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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas!

                                               
                                                   Wishing you all a very merry CHRISTmas!

                                                                    Trina Boice

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We Can Both Win a Kindle!


Hi friends!

Win a Kindle and a bunch of other prizes by simply "liking", making a comment, or subscribing to my FREE new $$ money book series this week only at:
www.bigworldnetwork.com/UpinDownEconomy.html

Tell all your friends to come support me and my new book and I can win a prize too! The Big World Network is a new, cool web site where readers can get books for FREE, listen to the authors read each chapter, and win prizes!

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Get Celebrity Endorsements


Getting a famous celebrity to endorse your book could bring huge recognition and sales to your marketing efforts! But what if you don't know any famous movie stars or industry experts personally? No worries! Ask anyway! I've found that those who succeed in life are those who are persistent and brave....that's definitely true for authors too.

Here are some steps to consider while you're working up your courage:

1. Reach for the stars! Do a quick brainstorm of the celebrities or experts in your field and create a Wish List of everyone you would want to endorse your book or project. Think big. Of course, they should actually have something to do with your target audience, platform or subject matter.

2. Do your homework about each famous person on your list so that when you write to them you can mention something specific they did that inspired you.

3. Make it easy for the celebrity to say yes to your request for an endorsement or testimonial by showing them 2-3 quotes you've written ahead of time that they could choose from. Of course, don't offer the same quotes to everyone on your list; personalize them for each celeb. Offer to do a video or written testimonial for them to use on their web site.

4. Don't think of yourself as a little peon. Just be brave and ask! The worst that can happen is they'll say no. Most famous people love recognition and love to be quoted.

I found a cool web site that offers a paid membership access to celebrity contact information at www.contactanycelebrity.com They have all kinds of examples of regular 'ole people like us and how their books, products, and fundraisers earned a LOT more money when they were endorsed by famous people. Check it out! Your new BFF celebrity may be waiting...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday Madness

                                                 http://www.sisterthrifty.com/    (a/k/a Trina Boice)




While I’m not one to stand outside a store at 4:00 am for Black Friday bargains, I definitely get excited about “Cyber Monday.”  Why?  Because I can get great prices from the comfort of my home by shopping online!
Cyber Monday has become so popular and a part of our Christmas shopping lexicon that it’s even in Wikipedia now.  The term Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday.  Whereas Black Friday is associated with traditional brick and mortar stores, Cyber Monday symbolizes a busy day for online retailers. The premise was that consumers would return to their offices after the Black Friday weekend, making purchases online that they were not able to make in stores.
Each year www.walmart.com  offers some of the best bargains and this year they’re in a price war with www.amazon.com    I love that!   Some of the common discounts include free shipping and percentages off the sales price.  While I love going inside a real store and being able to touch the merchandise and get my picture taken with Santa, I REALLY love being able to stay home and shop in my pajamas!
Below are some really great web sites where you can see at a glance which retailers are offering discounts this year:

One of the great advantages to shopping online is that you can ship directly to your gift recipient, saving you hours of packaging presents, driving in crazy traffic to the post office, and standing in long lines during the busy holiday season!  Some stores will even allow you to "double dip" which means you can stack discounts.   Before you purchase anything online, remember to do an online search of the name of the store you're interested in buying from, along with the words "discount code" and you'll be pointed towards sites that give you special codes to use in the shopping cart to save even more money!
Some of my favorite discount code web sites are:
·         www.currentcodes.com
·         www.Couponcactus.com 
·         www.retailmenot.com
·         www.couponcabin.com
·         www.couponchief.com

Each year consumers spend more than $80 billion shopping on the Internet.  It’s fast.  It’s easy.  No crowds.  No searching for parking spaces.  And who doesn’t love shopping in their pajamas?  Unfortunately, one out of ten adults reported being victimized by online fraud in 2011, so you definitely need to be careful.  Computer security experts have come up with some shopping tips to help protect you from cyber crime.
1.      Investigate the vendor.  Check the site for refund policies and contact information.  It only takes a minute to review a company’s track record at www.bbb.org  (Better Business Bureau).
2.       Protect your private information by never giving financial information by email.
3.       Start a paper trail.  Print online receipts, product information and email confirmations.
4.       Choose carefully where you shop.  Only shop online at sites that provide password protection and encryption.  When you see “https” you know the site is secure.
5.       Protect your computer with antivirus software and firewalls.
The Internet has also made the world a much smaller place.  There might be a company in Wisconsin who has exactly what your son’s school needs but can’t afford.  www.throwplace.com    is a great resource where charities, businesses, and individuals donate items and can get free items in return!  Be sure to sign up your kids’ schools or your church!
The holidays are a busy time to be sure.  Remember to pause and reflect on what’s truly important.  Toss the guilt if you can’t buy the expensive gift for others that you wish you could.  There is no shame in writing up some of those hand-made gift coupons, good for one back rub or car wash.  People on their death bed never say they wish they had that gadget; rather, they often express regret for not having spent more time loving and serving others.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Friday Bargains


                                                                   www.sisterthrifty.com
                                                                   www.trinaboice.com


Now is the time to pick up that e-reader you've been wanting for Christmas or those expensive books going on sale...
Saving money is all about being organized and thinking ahead.  Black Friday is a perfect example.   Most of us are completely exhausted after all of the busy activities of Thanksgiving and still have dirty dishes in the sink the next day, but the organized shopper wakes up early the next morning, ready to hit the stores and grab the bargains.  Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, and it marks the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season in the United States.

