had over ten manuscripts completed before a friend dared me to see if I could get published. In my opinion, one of the reasons my story connect with people is they were written to entertain me, and by doing that, they entertain others. Here’s an example from my newest release, WIDOW’S RUN. The chapter is title Wanted: Sophisticated Slut, Must Have Three-Inch Heels.

The stiletto heels of my knee-high boots clicked as I stepped onto small islands of concrete adrift in a sea of rubble. The city long ago forgot this patch of nowhere existed, leaving it to reclamation by feral beasts of all species. My target was the squat building wearing a mish-mash of sixties, nineties, and Y2K renovations. Looked like everybody ran out of money before the job was done. Still, the building stood when others had fallen, surviving the urban apocalypse like a cockroach without the good sense to die. Around the joint, an ad-hoc parking lot took over the space demoed buildings left behind. Crushed glass sprinkled across the parking lot like sugar on a donut, glistening under the happy-ass afternoon sun. The Hideaway.
Yeah, it was hidden…like a zit on the tip of a nose.

It was fun to put myself in the role of an ex-CIA agent going into a seedy bar to do a little side job I got blackmailed into. How would I walk? What would I be walking on? What would the place feel like? How would it smell? I pulled on my attitude and let my fingers fly.

There is a lot of advice out there for writers and so I’ll add mine. Start by figuring out what type of writer you are. If you like to go to the grocery store and winging it, you’re a pantser—some who writes by the seat of their pants. You’ll likely find your fun in the spontaneity of creation. Tell that critical angel on our shoulder to come back during editing and set the words free. There’s nothing that can’t be fixed in editing and you just may be amazed at where you end up.

If you meticulously plan out meals, organize your list, and then ruthlessly consult it at the story, you’re a plotter. You’ll likely find your fun in the development of order. Whether you outline, storyboard, or make notes, creating the tool will give you a sense of completion and satisfaction. Then sit down, with a smile on your face, connect the dots and color in the scene. There’s nothing that can’t be fixed in editing and you just may be amazed at where you end up. (I feel like I just read that somewhere.)

Here are a few things you may be asking yourself and my answers.

Q: What if I write for fun and the first draft sucks?
A: The first draft will suck; that’s what first drafts do. That doesn’t mean the story sucks, it means you’re ready for editing. Expect several rounds of edits for content and for copy. With each round, the story will get tighter and better.

Q: What if I write for fun and nobody else likes it?
A: What will actually happen is there will be a small number of people who thinks it’s horrible and a small number of people who think it’s perfect. The truth is somewhere in between. Readers have a broad taste spectrum. You won’t please everyone. Trying will drive you crazy and ruin your self-esteem. Know what you want your story to be, then challenge the haters to explain what didn’t work for them and critically evaluate to determine 1) if it is valid and 2) if it needs to be fixed. Challenge the lovers to make it better by asking open ended questions like
·        Did the story make you (laugh, cry, angry, etc” if yes, where)
·        Were you bored anywhere? If yes, where
·        Were you confused at any point? If yes, about what?

Q: What if I write for fun and I can’t get an agent or publisher?
A: You’ll be in good company, but you’ll be richer for having enjoyed creating the story. There are two times in life you can do whatever you want: when you have nothing and when you have everything. You have nothing to lose…enjoy it.

Q: I have a story that is really important to me and I want to tell it well, should I write it for fun?
A: Yes, but not first. Writing is art, but it’s also a skill. Your third story will be twice as good as your first for the experience of editing and feedback. Your sixth story will be twice as good as your third as you hone your style and process. You don’t expect to paint like Leonardo when you’ve never picked up a brush, have the same expectation with writing. Write. Enjoy. Learn. Grow. Repeat.

Writing Prompt: You are four years old and just came home after the best weekend ever with your grandparents, describe it to your parents.

