Wednesday, 31 December 2008

This is your future speaking...

No, really. I mean it literally. During the course of this day, the New Year is sweeping around the globe hour for hour. It just happened to get to us first, which means I'm writing this in 2009 and some of you will be reading it in 2008. Never mind the blogger post time, it refuses to line up with New Zealand. I assure you, it is 11 AM on the first of January.

So much for the literal future. What about the literary one? Here goes...

It is my belief that small presses, indy houses and self-publishers will take over the entire bookselling industry in good time. We've all heard the news about big publishers losing business lately and reducing their output. Many authors think this is bad news - perhaps their manuscripts will never see the light of day?

Perhaps. But only if they continue their fixation on so-called "real" publishers. Let me explain.

This is one of the reasons I love the Lost Genre Guild so much. In our ranks you will find maybe a handful of authors published by traditional methods. And more power to 'em! But the rest of us...harbour a distinct skepticism for that approach.

Many of us have stacks of rejection letters from said publishers as proof. They don't want our genre. So why bother? I skipped that stage and went straight to publishing through my own imprint - due to encouragement from the Guild, I might add, and with their firmly instilled belief that our work must attain the highest standard in order to bust the stigma of independent and self publishing, which admittedly has a bad name. BUT if our books are truly good - polished till they shine, professionally produced and marketed - then we can leave that stigma far behind.

There's no need for an author to go through the awful cycle of submission and rejection. What we must do is focused in a different direction.

The things that an author MUST do in this day and age are quite different. You must work on your craft - read how-tos, full participation in critique groups, etc. You must engage in online networking to an epic scale. Invade the blogosphere, the social sites, the forums relevant to your work. Get your name out there. Secure pre-publication reviewers. Make book trailers.

That's about all if you're going with a small publisher, because that publisher will take care of cover design, interior formatting, print and distribution.

However, if you're going the total DIY route, there is more to be done. All that stuff the publisher would otherwise do is falling now onto your shoulders. The Guild is very helpful with ideas and resources in this regard.

Also, and I cannot emphasize this enough, you should run your book through another round of thorough critiques for edits and proofreading. Typos and stylistic sloppiness will brand your book as an amateur effort, and that is the one thing we must avoid at all costs.

If you succeed with excellence in these things, then this IS your future speaking. Quality, independently published books will be aesthetically indistinguishable from their traditional counterparts. The only difference: no limits on genre as imposed by narrowmindedness in its various forms.

I long for the day when science fiction comes to resurgence. And you know what? it feels great to be doing my bit in making it happen - with the Lost Genre Guild behind me all the way. Go LGG!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Let's Buzz the Lost Genre Guild!

The CSFF blog tour is buzzing the LGG this week. If you don't know what the LGG is, then either you haven't listened to a word I've ever said, or you are the victim of an unhappy accident of fate. Want to know? Go here: Welcome to our world.

I thought I'd do my bit by telling you how you can best help to promote the genre. One of the best ways to do this is to subscribe to the blog, and also make sure you submit your news and send your readers in the same direction. There are several ways to do this.

If you go over to http://blog.lostgenreguild.com you'll see a Feedblitz box in the left sidebar a little way down If you enter your email here, you'll be notified regularly about a day after each post appears. Not sure why it's so slow, but better late than never, right?

Below that is a Blogger Follow box. If you have a blogger account, just click Follow This Blog and it'll be added to the feed that appears on your Blogger dashboard.

And if you are a member of Facebook, there is a subscriber page there too: http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/lost_genre_guild_news/ - once you've added yourself to the group you can invite your friends as well. You can also add a Facebook promo widget to any website by using the code found at this link:
http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/promotepage.php?blogid=92529

I've been running the born-again LGG blog for just over a month now, and I've never once run out of news. But I'd like there to be even more! Web searches usually bring me useful bits and pieces, but it would be even awesomer (is that a word??) if authors and reviewers would post their news either on the LGG mailing list or in a blog comment over there where I can find it. All kinds of news is fair game, and you can read more details of what we want at http://blog.lostgenreguild.com/2008/11/submission-guidelines.html. This includes new releases, websites, reviews, contests, e-zine updates, and more.