The term dates back to at least 1966.  "Black Friday" originated in Philadelphia in reference to the heavy traffic on that day.  More recently, the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (turning a profit). In many cities it is not uncommon to see shoppers lined up for hours before stores with big sales open. Once inside the stores, shoppers rush around and snatch up what they can, as many stores have only a few of the big-draw items in stock. On occasion, some shoppers are so overly enthusiastic about the savings that injuries and even fatalities have been reported.   No savings is worth that!

This year, in hopes of surviving the rough economy, some stores have started their Black Friday sales already!  Check out these helpful web sites to find some of the great deals out there:







Now, having said all of that, the best gifts are those which come from the heart, and not the shopping mall.  In a tight economy, we should never go into debt just to purchase gifts.  There are plenty of inexpensive, yet meaningful gifts we can give to our loved ones without breaking the bank.  Remember, spending quality time with others is priceless!

Many retailers allow discount code web sites to "leak" their sales information several days before Black Friday.  If you love to shop at a particular store, do a Google search with the name of that store, plus the words "Black Friday" and you might get to find out what steals and deals they'll be featuring after Turkey Day!  Target and Wal-Mart have already released some sneak peek info about nice discounts on their flagship door-buster electronic items.  BJ's Wholesale Club, Harbor Freight, and Ace Hardware have already released their Black Friday catalogs as well.

While the best deals are usually found in the wee hours of the morning when the stores first open, most retailers this year are planning on extending their bargains through the Thanksgiving weekend to encourage more consumers to spend their dollars and kick-start the Christmas shopping season.  Do a web search with your city’s name, plus the words “Black Friday” and you’ll find some store listings with their special hours.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Big World Network Launches TODAY!



I'm really excited about a new web site called www.bigworldnetwork.com which launches today!
They're featuring one of my new books, "How to Stay UP in a DOWN Economy: Saving and Earning Money From Home", but that's not the only reason why I'm excited.

Their goal is to change the way we read books and interact with authors online. On their web site they say "Think of us as a television network, but for literary series written in episodic format." Sixteen books will be featured during this first season. You can choose between either reading each week's episodes or listening to the audio versions.

Each day, two books are spotlighted, offering new episodes to enjoy. Several of my author friends have been selected to participate in this first season's launch, so I know you're going to love their work and become addicted! I highly recommend Steven Booth, Tristi Pinkston, Heather Justesen, and Amanda Meuwissen. I'm excited to get to know the other authors. My episodes will be featured every Wednesday for 12 weeks. It's the only non-fiction book to be chosen for the series!

The audio chapters are also going to be made available on iTunes each day, and they're currently working on developing formats for the iPad and iPhone, so stay tuned! You'll be able to interact with the author, write comments, and offer suggestions.

Check it out!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: "The Alias" by Mandi Slack


Haven’t we all fantasized about changing our identity and slipping into another world at some point?  Ok, maybe I’m revealing a little too much about myself now.  (wink)

Blog tours for new book releases are a lot of fun, but I’m so busy that I don’t normally participate in many.   My blog post today concludes a tour that features newbie author, Mandi Tucker Slack, whose first book caught my eye and made me want to jump on the blog tour train.  I love a good man-on-the run story, especially when he’s innocent, and especially when he’s a woman!   Mandi’s suspenseful story reminded me of Julia Roberts’ movie “Sleeping With the Enemy,” which I got a real kick out of.

Without any spoiler alerts, here’s the gist of Mandi Slack’s tale:  Jacey’s ex-husband is wanted by the FBI.  To protect her son, Jacey flees to a small town and attempts to hide their identity, but her past is never too far behind.  Neither is the FBI.  Throw in a little romance, and it’s a fun, quick read, perfect for when I was taking a long flight, escaping from my own personal world on a quick business trip.

Jacey’s son’s name is Blaze, the same name my family gave our pet dog.  Every time I read the name Blaze in Mandi’s book, I imagined my sweet Papillon as a shapeshifter in her story.  Their personalities are somewhat similar…young, adventurous and not quite a man.  What mother doesn’t want to protect her son?  I have four sons and could relate very well to the mother-bear mentality of doing whatever it takes to keep them safe.  The author is a playful mother of three who lives in beautiful Utah, where the story takes place. 

In an interview with Mandi, she explains “I love to incorporate my hobbies and interests into my writing.”  My favorite thing about writing is being able to create my own adventure. I was a tom-boy and as a child I craved adventure. I explored exotic countries and conquered high mountain peaks all from the comfort of my own back yard. I had a very vivid imagination and that love of creativity followed me into adulthood. I have so much fun when I am able to sit down and pound out the ideas floating around in my head, and I enjoy writing the type of stories that I love to read.”

