Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

Check out My Fun Interview on PJ Fiala’s Blog

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

My thanks to Patty for having me as a guest author today. Hope some of you will enjoy the interview. It was great fun!

Marcia Meara Tells Us About Her Perfect Hero

NOTE: It isn’t who you think! :)

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And INSTEAD of Thor’s Day Joke #2…

…we have..tada!…THOR, himself!
And m
ay I add, I never doubted this for a MINUTE!
Take THAT, Ned Hickson! :D

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Thor’s Day Joke #1

We See What You’ve Done There!

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Wednesday Author Interview: Karen Yankosky

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Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to humor writer, Karen Yankosky. Welcome to Bookin’ It, Karen.  Let’s start by finding out a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career? 

KY: The only two things I ever really did to become a writer were read voraciously and write constantly. I’ve been doing both for my whole life. Sometimes my writing took the form of long, story-filled letters and emails to friends, and I still write with that same voice. I’m not fortunate enough to call writing a career –yet—but it is a passion. I didn’t attempt anything formal with my writing until 2012, when my divorce led me to go bald. No wait, that’s not quite what happened. I only tore out some of my hair. And I also enrolled in a writing class called “Getting Started,” which, thankfully, lived up to its name and led to the creation of my humor blog at Splat-ospheric .  That, in turn, led me to write Good Luck With That Thing You’re Doing 

BI: I have to say, every time I read the title of your book, it makes me laugh! I’ve already bought it, based on that alone, and can’t wait to read it. Karen, were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you? 

KY: Absolutely. I will never forget how hard I laughed when I read one of Dave Barry’s columns, “Bang The Tupperware Slowly,” in my 9th grade English class. I knew right then and there that I wanted to do that—write things that made people laugh, audibly. As I became a fan of Dave’s in my formative years, I was consistently impressed by his ability to write at least one thing in every column that made me laugh out loud, and to avoid being formulaic. Though he stopped writing the column, his annual Year In Review pieces still slay me every time.  Ned Hickson is another observational humorist whose ability to crank out consistently funny and often very touching writing inspires me. 

BI: Well, I have to agree with both of your choices! Dave Barry has always been a favorite of mine, and discovering Ned Hickson’s blog was a great day for me, too. Such funny men, both! What genres do you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore? 

KY:  I gravitate more towards particular writers than genres. When it comes to fiction, I will read anything Nick Hornby writes, because his insights into the human condition alternately make me laugh and cringe, and his characters are so well drawn it wouldn’t surprise me to see them sitting at my neighborhood watering hole. Zadie Smith has a similar gift for character portraits and is an outstanding storyteller.  I also make a beeline for the humor shelf to see if Dave Barry and David Sedaris have anything new. (Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs and David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day remain my go-to reading when I’m feeling down.) 

BI: Oh, those bad songs…and misheard lyrics! I’m still singing “Don’t go out tonight, it’s bound to take your life. There’s a bathroom on the right.” For years, I wondered what the bathroom was for! *grin* Let’s talk about your writing habits. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day? 

KY: I don’t really have a space that I always use. I have a stand-up desk in the office of my tiny little house, and I find that staying vertical wards off restlessness (probably my biggest challenge). But it’s not a panacea, so when I get antsy and tire of hanging out at home by myself, I wander down to the local beer garden, library or coffeeshop. Being surrounded by books, caffeine and/or booze seems to do the trick. I do try to write every day, but practicing law is my full-time job, so I rely heavily on my world-class insomnia to give me writing time. It almost never lets me down. 

BI: I must admit, I’ve never heard of a stand-up writer, before. Most interesting! Do you use visual aids, like inspiration boards, photos, or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write? 

KY: Because I write nonfiction humor, if I don’t know something I just make it up! Every now and then I’ll do a bit of research if I think it will improve a joke. 

BI: Oh, I want to do that, too. Make things up, I mean. So much more fun than research! Tell me, when you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing? 

KY: My writing is as free-flowing and organic as a 1960s sit-in, and considerably less organized. When I write essays for my blog, they generally originate with a single funny thing I’ve observed, and then I see where that takes me. I am working on a second collection of essays that is quasi-memoir, and right now I’m just focusing on telling the stories, and then I’ll see which ones play well together.  