There's no shortage of news and happenings in this genre, and the fans are after it if we only point them in the right direction. Wonder where this thing'll take us?

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

My Favourite Thing About Christmas...

It's not the gifts. Forget gifts. Not the food either, though that's pretty good at times. The days off? Nope. I don't work much these days you see. Fact is, I don't like the silly season much at all...except for its stamps.

Don't laugh. I used to collect these professionally...arranged according to theme rather than country of origin. So you'll see all the stars together, the angels, the wise men. And from so many different countries many of us have never heard of.

Be warned - there's nearly 100 of them on here...but each one is a work of art to be enjoyed.

Monday, 22 December 2008

New Zealand Garden Close-Ups

Come and explore the garden with me...

Friday, 19 December 2008

Meet a star!

Last year, Deborah Clark starred in one of the book trailers I made for my book Faith Awakened...find out what she gets up to when she's not hunting treasure!



And for old time's sake, here's that original book trailer for your enjoyment!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Some nice feedback...

I got this great mention over at Shelagh's blog today:

Thank you for reading this blog entry! This is the sixteenth post on the blog tour. If you have just joined the tour, welcome! If you read all the blogs, thank you for following the tour; only three more blog posts to go! A week ago I mentioned the last section “Spiritual Friends” in the anthology Forever Friends. In the opening section “Family Friends” the first story in the book is My Hero, My Dad by D. J. Stephens. I chose this story because it was the first submission I received and in all the rearrangements I made it always stayed the
first story in the book, so it seemed to be the right place for Don Stephens’s story.

The last short story in the anthology is The Night of the Gift by Grace Bridges. I placed this last in the book because it seemed to sum up the way that friends are always in our thoughts no matter how far away and provided an ideal ending to the volume of short stories and poems about love and friendship. Just as the first story always remained first after every reshuffle, The Night of the Gift always remained last so, again, this seemed to be the right place for Grace Bridges’s story.

The Night of the Gift is set in a remote village in Southern Russia, where a young doctor is feeling homesick for Ireland. In a sleepless reverie, she imagines that a childhood friend, who is supposed to be far away in Brazil, pays an unexpected call … but is it in her imagination or is it real? Read the story to find out more about this supernatural flight of fancy. I would like to thank Grace for inviting me to her blog to give me a chance to say more about Forever Friends.

Forever Friends is available now from all major online stores, including amazon.com: Forever Friends
and barnesandnoble.com: Forever Friends
Thanks again for reading this and best wishes for the holiday season!
Shelagh Watkins


So yeah guys, you can get that story from me personally if you are a member of my readers' network, or you can always buy the book above. I haven't been able to read any of the other stories in it so I'm unable to make any kind of recommendation, sorry about that. But that cover's great, isn't it?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Friday, 12 December 2008

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Bring on the Superheroes!


This month, Christian Fiction Review Blog is touring The League of Superheroes by Stephen Leon Rice.

It's about time. In Internet circles, Stephen L. Rice has long been known for legendary blogs, non-reviews, sharp wit and limitless imagination. So I was pretty happy when I heard his first novel was on the way. Like I said, about time.

A group of teen boys encounter a peculiar entity in one little sister's chatroom. After initial skepticism the five spend more and more online time with the mysterious little girl called Genie, who promptly whips up a succession of amazing technological feats. The young men are astounded and delighted to receive fully functional super-suits based on their favourite comic-book stars. Now they can soar through the skies, perform feats of strength, go invisible, or shrink themselves. But to what purpose? Sinister forces are at work, but solid morals and faith in God help keep our heroes on the right track through hair-raising adventures while getting to the bottom of the mystery.

The story's told by Tom Reilly aka Darklight, the invisible man. I enjoyed the conversational style and witty interactions coupled with a highly inventive plotline that's bound to surprise. It's a simple narration, and fair enough, this is a children's story. Personally I would have liked a little more detail in some scenes that whipped by almost before they had a chance to begin, but that's okay. I suspect Mr. Rice will find plenty of fans aged under ten because of its easy comprehensibility. And it's still most definitely an entertaining read for an adult.

