Herda: Coming Soon

Chi-Town Blues Whimsical, haunting, riveting, and erotically charged tales of life in the Windy City. When master storyteller D. J. Herda left Chicago in the late Seventies, he took a big part of the city with him.  Now he has unleashed them in all their wild-and-wooly, sexually charged, hit-and-hit-harder glory.  These tales are hauntingly vivid, running the gamut from Crime and Punishment to Humor, Pathos, Spirituality, and Coming-of-Age in the Windy City.

Among the tales of intrigue included in this volume are six brand-new stories:

“The Tenants” When Officer Cartel of homicide investigates a series of disappearances all centered around one main suspect, he’s convinced she’s as clever and diabolic a murderess as he’s ever seen. Until she convinces him otherwise, after which he sets out to prove both himself, and her, wrong.

“The Fisherman” A look at just what can go wrong when a young man leaves his comfortable home to go smelt fishing with his gung-ho, war-hero uncle one raw, rainy, Saturday morning–and just why he’s not likely ever to do so again.

“Double Jeopardy” When a young bank executive joins a new firm and gets promoted to mortgages and personal loans, he finds his new landlady the perfect customer–as old, doddering, and doting as anyone he’s ever seen. Not to mention trustworthy. As he sets up a foolproof trap to ensnare her in a vintage game of bank embezzlement, she turns the table on him before he manages at the last moment to wiggle free. Except for a slight commitment of marriage.

“The Great Man” A young man in the glory years of his youth discovers that his grandfather, whom he always considered a great man, was nothing but a bum, philanderer, and womanizer, he’s crushed–until he meets one of his grandfather’s by-then aging but still sexually alluring conquests. And then he realizes that he’d been right after all. Jim Blasdell really was a great man.

“The Union” They meet at the university’s Ratskeller and immediately fall in love–he with her angelic face and demonic body and she, with his apparently unlimited funds and innate gullibility. But when she goes to tighten the noose she’s just placed around his neck, he sidesteps adroitly out of reach and turns the table on her. Until she turns it right back on him.

“Trapped” A young home builder and part-time author moves to a small town in southeastern Colorado where he meets all the right people, including the really wrong ones. As he’s poised to make a legal killing in real estate, others are just as poised to stop him. After apparently beating back false charges, he’s finally in the clear, but his own gullibility enables his best friends and neighbors to ensnare him in a noose from which there is no escape–one that he constructed by himself.

Coming Soon!

Bauer: Recent Release

Sheryle Bauer talks books and writing

The Devil in the Deal Have you ever thought to yourself, I should write a book?  After being dragged through yet another deposition and being asked the same ole’ questions and giving the same ole’ answers, I thought to myself, “I’ve told this story so many times, I should write a book!” And so I did.

Some ask if my life has changed since The Devil in the Deal was published. I’m not sure how, but it has. It has certainly gotten better. Through my writing, I’ve  learned the process of never giving up after having spent most of my life feeling helpless.

Since The Devil in the Deal, I’ve continued writing. I can’t not write! There are just too many words at the tips of my fingers that need to get on paper and too many stories in my head to leave untold.

Whittling my book down to what it’s about, I come up with two words: Learned Helplessness.  My life wasn’t all bad, but it’s far better now. Although I have no complaints, there was a time when most of my days were spent living through horrifying experiences–experiences that groomed me to believe I was helpless. Learned helplessness destroys your self-esteem and leads to making bad choices in your life instead of good ones. 

Whenever I cried out for help, no one listened. According to one Catholic nun, I was just a bad little girl who didn’t respect her parents. My teachers didn’t want to get involved: How can she be telling the truth? Such things just couldn’t possibly have happened in my family. My aunts and uncles and even my grandparents knew what was going on, but they didn’t know what to do. No one knew what to do; so I became helpless. 

I still get excited talking about my book and knowing people are listening! It’s an incredible story involving crime and passion and love and hate. It’s the tale of a young, naive girl who fell into the hands of opulence beyond her wildest dreams and then watched it all slip  through the fingers of the people who gave it to her. All she could do was enjoy the ride while it lasted. And in the end, when the world came crashing down around us, I was the lone survivor. I’d won. 

We’ve all got a story to tell, that’s for sure. The Devil in the Deal is my story. And perhaps, it’s your story, too.

Danenberg: Recent Release

Dr. Alvin H. Danenberg’s latest book lives large

Crazy-Good Living! Healthy Gums, Healthy Gut, Healthy Life I’ve been a very busy boy. (At the age of 72, I can still call myself a boy.)

