Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Finding the Guest to Write by Matt Shea, author of The Meadowdale Community Project

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The Meadowdale Community Project Title: The Meadowdale Community Project
Author: Matt Shea
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing
Pages: 233
Genre: Fiction/Family Life
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Demolition crews continue to raze abandoned and condemned structures in the sleepy town of Meadowdale - a city hit hard by the sluggish economy. A once-cherished building is now the dilapidated Meadowdale Community Center (MCC), where the handicapped and mentally-challenged sort recyclable materials and create artwork from refuse that catches their eye. This prompts many to consider the MCC a burial ground for lost causes. But a mysterious stranger in a wheelchair arrives and befriends an intellectually-challenged teen, Chase Mansfield. When the Community Center is condemned and Chase realizes the squirrel he feeds is about to become homeless, he comes up with an ingenious idea that changes his future - and the future of the community. Chase and his invention soon unite the entire city, breaking down barriers related to wealth, politics, age, mobility and intellect. In an age of fiction based on witchcraft, libido, and immorality, The Meadowdale Community Project is a family-friendly story for all ages, tastes and background.
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Finding The Guts To Write

By Matt Shea



Writing is a very personal way of extending oneself. It goes beyond the unique style that makes up our character. It also unveils our values based on what story line we create- and how we present it.

This is where the butterflies in my stomach come alive.

Q)  How often have we listened to a loved-one's critique by hearing these immortal words?

                 “This sounds like you.”

A)   I believe every time.


Often, I've been somewhat chastised for how I went about presenting a story with,“This sounds like you,” being the first salvo.     

Trust me; I'm the furthest thing from being perfect. For that very reason; I already have my personal struggles in life while trying to survive and make a difference. On occasion, the 'peanut gallery' will catch me on something legitimate like the correct spelling for the wrong word- or that misspelled one that should have be caught early.

We're all human...

When presenting a manuscript that consists of thousands of words- and a subject matter that you-yourself selected; it's a given to find at least a few kinks somewhere. Blemishes that range from gray areas- to outcries for not being politically correct await.

Our writing style is much like our fingerprints: it's all one-of-a-kind and varies from person to person. It is tailor-made with our distinct methods of conveying a story that we feel must be told. Our way of drawing attention to a special cause or injustice.

Writing creates a different kind of double-edged sword that the author now faces. One that works both ways against him(her). Let me explain:

Each and every one of us lives in a world where we are condemned to be 'imperfect'. Hence; we are all different. Strike one.

To compound things even further; we have an unlimited amount of tools at our fingertips. Words, verb tenses, sentence structures, phrases and a galaxy of other literary assets that are just waiting to be pieced together. An assembly that's guaranteed to be different than the selection others would have used. Strike two.

A writer must convey their story within a guide line where others can easily understand. This is where it gets tricky. On one hand; we need to be correct with our writing skills. On the other; we must  'think outside of the box'. It's crucial to finesse this effort in such a way where it becomes different than the other stuff out there. After going through the mill a few times; one questions if it's even possible to write a story that will never have any backlash...

A famous editor named, Don Carter once explained to me that an author's work can be edited over and over again by the experts. Since that's the case; he stressed that a writer should simply take a deep breath and write how they truly feel.

At one of my writing groups we had the honor of having Jim Fisher join us. Jim is a seasoned editor who now teaches at a local community college. In class he addressed this issue by breaking it down with his genius. After the group went back and forth about 'proper writing' he had something to say:

“Ninety percent of acceptable writing is simply having a good story line.”

I was relieved to hear that because when I first broke into writing I felt like the game Pong. It was a frustrating 'one ore in the water' affair that resembled Abbott and Costello's Who's on First. It seemed whenever I followed the advice of one editor; it came under attack by another.  

Things began to get better. It was pointed out to me that famous writers also receive their well-publicized criticism. Successful writers who have the following of millions.

My goal as a writer isn't to become rich and famous. It's to simply improve while I try my best to inspire others. Writing is my passion.

As a developing author it was a relief to find    that I was best off just being, 'Matt'. This discovery allowed me to go forth and get my stories out there. It then put me into a league where I may not bat a thousand; but did find those who appreciated what I had to say; and how I said it. More important; there were those who met me half-way and gave their constructive criticism and encouragement.

It's nerve-wracking to present your writings to the whole world. Such presentations are a way for an author to say, “Regardless of my imperfections; here is what I have to say and please love me for it.”

