Guest Post: Writing by Jen Benjamin

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.

Presenting Jen Benjamin…

Writing

Some people knit. Some bake. Some build cars or race cars or collect cars, while others prefer to take a trip back in time and ride horses. There are those who like to jog and those who like to garden. There are movie buffs and frequent museum visitors and people who spend hours upon hours playing chess. Or Candy Crush.

This world is flooded with ways people can amuse themselves. I amuse myself by writing.

I’m definitely not special. There are plenty of people who write as a hobby. And, if I’m going to be honest (which I can easily do when I’m staring at a computer screen instead of a person), we writers may among the more narcissistic members of the human race. Not in the pathological, personality disorder kind of way. Writers can be very lovely people. But when I write it’s fun because it’s a little like being God.

Hold please while I wait for lightning bolts…

Okay. I’m clear. God knows what I meant. It’s all good.

When I write novels (which I do in more than one genre and more than one name), I get to create a world that fits onto pages and characters to fill it up. And, like real, live humans, they don’t always do what they’re supposed to. I can make a person look a certain way, have certain mannerisms, use certain slang and, somehow, they always end up surprising me. Sometimes they get themselves into big messes and I have to rescue them.

It’s intoxicating.

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I wish I could say that writing for so many years has made me into a master wordsmith, but that hasn’t happened yet. What has happened is the realization that I will never grow tired of making up stories.

My first romantic comedy is called Follow Me Home and my first romantic comedy heroine is a little like me. She’s a writer, she has bad hair and she’s a little socially awkward. But the similarities end there because, unlike me, she’s a bestselling author who has a book being adapted for film.

The idea for Follow Me Home came to fruition thanks to a bizarre, embarrassing dream I had one night. In the dream, I was engaged to a young celebrity (young as in I’m in my thirties and he was in his twenties). It was a bizarre dream where I took him to a high school reunion and told all my friends it was an arranged marriage. As though an arranged marriage in the 21st Century is less odd than some old cougar with a young, tall drink of water…

Not long after I had the dream, November came along. Many people know that November means National Novel Writing Month. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when over-caffeinated writers from all over gather together on the Internet as they each try to pound out a novel in thirty days for no reason other than to make themselves do it. It’s pure torture and so much fun. Some people run marathons. Other people write entire novels in a month. And if there are people who do both, they need to be captured with giant nets and studied because I’m sure they’re not human.

That particular November, I didn’t have any certain idea for a novel so I decided to write one based on one of my recent dreams. I tend to have vivid, peculiar dreams so I had a few to choose from. The one with the engagement to the young celebrity was the least bizarre and seemed like the best route for a story. That was the birth of my first Rom Com.

Follow Me Home is a lighthearted tale that I hope will make people smile, because I wasn’t setting out to write a literary masterpiece. I amuse myself by writing and my only hope is to amuse the reader who gives me a chance.

 


About the author:

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

Contact Details:
Email: authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin
Twitter: @jenbenjam.

About the book:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

A Pleasant Surprise – My New Business Cards

Last week was busy, to say the least, I went to my mom’s place as Vishal had some work with my step and so spent some really good time with my mom and brother. I also made a few changes to my website – Added ‘Upcoming Titles’ and ‘Praise’ sections to the Home page, added ‘Praise’ page to the menu, along with adding my short bio and book image to the sidebar, and I must say that I’m happy with those things because now if someone comes directly to my Blog page (which happens a lot) they can get a glimpse of me (and who I am and what I do.)

And this week, I got these beauties (my Ig, T, and Fb followers might already know):

Aren’t they pretty! I love them and everyone at Citrus is so giddy with relief that the designing and branding work is over now. We all can just take a step back now, admire our hard work and move forward with the tiresome things of sending ARCs to reviewers and doing the other media pre-promotions.

I’m so glad to be working with people who value talent over age and experience and as I tweeted today morning, “I’m in a very happy place in my life right now! And I intend to keep it this way.”

So that’s all for today. Oh BTW, see what my publicist did this week:

Hope you all are having a nice week.

Ciao.

Book Tag: Questions And Answers

It’s been over a year since I’ve done any tags. I love doing them (they’re so much fun), but early last year life got real busy and so many tags piled up on top of other blog posts that I decided to pass on all of them. But recently I was tagged by one of my favorite authors, John A. Heldt, and I simply couldn’t resist.

John, the author of critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series, is a longtime friend, and I always look forward to reading his books. He blogs quite regularly, so if you have a few minutes, do check out his blog and books.

Q & A

What book has been on your shelf the longest?

The Shinning by Stephen King. I’m a big Stephen King fan, but for some reason, I never got around to reading this masterpiece by him. I bought the book 2 years back but still haven’t got around to reading it.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Currently, I’m reading Hanna’s Moon by John A. Heldt. My last read was The Beekeeper’s Daughter and my next read is going to be Under The Dome by Stephen King

What book did everyone like but you hated?

Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I won’t say I hated the book, but I was simply not able to get into it in spite of most of my friends loving it.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but you probably won’t?

Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James and 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz. Both are horrific reads, first one figuratively and the second one literally.

What book are you saving for retirement?

Life’s too short to wait to read a book, but I do plan on re-reading several books after my “retirement” – ASOIF Series, HP Series, etc.

Last page: Read it first or save until the end?

Always save it until the end. Who the hell reads the last page anyway. If won’t make any sense, to say the least, and it would just end up revealing the end. Two big no-nos for me.

Acknowledgement: Waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

Being a writer myself, I know how much hard work goes into a book and that is why I love reading acknowledgments page of every single book I read. It makes me feel more connected to the author and the people involved in the making of the book.

Which book character would you switch places with?

Arya Stark of ASOIAF series. It would be hard, but I’d do it anyway.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Game Of Thrones (ASOIAF #1)  by George R.R. Martin. I won’t go into the details but Ned Stark reminds me of my father a lot and the things that happened to him do too.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

I almost always buy my own books, so the most interesting way was getting 3 to 4 books delivered by my library at my doorstep every month for an entire year while I was a member. I’m not a member anymore as I realized that libraries are not for me as I hate returning books I love. So I buy them now.

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

Yes. I’ve given the first copy of my debut novel to my husband. And will keep on giving him the first copy of all my novels.

Which book has been with you most places?

The World’s Best Fairytales by Reader’s Digest Association. It is a big book of fairy tales passed on to me by my grandfather. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.

Any required reading that you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later? 

I’ve not yet read any of Shakespear’s plays because I never enjoyed them in high school.

Used or brand new?

Brand new only. I like my books to be mine and mine alone.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Yes, I’ve read three of his books: The Da Vinci CodeThe Lost Symbol, and Inferno.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Not better than the book, but equally good – The Hobbit (all three movies.)

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

I love cooking (baking to be specific) and I bought The Chocolate And Coffee Bible a few years back. It has some amazing chocolate and coffee recipes and it still makes me hungry every time I flip through its pages.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

My blogging book friend Kim.

Is there a book outside your comfort zone you ended up loving?

None so far.

Okay, now for tagging others…

Kim at By Hook Or By Book

Phoenix at Phoenix Grey

Galit at Coffee n’ Notes

Kate M. Colby at her Fiction Blog

If anyone other than the above mentions wants to do this tag then feel free to consider yourself tagged.

Hope you all having a great start to your week!

Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.

About the author:

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

Contact Details:
Email: authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin
Twitter: @jenbenjam.


Hello, Jen. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

Oh, ambition! Such a strong word for someone as scatterbrained as I am! I love to write and while it would be fabulous to make a living making up stories, I can safely say that my only immediate ambition, as far as writing goes, is to entertain anyone who happens to read my stories.

Which writers inspire you?

There are and have been so many great writers. It’s hard to narrow it down and my writing skills are nothing in comparison with my favorite writers. I think the first writer who struck me with the beauty of her words was Madeleine L’Engle. She was the master of, not showing me, not telling me, but making me feel a story.

Tell us about your book?

Follow Me Home is a romantic comedy/chick lit story about a (what else?) writer named Katie who is thrust into Hollywood life when her novel becomes a film. She is a fish out of water in so many ways as everything she’s familiar with is yanked out from under her. And she wasn’t even blessed with the good hair gene to help her navigate life with silky, smooth confidence. Follow Me Home is a story that will hopefully allow people to see the humor in every-day life as Katie awkwardly navigates her new environment. And there’s men. Attractive men.

How long did it take you to write it?

Well, it was a project for National Novel Writing Month, an event during which writers torture themselves by writing an entire novel in a month. The reward is the satisfaction of knowing that you’re capable of doing this. So…Follow Me Home took one grueling November to write.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I have a second romantic comedy coming out in April called Quick, Fast and in a Surrey. It’s about Annie Gallagher who is a museum curator, surrey cart driver, fashion lover and believer in Fate. When a handsome historian comes to Annie’s small Oklahoma town, she’s sure Fate delivered him there just for her. Or maybe Satan did. It was probably Fate. It had to be Fate.

Why have you chosen this genre?

The chick lit writing style is a nice break for my mind. It’s written in present tense and flows like a natural thought pattern which can be flowery prose or fragmented musings. It’s a lot of fun.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always liked to write just to amuse myself. I like to daydream and writing is making something out of whimsy.

Why do you write?

It’s an escape and it feel constructive at the same time. Like, yes, I’m crazy but look what I made with my craziness.

Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of my ideas come straight from insomnia. They are born from random things I think when I’m lying awake at night. Other times it’ll be a song lyric or a little anecdote that my mind just builds a story around.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I am learning to use the computer for writing. Obviously I know how to use a computer but I used to always write by hand. It’s harder for me to feel connected to a computer screen like I feel connected to a pen and paper. But it’s more efficient to use the computer, so I’m now making myself do it.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That’s a hard question! I’m going to go with:

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  2. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

And we’ll say those authors are my favorite five, too. Ask me again tomorrow and things may have changed.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’m not very disciplined at making myself write when I don’t feel like it. I need a taskmaster to threaten me. Deadlines are great taskmasters. But I’ve found that if I just sit down and do it, the words flow.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Be your own taskmaster! Don’t be as lazy as I am! Just do it!

Thank you, Jen, for all your interesting answers!

About The Book:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

What Is Writer’s Block? And 3 Things to Keep In Mind

There are a lot of people who don’t believe in the existence of Writer’s Block, but let’s face it, even though you don’t want to name it, there are periods of time in every writer’s life when you simply can’t write (no matter how much you want to!) You can call it a “bad phase”, a stupor or whatever the hell you want it all comes down to the same thing – You can’t write sometimes.

No matter what you want to name it, the truth remains the same – This “bad time” or whatever you want to name it wastes a lot of precious time of writers that can be otherwise used for writing.

This is what is called Writer’s Block. Think of it as just something to name this condition for the sake of convenience.

It’s not all bad if you can recover from it in a short while, say a day or a couple of days or even a week. But it gets pretty bad if you simply can’t get over it for a long period of time, say a month. Or maybe more.

I’ve come across a lot of stories of writers giving up when they suffer a prolonged period of Writer’s Block and it greatly saddens me because this is not a solution. Giving up never is.

In 3 years of my full-time writing career, I’ve gone through multiple phases of Writer’s Block, both short and long spells. And if there’s something I’ve learned from each and every time, it is these 3 things:

1.  Make use of this time

Many of us use our extra time for writing. We get a day off, we write. We get an hour off, we write. We go on a vacation, we write. Being a full-time writer also, I use my extra time for writing, so I practically don’t get any free time for other things.

Use this “bad spell” to do the other things like weed the garden, take a small vacation with your family, do the house chores, spend time with your family and friends (god only knows how limited time writers get to spend with others), go for swimming, movies, or do anything else that either needs to be done, or you’ve wanted to do but couldn’t because of writing.

2. Keep feeding your creative mind

Just because you can’t write doesn’t mean you can’t read, or draw or do research or can’t do anything else that’ll work as a fodder for your creative mind.

Remember, our minds are like a sponge, they keep on absorbing and observing things. So when you’re not writing, either read books in your genre or read some refreshing new genre, or sing or dance or do something that you like. But again, don’t do anything that stresses you. You’re just doing these things for yourself, not to please others.

I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books, both in my genre of writing. It always helps me.

3. Don’t give up

It’s okay to take a break. In fact, the way I see it, Writer’s Block is a way for our mind to tell us to take a break. If you’ll notice it generally happens after you’ve spent a considerable time working on your writing projects.

So listen to your mind and give it a rest.

You’ll always bounce back eventually.

Takeaway:

Don’t over think. Relax and take a calming breath. Your mind simply needs a break, it is NOT giving up on writing. So do what you want to do, keep in touch with your creative side and don’t ever think of giving up.

In case if the Writer Block doesn’t go away after a while, then face the truth – It’s not the Writer’s Block, it’s you. You (maybe your subconscious self) are making reasons and coming up with stupid excuses to not to write. So get on your ass and start writing. It’ll be hard, but who said writing will be easy?

Do not give up.

What are your experiences with Writer’s Block?


Further Reading:

First Sample Copy Of Deceived

Hello, all. This is a late post, so please forgive, but life’s been extremely busy (particularly this month.) Being the Editor In Cheif at Citrus, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the first sample copy of Deceived.

This is a late post, so please forgive, but life’s been extremely busy (particularly this month.) Being the Editor In Cheif at Citrus, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the first sample copy of Deceived.

The cover came out a bit dark in the sample, so the covers are getting reprinted at the moment and most probably we’ll have the first batch of ARCs delivered to the office by next weekend!

Anyway, here are a few pictures [I loved it even with a slightly dark cover and spent an entire day holding this baby]:

On a side note, as my responsibilities have increased at Citrus and as I’m writing the second draft of my second novel, I’ve decided to take a break from podcasting for a few months. So the podcast that I was preparing for this month won’t be going up anytime soon (it really takes a lot of time!)

Though, I’ll try and share flash fiction twice a month as an additional writing exercise.

I hope you guys liked the book’s sample. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. Comments are always welcome!

Ciao ❤

Guest Post: E-Book Revolution by Kenneth Eade

TODAY, AT TRB LOUNGE, WE ARE HOSTING AUTHOR Kenneth Eade, AUTHOR OF Traffick Stop.

