• Virtual Book Tour

    No Innocent Affair by Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr.

  • Science Fiction

    Renegades by Sara Mason

  • Inner City Strength by Dwight Slaughter

    Sometimes the game is all you have to save your life.

Friday, April 27, 2012

GFP: Interview & Giveaway - Feedback:How To Give It, How To Take It by Jo Sparkes



Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today at Blue Moon Coffee & Bakery, Lake Oswego, Oregon.






BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...


Hmmm. Now why is that always a difficult question for me?  


I'm a writer, a teacher, a wife, a friend, and a sister. And very much still learning on the job of life.


BK: Please tell us a little about your book....


The book is Feedback  How to Give It  How to Get It. 


For me, I thrived on any praise, no matter how faint. And I panicked at the first hint of criticism. 


But writing – writing commercials for directors, and articles for editors, videos for companies, all require actually addressing criticism. I had to find a way to not just deal with it – but to really shine, to come through with flying colors. This little book is sharing the process. 


Oddly enough, the same process changed everything else in my life.   


BK: What inspired you to pen this particular book?


I was teaching intro to digital media – how to make movies – in college. A student asked about handling criticism of his work, and I when found the best answer inside me, this book sort of hung in the air.


I thought, “I need to write that down.”




BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?


Up til the grand age of six, all I wanted to do was read. I would walk around the house, holding a book upside down, and yelling, “Read! Read! Read!” at the top of my lungs. My father thought it was cute; my mother had less enthusiastic words. Afterall, she had to hear me all day long.


As soon as I mastered Dick and Jane, my next thriving passion was to write. I wrote my first short story in fourth grade. Reader's Digest declined it, by the way. But I believed myself a writer before I could spell the word.


It took me forty years to get the nerve to call myself as a writer.




BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?


Rarely. Robert McKee says the cure is more research. And for me, that always works.


BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?


Sometimes I can really spin my wheels before I take off.


To avoid that, I try to get all the character details written down. The keys for me are their feelings – about what's happening, and particularly about the other characters. You can create a young woman who's father was abusive, who's tall but hunches like she's trying to hide. But to really know her, add the emotions that in this scene she's loved the boy since she first saw him, and her inability to speak up now has her watching her best friend flirting with him.


I think such characters drive the action. And I love watching how they respond to life's challenges.




BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?


Better. Always better.




BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?


In fiction, I always hope they feel something new. Discover something a little different, or see a thing in a new way.


In this book, I just want to spare people a few bumps in the road. 




BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?


Writer's write. Whatever happens, keep writing. Grow, improve your craft. Write!




BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?


For some reason, society seems to think that writers are born, not made.


We allow that a physicist can study and learn. A mathematician, a computer programmer, a psychiatrist all decide what they want to do and then learn how to do it. 


But writers – all artists, really – are supposed to spring forth from the womb already skilled. If your eighth grade teacher doesn't praise your story, you can't be a writer.


Writing is like any other skill. It takes study and practice to perfect. And just because someone criticizes your work doesn't mean the end of the world. You can't be a professional until you get criticized.


If your heart is in writing, don't let your head – or anything else – stop you.




BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?


Always! I have several things in the computer files. One is a television/webisode series of pure fun.




BK: Where can readers find you?


www.feedbackthebook.com and www.josparkes.com.




Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.



A well-known Century City Producer once said that Jo Sparkes "writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read." Not only are those words a compliment to Jo’s skills as a writer,but a true reflection of her commitment to her work.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program. Years later, Jo renounced life in the corporate world to pursue her passion for writing.


Taking every class she could find, she had the good fortune to study with Robert Powell; a student of renowned writers and teachers Lew Hunter, and Richard Walter, head and heart of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.

The culmination of those years was the short-film "The Image", which she wrote and produced single-handedly. And in so doing, she became fascinated with the dynamics of collaboration on a project.

Since then, Jo hasn’t looked back. Her body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, television commercials and corporate videos. She's been a feature writer on ReZoom.com and a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network; where she was called their most popular writer, known for her humorous articles, player interviews and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.

She has adjunct taught at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, has teamed with a Producer on a low budget thriller, and a Director on a New Dramady.” She went in front of the camera for a video, “Stepping Above Criticism”, capturing a popular talk with her students.

Her new book, FEEDBACK HOW TO GIVE IT HOW TO GET IT, shares her lessons learned with writers, and indeed everyone dealing with life's criticism.

When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, along with her husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.




Feedback … a kinder word for criticism, is an organic component to life.

When a toddler learns to walk, he falls. He screams, cries – and persists. What would happen to the human race if he gave up after a few bumps?

Before we could read self-help books, before we could understand a language and sit in a classroom, we learned by trial and error. “Feedback” is the natural teaching process. It’s how the creator set it up. It’s how the world actually works.

Here, at last, is a simple process for getting the most from all the feedback the world offers us.




EXCERPT ONE:

That toddler learning to walk is a great example to us all.
The child has no fear of failure, no concern over how foolish he may look to others. He never pauses to consider if it's worth the effort. And he pays no attention to anyone pointing out that seventy percent of his peers can already walk.
He wants it. He keeps trying until he gets it.
Somewhere along the path of life, we come to perceive mistakes as 'bad'. We're told 'don't make them; avoid them.' You don't get called in to account for yourself if you don't make a mistake. Some people actually avoid mistakes by not doing anything at all.
That's the reality. The only way not to make a mistake is not to do anything. Which means no real achievement, no real success.
I spoke to a friend who had achieved a very great deal – he'd made a huge amount of money as an entrepreneur. He was the type of person most would call wildly successful.
Yet it turns out that before he made money, he had lost money. He'd lost enough that those same people labeling him wildly successful now would term him an abject failure. It cost him two businesses.
But he believes if he hadn't made that mistake, he would have never found the key to success.

Giveaway
Jo will be giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card during her tour. You can follow the tour HERE.



Goddess Fish Partner

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Exit:Leave Debt Forever by Nicholas Maze - Interview & Giveaway



BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...
I’m an accomplished writer with two book released, currently. I’m from Michigan and I’ve been writing since the age of 12. I hold an associates degree in marketing, bachelors in accounting, and I am currently studying for a masters in creative writing. I love to travel and try new restaurants. I plan to eventually pen a movie script in the near future. 


BK: Please tell us a little about your book....
My current book is a non-fiction, finance book, titled “EXIT: How to Leave Debt Forever.” It is a financial book that goes outside the norm. Instead giving advice on saving and investing, this literature brings the reality of finance. Before you can learn anything about saving and investing, you must first know what money is. I have a saying that says, “Before you Earn money, you have to LEarn money.” The key reason for our financial dilemma is lack of knowledge. 


BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?
Actually, I received a prophecy on this book. I had just completed my first book, which was a romance/fiction, titled “White Collar Woman.” At the same time, I had just completed my degree in accounting. A prophet visited our Church and told me I would be writing books dealing with finance. I began to study on the history of money and discovered a lot of interesting information. Information that the average person never knew about. I knew this information had to be written to help our economy with our current financial dilemma.


BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
At the age of 12, I wrote my first story. It was a horror story about Christmas. My mother was enthused, but I only did it as a hobby. Around the age of 24, I began to write my first book. Throughout life, I have always had a strong imagination. With so many ideas, I decided to put something on paper. Before I knew it, I was writing constantly and eventually created a book. My first completion proved that I could write a book and decided to pursue writing as a career.


BK: How do you keep your story flowing?
Every writer dreads the deadly writer’s block. A little trick I do with myself is to stop writing before my mind stops. Instead of writing until I have nothing else creative to think of, I write for so long, each time. I’ll stop even though I have more creative juices remaining. This allows me to have something to feed off of, when I begin to write again.


BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?
It is very hard to dodge writer’s block. Within 40,000+ words, you are almost destined to have a blockage somewhere. To me, blockage means vacation. They say, on average, it takes about 8 months to complete a book, so you have plenty of time. Instead of stressing about writer’s block, I just walk away from the paper and do something else, do something relaxing or enjoyable. When you over think on something, the blockage grows bigger. When you put your energy and time into something else, you relax your mind and it becomes easier to release creative juices. 


BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?
Oddly enough, I develop the story before I create the title. I think it is better to have a completed story and then create the name. This way you know exactly what your are writing about and the title will fit much better. With my current book, I wrote out the title of each chapter before I wrote anything else. This helped me to flow into each chapter. I must-haves are usually food, candy, and beverages. Writing uses the mind a lot, which drains your energy quicker, so food, sugar, and caffeine keeps me going. 


BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?
Every writer hopes for the day to become a “best-seller.” Ultimately, I want to influence and entertain. I write in both fiction and non-fiction, so I hope readers will be entertained in my fiction and influenced in my non-fiction.


BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
Knowledge. With my current book, I truly want to shape our economy. This is why I am not just giving advice. I am actually teaching people and what I am teaching will alter the mindset of so many Americans. 


BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?
Don’t try to please everybody. It is impossible. Write from your heart and believe in your work. 


BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?
Learn and understand your gift. If you are a true writer, then you have a gift. So don’t follow the “in-crowd”, feed your gift. Write with passion and hunger. If you don’t have a passion for what you are writing, it will show. 


BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on a project, dealing with religion. I know a lot of people have a brand, but I just have a gift to write, so I go across the board. I also plan to write a sequel to my first book (White Collar Woman). I believe I can build a series off the lead character. I am also looking forward to writing my first movie script. 


BK: Where can readers find you?
My main home is www.nicholasmaze.com, which houses all of my literature. My first book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites. My current book is available in all formats and websites (Nook, Kindle, iBook, etc.).


Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.


Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!


Giveaways: 


Nicholas is kind enough to offer you a chance to win a print book and a epub book. So leave him a comment with your email address to enter.


Follow his tour HERE.



Born in Flint, Michigan, Nicholas L. Maze attended Baker College, where he earned his degree in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting and Marketing. With a knack for advertising and excelling in math, Nicholas seemed destined for a productive career in business. Instead, there would be another gift that would prove to be more dominant and rewarding.


In the summer of 1999, while still in college, Nicholas found a job with a nation-wide security organization. His initial plans were to work his job, until he finished college. But it was his stint with the security organization that would lead to a rebirth of his passion for writing. As a child, being driven by a strong imagination, Nicholas would write stories to past time. It was during his composition courses in college that Nicholas realized that his gift was still intact. His writing craft received praise from his colleagues and instructors. With substantial amount of free time on the job, Nicholas found himself writing more and more. He started by writing poetry and composing songs, during his free time on the job. It was at this same time that Nicholas began managing a small rap group, which allowed him to hone his writing skills even more. Nicholas began composing songs for his rap group and him. In 2004, Nicholas began to write his first published work. With ample amount of time and a number of ideas, Nicholas began to write. In order to compose a successful work, Nicholas had to make himself the reader. Nicholas placed himself in the passenger seat and let his imagination go to work.


As Nicholas was completing his book, he renewed his relationship with GOD and acquired a second job. Two jobs and attending college full-time, forced Nicholas to put his writing on hold. Once Nicholas completed his first degree in Marketing, he was able to focus on his unfinished work and complete his book in 2007. From there, Nicholas began to send out query letters for his book. After no success, Nicholas placed his book on the shelf and returned to school. In 2009, Nicholas received a prophecy on his writing gift and immediately began shopping his book around. “I instantly thought of my finished work and began sending out query letters. Within two months, I received a publishing deal.” Now, Nicholas is fine-tuning himself for a long, successful career as an author. His first love.





What 12+ years of schooling never provided is located within this amazing literature. From basic instructions on saving to the reason for America’s current financial dilemma, we receive great advice in the world of finance. People across the globe are crying for relief that will never come. In EXIT, we learn that financial strain is planned and orchestrated. The more America suffers financially, the more successful certain individuals become. How do we eliminate a problem that has been in place for almost 100 years? We first learn how to exit, escape. 







Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Solving Crime Southern Style! Chatting with Alyssa Lyons


Alyssa Lyons, like her character Jordan Davis, lives in Lynchburg, Virginia. The South is her playground. Its eccentricities fuel her stories. She specializes in “Solving Crimes Southern Style.” However unlike Jordan, she is a cat person—rather, she is staff to two cats she rescued. Like most cats, they believe they were the ones doing the saving and therefore she owes them. She taught high school American history and government, worked for the CIA as an Intelligence Analyst, and is a retired attorney. She declines to include a photo, preferring to remain a woman of mystery riding a motorcycle like Jordan, and hopes not be ridden out of town on a rail.




Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today at Starbucks.

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...

AL: Thank you for inviting me here today, BK. Like my character Jordan Davis, I live in Lynchburg, Virginia. The South’s eccentricities fuel my stories. Unlike Jordan, I am staff to an unherdable herd of rescue cats. Like most cats, they believe they were the ones doing the saving and therefore I owe them. I’ve taught high school, worked for the CIA, and practiced law.

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....



AL: The Jordan Davis Mysteries started as a traditional romantic suspense with a cozy (amateur sleuth) flavor. I wanted a strong heroine who was also out of the ordinary. What could be more unusual than a Jewish, motorcycle-riding free spirit? What stranger business than a funeral boutique that grants its clients’ last wishes, however bizarre they might be?

In book 1, LAST WISHES, Jordan crosses paths, and then hearts, with a gorgeous, uptight judge who got out of Lynchburg—until it pulled him back in—and then found himself involved in Jordan’s murder investigations led me to the idea of a series. The series is sexier and less alcohol-laden than Nick & Nora Charles, while solving murders set against the background of Lynchburg, Virginia, a small southern city. I also wanted the town to be a character, giving the flavor of the New South, still strongly religious, a mite rebellious, but kicking and screaming its way into the Twenty-first Century.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?

AL: I realized I had a knack for writing mysteries with a strong dose of romance. I dug under the bed for an unfinished mystery I had started several years ago with a former co-writer. After substantial reworking, I molded it into a faster paced, darker, and sexier story, but still with romance and humor elements. Also, the nice part about writing a series is your main characters don’t have to be created from scratch each time, although you get to explore new dimensions of them.

BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

AL: When I started rewriting the endings to unsatisfying movies, TV shows, and books, I realized I had the makings of a writer. When I outlined an idea, plopped myself down with a pad and pen (and later a computer) and began to write a story like the kind I wanted to read but couldn’t find enough of, and got through to “they lived happily ever after,” I knew I had what it took to be a novelist.

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?

AL: Mysteries take more careful pre-planning than other genres. You have to keep the reader guessing, the timeline straight, the red herrings convincing, and the resolution logical. It would be very difficult for a true “pantser” to write a mystery improvisationally. Writing mysteries made changes in my style, voice, and planning method to conform with the unique quality of mysteries. I also needed to hone my romance writing skills. During my five-year hiatus from writing, sex in books has grown hotter, more erotic. So be warned. You may need a fan beside you in places.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?

AL: No so much writer’s block as a general malaise that promotes procrastination. I seldom lose the story itself because the plot is outlined, but I just find reasons not to write. Ironically, deadlines are the best cure for the malaise because it forces me to sit at the computer and write.

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?

AL: My favorite place to write is sitting on the couch in my living room. What I need more than anything is my best friend sitting on the other end of the couch batting ideas back and forth. I will admit that a Starbucks nine-pump, venti, soy chai latte, extra hot, no water or foam, helps.

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?



AL: I’d like to continue the Jordan Davis series. I’ve also done some work on a medical thriller series centered in the CDC that I’d like to pursue at some time.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

AL: An interest in reading more of them. I want them to be entertained, to lose themselves in the story, and see that HEA but it requires working through the problems that arise. That’s what’s great about a series with continuing characters. I can show life in all its glory.

BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?

AL: Write. Nora Roberts says you can always fix a manuscript, but you can’t fix a blank page. Also, never let fear of reject keep you from entering contests or submitting to editors. If you let your fear stop you, then you’ve rejected your own work.

BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?

AL: Finish the frakking book!

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?

AL: I am laying out the plot for book number four of the Jordan Davis series. No title yet, but a skeleton found in the wall of a Main Street renovation uncovers skeletons buried deep in the closet for several characters in the series, most notably Grayson Trent’s mother, Libby. It should be released by late Summer 2012.

BK: Where can readers find you?

You can read about Jordan’s adventures in solving crime “Southern Style” in LAST WISHES, CLUBBED TO DEATH, and STABBED AND SLABBED.



You can reach me at my website and blog: http://www.alyssalyons.com

My books are available at http://www.blackopalbooks.com and all major e-book retailers.

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.

Monday, April 23, 2012

ALL ABOARD! GFP: Maple Express by Peter Brandt



Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...

I am a Canadian living and working in the Middle East. I spent 20 years in the Army and Air Force and when I left, I used my technical background to become a technical writer. It has only been in the last few years that I started writing creatively and it has taken off. I spend my spare time writing novels and screenplays and learning to play guitar and violin.

I am married and have five kids who are all adults and on their own. My wife and I love to travel and we get back to Canada and the United States usually once a year.

I am an independent author, member of the Writer's Union of Canada, and I consider myself a pioneer, an entrepreneur of books written by Peter A. Brandt.

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....

Maple Express is an interesting tale about Sara Maple, a rich girl from a family who has become the largest maple syrup producer in the United States. Being an only child, Sara is used to getting her own way. When her best friend declines to go with her to catch the start of a boot sale in a nearby town, Sara has a fight with her and decides to skip class anyway. Sara never makes it.

Sara wakes up on the floor of an old train surrounded by four people she has never met before. None of them know where the train is heading and don't appear much interested in finding out. Sara must now take control of her life and convince her new friends to help her find a way off the train.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?

It began when I listened to a news report about what the medical profession believed about us humans. My first thought was…"well, what if they are wrong. What if it is not like that at all?" I decided I needed to write about what I thought it would be like.

I can't tell you what that "what if" moment is because it would give away the story, but the book just flowed out from there.

I got half way through it and realized I didn't know how it should all come together before the surprise ending so I shelved the book for over a year before I finally figured it out and finished writing it.

BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

At the age of seven, I wrote a book about a monkey by the name of "Cheetah" that goes to school and causes havoc. I think I knew back then I was destined to be a writer but self-esteem issues began to creep in and I ignored writing for most of my life. It took becoming a technical writer and realize how much I really loved to write to really get down to writing the many stories that flow from my brain.

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?

I make sure that each chapter has a goal that must be reached and then I make one chapter feed into the next and then the next and so on. I like a story that progresses quickly and stays sustained like that throughout the book. I tried writing literary fiction but got lost describing the curtains LOL!

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?

Believe it or not, this actually happened to me but it has only happened once. Generally I have stories flowing out of my head all the time, but the writer's block came to me when I did something stupid.

It started when I lost a significant amount of writing when my computer crashed. I was keeping a backup but I got lax and before I knew it, I had lost 15,000 words to a novel I was in the middle of writing. I went into a real funk after that and I soon began to second-guess what I was doing with my life. No amount of seat time and writing exercises could help me. I was dry.

I took some time off and started reading again. I happened to read "On Writing" by Stephen King and he explained what he did to write his novels. It became a huge inspiration to me when I found out that I was doing exactly what he was doing; sitting down for a certain amount of words each day, letting the book sit for a few weeks before starting a rewrite - he even listens to music as he writes like I do.

I then realized that no matter who you are, famous author or otherwise, it's necessary to sit in that chair and write - one word at a time. I have learned through technical writing to chunk the tasks down into smaller tasks that can be easily carried out. Before long, that five pages of daily writing becomes a 300 page monster and a novel is born. I have always loved reading Stephen King but I am very grateful to him for writing "On Writing" and sharing his way of doing things, including his successes and failures.

I ended up writing again and I haven't had writers block since (knock on wood)!

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?

My real quirk is I like to write with 30 people sitting around me, all doing the same thing - trying to write a novel. I have attended five writers' marathons where authors begin writing on Friday at 8 PM and must have a complete novel written by Monday night at 8 PM. Writer's marathons are an excellent way to raise money for a cause and there is no better way to find out if you have the chops to write. After those three days are over, you'll know!

Unfortunately, I am far from home so my writing process has changed. I write for an hour or so every night when I get home from work and I take one day, usually Saturday, where I do nothing but write for 10 to 12 hours.

Just as important is my need to listen to music under a pair of headphones as I write. This started back in high school when I used to do all of my homework with the stereo blasting. I find it envelopes my head with a shield of music that insulates me from the outside world. I have to listen to music when I write at work as well and I actually quit a technical writing job because they wouldn't allow me to wear headphones in the office.

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?

I would love for my books to be turned into movies. I have written a couple of screenplays and one has already been made into a short film. I write all my books by visualizing them as a movie. I love lots of action and I enjoy a cool storyline. I like the "what if" way of looking at the world around me.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

That I write good stories that show the world ordinary kids can become extra ordinary kids if circumstances arise. Ordinary kids can grow into happy and talented adults.

I was a late bloomer growing up. When I was 17, I looked 13. I was just hitting puberty when I joined the army. I had nothing going for me at the time and I joke with my wife that if she knew me in school she would have steered clear of me. I was one of those guys a girl's father warns her about - you know the "guy who won't amount to anything." Well, I am living proof that some of us just get started a little later in life.

The point is - you may not think you're much right now or you may think you may never amount to anything but life is long and it is amazing what you can do if you set your mind to it. I know - I studied and became an actor of television and film at the age of 50. It's never too late to do what you love.

BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?

My father told me before he died "if there is something you want to do in your life, don't wait, - do it now." He wanted to travel and by the time he retired, health issues took over and they couldn't go anywhere.

After he passed away, I began to write with a real commitment to what I wanted to say. As I mentioned, I even studied and became an actor.

The other piece of advice I have learned the hard way is to write what you want, not what other people think you should write. My first book was a comedy and I sold it to a romance publisher. I had to sex it up and frankly, it just wasn't me and it showed. I like to write funny, emotionally charged, and action packed stories about young people. Just remember - romance and love are the basis for all stories in life.

BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?

Don't get hung up on the whole conventional publishing model of finding an agent and a publisher. I went through that route. My first book was bought by a publisher in Florida and it wasn't a great experience.

I have read that agencies in the United States get on average 5000 to 6000 book queries a year and only take 5 to 10. This doesn't mean that 5990 of them are terrible and not fit for print. It's just a numbers game and rejections are all par for the course. If it happens for you to grateful but if it doesn't - don't get down on yourself, become an entrepreneur with your books as your product, and do it yourself.

Study the art of storytelling so you know what you are doing and like any good business, it is important to sell the best product you can so don't scrimp on an editor when you are done. They are worth their weight in gold. Get a fantastic cover made and then sell, sell, sell not just your book, but yourself as well.

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?

Yes, I am always working on something new.

I just wrote a couple of screenplays for a producer / director friend of mine and they have been filmed already. Being the scriptwriter gives you the ability to write in an acting role for yourself LOL!

I grew up with the Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew mysteries and I wrote a book along those same lines titled "Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square." This is an action packed young adult thriller. Holly Alexander gets herself into some serious trouble in her new town and requires all of her cunning and newfound friends to get her out of it. The cover is already made and up on my site and the book will be released later summer, early fall 2012.

As well, I am halfway through writing a novel about a young man by the name of Taylor who lives in Los Angeles California. Taylor disappears while walking to school and is found two months later wandering along the side of the Pacific Coast Highway. He has no idea who he is, where he has been, and who the girl that permeates his nightly dreams is.

BK: Where can readers find you?

Well, the number one place to find me is at www.peterabrandt.com but my books are being sold both at www.amazon.com (memoirs) and through www.smashwords.com. www.simplesimonpublishing.com/. People can follow my blog at Simple Simon's website as well.

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.

Thank you for inviting me and it's been my pleasure as well. I look forward to meeting many of your readers who want to leave comments. As well, they are invited to stop by my blog as well.

Giveaways: 

I have some exciting prizes for this book launch. One grand prizewinner will win an awesome Bachmann Trains Pegasus Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set.

Two winners will win a pint jug of Butternut Mountain Farm Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark Amber, in honor of the main character of The Maple Express, Sara Maple, from the small town of Mapleton Vermont.

As well, the blog host with the most comments will win a 2012 Canadian (1 oz) Silver Maple Leaf Coin in an “Air-Tite” Capsule and in this day and age, who couldn't use an ounce of precious metal!

Sara Maple has a comfortable life—the only child of a wealthy family—a best friend who does everything she asks—and the admiration of most of her schoolmates. Unfortunately, her temper and “indestructible” attitude quickly place her in a very precarious position.

“The Maple Express” is a powerful novel that captures the author’s take on the miracle of the human mind. “The Maple Express” delves into the actions and consequences of a young girl who has never had to take responsibility for her actions before. The story brings the reader into a world where Sara’s determination to find her way off the train sends her on an emotional trip that bonds her to her new friends and changes her life forever.

Both young and old readers will love the emotional journey Sara Maple takes them on as she deciphers the obstacles that confront her. Sara’s story ends with a surprise twist and leaves the reader with a sense of discovery about his or her own humanity.

Maple Express” Excerpt One

It took Sara a few seconds to comprehend where she was. As best as she could tell, she was staring at an upside down Thomas Cole painting that appeared to be zipping along at a tremendous rate of speed.

The wind in her hair and face made her eyes water and saliva run from the corner of her mouth. Sara closed her mouth and swallowed.

The last thing she remembered was stepping up on the ladder that led to the train engine. When she woke, she was staring at the scenery, dangling upside down, and being held by something that had wrapped itself around her ankle. Her face was mere inches from the ground. She couldn’t distinguish any one individual rock — they were all shooting past her too fast to see anything more than a blur.

Sara turned her head to find out where the noise was coming from. She knew the sound of the wind that rattled past her but the throaty metallic rattle that overpowered it was far more excruciating on her ears.

The wind spun her a quarter turn and what she saw caused a scream to erupt from deep inside. Two large train wheels were spinning along steel tracks. The sound she heard was steel hitting steel. The pistons created the swooshing sound as they pounded the wheels around, propelling the train forward.

Sara looked for something to grab onto but there was nothing within her reach. She felt like a side of beef dangling in a butcher’s freezer.



It only takes a few minutes of thought before Peter Brandt can devise a scenario that would make a fantastic story, and minutes after that before it begins to fill itself in.
“I have been able to think up stories all my life but it’s only been in the last seven years that I realized I was abusing my creative side by not writing them down.”
Peter retired from the Air Force and began a new career as a Technical Writer. His writing abilities have allowed him to work in Canada, the United States and even in the Middle East.
But its Peter’s love for stories that has brought him into a new realm of writing. His humorous memoir about his life as a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces and the tragic memoir about his father’s life in a Prisoner-of-War camp at the age of 14 allowed him to refine his writing before he began to venture in writing Young Adult fiction.
“I have a very unique way of creating my stories. It begins with a craving, like a recent smoker who just quit cigarettes but still feels the addiction. I can’t shake it until I sit down and begin to let my mind wander. Many times I start my quest for a new story by wondering - What If. Soon after I begin to write and can usually get the first draft completed within a few weeks.
Maple Express began as a “what if” question and I’d share it with you but it would give away the storyline.”
I always write my stories as I would see them on the movie screen, which is why writing screenplays are also something I do. I am shooting a short film I wrote with a friend of mine within the next couple of weeks with another film shortly after.”
Peter has taken formal lessons in acting and has enjoyed some success as an actor in TV and film before his day job as a Lead Technical Writer required him to move out of the country.
“I can honestly say I have landed in the perfect job for me. I love to write...doesn’t really matter what I write, creatively or technically, writing is a pleasurable experience. It has allowed me to travel and for that I am grateful.”
Peter grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew hardcover books.
“I loved them. I remember sitting under my blanket after lights out, sweating from the heat and the fear that gripped me as Joe and Frank carried on with another of their adventures.”
It is with these wonderful stories in mind that Peter wrote “Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square.” This young adult novel will be released summer / fall 2012.
“I never really grew up. I have tried to write for adults but I find it difficult. I was a small, shy, and bullied kid growing up. I was nothing special. I had terrible grades, no idea what I wanted to do with my life and girls...wow, totally foreign to me. After I joined the Army those years faded quickly and I guess it has caused me to want to get those years back.
That is why I crave writing about young people who feel they are nothing special until I put them in a position where they have no choice but to become someone they never dreamed they could be. It is very uplifting for me to make heroes out of young people who believe they have nothing to contribute. It’s an eye opener for me as well as for them when it happens.”
Pete continues to write and publish through Simple Simon Publishing, a different type of publisher.
“Simple Simon Publishing is all about turning authors into entrepreneurs. For too long authors have felt dependent on the closed loop publishing industry to discover them and make them successful. Simple Simon’s philosophy is you are not just an author but the best person in the world to sell your product...you and your writing.”
Peter and his wife Carly have five kids who are all grown and on their own.  



Goddess Fish Partner