BI: As someone who has actually been to a 1960’s sit-in, I totally get your point. How about your reading habits? Do you prefer reading eBooks, or print? Why?

KY: I’m still a sucker for tangible books. Aside from the fact that I tend to fall asleep while reading, putting my Kindle in constant danger of shorting out if I drool, I simply like the feel of a real book in my hand. I also find that, for reasons I can’t explain, I read more carefully when I’m holding an actual book. But if I’m traveling, eBooks are the clear winner, hands-down. 

BI:  Now it’s time to tell us about the books have you published, and where we can buy them. 

KY: My first book, Good Luck With That Thing You’re Doing: One Woman’s Adventures in Dating, Plumbing, and Other Full-Contact Sports, was released on November 4 and is available on Amazon.com (eBook expected on November 19). It can be bought in-person at Riverby Books on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, a true local treasure, and at the Westover Beer Garden in Arlington, VA, because really, no one should read this book sober.

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NOTE FROM KAREN: Good Luck With that Thing You’re Doing spent two days at #15 in the “Love, Sex and Marriage Humor” genre, and is still #4 there in hot new releases—yay! At my age it’s particularly exciting to be called “new.”

BI: Gonna remember your advice. Stocking up on wine, now. And don’t forget, you were called “hot” as well as “new!” :D  Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available?

KY: Yes, I’m about halfway through the first draft of my second book, which tells the story of my relationship with the first house I owned. Like so many casual relationships that are meant to be short-term, it went on for years, and we both got quite attached, which made the last part of our journey together a white-knuckler. I hope to finish it in the next year.

BI: Sounds like another winner, to me. Can’t wait! In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

KY: I write true stories about things that happen to all of us (well, maybe not everything I write about happens to all of us. For example, most single women probably haven’t had two relatively attractive, single, non-felon males pop up through the sewer cover in their fenced-in backyards, and that did happen to me…), so the best part of writing for me is the way it makes me feel more like part of a collective. And I love the writing community, too. I never could have imagined how generous and supportive it can be.

The worst part? Having to write, of course! No matter what else I’m doing, some part of my brain is always reminding me that I have more writing to do. Writing as an activity may not be hard, but writing well surely is. It helps to start out with natural talent, but that’s nowhere near enough. Getting to the point where you’ve published something people want to read requires the discipline of an elite athlete in training, minus the dietary restrictions.  (Can anyone really write without donuts?)

BI: Wait a minute! I don’t even have a sewer cover in my backyard. I think you’re playing with an unfair advantage, here! I’d write more, but I have donut glaze all over my fingers.

BI Bonus Question: Are you self-published, and if so, what have you learned from the process, overall? Positives and negatives?

KY: I am self-published! I would advise anyone considering it to perform their own appendectomy with a penknife instead. It’s less painful. No, I joke. I used Amazon.com’s CreateSpace at the suggestion of a friend who self-published with great success. But because I work full-time and wanted to focus on just writing the book and making the content as strong as possible, I paid CS for comprehensive copyediting, interior formatting, and a few other services. No doubt I could have done those myself, but I felt that the book needed me to concentrate my efforts elsewhere. I also have a friend who’s an outstanding graphic designer, so I hired her to handle the cover from beginning to end. Understanding all of the formatting rules for both the text and cover would have made me lose my mind. It is wonderful to have complete control over your work, but being solely responsible for it (including promoting it post-publication) is daunting and can be exhausting. I hope to find representation for my next book, but you never know: I might self-publish again!

BI: Thanks for sharing that with us, Karen, and thank you as well for being with us today on Bookin’ It. A great, funny interview, which I enjoyed very much. Best wishes for huge success with your book, and please keep us posted on the next one!

karen book picKaren Yankosky

I’ve spent most of my life in the Washington DC area, the only place on Earth where someone like the Secretary of Transportation is considered a celebrity. I studied Spanish extensively in college and graduate school and began my career as an interpreter. When I developed a hankering for a language that was harder to understand than Spanish, I went to law school. I’ve been a practicing lawyer since 2002 but am otherwise a decent human being. When I’m not working or writing, I co-host a podcast about dating and relationships called “Women of Uncertain Age.” I stay on the move as often as possible, partly to avoid the authorities but also to stay fit, and I especially love to swim, run and play tennis. I’m not really good at any of those, but I still love them.