In closing, I am grateful to have taken the path I took to get published. My focus is to profile the unsung hero in society who catches the ball when needed. On a more personal note; my accomplishments and shortcomings never once had anyone question where my heart is. For that reason; I'll continue to write win or lose.

 Thank you:

                                Matt Shea


Matt Shea  Matt Shea writes stories that are designed for both young and old. He profiles the average person in society that's a little different or misunderstood. Matt also writes about the plight of those who are mentally disabled and senior citizens. He exposes their personal battles in life; with values being challenged- but never compromised. When it's all said and done such individuals are recognized for being a contribution to society. They also achieve their just reward: appreciation followed by acceptance. His characters are nothing more than average people that represent all walks of life. People like you and me. Matt loves feedback from those that take the time to read his stories. He offers his email address and promises to do his very best to answer all who write him.  

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford Book Feature


Black Dog BluesTitle: Black Dog Blues
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: DSP Publications
Pages: 246
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Ever since he’d been part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figured he’d used up any good karma he had when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races were left with a messy, monster-ridden world and Stalkers were often the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy and dark moved into the neighbourhood.

There certainly were no shortage of monsters or people stupidly willing to become lunch for one.

It was a hard life but one Kai liked. And he was good at it. Killing monsters was easy. Especially since he was one himself.

After an accident retired Dempsey out, Kai set up permanent shop in San Diego, contracting out to the local SoCalGov depot. It was a decent life, filled with bounty, a few friends and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him he wasn’t really human.

That was until a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego and Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It was supposed to a simple run; head up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary with the new Court then back to San Diego. Easy, quick and best of all, profitable. But Ryder’s “simple” run leads to massive trouble and Kai ends up being caught in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich by being a Stalker. But then hardly any of them got old either. The way things were looking, it didn’t look like Kai was going to be the exception.

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rhys-ford  Rhys Ford is a firm believer in love and let love, short walks to a coffee shop and having a spare cat or two. Most days she can be found swearing at her laptop and trying to come up with new ways to kill off perfectly good random characters. Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawaii then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain. Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, a black Pomeranian puffball and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a purple Bella coffee maker.

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Interview with Kevin D. Patterson, author of Small, Dark, and Handsome

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Small Dark and Handsome Title: Small, Dark, and Handsome
Author: Kevin D. Patterson
Publisher: Dark Peak Publishing
Pages: 270
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Ethan Anderson desperately wants to find his soulmate and he’s convinced that his height of 5'6" is limiting his options. Not wanting to end up like his friends with shallow lives filled with clubs and one-night stands, Ethan turns to a popular dating website where he connects with Anna Collins, a born-again Christian who just may be the woman he’s been looking for. But, when she’s ready for a committed relationship, will Ethan be able to ignore his friends, abide by Anna’s celibate lifestyle, and look beyond her five-inch height advantage to see a future with her before she gives up and moves on?

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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Marrying the most wonderful woman in the world, adopting a beautiful baby boy, and writing Small, Dark, and Handsome, my first novel.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I was raised as a Christian and my faith inspires everything I do, including my writing. I was also raised in a household with two women (my mother and my sister) which helped me to develop an appreciation of their perspective on many issues, and as I was writing the story, I was very sensitive to how women, in general, might interpret the words and actions of the main male character.
When and why did you begin writing?
I've written a wide range of marketing materials throughout my career, primarily for software companies based in the Silicon Valley. Some of the more technical stuff wasn't too exciting, but in order to keep eating, I had to keep writing. 
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The first time I really thought about writing as a career was after reading a few interesting articles about various athletes in an issue of Sports Illustrated many years ago. Back then, I couldn't think of an easier job than traveling the world to major sporting events, watching them from fantastic seats, and getting press access to speak with superstar athletes before typing a few words about what you had just heard and witnessed. Just for fun, I remember trying to write an article for myself about a Super Bowl one year. I actually enjoyed the writing process, but the results were terrible, and after a few dry, dull, sentences, I realized that my career in sports journalism was probably over before it started. 
When did you first know you could be a writer? 
Back in the day, I used to have a fairly "healthy" social life, and found myself on quite a few email lists for various parties and clubs. Occasionally, some friends would ask me my opinion about some of the events that I attended, which led me to develop a weekly email called "Party Time." Each week, I'd give my comedic review of the previous weekend's events, along with a preview of upcoming events.  Within a few months, my distribution list grew from a few people I knew, to a few thousand people I didn't know, and that's when I knew I could write.
What inspires you to write and why?
The fact that I know so many wonderful single people out there who are looking to share their lives with someone special, inspires me to write stories about couples who have some issues and challenges, but eventually make it to where many of these singles want to be: in a loving relationship.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Romantic comedy for sure. I couldn't picture myself writing stories in any other genre.
What inspired you to write your first book?
A few years ago, my wife and I had a chance to live and work in Hyderabad, India for two years, which was a life-changing experience. When we returned, I wasn't certain what I was going to do next, but I knew that I wanted to work on a unique and fulfilling project that would bring me a great sense of pride and passion each day. When my wife suggested that I focus on my first novel instead of rushing back into Corporate America, I gave her a big fat kiss, went straight for my laptop, and didn't stop typing until I had banged out my first draft of Small, Dark, and Handsome.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
I've been a big fan of Mike Gayle for years. For me, he's hands-down the king of Romcom, and even though our styles are different, he's definitely had a big influence on my work.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

