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Friday, February 28, 2014

Calling all history and car enthusiasts, J. E. Pendleton- The Special

The cover of this novel says it all! Immediately my mind flashes back to a time long before I was born, when America and the world were entirely different. Look for my review in the near future.

The idea behind the book:

A call from a stranger leads me on a journey I could never have imagined. The caller said he had my uncle’s car. How could this be? My uncle died in WW II when his plane was shot down over the Bay of Biscay off the coast of England. After some questioning I realized I had the opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity to learn a bit about the uncle I had heard about my entire life, an uncle who died 3 years before I was born, an uncle I had always wanted to know more about. I also was being given the gift of a car that had been built by this uncle’s own hands and the hands of those he had been close to in his final years. The real treasure was the bond I formed with a man and the incredible story he told. The story of my uncle, the building of the car, and the people they both loved. The Special is a fact based novel; the story of family, love and trust in the face of worldwide catastrophe. In 1941 Billy Pendleton hitch-hiked to California to seek his fortune; little did he know what the future would bring. After encouragement from his new found friend and landlord he is soon building an automobile to set speed records and rubbing elbows with some of the legends of motor racing history. Into this heady world walked the woman that would change his life forever. As the car is built romance blooms and the world slips into a war that will touch every person on the planet.

Author Biography:

J. E. (Jim) Pendleton was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He has had an interest in automobiles and history for most of his life. He spent several years as an SCCA road racer and a lifetime involved with hotrods. It wasn't until after he retired from a long career in the telecommunications industry that Jim decided to pursue another of his dreams and write his
first book.

His first novel, The Special, was born from his love of family, hotrods and history. These are topics that are sure to be the center of future works. He is currently working on a series of novels where a young China Marine watches regional conflict explode into what becomes World War II. Jim has long considered World War II the single most important historical event of the twentieth century. His father fought in the Pacific and his uncle, Billy Pendleton is the main character in The Special and was lost in the Battle of the Atlantic.

J. E. Pendleton is a member of Military Writers Society of America and LexiCon Writers Group. He still resides in Texas with his wife and family.

Interview with Jim Pendleton

Elle: Tell a little about yourself 

Jim: I am a retired telecommunications area manager. I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. I am married to my beautiful wife Nancy and we have three wonderful kids and six extraordinary grandkids. I was born shortly after the end of WW II. My father was a veteran of the Marine Corps and took part in several pivotal battles in the Pacific. His only sibling, an older brother named Billy, was in the Navy and fought in the Battle of the Atlantic hunting German submarines flying out of southern England. His B-24 was attacked by a pair of German fighters south of the Irish coast in February of 1944. In the ensuing battle one of the German fighters and my uncle's B-24 were both shot down. The only witness to the battle was the remaining German fighter, so my uncle and his crew were listed as MIA, Missing In Action. The uncertainty of this event left a lingering doubt in my grandparent's and father's mind about what actually happened to Billy and they never gave up hope that maybe he was alive somewhere. When I was born both my parents worked and my grandparents kept me during the day. Those years in their house immersed me in the memory of my lost uncle and the family's great loss leading to my
writing of The Special.

Elle: What is your latest writing accomplishment? 

Jim: I have written rough drafts of two more books that will become a series about the origin of WW II. The series title is Soldier of the Sea, the first book is entitled Salt Winds and the second is Gobi Dust. The story begins with an orphan boy in Chicago and the tale of how he becomes a U. S. Marine and ends up in Shanghai, China in 1933. The second book is about his adventures on a scientific/espionage expedition into the Gobi Desert. My plan is for the books to tell the story of the conflict that develops in China and eventually breaks into WW II. The story is little known in the U. S. and will be told through the experiences of a young Marine corporal, one of the famous "China Marines".

 Elle: What was your inspiration for your latest work?

Jim: The "China Marines" were a small group of U.S. Marines stationed in China between 1927 and 1941. The U.S. and many of the European powers were heavily involved with the China trade during this time. Marines were stationed in China to protect American citizens, mostly businessmen and missionaries. It was an exotic and volatile era in the far East, especially China. Japan was an emerging world power and the stage was being set for the conflict that would determine the future of the Pacific. As I read about the events of this period I was taken in by the intrigue and little known events that built predictably into the raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Elle: Tell us a little about any other works you have published or will be publishing.

