Friday, 31 May 2013

Guest Author Interview - Kelly Samarah

I might be in the office tomorrow, but I still have that Friday feeling :-) In today's guest author interview we meet Kelly Samarah.



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Kelly Samarah and I am a writer and I also dabble in acrylic painting. I am a single mom who would love to make writing my profession, but I still have to work that nine to five (or three to midnight) to take care of my family.I write when I get a chance, which is usually very easrly in the morning before the kids are up and before the day has taken it's toll on me.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I've always been a writer, but if I had to pinpoint an exact moment in time it would probably be when I was in second grade and my teacher Mrs. Winterbourne would read my stories to the class. She would always pull me aside later and tell me to keep writing because I has a natural gift. That has always stuck with me.

Which is more important to you, reading or writing?
This is a tough question because I don't think it's one or the other. Both are so important! I would say they are both equally important.

What is your favourite song lyric?
Hhhmmm...how about one I really like? Flight of the Conchords Sello Tape: Brown paper white paper, put it together with the tape, the tape of love. the sticky stuff.

If you could work with any author, who would it be and why?
Alive or dead? That's tough. I choose Neal Shusterman because his writing and imagination is very similiar to mine.

How do you get in the mood for writing?
I usually pace the house, thinking, listen to some music and read through things I have written.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Get lots of feedback from people who are brutally honest, and fight the urge to dismiss what they have to say just because you don't like it. Feedback is imperative.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on two stories in the YA/fantasy genre. One is being posted chapter by chapter to my blog each week, the other is just being played around with at the moment.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
You can find out all about me and my work by visiting my blog: http://kellysamarah.com

Buy 'Thorns of Glass' on Amazon (US) | Buy 'Thorns of Glass' on Amazon (UK)
Affiliate links help support the Short Fiction Contest

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Tales of the Imp - The Imp Goes to Church

Here is the second 'Tales of the Imp' drabble, this has been previously published in the Indie Book Bargains newsletter, it's worth subscribing if you want to be kept up to date on UK Kindle bargains. You also get a lovely drabble each day, and not just from me :-)

Tales of the Imp - The Imp Goes to Church

My grandma died recently. Naturally I attended her funeral. The service was at her parish church, an impressive old building with ornate decoration and surrounded by crumbling graveyard.

The Imp didn't like this at all. The moment we entered he uttered a dreadful howl unlike any I'd heard before. Imagine a puppy that has been left alone in the house, now set its paws on fire. It sounded like that, straight into my right ear.

I put up with it for two minutes before I had to leave. Well I was told to leave as apparently I was screaming too.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Interviewed on the Book Motion City Site

I've been interviewed on the Book Motion City website:

http://bookmotioncity.com/guest-interview-author-michael-brookes/

Thanks Michael!

Tales of the Imp - Meet the Imp

Welcome to the first drabble for 'Tales of the Imp'. A drabble is a short story that is exactly 100 words, like my other drabbles these are first published in the Indie Book Bargains website (which is a great place for readers to discover UK Kindle bargains). Unlike my other drabbles these form a series all about a man and his imp. So without further ado...

Tales of the Imp - Meet the Imp

I have an imp on my shoulder. He's always there, whispering malevolence into my ear. He's three inches tall, with olive skin and two tiny horns on his forehead. His hair is bright red hair. His teeth are small and sharp.

He reeks of burning sulphur, which like him, follows me everywhere.

He says he's here to protect me, that I am someone special. What can such a diminutive creature protect me from? He doesn't answer my questions, but he enjoys telling me things.

Like whom I should kill.

I don't listen to him.

Not yet.

Guest Author Interview - Rod Porter

In today's guest author interview we meet science fiction author Rod Porter:


Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I am 28 years old and I live in Maryland. I have been a bouncer in Washington D.C. for many years and I am a college student studying political science. I retired from my career as an amateur boxer three years ago, and decided that I was going to focus on school and on completing my science fiction novel the star chronicles book I battle for earth. When I do have time to myself I enjoy writing, reading, being with friends, playing video games, or watching movies.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I have always been a big fan of storytelling in all forms. Be it movies, television, books, video games, etc. In particular, I am a big fan of books and movies, so I decided at the age of 21 to write a screenplay. At the time, I was a college dropout living in my parent’s basement, and I thought writing could provide me with a new possible career path and a more positive outlook on life. I wrote three feature length screenplays in that first year, but I quickly lost the allure of screenwriting, and decided to shift my efforts to writing a novel instead. Writing a novel gave me more creative freedom and allowed me to write without the limitations of screenwriting. I fell in love with the writing process for novels, and over a three year period (and several rewrites) produced a manuscript that I felt worthy of publication. Writing is my refuge. It lets me escape to a world of infinite possibility, adventure, and intrigue. And I get so excited about sharing my adventures with my characters, and of course with readers.

What drew you to science fiction?
Science fiction and post-apocalyptic are my favorite genres. What I love about science fiction is that it is the ultimate arena for creativity. An author can create an entire world or worlds even. A writer can create entire races of aliens, or completely alter the Earth as the readers know it. But what really appeals to me about science fiction is that while it can be a story and setting that is imaginary, good science fiction is very much rooted in the real world. I think it was this appeal of being able to let my imagination run wild, but within the context of reality, that is what really made me fall in love with science fiction. If I had to guess, my love of science fiction stems from watching star trek the next generation with my dad as a young boy. Science fiction is the ultimate escape, while also being able to say something about the human condition. And who does not want to escape and experience something meaningful and emotional every now and then as a writer or a reader? I wanted to create my own world as an author, and that is what I am trying to do with the star chronicles.

What do you consider is the best science fiction story ever written?
Battlestar Galactica (the tv series from 2004) is the greatest science fiction narrative I have ever experienced. I did not name a book because I have yet to read any scifi books that have blown me away like Galactica did. In my mind Galactica has no equal when it comes to science fiction. The Scifi books I have been most impressed with are: dune, the moon is a harsh mistress, starship troopers, and the alien years.

If you could write anyone’s biography, who would it be?
George Lucas (Since I am trying to create my own science fiction epic, I would love to get the real story of his creation from his own words and experiences. The trials and tribulations, if you will, of him creating a project, star wars obviously, that no one else believed in but him. How he did it, and the things he had to overcome to make his vision a reality, and eventually a success.)

