Monthly Archives: February 2016

February 29th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents(4)

Interview with Barb Drozdowich

You wear many hats, don’t you? Which are your main areas of activity?

You are correct, I wear many hats – too many at times J My main areas of activity are providing support to about 50 WordPress sites (to one extent or another) and teaching blogging/WordPress – mostly to authors. Writing is a fit-in-wherever-I-can activity.

With these different areas, how do you manage your time?

Since I have kids in the house and I work from home, my day is broken up around their activities. As such, I work in the early morning before anyone is awake, during school hours and after kids are in bed. I tend to grab whatever time I can, often working on the weekend or late into the evenings to accommodate various time differences. Very few of the authors that I work with live in the same time zone as I do! And many work full time jobs and wear their author hat outside of the 9 to 5 time frame.

You’ve worked with a lot of successful authors – what advice would you have for aspiring authors?

Everyone tells aspiring authors to keep writing – it’s true as generally the more you write, the better you are. My focus is the technical arena – so I focus on things like a blog, the author’s platform, etc. Too many authors get to the point of publishing without considering who is going to read their book. This then starts a scramble to put together a platform to communicate with a community of readers.

In my experience, authors are wonderfully creative, but not very comfortable with the technical/marketing side of book publishing. The learning curve is very steep for most authors and the new skills that they have to learn are many!

I wish that more authors were encouraged to work on developing their platform as they worked on their book, but so many vocal experts suggest that anything but writing is a waste of an author’s time. As a result, many end up on my virtual doorstep to get help understanding the marketing part of writing a book!

What advice to you give to authors who are shopping for a blog designer?

Being an author is a unique activity. Because of this I always suggest that people get help from someone who has worked for authors before—someone who understands an author’s unique needs. I also suggest that authors are VERY clear with anyone they hire as to their skill level. A blog can be operated and maintained with minimal paid help in most cases. A designer worth their salt should be able to create something that is simple and straightforward for a beginner.

Tell me a funny story about one of your clients.

Since I teach technology, I run into many funny situations, but the story that I want to tell is heartwarming! I have an author that I work with who wrote stories in notebooks when her kids were little – during nap times – during evenings once the kids were asleep. She kept these notebooks in a box under her bed and showed them to no one. For her 65th birthday, one of her now grown kids took one of her notebooks to a very well known editor to get an evaluation. The editor loved the story and asked if there was more. By her 66th birthday, this author had bought a computer (there wasn’t one in the house before this point), learned Word (so that she could edit her books), learned to blog and was busy developing relationships on line on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. And, her first book was published. That was several years ago – she now has nine books published and her books are very popular. I have taught her a lot and she is very determined to learn as much as she can.

I can’t imagine how many notebooks filled with gems are under beds just waiting for the right time to be published!

What would you recommend authors who write in two or more different genres?

Writing in several genres can be a challenge. If all the genres are adult focused genres, then the author doesn’t run into many issues. I, as well as many others, suggest branding the author, not the book or the genre. There are many people who read a wide variety of genres and may read all of an author’s books even though they span genres.

Where I see problems is when the author writes books for children as well as adult genres that are really not appropriate for kids. As an example, an author who writes erotica, or gory horror or frightening thrillers. If there are likely two distinct audiences, I suggest that the author either writes one genre under a pen name or at least has two distinct platforms.

Tell me about your latest book / latest project.

I just re-published The Book Blogger Platform. This book I wrote several years ago and it was quickly becoming out of date. Instead of just updating it, I ended up ripping it apart and totally re-doing it. What has been re-published doesn’t bear much resemblance to the first version!

The next book that will be published is a topic that I’m really excited about! The title of the book is Blogging for Authors. It not only covers the technical aspects of blogging, but it also deals with what to blog and how to use a blog to create a community of readers, of supporters. I think that too many authors use their blog only as a billboard and totally miss out on the true power that a blog can have! Look for that one in Amazon by the end of March!

About the author:

BarbDrozdowichPicSmallerSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 6 books and over 20 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Links:

Author Website: http://barbdrozdowich.com

Business Blog: http://bakerviewconsulting.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc

Google+: https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sugarbeatsbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7234554.Barb_Drozdowich

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSgVt36XlVAHWj5dkSd0Zyw

Tech Hints Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/DfCRj

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Drozdowich/e/B00EN3CIDM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1437240887&sr=1-2

 

 

February 8th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents(3)

Interview with Author Samreen Ahsan

How did you get started as an author?

It was more like an inspiration when I started writing. If I go five years back, I could never imagine myself as a published author. I never thought I’d write something that could win so many accolades.

I had story in my mind for quite a long time and I believe each one of us has a story but very few people give their thoughts a voice—and that’s how a writer comes into existence. For my first work, A Prayer Series, the inspiration has been taken from Holy Quran where the concept of paranormal creatures is beautifully described.

With all the things you do besides writing, how do you manage your time?

It all depends on your priorities and managing them skillfully. I have a full day job, two young children who need my help in their school work everyday and of course a husband and in this busy schedule, writing actually comes after all these activities. When the whole house is sleeping, I get my me time to read and write. Friday nights are usually the perfect hours of writing.

What was the inspiration of your latest book, Once Upon A [Stolen] Time?

I had a magical dream a few months ago, which gave me the whole idea of the story. I know it sounds quite whimsical but that’s the truth. There are also some elements of Disney fairytales in this book for those who still like to read fantasy stories.

What can you tell us about your plans for the Stolen Series?