I was very impressed by the close tie-in to pro-life issues. The personhood of an unborn child is made clear as events unfold. Well done for presenting this tough topic in a novel manner and using it to underpin the plot, giving a powerful undertone to an otherwise playful story.

So who hasn't dreamed about getting a super-suit and being able to fly? This book is well able to light the imaginations of young readers everywhere, while planting good seeds of faith, responsibility and maturity. And the ending practically begs for a sequel...I sure hope there's going to be one!


GetLeague of Superheroes at Writer's Cafe Press, Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Met My Brother At A Wedding...

Hey! I'm back at last :) In this installment, meet my brother Andrew, then watch carefully as he is the first groomsman to enter the church in a ceremony for Bill, an old friend of the family. You'll also see some Maori kids singing in the service. Enjoy!


Sunday, 7 December 2008

A little New Zealand gem

I agree with Fred Dagg! He's absolutely right... enjoy this little treasure!
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Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Oceanside: A Pelican, A Train, and a Random Author

I am talking about the Lost Genre Guild at the start. Had to cut out a part where there was no sound.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Monday, 24 November 2008

Friday, 21 November 2008

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Monday, 10 November 2008

Saturday, 8 November 2008

More on Trains

First, another travel ramble with a demonstration of how to eat breakfast on a train; then views of crossing the Mississipi from Minnesota into Wisconsin.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Thoughts in a Blizzard

On snow, rejection, dogs and sundry observations.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Leaps of Faith: My Review

I read this book ensconced in a cosy Amtrak seat on the way to North Dakota to meet Karina just in time for her blog tour - it couldn't have been planned more perfectly. So while various joints and muscles vibrated to numbness, fellow passengers snored, and scarlet foliage and snowstorms whipped by my window, my mind was anything but asleep... Again and again I have marvelled at the creativity of the imaginations behind the far-flung worlds contained within these pages.

Topics covered include android rights, what happens to faith when God's existence is scientifically proven, another about science's utter failure to grasp God at all, the wonderful convolution of time travel attempts by an ancient seeker and a future Pope - in two different stories, mind you - the awful truth behind Trek-style matter transporters followed by a complementary tale of the only way to survive death. An alien convert wishes to marry a Catholic. And what if there were a planet of angels?

High Hopes, a space survival tale, is astonishing for the ambiguity and hopefulness of its conclusion. And we celebrate the return of the nuns in space, familiar from Karina and Robert's other anthology "Infinite Space, Infinite God."

Lots of surprises here. I've commented on some of the stories that lingered in my memory. There's far more to this book than I've been able to mention here. Do yourself a favour and let these unusual stories expand the horizons of your soul.



Check out these other member blogs this week for more on Leaps of Faith!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Christian Writer's Ten Commandments

Guest Starring Karina Fabian and Cathi-Lyn Dyck...
Introducing the Authors With Cool Hats!

Special Guests Rob and Karina Fabian

Hey! Yes, another blog about the Fabians! This time it's actually about their new re-released book "Leaps of Faith" which is touring with the CFRB this week. And yes, you should read this book! I loved it. And now, here are its editors in person to explain how this collection is both new and old at once.
Followed by a romantic story on the occasion of their 18th wedding anniversary. Enjoy!



You can check out said book Leaps of Faith here:

Or search for it on Amazon if you really must. :P

And now, the fun part:



Check out these other member blogs this week for more on Leaps of Faith!

Monday, 3 November 2008

More from Karina





Check out these other member blogs this week for more about Karina's new release "Leaps of Faith". And keep coing back here, too!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Kicking off Karina's blog tour with a booksigning!





To read the article that resulted, visit the Minot Daily News!

I'm not sure how long that link will be live so I've placed a copy on my own site also: http://www.gracebridges.com/mdn.pdf

Check out these other member blogs this week for more about Karina's new release "Leaps of Faith".

Saturday, 1 November 2008

My first time on real TV!

Okay, so I've been blogging with videos for some time now, but this here is the real deal. The state of North Dakota had the chance to see me on yesterday's noon news! Check it out below...


Thursday, 30 October 2008

Video Blog from North Dakota


America Tour Photos Part 1!!

Since I'm now around halfway through this crazy journey, I thought I'd post some of the pics from my adventures so far...