Nutrition, gut health, oral health, and overall health are my passions. My unique take on these subjects has led others to ask me to participate in numerous webinars, seminars, and interviews on social media, the Internet, and in front of live audiences. You can read my weekly Blogs by going to my website: https://drdanenberg.com/blog/

A few months ago, I wrote a protocol for a double-blind clinical study to show that specific spore-based probiotics in combination with vitamin K2 as a supplement can improve and prevent gum disease. The clinical study was approved by the Institutional Review Board and is now in active trial. I am overseeing this research in three separate dental offices in the U.S.

And oh, yes, I was diagnosed with an incurable bone marrow cancer in September 2018 and was given 3-6 months to live. But I have created an integrated protocol to treat my disease unconventionally. I feel great; I have energy, and I am baffling my conventional oncologist who thought I would be dead by now.

So, as I have said, I have been–and continue to be–a very busy boy!

Favage: Coming Soon

Paula Favage’s new series coming soon

The Mynah’s Call When I first began writing this book in late 1979 on the heels of a friend’s stint in the Peace Corps, the Soviet-Afghan war was but a remote possibility. By December of that year, it had become an all-too-painful reality. I followed its brutal twists and turns as the Soviet Bear tore to pieces a seemingly defenseless, largely disjointed, mostly feudal society into which a westerner had only to shudder at the predictable results. But those results turned out to be anything but predictable: After nearly a decade of vicious fighting, the Soviets withdrew from the country it had all but succeeded in vanquishing. The reason: a rag-tag band of poorly armed, poorly trained, and overtly loyal Afghan partisans who called themselves the mujahedin.

It’s all here in livid descriptive detail: the two idealistic Americans who set out to save the world; the corrupt American consulate and his idealistic right-hand boy Najeem; Dinara with her staff of dedicated medical professionals; Shah Khan and his fabulously wealthy and influential family, and the Afghan rebel who ultimately steals Paula’s heart.

This is the story of two embattled, young Americans who joined the corp in order to strengthen their personal bonds and help shape a safer, brighter tomorrow in a world seething with hostility. This is the bittersweet outcome of their battle–first with one another and then with a brutal, rugged countryside and finally with a nation embroiled in bitter conflict. I am pleased to have been a small part of the story which I present here to you as fiction based upon reality.

Coming Soon!

Your New Book: Treasure … or Trash?

The Web can take your book from trash to treasure!Believe it or not, the Internet is a Babe in the Woods compared to the venerable book-publishing industry. But what a babe! Before the invention of the Web, publishers had a limited window of opportunity for selling their new titles, which they pursued twice a year with their Spring and Fall lists. With each new list of books released, publishers relegated their old list to the “also-rans” bin. Oh, they kept the books in their inventory, hoping to milk a few additional sales from them. But with newer and fresher titles to promote, they pretty much abandoned the older books to the trash bin.

Today, with the ongoing opportunity for on-line sales, new books stick around practically forever. That creates new promotional venues not only for publishers, who can devote their attentions to their new lists and maintain promotional programs for their old ones, but also for authors.

In today’s marketplace, authors are expected to do their fair share of marketing and promotion–and then some. No longer saddled by the six-months-to-death rule, authors can continue pitching, promoting, marketing, and experimenting with new promotional-and-sales venues even while they work on completing their next works of art. And so can publishers as they prepare their next list.

That means that, if a book doesn’t become a runaway best seller right out of the chute, it still has a chance to perform well. In most cases, that requires the author investing in or stumbling upon (however you want to phrase it) a new, targeted, brilliant, effective series promotions campaign. (Can you say, “Never give up, boys and girls?”)

A case in point is a LitReactor article by Joshua Chaplinsky detailing his experiences in promoting his book. While his comments on professionally designed covers and formatting don’t pertain to EP authors, whose books receive professional editing, design, and development, Chaplinsky’s last three sections are particularly relevant. They’re entitled “Identify your audience;” “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” and “Keep creating content.” Check out the article. In the meantime, remember to keep writing, publishing, and spreading the good news. It’s guaranteed to help you sell more books over the long haul.