Jim: I have another rough draft nearing completion set in Fort Worth, Texas during the Great Depression. It is a tale about wealth, power and corruption and how normal people fought back.

Elle: How long have you been writing and how did you fall into it?

Jim: I've been writing for about ten years. My first book, The Special, came about while I was building an unusual automobile. The project was a ground up build, but I found myself barraged by questions about where the car came from. A story began to form inside my head and before long it consumed me to the point I had to write it down or go crazy. Once I started writing, I found that I enjoyed it a great deal. I wish I had started much earlier.

Elle: Please tell us a little about your writing process. 

Jim: I write in longhand using a fountain pen on spiral notebooks. The feel of the pen on the paper is part of my creative process. The problem with it is that it leaves me with a manuscript that is illegible to most people and so my wonderful wife Nancy types the book from my collection of scratching. It is impossible to give her too much credit for the work she does to turn an idea into a real book. I write in the evenings after supper. It is not uncommon for me to write until almost midnight.  I have an office full of maps and research books that contribute greatly to my writing.

Elle:  What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work? 

Jim: I was lucky to have a generous wife that has put every bit as much work into this process as I have. After completion, my first manuscript sat in a drawer for a long time because we didn't know what to do. During the time it sat the indie pub revolution was in progress. We decided this was the perfect vehicle for us to publish the book ourselves.

Elle: Do you have a favorite author or book?

Jim: I have three favorite authors and they are W.E.B. Griffin, Bernard Cornwell, and Patrick O'Brien in no particular order. My favorites from Griffin are "The Corps" series and also "The Brotherhood of War" series. They are both excellent. My favorites from Cornwell are "Saxon Tales" and "Sharpe" series, I love them both. Last, but far from least is O'Brien and his superlative "Aubrey Maturin" series. All of these books are excellent and have influenced me
greatly. I can not recommend them enough.

Elle: Do you have any advice for other indie authors?

Jim: There is a great deal of information available online for indie authors. We were lucky enough to find a local group of authors at their inception called the Lexicon Group and our experience with those folks has been a great benefit. We also joined World Literary Café and found them quite helpful as well. I am also a member of the Military Writer's Society of America, another great organization.

Elle: What genre or genres do you write and why?

Jim: I write mostly military fiction set in a specific historical period. These are the things that interest me most having grown up in a military influenced family. All of us owe so much to those men and women that put their lives on the line daily to protect our way of life it is impossible to pay them back. My books try to tell their stories so that they won't be forgotten. The least we can do is to remember their sacrifice.

Book Reviews: (not my review. I will post mine in a future blog)

"I can't recommend this book highly enough," HopUp Magazine Jan 2013 issue. "First of all, the car on the cover has been in Hop Up, built by a friend of Hop Up; or you may have seen it at Lone Star Roundup.

Jim began to write the story of his 'Special' build...and the story got legs, became a smash of a first novel and God knows where it will lead. Don't miss it: cars, lakes history all the right names of the prewar, wartime and immediate post war, a little bit of sex and intrigue and excellent development of characters and plots that, well, professional writers can do."

Where to find J.E. Pendleton
Whitehall Publishing
The Special at Amazon

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

K.L. Randis- Spilled Milk

I was thrilled when K.L. Randis asked me to review her book. I was unable to secure an interview but am pleased with reading and reviewing her story- Spilled Milk. The novel brought tears to my eyes as well as joy in my heart.

Spilled Milk by K. L. Randis is a touching story based on true events. Brooke Nolan, from the time she is a little girl until her teenage years is sexually abused by her father. She isn't the only target in the family, as her siblings feel his wrath in the form of physical abuse. Her mother is disabled from a mishap at work, and there are 4 children in the household which traps her financially. The perfect setting for the lightning storm that is Brooke's life. It isn't until sitting down to dinner with her boyfriend's family, and his little brother accidentally spills his milk, that she realizes her family isn't normal, nobody screams at the child or raises their hands in anger. Brooke has a difficult time wrapping her mind around the entire incident. The milk mishap is what seems to propel her into seeking help.