Buy Karen’s Book Here:
Good Luck With That Thing You’re Doing: One Woman’s Adventures in Dating, Plumbing, and Other Full-Contact Sports

Find Karen on Social Media Here:
Splat-ospheric 
Facebook
Twitter

Clarification

Hi, everyone. Sorry if I was unclear yesterday. My problem was not whether my followers are being alerted when I post something new. It’s that *I* wasn’t being alerted when you respond to my posts. I’m supposed to get an email saying “Betty Jo just commented on your post.” (Although I really haven’t heard from anyone named Betty Jo that I’m aware of. :) )

At any rate, I did get alerts yesterday for every response to my post, so I guess my tweaks have finally started to work. Thank you to all who took the time to comment and help me test things out. I appreciate it!

As you were, folks. Enjoy your day!

Testing – Please Help!

Since setting up my latest blog, The Write Stuff, I’ve stopped receiving email notices when new comments appear on my blogs. I believe my settings are all correct, but I did tweak one thing on this blog. Could a few of you please leave a brief comment here, so I can see if it is working properly again? Just a hello will do. Thanks so much!

TGI…Freya’s Day!

Another week gone by, another list of things done, things undone, things I wish I hadn’t done, and things that will likely never get done. Pretty typical for a Freya’s Day, all in all. I have a new review coming up later today, if things go well with my editing this morning, and I get a bit more work on my 4th novel, the sequel to Swamp Ghosts.
Hunter is turning out to be far more romantic than anything I’ve done before, which may or may not translate to far more sexy, depending on your personal definitions of that. But whatever you call it, it’s fun to write so many love scenes right from the start of the book. (Breaking the rules and doing this one backwards by letting the couple find each other right off the bat, and then throwing trouble at them. I think I like how it’s working, so far.)
WordPress is causing me grief again, first by not sending me any notices of new comments, so I have to scroll around hunting for them, in order to respond appropriately. And second, by changing the fonts in my posts, and not giving me any way…that I can find…to reset them. Not so happy about that, but in the grand scheme of things, a minor annoyance, to be sure.
And just because you’ve been so good things morning (you have been good this morning, haven’t you?) here’s something to make you smile. No punchline. Just so dang adorable, I defy anyone to look at it and NOT go “Awwwww,” even if only using your tiny, innermost voice, so you won’t spoil your curmudgeonly reputation. So…TADA…I present the first of my new Terminally Cute series. Behold!

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Thor’s Day Joke #2

Please! Not Before I’ve Had My Coffee!

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Thor’s Day Joke #1

Somebody’s Been Watching Too Many Cartoons!

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Ghost in the Canteen by Jen Rasmussen

ghostsinthecanteenMy Review: 5 of 5 Stars
This is a difficult review to write. How can I tell you how terrific Ghost in the Canteen is, without giving away anything of importance? Should be easy, but the trouble is, everything in this story is of importance. Nothing is a throw-away, and it all ties together so very nicely, I’m left floundering for something to say. (Alert the media! She has nothing to say!)
Okay, I do have a few things to say. First, Jen Rasmussen’s writing is first-rate. The story pulled me in immediately, and the characters were interesting and engaging, especially the snarky heroine, ghost hunter Lydia Trinket. Lydia’s been doing her job of sending recalcitrant spirits through to the Other Side for years. Or so she thinks. Turns out, Lydia has been somewhat misled about what she’s actually doing, and therein lies a tale. A really scary tale.
The canteen referred to in the title is a switchel ring–a clay container designed to slide over one’s arm to hold switchel, a very unusual drink you’ll learn more about when you read this book. Which I hope will be soon, because…did I mention?…it’s good. Lydia’s switchel ring is a portal through which ghosts can move on to their next stop. (Heaven or hell, presumably.) Or is it? Sometimes things are not what they seem. “A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh”…but a switchel ring might be more than a container for a cooling drink. And a portal…well, I think you should find out about that for yourself. Personally, I’ll never look at even a Thermos bottle the same way again. :shock:
Along Lydia’s journey, you’ll meet all sorts of interesting and creepy…and downright terrifying…characters. I loved every single word of this book, and I suspect most of you will, as well. Go get it. But maybe leave all the lights on while you’re reading. And definitely be sure you’re not alone in the house.
I can’t wait for the next Lydia Trinket book, Peak of the Devil. (You gotta love the title.) And what are you waiting for? Click on the Buy Link below, and start reading Ghost in the Canteen today. You’ll be glad you did.
Ghost in the Canteen