My biggest challenge of all was the editing process. I did work with a professional editor who was excellent, but I had no idea that the process would take so long. Coming into the editing phase, I expected it to be finished within a few weeks, but six months later, we were still going at it. When we finally finished, I was definitely pleased with the final product. I had also developed a new-found appreciation for authors, especially those who are able to crank out high quality stories on a regular basis.    
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
I've spent over fifteen years in marketing, so coming into this project, I couldn't wait to start the marketing phase. Seven months into it however, the phrase "Be careful what you wish for" is still ringing in my head.  Marketing this book has truly been the most challenging project I have ever taken on, but it has also been the most fulfilling, and I look forward to continuing the process of connecting with audiences for it and for all my future book projects.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I do plan to continue writing, but I may do it in my spare time while working full-time in a marketing role that excites, challenges, and inspires me.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
Not really, but in my first novel, the main character relies heavily on sarcasm throughout the story.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
Developing atypical characters and blending them into everyday scenarios that real people can relate to.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I'm very open to getting criticism and ideas from others.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
(Outside of the office) Sometimes I'm a little too candid and give up TMI (too much information) when answering a question.  
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
"Everyone has a plan, 'till they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

I doubt that Iron Mike was thinking about anything besides boxing when he said this, but I think it applies to many situations in life, including business, relationships, and even one's faith. I've found that when adversity hits and they're forced to throw their plans out the window, the most successful people are able to continually get back on their feet and do what it takes to ultimately be victorious in the end. When people talk about me after I'm gone, I hope they'll be able to say that I was always one of those people.





Kevin PattersonKevin D. Patterson is an experienced marketing writer and has developed communications for many of today's leading brands, including HP, American Express, Oracle, and Deloitte. After much encouragement from friends and family, he decided to pursue his passion for creative writing, and the end result was his debut fiction novel, Small, Dark, and Handsome. Kevin was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and has also lived in Michigan, New York, and overseas in India. He currently lives in Plano, Texas with his wife and son. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s MBA program, Kevin is an avid sports fan and tennis player. You can keep up with Kevin and his upcoming projects at www.kevindpatterson.com

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Cover Reveal! Behind a Lady's Smile by Jane Goodger

BehindaLadySmile_2Title: Behind a Lady's Smile
Author: Jane Goodger
Publisher: Lyrical Press

  The Lost Heiresses

 It’s one thing for a girl to lose her way, quite another to lose her heart…

 Genny Hayes could charm a bear away from a pot of honey. But raised in the forests of Yosemite, she’s met precious few men to practice her smiles upon. Until a marvelously handsome photographer appears in her little corner of the wilderness and she convinces him to take her clear across the country and over the seas to England, where she has a titled grandmother and grandfather waiting to claim her. On their whirlwind journey, she’ll have the chance to bedazzle and befuddle store clerks and train robbers, society matrons and big city reporters, maids and madams, but the one man she most wants to beguile seems determined to play the gentlemen and leave her untouched. Until love steps in and knocks them both head over heels…

  Praise for the novels of Jane Goodger
 “Fun, delightfully romantic—and sexy.” —Sally MacKenzie on The Spinster’s Bride

 “A touching, compassionate, passion-filled romance.” —RT Book Reviews on A Christmas Waltz

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Jane Goodger  Jane Goodger started her writing career as a journalist. She worked for several small, community papers before covering crime at a Connecticut daily, where she discovered life can be cruel and doesn’t often have a happy ending. Taking matters in her own hands, Jane decided to recreate a world where all women are successful and brilliant, all men are kind, sexy, and gorgeous, and every story ends happily. She likes this world much better. Jane lives with her husband and three children in New England where they all strive to make certain Jane has her happy ending every day. So far, so good.