Presenting Kenneth Eade…

EBOOK REVOLUTION

When I was going to college, I loved to go to the library to study, slink into a nice comfortable chair, and read until I drifted off to sleep. When Borders came out with their neighborhood blockbuster book stores, I did the same thing, and often left the store with a book I had the pleasure of sampling in the same comfortable way. Now, most people buy their books on the Internet, and read them on their Kindle.

A phenomena of the Internet has been the consolidation of retailers into new monopolies. Retailers such as Netflix replaced blockbuster stores such as Blockbuster Video, who found it impossible to sustain its brick and mortar retail stores against the power of the Internet and the popularity of download streaming. Newspapers have been outdated by means of publishing the written word more expeditiously, and, as a consequence, journalism has had to adapt to try to maintain some kind of quality.

The same has happened to the publishing industry, and the brick and mortar bookstores. Borders, one of the “Blockbusters” of books, was gobbled by Barnes and Noble, who now finds its biggest competitor to be Amazon. Amazon has developed a suite of tools that allow authors to enter the publishing industry, a place once reserved for the elite, and more closed than the world of Hollywood filmmaking.

A recent study found that nearly 70 percent of consumers say it is unlikely that they will give up on printed books by 2016 (per this story at tinyurl.com/q4fm2hu), and the British marketing research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24, about their media-consumption habits; the survey found that 62% of the respondents said they prefer printed books to eBooks (per this story at tinyurl.com/ktljhph).

I was surprised by these findings because I was sure that ebook sales had been growing at an exponential rate. The annual BookStats Study reports that 457 million ebooks were sold last year; a 4456% increase since 2008, when 10 million were sold (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/05/15/e-book-sales/2159117/). Although paper titles sales are higher, you cannot ignore the steady increase in the number of ebook sales, which I still think is the future of publishing. I think you have to account for the demographic, in that most older readers will naturally choose a print book, whereas younger readers, who tend to do their homework on their laptops, will opt for an ebook.

According to successful New York Times Best Selling Author Hugh Howey, who has turned his back on the publishing industry and now publishes his own books, he makes more money self-publishing and it frees his time that he would be using chasing agents and publishers to write more and better books.

Print books are still being purchased because the non-Generation Y readers are slow to convert to Kindle. They prefer having a printed book in their hands, so there will be a market for the printed book in the near future. However, ebook Sales are still up, and older readers are buying Kindles. Impulse buying is much stronger with eBooks, which are delivered instantaneously, and they are cheaper than print books. I think the reading public will still prefer print books, but, as time goes by, eBook sales will overcome them, merely due to the demographics.

My ebooks both have printed versions that sell on Amazon and are also offered at Barnes and Noble. Although they sell only online, online book sales account for more than 50% of all book sales, as recently reported in Digital Book World (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/online-retail-now-accounts-for-nearly-half-all-u-s-book-sales/). I think that the trend is toward online sales taking over traditional retail outlet sales. We have observed many book store closures and consolidations in the past few years and I think we can continue to see more. I myself will miss being able to go into a book store, pick up a book and relax in a soft chair while sampling its passages to see if I feel like buying it, but you cannot deny the trend. My ebook sales are still running about three times higher than my printed book sales, but the option is there to appeal to both markets, and that is what Amazon is doing with giving authors their “Create Space” platform.

I think publishers have to offer both ebook and print book formats to appeal to both sides of the market. In the end, it is the quality of the book and the promotions that are used to bring awareness to it rather than the medium that is going to control. Like any other product, you have to package and offer it to the consumer in a way that appeals to his or her buying habits.

However, as the reading public ages, new readers will be almost exclusively eBook oriented. I regret the demise of the printed book, but I don’t see that there will be anything that can be done about it, except to preserve them in libraries and museums. With the trend toward iPads and Kindles, and public schools even proposing issuing iPads to students, young people will eventually grow up not knowing what it is like to read a printed book. Technology will do the same thing to the book that it has done to the printed newspaper.


About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written sixteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

About the book:

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Please Note: This book is on sale till 13th March 2017 on US and UK Kindle for 99 cents and all royalties will be going to Prajwala (http://www.prajwalaindia.com/) to benefit victims of human trafficking.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Kenneth Eade

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Kenneth Eade, author of Traffick Stop.

About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written sixteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.


Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

It’s difficult to speak about ambitions without appearing egotistical, but I will flat out say it – I want to be recognized as a best-selling author, along with the most popular mainstream authors of today. It’s not so much about ego as I think I have a powerful and important message in my writing that needs to get to as many people as possible. And, of course, there’s those pesky bills that need to be paid.

Which writers inspire you?

The classic authors like Dickens and Steinbeck come to mind right away. Our history will be told in literature. No matter how the politicians decide to rewrite it to suit their needs, the greatest literary works of our time will be what people will be looking at in a hundred or two hundred years from now to really see how we “ticked.”

Tell us about your book?