To learn more about Mandi Tucker Slack and her new book “The Alias”, visit her blog at:   http://heyyouslackers.blogspot.com/

To purchase her book online, go to:    http://www.amazon.com/Alias-Mandi-Slack/dp/1599555093/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317347209&sr=1-1   

The Kindle edition is only $3.99!  To read more reviews about Mandi’s new book, check out the rest of the blog tour stops:

October 1st –   DebbieDavis        http://debbiesinkspectations.blogspot.com/
October 3rd –   KimberlyJob       http://scribbledscraps.blogspot.com/
October 4th –   JulieBellon         http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com
October 5th –   CindyHogan      www.cindymhogan.blogspot.com
October 6th –   CamiChecketts     http://camicheckettsbooks.blogspot.com
October 8th –   LauraBingham    http://alvor-daretodream.blogspot.com/
October 11th – Aimee Brown     http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/
October 12th – Steve Westover    http://www.westoversleftovers.blogspot.com
October 13th – Mindy Holt         www.ldswbr.com
October 14th – Holly Barnes        http://2kidsandtiredbooks.blogspot.com
October 14th – Danyelle Ferguson       http://www.queenoftheclan.blogspot.com/
October 15th – Lynn Parsons       http://lynndeniseparsons.blogspot.com/
October 17th – Janice Johnson   http://www.toothsomefamily.blogspot.com/
October 18th – Kaylynn England   www.bookreviewsandmore.com
October 18th – Maria Hoagland   www.mariahoagland.blogspot.com
October 19th – Rachelle Christensen       http://www.rachellewrites.blogspot.com/
October 21st – Alice Gold                    http://imsofunny.blogspot.com/
October 25th – Tristi Pinkston            http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com
October 28th – Heather Justesen     http://www.heatherjustesen.blogspot.com/

By the way, if you’re a new author or even a seasoned one, take note of Tristi Pinkston’s excellent marketing techniques.  She’s the one who put this blog tour together and is a master at networking in this industry! 


 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Amazon Enters the Publishing Business


In publishing news today:
Amazon will soon be competing with the publishing houses that supply it.  The gigantic company is set to publish 122 books this fall in both physical and e-book form. Amazon has signed deals already with self-help author Tim Ferriss and film director Penny Marshall, and is said to be aggressively targeting top authors.

“Publishers are terrified and don’t know what to do,” says Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House. Amazon has hired publishing veteran Laurence Kirshbaum to run the operation, which will publish both fiction and nonfiction.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PoetryTurned Into a Vegas Show

                                     
“Jabbawockeez is the best show I’ve seen in Vegas by far” was what my 16 year old son posted on his Facebook status last night, after seeing their fun show at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.  We live in Sin City and my son has seen quite a few shows, so that’s really saying something. 

Even if you don’t have a break-dancing teen in your family, you’re sure to enjoy this world-famous dance crew’s high energy show. (Old folks near the stage will want to wear ear plugs.) Picture comedic mimes doing some of the coolest hip hop dance moves you’ve seen, add some fly costumes designed by Kara Saun, the runner up on Bravo’s “Project Runway” Season 1, and put it all on a hip stage set and you’ve got 90 minutes of good, CLEAN entertainment, perfect for families.

The Jabbawockeez first gained fame in their national television appearance on America's Got Talent in 2006, before winning the MTV hip-hop dance reality series, Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew in March 2008. They’re considered to be the ultimate dance crew these days and have inspired countless kids to get out there and bust a move.  Does anyone say “bust a move” anymore or did I just reveal my age?



While the target audience is most definitely the young club set, we were surrounded by an amused older crowd in the audience as well.  The dancing is accompanied by a spliced mixed tape of sorts that features musical fan favorites and movie audio clips that span several decades, causing the audience to cheer and clap in excited spurts.

The crew’s signature look includes white masks and white gloves, but even without faces, the dancers’ bodies gave effective expression, often communicating with hesitant volunteers from the audience for some delightful comedy sketches.  In fact, the performers don’t take themselves too seriously at all and the show is almost a comedy routine mixed with some impressive flares, locking, popping and dime stopping.

Without a word from the dancers, they were able to weave a faint story throughout the show of how anyone can find their muse (the show’s title “MUS.I.C” is read “Muse I See”.  I’ve seen several Vegas shows start with a janitor sweeping the stage (get in your seat at least fifteen minutes early to enjoy his pre-show antics), but this blue collar Wockee maintains his faceless identity during the whole show and attempts to teach us that anyone can dream big by bringing “the colors of sound” to life.

One of my favorite sections of the show was a ninja showdown that featured some glow-in-the-dark antics that were fun with the lights off and hilarious when the lights came back on to reveal their secret tricks.  The Jabbawockeez know how to poke fun at Vegas too, dressing up as Elvis, Blue Man Group, Carrot Top, and a show girl.


The original crew consists of seven members: Kevin Brewer, Joe Larot, Phil Tayag, Chris Gatdula, Ryan Paguio, Jeff “Phi” Nguyen, and Ben Chung “B-Tek.” Before being accepted as official members of Jabbawockeez, Jeff and Ben Chung had to participate in a dance battle with one of the three founders.  I did a head count during the Vegas show and soon learned that MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” Season 2 winners Super Cr3w perform nightly with Jabbawockeez, adding some extra athleticism and acrobatics to the show.  In fact, at times there is so much going on the stage that it’s hard to know which performer to focus on.