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Trains, North Dakota, and Irish memories

Here are a couple of quick vids recorded in Amtrak Number 7 between Chicago and Minot. The third one is a bit longer, the start of a project I've been wanting to do for a while - key locations and memories of this summer in Ireland. Enjoy!


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Underground in Chicago

Here's the latest round of my adventures State-side... a personal Frank Creed tour of Chicago!! Yes I suppose I did act like a crazed fan, but after all, that's what I am. Sorry for the bad sound quality on some of these - the Windy City lived up to its name. But if you listen real hard you will hear as Frank points out locations and even gives away some of what you can expect to read in his upcoming release - War of Attrition, Book 2 of the Underground. He has invited me to write a novel in the Underground story world so it was really cool to see some of the places first hand... enjoy!



Thursday, 23 October 2008

Feral Frankie and Cornfield Contemplation

If you haven't heard all about what Frankie got up to yesterday, you need to check out this video: Author Survives Cat Attack. Now, the story goes on as he comes back from the vet...followed by some thoughts I had in a cornfield.

Authors and Cats



Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Friday, 17 October 2008

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Around Cincinnati

Ok folks, here we go again... the first one is a bit longer, showing the approach to Cincinnati (with some cool music) and yes I did speed it up, Cathi wasn't driving that fast... The other two are my usual on-the-scene reports of a couple of places we visited.



Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Praying Soldiers

Sorry this is so late...Life has been real rough on me lately. Five beds in one week, and tonight there isn't any bed at all. A friend once called it the Thousand Star Hotel. Well anyway I am very tired writing this but in fact I just finished reading Higher Honour and there's no better time to write a review, though I'd much rather sleep or sneak glances at the real Amish family that just came in, the first I ever saw.

This is a story about people. Young people, passionate and driven, struggling and desperate. Yeah, they're soldiers - cadets - and students too, caught up in a world so utterly foreign to me that this proved to be the book's greatest pulling power. I began reading it on a plane from Dublin to New York; I finished it in Washington's Union Station in the middle of the night. What is this country I have come to? Not what I thought; and neither is the book.

It's a deepy intense and personal story of ordinary Bible Belt kids thrust into a drama of life and death proportions. A tough topic, assault. But the pages also sparkle with a deep camaraderie and brotherly humour, as well as themes of forgiveness, loss and healing within a closely bonded military group.

I have not read anything like this before, and nor have I heard of anything comparable. I particularly liked the way the soldiers used their military skills in their private lives. I suppose that's what soldiers do. For me it served also as an image of American interpersonal relationships, an image that rings truer than all the movies I ever saw.

(review written in the bus station in the wee small hour)

ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Cadet Cassidy Sanders is brutally assaulted, she struggles
to carry on as she turns further from the God of her youth. Her
attacker is an acquaintance who has his own struggles to face.
God uses their mutual friends to show both cadets the depth
of his grace and mercy.

Higher Honor is set within the sub-culture of America’s
military colleges. The novel focuses on the elements of honor,
brotherhood, duty, and the spirit of the characters to face
and overcome challenges that grow them into the military’s
next generation of strong, capable leaders. The realism of
Higher Honor’s setting and plot is a result of experience,
observation, and much research.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
S.M. Kirkland brings firsthand experience to her fiction.
While a student at North Georgia College and State
University (the senior military college of Georgia) she
enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard. During a 10-
year military career, she served as a photo- and broadcast
journalist while serving in Italy and for the 1996 Summer
Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Kirkland currently works for the Calhoun Times as the
government reporter and her feature stories have appeared
in newspapers nationwide. Her first fiction publication was
a short story "Fair Balance" included in the anthology Light
at the Edge of Darkness (TWCP, 2007). This story received
several rave reviews.

WHERE TO BUY HIGHER HONOR:
The publisher's page (FREE shipping, autographed)
http://www.thewriterscafe.com/authorandbooks/HIGHERHONOR.html
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Higher-Honor-S-M-Kirkland/dp/1934284084/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222902785&sr=8-1
Susan's web page:
http://smkirkland.com/
Susan's profiles:
http://www.myspace.com/smkirkland
http://www.shoutlife.com/smkirkland
http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1261677646&ref=profile


Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.