“Traffick Stop” is the third in a series of books about Robert Garcia, a military-trained assassin who has, since his retirement, turned to the private sector and is doing what he does best – killing terrorists. In the first installment, he inherited the moniker “Paladine” from a blogger who witnessed his first kill. But he’s really more of an anti-hero than a hero.

 How long did it take you to write it?

The bulk of the work was done in three months, and it spent a month in editing and rewriting to hone it to its present state.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m currently working on the 11th installment of my Brent Marks Legal Thriller series called “And Justice?”

Why have you chosen this genre?

I actually got into this genre by chance. A reader of my legal thriller series suggested this character, who appeared for the first time in Book 9 of that series. Since then, he has reappeared as the main character in three completed books. This is a popular genre, to be sure, but terrorism is something people are interested in now. It’s a hot topic, mainly because we feel powerless to do anything about it. People are relating to this character, who would otherwise be a pretty repulsive guy, because he is giving them an outlet to express their frustration against terrorism vicariously.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It’s not a decision I made, really. I’ve been a writer since I’ve been able to pick up a pen. I’m glad I finally decided to take it seriously.

Why do you write?

That’s like asking why I breathe. How could I not? It’s not something I had to learn. It just came naturally. I’ve always been a storyteller, but I guess I didn’t find my medium until later in life.

Where do your ideas come from?

Since my stories all revolve around real social issues, all I really have to do is look at the news. It seems every day there is something going on in our world that inspires me to “right a wrong” or to at least point it out.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I have to use a computer. Because my thoughts go faster than I can speak, writing longhand became futile a long time ago. I wrote my final exams in law school with an electric typewriter – same with the bar exam. In the days when we had typewriters, the keys used to stick together. That hasn’t happened with the computer keyboard yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I like “A Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, “Of Mice and Men” by Steinbeck, and “Farenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. That’s not five, is it? I also love the Tom Sawyers books by Mark Twain, who is one of my favorite authors.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

What’s that? No, seriously, I do suffer from lack of inspiration. My assistant (my dog, Misha) offers a solution to writer’s block. She’s always ready to go for a walk and never refuses me. Out in the fresh air, I think about the character and where he is in the story and ideas will usually come, or at least I’ll find out what happens next in the story.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Well, the business right now is kind of like “Field of Dreams.” You could spend a lot of time trying to get an agent or a publisher, but it won’t do you any good unless you have a body of work. So, build those books and it will come.


THANK YOU, KENNETH, FOR ALL YOUR INSIGHTFUL ANSWERS!

About The Book:

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Please Note: This book is on sale till 13th March 2017 on US and UK Kindle for 99 cents and all royalties will be going to Prajwala (http://www.prajwalaindia.com/) to benefit victims of human trafficking.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

 

Guest Post: Self Discovery: The Foundation to Finding Yourself by Jasmine Farrell       

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jasmine Farrell, author of Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves.

Presenting Jasmine Farrell…

Self Discovery: The Foundation to Finding Yourself

My initial step on the path to self-discovery wasn’t an intentional one. I merely woke up one morning in December of 2014, remained in bed for a few minutes in silence and focused on my breathing. Prior to that moment, I was beginning to question my faith, what I had been taught, my level of self-love and whether I honestly viewed myself in a positive light (which wasn’t so affirmative, I should add). Hence the not-so random-subconscious decision to wake up one morning in silence. In the days after that morning in 2014, I began to meditate on the things and people I was grateful for. From there I would alternate between silence and gratitude. I eventually began to read some books about meditation, its benefits, the reason for its demonization and its correlation with self-discovery.

Self-discovery is not a beautiful journey that makes you smile and feel giddy all the time. It’s sometimes messy because when you self-reflect, you begin to hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make. You begin to discover parts of yourself that aren’t so nice and flaws that would make you cringe if you knew someone else who had those same flaws. Nonetheless, the journey is imperative—and priceless!

If you are not sure where to start, why don’t you try the challenges below:

Media Detox:

We are all media junkies. Let’s be real. Whether it’s social media, television, news articles that are doused in yellow journalism, gossip magazines, YouTube or everything all at once, we love to spend hours feeding ourselves whatever media is on offer. While social media has its benefits, as does as a moderate consumption of media too much of it can flood our minds, causing us to drown out what our gut is attempting to say—in addition to muting our own insight and yelling out what media has to say for us. We’ve drowned ourselves with such a copious amount of media that we sometimes look to media to think for us. Because God forbid we might have a mind of our own that isn’t in alignment with media.

Challenge: Do not grab your phone and check your social media accounts when you first wake up and just before you go to bed. Subtract two hours of your television viewing or your video streaming time. Substitute it with an activity that involves connecting with a loved one—in person OR on the phone (this does not include texting). If no one is available, how about making some arts and crafts or coloring? Yes, I said it: Color in a coloring book.

Side note: Some of you have jobs that require you to engage in media. If so, then hustle, Queen. Nevertheless, you can still cut it back during your personal media surfing time!

