Coyote in Provence What happens when the very beautiful and sexy Maria brooks, now Elena Johnson, a woman hiding out in Provence, France from the California legal authorities, meets Jordan Kramer, a handsome art theft detective from Los Angeles? He’s looking for stolen...Read More
People become their story.
Couldn’t resist sharing this one by Jonathan Gunson. Here’s his site and for my money, one of the very best. It’s my “don’t miss read.”
Had to share this great review from The Bibliophilic Book Blog. Enjoy!
Origins: From Author for Review
Format: Trade Paperback
Synopsis: “He remembered the little motel in the desert when his life turned around.”
At the heart of Blue Coyote Motel is a love story beginning in the barrios of Southern California and spanning the globe in such diverse locations as France, South America and the Himalayas. The beautiful Latina, Maria, and her husband, Jeffrey, a scientist fired from a prestigious laboratory, struggle to build a new life in a remote Southern California desert area as owners of the Blue Coyote Motel.
When Maria’s depression rises like a cloud over their happiness, Jeffrey invents a wonder drug to fix it. As Jeffrey’s condition unravels, he begins to experiment with the wonder drug. Six wayward travelers find themselves staying the night at the small roadside inn. The next morning, they wake up feeling better than ever. Has Jeffrey’s miracle drug delivered? Or is the nightmare only beginning?
Review: If you had the ability to grant happiness to everyone, would you do it? Disgraced scientist Jeffrey Brooks believes he has created a cure for depression and uses his guests at the Blue Coyote Motel as human research subjects. The people to whom he administered his wonder-drug (named “Freedom”) leave the hotel feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to change their lives for the better. Yet is this feeling and newfound motivation too good to last?
‘Blue Coyote Motel’ is a compelling story written in alternating chapters between Maria, Jeffrey, and the motel guests who were dosed with “Freedom” without their knowledge. My background in human research subject protections and my feelings on unregulated research aside, ‘Blue Coyote Motel’ was a fascinating study in the human condition. I loved all of the characters and I enjoyed how much I got to know them all in gritty detail. The author really makes you care about the characters and that’s one of the best things about this book along with the scientific aspects. It’s my understanding there will be a sequel, which is great news because I’d love to see how everyone is doing after the events in ‘Blue Coyote Motel’.
Series: Blue Coyote Motel (1)
Let’s face it, it’s hard to let go of the old traditions. We established them and they worked for so many years. But the time comes when our children need to establish traditions of their own. It’s one of the best gifts we can give our children and grandchildren. After all, why should our tradition be the only one that should be observed? It may have worked for us for years, but what about our new in-laws? And what about blended families? If you insist on doing things as you always have, often it’s going to offend someone who’s struggling to establish their own traditions.
Our grandson’s birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. He wanted chicken drumsticks, guacamole, and mo-mo’s (yeah, who knew?). A balanced healthy meal? Probably not. A change in years of turkey tradition? Yes. But allowing him to feel special on his birthday and have what he wanted to eat trumped tradition. So we had the turkey and all the trimmings a few days later. And it was as good as it’s always been, just a little different!
We have what would probably be considered a “modern” family by today’s standards. Religious preferences include Catholic, Episcopal, Buddhist, Muslim, and atheist. Lifestyles include straight and lesbian. Politics includes Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and some who have washed their hands of the whole political process. Ages range from 72 to 4. Degrees range from a high school diploma to a Masters in Law. There is no way one tradition would work for all of the family members. One size fits all? Think not!
We can get so locked into traditions that we forget what’s the most important thing of all during holiday seasons — being with loved ones. The first time my husband and I visited our son and daughter-in-law for Thanksgiving in Seattle, we ate Thanksgiving Dinner at 2:00 in the afternoon. When I was a child and later when everyone came to our house for Thanksgiving Dinner we ate at 6:00. It was a change and yet one we really enjoyed. There was even time to digest the huge dinner before we went to bed. Actually, we probably felt a lot better for having eaten earlier.