About the Author

TG Wolff writes thrillers and mysteries that play within the gray area between good and bad, right and wrong. Cause and effect drive the stories, drawing from 20+ years’ experience in Civil Engineering, where “cause” is more often a symptom of a bigger, more challenging problem. Diverse characters mirror the complexities of real life and real people, balanced with a healthy dose of entertainment. TG Wolff holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:


Website → www.tgwolff.com

Twitter → @tg_wolff

Facebook → www.Facebook.com/tina.wolff.125

 
BOOK BLURB:

One night in Rome. One car. One dead scientist. Italian police investigate, but in the end, all they have are kind words for the new widow. Months later, a video emerges challenging the facts. Had he stepped into traffic, or was he pushed? The widow returns to the police, where there are more kind
words but no answers. Exit the widow.

Enter Diamond. One name for a woman with one purpose. Resurrecting her CIA cover, she follows the shaky video down the rabbit hole. Her widow’s run unearths a plethora of suspects:  the small-time crook, the mule-loving rancher, the lady in waiting, the Russian bookseller, the soon-to-be priest. Following the stink greed leaves in its wake reveals big lies and ugly truths. Murder is filthy business. Good thing Diamond likes playing dirty.

"TG Wolff's novel is for crime-fiction fans who like it action-packed and hard-edged. Written with feisty panache, it introduces Diamond, one of the most aggressive, ill-tempered, and wholly irresistible heroines to ever swagger across the page." --David Housewright, Edgar Award-winning author of Dead Man's Mistress

★★★★★ORDER YOUR COPY★★★★★

Amazon → https://tinyurl.com/y3eaf8ro


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Book Blast: The Day GOD Wore a Hard Hat by Jonathan James



 

Inside the Book:



Title: The Day GOD Wore a Hard Hat
Author: Jonathan James
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Paul Reynolds is a nineteen-year-old college student when he meets what he believes is the perfect woman. But as one night of passion transforms into just friendship, her sister, Lisa, eventually becomes his first love.

After Paul and Lisa marry and begin building a life together, all their grand plans are destroyed when she unexpectedly dies. Left grieving and fearing he will lose everything, Paul is saved from financial ruin when he agrees to provide shelter to Rommel, a Latino gang member set to testify in a future murder trial. Paul, who initially thinks Rommel is a useless hoodlum, soon discovers that opposites attract. But as quickly as Paul and Rommel fall in love, their relationship ultimately disintegrates, leaving Paul to seek normalcy within a passionless marriage. As Paul pursues lust elsewhere, his wife becomes pregnant, causing Paul to realize she has given him what he has always wanted: a family. But as tragedy strikes once again, Paul is left with an agonizing decision with the potential to alter the course of his life forever.

In this contemporary romance, a man desperately searching for love is led on a unique journey where life comes full circle and leads him to discover the importance of always following his heart.

Purchase Here

Meet the Author:
Jonathan James is an average young man who has experienced more than his share of both love and tragedy. His debut novel is loosely based on his own life, loves, and losses. Jonathan lives in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Giveaway

Jonathan is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins November 18 and ends on November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule


Monday, November 18
Tuesday, November 19
Wednesday, November 20
Thursday, November 21
Friday, November 22
Monday, November 25
Tuesday, November 26
Wednesday, November 27
Thursday, November 28
Friday, November 29

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Straight from the Mouth of Brooks Eason, Author of 'Fortunate Son - the Story of Baby Boy Francis'



Brooks Eason loves stories, reading and writing them, hearing and telling them. He also loves music, dogs, and campfires as well as his family and friends. His latest book is Fortunate Son - the Story of Baby Boy Francis.

Brooks has practiced law in Jackson, Mississippi, for more than 35 years but has resolved to trade in writing briefs for writing books. He lives with his wife Carrie and their two elderly rescue dogs, Buster and Maddie, and an adopted stray cat they named Count Rostov for the central character in A Gentleman in Moscow, the novel by Amor Towles. In their spare time, Brooks and Carrie host house concerts, grow tomatoes, and dance in the kitchen. Brooks, who has three children and four grandchildren, is also the author of Travels with Bobby - Hiking in the Mountains of the American West about hiking trips with his best friend. Visit Brooks online at www.brookseason.com. WordCrafts Press is an independent publishing company headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit WordCrafts online at www.wordcrafts.net.