There Are Beautiful Moments Surrounding You:

Gazing outwardly and taking in life as it plays out around you is a lovely habit to adopt. While walking to work or venturing off to the store, look around you. Stop internalizing what you did wrong the other day. Roll your eyes and move forward from that person in front of you who randomly stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to check their phone. Breathe in slowly, exhale and really look around you. Did you catch the baby giggling at the sight of big bubbles being blown by the mother, or feel the light breeze on a hot-ass I’m-about-to-be-a-cooked-meal-for-a-cannibal day?

Being in the present moment aids you in discovering what you like and what you abhor. It allows you to open up and truly observe the things and people you may have been depreciating. Sometimes in the midst of being present in the moment, you may realize the main person you have been depreciating was yourself.

For me: Being in the moment also helps my common NYC anxieties and my intrusive thoughts. If I’m focused on what’s going on externally, I won’t be too harsh with what’s going on internally.

Challenge: Whenever you can, slow down. Walk a little slower, look at the trees, the homes and the colors that grace your eyeballs. Breathe. Slow down. Observe. Breathe and repeat!

Throwbacks!

Remember the hobbies or activities you used to engage in a few years back that made you smile like you were related to Mr. Kool-Aid? Reflect on that allotted hobby or activity and really consider if you lost interest or whether life happened and you became too busy.

Challenge: Find time for the activity/hobby you love. Make time for it! The time you surrendered from social media can be used for this challenge!

In a society that encourages us to love and be ourselves unapologetically, yet dehumanizes, exploits and subtly belittles us, it can be quite natural to second-guess our value. It is understandable that you may feel as though you are unworthy to wholeheartedly love yourself. Many of us were taught to put ourselves last, in order to obtain happiness or rewards in the long run (how is that working out for you?). A few of us were even discouraged from even showing an ounce of confidence lest we became “cocky”. Confidence is not cocky. Knowing you’re dope all by yourself just as much as the next person isn’t cocky. Devaluing another being while boosting up your own self-esteem—that is cocky.

Push through the cognitive dissonance with a new mentality that is receptive to this:

You ARE worthy to love, know and understand yourself.

How else will you shed your light brightly, love others and live life with purpose?


About the author:

jasmine_farrell_jpgJasmine Farrell is a freelance writer and blogger. From Brooklyn, NY, she has a Bachelor’s in Communications and she loves red velvet cake. Writing in her Grandmother’s memo pads is included into her repertoire of writings. Creative writing is her niche. She loves reading, randomly dancing and creating off-key ballads.

About the book:

phoenix_coverPhoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a collection of poetry that draws the reader into the world of personal identity, inner growth and the complexity of human relationships. Ordinary and common images, especially ones found in nature, are used to craft poems that appeal to the uncommon, the suppressed and the others. Filled with incredible grace and accessible wisdom, the poems explore a wide range of complex emotional themes. With unexpected metaphors and sparkling similes, the pieces vary in rhythm and theme making each one like a foil-wrapped candy: something to savor, enjoying each new bright color on the tongue.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Robert Sanasi

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Robert Sanasi.

About the author:

img_3729Robert Sanasi is an Italian poet, novelist and lyricist born in a small town of Southern Italy in 1981. He’s been living abroad for nine years.
After graduating in Communication Sciences at the University of Lecce in 2006, he started composing journalistic articles for local magazines and short poems. He then moved to Bologna for a year ‘to escape the alienation and monotony of the provincial life’. Immediately after that, he flew to Dublin, Ireland in search of work and new life experiences. There he worked at several American multinationals and shifted towards a more creative kind of writing, focusing on poems and song lyrics in English and Italian. The family drama connected to the car accident of his older brother only a few months after his departure, his coma, and his subsequent rehabilitation had a deep and strong impact on Robert’s life and writing. This is also described in his first literary novel ‘Dublin Calling’, to be published by Wallace Publishing in December 2016.
All his works have a strong imprint of autobiographical authenticity which clearly refer to the Beat Generation. He particularly loves American literature of the 1900s and authors such as Kerouac, H. Miller, Fante, Roth, Bukowski, Mcnirney, as well as European authors such Celine, Hamsun Buzzati, and Tondelli. He defines his style as “visionary-expressionistic realism” that focuses on the emotional side of life and literature. He has recently achieved second place in the Poetry section of the online Italian writing contest Word Selfie with his poem Angel of the Street, which has also been selected for an an international event and anthology of poetry called 100 Thousands poets for change.
Apart from the six years spent in Dublin, he has also lived for a time in Copenhagen, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Berlin, Bratislava, Krakow, Prague, and Warsaw. He defines himself as a ‘2.0 migrant urban writer’ and a representative of the current “Generation on the run”.


Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I’m really doing everything possible (and maybe even impossible) to get there: being a writer. I’ve been “working on the dream” for so long and so hard. Now I’m ready to start it up.