Christmas presents another challenge. As we get older, we often find less is more. We may not decorate the house to the extent we did when the children were younger. And if the tree isn’t decorated quite the way it always was, so be it. I remember my first Christmas as a bride in California celebrating the day with my husband’s family. Their tradition was to have the Christmas gift giving on Christmas Eve. The horror of it! My family had always celebrated Christmas gift-giving on Christmas Day and surely that was the way it was supposed to be. What were they thinking? I can even remember having some rather uncharitable thoughts about my mother-in-law — that maybe she didn’t want the mess of wrapping paper and bows to interfere with the Christmas feast she was preparing. So my husband and I compromised. We decided to start our own tradition of exchanging one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest of the gifts on Christmas Day.
Now that’s changed as our children formed their own traditions. Our son and his wife don’t exchange big Christmas presents, but they spend time and money filling each other’s stockings. My daughter and her family come to our house on Christmas Eve for gift exchanges and dinner. Christmas Day they and the children have made a tradition of spending a lazy day, letting the children enjoy all of their new gifts. And truth be, rather imagine the children enjoy it more than they would having to get dressed up to go to dinner at the grandparents’ home and eating Christmas dinner with people they didn’t even know. We’ve always asked whoever didn’t have a place to land on Christmas to come to our home for dinner.
The traditions we’ve established were probably done so for a good reason. But have we become rigid about sticking with these traditions? And really, what’s to be gained from insisting on observing a tradition which has become obsolete, but a lot of animosity from in-laws? New situations demand that new traditions be established. Often children have several sets of parents, step-parents, in-laws, etc. Trying to please all of them can be a nightmare. Not only that, a day that should be joyous becomes stress-filled, often to the point where people dread it. Those who can, often travel to warm weather destinations. I suspect it’s not only for the warm weather, but an avoidance of family conflicts. A friend of mine with a blended family wanted to have everyone come to her home for Thanksgiving and establish that tradition. It didn’t work. Her son-in-law wanted to spend the day with his parents. Her husband’s son wanted to spend the day with his mother. Her husband wanted to spend the day with his cousin. And on and on. Fortunately, she was gracious enough to recognize that by trying to insist that Thanksgiving be spent at her house, she would alienate just about everyone in her family. The price was too high!
Bottom line. Embrace changing traditions. You might even find that you enjoy them!
I recently posed the question in the Goodreads group, Modern Good Reads, “What Makes A Character Interesting?” Here are some of the answers I received.
1. Must have a double edged personality
4. Reprobates surprise you
5. Perfect male – tall, dark, handsome, filthy rich, a gentlemen, able to fend off any threat, sensitive, seductive and oh so boring! (Think that post may have been a little tongue-in-cheek!)
6. Perfect heroine – feisty and strong, not unrealistically beautiful, and I don’t like it when she keeps getting into trouble needing her hero to come to the rescue.
These are the basics. There was a long discussion about characters not being one-dimensional, and more particularly, the flawed ones were the most interesting ones to everyone.
I’m still curious. Do we identify with flawed characters who aren’t perfect because we’re not perfect? And if we’re not handsome or filthy rich, can we identify with a character who is? I’m very interested to hear your opinion. Please, take a minute and give me your thoughts. Thanks!
Here’s a review I just posted in Goodreads for my soon-to-be-released novella, Tea Party Teddy’s Legacy!
As the author, I better believe in my book enough to give it five stars. If I gave it anything less, I think I’d be in for some serious editing and rewriting!
This is a continuation of Tea Party Teddy. Having spent 12 years as an insider in the Sacramento, California political scene, I well know the lengths politicians will go to in order to win an election. The Legacy is the suspenseful story of a man who finds happiness and love a bit later in life. The question becomes, who wins in the struggle between family values and politics? A quandary many a politician faces.
It’s also a Slade Kelly novel, the reprobate private investigator people love. After I wrote Tea Party Teddy, people kept telling me they wanted more of Slade, so here he is!