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The Chronicles of Elizabeth Highland Book Feature - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: The Chronicles of Elizabeth Highland
Author: Elizabeth Highland
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Pages: 370
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON

 1973 This is the love story of Elizabeth Highland and Timothy Blumefield. To be or not to be… that is their question. Friends for 40 years… they have lived 3000 miles apart for the past 20. Through the twists and turns of life somehow fate and destiny brings them together in an uncanny spiritual journey guided by the universe. Elizabeth chronicles their story… a tale that takes her around the globe to find guidance and inner wisdom. The Chronicles of Elizabeth Highland is a hilarious tale of awakening consciousness. SHAMBHALA

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Elizabeth Highland worked as both a designer and manufacturer in the sporting goods industry for twenty-five years. Her products sold in Canada, the United States, Europe, Korea and Japan. As well, she dabbled as an actor in film and improv. Travel has always been a part of her creative inspiration. In recent years Elizabeth lived in Peru and travelled extensively throughout South America. Just back from an adventure in Istanbul, Jerusalem and Jordan, she is currently working on her second novel THE CHRONICHLES OF ELIZABETH HIGHLAND, VOLUME II… The Journey Continues. Elizabeth holds both a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. Elizabeth presently lives in Toronto with her dog Little Bear.

Elizabeth is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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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 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins February 16 and ends on February 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, March 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Rendezvous in Baghdad by Ben Sheldon Book Feature - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: Rendezvous in Baghdad
Author: Ben Sheldon
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 208
Genre: Thriller
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON

 As throngs of humanity pack Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, all await the news from the Sistine Chapel as to who will be the next Pope. But no one is more anxious than Iraqi American Sami Yusuf, for he and one of the papal candidates share a well-kept secret. When it is finally announced that Cardinal Paul Rogan has been elected Pope, Sami knows the one thing about Father Rogan that no one in the crowd does-he is a humble shepherd who molests his unsuspecting sheep. Many years earlier, while Sami was a Jesuit school student in Baghdad, he was molested by Father Rogan. Deathly afraid of revealing the abuse for fear of losing his family’s honor, Sami eventually emigrated to the United States and joined the Air Force. Meanwhile, Father Rogan slowly moved up in the Catholic Hierarchy-while quietly ruining one young boy’s life after another. Now amid sectarian mayhem and the occupation of Iraq, Sami must visit his ailing dad in Baghdad. But first he must fulfill his most important life’s mission-to cleanse the honor that Father Rogan stripped from his family. In this compelling tale that spans three continents, a vendetta drives an Iraqi American pilot into international dram that culminates with unexpected ramifications that change everything forever.

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 Ben Sheldon lived in the Middle East, including Baghdad and Kurdistan, and attended college in Europe before settling in the San Francisco Bay area. He has worked as assistant editor for a national technical magazine and is the author of a novel and poetry book.

Ben is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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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 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins February 16 and ends on February 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, March 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Better Believe: A Story of Hope by Ruby Lee Tuesday Book Feature - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: Better Believe
Author: Ruby Lee Tuesday
Publisher: Trafford
Pages: 132
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON

 Ruby Lee Tuesday was born to be her father’s property. Trapped in an abusive home where only perfect was good enough for the devil, Ruby attempted to distract herself from his ways through her music, poetry, art, and most importantly, her faith in God. Tuesday shares a heartbreaking story of childhood trauma as she bravely pursued her dreams, despite living with parents who seemed determined to destroy her, both physically and emotionally. While providing a riveting look into the ways of an abuser, Tuesday details how her mistreatment eventually caused her to lose her faith, embark on a path of self-destruction, and succumb to panic attacks and depression. But through it all, Tuesday somehow managed to find solace and an escape in her music, ultimately leaving everything behind and bravely following her dream all the way from Norway to Nashville, Tennessee, where she would find faith once again. Better Believe is a story of determination, passion, betrayal, friendship, and hope as one woman journeys from the darkness of abuse into the light of healing where she learns to believe in herself for the first time.

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 Ruby Lee Tuesday has spent years on healing both physically and spiritually. She is a poet, singer, and songwriter who plays a variety of instruments. Ruby left Norway in 2013 to pursue her dreams in Nashville, Tennessee. This is her first book.

Ruby Lee is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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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 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins February 16 and ends on February 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, March 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway