Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Art of Good Fiction with Guest Blogger: Kenny Luck

Today the Book Boost welcomes author Kenny Luck who is here to discuss Literary Fiction versus Popular Fiction.

Here's what he had to say...

Literary Fiction versus Popular Fiction:

The Role of a Dying Art Form

Often times, new writers are filled with new and exciting ideas that they want to share with the world. One means of expressing deep ideas is through fiction. With the use of plot, characters, the narrative arch, tension and conflict, writers can explore aspects of the human experience in a creative and meaningful way. However, in the information driven age, with the internet, 24 hour news and so on, one question eventually presents itself: What role, if any, does literary fiction play in the modern context?

Traditionally, there are two type of fiction. On the one hand, there is literary fiction, prized by academics, tends to be character-driven and less dynamic, although it is filled with rich symbolism and subtext. Popular fiction, on the other hand, is plot-driven and filled with tension and conflict. Most well-known fiction writers such as Steven King and Danielle Steele focus on the latter medium. Plot-driven stories that capture the audience’s attention tend to be what many publishers prefer because it can turn a profit and sell books. Generally speaking, many writers who care more about ideas than book sales prefer the latter.

This problem is pronounced today more than ever. Although he sells a lot of books, someone like Dan Brown is the literary equivalent to what Thomas Kinkade is in the art world: A writer who is popular as hell, but lacks any real depth and sophistication in his writing. Each new fiction writer is forced to make a crucial decision as to what medium he or she will choose to write in.

Let’s be frank, most college English majors do not try to emulate the writer’s of popular fiction. If a student stood up in a college level literature class and announced, “I want to write like Steven King or Danielle Steele,” he or she would be met with nasty looks from everyone else in the room. Yet if that same student stood up and said, “I want to write like Dostoyevsky or Hemingway,” that statement would probably still earn some criticism (because he or she would then be mocked for comparing themselves with literary greatness), but would be respected in some circles for at least trying.

So what is a writer of literary fiction to do? To answer this question, the writer must ask another obvious ontological question: Who do I want to be? If he or she chooses to write popular fiction, they will perhaps find a publisher and will probably gain a quicker audience. If they choose to write literary fiction, however, they will earn more respect in certain circles, but will have a more difficult battle to fight in the world of publishing. Either way we must confront the sad reality that writing is not the high art it once was. Like all things in America, writing and publishing is a business. Publishers and book stores want to see results. I say, hold off on trying to be Shakespeare in the beginning, and spend the first part of your career making a name for yourself. When you become an established writer, than show the world what you can do.

A Note from the Book Boost: Interesting post today, Kenny. Of course, as a proud writer of popular fiction--I'd be thrilled to write a book like Stephen King but your point is well taken. And I wonder...will there ever be modern day "classics" like the ones we all hold so dear in our generation? Please tell us more about your book.


On July 4, 1845, when Henry David Thoreau moved into his cabin on the shores of Walden Pond, he was probably unaware that his abode in the woods, and the impact and influence of that endeavor, would forever echo through time.

Thoreau was an uncompromising idealist; an ardent maverick who criticized his fellow man. He urged that man and women ought to live more simply, and more deliberately. “The mass of men,” he famously wrote, “lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Yet the scope of Thoreau’s message is much wider than social criticism. He speaks of spiritual transcendence in Nature and the unbounded potential of the individual. Thoreau is a dreamer and he speaks to dreamers. In a word, shun dogmatism and demagoguery; see beyond the immediate conventional religious explanations to reap a higher understanding. In our comodified contemporary American society, with the rise of religious intolerance and fundamentalism, materialism and mass consumerism, Thoreau’s message is needed now more than ever.

Writer Kenny Luck has thumbed through Thoreau’s voluminous journals, correspondences, and other publications to make this the most comprehensive collection of Thoreau aphorisms available.


From the Introduction

“If I were to be baptized it should be in this pond,” wrote Nathanial Hawthorne, reflecting upon the majesty of Walden Pond one autumn afternoon in 1843. “But then one would not wish to pollute it by washing off his sins into it. None but angels should bathe here.”

As I stood on the edge of Walden Pond, about to make a symbolic leap into what had become in my mind a sacred place, Hawthorne’s poetic observation was not present in my thoughts. For a summer day, it was unusually cold; a light mist rose above the surface of the water; and having forgotten my towel and bathing suit at home in Pennsylvania, I was forced to strip down, making do with what I was wearing in that revealing moment. I hung my clothes on a nearby tree branch and began inching my way toward the water. It was a ritual Henry David Thoreau, one of America’s first literary giants, had performed countless times during his stay in the woods.

It was June 2007, and this was my second Trip to Walden Pond. I had visited the previous summer but resolved only to walk along the shoreline, avoiding the seduction of the water. “This time,” I thought to myself, “I am going in.” Although I was initially reluctant, once the water rose past by waistline, I felt an extraordinary release. I made one final push of the rock where I was standing and let go. I let the water take me. Feeling free from constraints, I had transformed into one of Hawthorne’s angels, baptized by the clear, cool waters of the pond.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Afternoon Delight, Anyone? Guest Appearance by Jewel Adams

The Book Boost welcomes author Jewel Adams for a special Afternoon Delight feature here at the blog.

Here's more...

Come take a peek into the erotic lives of this afternoon’s lovers.

Sugar & Spice – Amy tries to face the fact her marriage is over until Jim walks in the door.

Moonlight & Madness – Susan is furious with Jake for cozying up to a woman at the party they are attending. Can Jake smooth his wife’s anger and salvage the passion in their marriage?

Here, There and… - Julie’s sexual appetite runs hot and wild, and Danny’s not complaining.

Happy Feet – Jenna sighs over the touch of Justin’s magic fingers that sends her body into overdrive too feel so much more.

Oh Baby It’s Cold Outside – Meg’s anger over being stuck in a snow storm won’t stop her shivers. But things quickly heat up when she’s rescued by one hunk of a policeman.

Happily Ever After – Mandy’s childhood crush never cooled for Frank and she decides it is time he knew just how she feels!

Wishing & Hoping – Stood up on her birthday, Sandy shares her birthday with her cat. Who says wishes don’t come true!


From Moonlight and Madness

“I’ve never been so embarrassed.” She pulled her heels off as she sunk down in the sand. The beach stretched out before her and she wished she could enjoy the beautiful moonlight on the water. “Oh, but that would be impossible!”

Why she even thought she would reach the hotel easier walking the beach, escaped her. “He is the one that should be out here, but no, he probably doesn’t even know I’m out here…alone, hurt and totally pissed off!”

“Oh, but the husband does know exactly where his ticked off wife may be.”

She refused to look at him, wishing he’d disappear as he caught up with her on the beach.

“I’m not going to do that.”

“What?” She bit her lip, regretting her curiosity.

“Leave you alone.”

She stopped dead in the sand, trying to stay upright. “Go away!”

He smiled as he looked her up and down. “No, sorry, can’t do that.”


“Ahh, you don’t have to say it. I know what a creep I was in there.”

“Creep is mild, Jake.”

She shook off his hand on her arm, not wanting to talk with him. Somehow she never won any arguments with him. He always seemed to come out the winner, why was that?

“Why the hell do you stay married to me if you want to fuck the first whore that comes on to you at that party!”

His silence seemed to vibrate off the waves crashing against the sand. She walked off in front of him to the water’s edge, letting the water rush in and over her feet.

She could feel him behind her and wrapped her arms around herself.

“Susan, I’m sorry. I never realized that is how you saw it.”

The tears rolling down her face betrayed how deeply he did hurt her.

“How else could I take it? What would you think if some man crawled into my lap and started kissing me?”

“I’d kill him.”

The dead cold delivery of his answer is what finally made her turn and face him.

“That’s right, I’d kill any man that touched you, Susan.”

Her head shook against what he said and what his actions delivered. “Then why all the antics, Jake?”

His gaze dropped to the sand, where he dug his shoe toe in. She actually bent down to see what his expression might be, glad for the moonlight.

When he finally looked up, she held her breath for his answer.

“I wanted you to notice.”


“I want you to see me again, Susan. I want you to think I’m attractive, wanted, anything to make you desire me again.”

“Wow…” Never in a hundred lives did she expect that answer. “What makes you think I don’t desire you?”

She could see him watching her, looking at her as if she’d disappear. “You don’t act like you care anymore.”

“Care! Holy shit, Jake, I nearly killed that bitch in there!”

He actually had the audacity to snicker. “Yeah, you did, felt damn good too.”

“Oh my, you really did do that on purpose.”

“Heck yes.”

“Jake, we aren’t kids any longer, we have kids and a home, a dog, two cars. Games aren’t allowed!”

He threw his arms out. “See! This is why I did it. You are so wrapped up in what we have become, you’ve lost that impulse to have fun, like making wild passionate love in the sand.
This is where we have lost the umph in our lives, Susan.”

“I have not.”

“Really? Okay, come on, show me, show me how you can still have fun.”

“Yes, right here, on this beach.” He made an act of looking all around. “There is no one here but us.”

She took her own look and knew no one was around. Dare she do it? Could she?


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Friday, June 25, 2010

Around the World with Guest Blogger: Nancy Lennea

Welcome debut author Nancy Lennea and win a copy of her tennis romance Secret Love Match!

Here's a message from Nancy and her advice about choosing where in the world to set your story...

I am excited to be here! Secret Love Match is my debut novel so I am riding a whirlwind of joy mixed with a spoonful of stress. I love it! Please enter my contest (see below). I love giving stuff away almost as much as I love receiving stuff.


When I plotted my contemporary romance, Secret Love Match, I was living in rural New Hampshire. I had recently written two manuscripts set in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but I had the urge for something different; something more sophisticated. Personally, I would love to set a story in Rome, Paris, or Monte Carlo. Too bad the only other countries I have traveled through are Canada and Bermuda (and those trips were a LONG time ago.)

Does the location of a story make or break it? It can. If your hero and heroine are rich, stylish, successful people, readers also want to believe they are smart enough to live in an exciting city or are relaxing on a Caribbean island. A romantic story plot might do okay in a Pittsburgh alley, or along a creek in Alabama.

Everything depends on what the author does with the location and how she weaves this information into her book. James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small would have been a totally different story if his veterinary practice was located in the stews of London. Gone With the Wind might not have enjoyed the same impact if Tara stood along the Mississippi River, north of St. Louis.

Since I grew up on Long Island, about 25 miles from New York City, the city has always held a special spot in my heart. I had relatives working in the city on 9/11. Who will ever forget the horror? I recall, with fond memories, the parks, the zoo, and the museums so decided to set a novel in the city. I also visited Baltimore, Maryland many times in my capacity as assistant manager of a hardware store. The twice-annual convention gave me the opportunity to walk around its famous Inner Harbor full of shops, water taxis, tour boats, restaurants, and the Aquarium. This area is also featured in my book.

These cities gave me plenty of ideas to throw at my characters…a first date at New York’s Hayden Planetarium; an attempted mugging in a Baltimore park; an attempted kidnapping on a New York City street; and a sensual love scene in a penthouse pool.

Would I set a story in a strange city if my publisher asked me to? I am confident the internet, and my local library, will always provide an avenue to research any location. But, there is nothing like setting foot in the place you want to write about. This is one reason I have set my sights on visiting Scotland, which can only help me with my Scottish historical novels.

My next book from Red Rose Publishing is a romantic suspense set in a college town alongside a river and huge mountain. I went to college in such a town and it hasn’t changed much. I refresh my memory by visiting each fall on our way to the New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln, NH. ( Our family has volunteered for decades. Once we decided to move south, we agreed to continue traveling north each September to help out.

Besides a city, town, state, or country as a unique setting, the business, school, outdoor area, or water you choose in which to place your characters can mean a great story… or dullsville. A dinghy might work for Hemingway, but I can picture my Grandfather’s thirty-six-foot long Chris Craft yacht (it was a big boat to a little girl). We spent hours polishing the chrome handrails and wood cabinets and doors. We played in the bunks then climbed out the overhead porthole. We ate lunch in the galley and caught shrimp with nets off the stern. I remember chugging out of their canal in Amityville, NY on our way toward the ocean. I don’t think we ever left Great South Bay, but I was little and it was all an adventure to me.

I set another story in two opposite locations. I created two successful New Yorkers and had them meet up at a small campground in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Sticking my characters ‘out of their element’ and letting my readers watch them cope opened up several plot lines for me. Authors have to use their imaginations at times, but the use of actual locations gives your reader a taste of a place they might never get a chance to visit.

New locations pop up all the time. I just started working on a story set here in Raleigh. Our local art museum shut down for a long time as they built a whole new wing. It is unlike anything I have experienced and their outdoor exhibits are just as surprising. The building is light and airy as opposed to stone and dark shadows. With the dozens of bronze statues by the famed Auguste Rodin everywhere I looked, how could I not come up with a great story?

The next time you pick up a book, please gauge your reaction to the location an author places her characters. Does the story thrill you more than normal because it is set in a city you always wanted to visit? Does a quieter country locale or breathtaking beach resort make the plot pop? Think about it. In the meantime, enjoy reading!

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks Nancy and CONGRATS on the new release! Everyone, Nancy will have our Book of the Month feature here at the blog in July and will be back to discuss another new release. Be sure to come back for more! Now, please tell us about your book!


Rebecca Delacourt has played and taught tennis for the last three years. At twenty-one, she knows what she wants. Without help from her wealthy parents, she buys a condo in Glen Cove, NY and plans to be on the Olympic Tennis team. She has no time for men, marriage, or children. Her mother gave up her acting career when she became pregnant with older sister, Laney, whose illegitimate son is mute due to recent emotional trauma. Rebecca still manages to squeak out some time for her charity work for breast cancer research in Baltimore every year.

Taylor, a former TV actor, notices Becka. She knows him—she’s dreamed of his TV persona for years. They meet at her parent’s country club. He thinks he’s found gold in the athletic blond. After beating him at tennis he meets her parents. Too bad he knows them—a former co-star, and the man helping get him auditions.

Her sister moves in—thwarting any privacy. She’s hiding out and is attacked. Taylor finds himself falling for Becka. Will he change his arrogant ways, save her nephew from kidnappers, and realize she’s the one? Becka wonders if dreams can still be reached with someone beside her. Will they reach their dreams together?


Tendrils of steam swirled up from the coffee Becka stirred while she stared out over the water of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. She tried to think of anything but the brooding man sitting beside her. The curvy neon lights of the aquarium mimicked ocean waves.

At that moment she swore to lie on a beach before her time ran out. She ran to this meeting, to that event, and back again without rest. What would it all mean if she disappeared from this earth tomorrow? Small as it is, her charity work would be her legacy. Charlotte excused herself, startling her from her reverie.

“I’m gonna grab a cab home.”

Taylor jumped to his feet. “Wait a minute. I’ll take—”

“No. I am winning this argument. I know most of these cab drivers and I’ll be just fine. You two stay and finish your coffee.”

After thanking him for dinner, Charlotte planted a friendly peck on her cheek and waved goodbye. Taylor sat back down. She peeked at her watch

Only eight o’clock, but I’ve been up since dawn.

The combination of sleep deprivation and sexual tension won out. Images of falling asleep in his arms surprised her, especially when he suddenly spoke to her over his mug of Irish coffee.

“Can you point me to a hotel? I neglected to make arrangements.”

“Sure. Let me check with my hotel. I reserve a bank of rooms for celebrities. It’s only a few blocks away. A nice walk would do me good.”

Taylor paid the bill. She didn’t argue this time. Following him, he led her down the stairs and onto the brick walkway. Music blared from a cabin cruiser docked twenty feet away. She waited until they neared the waterfall before continuing their conversation. The minutes gave her a chance to calm the lust causing havoc with her sense of right and wrong.

“Do you have a suitcase?”

“I neglected to pack one. I didn’t plan any of this.”

“That sounds so unlike you.”

“How so?”

“I pegged you as a man of schedules and discipline.”

“Surprise! Anyway, if you can come up with a toothbrush, I can get by.”

“My hotel is very resourceful and they have a well-stocked gift shop. If you’re up to it, we can walk around the park first. It’s a beautiful night. Even though I’m weary, I’m ashamed to admit I have some pent-up frustrations to work out.” She hooked arms with Taylor and ignored his open mouth response.

Created by Book Boost Designs

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Contest Time

Leave a question or comment for Nancy to be eligible to win a FREE copy of her book Secret Love Match. Winner will be drawn next week and posted in the Recent Winners box at the right hand side of the blog. Please check back to see if you've won and contact us to claim your prize!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Checklist In with Guest Blogger: Karina Fabian

The Book Boost welcomes author Karina Fabian to discuss how she plans her promotions.

Here's what the "Marketing Mentor" had to say...

I strongly believe in virtual book tours. They are an inexpensive and, if you get toured on blogs that reach your target audience, they can be very effective. I got lucky with my latest book, Why God Matters: How to Reach Him in Daily Life, because my publisher Tribute Books hired Pump Up Your Book Promotions to arrange the tour for me, but usually I do these tours on my own. They really aren't hard, but do take a lot of time and preparation and some research. Here's my checklist for arranging a tour. (Note: some of this I do in my head, but have listed them for the record.)

Karina's Anal-Retentive, Totally Detailed Virtual Book Tour Checklist

I use this checklist when I plan a virtual book tour. I "program" it into Miscrosoft Excel, but you can adapt it to whatever works for you. Not all the topics will apply to every person on your tour stop. One blogger may only want the cover art and a blurb, while another will plan a whole week and do an interview, review, etc.

NAME: The name of the blogger; some may give you their real one; others their nom de plume
WEBSITE: where they'll host you on the tour
E-MAIL: for contacting them
POSTING DATE: when they will post.
POSTED ON MY SITE: Be sure you post on your website the dates and places of the tour.
COVER SENT: a jpg or gif of your book cover
BLURB SENT: a summary or back-cover blurb
ORDERING INFO SENT: You may include this in the blurb, but be sure it gets sent!
AUTHOR PHOTO SENT: a nice pic of yourself, jog or gif
BIO SENT: make it short, interesting and topical
INTERVIEW SENT: If they send you interview questions; this is the most popular way to host on a tour.
GUEST POST SENT: Some may ask you to write something for them instead
PRIZE OFFERED? If you are having a contest--are they participating? If so, send them the rules so it's easy for them to post.
PRIZE SENT: either to them to send out or to the winner--you decide how you want to do it
REVIEW: Did they offer to review?
REVIEW COPY SENT: you might want to indicate if electronic or hard copy KEEP TRACK OF THIS FOR TAXES!
POSTED: Did they post? If not, follow-up. Some folks get confused. I've had people forget their dates and some who posted a month early, thinking the post date was a deadline.
COMMENT ON POST: make a comment on the post.
COPIED: If a review or the person makes comments, copy them into a separate file for later use in promotions.
GROUPS TOLD: I don't like to announce every time someone mentions my book--too much work and I put it on my website--but some do.
THANK-YOU: send a thank-you e-mail or e-card



A Note from the Book Boost: Karina, this is an awesome checklist for planning out your promotional tour. I plan on using this myself for my upcoming August tour! Thanks so much for sharing. Now, please tell us more about your new book (that I need a copy of desperately as I struggle with shaping the lives of 3 small children)?


Love in a Pot of Rice

You know well enough that our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them
–St. Therese of Lisieux

One meal that always connects me to my heritage is arroz con pollo—chicken and rice. For me, this meal doesn’t so much represent an ethnic identity, it symbolizes the love and generosity of my family.

My mother is the seventh child of ten, born to a very poor family in Puerto Rico. They bought shoes only for the winter, shared two toys at Christmas (a game and a ball), and meat for dinner was a rare treat. Yet my grandfather, a schoolteacher, regularly brought home the students who lived too far away to walk home from school during the week, and they shared the family meal. My grandmother would say, “If I can feed ten, I can feed twelve.” When I cook arroz con pollo, I imagine her adding a cup of rice to stretch their meal, giving of their need rather than their wealth.

Many of my grandparents’ children escaped poverty, becoming doctors and social workers, businesspeople and spouses. However, they never lost their legacy of charity. When one is in need, the others are there. I remember when a hurricane took the roof off my grandparent’s house, where several grown children still lived. In Colorado, my mother combed the garage sales for linens and clothes to replace those ruined by the storm, and all contributed what funds they could to repair the roof. Years later, my grandmother died in that home, cared for by her children and grandchildren.

My own parents carried on that legacy, which, like my grandparents’, spread beyond family. Our friends were welcome in our homes, sometimes more than in their own homes. My parents called them their “love daughters” and supported them in their extra-curriculars, and on occasion, took them into our home. Several still call them “Mom and Dad.” When we did not have treasure, my parents gave of their time and talent. My dad made costumes for the school play; my mother was always crafting for someone. Mostly, though, they gave of their love.

When I’d given birth to my daughter, my mom came to visit for several weeks, and she met a pregnant friend who said she had only one craving: arroz con pollo. The next time we saw her, Mom had it ready.

As a mother myself, I must now carry on this legacy by setting an example for my children. Far wealthier than my parents or grandparents ever were, we do our best to give to the Church and to charities—and we involve our children in that. We also do our best to be available to their friends as well as to them. This year, I pack an extra lunch each day for Amber’s best friend. It’s a little thing, yet it connects me to my grandmother somehow.

Last night, I made arroz con pollo. It’s a different recipe, because I’m not the cook my mother is, yet it brought me back to my past, and my mother’s past, and to roots deeply embedded in charitable love.

Life Lesson

God calls us to be the first teachers to our children in living a life of faith, hope, and charity.

How did your parents teach you this? How are you teaching your own children? Spend some time in reflection and prayer today, then find something that ties you to that heritage—or inspires you to build a new heritage for your children.

Karina (Lumbert) Fabian was born into the Catholic faith, but truly grew to love it as an adult. As a busy mother of four, she finds some of her strongest encounters with God’s love happen in the ordinary events of the day-to-day. Karina started her writing career with diocesan newspapers but ahs settled into writing fun-filled fantasy and science fiction that nonetheless incorporates the principles of faith-filled living.

Want more Karina?

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Writer In Me with Guest Blogger: Kate Richards

The Book Boost is happy to welcome new author Kate Richards!

She's here to discuss her first release and here's her story...

How I Became A Real, Live Author

I’ve had such an exciting weekend, since Finally, My Love was released by Breathless Press on Friday, and I thought that would be an interesting thing to chat about. Being an author is a lifelong dream, and I still pinch myself when I think of it. The most amazing thing is the kind support of so many authors with plenty of their own work to do who have taken time from their busy schedules to help a new writer on the block. And I see them do it time and again.

I don’t think there is another group of people I have encountered who are so helpful. As soon as people found out that I was writing I had offers to read my work and give suggestions. And, while they insisted I had the ability, I found that my writing needed a lot of help before it was ready to be submitted to any publisher for their consideration.

I started out first learning to be a reviewer, and before I knew it I found myself co-owner of Got Romance Reviews. It was there that I met Valerie Mann, Stephanie Beck, and several other successful writers who treated me, an unpublished wannabe, as one of them. I was so impressed and star struck. But they are serious professionals and encouraged me to finish one of my many partial manuscripts and submit it. I protested that I wanted to maintain my amateur status, but they told me writing was not likely to be an Olympic sport anytime soon…finish something!

They critiqued me within an inch of my life and sent me off to buy a Chicago Manual of Style. This taught me that my English degree alone did not cover all I needed to know to express myself on the printed page. It was humbling, but exhilarating. And finally, I had an idea for a story that meant so much to me, I couldn’t wait to finish it, polish it and send it in.

Breathless Press was my first choice for the story of how I met my husband on the internet. I submitted the story and one day about three weeks later I saw an email from them. I was instantly nauseous and actually considered not opening it… But of course I did and I found that I had sold my first story. Much dancing ensued and I haven’t stopped yet.

I should clarify that Finally, My Love is based on my husband and I meeting nine years ago, but that a great deal of it is fiction. But it’s so incredibly special to me because my first story is our story…with a great deal of literary license. But the emotion is there, and the passion, even if we aren’t likely to spend any time whatsoever in a stuck elevator.

Since I began to write that story, so many people have shared their own internet romance stories with me, that I wrote a second, and a third is almost complete. But my favorite love story, of course, is ours. Because it’s the one I come home to every day.

It’s been a journey, becoming a real, live author. And I still have to pinch myself, because this dream come true has come with a lot of friends, my Got Romance Gang, the authors at Breathless and Solstice where I also have a book under contract…too many to count. But it’s an awfully good place to be.

A Note From the Book Boost: Kate, what a great story! I was in your place not too long ago and I lived off the high from my first book release for a long time. Now I'm a dozen books later and the high never stops feeling just as awesome! Enjoy! Please share with us a little more about your book.


The internet is filled with stories of successful and not so successful relationships. Amelia had no idea, waiting at the airport, which kind hers was going to be. Was the John of endless emails and sexy phone calls the man to fill her real life dreams? As the author says, we have to meet guys somewhere. After looking everywhere else, Amelia is hoping John is, finally, her love.


Daring a glance in his direction, she saw his sensual mouth quirk into a smile.

"I was remembering last night. You and me, together."

Her cheeks flushed a fluorescent pink. She knew exactly what he was talking about: their final phone sex session. In the past few months, it had gotten to where just his voice on the phone made her nipples harden. But her brain stalled, and he continued before she pulled it together enough to respond.

"I was thinking about how far away you were last night when we talked. But sexy even three thousand miles away."

What a sweet guy. Tears pricked the back of her eyes as she maneuvered around a Lexus with a woman talking on the cell phone and creeping along at forty miles an hour in the fast lane. Pleased by his words, she threw him a smile and squeezed his hand, but suddenly, the Lexus woman veered into their lane. Amelia slammed on the brakes. The car lurched.

Her sweet guy swore. Loudly.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Great Book Purge 2010: Buy Books for Charity!

So folks, my bookshelves and closet shelves are begging me for help! I have to get rid of a large number of books to make room for more books! Do you have a similar problem?

Anyway, what I've decided to do is to box up books that I've already read or books that I reluctantly just won't have time to read before my children are grown and out of the house (about 18 more years--since I just had a baby).

Here's what I'm proposing...I'm going to box up these books in Priority Mail flat rate boxes and sell them for the cost of postage plus $1.00. The $1.00 extra for each box will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in honor of my daughter Brooke.

Box Size: 11" x 8 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Each Box Contains approximately : 15 books

If you pay via check you'll pay $12.00 per box. E-mail Kerri at to let me know to reserve a box in your name and that the check is on the way. Mail the check (made payable to Kerri Nelson) to PO Box 680871 Prattville, AL 36068.

If you pay via PayPal you'll pay $12.50 (this is due to the fees that they'll charge me for you to pay via PayPal but you can use your credit card or bank account this way if it is easier for you). You can send the payment to me at ( and let me know in the Message section that you are ordering a Book Purge Box.

Obviously, you can see that I'm trying to find a good home for my books. I'm not trying to make money and it will actually cost me more in gas to truck all these down to the post office than I would normally spend. But, if I can raise a little money for JDRF along the way and trim down my out of control collection, all the better!


Some of them are autographed, some of them are brand new, some of them are gently used, and there may even be a collector's copy of something in there. Here's a sample of authors located in just one box:

Sherrilyn Kenyon
Mary Janice Davidson
Lori Foster
Janelle Dennison
Metsy Hingle
Susan Andersen
Valerie S. Malmont
Hope Tarr
Erica Spindler
Debbie Macomber
Tori Carrington
Stephanie Bond
Karin Slaughter
Susan Wiggs
Carolyn Hart

I can tell you that they are all either romance or mystery but it would take more time that I could ever manage to list them all.

So, you'll be getting a random box. If you find that you have some of them already, maybe you can share with a friend.

For any boxes of books that are not sold, I'll be donating them to charity but alas I will not be raising money for JDRF if that happens. Please feel free to pass the word on! The more boxes that are purchased, the better! The deal will go on until I run out of books (well, mostly out of books--I have to keep SOME of my books--obviously).


Friday, June 18, 2010

Dig to All the Way to China With Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Today, the Book Boost welcomes Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. She's here to discuss publishing in a foreign land.

Here's what she had to say...

If You Dig Down Far Enough You'll Get to CHINA!

Did your parents ever tell you that when you were a kid? My parents did. I guess it was one way of explaining that the earth is round and there are places very, very far away. I would actually imagine a tunnel all the way to China. My fascination with China only increased when my mother decided it was time for the den to be redecorated in a Chinese motif. Soon we had new upholstery for the studio coach displaying a pattern of Chinese temples and people dressed in elaborate ancient Chinese garb. I loved to stare at the upholstery and the new pictures on the wall, of course, Chinese mountains and ancient buildings. All of this was augmented by the family's love of going out to Chinese restaurants.

Our favorite restaurant in the whole world, aside from The Seafood Grill, (guess what they specialized in?) was the Far East. Located on a second floor in downtown New Haven, it was a world unto itself. First we climbed up a dark wooden staircase to enter a large room with dark wood paneling, old wooden fans swirling slowly in the ceiling, and little china tea cups. There was strange exotic music that sounded like the black keys on our piano and Chinese waiters who barely spoke English. My parents knew exactly what to order: chow main in dark sauce, along with egg foo young.