Brooke builds strong relationships with others, mostly adults who stand by her, giving their full support as she faces the challenge of survival, and court, against her father. The fear she feels echoes through the pages of this compelling story. K.L. Randis illustrations of growing up in a violent home are on the money. Her novel speaks volumes to anyone, especially those who have suffered the devastating effects of abuse. Her words are precise, and descriptive placing the reader front and center in an explosive household. Brooke is an intelligent young woman who finds peace, justice, and most importantly, strength.

In my opinion Spilled Milk is about awareness, and reaching out, helping those who can't help themselves. There are far too many stories that mimic Brooke's, characters, and situations may be different, but the fear, and devastation aren't. Someone in a toxic relationship has to want to be helped, and be willing to come forward. If they know they aren't alone, that support is available, then maybe more will reach out. This is a novel to share with as many people as possible.

Spilled Milk is an excellent read.

I have already shared this story with others. It is no wonder Spilled Milk is a best seller. A warm thank you K.L. Randis for sharing.

Follow the link to find K.L. Randis and Spilled Milk at Amazon.

K.L. Randis at Amazon

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Valentines Book Giveaway!

I have recently listed my book, As Snow Falls, in a Goodreads free book giveaway. I have 5 copies that will be sent to 5 people internationally. This giveaway has now ended and the books have been mailed to the winners.

5 Star Amazon Rating

Random Excerpts from the book:

He took me into the backyard, and I jumped on the swing. He jumped on with me and we twisted and twirled until we both fell off laughing, with our heads spinning. After a few minutes he stood up, grabbed my hand, and pulled me up. Next, he grabbed my other hand, walked me up against the tree, raised our hands above our heads, and he kissed me, openmouthed. It was an incredible feeling and I found myself kissing him back. My body felt like it was being lifted off the ground. Then reality hit me on the head like a brick, and I dropped back down to earth. 

She played the clarinet. I enjoyed listening to her play. She had such talent, and her music made me embrace the day. In the summer her music was like the sun cradling me in its golden arms. In the fall it was like the leaves changing colors, gently falling down to the earth, and resting. In the winter it seemed to echo through the empty trees, and in the spring it brought back life. It forced the trees to bud, the flowers to bloom, and me to venture outside to inhale spring’s sweetness.
Sometimes her music would touch my soul and bring Nathan back into my life. If I closed my eyes I could feel Nathan beside me. I could smell his body and touch his hand as we walked along the river’s edge. I would freeze these images in my mind. I didn't want them to go away, but somehow the harder I held on, the faster they would vanish. I’d find myself alone again with the enchanting sounds of her clarinet and tears softly rolling down my cheeks. 

He had a crush on her as well. He wasn't shy around girls at all, and when they flirted with him he flirted back. Anyway, Nikki found him and the girl kissing in the backyard one Saturday afternoon. As Reese tells it, Nikki went white as a sheet, her eyes rolled up into her head, and she almost fainted. He had to catch her to keep her from hitting the ground. He thought it was hilarious, but Nikki kept a very close eye on Jacob after that. I don’t think she let him out of her sight for more than thirty seconds at a time.

Natalie took my hand and we went out on the beach to the ocean. We kicked off our shoes and let the water wash over our feet and ankles. Then we walked along the beach at the edge of the water. The tide rolled in and covered our feet, and then it went back out. Finally we walked back to my spot and sat down in the sand. We sat with our legs in front of us and our toes pointed toward the water. We wiggled our toes in the sand, and then we waited for the tide to roll in over us. As the tide rolled in higher and higher the sun began to set. I looked behind us, and I could see Cobie sitting with a drink in his hand and a smile on his face. He had a perfect view of me from where he sat. 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

As Snow Falls by Elle Klass

As Snow Falls

by Elle Klass

Giveaway ends February 14, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Meet Author Steve Bartholomew- Black Bart Reborn

Steve Bartholomew is the author of Black Bart Reborn, his latest novel- historical fiction novel. I was able to get an interview and will at a later date post a book review of Black Bart Reborn. The novel seems wildly exciting. I invite you to read the following interview and meet
creative, interesting man. 