The name Jabbawockeez is derived from Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky, briefly alluded to in the show when the janitor starts to read the book and then falls into a dream state.  By the way, don’t sit in the first three rows if fog machines bother you. Although the show started off a little slowly, the packed audience was eager to award the crew with a standing ovation at the end.

And now a few bummers…I talked to several adoring audience members who had their wallets out, ready to buy merchandise before and after the show, but were quickly discouraged by the ridiculously steep prices, leaving the dope signature masks and t-shirts in the store.  I was surprised that the dance crew didn’t take their masks off at the end of the performance like they so often do, and a bit disappointed that they didn’t come outside the theater to greet the audience and take photos.  (I had my Flipcam ready to film them becoming best friends with my son.)

The crew’s success in Vegas means that the show has been extended through spring 2012.  Performances are Thursday at 9:30 p.m., Friday at 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and Sunday and Monday at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets start at $52 (plus tax and fees).    For more information, please visit www.jbwkz.com or www.montecarlo.com.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Writers Get New Support Online

                                                               http://www.trinaboice.com/


In writing news this week:

Writing can be a lonely task. It can be tricky to motivate yourself, and without proper feedback, it’s hard to know how to improve. Several websites already exist to encourage writers, through classes, workshops, online forums and more. Tomorrow, a new site called LitReactor adds its name to the list.

Created by the team who built Chuck Palahniuk‘s website, which itself has hosted writing classes and more, LitReactor uses a combination of engaging content and smart gaming mechanics to encourage writers to gain both new skills and new trusted friends.  Check it out!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bringing Authors and Readers Together



Imagine being able to talk to the author of a book at the very moment you are reading it. Unless the author is your uncle sitting next to you at Thanksgiving dinner, the scenario seems unlikely. With today's cool technology, however, now it's a reality!

Amazon's new feature @author, allows readers to ask questions directly from their Kindles which are sent to the author's Twitter account, as well as to the writer's home page at Amazon! Amazon's cool new technology is aimed at creating a reader community online, focusing on Kindle titles.

While publishers worry that they will be cut out of the connection, authors are cheering for a chance to improve their brand and build a stronger fan following. If you've ever tried to write to an author through the publisher's contact information, you know that messages and questions to authors rarely get passed on. Now the relationship can be more intimate and even instant. Some publishers are still furious that anyone can sell their independent books online and make a fortune without their help. Amazon is truly changing the publishing industry.

John Locke (not the bald guy from "Lost", but a businessman who started writing Kindle novels and is the first author to sell more than a million ebooks online), recently signed an unusual contract with Simon & Schuster, which allows him to continue selling his ebooks while the publisher handles marketing and sales of the print versions. This unique deal is a perfect example of how the balance of power in the traditional publishing world has shifted, creating a need for both authors and publishers to adapt to new changes.

The @author feature is an expansion of Amazon's social-networking-style program for Kindle which invites readers to "follow" other readers and see which books they like and have commented on. Amazon is hoping that readers will answer questions for the authors as well and create a virtual hang-out on their site. Technology continues to bring together readers and authors in new ways. Any time more people are reading and talking about books is always a good thing!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are You Prepared?


Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. We're seeing devastating catastrophes all over the world.  September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.  Now is the time to gather some emergency supplies and create 72 hour kits for each family member and each car.  After serious disasters, you may be on your own until help arrives.  In case of evacuation, you'll need food, clothing, camping equipment, cash, medicine and personal identification.  Supplies can simply be kept in a backpack near your garage door or closet for quick access.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said “Iencourage everyone to take a few minutes and discuss what you would do in caseof an emergency or disaster. The public is the most important member of ournation’s emergency response team and the more the public does to be prepared,the more successful this team will be.”

We can livefor three weeks without food, but only three days without water.  Finding clean drinking water, therefore,becomes a top priority during a disaster.  Because city water may become contaminatedduring a disaster or completely cut off, you need to have a back-up plan.  Experts recommend storing at least threegallons of water per person per day for fourteen days.  Water can be stored in glass or durableplastic, refreshing the contents every year. Never store water in metal, vinylplastic or in containers previously used for chemicals or hazardous material.

You’ll alsowant to store water treatment supplies, such as unscented bleach, tools forboiling water, and a water filter. Before drinking uncertain source water,you’ll need to disinfect and filter it. History reveals that more people die AFTER a disaster from water-bornediseases than died because of the initial disaster.  The deathly spread of cholera in Haiti after their devastating earthquake is a perfect example of that.  Even a “Boil Water Alert” from your localcity after a simple water main break can feel like a disaster if you’reunprepared.

Thefollowing are some steps to treating water to make it more safe for drinking.
1.     Clarify: Remove debris.  If there are a lot of leaves, dirt or otherparticulate matter in the water source, run the water through a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or piece of fabric.