Wednesday Author Interview: Paty Jager

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Today, Bookin’ It would like to welcome versatile writer Paty Jager. Paty, it’s so nice to have you here with us. Let’s get started with you telling us a bit about about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?  Read more…

What Are You Reading?

 

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It’s not Friday…I missed that, sadly…but I figure it’s never too late to let you know what I’m reading, especially when it’s something really, really good. So, here it is. This week, I’m reading Jen Rasmussen’s Ghost in the Canteen, and it’s brilliant! Jen’s writing is strong, sharp, funny, and engaging. And great goobley-oobley! This story is scary! Horror fans will love it, for sure, and anyone who likes ghost stories, tales of the supernatural, and unique world building will, as well. Plus, you might learn a thing or two you didn’t know before. Like…what is a switchel ring? In fact, what is switchel? Do you know? I didn’t. But now I do!

Ghost in the Canteen is so good, I’m going to recommend you go right ahead and buy your copy today, even before my full review comes out next week. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Now, it’s your turn. What are YOU reading this week? Inquiring minds wanna know!

Weekend Recap

Marcia:

Weekend Recap featuring some of last week’s most helpful posts on The Write Stuff. You writers out there might want to check them out, and think about following us at TWS: Writers Helping Writers

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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Some great posts this week you really shouldn’t miss. Here’s a recap of a few that were very helpful to me.

What Are Your Writing Rewards by Aimee Easterling
BookBub Explained – Reblogged from Nancy’s Notes from Florida, by Nancy Cohen
Keeping Your Story Focused is a Lot Like Taking an Eye Exam by Ned Hickson
Things I Learned About Keywords by Jen Rasmussen
What I Learned From Erotica Writers by Aimee Easterling

There were also some posts about new releases, including:

My New Release, A Sweet Billionaire Romance by Aimee Easterling
Release Day for Amy’s Choice by Marcia Strykowski

If you missed any of these posts, this is your chance to check them out now. PLEASE remember to share them with your peeps, via Facebook, Twitter, or reblogging. They’ll be ever so grateful, and will do the same for you.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Thor’s Day Joke #2

WAIT! You Missed A Couple in the Bottom Corner

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Thor’s Day Joke #1

I Will Get You For This, If It Takes Every Single One of My Nine Lives

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A Boy Named Rabbit Cover Reveal!

Marcia:

So Excited to Share This!!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

Woohoo! I’m so excited to share the cover of my next book in the Wake-Robin Ridge series, A Boy Named Rabbit. As always, my cover GODDESS, Nicki Forde, has done exactly what I wanted with this one. All I had to do was say “waterfall” and “silhouette,” and she nailed it.

A Boy Named Rabbit_kindle cover1

For those who aren’t familiar with Book 1 in this series, Wake-Robin Ridge, here’s a shot of that one, so you can see our intent with the series is to keep the same basic layout, and just change the middle image to something appropriate for each book. And thus, a bit of branding occurs. Hopefully. So what do you think? Do you like the new cover? Are we on the right track when you see the old one? (Oh, and for those who aren’t familiar with North Carolina wildflowers, a wake-robin is the red trillium on the…

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Writers Wanted!

writing

Are you a writer? Would you like a few more people to find out about you and your books…for FREE? I’d love to interview you for my Wednesday Author Interview series. Just email me at mmeara@cfl.rr.com, and I’ll give you the full details. It’s easy and fun, and you might pick up a few more readers, too. And I have an opening tomorrow! Act fast and it could be YOURS.

Release Day for Amy’s Choice!

Marcia:

Congratulations to Marcia Strykowski, and please help spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, or reblogging. You can make a difference! Thanks.

