Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pump Up Your Book Announces Designed for Relationship Virtual Book Tour

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Join T.J. MacLeslie, author of the Christian living/spiritual relationship book, Designed for Relationship, as he tours the blogosphere August 2 – 30, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

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ABOUT DESIGNED FOR RELATIONSHIP

Designed for Relationship cover

Mankind has always struggled with the big questions: Why are we here? What is life all about? The search for answers has led in many directions, not all of them helpful. In this age, we are inundated with information, but this flood of knowledge has not necessarily produced wisdom. We find answers to the really important questions as elusive as ever.

It really is all about relationship! This is the open secret, hidden in plain sight all along.

AMAZON

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ABOUT T.J. MACLESLIEMacLeslie photo

T.J. MacLeslie has been involved in a variety of Christian ministries since 1990, including pastoring, church planting, leadership development, prayer, and spiritual formation. He currently lives in the UK with his wife and two children where he leads a team focused on prayer and spiritual formation. You’ll often find him walking the fields with his dog, reading a book, or enjoying a warm cup of coffee.

WEBSITE

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Designed for Relationship Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Friday, August 2nd

Book spotlight and giveaway at Diane Estrella

Monday, August 5th

First chapter review at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

Tuesday, August 6th

Interview at Blogcritics

Wednesday, August 7th

Guest post at Lori’s Reading Corner

Thursday, August 8th

Interview at As the Pages Turn

Friday, August 9th

Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life

Monday, August 12th

Interview at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, August 13th

Guest post at Literarily Speaking

Wednesday, August 14th

Interview at Broowaha

Thursday, August 15th

Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Friday, August 16th

Guest post and giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily

Monday, August 19th

Book spotlight at 4 the Love of Books

Tuesday, August 20th

Book review at JoJo’s Corner

Thursday, August 22nd

Book spotlight at Review from Here

Friday, August 23rd

Interview at Examiner

Wednesday, August 28th

Book Tour highlights at The Book Rack

Thursday, August 29th

Book review at The Book Connection

Friday, August 30th

Book review at My Devotional Thoughts

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Filed under Christian nonfiction, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

Interview with Dilruba Ara, Author of A LIST OF OFFENCES

We’re talking today to Dilruba Z. Ara, author of the women’s fiction, A List of Offences, to find out more about her writing life and tips for getting published.

A List of OffencesThanks for this interview, Dilruba.  I love to find out how authors got their start. Is it true you had your first story published for the first time at 8 years old?  Would you like to tell us about that?

Thank you. And yes, it’s true.

When I was a child, there was a monthly magazine called “Sabuj Pata”, which was targeted at young readers. This magazine also used to hold literary gatherings for children, every second month, where well-known writers would come and encourage us. It started so easily, and I was not even aware that I was writing. And then, when my teacher encouraged me at school, I started writing stories, and I submitted one I felt comfortable with. It was about a girl who had been longing for a special frock as her Eid (the first day of celebration after Ramadan) present, but she gave it away to a beggar girl on Eid day.

When did you come up with the idea to write A List of Offences and is this your first book?

When you live inside a society, you tend to be blind to its realties. But when I moved to Sweden, and I started to look at  my  society with different eyes. I began to evaluate it. I also began to question myself why Bengali/Indian girls allowed themselves to be black-mailed into accepting their lot. One of my friends from Bangladesh was in love with a Hindu boy, but her family forced her to marry her cousin. Ultimately, she stood up, divorced him, and now lives in Sweden with another man. Her family has disowned her. Then Fadime, a Kurdish girl, was murdered, in Sweden by her father, and it occurred to me that the big problem is the inherited mindset of traditional families ‒ it follows you wherever you go. This perverse trend is becoming a global illness. Girls from traditional families are bullied, beaten and, in the worst cases, even murdered if they try to break with accepted family patterns, no matter where they are. But it’s worse in the developing countries, where the state is not concerned for your welfare. That welfare depends on your family, and very often families misuse their power. I wanted to highlight that, through the story of Daria.

And yes, this is my first book.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Five years.

What did you find most challenging about writing this novel?