Elle: Tell a little about yourself (short bio)

     Steve: I lived most of my life in San Francisco, except  for four years in NYC. As cities go, it’s one of the best,  but I always preferred the countryside. I got out as soon as I could and moved to a small town in Northern California (Lakeport). I worked as a social worker for more than twenty years, while continuing to write short stories and articles of various types. Now I identify myself as a full time writer.

    Elle: What is your latest writing accomplishment? 

    Steve: My most recently published book is “Black Bart Reborn,” pub. 2013 by World Castle. Here’s a blurb:

“           It is an historical fact that Charles Boles, aka Charles Bolton, aka Black Bart was released from San Quentin prison in February 1888, having served his prison term for attempting to rob his 28th stage coach. He had previously robbed 27 others without getting caught. It is also a fact that a month after his release he disappeared from the pages of history. The following story is a fantasy about where he might have gone and what he might have done.”

     In other words, this book is not based so much on actual history as it is on what I perceive as the character of Charles Boles, and how he might have acted in certain situations. Read the story for entertainment, not education.

Click the link to view on Amazon
Black Bart Reborn 
Elle: What was your inspiration for your latest work?

Steve: The inspiration for all my stories is history itself. I often read historical essays and books for pure entertainment, because that’s where you find the best, most fantastic stories. Another source is old newspapers and out of print books, some of them now available in only digital form.

Elle: Tell us a little about any other works you have published or will be publishing.

Steve: I have eight books currently in print. My first novel was “The Terrorist Plot at Gopherville,” a satire on the CIA and Homeland Security. I also did a book titled “Chapel Perilous,” a tale of the paranormal. And then there was “Ariella,” a YA fantasy about a troubadour and his enchanted lute. My other books are all based in the Western Historical genre. I have two completed manuscripts currently on review by a publisher. One is “The Inventor,” about a crackpot scientist in Old San Francisco. Another is “Tunnel 6,” based on the building of the transcontinental railroad. I’m currently working on number eleven, about a photographer in 1850’s San Francisco.

           Elle: How long have you been writing and how did you fall into it?

Steve: I remember writing my first story at age nine. (It wasn’t very good.) I think I wanted to be a writer since I began reading. Sold my first short story to Astounding Science Fiction when I was twenty. I was paid the generous sum of $45.00.

           Elle: Please tell us a little about your writing process. 

Steve: I do nearly all my writing between sunset and midnight, when things tend to be quiet and nobody calls me on the phone because they’re all busy watching TV. I taught myself to type at age 13, on a portable Remington my mother bought me. I admire writers who compose in longhand, but I never could. Typing is faster, but computers are faster still. Sometimes even keyboards are not fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.

           Elle: If a fiction writer, are any of your novels based on events in your life?

Steve: No, I wouldn’t say that. I think most people would find the external events of my life rather dull. Of course, as with all writers, my stories emerge from my own viewpoints and perceptions. A painter makes up his own palette.

Elle: What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work? 

Steve: One challenge is not to rush into print. Several of my books have spent two or three years cruising past different publishers until finding the right one. A few are self published for different reasons. “Ariella,” for example was one which I wrote several years ago but never finished because I couldn’t find the right ending. I rediscovered it when culling some of my old floppy disks. Reading it again, I decided it wasn’t half bad. The right ending popped into view. So I published it in time for Christmas.

Elle: Do you have a favorite author or book?

Steve: Among contemporary writers, I think Stephen King is the Charles Dickens of our time. He has been typecast as a writer of horror tales, despite his producing many other kinds of tales. Of course literary critics hate it when an author functions in more than one genre. Jack London was another case in point. I also admire G.R.R. Martin for his ability in creation of convincing characters. But if I had to settle on one favorite book, I would choose Moby Dick.

Elle: Do you have any advice for other indie authors?

Steve: Just two pieces of advice: 1. Don’t be in a hurry. When you finish a book, stick it in a desk drawer for six months, then take it out and look at it again. 2. Get a professional to edit it. Not a friend of yours or anyone who knows you. Find an editor who is ruthless and cruel.

Elle: What genre or genres do you write and why?