Questionnaire:

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

I love books and writing and wanted to see if I could write one. I also thought it would be way cool to have my name on a book and to have people tell me they liked what I wrote. I was right. 

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 perks? Nobody told me about the perks. But there are two: the satisfaction of knowing I’ve done my best and the response of people who appreciate my work. Plus people think it’s cool when they find out I’m an author. The biggest demand has been finding time to write while I had a full-time day job. But that’s not a demand anymore. I have only a part-time job now, and soon I’ll retire and won’t have any job at all. I also won’t have any excuse.

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 self-published my first book because I was too impatient to wait until I could get a publishing deal. It was a good experience, but I found there were limitations, including the fact that it’s hard to get a review of a self-published book published. I chose a small, independent publisher this time, WordCrafts Press in Nashville, and I’ve been very pleased. The financial arrangement is better, and I’ve gotten more assistance.

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 wife Carrie and I are empty-nesters, so it’s just her. She hasn’t complained so far and has been very supportive. She even typed part of the manuscript. I’m a two-finger typist, which is a problem when you’re writing a book that’s nearly 80,000 words long. I would ask her how she feels about the whole thing, but she’s out running errands.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

Our pets get everything they want and they get it when they want it because Carrie gives it to them. She makes eggs and bacon for the dogs on weekends. She even puts cheese in the eggs.

Are your plants actually still alive?

The plants are fine because Carrie waters them. I’ve bestowed a title on her: World’s Best Wife. We met on eHarmony nearly ten years ago. I highly recommend eHarmony or a similar service. It’s low risk and potentially life-changing reward. I guess I changed the subject, didn't I?

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?

I don’t have a boss and Carrie nearly always cooks dinner, so there’s just the phone, and I don’t think it was much of a problem. It’s easy to crank back up after interruptions because I can see the last thing I wrote, though occasionally I send myself emails with ideas and read them later and can’t figure out what I meant.

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

Nothing crazy or insane has happened yet. I decided a small, independent publisher made sense. Another author recommended WordCrafts, I completed the submission, Mike Parker, who’s the head guy, emailed me the next day and said he would love to publish my book, and we signed a contract the day after that. Not typical, I know. I hope some other author who’s had a difficult time doesn’t read this and burn our house down. If he's tempted, I hope he thinks twice because of Carrie, our dogs, and our crazy cat named Count Rostov.

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

I do Facebook only. My posts about the book seem to have generated a lot of interest. We’ll see. I'm told I should do Instagram and I may.

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

My book is just now being released and I’m just getting started, but I’ll do a number of readings/signings. They’re fun even if they’re not lucrative. I’ve been invited to do an event at an Irish pub in the Bronx. Going from MS to NY will be a big loser money-wise even if I sell a whole lot of books, but I’ve never been to an Irish pub in the Bronx. I think I’m gonna go for it.

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

I’ll stick to writing in this answer so as not to offend anybody and will say bad grammar. I'm ok with offending people who use bad grammar. I’m a purist, a grammar nerd, a nerd's nerd, and bad writing and grammar drive me up the wall. I read briefs drafted by young lawyers, and I wonder how they got through high school, much less college and law school. They can't even get their subjects and their verbs to agree.

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?

After you’ve sweated and fretted over choosing just the right word, whether to set off a phrase with commas or dashes, how to end a chapter, and thousands of other decisions you have to make, and after you've completed a draft and then revised it, revised it again, then revised it one more time, and then decided to revise it one last time, but it wasn’t the last time because you thought you could make it just a little bit better by going through it yet again, after you’ve done all that and you finally see the final product and what started out as just an idea is now a book, and it’s your book, and it's got a cover with your name on it and everything, and people actually want to read it, well, there’s nothing cooler than that.