The hardest part was establishing a connection between the harsh realities of Daria’s life and the beauty of the country.  And also to try to cast light on the plight of millions of girls through the story of one girl.

How did you publish it?

Well, I had sent the finished manuscript to a few literary agents in the USA.  Within a few days, three of them called back.  I chose the most passionate one, Doris Michaels.  She loved the book, and sent it out to quite a few publishers in the USA, who all found it very beautiful, relevant, etc., but slow-paced.  I had worked very hard with each word, so I did not want to cut it down to fit their demands.  In the end, I took it to The University Press Ltd, the leading publishing house in Bangladesh, and met the publisher myself.  Upon reading the letters from various US editors, he took the manuscript from me and asked me to wait outside the closed door.  After about three hours, he reappeared with a contract.  This is how it started.  Then it was sold to Spain (Maeva) and Greece (Oceanida).  In parts of South America, it even hit the top ten list, along with The Kite Runner and A Thousand Spendid Suns.  Even though only a few English copies were available, the book was reviewed in different newspapers and magazines, including The Chattahoochee Review.  A review of it can be read on the Law Faculty’s homepage on the Ecuador University site.  I have been happy about all this attention, but at the same time I have been concerned that the English version had not been available to general readers outside Bangladesh.  Hence, I decided to have my rights back.  My publisher is a kind man, and understood me.  Now I have published it independently.  By the way, only a few weeks ago, I heard from my Spanish publisher (Maeva) that they would like to renovate the pocketbook and e-book rights of the title.

Any lessons learned along the way?

That to get published in the UK or USA, you have to choose a subject matter that is very topical, and different.  And you have to be both steadfast and fast paced.

Is it available for digital download as well as print?

At the moment, it is only available in print, but within the month it will be digitally downloadable as well.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Trust yourself.  Choose a top that you are familiar with.  The harder you work, the luckier you will get.

Thank you!

You can visit Dilruba’s website at www.dilrubazara.com.

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Filed under Women's Fiction

Interview with Elizabeth Fountain, author of ‘An Alien’s Guide to World Domination’

Liz FountainElizabeth Fountain left a demanding job as a university administrator in Seattle to move to the small town of Ellensburg, Washington, and pursue her dream of writing novels.  She started writing in grade school; fortunately, most of her tortured high school poetry and song lyrics are lost to posterity. Her first book was five years in the making, and offered lots of opportunities to give up along the way; that might be why it’s a tale of people, aliens, and dogs who face the impossible, and do it anyway.  An independent publishing house in Calgary, Champagne Book Group, released the novel in April. Now Liz has three more novels in progress. She takes breaks from writing to teach university courses, spend time with family and friends, and take long walks while leaning into the diabolical Kittitas valley wind.  She holds degrees in philosophy, psychology, and leadership, which contribute to a gently humorous view of humanity well suited to tales of aliens and angels, love and death, friendship and dogs. Liz strives to live according to a line from British singer-songwriter Chris Rea: “Every day, good luck comes in the strangest of ways.”

Her latest book is An Alien’s Guide to World Domination.

Visit her blog at www.lizfountain.wordpress.com or become her friend at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethFountainAuthor.

About the Book:

An Alien's Guide to World DominationLouise Armstrong Holliday is the last person on Earth you’d expect to save the human race. But when she uncovers proof that her boss is an alien the color of lime jelly gone horribly wrong, and is at the center of a plot to destroy humanity, Louie decides to do exactly that. She begins a journey from her company’s suburban Seattle office park to the old cities and castles of Eastern Europe. Along the way, Louie is attacked by flying books, overly-sensitive bat-crow monsters, and her own self-doubts. She must learn the truth about her closest friend, stand up to her boss, confront her oldest enemy, and make peace with her Aunt Emma, who annoys her in the way only true family can. She also has to rely on Buddy, the little blind mini-Schnauzer who saves her life twice – and really is from Mars.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