Which writers inspire you?

The ones who are not afraid of writing everything down and try all the time to be original yet authentic. I get inspired mostly by autobiographic writers and real-life stories.

Tell us about your book?

Dublin Calling, as the title may also evoke, is a journey, meaning both physical and existential. It’s the story of a young Italian emigrant who moves to Dublin in search of a job and above all of new life experiences. After his initial enthusiasm, a very tough family issue arises back in Italy and from that point on his soul and life feels like split in two: one in in his home country and one in his new one, Ireland. In the turmoil of the events, he finds himself in a private and restless quest for some sort of meaning or belonging or a piece of full happiness in the most different ways: through love, sex, poetry, trips and attempts to run away from a reality that he doesn’t feel as his own which might be seen as an escape from himself in a city, Dublin, that is just more than a mere story setting. It’s more like a woman to love and hate at the same time and at the same intensity. And which will affect his years, his growth and maybe his life forever. It’s based on many of my personal autobiographic experiences. What I wanted to do was to leave a sign of this “generation on the move” by means of a novel.

How long did it take you to write it?

Pretty much four months. The objective was to finish it just before leaving Ireland for good and I managed to do so.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Other than finalizing my latest novel, I’m currently working on a script. It’s based on a couple of my literary works. Writing for the screen is quite different from writing a novel but I must say I’m enjoying it. I think I have a cinematographic vision.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Because the realistic narrative is to me the most powerful tool to represent what I want to represent. It’s the only genre I feel comfortable with. I don’t think I could do something different.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It happened twice actually: when I was 22 after reading Kerouac’s On The Road For The First Time and (in the middle of a long hiatus) after I completed Dublin Calling. Then I truly understood it was my own path.

Why do you write?

Complex question that can be simplified this way: to express myself, to create something. Because I’m in love with arts. I guess this just happens, at a certain point, to all artistic minds. It’s something natural and spontaneous. It’s within and comes along the way at some point.

Where do your ideas come from?

Really from anywhere! It’s crazy how ideas and inspiration may come along at any time and in any place. I get many ideas listening to music or watching movies but even in the streets, among the people, in the buses or trains, often when I first wake up in the morning and it’s better to have always something to write down notes or it will be lost. You must be fast and ready to catch that idea or it will fly away.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Laptop most of the time. If I’m around and some inspiration comes up I take notes on some paper or even on my phone.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

On The Road for sure as it all started from that, then Ask the dust, Tropic of Capricorn, Journey to the end of the night, Portnoy’s complaint.

My favorite authors are Kerouac, Henry Miller, Fante, Celine, Tondelli (and I’d like to add Rimbaud).

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

In the last three years, I’ve been writing totally four novels, which are a lot considering the timeframe. I guess I’m still in a kind of “artistic ferment” having so many stories to tell, therefore it was always easy to move on.

I’ve never really experienced the famous Writer’s Block so far. Probably because I mostly write when I kind of need it, when I know I will enjoy the most. I’m still in a time when I’m not obliged to follow schedules or specific requests, so I write when inspiration comes. If I’m writing and something is not coming up at all or the way I want, I just stop and have a break. It means it’s time to pause.  One hour or one day later, it will go better for sure.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

To follow their passion, to seek improvement and new ways of writing, to be determined, to take themselves seriously as writers, to be professional when contacting publishers and agents or any other person in the publishing industry, to be open to critics and accept an initial failure or delay in results. Persistence is key to becoming an author. Last but not least, to get the necessary satisfaction from what they are doing. Above all, writing is a pure pleasure.

Thank you, Robert, for all your insightful answers!

About The Book:

dublin-calling-master-e-book-cover-1A Southern Italian man who finds himself hungry for life decides to emigrate to the crazy Northern European city of Dublin. From that moment onwards, no matter where else he chooses to travel, Dublin is forever calling him! Dublin Calling is a fascinating and honest insight into the life of a 2.0 migrant. “I was jumping on a rollercoaster for a long and amazing ride. I was a young soul waiting to take-off and experience unpredictability. Hope, pain, love, sex… and everything in between. Dublin was calling me.”


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Month End Updates: February’17

Hello, everyone. This is a monthly post in which I share about my writing, reading and life in general.

My month in:

WRITING–

  • I wrote 31,225 words for Sinister Town’s 2nd draft.
  • I planned and outlined the entire book again and now have a clearer and a much better understanding of the plot. Made some major changes and rewrote a few bits.
  • I also wrote a short story and two of the previously written. I’ll be posting them on the blog in March.
  • I prepared my next podcast and the post too. It’s on Second Drafts, which will be a kind of sequel to my earlier podcast – All About First Drafts. It’s 90% done so it should be out by the later half of March.