There was an overwhelming response to my recent blog on”Deal Breaker” words and phrases on book blurbs for potential buyers. Here’s some words and phrases that readers wanted to add:
3. Virgin Heroine
4. If you liked Fifty Shades then you’ll like this because it’s just like Fifty Shades (Seems to be true whenever a book achieves cult status. Some call it the “halo effect,” hoping to get readers to buy the book because it’s just like…
5. Language not appropriate to time and place. This reader wrote that if the book is a Regency Romance, the word “ass” should be “arse.” I couldn’t agree more! To me that’s just sloppy writing. I want to see a cohesiveness – the language, the settings, the descriptions – all should match the era. For example, I’ve read a lot of books where someone was wearing something that simply wasn’t around at the time in which the book takes place. You can’t have a Tiffany lamp in a mid 19th century novel. Inconsistencies such as these detract from the novel, no matter how good it might be on other levels.
6. And a personal note. What turns me off are misspelled words or using the wrong word. No spell check can take the place of a good copy editor!
I was recently asked to review a novel in which the author had written “serf and turf.” Wrongo! It’s “surf and turf.” I sent him a personal message regarding it and his response was, “Well, I had five people read it.” Yeah, but that doesn’t make it right!
Love to hear what turns you off in a book or on the blurb. Thanks!
I’m the Moderator for the Romance and Literary genres for the Goodreads Modern Good Reads group. There are so many reasons why a book does or doesn’t appeal to us. I recently posted asking if there were Deal Breaker words or phrases in the blurb about a book that would result in a “no buy.” Here are some of the responses:
3. “from hell”
4. “a love story”
7. “feisty heroine”
These were the words and phrases that were “Deal Breakers.” The readers also posted that they didn’t like foul language, detailed sex scenes, and repetitive sex scenes, although I think these things would in the book itself, rather than in a blurb.
Please keep in mind that these are not my words or phrases. They all come from readers. And I would imagine that there a number of people who would buy a book specifically because some of these words and phrases were in the blurb. Guess that’s why we need so many genres and sub-genres!
Want to put in your two cents? I’d love to hear from you!
Bob Rector knows how to hold the audience in the palm of his hand. A
former movie and television director, he knows what works. And Unthinkable
Consequences works. I invite you to enjoy my interview with this new
author. There is no doubt in my mind that you’ll be reading about him
as this book makes its way up the charts. Believe me, reading the book
and interviewing him were two wonderful experiences I had to share.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I recently bought a book which was highly touted as taking place in such-and-such city next to the Pacific Ocean. I love that town and know it well. After I read the book, I wasn’t sure if the author had ever bothered to go there. The only thing that even indicated it was set in that town was the reference to the sound of the ocean. I wanted to read about things that made that town special. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement!
If you’re going to state that the book takes place in a certain town or area, make sure it’s readily identifiable to the reader. Restaurants, parks, streets, landmarks – these bring the reader in and engaged with the book.
In today’s world, there is no excuse for not researching time and place. Everything is available through the Internet. If the building you refer to wasn’t built until 1990, don’t reference it when the book is set in the ’60′s. I guarantee you someone will catch it and call you on it. Attention to detail!
Colors can play a huge part in setting the scene. Two things readily come to mind. When I was in Ireland several years ago, the green colors of the countryside were so vibrant, they almost hurt my eyes. On a recent trip to Provence, many of the windows were set in blue frames and there were fields of lavender and sunflowers. They became part of the scenery when I wrote Coyote in Provence. If you haven’t been to the place you’re writing about, get a sense of the colors and don’t overlook the seasons. In many places of the United States, the landscape becomes brown in summer, yet is green during the rainy season. I imagine this is true in other parts of the world as well. Make your setting agree with the time of the year.
One of the things I’m often told by readers is that my books make them feel that they’re wherever I’m writing about, because of the attention to setting. For example, in Blue Coyote Motel, the motel is located in the desert outside of Blythe, California. My opening chapter sets the tone with descriptions of the heat, tumbleweeds, and barrenness of the land. The book becomes far more interesting to the reader when they can visualize the scenery, even if it’s indoors.