It’s a tough question. A lot of my readers have asked about how many books this series would have and honestly I have no answer. I’m just writing it. The second book of the series is almost complete and nowhere the story seems to end. I guess it may go up to three or four books or maybe more. It all depends on my characters, wherever they take me, I’d go with them.

Tell me a funny story about getting started as an Independent author / publishing your books.

I have two daughters, Rania and Myra, age 9 and 6. My first series has two books, A Silent Prayer and A Prayer Heeded in which the female character’s name is Rania. My elder one got very excited when she came to know that mommy took her name in both the books. After the first series was published (two years ago), she told the entire school that her name was used in the book, which left the younger sister complaining. Every time she looked at the book, she used to find her name like her elder sister. So when I started writing Stolen Series, I told my younger daughter, who is only six now that her name Myra has been used as a female lead character.

Now, I have been warned by elder daughter Rania that this series should not extend more than two books because she doesn’t want her baby sister to win. And if I ever wrote more than two in Stolen Series then I would have to write equally for A Prayer Series. I find it quite funny because they still think they are the ones in the story and not their names. I’m sure when they’d grow up, they’d find it funny too.

What is the hardest part about finishing a book for you?

Saying goodbye to your characters is the hardest part. I’m one of those people who fall in love easily with the fictional characters, especially if I have created them myself. You live in their world for such a long time, talking to them, feeling their emotions, playing with their emotions—they become part of your everyday life. You feel empty when you have to let them go.

What is the uniqueness about your new book?

Once Upon A [Stolen] Time is set in both Medieval and Contemporary England. The reader will have the time travel experience from 2015 to 1415, back to back.

Are there other stories in your mind?

Yes, many. I just need to find time and write them.

How do you react on negative reviews?

I have learned that you cannot make everyone happy. It is not necessary whatever you write should be loved by everyone. For negative reviews: everyone has his/her opinion. Just ignore them and celebrate your other good reviews.

You have multiple awards on your first series. What was the best part about winning them?

When I took my children in Readers’ Favorite Awards in Miami in 2014, they met real authors for the very first time and were gifted lots of children’s book, personally signed by those award-winning authors. My children still show those books to their friends and the moment I was called on stage, the spark and pride they had in their eyes—it was all worth the effort. It is a very exhilarating feeling when your own children are proud of your achievements.

Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring authors?

Read, read and read. You cannot be a good writer if you’re not a good reader. Never give up. Keep writing. There are still many stories to be told.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

unnamedHistory, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

Judge of 2015 World’s Best Story

A Prayer Series” is my first story about paranormal events based on Islamic concepts.

Website: http://www.samreenahsan.com

Twitter: @samauthorcanada

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aprayerseries

Once Upon A [Stolen] Time is available on Amazon.

unnamed-1ABOUT ONCE UPON A [STOLEN] TIME

2015…

All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles—and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. Now, wealthy videogame designer Steve Bernard wants her to model for a princess character in his new game. Myra can’t resist his offer, especially when she learns that Steve plans to film inside the mysterious Hue Castle—a cursed, barren, colorless place forbidden to visitors for centuries. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. When she enters its doors, she awakens dark powers that will reach through time—stealing her past, torturing her present, and rewriting her future.

1415…

Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman who haunts his dreams—who will either break his curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly.

For Myra and Edward, past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

 

February 3rd, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents

Book Review: Drone Command, by Mike Maden

by Rachel Borene

Drone Command, by Mike Maden, is the third book in the Troy Pearce series, a fast moving science fiction political thriller. Featuring edge-of-your-seat action and realistic drone technologies, the novel follows protagonist Troy Pearce as he heads to Tokyo to dissolve a dangerous dispute which has risen between Japan and China over the claiming of the East China Sea. Peace must use his cunning to expose hidden agendas and stop an already precarious situation from turning into World War III, all while coming to terms with his own burdened past.

Set in the year 2017, the book starts out with a bang, introducing us to Admiral Ji, who is unwavering in his brutal persistence for violence when he spots a drone spying on him as he rallies his men for war.

Pearce must stop Admiral Ji before an international crisis occurs, and as the action moves from sea to land and back again, carefully researched drone technologies mix with smartly imagined science fiction, pushing readers to the edge of their comfort zones as they discover along with Perace what the future could hold when technology falls into the wrong hands.

Working alongside Pearce is Margaret Myers, former President of the United States. Myers, a strong willed woman who seeks no pity, must use her military prowess and endless valor to help stop the impending destruction, even while battling her own life threatening illness.

Combat enthused readers will be thrilled as Pearce and Myers take on their adversaries through both mental and physical brawn, using drone technology, firearms, and hand to hand combat. Myers uses her innovation and persistence to keep herself alive, rigging up what technology she has to keep herself alive during the most crucial moments. The lush tapestries of Japan and China act as backgrounds to the action, painting an image both beautiful and terrifying as the characters explore the potential for both good and evil that lies in every human being. Succinct and gripping chapters keep the plot moving at breakneck speed, while a peppering of flashback chapters fill the reader in on Pearce’s past. The cast of characters, well rounded and from a variety of backgrounds, gives the book a real world feel with heroes that readers will want to root for.

Though this is the third book in the the Troy Pearce series, the author has provided a character list and a page of technological abbreviations in the front of the book, making the novel accessible new readers.

Fans of political and techno thrillers are sure to find Drone Command to be a down-to-earth science fiction treat.

Check out Fred’s interview with Mike Maden!