Steve: I think I have pretty much answered that already. I have at times taken up other genres; at one time I wrote science fiction. I have also done some fantasy/paranormal. These days I’m mainly taken up with stories of the Old West. That does not mean cowboys or ranches. The main industry of the West was never cattle ranching. It was always mining. I’m fascinated by the gold mines of California and the silver works in Nevada. If I should ever run short of inspiration, all I need do is pick up an old book or newspaper and begin reading. 

Where to find Steve and his books
Whitehall Publishing
Steve's website/blog
Steve's books at Amazon
Steve's Books in thetroubledoyster Must Read BookStore

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jeniann Bowers- Phraseology and Letters Blog Tour

I feel it such an honor to be a blog stop on Jeniann's tour. Her poetic talent touches my heart, so much that I welcome all my regular visitors, and my new to take a few moments and read some of her poetry, as well as discovering who she is as a person. I encourage you to take advantage of the two opportunities available to get a free copy of Phraseology and Letters by 1. Comment on this blog post and 2. enter the giveaway below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Phraseology and Letters by Jeniann Bowers

Phraseology and Letters

by Jeniann Bowers

Giveaway ends February 28, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Jeniann’s Biography:
   Jeniann has been writing poetry for seven years and has one previous poetry book published, Expression on Life Book One, but recently retired it to publish Expressions and Letters, which is a follow-up book that has twenty-one new poems and personal letters written to the reader. Expressions and Letters is a book based around Jeniann’s life. Such as events that took place in her childhood and adulthood that she had to overcome many hardships and struggles.

     Jeniann has also published Phraseology and Letters. Phraseology and Letters is the way in which words and phrases are used in writing by a certain person. The Letters are to help Jeniann to express the true meanings behind the love and broken-hearted poems written with a dash of Phraseology tossed in. Phraseology and Letters is a very special book to Jeniann that she shared these poems with her readers in hopes that the poetry would be helpful to someone who is dealing with the ending of a relationship or loving someone that cannot have. 

    Jeniann has also published 25 days Christmas Poetry on her blog this past Christmas and in which gave the birth to her poetry book of Collection of 25 days of Christmas Poetry. These poems started out to be a gift on my blog to the world for Christmas. As time slipped closer and closer to Christmas, Jeniann realized that she needed to put them into a book so her readers could share them to their families and friends every year at Christmas. May God bless you all with joy, love, happiness, laughter and good health. 

   Jeniann’s writing techniques are somewhat different from other poets. Jeniann writes mainly condolences poetry about her true feelings and about her life and events that take place. Jeniann has a interesting life and many events are heart-breaking and sad. However, Jeniann is a true survivor and now is in a place where she is happy in her life. Jeniann is a single mom of four kids. Two adult girls, a teenage son and a 7 year old son who is Autistic; Jeniann is also a disabled mother; she suffers from Fibromyalgia and other physical disabilities. 

Phraseology and Letters

Poetry Synopsis1

Left alone to die

She feels broken and battered
All torn and worn
Her heart is shattered
It fell to the floor
For he left her side today

When she woke in the morn
The sun was bright
He kissed her goodbye
Told her he didn’t love her anymore
As the bird soared above her
Her life crumbled to the ground

As the day turns to night
She tries to hold on
To the memories of the past
When they were so deeply in love
Dreams upon dreams they shared

She did what she thought she could
She tried pick up the pieces
Of her broken heart
She turned to the bottle
She drank the days into nights
Life swirling out of control

Her heart still in shambles
She rises
She walks
She cries
She takes the shot

Phraseology and Letters: Displays the “Left alone to die” which was written in the memory of Jeniann’s sister who passed away in 2008. The song choice was a song that was very special to Jeniann and her sister for it resembled what life handed both them. “Life Has Turned Her That Way,” by Ricky Van Shelton. KayCee K helped pick the images and created the video. Phraseology and Letters Video Trailer(Jeniann does not own the rights to the song or images but the words to the poem are in copyright to Jeniann)

Jeniann's Poetry
Phraseology and Letters:
Poetry Synopsis2

Do we stand a chance?

Do we stand a chance?
To dance,
In life,
To touch,
Galaxy of stars
Dance among the daisy fields,
Feel the suns rays,
Upon our faces,
Do we stand a chance?
To sing, the mighty song,
In life,
To feel stage fright,
Brace our weeping souls,
Do we stand a chance?
To wed,
On this stormy night,
As seamen hit the ocean strong,
To sing the mighty song,
Galaxy of stars,
Twirling among,
The mighty King,
Do we stand a chance?
To have just one more,
Sweet, tender, kiss,
Tugging at our hearts,
We loved once,
Can we love again?
Do we stand a chance?

