Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cover Reveal: "Hot Pink in the City" by Medeia Sharif

I'm proud to be part of the cover reveal for Medeia Sharif's new novel, Hot Pink in the City. Here it is!

Cover Reveal

HOT PINK IN THE CITY, Prizm Books
Author: Medeia Sharif
Release date: August 19, 2015

Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite '80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle…ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape. A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures—blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

My "Dragon Tattoo" Parody Just Got Two Horrible Reviews

From the Department of Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is...

In my job, we have to get surveys from customers, and I've learned there are three kinds of people. One, people who had a great experience, which motivates them to leave a survey as a reward. Two, people who had a bad experience, which motivates them to leave a survey as punishment. Three, people who had a mediocre experience, so they don't feel like leaving a survey at all. I feel the same applies to book reviews.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Scribd and Kindle Unlimited Just Changed Their Subscription Models

Urval av de bocker som har vunnit Nordiska radets litteraturpris under de 50 ar som priset funnits (2)
A few years ago, I championed subscription models for books as the wave of the future. Shortly afterwards, they became real. Kindle Unlimited, Oyster, and Scribd all started services offering unlimited reading of a pool of books for a low monthly price. Now that the services have been going for a while, there seem to be problems. Both KU and Scribd announced pretty sweeping changes, and I'm not sure how I feel about them.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"The Hemingway App" Makes Writing Easier to Read

We all want to be better writers, am I right? But it's not easy. It's so hard to write anything at all that sometimes, once I've written something, I can't see ways to improve it. But there are ways to become better writers, one of which is to make our work easier to read.

That's where the Hemingway App comes in. It's a website I heard about designed to make your writing more clear. You can put in something you're writing, and it will judge it based on readability, adverbs, complex phrases, and passive voice. When the app finds any of it, it highlights them in colors for you to fix.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"The Adjacent" by Christopher Priest [Review]

The AdjacentThe Adjacent by Christopher Priest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a difficult book to review, because I imagine it would be very polarizing. Some people would love it, and some people would hate it. I personally fell on the side of loving it. But I admit, it's unconventional.

"The Adjacent" is one of the most unusual books I've ever read. It's not that the story is confusing. It's not that the story is mysterious. It's not that the story defies definition. It's not that the ending is shocking. It's that the novel is all of these and more. It's more like a series of short stories than an actual novel. However, the stories are all interconnected in terms of sharing common characters and themes. But at the same time, some of the stories place characters in different locations and times, and even contradict each other.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Excerpt From "Little Green Men": Employment Agency

One of my current works-in-progress is Little Green Men, a sequel to my previous comedy/sci-fi work, Flying Saucers. In Flying Saucers, Jeffrey Foster was a simple convenience store clerk who helped stop an alien invasion of Earth. In the end, he left Earth to seek out a new life in outer space. But in Little Green Men, he discovers that the Xenon Empire is planning revenge against Earth for its resistance, and he must become the hero he never wanted to be. But before that, he tries to adjust to life in the Galaxy. In this scene, he tries to get a job on the planet Mallow, the safest and most boring planet in the Universe. 

Jeffrey tried not to stare at the Mallowite on the other side of the desk. The alien's head bobbed slightly from the breeze of an air conditioning vent as it looked over some papers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The DNA of a Successful Book [Infographic]

There's no formula for writing a bestselling novel. That said, here's the formula for a bestselling novel. Just kidding. There are exceptions to every rule, but this infographic by HipType does a nice job of breaking down some common trends in popular books. Of course, this leaves out the number one rule to being a successful author: writing well. But it couldn't hurt to make your protagonist a woman.
 
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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Book Reviews Are For Readers, Not for Authors


"Authors, reviews are not for you. They are not for you." ― Stacia Kane

I start with this quote, because it's the essence of what I'm going to talk about today. There's been a lot of talk on blogs and even industry articles on book reviews. Some authors like mystery writer RJ Ellory have been caught giving negative reviews to other books in hopes of damaging the reputation of their peers. Other authors like thriller writer John Locke have been caught buying reviews for their books to try to get more publicity and sales. Every author knows reviews are important to any success in publishing. But what's getting lost in the shuffle is the true purpose of book reviews.

Book reviews are for readers. Period.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

3 Helpful Machines Or Tools (That Turn Out To Be Completely Useless)


This is a guest post from Briane Pagel...

“This, my son, is the one thing you need to complete your quest. Treasure it. Take care. Do not let Ultrax The Verminous know you have it.”

“What is it?”

“It is the XRFHTIG.”

“What does it do?”

“You will have to discover that for yourself. NOW OFF WITH YOU THERE’S NO TIME.”

Literally every fantasy or science fiction story ever.

As I make the rounds promoting my new book, Codes, published by Golden Fleece Press (see below for links where to buy), I am also doing a lot of reading of sci-fi, and a little of fantasy, and I've started to more and more notice something author Andrew Leon pointed out a while back: most of the ‘heroes’ of these stories get very little in the way of help. Mentors give cryptic clues, artifacts have to be figured out by someone who’s only just learned all this stuff even exists, and even the things that are specifically designed to be helpful are, ultimately, not.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why Old and New Books Smell Good

I think it's safe to say anyone who's a book lover loves the smell of books. Just walking into a bookstore or library and breathing in that distinctive odor is enough to make me feel comforted. With the new world of digital books, the smell of paper books is even more precious. But did you ever wonder why books smell the way they do? Neither did I until I found this fascinating infographic on the chemical composition of books. Compound Interest breaks down the lovely odor with this detailed guide. Mmm, vanilla...


[Via Fastcoexist via Compound Interest]

To hear about my new releases first and get a free book of fifty 100-word short stories, sign up here. Your email will never be shared, and you'll only receive messages about new releases.
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