An Alien’s Guide to World Domination was published by BURST!, the sci-fi/fantasy imprint of Champagne Book Group, in April. It’s the story of Louise Armstrong Holliday, the last person on Earth you’d expect to save the human race. But when she uncovers proof that her boss is an alien the color of lime Jell-o gone horribly wrong, and is at the center of a plot to destroy humanity, Louie decides to do exactly that. She begins a journey from her company’s suburban Seattle office park to the old cities and castles of Eastern Europe. Along the way, Louie is attacked by flying books, overly-sensitive bat-crow monsters, and her own self-doubts. She must learn the truth about her closest friend, stand up to her boss, confront her oldest enemy, and make peace with her Aunt Emma, who annoys her in the way only true family can. She also has to rely on Buddy, the little blind mini-Schnauzer who saves her life twice – and really is from Mars.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

I’d struggled with this story for a while, trying to craft a realistic, serious novel. Then, after a conversation with a good friend in 2008, I dreamt about two people standing on a bridge in a faraway city, one telling the other he’s really an alien. When I woke up, the plot of An Alien’s Guide took form in my mind, as I realized the story needed to take place in a world like ours, only different. In this world, aliens are real and all around us.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

After the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon in April, something became very clear to me: we need more love, less hate. All the important causes in our world boil down to this simple equation, I think. More love for one another, for our planet, for all the critters we share it with, more love for peace, and more love for ourselves. It’s essential for me to write stories that help tip the balance toward more love, and less hate.

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?

I’m going to cheat just a little, and use the last year and a half since I moved to the small town of Ellensburg. Since then I’ve learned to:

  • Plunge a clogged toilet (fun!)

  • Run a reciprocating saw (a lot more fun!)

  • Season a cast iron skillet (not quite as fun as cooking in it)

  • Drive over the snow berm behind my parked car, piled high by the plow (not fun at all, but necessary in this climate)

  • Use the self-check out at the public library (fun for the librarians!)

  • Fix a leaking Bunn Pour-O-Matic from about 1984, by replacing a 37-cent washer (okay, technically I’ve only watched this being done, but I think I could do it)

  • Make freezer jam (well, I’m going to learn how to do it this summer if any raspberries from our farmer’s market make it past me while they’re still fresh)

  • Climb over the railroad trestle to find the best, sweetest-smelling patch of sage in the Yakima canyon, and avoid the rattlesnakes along the trail.

It’s been quite a year (and a half), as you can see!

What are you currently working on?

I have three more novels in progress! You, Jane is the tale of Jane Margaret Blake, whose ability to write stories that come true in the real world creates havoc for her friends and her love life. In her stories, animals, humans, spirits, angels, and even the Universe itself conspire to destroy Jane’s last chance to be with her old love, or, just maybe, to bring her an opportunity for new love. As her writing and her drinking spiral out of control, Jane must face reality about herself and her relationships, and discover her ability to write her own happy ending. The Life and Death of Saint Guineford explores what happens when Death wants to take early retirement, and offers Guinn a deal she can’t refuse: take over the job of helping souls cross the barrier to the afterlife, and absolve herself of the guilt of inadvertently causing a girl’s death. The hitch? She can’t touch the man she loves, or he’ll die, too.

And, I’m finishing the manuscript I started in 2012’s National Novel Writing Month, my first try at a novel-length work for middle-grade readers. The Law of Immediate Forgiveness is about Amy June Pilgrim, who is halfway through her twelfth year and desperate to prove she’s not a little kid anymore; and her Grandpa Marq, who leads a crack team of misfit computer and math geeks on the hunt for the mathematical formula for immediate forgiveness. If they find it, the world will be freed from war, violence, and suffering, so it’s no wonder so many people want to stop them. Amy June finds herself on a cross-country trek with her Grandpa, facing enemies real and imagined, longing to be reunited with her father who disappeared five years earlier, and finding the unconditional love of a black Lab whose well-timed dog fart helps foil Amy June’s kidnapping. Together they discover the true formula for forgiveness, triggered by the love of a dog.

Meanwhile, my short story Heaven, about a renegade angel and the human woman he falls in love with, will be published in a compilation from Champagne Books later this summer. There’s romance, and even a little sex, in that one!