READING–

  • Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs – 4/5
  • The Little Yarmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton – 5/5
  • Sting by Sandra Brown – 1/5
  • The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston – 5/5
  • Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben – 3/5
  • The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors – 4/5
  • Amber Alert by Dan Lawton – 4/5
  • The House Of Secrets by Brad Meltzer – 4/5

Series:

  • A Series Of Unfortunate Events – NPH is beyond awesome and I absolutely adore the cast of the kids. They are all so perfect for their roles. If you haven’t yet watched it, then do it right now! You wouldn’t want to miss out on this epic series.eine-reihe-betrueblicher-ereignisse-s1_3569
  • Sherlock Holmes – Finally(!!) I started with this series! I haven’t yet finished even a single season because Vishal made me wait for him to get the Thunderbird connector for my Mac so that we both can watch it on TV. So far I’ve just watched 4 episodes and I love them.

Movies:

On TV:

  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • Julie And Julia
  • 30 Days Of Night
  • The BFG
  • The Notebook

In theatre:

  • Resident Evil – Last Chapter
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lego Batman
  • John Wick – Chapter 2

Miscellaneous:

  • I’ve been appointed as the Editor In Chief at Citrus Publishers.
  • I hosted my first International Giveaway for Deceived. It was an exclusive subscriber giveaway, i.e., only for my Newsletter Subscribers. And the winner of the Giveaway was – Andrew (my very good Goodreads friend) – Congratulations!
  • Seeing a great increase in number of new subscribers in the month of February, I decided to giveaway an e-book of Deceived to a random winner and the winner was – Diwya – Congratulations!
  • Seeing such a heart warming response to my giveaway, I’ve planned to host one next month again, but this time it’ll be open for everyone and not just my subscribers. I’ll try to set up a Rafflecopter one so that it’ll be easy to keep scores and such. So stay tuned!
  • Also, this month I also hosted my very first Facebook Live Author Event powered by Mystery Thriller Week (MTW) 2017. I wasn’t expecting anyone to come and attend the event at the designated hour as I got late in making the announcements and inviting everyone. Also my time zones are different than my friends overseas, so I thought that it’ll be a huge barrier. BUT to my pleasant surprise, a lot of MTW members and my Fb friends showed up for the event. It all made me feel so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing friends!
    Next time I’ll make sure to invite each every one of you all in time.
  • Also, I won an award at the MTW – Instagram VIP!
    16864107_10212567619644693_387844269653130429_n
  • Also, near the very end of the month, Deceived got ranked #199 (as of today, it will keep on jumping up with each and every vote) out of around 700 books on Goodreads’ Most Anticipated Thriller Of The Month.
    If you guys have a minute, then please visit here and vote for Deceived to help me it get ann even better ranking! Each and every vote is greatly appreciated!

What about you? How was your month? What all books did you read this month? Did you meet your writing goals?
Did you watch any of the latest releases this month?? Please share about your month in the comments section below. I’m all EARS!

In order to stay updated and get exclusive sneak peaks, subscribe to my monthly Newsletter – SUBSCRIBE

Ciao ❤

Book Review: The Painter by Lina Toorn

51qlpshotjlAuthor: Lina Toorn
Release Date: 3rd June 2016
Series: –
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery
Edition: E-book
Pages: 234
Publisher: –

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

A very young Dinnie loved her “Bertie” but fate intervened. His sudden disappearance left her devastated. Tormented by the fear of living a lonely life and alone, she ventured out….
The beauty of their love for each other blinded the two sweethearts to everything but each other. Her soul burned like a bright fire; her love’s thirst for her soulmate could not be quenched. Dinnie, a girl in love, suddenly had her love ripped from her heart, sending her soul to the depths of despair. She had lost her hope, her young heart broken to accept life as a lonely journey towards her end, by fate. Slowly, the world would peek into her story through paint. Time held no meaning…. History, her passion and her eye for beauty was allowed to blossom and be expressed.
Would love find her again?

Review

The Painter by Lina Toorn is a women’s fiction book that is centered around the life of a widowed painter who is thrown into the world she doesn’t belong to.

Initially, the book started out strong, but soon, after a few pages, the suspense started to feel a bit forced and then when I kept on reading the book, the story felt awkward, the scenes started and stopped abruptly and the overall plot seemed very shaky.

Sometimes, in the dialogues, the names were interchanged and that created a lot of confusion and it took me a lot of time re-reading passages and sometimes, even pages.

I wasn’t able to feel any connection with neither the lead nor any of the secondary characters, though I was able to feel the efforts of the author to force the connection very clearly, which again was another thing that made me not like the story.

The writing was good for the most part but at times it did feel forceful and clumsy. The dialogue exchange felt unreal and forced too.

Overall, I guess the story is good, but the book is in dire need of thorough editing. I could see the potential in the story as well as in the plot structure, but a few negatives worked against the book more than the positives supported it.

If I really have to, then I’d recommend this book to readers, who won’t mind the technical problems in a book.


Goodreads and Amazon