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

Strykowski Author PhotoHi fellow readers and writers! I’m so happy to be able to pop on here during my book’s birthday celebration. Amy’s Choice, a coming-of-age tween novel, is the sequel to Call Me Amy, which was selected for Bankstreet College of Education’s list of Best Children’s Books for 2014.

double coversAmy finds more than an abandoned seal pup in her tiny fishing village on the coast of Maine during 1973. Both of these books are published by Luminis Books and today marks the official release of Amy’s Choice. I’ll be signing hot-off-the-press copies at the Salem, NH Barnes & Noble (2-4) and I’m also giving away prizes today on my own blog: www.marciastrykowski.com.

Meanwhile, I’d love to share this interview Marcia Meara posted on her popular Bookin’ It blog a while back. Here are the first questions followed by a link to the original post:

Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Marcia Strykowski

Bookin’ It is…

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Happy Halloween!

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October Siege

October.
The siege begins.
Enemies among us
Everywhere!
With evil grins,
They lurk,
They skulk,
They glare,
Sharp fangs bared.

October.
Hide inside.
Nighttime danger
Everywhere!
With shining eyes,
They menace,
They taunt,
They torment,
Mouths opened wide.

See how they glow!
Deadly, gap-toothed grins
Midst curves of vivid orange!
Silently screaming with devilish glee,
They lounge on nighttime porches,
And march up darkened drives.
Casting yellow light from watchful eyes,
They search for unwary victims,
For slow and easy prey.

Big ones, tall ones,
Skinny ones, or round.
Colored like the fiery sun,
Or the moonlight pallor of alien visitors.
They line up on fence posts,
Stair steps, and windowsills.
Peering out . . . or peering in?
Looking for who?
You!

October.
Watch your step.
They’re back again,
Everywhere!
With wicked intent,
They scheme,
They hunger,
They haunt,
Pumpkins on patrol!

Boo!

   – Marcia Meara

Thor’s Day Joke #2

I know just how she feels!

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Thors Day Joke #1

Hey…it’s still Thor’s Day here. Barely. So here goes!

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Wednesday Author Interview: Callum McLaughlin

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Today, I’d like to welcome poet and suspense writer Callum McLaughlin to Bookin’ It. Callum, can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer? When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?  Read more…

Book Covers?

Marcia:

Penguin’s Wonderful Drop-Cap series for lovers of great cover art!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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Do you love them? I do! Even though I read a lot of books on my Kindle, I always check out the covers, and sometimes, I buy a print copy of the book, just to display it on my shelves. I am crazy for good covers, in a wide variety of styles. If you love them, too, check out this article on Penguin’s “Drop Cap” series. I love the article, not only because it displays large pictures of each book in the series (all 26 alphabet letters), but it also includes comments from the artist, and her favorite quotes from each book. But wait! There’s more!

The books represent the spectrum, starting with bright red, and working through orange, yellow, green and blue. Imagine the whole set displayed on your shelves! I’m going to try to collect them all. I might even READ some of them! :D

Seriously, there…

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Making indie audiobooks

Marcia:

Check out Aimee’s free samples and short story. And you writers out there, this is a great post to help you learn more about producing an audible book.

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

Shiftless AudiobookWhen Kindle Unlimited was rolled out, I read the fine print and realized that subscribers can download audiobooks as well as ebooks for free (with the author receiving about $1.50 per borrow and possibly gaining new fans).  Since there are about 700,000 ebooks enrolled in Amazon’s lending library but only about 2,300 audiobooks, I decided I wanted to swim in that much smaller pool.  Was it possible for an unknown indie?

The answer is a resounding yes, but like most aspects of self-publishing you’ll need to spend some time and possibly money on the endeavor.  ACX is Amazon’s audio wing, where authors hook up with narrators to make independent audiobooks happen.  You can choose to pay up front for your narration (a process that will likely cost $1,000 to $5,000), or you can opt for the revenue-sharing possibility as I did.  Revenue-sharing costs the author nothing up front, but you…

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As you can see, THOR is still hanging around here…

…WITH his Mighty Hammer! Therefore, I feel fully entitled to present yet another silly Thor’s Day Joke!
(This one’s a groaner, I know.)

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