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

This story is relentlessly and recklessly optimistic, when so much in our world begs us to give in to cynicism or pessimism. Louise Armstrong Holliday, our heroine, struggles mightily with self-doubt and the temptation to give up; but at her core, she’s as much of a reckless optimist as her friend Jack, who accompanies her on her adventure to save humanity from the stupid but brutal aliens. Even the villains retain their goofy positive spins on things. In this day and age, it seems somehow profoundly courageous to be an optimist. Oh, and the fact that it’s Louie’s dog who really saves the day – after all, isn’t that what dogs do? Dogs save us humans from our own worst tendencies, just by offering unconditional love and acceptance.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

It would have to be the motto I use on my blog/website: “Every day, good luck comes in the strangest of ways.” It’s a line from a song by the amazing singer/songwriter Chris Rea. If we pay attention, it’s absolutely true. There’s a little gem of good luck in each and every day. We’ve just got to get our human egos out of the way to see it, sometimes.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

My bit of good luck for the day: Today it turned scorching hot in our town, nearly 100 F. My friend J. has cerebral palsy which makes it tough to get around on good days; his body has to work extra-hard to balance, stand, walk, anything. He loves jelly beans, and my job is to provision him with them at least once a week. Well, today I was able to put a smile on his hot and sweaty face by giving him a bag of that sweet sticky candy. Of course the next thing he said to me was, “Do ya think that’s enough to last a whole week?” As a writer, my job is to touch people with stories; my friend J. touched me this blazing hot day with his humor.

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Filed under Author Interviews

Pump Up Your Book Announces Vinland Viking Virtual Book Tour

Viking banner

Join Gary L. Doman, author of the Christian historical fantasy adventure novella, Vinland Viking, as he tours the blogosphere August 5 – 30, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

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ABOUT VINLAND VIKING

Vinland Viking cover art.jpg

The novella Vinland Viking is an epic fantasy-adventure, set at the time of the conversion to Christianity of Iceland and Greenland, about a young Northman who longs to lead the storied life of the pagan Vikings. His opportunity comes with Leif Ericsson’s exploration in North America, but his fortunes change in a way and by a means that he could never have anticipated, and which will thrill the reader.

The richly-textured narrative incorporates history, nature, and mythology, along with plenty of action. It is told from a Christian viewpoint, but can be enjoyed by a general audience, and, unlike so many other fiction stories, is acceptable reading for the young.

AMAZON

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ABOUT GARY L. DOMANGary photo

Gary L. Doman, whose (pen-)surname rhymes with “roman”, the French word for “novel”, was born in Syracuse (New York) and has spent the majority of his life in Connecticut. He has degrees from Fairfield University and the University of Connecticut. He has developed an interest in just about everything, especially history, geography, religion, language, and the natural world. He began writing as a child and has never really stopped, although he does periodically need to eat and sleep, and also devotes considerable time to his other creative and intellectual endeavors; these include his “weblog” the Doman Domain and one of the items of interest found there, namely, “The Best Comic Strip Ever!”. Further, he has taught himself to sing and founded his own political philosophy. His greatest accomplishment may be remaining humble despite the preceding!

 

WEBSITE

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Vinland Viking Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Monday, August 5th

Book review at The Book Connection

Tuesday, August 6th

Guest post at Literarily Speaking

Wednesday, August 7th

Interview at Blogcritics

Thursday, August 8th

Guest post at Lori’s Reading Corner

Friday, August 9th

Guest post and giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily

Monday, August 12th

Interview at Between the Covers

Tuesday, August 13th

Guest post for Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

Wednesday, August 14th

Guest post at The Story Behind the Book

Thursday, August 15th

Book review at A Year of Jubilee Reviews

Friday, August 16th

Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life

Book spotlight at 4 the Love of Books

Monday, August 19th

Interview at As the Pages Turn

Tuesday, August 20th

Book review at Vic’s Media Room

Wednesday, August 21st

Interview at Examiner

Thursday, August 22nd

Book spotlight at My Devotional Thoughts

Friday, August 23rd

Book review at Found A Christian by His Grace

Monday, August 26th

Book spotlight at Review from Here

Wednesday, August 28th

Interview at Broowaha

Friday, August 30th

Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Book review at Blooming with Books

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Filed under Christian fiction, Historical Fiction