You remember the five senses. Ambience and settings are easily created through smell, taste, touch, sight, and sounds. I wrote earlier about color. What about the sounds of a busy city? Wouldn’t expect it to be quiet! I remember a trip I made to New York about the time car alarms become popular. There was a car in the parking lot below my room that had a voice activated alarm whenever anyone got within a certain distance. All night long I heard “please step back, you are too close.” I got no sleep that night and it was really annoying, but it was the sound of the city at that moment. The next morning I changed hotels.
Ocean towns and farms have smells of their own. Use them. The sense of taste can be brought in through foods of the area, or the salty air of the seashore.
Bottom line – a good book captures our attention and draws us in, but it’s been my experience that a lot of writers focus completely on characters or plot. They neglect to engage the readers’ attention through the senses. This is an incredibly useful tool! Bringing in the senses elevates a book from merely being good to being great and it’s so easy to do. Involvement by the reader guarantees they’re going to want your other books. Don’t miss this opportunity to capture their attention!
Hilton Collins | On 14, Nov 2013
All creative professionals know that digital technology can help them market their work and engage an audience, but harnessing its power is tough.
Creative people understand that they can use the Internet and social media as tools to boost their careers in many ways, but it’s not always easy. They also know that this technology reshapes how everyone lives their lives.
Imagination Unplugged was created in part to explore digital media’s impact on the creative artist, both professionally and personally. Many of these web-savvy folks build online platforms through blogs, video, and social media to reach audiences.
But these same tools also affect them personally. Just like everyone else, creative artists spend more time enjoying online shows, games, and e-books as years go by. Some apps and other technology also help them organize their time and create their works of art.
Last week, I posted interviews with 20 people about their creativity, and this week I’m posting responses from 17 of them about how digital technology makes an impact on them.
How does the Internet and digital media affect you, either personally, professionally, or both?
I asked the same writers, visual artists, and businesspeople about the role this technology plays in their lives and careers. Some struggled with its use early on, some are just getting the hang of it, and others have mastered its marketing power. See what actual professionals have to say about digital media and its role in their lives as creative artists.
Andy Schmidt – Owner of the Comics Experience School and Former Marvel Comics Editor
I run my own web-based teaching business called Comics Experience. The website is where folks register. Twitter and Facebook are integral to the marketing, and doing the “Make Comics” Podcast at iFanboy has been nice in just spreading the word. And the classes themselves, while held live, are still held via the Internet. So, it’s huge from a business perspective.
When I’m creating media at Brand + Entertainment Solutions, I have to know how all kinds of things work and what kind of experience fans get from them. I’ve worked in probably every medium at this point, even app games and such. Pretty exciting stuff, but man, it’s a lot to keep track and stay on top of!
Unfortunately, the flip side of that is that I don’t have much of a personal life digitally. It’s not that all I do is hype stuff, but I know people that I don’t really know are watching and reading, so I keep it within certain parameters I’ve set for myself. One does have to be careful, and I’m probably not as careful as I should be.
Diantha Jones – Author of the “Oracle of Delphi” Series
Social media is everything. Personally, it’s how I’ve kept in contact with all of the wonderful people I’ve met over the years, and it’s how I meet new people. Professionally, it’s how I engage with other authors, readers and bloggers. It’s my main avenue of promotion and so far, it’s served me well.
The Internet has been an all-encompassing part of my personal and professional life for so long that it’s very hard to remember typewriters, and life without the online world.
An academic at the University of Melbourne got me Internet access in the late 1980s. This was in the days of BBBs (bulletin board systems), and several years before the development of the Web. I discovered CompuServe, and spent huge amounts of money on access every month.
Once the Web grew, and the Mosaic browser was available, I realized that everything had changed. In 1994 I gave presentations called “The Internet and the New Age of Creativity.” Those presentations were met with blank stares, but I knew that before long, everyone would be online and that they’d CREATE content.