What is your favorite song lyric?
Bob Dylan Got to serve somebody:

“You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.”

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Get your story written! Writing a book is a process with several stages. It is a mistake to excessively obsess or second guess your work, that part comes in the rewrite phase. The most important thing is getting the first draft done, and in order to do that you need to get the story on paper; you can edit and revise later.

Also, if you are going to write a book, then it needs to become your job. In other words, you need to write every day. Set a daily requirement. Something like 1,000 words a day come hell or high water for example. If you do this you will be well on your way to completing stage one: the first draft. From there, you can learn how to rewrite, edit, expand, and so on.

What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I am fleshing out the second book of my star chronicles series. Between this and promoting Book I, which of course is available now, I am pretty busy. I do have other ideas for stories that I have notes on, but for now I am focusing on The Star Chronicles.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
The Star Chronicles Book I Battle For Earth is available right now on amazon and bn.com . It is a cross between the post-apocalyptic and science fiction genres. It could also be classified as military science fiction. The Star Chronicles is a planned science fiction series that I have mapped out to include several volumes. You can find out more info on the web at: www.the-star-chronicles.com
Or on amazon under: the star chronicles.

Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

First Ten Entries Received



The first ten entries for the June Short Fiction have been received and I'm very pleased with the quality and variety on the submissions. I'd hoped the picture would spark some stories and I haven't been disappointed. If you haven't entered yet, then there is still time to do so, the closing date is June 23rd.

You can win one of three prizes, first prize is a £50 Amazon gift voucher, with prizes for second and third place. I'll post the winning entries on this blog.

There's no entry fee, so no excuse for not taking part!

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/june-writing-competition.html

I'd also like to thank everyone who has posted, tweeted and otherwise helped spread the word about this competition, it's most appreciated and please continue to do so. Thanks!

New Review for The Cult of Me


I received a wonderful new review for The Cult of Me on Lexa Cain's blog:

"My favorite books combine a great story with a piercing look at society and the human condition, and The Cult of Me does this brilliantly."

Read the full review at:

http://lexacain.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/review-cult-of-me-by-michael-brookes.html

Monday, 27 May 2013

Guest Author Interview - Robin Leigh Morgan

It's a lovely sunny Bank Holiday out there and I'm in the office, never mind at least it's quiet :-) To start the week we meet Robin Leigh Morgan.



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m a retired civil servant after 33+ years with the same agency. I’m married with no children. We have two cats. I’ve recently self-published my debut novel a YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss Romance story entitled “I Kissed a Ghost.” And I’m hoping this will lead to my starting a second career as a best-selling author.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I actually began to write back in June 1995, where until June 2006 I wrote over 450 commentary type items for a community newspaper.  Along the way I decided to see if I could write something else. I didn’t own a computer back then, but I did have access to one where I wrote my commentaries, and it was on this computer I wrote about two pages a week. Once I got my computer I began to write what I wanted to be a contemporary romance with a paranormal element running through, but I never seemed to get the sense it would be good enough to be read by someone else.  Eventually, someone suggested I write for a younger audience, which how I came to write my debut novel, a YA [Young Adult] Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance entitled, “I Kissed a Ghost.”

Do you write in the same genre that you read?
I seldom get a chance to read. I worked for 33 years with the same government agency and had to commute about an hour each way. Now, being retired I’m busy with my writing and marketing/promoting my debut novel. When I have the time I like to read poignant memoirs, such as, “And The Whippoorwill Sang” by Micki Peluso. Otherwise, to answer your question I would say NO to your question. I say this because I strive to be as original as I can get, and I don’t really want to be influenced by any other writer for fear I might subconsciously write the same thing which had been written by that author.

How did you select the title for your book?
Selecting a title for a book had been a very challenging experience for me; but after racking my brain over it, I decided to merely summarize the premise for the entire story in as few words as possible until I had something which could be used as the title for my book. Hence, since the story is about a girl [Mary] and her kissing the ghost [George] she had living in her house, the story had to be called, “I Kissed a Ghost.”

Are you a planner? Or do you dive straight into writing?
If you’re asking me whether I’m a plotter or a pantser, I’d probably say a little of both. As I said in the above, I made a skeleton of an outside, writing down the basic plot points I’d like to hit as the story unfolded; and as a sculptor starting with a wire base of what they’d like to have, I added material, then took some away, until I had the finished product I had in mind.

Do you have a favourite place where you write?
Although we don’t have any children; we do have a second bedroom where I do all of my writing.  I also do my marketing/promoting of my book and social interaction there as well.

If you could write anybody's biography, whose would it be?
There’s a multitude of people I would write a biography about, however if I had to choose it would have to Thomas A. Edison, because his inventions truly changed everyone’s life. From motion pictures to the electric light bulb, imagined where  our ancestors would have been without them.

What is your favourite song lyric?
Given I’ve written and self-published my first YA novel it would definitely have to be the first line of “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka” sung by Gene Wilder, because that is how I wrote my book.
“Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination…”

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Ever give up living your dream of becoming a writer, as you can from reading about me, I never did.  Before you start looking for a publisher or even an agent you MUST have your manuscript edited, granted the editor you select might miss a few minor points, but at least it’s now in a much more presentable condition.  Publishers want manuscript which can be easily edited by their own editing staff, without them having to correct countless misspellings and grammatical errors.

What are you working on at the moment?
As I’ve stated in the above I had started to write a contemporary romance but never completed writing it. Now with my debut YA novel self-published I’ve return to writing the romance manuscript I had started many years ago, and approaching it anew with the knowledge I’ve gained along the way in writing “I Kissed a Ghost.”  The reason I’m writing it is relatively simple, I’ve always felt somewhat incomplete not having completed something I once had started out to do, and I now want to fill the void it has created in my life.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Mary gets a new classmate named Jonathan who’s a great baseball player and to get on the team, he needs Mary’s help to improve his grades. Six months later when she learns she’s moving, she decides to give him something special--a first kiss.

Moving into her new home she soon discovers it has a ghost named George, her age, who takes her on numerous trips to the past of a hundred years ago. As she meets children her own age, everyone teases her about her house being haunted, but no one will go inside.

Mary likes his help doing her math homework, writing her reports, and taking her back in time. George and Mary’s interaction grows and she eventually gives him a quick peck on his lips while they’re in the past, which is the only place George is a real boy, for having done something special for her.
In an attempt to get her classmates/friends to be willing to come inside her house, she has a Halloween party designed to confuse them as to what is real and what is not.

Can Mary kiss George a second time, at the special date and time he needs to be kissed? What happens afterwards if she does? The answers are all in the book!

*****

If anyone is interested in reading several UNEDITED SNIPPETS from my debut novel, they can be found in the GHOSTLY WHISPERS entries on any of my blog sites.

Where can we find your book and you on the internet?

Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

The book is also available on Amazon.de Amazon.es Amazon.fr Amazon.it

I’ve got blogs on the following sites

http://www.mypennameonly.blogspot.com or
http://www.mypennameonly.wordpress.com or
http://www.mypennameonly.webs.com   [this is also my website]
http://www.mypennameonly.tumblr.com

I also can be found on

TWITTER =  http://www.twitter.com/mypennameonly
FACEBOOK = http://www.facebook.com/mypennameonly
GOODREADS = http://www.goodreads.com/RobinLeighMorgan

Book Impressions - Welcome Home: A Short Story by William Hage

As the title states 'Welcome Home' is a short story, it concerns John Lester returning home after his father's death. There he discovers things were much darker than his memories had indicated. It's an excellent short story, well written and has a real sense of dread about it.

I can't help but feel that the story deserved a bit more development and space. It's based on an excellent premise and building up to the conclusion (which I didn't guess, so kudos to the author) would have made for a better story.

But it is a short story and thus a quick read and I'll look out for more of his work with interest. If you like horror tales with a decent dose of creepy then you should give this a read.

I like the cover as well, understated, but hints at what is to come.



John Lester is returning to a place he never really considered home to begin with, a place that he has not seen in years. But what he does not realize is that what went on in this house was much less homely than he thought as he unearths something dark about his family.

"Welcome Home" is a short story approximately 6600 words.


Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Guest Author Interview - David Haynes

I often say that writers are readers too (or at least they should be), today as a reader we have a  special guest author interview David Haynes. I've not read his first book yet, although it is on my to read list. It's his more recent works of Victorian horror that attracted my attention.

I've loved the three releases so far, here are my reviews:

Mask of the Macabrehttp://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/book-impressions-mask-of-macabre.html

Ballet of the Boneshttp://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/book-impressions-ballet-of-bones.html

Seance of Soulshttp://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/book-impressions-seance-of-souls-by.html

It's encountering authors like this that makes being part of the indie author scene so exciting.



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi I'm David Haynes, a part time writer from Derbyshire in the U.K. I live there with my wife, son and retired greyhound.

Apart from reading, writing and spending time with my family, I like sports, particularly cricket and rugby. Nowadays its as a spectator only though, my body reminds me of that fact, frequently.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I loved the idea of creating my own worlds where anything was possible. Making up names and sometimes drawing what they looked like (badly) was really exciting. The earliest memories I have of creating my own characters was when I started making comics. The drawings were terrible but Spiddy the Spaceman was amazing, strangely he always wore a flat cap!

I couldn't really understand why everyone didn't want to write stories about characters they made up. I still can't!

And what attracted you to writing horror?
My reading tastes have always been eclectic. I'll read anything. However I always come back to one writer - Stephen King. Every year I read one of his books and I've never been disappointed by them. They are such fantastic tales and although I suppose they're not frightening, they are epic and have you on the edge of your seat.

I've only just started writing horror. My first couple of published books aren't in this genre at all. The reason was, I was intimidated. How could I ever write anything comparable to Stephen King? Perhaps I never will but I've decided to at least give it a try!

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be?
There's lots of people from history I'd love to meet! I reckon a day with Henry VIII would be a real adventure. You could end up in a real pickle but I think it would be wild!

What is your favourite song lyric?
I went through a phase of reading a lot of Edgar Allan Poe and I always associate this lyric with him. Its from A Feast of Friends by The Doors:

"Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws"
Sounds morbid but it's actually not. The reason it makes me think of Mr Poe is because of The Raven.

If you could turn any book into a film, which would it be?
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. It's one of my top five books. I've heard the BBC were attempting to dramatise it so I hope they do it justice, I really enjoyed it. Again, it's a massively epic book.

Which author do you admire the most?
John Irving author of The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp etc. His stories, like Stephen King are always epic. There aren't many authors who I would buy the book based on name but he's one. I pick up his books and I know the story will take me to places I would never even consider by looking at the title. They are all so different, that's what keeps me going back for more.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm writing another horror story. Although it's a break from the macabre collection of stories, it's got some historical references too. It might be better described as a horror/thriller. It's still early days but it's coming along nicely.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My latest book is called Seance of the Souls. It follows on from Mask of the Macabre and Ballet of the Bones in style and content, although it's a single, longer story. They were great fun to write. You can read more about it on my new blog page - http://macabrecollection.blogspot.co.uk

Seance of the Souls is available to buy or borrow on Amazon.


Book Impressions - Deceptive Comfort

This is the story of a woman due to give birth soon. The problem she faces is that children born on a specific date are thrown into a pit of fire due to a local superstition. It's an effective and gripping tale, the tension builds throughout the story and the author does a good job of making you care about their fate.

The story also does a good job of showing glimpses of the wider world and that is also a problem for the story. In the ending it detracts a little from the core story. If this intended as the first in a series of stories then it's a good hook (although a little clich├ęd), if not then the story would have been better without it.

That complaint aside this a well written and interesting story, one I recommend people read.



This is a short story, of approx. 8200 words. It's a historical thriller, a tale of, greed, political abuse, and the impact of superstition on people.

In an ancient village ruled by the tyrannical Murtagh family, the pregnant Wynter is blessed — or cursed — with a rational mind. 

In this place, a terrible fate awaits any child born on the 29th of February. And, as the leap year approaches, Wynter’s time draws near.

A heartstopping tale of one woman’s battle against superstition.

Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

Blog Tour Stop - Guest Post - What Makes a Good Book Review

Welcome to the blog tour stop for Rebecca Graf's 'How to Write a Book Review', for her visit she has written a guest post about what makes a good book review.

 
What Makes a Good Review?
 
A lot of what goes into the answer of this question really depends on what you are looking for in the review. It all depends on you, the reader.

A good review is not necessarily one that gives a book good marks. It is one that is honest and tactful. Let me sum it up this way. When you read a review, what are you looking for? Only five stars? No. You want to know if you really should buy this book.

  • Does the book have the elements you like? – A good review will give you insight into the book so you can tell if you would like. Do you like strong female characters? A good review will tell you if they are in there. Do you like sensitive men? A good review will tell you if he is between the pages.
  • Does it contain things that turn you off? – I don’t like a lot of needless foul language. So, I appreciate a review that warns me of it. Do you hate historical fiction books that aren’t historically accurate in setting? Then you want a review that warns you if that is the case. There is nothing so frustrating as buying a book and realizing that it is everything that you dislike in a story.
  • What is important to you as a reader? – Do you want an intricate plot or a fast-paced one? Do you like certain writing styles?  A good review will reveal all that and help guide you in your book purchases.
A good review communicates clearly to other readers. It shows the pros and cons of a book from the eyes of the reader. It is not personal nor does it get nasty.

I had someone tell me that one of my reviews was bad because I didn’t give it more than two stars. The issues I pointed out were ‘personal’. To a degree all reviews are personal as they are personal opinion, but a good review goes beyond that and gives the reason for each opinion. In that particular review, I noted how there was no references to information found in that particular non-fiction book. Statistics were spouted and sources were only vaguely referenced if at all. That bothered me greatly as most of the book seemed to be a rant and not the professional, thought-provoking book it was advertised to be. The commenter did not see my review as good because I rated a book they loved low. Rating does not reflect a good or bad review. Others thanked me for the good review as they wouldn’t have liked it at all due to the issues I pointed out and would have been angry for wasting the money.

Remember that a good review can be a one star or a five star as long as it is done in a polite way and gives the reasons for the opinions stated.
How to Write a Book Review by Rebecca Graf

Have you wondered what makes a good book review? Have you wondered what you might be missing in writing a book review? You can find out how to write a quality book review in these pages.

Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

About the Author:

Rebecca Graf was born in Russellville, Kentucky but grew up in Dothan, Alabama. She graduated from the University of Montevallo with an accounting degree. Given the chance to try her hand at writing, she began writing online articles leading to her first published book, A Gift for a Mouse. From there she ventured into romance, mystery, comedy and drama. The passion of writing was discovered. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three children.

You can connect with Rebecca here:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Blog a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 25 May 2013

New Short Fiction Competition On This Blog

I've setup a short fiction contest on my blog. I'm hoping it will become a regular feature, but let's see how this first one goes. The contest is to write a story of no more than 500 words based on the selected image, visit the competition page on my blog to find out more:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/june-writing-competition.html

Book Impressions - Pompomberry House by Rosen Trevithick

This is the story of a group of indie authors who go on a writing retreat and basically things go down hill from there. I won't go into any more details as you should really read it for yourself. Comedy is a difficult thing to write and the author does a great job. The scene in the cafe writing the love scene had me laughing out loud.

As well as a good comedy, it's also a fun, if twisted, thriller. I loved the characters and the indie author scene observations are quite amusing.

Overall I loved it.



A writer's retreat seemed the perfect chance for Dee Whittaker to take her mind off her marital difficulties. However, she meets five of the most hideous writers ever to have mastered a qwerty keyboard, and her problems quickly multiply. Things escalate further when the handyman winds up dead. After fleeing from the island, Dee attempts to get her life back on track but begins to notice that something strange is going on. The stories written on the island are coming true and hers is next - complete with a murder. Her estranged husband makes an unlikely sidekick as the two of them try to stop the literary copycat killing an innocent woman. Packed with topical references, Pompomberry House provides a satirical look at the emerging world of indie publishing.

Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

Rachel A Olsen's Big Birthday Bookie Bash

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It's a birthday celebration! Author Rachel A Olson is celebrating her 28th birthday by throwing a HUGE giveaway. With prizes available to participants worldwide, there's a little something for everyone. Jump over to ParaSuperNormalism - a book blog for every kind of story - and join in on the fun!


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Participating Authors:

Dannika Dark, Mary Ann Bernal, Kitten K. Jackson, G.D. Steel, Sandee Woolf, Elena Gray, Yezall Strongheart, Natalie Hancock, N. Kuhn, Cindy Hardwell, Saranna DeWylde, Paula Shene, Audrey Harte, Kelli McCracken, Kimberly Knight, Alexis Alexander, D.N. Simmons, Rachel A Olson, Mark Barry, Brandy Nacole, Alex Shippe, Robynn Gabel, Crystal Schall, Jessica Humphrey, Christin Berger, Susan Jean Ricci, Gena D. Lutz, Carolyn Jewel, J C S, Kerry Brackett, Michelle Turner, Lisa Logue, Wendy Knight, Cyma Rizwaan Khan, Jessica Chase, Nike Campbell-Fatoki, and others!

Participating Blogs:

Free Ebooks and Those Responsible For Them, Paul and Paula's Place, Lip Smackin' Good Books, Le' Book Squirrel, Fiona's Book Review, Indie Author Network, The Book Rack, Danielle's Book Reviews, Room With Books, Les Lectures, The Cult of Me, The Girl With the Red Cape, Book-Marks the Spot, Schmoeker-Welt, Book Boyfriend Reviews, MomOf2BookReviews, Froggarita's Bookcase, Mira's Great Books, Mama's Reading Break, Everything Books and Authors, Zee Books, and MORE!

Blog Tour Stop - Thief by Sarah-Jane Lehoux

Welcome to the blog tour for Sarah-Jane Lehoux's fantasy novel 'Thief'. I've posted my review for the book below.

You can find out more about here tour here:

http://sarah-janelehoux.blogspot.ca/2013/05/brand-spanking-new-blog-tour.html



'Thief' is the first book in the Sevy series. Sevy is the main character in the series. She not a very likeable character, but she is interesting.

This is the first fantasy novel I've read in a while and I enjoyed it, it made me remember what is good about fantasy fiction. For one it invokes a well realised world and it does so gradually. You aren't dropped into an unfamiliar world, but one you get to know, page by page.

The story itself is well paced, it tells of Sevy's youth on the streets and how she leaves them. Her time on the streets serves her well, but she's not invulnerable  so while I didn't particularly like her, she does make you want to know her more.

The writing is good, easy to read and for the most part well paced. The author has a relaxed, almost conversational style that is easy to read.

I did have a minor issue in that the transitions in the main sections of the book were a bit abrupt, I felt the transition could have been eased somewhat.

But that is a minor complaint, if you like gritty fantasy, then this is the book for you.



In the crumbling city of Eloria, there is one indisputable fact: everyone has a price. Protestations of morality and better judgment have little meaning when confronted with the chance to obtain the unobtainable. The only question remaining is just how much a person is willing to sacrifice in order to win their heart’s desire.

Sevy has always been a quick study in the wicked ways of Eloria. She has no qualms about taking what she wants, and when the love of her life is mysteriously murdered, Sevy will stop at nothing to get him back. Elvish black magic, necromancy and demonic pacts are of little consequence if it means she can once again have her beloved at her side. But is she willing to murder her only friend to get the job done?


Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

Why not check out the sequels as well?



Friday, 24 May 2013

Guest Author Interview - Kit Tinsley

It's a lovely wet Friday out there, in today's guest author interview we welcome Kit Tinsley, whose new book 'Dark County' is released today. Details of the book and the interview are below:

 


The author of BENEATH takes you one a Journey into the dark heart of rural England
 
Lincolnshire, a place of beauty and peace, but also a place of bleakness and violence. In this collection of short stories, Amazon bestselling horror writer, Kit Tinsley explores the darkness at the
centre of the countryside. The ten tales within cover many aspects of the horror genre, from the supernatural to all too human evil.

Included stories:

A DRIVE IN THE COUNTRY - A troubled, married couple seek a pleasant day out, but it goes very wrong when they have an accident on the isolated, country road.

TRACKS - A young, deaf boy tries to prove his bravery by exploring a ghostly local legend, but will he survive the tracks?

THE HOUSE BY THE MARSH - A group of childhood friends find their whole lives haunted by a chance encounter with a derelict old house.

THE CROWS - A career criminal takes on one last job too many.

FEAR AND LOATHING IN SKEG VEGAS - A young man with a gambling addiction owes money to a very dangerous man. Will a meeting with a strange old man save him, or damn him?

These stories and more will open you eyes to what is hidden under the surface of the DARK COUNTY.


Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi everyone, I’m Kit Tinsley, and I am an English, horror author, screenwriter, actor, and musician.

What first inspired you to start writing?
The thing that first inspired me to start writing was having an overactive imagination. Even in childhood I would make up my own characters and stories with my toys. Throughout school I loved creative writing. When I was 17 I attempted to write my first novel, and failed miserably due to lack of knowledge and skill. Later on I started writing screenplays, a few of which were made into indie movies that have never seen the light of day. A few years ago I decided I was going to try writing a novel again, after several false starts, the result was my debut novel ‘Beneath.’

And what attracted you to writing horror stories?
All my life I have been an obsessive fan of the horror genre, I even studied it at university. Partly it is down to the whole overactive imagination thing again, it is as much a curse as a gift, I always magine the worst case scenario, whenever the phone rings in the dead of night I automatically assume the worst. Also I believe that the horror genre, in both film and literature, is the modern form of one of the oldest things in human communication, the stories told around the campfire since time immemorial. These stories have always had an important place in all cultures as a way of facing, and processing our fears in safety.

Who is your favourite author and why?
There are many, but if I had to choose one it would have to be Stephen King. His output over the decades has been phenomenal, and I think he has had a huge impact on the genre, both in terms of style and popularity.

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be?
That is a tough one, it’s not as much a person as a place, I would love to spend a day in the court of Henry VIII, as that is a period of history that I find particularly interesting. Likewise, Victorian
London, maybe spend the day with Jack the Ripper, just to find out who he was.

What is your favourite word?
Are we talking the words I used most in everyday conversation? If so then I can’t possibly say them here. I overuse the words ‘Well’ and ‘So’ at the start of dialogue in every first draft I write so you would think I have a fondness for them. In terms of the sounds of words I have always liked the word ‘Mugwump’ coined by William Burroughs in ‘Naked Lunch’ I believe. There is something about saying that word that makes me smile. It is easier to say the word I hate which is ‘Rhythm’ as I can
never spell it (it took me four attempts just now)

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
 Patience is a virtue. I say this only as it is the advice I most  needed when starting out. I would rush for the finish line all guns blazing, and wear myself out quite quickly. I learned also, as a self published author, that you should not be in too much of a rush to release your work. I was, and the first edition of my ‘Beneath’ was littered with grammatical and spelling errors. I now have a wonderful editor, and a second issue of the book has been released, but all of the negative review about those mistakes are still hanging around my neck.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on my second novel, it is called ‘The Wilds’ and is a change of pace from the supernatural horror of ‘Beneath’. This book is based on the stories of big cats roaming the English
countryside, there is a lot more to it than that, but that is all I am giving away for now.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My latest release is ‘Dark County’ and it is a collection of ten tales of rural terror. I live in Lincolnshire, it is a very beautiful and nice place, but it also bleak and isolated. I wanted to write a collection of stories that encapsulated my feelings about the place I live. The stories themselves cover many aspects of the horror genre, from ghosts to serial killers, and sea monsters to madness, but they are all set in Lincolnshire.

The book is available on amazon, as is ‘Beneath’. For all the latest information on my work, and my random thoughts on other things as well, I would advise people to visit my website http://www.kit-tinsley.com

Thursday, 23 May 2013

New Release - The Spirit Of A Witch (Briley Witch Chronicles) by Sarah Jane Avory

A friend of mine from work has just released her first book. I've purchased it and added it my to read list, but I encourage everyone to take a look and give it a try!

Good luck with the release Sarah, I know how nerve racking a new release can be :-)


Briley Forester is a shy recluse, a gifted programmer troubled at work, a young woman surrounded at home by a wealthy life of gadgets, her only companion her black cat Smokey.

When a force from beyond the depths of meditation tears her out of reality and dumps her into the village of Maepole, she finds herself trapped within a harsh world without technology, governed by the sword, a grim place where witches, mages and talking cats exist.

Tricked into working as a lowly delivery girl and denied any privacy, her only chance to return home is to overcome her shyness and seek help from the villagers, to foster lasting friendships and rediscover herself. And to learn the art of witchcraft.

But the way home is fraught with heartache and danger, love and despair. The powerful Whitehead family will stop at nothing to be rid of her. And lurking within the forest, the dark spirit lies in wait, ready to strike...


Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

An Explorer's Life - New Elite: Dangerous Drabble



I've posted the latest Elite: Dangerous Fiction Diary, in this video I describe the state of the galaxy at the start of the game. You can amuse yourself watching the video here:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDurmITXzRM

 I've also written a drabble that was included in the update:

An Explorer’s Life by Michael Brookes

Some find it too lonely in the unexplored regions. This far out, you rarely meet other ships. Certainly not ones you’d want to meet.

It’s not for everyone, but me? I love it.

The solitude, the thrill of finding the trace that leads me to a new dark system. I’m out here forging a trail that others can follow.

My ship might not have the range of the other explorers, but it’s tough, and I have a trader friend that helps me resupply.

But it pays to be careful. There’re darker things than pirates hidden out here amongst the stars.

The Student Sold Us Secrets Cover Reveal

Lee J Mavin has revealed the new cover for his book 'The Student Sold Us Secrets', which is due for release buy the end of the month.


This shocking and at times completely insane collection of short stories will have you wanting more! It includes twelve chilling short stories, all set in Shanghai China! Based on the extrememly selfish and at times megalomaniac like tendencies of your average Chinese “one child policy” kid in Shanghai. You’ll be amazed at what these kids do to get what they want!

Ignite Five Star Reads

Ignite (a fellow Goodreads and Kindle Users Forum denizen) hosts a blog where she posts any five star rated books that she reads. She now has a badge available for those who receive a five star rating from her.

I volunteered to put a badge design together for her and here it is:



Here is her announcement post:

http://ignitebooks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/the-ignite-five-star-review-badge.html

Her blog is a great place to discover quality indie reads. I've been fortunate to receive two five star reviews on her blog:

Conversations in the Abyss:

http://ignitebooks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/michael-brookes.html

Faust 2.0:

http://ignitebooks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/michael-brookes.html

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Guest Author Interview - Elizabeth Newton

In today's guest author interview we meet Elizabeth Newton, you can read what she has to say below:


Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I was born in Adelaide and I have a pretty ordinary life. I have done Calisthenics, ballet, learnt the piano, gone to school, graduated from uni with a teaching degree, met a few famous people, and travelled as far as Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. But in an ordinary life, you have the opportunity to see the world in weird and wonderful, extraordinary ways. Especially when you’re a Christian, and a writer.

I suppose it was natural for me to become a teacher and a writer. Because as a little girl, I was either writing all kinds of stories about my teddies, princesses and later on, exciting alien encounters; or lining up my dolls and teddies in my bedroom teaching them how to spell and do sums on a little blackboard that came from the cubby house. The only thing I’m not doing that I would have loved to get into is acting and singing on stage, but I guess you can’t do everything.

Besides teaching and writing, I am active in my church, playing the piano and drums (not at the same time), writing a few songs now and then, and my brother James and I lead the youth group. I love my church and I love the youth group. We’re called Grace Youth and the encouragement I’ve had from them regarding getting my stories published has been wonderful. (Some more than others), but from a particular girl called Laura, who I am proud to say is one of the best friends I’ve ever had. She is also, in a sense, my constant companion with me on the Captain’s Train. She appears genuinely interested in and entertained by my stories... I suppose she’s being honest...

Getting back to the exciting things that have happened in my life, there’s something I should have put right at the top. Although you could look at it as though I was saving the best untill last. And that is the fact that I know my Saviour, Jesus, loves me and died for me and because of that, I get to be called friend and daughter of the Most High. Everything I am, I owe to Him. And if I’ve done or achieved anything good and worthwhile in my life, it’s because He daily gives me strength, courage, motivation, comfort, inspiration and encouragement, not to mention my abilities in the first place. If I get any acknowledgement and praise at all for the books I’ve written, glory be to God, the Author of creation, time, the universe, and my life.

What first inspired you to start writing?
That’s a difficult question, mainly because as mentioned earlier, I’ve been writing stories ever since I can remember. I guess I can say that just my imagination has inspired me. And I believe my imagination has come from my Creator, God. When I think of some cool, weird, complicated, exciting, romantic, entertaining story line, or maybe a quirk for a character, or even just a one-liner that sounds good, I MUST write it down and use it. Otherwise, I would get all frustrated or confused as to why I would think of such an idea in the first place. I would see it as rejecting a precious gift if I sat back and didn’t do anything about my imagination. I’m not saying that my imagination is far more superior to anybody else’s, (because I’m sure it certainly and most definitely isn’t), but it’s just my attitude towards it – that itching desire to have an adventure that entails space and time travel, villains, danger, romance, unlikely teams and unlikely heros. But since I’m probably not going to find myself in this situation in reality, I remedy my ache for it by ‘having’ the adventures on paper. And I must. Otherwise, I think I’d go sane.

Where do you do most of your writing?
Just in my bedroom at home. I live with my mum, dad and brother. And sometimes that’s annoying because I’ll be riding this awesome wave of creative juices and the next thing mum calls out, “Tea’s ready and it’s going cold!” Ever since I became published, I’ve had little encouraging/inspirational messages blue-tacked to my desk like “It is safe to be me”, “Let the magic begin”, and “Use every word as if it cost a thousand bucks” (by Penny Brown). Whenever I go on camps with my church or trips with my family, I’ll always either take my laptop or my notebooks and lots of pens and I do love writing when I’m away. But mostly in my little humble bedroom.

If you could write anyone's biography, whose would it be and why?
Interesting question. The first person that comes to mind is Jesus Christ because He’s such an awesome guy and I’d love more people to know about Him and what He did. But is that a cop out of the question? I’m not sure.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
For me, writing my stories is the closest I get to having the adventures myself. (Although I get a little jealous of my characters sometimes for being the ones who are actually doing it.) So I would say the thing I enjoy most about writing is probably the very thing I started writing for – having an adventure. It’s fun to be able to go anywhere or anywhen in the universe and in history. And I feel privileged to have such a vivid imagination that I actually do end up with a sort of a feeling that I’ve been there and done that, after writing about it.

And the least?
When after the umpteenth time of editing it and your friends and family editing it, you still find the odd mistake in the final, published, printed, paperback copy.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Go for it!

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am planning number eight of the Train Flight series. I have just finished writing number seven, but five, six and seven all need to be revisited a little way down the track before I even think about submitting them. So in as-yet-title-less number eight, the Captain and his passengers find themselves in London during WW1 – 1915 to be precise. And I can’t say much more for two reasons, 1. I don’t want to give too much away, and 2. I haven’t quite worked out everything that happens in the story yet. All I know is, it involves poison gas, footmen and parlour maids, war soldiers, sinister conversations and several pots of tea... with lemon.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
The latest one published is the fourth Train Flight story called “Furry Friends” In Furry Friends we are in the present (well, the main character Evie’s present, which is actually now back in 2011). The Train was supposed to be landing on some distant planet to show Evie some weird and wonderful flora and fauna that one would never see on Earth, but because the Train’s navigation system has packed up, they wind up on Earth, not too far away from Evie’s Adelaide home. But the Captain’s intention of showing Evie and the other Train passenger Paulo something weird and exciting isn’t a total wash out. There is an unexpected catastrophe which has all of Adelaide on alert and the Captain, Evie and Paulo find themselves deeply involved, especially when a teacher at a nearby primary school says on National TV that it must be aliens. She is a perfect stranger, but she has called the Captain by name to come and help. This story was literally inspired by a humorous response invented by a good friend of mine, Simon, when we were playing the game “Balderdash” with some friends at a camp. The acronym was P.U.F.F. which actually stands for “People United to Fight Frustration”, but Simon and his team-mate Jock guessed that it stood for “Potentially Unfriendly Furry Friends”. We all laughed, and for some reason, it stuck in my mind as a story idea. What these potentially unfriendly furry friends are… you’ll have to read “Furry Friends” to find out.

Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

Thanks to Elizatbeth for sharing her thoughts with us, on Friday we welcome Robin Leigh Morgan to the hot seat.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Millennium - The Greatest TV Show Ever



I've just finished watching the first season of Millennium, which for me is one of the greatest TV shows ever made - although Twin Peaks and Firefly are close contenders. It's an old Chris Carter show (he also made The X-Files) starring Lance Henrikson as the lead character, Frank Black.

Frank was an FBI profiler, with the ability to see through the eyes of the killers he hunts. I notice  that the new TV show Hannibal follows a similar pattern, although not to the same perfection.

And perfection is what makes this show great for me. The cast is brilliant and the world it's set in is fabulously dark. Every episode expands the viewers awareness of evil and Frank's hunt to stop it.

The first season flirts with a supernatural side to the people he faces. This is best shown by one of the characters, Lucy Butler who makes a few visits in the three seasons. She seems to blend between being a woman, or a man, or a medieval looking demon.

Frank works for the Millennium Group, a mysterious organisation of ex law enforcement types. In the first season you don't get to learn much about them, that comes in season 2.#

I've watched this show several times and every time I enjoy it as much as the first time I watched. If you like dark stories and haven't watched this, then you owe it to yourself to do so.




Five Star Review for Faust 2.0



I've received an excellent 5 star review from Ignite on her blog, check it out here:

http://ignitebooks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/michael-brookes.html

Thanks Kath!

Interviewed on Kit Tinsley's Blog

I've been interviewed on fellow English author Kit Tinsley's blog, check it out here:

http://www.kit-tinsley.com/entries/general/interview

Thanks Kit!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Guest Author Interview - Harold Titus

Welcome to the start of a new week. Today we meet Harold Titus in the guest authot interview:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I was born in New York State, moved to Tennessee when I was seven, and moved with my parents and sister to Southern California when I was nine. I graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in history. I taught one year in the Los Angeles City School District, was drafted into the army, moved afterward to Contra Costa County in Northern California, and taught eighth grade English 31 years, drama 6 years, and American history 6 years in suburban Orinda. I coached many of the school’s sports teams. During my teenage and middle years I especially enjoyed playing golf. I live with my wife in Florence, Oregon. I have been a political activist the past 9 years I am an avid fan of the San Francisco Giants and 49ers and UCLA men’s basketball.

What first inspired you to start writing?
Reading exciting fiction during my adolescent years caused me to want to write. I began writing for the heck of it when I was in the army. I was stationed at Fort Ord, in California, and was living off the post in a three-room rental cottage. My roommate hitchhiked to Southern California on the weekends, so I had plenty of time to fancy myself a Civil War historical novelist. One day my roommate stole a look at what I had written and declared it “pretty bad.” He was right.
I became serious about writing after I retired from teaching. My English classes and I studied excellent writing. I had my students write narration and dialogue that stressed visual clarity and character emotion and conflict. Loving language and the ability of certain authors to utilize it, having thoughts of my own about the nature of man, I wanted to express myself.

Do you read in the same genre that you write?
Most of what I read is historical fiction. This must be because of my interest in history. A historical novel should educate as well as entertain. I want to learn how people lived at a specific time, what they thought, and what they valued. I want historical generalizations agreed upon by historians individualized by the people, real and imagined, that the author chooses to depict. I want the fiction to be unique, not subject matter that other writers have portrayed. Here are several excellent examples.

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
MacKinlay Kantor, Andersonville
Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels
Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Wallace Stegner, The Big Rock Candy Mountain

What is your favorite song lyric?
I don’t have one. I did enjoy lyrics written by rock groups I listened to in the 1980s and 1990s. I watched recently a TV documentary about the Eagles and enjoyed some of Don Henley’s and Glenn Frey’s lyrics. Example: from “Hotel California:”

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast.

If you could work with any author, who would it be and why?
It would be Winston Graham, the author of the Poldark series of novels set mostly in Cornwall, England, at the end of the 18th and into the 19th century. His subjective narration seems effortless. I find expressing feelings and abstract thoughts to be difficult. I admire also Mr. Graham’s depth of characterization of women.

Are you a planner? Or do you prefer to just start writing?
I am a planner. I follow a skeletal outline of scenes that lead in a specific direction. Crossing the River adheres to a chronological time-line: spying activity, preparations for the British expedition to Concord to destroy rebel munitions, rebel preparations to resist it, the actual events of the expedition as experienced by specific individuals (mostly real and some imagined) who are participants, the immediate aftermath, again experiences of specific people. Within each scene I allowed myself to free-lance, while staying true to the accuracy of the main events.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Learn to recognize your weaknesses as a writer. Study how your favorite authors deal with the problems you have narrating. Also, don’t be in a hurry to submit your manuscript for publication. You will never get what you’ve written “just right.” But try to. Some of your best writing will be what you come up with on your seventh or twelfth rewrite.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am researching the events and people involved in Sir Walter Raleigh’s attempts to establish a British colony on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the 1580s. I’d like to write a novel that depicts how self-interest and excessive power trump idealism and societal constancy and how individuals, powerless to thwart this, must find ways to survive and experience happiness.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My only published work is Crossing the River. There is my blurb on the book jacket.
Standing on Lexington’s town common, humbled by the veneration of hundreds of militiamen, conceding that he had instructed them, encouraged them, in the end incited them, acknowledging that he, with others, had brought them to the river that could now be called revolution, Doctor Joseph Warren gives full credit to whom it is due. They, not he, knowing fully well the danger, had attacked the master. Standing at the river’s edge, they, of their own volition, had crossed over.

