March 6th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents(1)

Registration and Responsible Use of Your New Drone

by Rachel Borene

With the winter holidays having come and gone, many people may have found brand new drones waiting for them as a gift. Though no precise numbers can be given as to how many drones have been sold in 2015, it’s been estimated that at least one million drones were purchased by consumers this year.

New drone hobbyists need to be aware of laws and regulations regarding use of their drones. Irresponsible drone usage can interfere with government aircraft and with first responders during an emergency. For instance, there are reports of firemen having to shoot a hobby drone out of the way with a hose while taking care of a fire.

If you live in the United States, and you fly a drone that weighs more than half a pound, you’re required to register your drone. The process is simple and currently only costs $5 USD. You can check out the FAA’s website for more information.

Not registering your drone or improperly using a registered drone can have serious consequences. Besides interfering with emergency responders, you can face serious fines or even jail time, and drones clubs have already been shut down over their refusal to follow laws.

Make sure you have your new technology properly registered, labeled, and use it in accordance to local laws. If you use your drone for hobby flying, make sure the area you fly it in isn’t a ‘no fly’ zone. If you’re a cosplayer who is using a drone as part of your costume, ask permission from the convention center to bring your drone inside. Even if you’re hired to photograph an event or record it using your drone, it’s best to be courteous and ask the owner of the property if they’ll allow you to use your drone. Remember to take all aspects of your environment into consideration. For example, using a drone at a horse show may frighten horses and ruin the event for handlers and spectators.

Because drones are fairly new technology to the public, some people may simply not like drones and would prefer the drone isn’t at their event. Be understanding of their view and respect their desire to not have the drone in their space.

No matter what you’re using your new drone for, the best way to begin as an independent drone pilot is to start off on the right foot by following the rules and respecting the airspace of other people.

Of course, don’t forget to also have fun, be inventive, and see where your new drone can take you!

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!

January 18th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents(3)

Love a Book that Keeps You on the Edge? So does Simon Jenner…

Today on the blog, we’ve got the expert author Simon Jenner, author of the Ethan Justice and Evolved series. Thanks, Simon, for agreeing to join us!

1. What inspired you to write the Evolved series?

I asked myself what might happen if the world continued on its current destructive path (considering wars, terrorism, immigration, consumerism etc.…) and how that would predominantly affect the UK. Then I added a genetically superior band of humans, particularly Max, the most gifted of them all, to give the world a chance to survive. I let my imagination do the rest. I hope it ends well for us.

2. How does a typical day of writing look for you?

My ideal days, more rare than I’d like, are sitting at my desk by 8:00 am and working through till 10:00 am when my wife, Julia, and I, weather permitting, attempt to squeeze in a short walk. Then it’s back to work until 2:00 pm when I grab lunch for fifteen or so minutes. After lunch I work through until my son returns from school at around 4:00 pm. After half an hour of us all catching up on his day, I get back to work until 6:00 pm when Julia and I cook our evening meal together. Depending on her workload, we either take the rest of the day off or both burn the candles until 9:00 pm when we stop to take in a short TV show and then head off to bed.

The above might happen once a week I’d guess, but it’s what I strive for in my own crazy idea of how an ideal writer’s world should be.

3. How do you manage to write alongside of your day job and other commitments?

I don’t have a day job, which is kind of wonderful, but then at the same time we don’t have the money we used to have when I ground my days out as a faceless accountant for a blood-sucking corporation – hope I don’t need a reference ever!

While there’s no monthly paycheck for bean-counting any longer, I still have plenty of jobs left to get our house finished. When we arrived here there were only four rooms with electricity, not to mention no doors and windows. Since then – almost 9 years ago – I have plaster-boarded (dry-walled, I guess you good folks across the pond call it) the whole place, put in electricity (had an electrician initially but he turned out to be a moron so I had to sack him and learn to do it myself), installed a pool (supposed to be temporary but a writer’s wages have proven to be meager compared to an accountant’s so it may well be permanent if the bestseller never comes), put doors and windows in (internal and external), plumbed in three new bathrooms etc.… It’s still a way off completion but I’ll get there before I die – I hope.

4. You’re an expat author – how do you find living in a different country to where your books are set?

It’s not always easy but I have a pretty good memory and the Internet is a wonderful thing. Between these two, and regular visits back to the UK for a million and one different reasons, I just about manage. The third book in the Ethan Justice series, Incendiary, is actually based in Spain, which made life a whole lot easier.

5. With your Evolved series you’ve made a departure from your Ethan Justice books. What are the challenges of jumping from one genre to another?

I think the biggest challenge for me was changing from mostly third person point-of-view to only first person. Suddenly having to have my protagonist weave his way through a whole book without having another point of view caused me no end of head-scratching and swearing. But I needed a break from the Ethan Justice books to make sure I kept the story lines fresh, and I think, if I want to improve as an author – and I so badly do – that it’s important to experiment with new genres/ideas/POVs.

6. Which of your books are you personally most satisfied with? Why?

That is such a tough question. I’m my own worst critic and I’m never completely happy with anything I write. Every project has been a new journey and I’m always amazed when I press send and the book pops up on Amazon for sale the next day. I have untold admiration for anyone who finishes a book. Those who have never written one have no idea of the struggles and frustrations that go along with the process. Those authors that knock out bestsellers one after the other at a rate of knots are either paying others to help or are visitors from an advanced alien planet. Not a hint of jealousy there!

Okay, I just read that last paragraph back and I’m clearly avoiding the question in typical accountant fashion. I would have to say Ethan Justice: Guilty is the book I’m most satisfied with to date. The reason is purely that it is my last completed piece of work, and I think so far – perhaps only fractionally – I have written each book a little better than the last.

7. What can we expect to see in the near future from Simon Jenner?

I’m hoping to get The Evolved 2 – much better title to follow – out early 2016. It is proving quite a challenge, to say the least. This time Max’s returning memory reveals a truly horrific world beneath a rapidly failing veneer. I believe that it is a world not so far removed from the one we will inhabit if we don’t get our acts together and look to long-term solutions to our problems. It’s not all gloom and doom, mind you, as Max and co are on hand to provide light relief and hope during their second great adventure.

After that it’s the next installment of Ethan Justice and after that most likely the 3rd and final installment of The Evolved. Don’t hold me to that: I’m persistently unreliable.

Simon Jenner - Author PhotoAbout Simon Jenner

I am a man whose goal in life is to find my goal in life. I live with my wife and son who excel at keeping my crazy ideas in check – for which I am eternally grateful. As an accountant turned author, I am no stranger to excitement – yes, I have a sense of humour too – and I hope to continue entertaining readers for some time to come.

I write the ‘Ethan Justice’ series of action thrillers, which I hope will make you laugh, cringe, cry & cheer.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about me, check out some of my ‘Personal Crap’ blog posts, such as ‘The 10 Most Interesting Things About Me’, ‘Selling Myself In 10 Words Or Less’ and ‘The Story of My Life in 250 Words’.

You can also see what I like to read by checking out my ‘Killer Thrillers’ page. This features other indie thrillers that I have read and personally recommend.

To see what I’m muttering about elsewhere online, why not follow me on Twitter, ‘Like’ me on Facebook, or compare books with me on Goodreads. Alternatively leave me a comment on any of my blog posts or contact me directly. I’d love to hear from you.