I always write about what I’m doing, so from the early 1990s I wrote for computer magazines, and also wrote business books. I wrote one of the first books ever on making the Internet work for your business. That was in 1998. Publishers had no idea what the Internet was, and how it might affect publishing. It was very wearing on the nerves to work with an editor who had no idea what I was talking about.
Reading and writing make up a huge part of my day. My iPhone and iPad are always with me. Oddly enough, I spend more time on my iPad than I do on my iMac — go figure. These days I avoid paper books, partly because of storage. Our home is crammed with books. For years, I had a policy that I had to give away the same number of books that I brought into the house. Mostly I read e-books because they provide instant gratification, and I can read what I want, when I want — no more hunting for books.
I have many blogs. I tend to get an idea and create a blog for it, and then write an ebook. It’s all become automatic. I don’t think about it — I’ve always considered blogging instant publishing, and created my first blog in 2000. So platform-building is painless. Total fun.
Zach Prez - Web Marketing Expert at Photography Spark
Given my profession is online marketing, the Internet and digital media shape my professional and personal interests. I’m constantly connected, whether it’s streaming songs from the phone’s Google music app to my car’s bluetooth system, or doing drawing lessons with my kids via YouTube. Thinking with the Internet first can change the way you approach almost any situation, and that approach has become ingrained in my daily life.
Kathy Lynn Hall – Twitter Expert, Fiction Writer, and Author of “Red Mojo Mama”
For the longest time I wasn’t interested in Facebook, but now I find I’m stopping by regularly, more for social connection than anything else. Twitter is very much about my aspirations as a writer. It is more of a platform building exercise although I have good friends on there. When I have a chance to do so, I try to really have conversations with people on Twitter and catch up with people I haven’t seen on my timeline for a while. However, if I wasn’t a self-published author I doubt if I would ever have started using Twitter. My day often starts at the computer, checking Twitter and Facebook while I wake up, and I continue to check in periodically throughout the day. Social media has definitely become an integral part of my life and I don’t regret it a bit. Unfortunately, like most writers, I’ll use any excuse to avoid the blank screen and social media ends up being that excuse more often than I’d like.
Bruce McAllister – Writing Coach, Veteran Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer, and Author of “Dream Baby”
I do the internet and social media because to be alive in 2013 I must, but they have nothing to do with my writing. There are entire generations of younger writers now who appear to write in order to exist in the internet community–to exist socially. For them writing is a social activity. I write privately, and I use the digital era to get my writing out into the world. If computers and mobile devices and the internet and all things digital disappeared tomorrow, I would type on my 3rd grade typewriter again, post the stories tin hardcopy to editors, and correspond with my fellow human beings by long and slow typed letters–connecting with them from my little island–the way we all did once. I’m happy either way.
Corbett Barr – Business Blogger, Web Marketing Expert and Consultant, and the Entrepreneur Behind Think Traffic
I love technology, but it’s important to remember that it’s just a tool. The real point of life is to connect with people and share experiences. That becomes harder and harder to remember as technology becomes more and more pervasive.
Allen Schatz – Mystery and Suspense Writer and Author of “Game 7: Dead Ball”
Outside of the obvious “it really makes the world very small,” I think the impact related to my writing is that it has allowed me to be discovered. I originally tried the traditional route of publishing. I signed on with an agent, but after 18 months, he was unable to sell my book to anyone and released me. I took that opportunity to go into self-publishing. I created a website for my writing (www.allenschatz.com) and increased my Twitter (@raschatz) and Facebook activity to promote myself and interact with readers and fans. I think more than anything, the Internet and digital media have enhanced my enjoyment of writing and reading.