2.     Disinfect: Harmful bacteria canbe killed by boiling or by chemical disinfection, but both treatments may stillleave harmful contaminants, so filtering is required as the final step.  Bring water to a boil for five minutes (addone minute for every 1000 feet above sea level).  Another way to kill bacteria is to addhousehold bleach to the source water, about 1/8 teaspoon (10 drops) per gallon.Never use scented bleach, and double the amount if your bleach is older than ayear.  Allow the bleached water to standfor an hour or more before filtering it. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines if using Chlorine tablets instead.Iodine tablets are not recommended anymore.

3.     Filter: Once your water hasbeen clarified and disinfected, you’ll need to filter it to remove harmfulhealth contaminants, as well as to remove the chlorine taste.  Purchase a good NSF certified solid-activatedcarbon filter.  The filter could be youreveryday filter or a portable one you could take with you during anevacuation.  

Beingprepared brings peace of mind for you and your loved ones.  Spend some time with your family talkingabout how to be better prepared for various emergency scenarios, as well aspracticing the actions you’ll take. Print out the instructions above and keep them with your water treatmentsupplies.  For moreinformation, visit http://www.fema.gov/privatesectorpreparedness/

Monday, September 12, 2011

Protecting American Authors


                                                               www.trinaboice.com

After a hard-fought battle to ensure the protection of American authors and publishers from extortionate foreign libel judgments, one New York-based scholar and researcher has secured the passage of the first law to achieve unanimous Congressional support this term.

Initated and promoted by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (SPEECH Act) protects Americans from the enforcement of foreign libel judgments that do not meet American standards of constitutional protection for freedom of speech.

Faced with an internationally-publicized suit against her by a notorious libel tourist in 2004, Dr. Ehrenfeld was the first author to stand up against the phenomenon of libel tourism, a practice by which foreign libel plaintiffs sue American authors and publishers abroad solely in the attempt to suppress free speech in the United States.

Dr. Ehrenfeld’s initial efforts resulted in the passage of protective legislation in New York and in six other states, and have now reached her ultimate goal of extending those protections nationally.  Thanks Dr. Ehrenfeld!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Contrast in Literature in the News


Charles Dickens

I thought the following news reports this weekend about what's happening in the literary world were interesting.  Are they a sign of what our culture has become or simply an odd juxtaposition of contrasting news stories?

For example, one news report stated that while Charles Dickens might have written that he wanted no “monument, memorial, or testimonial whatsoever” to be erected in his name, the UK‘s first ever statue of the great author is nonetheless set to be created next year to mark the bicentenary of his birth. Do you think he'll be rolling over in his grave or slightly pleased?

Designed by sculptor Martin Jennings, known for his bronzes of John Betjeman in St Pancras and of Philip Larkin in Hull, the statue will be placed in Guildhall Square in Portsmouth, the town of Dickens’s birth.  

 Another report that I found amusing said that a group of Franciscan friars furious at the theft of bibles from their church in Florence several days ago have taken the unusual step of praying for the thief to be struck down by diarrhea. Friars at the 15th century church of San Salvatore al Monte, which was a favorite of Michelangelo, were irritated when a rare and expensive bible disappeared from the lectern, and they flew off the handle when a replacement bible donated by a worshipper also went missing and within a few hours.

And finally, the concise Oxford English Dictionary (OED) just released its newest updates, The Daily Mirror reported. They include the word made famous by Sasha Baron Cohen‘s “Borat“: Mankini, as well as jeggings (leggings that look like jeans) and sexting (sending sexual text messages).  Now would Charles Dickens being rolling over in his grave?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Writing With a Writer

                                                         www.trinaboice.com

                                                            
One of the things I love about writing books is that I get to meet other authors. I especially love getting to know creative fiction authors who think outside of the box. Many of my non-fiction books have become best-sellers, but writing engaging fiction seems way too hard to me.

A good author friend of mine, Steve Booth, has just started a new project that is really imaginative and engages readers in a new way. He's inviting readers to participate in a story as it unfolds online at: http://www.stevenmbooth.com/?page_id=201&cpage=1

Here is what he had to say on his latest blog post as he explains the project:
"Over the last several months, we have been working on a new way to present fantasy material on the web. Of course, there have been many excellent examples of storytelling – eBooks, multi-path stories, even full-blown, immersive role-paying games.

These all fall short, however, when it comes to one thing — engaging readers in the creative (and sometimes challenging) process of writing a story from scratch. What we thought would be very cool, interesting for all, and also instructive, is to actually create, under the watchful eye of an author, a short story, interactively, over a period of several weeks, and to let everyone have a chance to contribute and make suggestions about how it should go. In short — you get to do the fun stuff, and I have to do the work. We call it an ‘eStory’.

Each new iteration of the eStory will consist of two or more parallel story tracks, based on the suggestions and selections made by all those that wish to contribute. Thus, although I have a pretty good idea of where our tale will lead, it is in a very real sense ‘organic’ – how we get to our destination has not yet been determined.

SO… if you’re curious, if you’ve ever wondered how folks come up with these fantastical characters and worlds, please join us on our adventure. We’re calling it ‘The Legend of Talimar’. In addition, it will be possible for anyone to comment, critique, ask questions, and suggest alternative paths that might be interesting to follow.