Days end

As the day ends
Her heart begins to race
Tears forming
As little raindrops
Splashes her check
She tries to wipe them away
She reaches out for him
As if he is standing there
Only to feel the emptiness
In the air
She curls in a ball
Afraid to breathe
She falls slowly to sleep
To only be waken
By the awful night mares
Sweat cover sheets
Screaming his name
Wanting to feel his kiss
Just one more time
As the dawn breaks to day
She rises from her bed
Feeling so empty and alone
No one answers
When she calls his name

For the angels called him home.

Where to find Jeniann's Poetry and Books

Don't forget to make a comment to be placed in a
 giveaway for a kindle copy of Phraseology and Letters!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Willow Tree- Elan Carson

I am proud to feature new author author Elan Carson and her novel The Willow Tree. Her descriptive, poetic writing is like non I've read before.The novel as an impressive work that will be loved by many for generations to come.

         The Willow Tree by Elan Carson is a sorrow filled story about Emma, an awkward and abused young lady. Her step father leaves permanent scars upon her soul as he takes her innocence replacing it with haunting pain and nightmares. The novel covers a several years span in Emma’s life from junior high through college. She flounders to make friends, always strives to be a “cool kid”, and has a deep desire for a boyfriend. She awkwardly foils every attempt to fit within the structure of her mind, although it seems that would be her own insecurities, and lack of confidence; her own self- destructive voice mimicking that she isn't good enough.
          Emma’s struggles aren't unlike the average teenage girl who seeks to be something more than what she is, who pursues popularity and acceptance, who desires to be beautiful and admired.  The years that she was abused physically, mentally and sexually forced deep pitted gashes inside the twisted crevasses of her mind. They control her, pushing her to depression, and actions that place her on the edge; reminding her that she is alive, putting pain into her numbness.
          Elan Carson uses a lyrical sing song poetic tone in her writing. The images flow easily from one page to the next within visual scenes drawn from the words of the text.  The novel places the reader front and center in Emma’s horrific world where they witness her pain, suffering and anger, but also her unnatural feelings towards her stepfather as both a “lover” and a torturer.  Few authors have such a profound ability to illustrate emotions, and feelings, bringing the reader on an impassioned journey with the protagonist.
         The Willow Tree is a novel I envision as a beloved paperback; crinkled edges, sagging binding, countless pages twisted over in a familiar book marking pattern, and borrowing disallowed by the owner in fear of it not being returned. This novel is timeless and will be endeared every bit as much in a hundred years as it is today.
Click here for chance to win a copy of The Willow Tree- Goodreads giveaway, ends March 1, 2014

Interview with Elan

Elle: Tell us a little about yourself.

Elan:I’m a 24-year-old creative writer, with a passion for lyrical language, dynamic
characters, and truthful endings. Outside of fiction, I love fashion and photography as well. 

Elle: What is your latest writing accomplishment?

Elan: Publishing my novel, The Willow Tree is my latest writing accomplishment. It’s a project I started 8 years ago, and I never imagined it blossoming into a full-length piece available for public consumption. 

Elle: Tell us a little about works you have published or will be publishing?

Elan: Outside of fiction writing, I dabble in journalism and have had multiple feature-length pieces published in Romantics Homes and Victorian Homes magazines. I don’t plan to start my next book until 2015 though.

Elle: How long have you been writing and when did you fall into it? 

Elan: I’ve been writing my whole life. My grandmother was an English teacher and she taught me how to read and write. I really started crafting short stories in first grade and never stopped. By the time I was in high school and throughout college, I experimented with journalism as well, though I majored in creative writing and still enjoy that the most. 

Elle: Please tell us a little about your writing process.

Elan: I draw from a lot of personal situations. If I experience something particularly interesting or adventurous, I immediately jot it down, detail by detail, when I get home. I go back later and try to make sense of everything and work into a plot line.

Elle: If a fiction writer, are any of novels based on events in your life?