The Skinny on Amazon’s Review Policy

Every author in the universe knows the power of obtaining and growing Amazon book reviews. But the mega-retailer has quietly taken aim at putting an end to some of the review-gathering techniques you may have been using for years. In addition to the obviously outright no-no’s such as loading your basket with phony reviews from imaginary people with throwaway e-mail addresses and their own Amazon accounts, there are more “gray areas” with which to contend these days. In short, to stay on the right side of the ‘Zon’s almighty Book of Rules and Regulations when it comes to posting book reviews (or any reviews for that matter), you need to take into consideration the following restrictions:

  • Asking friends, family, and other acquaintances to leave you reviews is forbidden. We can’t have unduly biased assessments of our books on our own book pages, after all! In short, if you know ’em, don’t use ’em. Some of your acquaintances may post reviews anyway without telling you in advance. That’s not the end of the world. Just be aware that that these reviews may suddenly “disappear” from your book’s pages.
  • If you interact with someone on social media, Amazon’s crawling bots may “pick up” your relationship (whether real or imaginary) and remove any reviews by what it considers is a friend or follower. That’s aimed at keeping popular authors with large social-media platforms from stuffing the ballot box with reviews from like-minded followers.
  • Ask people on your ARC (Advance Review Copy) list and other venues to disclose that they received a free book: “I received a free review copy of this book from the author, which in no way biased or slanted my review.”
  • You can’t compensate people in any way for leaving reviews beyond the actual product, itself  (your book, for example). That means holding contests, paying reviewers outright, swapping reviews one-for-one, and other tactics aren’t allowed.

What will Amazon do if it catches you playing with loaded dice? They may simply pull the reviews from your page. But if they determine the crime is egregious enough, you could find yourself going to court. Amazon recently sued more than a thousand sellers for promising to provide “misleading and inauthentic” five-star reviews for a seller’s products through a Website called Fiverr.com.

Rely on Reedsy – Really!

If you haven’t explored the Reedsy Website’s offerings available to authors and publishers lately, it’s time you did so. Among other great self-marketing and -promotional resources you’ll find:

Best Book-Review Blogs – Discover the best book review blogs in your preferred genre, from general fiction to YA paranormal romance. Their search bar connects you to a vetted catalog of active book blogs and thoughtful, quality book reviewers. A great opportunity to pick up some new reviews.

Book-Promotional Services – Looking for that ideal book promotion site within your price range? Reedsy’s vetted database can eliminate the scammers while their tier system is designed to give you a better picture of the sites that tend to deliver the biggest bang for the buck.

Writing Contests – Adding some book awards to your resume or your book’s Website might be just the ticket for drawing more attention to you and your book without running afoul of the losers and scammers that dwell among legitimate competitions. These are “the finest writing contests of 2018,” according to Reedsy, for both fiction and nonfiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays, novels, and more. 

It Takes More than a Blog

Great. You’re an author with a blog. What next? Well, just sit back, bide your time, and wait for those thousands of dedicated readers to begin buying your book. Right?

Wrong! You don’t need a mere blog. You need a community of dedicated readers to serve as a launching pad for new books, announcements, speaking engagements, contests, and whatever else you might envision to help peddle your wares.

According to author/marketer Joel Friedlander, “Simply having followers or a large email list won’t create engaged readers who will answer calls to action. To create that kind of relationship, bloggers need to project three vital qualities: authority, trust, and likability.”

Friedlander, whose book, A Self-Publisher’s Companion, has become something of a cult marketing guru, goes on. Check out what he has to say.

How To Sell Books

Latino writer promotional guru Marcela Landress has a suggestion for getting the buzz out about your new book.

“No surprise here, but ‘word of mouth’ on Twitter spreads very quickly. The word can spread very fast within a 24-hour period, so the more information available about you, your work, and your interests, the greater the chance of gaining a fan, a feature, or a sale. With that said, I urge you to start the chatter!”

She advised authors to be social, share themselves, and be authentic. “Make sure that you have a variety of places where you can share information and grow your features, publicize your book, and share your successes. All of these outlets provide more exposure for your book and help to establish a strong digital footprint. Publicity breeds more publicity. So, my advice is to chat it up, be social, and continue building a social network.”

However, she admonishes authors not to be a living, breathing advertisement. Her rule of thumb? Share on a four-to-one ratio. “You can post something self-promotional if you post four other non-promotional links that are helpful to your followers. The key is to build credibility.”

In other words, convince the reader that you’re interested most of all in him.

Book Reviewer Links #3

Here’s yet another round of book-reviewer links you might want to check out. The links tested live before publication. If an e-mail bounces, run a search for the organization and find a current Contacts e-mail address on that Website. You may have to do some fancy footwork to find reviewers appropriate to your book’s theme or genre or find information on how to submit your book for review.Always strive to provide the review sites you contact with whatever they require in order to review your book. Be prepared to wait for from several weeks to several months for the reviews to go live, and, of course, be as courteous when corresponding with your contacts or reviewers as possible.