After everyone has a chance to respond, we will create at least two, or perhaps more alternative paths for the story to take, like the waters in a stream parting around a rock. Later on, the two paths will rejoin the main plot of the story, but in the interim, new and interesting things will be revealed; things no one had suspected; things I never considered, perhaps!

After a number of installments (we're thinking like 10-12), we'll conclude the tale with a really cool climax and finale, and we'll provide some special secrets for those who also want to continue with the follow-on volume, Dark Talisman."

Go support my buddy and check out his fun project at:
http://www.stevenmbooth.com/?page_id=201&cpage=1

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Everything You Should Know About Writing A Bestselling Book


I recently attended an awesome webinar, hosted by bestselling author, Arielle Ford, and marketing guru, Mike Koenigs.  Together, they talked about why some authors make it big, while so many other authors fail. 
You can hear part of their discussion at: http://tinyurl.com/3p2q5cc

Because Arielle has worked all aspects of the industry (author, literary agent, publisher), she's definitely worth listening to.  She talked about what publishers and agents really look for and what successful authors always do first.  Do you want to know what that is?

The biggest take-away for me was to create a book with the end in mind or, in other words, start with the marketing first before you even begin to write.  Publishers are looking for an author with a platform.  A platform includes your "hook" and why your material is better than anyone else's, but also includes your fan base and how you can prove to a publisher that you already have "x" number of adoring fans who will buy your book the minute it hits store shelves.  While we authors love to think our writing is all about the craft, publishing houses are more interested in the saleability of our work.  Being an author also means having a head for business.

So here's a tip....begin branding yourself even if you haven't started writing that Great American Novel yet.  Create a platform and name for yourself that will get people talking even before your book comes out.  Publishers are looking to authors more and more to participate in the marketing process.  Long gone are the days when an author handed over a manuscript and the publisher did all the rest of the work to bring the book to market.  There is much an author can do to increase the success rate of her book.

Check out the following video to hear more about what Arielle has learned from her many successful years in the industry:  http://tinyurl.com/3p2q5cc

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The New NetGalley

”netgalleysmall”


My publisher, Cedar Fort Books, is a subscriber to NetGalley, a new online service for the electronic delivery of galleys and press materials. It provides wonderful opportunity of distributing these materials to the media electronically, saving thousands upon thousands of pages of paper.  Even better, it's FREE!


What’s great about NetGalley is that you will be able to register and use this service to view new titles from Cedar Fort Publishing at no cost. You can read galleys online, download PDF versions to read on your computer or nook, read on your Kindle or Sony Reader, and search within galleys.

Through NetGalley, you can view marketing materials, book trailers, photos, author bios, cover art and more.  Plus, NetGalley will reduce our environmental impact by utilizing digital content to get our titles into your hands faster!


Visit http://www.netgalley.com/ to register and request to view Cedar Fort Publishing’s galleys.  Don't you just love technology?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Personal note to Arnold Schwarzenegger

Personal note to Arnold Schwarzenegger: Zip up your pants, be a REAL man, and pay Maria Shriver's attorney's fees for the divorce YOU caused. Reports from MSN report that the unfaithful husband refuses to pay Maria spousal support or attorney fees. Granted, she may not really NEED the money, but it seems like such a slap in the face to the woman who put up with all of his disgraceful womanizing for so many years.

If Arnold is concerned at all about repairing his reputation, he may want to reconsider. Joseph Baena, Arnold's love child with his former housekeeper, said "Cool" when he was told who his real father is. Most movie-going audiences, however, are not having the same reaction.

Reuters announced that Schwarzenegger is shopping a new installment of the cyborg hit "Terminators." Will YOU see Arnold's next movie or will you voice your opinion of disgust by refusing to use your hard-earned money to buy a movie ticket? Are Americans forgiving or do we hold a grudge? Do other countries forgive and forget celebrity scandals easier?

How often do you embrace or reject a movie based on how you feel about the movie stars in the film? Does a celebrity's personal character (or lack thereof) dictate which TV shows or movies you support? Should they? Do you love to watch "naughty boys" on the big screen? Did I love Arnold's previous movies? Of course. Will I watch any future ones? I don't know.

Christian churches have worked fairly hard in the past decade to stand by their convictions and support decent, less-advertised movies in order to reward value-driven studios and encourage them to produce more of the same. Do you?  Is it working? We can definitely vote for good or bad behavior with our wallets.  Do we do the same when it comes to authors?  

Is talent valued more than character?  A Hollywood scandal used to damage a celebrity's ability to work in Tinsel Town, but not anymore.  As they say "Bad press is better than no press."  What can we do to reward honor and integrity in the industry?  Vote with your wallet.

 .

The End of An Era

                                                                    by Trina Boice
                                                               http://www.trinaboice.com/

I was out of town last weekend when Harry Potter opened in theaters, but I'm VERY excited to finally see the final installment of the wizardry masterpiece tonight!  It's been a thrill to watch the characters and even the actors grow up right before our eyes. I'm a little hesitant, however.  Will it live up to my expectations?  Will I feel a satisfying closure or be left wanting?  Have you seen it yet?  What did you think?  Who will be the next J.K Rowling of our day?