Joseph Warren is but one of Crossing the River’s many historical figures that bring to life General Thomas Gage’s failed attempt April 19, 1775, to seize and destroy military stores stockpiled at Concord by Massachusetts’s Provincial Congress. Characters of high and ordinary station, choosing to or forced to participate, must confront their worst fears. Revealing the internal conflicts, hubris, stupidity, viciousness, valor, resiliency, and empathy of many of the day’s participants, Crossing the River is both a study of man experiencing intense conflict and the varied outcomes of high-risk decision-taking.

The novel’s title is a metaphor for such decision-taking, be it Massachusetts militiamen seeking greater independence from Great Britain, General Gage’s attempted seizure of the provincial arsenal, two junior British officers’ risk-taking to earn quick promotion, an Acton schoolmaster’s compulsion to avenge the death of his dear friend and neighbor, a Lincoln youth’s attempted atonement for cowardice, a Lexington resident’s impulse to assist a redcoat deserter while he tries to resolve his neighbors’ and family’s low regard of him, or a British soldier/spy’s desire to rise above his station.

Links:
http://booklocker.com/books/5692.html
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5390145.Harold-Titus/

Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

Thanks to Harold for sharing his thoughts with us, on Wednesday Elizabeth Newton takes her turn in the hot seat.


New Conversations in the Abyss Review on Goodreads



A wonderful new review for Conversations in the Abyss has been posted on Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/585162164

Blog Tour Stop - Close Ups and Close Encounters Review

Welcome to the 'Close Ups and Close Encounters' blog tour. For the tour I agreed to review the book, I don't usually review non-fiction, but I do love pretty pictures so I made an exception :-)



Close Ups and Close Encounters is the story a wildlife photographer. This isn't a tale of trekking in the savannah, instead it looks at wildlife closer to home (for US readers at any rate). As such it feels more immediate, less remote and the images are no less interesting for it.

As with any wildlife picture collection you see a range of lovely images throughout the book. The photographer does capture some excellent moments. The photo of the angry bear is my particular favourite, it really shows the essence of a bear.

Along with the photos there are the stories of how the pictures were taken. These provide fascinating glimpses into the process of wildlife photography as well as more personal insights into the author and photographer's life.

My only slight complaint is that some of the photos described in the text weren't included in the book, with is a shame. That being said, there are many wonderful photos in the book to enjoy.

If you like your wildlife then I highly recommend this book.


About the Book


On a whim, S. J. Brown decided to embark on a career in wildlife photography. Armed with an inexpensive 35mm camera and a love for the natural world, her adventure began. Accompanied by her spotter and husband, she ventured to a variety of locations.
The couple soon learned that there was more to this than just camera settings, lighting, and getting the right angle. Not all wildlife is agreeable to having their picture taken, and many are not easily accessible.
Camera in hand, S. J. Brown encountered delicate butterflies, bears, birds, deer, wild horses, and more. Along the way, there are successes and failures, cooperative critters, curious subjects, and some close calls.
As a wildlife photographer S. J. Brown took her cues from her subjects. Their body language let her know when to step in for a closer shot and when to back away. When she was out in the field, she strove to observe and record not to interfere. The exception to this rule is when people pose a threat to wildlife; then she will take time to relocate a road dwelling critter to its location. Brown has saved snapper turtles from soup and other creatures from the taunts and teases of unwise humans, but she will not interfere with Mother Nature's food chain unless it involves a domestic animal pursuing a wild creature. With this in mind, she has sent many a cat away from a bird feeder and saved many a squirrel from a curious canine.
S. J. Brown's book Close Ups & Close Encounters features over fifty of her wildlife photographs as well as the stories behind getting those images. S. J. Brown's photographs and written words are her way of sharing her experiences. Introducing others, such as her granddaughter, to the field is one of her primary goals and loves. She hopes her work will give others an appreciation for the natural world.  


About the Author

S.J. Brown's love of wildlife photography began on a whim with an inexpensive 35mm camera, a few rolls of film, and a passion for nature. Quickly her everyday life and wildlife photography became entwined. Somehow even with a husband, a job, and household responsibilities, photographing found a place in the mix.

For over 10 years S. J. Brown has traveled extensively throughout the Eastern United States in pursuit of wildlife encounters. Much to the dismay of her spotter, this often involves trekking through thick brush, muddy trails, rocky seas and secluded locations, but the interactions with wildlife make it all worth it. To her wildlife photography is as much about the experience as it is the images she captures. Her goal for each photo excursion is the same, a close, one-on-one encounter with a wild creature.

As a wildlife photographer S. J. Brown takes her cues from her subjects. Their body language lets her know when to step in for a closer shot and when to back away. When she is out in the field, she strives to observe and record not to interfere. The exception to this rule is when people pose a threat to wildlife; then she will take time to relocate a road dwelling critter to its location. Brown has saved snapper turtle from soup and other creatures from the taunts and teases of unwise humans, but she will not interfere with Mother Nature’s food chain unless it involves a domestic animal pursuing a wild creature. With this is mind, she has sent many a cat away from a bird feeder and saved many a squirrel from a curious canine. The resulting photographs and the stories behind them inspire both students and adults that attend the presentations she gives and the Art Exhibits she participates in. Her images have been featured in books, magazines, calendars, and greeting cards.

S. J. Browns Book Close Ups & Close Encounters features over 50 of her wildlife photographs as well as the stories behind getting those images. S. J. Brown's photographs and written words are her way of sharing her experiences. Introducing others, such as her granddaughter, into the field is one of her primary goals and loves and she hopes the time she spends discussing her work with schools, writers, and members of the public gives them an appreciation for the natural world.

Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)


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