Elan: Definitely. The majority of my writing mirrors my life. My work is very revealing and sometimes I find it difficult to be so vulnerable. However, I know that a lot of people can relate to scenarios that I went through, which ultimately makes the whole process of purging rewarding. 

Elle: What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work?

Elan: Having enough confidence to actually go through with publishing. It’s a very solitary feeling and sometimes my negative thinking would get the best of me. Now that I’m starting to get the hang of marketing, it’s a lot easier to keep following through with the goals I set for myself. 

Elle: Do you have a favorite author or book?

Elan: White Oleander by Janet Fitch is hands-down my favorite. So dynamic, beautifully written, and haunting. I aspire to be more like her with my own fiction. She really creates a world in which a reader can easily escape. 

Elle: Do you have any advice for other indie authors?

Elan: Don’t stop going. It may seem hard or difficult, or you may simply lose the confidence to follow-through with something, but really have faith that the story you have is worth sharing. 

Elle: What genre or genre's do you write and why? 

Elan: I enjoy contemporary fiction the most. You can hide pieces of yourself in the work and that’s always a luring treat. 

Elan can be found at:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Be Sublime

An all time favorite chemistry lab for my students and I, is the sublimation lab. Here we take dry ice, place it in water and watch the temperature drop while the dry ice goes from solid form to carbon dioxide gas. 

This experiment is so easy that you can do it at home, all you need is a glass, thermometer, dry ice, and tongs. Be sure not to touch the dry ice as it's cold and will burn. Dry ice or frozen carbon dioxide can be found at your local grocery store for somewhere around $15. If you plan on waiting any amount of time to do the activity, I advise not waiting long, place dry ice in a cooler as it will sublime at room temp fairly quickly.

I couldn't video record my students so I made the video after school.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Don't be the "too pushy car salesman", Social Media and Marketing

As an Indie Author I have found social media to be a fantastic marketing tool when used wisely.
I have spent the past several months caregorizing marketing data from both my own ploys and observations of others. It seems the common mistakes are
1. The constant barrage of buy my product, i.e. the Twitter user who posts their products every hour on the hour or the facebooker who posts their content several times a day on their business site then shares each post with their personnal account. Both these mistakes have the same effect filling up the newfeed. Your friends and family will be most likely annoyed when they have to sift through your mega posts to find what's happening with their other friends and family.
2. Find the social media site that best fits your needs. Each site has groups, pages, and communities you can join for purposes of selling your products. Not to mention their are groups for talking with others who are in the same business, making connections which can pay off 100 fold.
3. Don't expect all your friends and family to jump on the bandwagon and buy what you are selling. Now just because they don't buy doesn't mean they don't care about you, it's not personnal. They may simply not be in need of what you are selling or they may be referring others your way under the radar, maybe they don't have the money to spend. Offer it at a discount, wouldn't you expect that?
How can one make social media work for them? Best advice take a chill pill, relax, hounding people will not sell although it may turn them away permanently. Instead try the following
1. Twitter your product once or twice a week, offer incentives such as discounts, giveaways, etc. I occasionally post à book I just read or started reading. Spark their interest. Use your business Facebook page for just that and only share with your personnal account once or twice a week or when you have something miraculous to share such as a fabulous book review. As I stated earlier, seek out groups appropriate for selling and sharing. Linkedin is a fabulous place to find other people in your profession and to make connections and network. Google plus has an unlimited amount of communities and a favorable audience, not to mention it's google-the most popular search engine.
2. Keep your posts to the social media they are more appropriate for, such as Tumblr or Wattpad for posting your written work, instagram for taking pics of products, pinterest for categorizing into boards. I am an author so I'm leaning towards that angle but this advice will work for any product.
3. Send your friends and family requests to like your page but don't keep sending the request when they don't like right away. Send an email giving a link to your webpage, offer to join a mailing list. Nobody likes the pushy sales person who works on commission so DON'T be that person.
The worlds of marketing and social media are new to me however I spent 15 years working in retail before teaching, there is someone who wants what you are selling.  Spend the time to find them without pushing away potential customers, and don't expect to make a million right off the bat, success will happen. Be smart, play smart.
If you have found a way social media has helped your business, please share.