A dear friend of mine, whose first book will hit stores soon, shared his thoughts with me.  His name is Steve Booth.   http://www.stevenmbooth.com/   He has the talent to be an inspiring author and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everyone loves him as much as I do.  He told me "It’s hard to over-estimate the impact of Harry Potter, both the book and the incredibly successful films. I personally believe that J.K. Rowling single-handedly redefined the meaning of the Young Adult Fiction universe. She was one of my initial inspirations in becoming an author, and several of her characters were the genesis for players in my book, Dark Talisman."


He felt the same anxious excitement about watching the final movie and said "It was, therefore, with a good deal of trepidation that I attended the final episode of the film series in my local IMAX theater last night. I was not disappointed. Although I felt the ending lacked a certain definity, I left the theater with a feeling of both closure and completeness. Frankly, I wish that the quality of production and depth of acting in this, the final installment in the series, had been more evident in previous offerings, but I found it a highly enjoyable excursion, nonetheless."

So, we are left with the obvious question – now what? What new adventures are on the horizon? Where is the next, Great New Author.  I hope that someone will step into the fray, for I think, given the state of the world, that we all desperately need another Harry to walk with us through the difficult times ahead; to make us believe, if for only a short time, that magic could possibly exist in the world; that there is something wonderful around the next corner, or between the train platforms.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Celebrity Books in the News


Arnold Schwarzenegger was bragging that he was about to sign the biggest book deal of all time a month before the news broke in May that he fathered a love child with his housekeeper. But after the scandal, it’s Maria Shriver’s book that publishers are chasing, sources say.

#1 NYT bestselling author James Patterson’s next 26 books, including 4 new series for young readers, with 13 titles each for Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown, and Megan Tingley at Little, Brown Children’s, for publication through the end of 2014, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

NYT bestselling historical thriller writer Matthew Pearl’s The Bookaneer, about a literary spy and bounty hunter in the 1890s who sets off on a quest to the Samoan Islands to wrest a manuscript from a dying Robert Louis Stevenson, moving to Ann Godoff at the Penguin Press, in a two-book deal, by Suzanne Gluck at William Morris Endeavor, and to Stuart Williams at Random House UK, by Cathryn Summerhayes at William Morris Endeavor.

Rock music legend from The Band, Robbie Robertson’s untitled picture book biography, written by his son Sebastian Robertson, focused on his early years growing up in Canada spending time at Six Nation Indian Reservation, and, later, living and working in America, joining Ronnie Hawkins ’s band as a guitarist at 16, sold to Christy Ottaviano of Christy Ottaviano Books, for publication for Spring 2013, by Ryan Harbage at the Fischer-Harbage Agency.

Jim Collins‘ Great By Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite them All, co-authored with management professor Morten Hansen, asking why some companies thrive in uncertainty and even chaos, based on nine years of research, enumerating the principles for building a great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times, also to be released in ebook form for the first time (with Collins’ four previous bestselling books now being released as e-books from July through September), sold to Hollis Heimbouch at Harper Business, for publication on October 11, 2011.

Will you read any of these?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Super 8 Makes for a Super Date


My Friday night included free buttery popcorn, hand-holding with hubby, and Super 8. Have you seen it? Two thumbs up! The cost to see a movie at the theaters has really climbed lately, so keep reading and I'll share some tips on how to cut some of the expenses. But first I have to tell you about the fun flick!

J.J. Abrams' sci-fi live-action movie easily took the top spot at the box office last weekend in North America. The audience I shared the theater with absolutely loved it, cheering and laughing the whole way through. And even AFTER the movie ended...WARNING ALERT...don't leave the theater when the movie ends; there's a fun surprise to watch after the credits start rolling.

Now, I have to admit that I've been angry with J.J. Abrams, ever since he got me hooked on "Lost" and then disappointed with the lame ending after several years of loyal viewing. He's great at reeling you in, but he seemed to get lost himself, wavering through a disjointed storyline and leaving far too many questions unanswered at the end.

I saw his first big screen effort "Cloverfield" and felt that familiar twinge of disappointment (not to mention the dizzying nausea), so I really hesitated seeing Super 8. Thanks to Steven Spielberg to the rescue, Super 8 includes an emotional tug on your heart with characters you really care about and some magical "ET" flavor that leaves you more satisfied at the end. Just so you know, I don't always have to have a happy ending, just one that makes some kind of sense.

Super 8 successfully blends a boy's adventure with friendship, the classic underdog with cool alien CGI, and suspenseful horror with comedic quips. Oh yeah, and the ever popular zombies. Both adults and kids will enjoy this fun flick. People looking for action sequences, as well as tearful moments, will leave satisfied.

The movie features a group of misfit pre-teens with humorous banter that often flies under the radar because of everything else going on in the scene. Child actors Riley Griffiths (Charles), Joel Courtney (Joe) and Elle Fanning (Alice) steal the movie and are headed for a bright cinematic future.

One of my complaints with J. J. Abrams is his unwillingness to quickly reveal the creature that's causing so much destruction (Lost, Cloverfield), so I wondered if I'd even get to see anything good in this film. He does and it's worth the wait...but wait you must. Spoiler alert: It's a cool alien, but not the kind you're used to seeing on the big screen lately. Loved it.