Luke Romyn – Bestselling Author of “Sins of the Father”
Professionally my life seems to revolve around the Internet. Days when I’m not on some sort of device checking emails or updating social media are rare. Twitter and Facebook are the backbones of my marketing platform, and I have hundreds of thousands of people whom I chat with and share some of the nonsense rambling around in my brain. I think this is an amazing age to be an author, with outlets such as Amazon completely revolutionizing the industry, and I look forward to what the future might bring.
Steven Montano – Dark Fantasy Author of “Blood Skies” and “City of Scars”
I haven’t been a terribly social person ever since we moved to Washington — my wife and I have always been somewhat hermetic — so social media allows me to meet and interact with folks from all over the world, to share stories and jokes and insights with people I otherwise never would have connected with, and I love that. From a business perspective, I use Twitter as a marketing tool to connect with readers and potential readers, and I use Facebook to keep the really “hardcore” fans informed. I won’t pretend like I know what I’m doing, aside from making things up as I go along.
Claude Bouchard – Bestselling Author of the “Vigilante” Series
The Internet and digital media have a huge impact on me, both personally and professionally. On a personal level, email and social media have vastly facilitated communication with family and friends regardless of their location. I’m still awed when I consider how easily I can transmit messages, documents and photos instantly from halfway around the globe… A far cry from being impressed when we could get our photos developed in an hour. On the professional side, without the Internet and digital media, what I do for a living simply would not exist… *Shuddering at the thought of returning to corporate life…*
Jake Needham – Bestselling Author of Multiple Crime Novels, Including the Jack Shephard series
I’m not much of a Facebook user, but I’ve discovered that Twitter is quite an effective way of keeping in touch with readers and meeting new ones. I think I have something like 45,000 Twitter followers now, and I try to tweet a half dozen times or so a day. I talk mostly about my own books, their background and some of the real events they have connections with, but occasionally I talk about other things as well. That gets me nice feedback from readers so I guess I’ll keep doing it.
David Leadbeater – Bestselling Author of the Matt Drake Thriller Series
The Internet slows me down. It’s too easy to sit at the computer, plot at hand, ready to write, and suddenly get distracted by a quick bout of surfing. On the other hand it’s surely the best writer’s tool – research has never been so easy. Just be careful with those keywords – type CIA government plot too many times and you might get some unwanted attention!
Social media is great. Very easy to get lost in, so I have to limit my time there. Twitter especially, but also Facebook are good for me to connect with readers and other authors.
Dianne Harman – Political Thriller Writer and Author of “Tea Party Teddy”
Digital and the Internet have been pretty much my sole outlets and have worked for me. I didn’t want to waste time visiting all the bookstores, getting rejected, and maybe getting a couple to take my books on consignment, so I went the digital route and am happy I did so. It takes a lot of time and commitment, but it’s working. As far as my life away from writing, other than reading books on my iPad, I’m not a web or Facebook junkie. I view the Internet as a way to get information I need and a way to market my books.
Jason Halstead – Science Fiction & Fantasy Author of “Voidhawk”
The Internet does not make all things possible, but it makes all things a whole lot easier. Professionally speaking I use it to blog about my books, thoughts, or random ideas that entertain me- or rarely, irritate me. I have a Facebook fan page where I post regular updates, and I have my own website I built to further showcase what I’ve done and what I’m doing in the world of fiction. I use Twitter extensively to reach out to fellow authors and readers alike, as well as sharing occasional bits about my books to hopefully lure people in. Of course there’s loads of opportunities to do research on the Internet that were lacking twenty years ago (or required trips to experts, libraries, and other complications).
Personally speaking, the Internet makes life a lot easier. Sometimes it’s as simple as my wife ordering pizza for dinner when we’re having guest over. I’ve got a mildly bad habit of playing online computer games every now and then – without the Internet I’d be way too productive! Email, corresponding with writers and fans, answering questions about how I use the Internet, and enjoying occasional media (typically Pandora) are all made possible with the Internet.
I live on the internet – it is my entire life. It’s an extension of my mind- I could not function properly without it. Everything I do is fully integrated digitally.
John Marcotte – Journalist, Web Developer, and Founder ofBiznerds