Word to J.J. Abrams...stay close to Steven Spielberg and he'll help you create the truly magical movies people love to watch.

Ok, so on to the movie savings! First we'll start with the FREE popcorn! This one is easy! Simply text the word "popcorn" to 35350 and follow the prompts. Most theaters offer a free membership club where you earn points towards free popcorn, soda and movie tickets with every purchase. It's free to join and the loyalty points add up quickly. If you have to buy popcorn, buy BIG. Those gigantic buckets are the best price per kernal and often come with a free refill. Napkins are free, and with all that buttery goodness you're going to need some! Skip the sugary sodas and ask for a free cup of water.

How about a free movie? Yep! Most theaters offer a free movie day for family films during the summer! Check out your local theaters or go online at these sites:

* www.regmovies.com

* www.cinemark.com

* www.amctheatres.com

* www.brendentheatres.com

* www.ravemotionpictures.com

You've probably had a school-aged student try to sell you on of those Entertainment books as a fundraiser. There are some great coupons for movie tickets in those books! Gold C is another coupon book you may have seen or bought. You can also purchase the books online, and a local school can get some credit if you know their name and/or code.

Costo and Sams Club sell movie tickets at a discount! Most theaters offer bulk discounts, so don't be shy to ask.

Drive ins are less expensive and offer a fun way of movie-viewing. I have great memories of wearing pajamas to the drive-in and falling asleep in the car while my parents finished watching the film. To find one in your area, check out www.drive-ins.com Discount theaters that show older movies will also save you money if you don't mind missing out on the Opening Night frenzy.

Avoid buying tickets online, because there is often a purchase fee tacked on to the price. IMAX viewings usually have a surcharge up to $7 for watching the same movie you can see on a "regular" screen. 3D versions also have a surcharge up to $4, so if the movie is offered in a "regular" format, you'll save money. You'll also save money if you attend a matinee; some theaters charge extra Friday and Saturday nights.

Nothing like a Friday night at the movies and a big tub of buttery popcorn.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quick Book News

                                                                       By Trina Boice
                                                              http://www.boicebox.com/
                                       

Less than two months after Glenn Beck and Fox News agreed to part ways, the conservative talk-show host has reached a new deal with publisher Simon and Schuster that includes the launch of a new imprint. Mercury Ink will release fiction and non-fiction titles.

Borders bookstores may have a savior. The private-equity firm Gores Group is in discussions to buy more than half of the bankrupt bookseller in a deal that would keep the business running. Borders has been soliciting offers since it filed for bankruptcy in February. Gores, which buys stakes in distressed companies and tries to rehabilitate them, isn’t the only bidder on the horizon, though the other potential buyers haven’t been named. Interest in Borders has picked up since Liberty Media’s recent bid for Barnes and Noble.

Science fiction writer Orson Scott Card is fighting with his talent managers over alleged commissions due from the film and web adaptations of Ender’s Game. A movie version of Ender’s Game has been long anticipated by sci-fi fans. The 1985 novel garnered many prizes, including the Hugo and Nebula awards, and is now regarded as a classic of the science fiction canon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

27 Traffic Tips for Bloggers


I've been writing several different blogs about specific topics for 10 years.  My loyal readers have been asking me for years where they can find my author blog, but I never created one...until now!  Yay!  Here it is! 

Thank you for cheering me on as I write books and blogs that enrich your life.  You have no idea how much I truly appreciate your support, comments, and friendship!  My goal is to bring you GREAT content to help you achieve YOUR goals!

There are a gazillion blogs out there on the Internet these days.  How do you draw traffic to yours?  Try experimenting with some of these simple tips.  Why 27 and not an even 30?  Because 30 would have been too predictable!  Keep your blogs interesting and don't be afraid to mix it up.  The most important tip is to provide valuable content....with that many blogs out there, you need to give your readers such rich content that they keep coming back to you for more!

1.  Post often and on the right days: People are more likely to read blogs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
2.  Turn on Google Sitemaps.  Claim your Internet real estate.
3.  Invite people to comment.  People don't like to be lectured.  Have a conversation.  Reply to comments.
4.  Build your following.   Follow others.
5.  Share posts to Twitter and Facebook
6.  Optimize your post titles and tags
7.   Draw in traffic with a capture or "squeeze" page
8.  Add email alerts
9.  Include plug-ins
10.  Reach your followers' followers with Reblog and TypePad Micro
11. Add videos
12. Run contests with prizes
13.  Participate in a blog tour with other bloggers
14.  Advertise it on swag at booksignings and other events
15.  Invite guests to share their posts
16.  Interview other people your readers are interested in
17.  Ask readers what they want to learn about.  Include fun surveys.
18.  Build trust.  Before people engage, they need to know you, like you and trust you.
19.  Provide links to your blog on your web site
20.  Make it a fun place to visit!  Lighten up!
21.  Provide RSS
22.  Keep your blog posts short and sweet.  Write like you talk.
23.  Include eye-catching graphics.  Use a theme to show who you are visually.
24.  Mix it up.  Don't be so predictable.  Keep it interesting.
25.  Write grabbing titles. 
26.  Provide your readers with solutions to their problems.  Be a helpful resource.
27.  Provide valuable content