When I was very tiny I was given the French bread which they served, along with the white rice and the vanilla ice cream. (No one questioned why they served French bread.) Later I graduated to spare ribs and other exotic dishes like Moo Gai Pan.

It took so little to convince my mom, dad, myself, my aunt and my grandmother to believe we were in an exotic setting, eating authentic cuisine. How simple those days were.

As simple as those days were, they still left me with a fascination for China. So when I was approached to consider publishing my first book in The Truth Series: The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) in China, I was over the moon. This was an amazing opportunity. All of my old feelings of longing to somehow be part of this strange land came back to me. I leaped at the offer.

Soon, Professor Chen, an English professor in China, and I were corresponding almost daily. I got to know about him, his family and his way of life. He got to know about me. We were penpals. And we were colleagues on a project. He translated the book beautifully. When we finally had a publisher, , we brainstormed many extra passages that appeared in the Chinese version, but not the English version. You see, the editor wanted lots of passages about school work, tests, and holidays. Basically, the book was educational in terms of how kids live here, as well as being a fictional diary written by a girl growing up, experiencing all sorts of emotions and events in her life.

In the fall of 2009 the book was published in China. When I saw the book I was amazed. It is so adorable. Almost every page has art work on it. Also the book is in both English and Chinese. That way, the reader can also practice her English as she reads. If you go to my Truthforgirls page on Facebook I have some pictures of the Chinese version of the book and also the party I had to celebrate the book coming out.

I encourage every author to try to get your book or books published in at least one other country. It is a wonderful way of sharing what you have to offer. Also, it is a great way to feel that you have contributed beyond your own borders. There are agents that specialize in foreign rights. If you are interested pursue them. I have an agent now, but I still have one more edition of The Truth to come out in a foreign land that I secured for myself.

Can you guess where? It is Vietnam. My yearnings for the exotic are beginning to come true. Now I just have to book some flights!

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for the exciting trip down memory lane, Dr. Barbara! I, too, love foreign lands. My top two faves being Ireland and Japan. Of course, I have thing for Chinese food, though! This sounds like a dream come true situation. Won't you take a moment to tell us more about your newest book?


A girl came to life as the main character in The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything). She kept a diary and had a lot to say. She knew a lot about important things that many adults brush aside or forget

As The Truth ends, the girl’s life is changing radically: she is moving to a new town, her mom is having a baby, and her crush on Paul is just about over. She has solved a mystery and has developed a secret way to hold onto the best of herself as she grows up.

In SECRETS, the girl is back again with lots more to talk about in her diary. A new school, a new baby in the family, new friends, everything has changed for her. There is a new crush about to happen, and lots of adventures. There are new best friends and some unsettling social dilemmas. Some of these dilemmas involve boys. There are secrets to share, and secrets to keep to herself. There are problems to solve, and much more to learn.


June 27

I can’t believe it. Today we moved and I feel like I’m in a dream. I just keep walking around our new house and wondering when we will go home. It feels so different and strange. The floors are all bare wood. Everything is on one floor. It’s called a ranch house, I don’t know why. My mother said our rugs would look terrible here so she let the people who bought our house keep them. I think she was right. They’re a dark maroon and the walls are a light cream in this house. I don’t think that would look good.

I went to the bathroom three times since we got here and every time I used a different bathroom. I can’t believe it. Three different toilets in the same house! Only my friend Susan, my rich friend, has more than two bathrooms. And now we do. I keep measuring the living room. Would you believe it’s 27 feet by 15 feet? I used my own feet and added a few inches each time I took a step.

When I look out of the windows I expect to see the shrubs and the Hudson house to my left and I don’t. Instead I see a big open field that will probably have houses on it by next year. That’s what my father said. And when I look out to the right I expect to see our clothesline and the Dixon’s driveway. Instead I see rose bushes and a wooden bench, under a tree, that the last owners said we could have.

We had to eat supper off paper plates and use wooden throw-away forks, knives and spoons because our boxes are still packed. My aunt made us a big picnic hamper of food and that’s what we ate for supper.

My brother already started to play with a kid next door who’s about a year older than he is. He’s so lucky. I have no one yet and that’s the truth!

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, nationally know Positive Psychologist, is the creator of The Enchanted Self,® a systematic way of helping to bring more joy, meaning, and purpose into our lives.

Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist for more than 25 years. She has taught elementary school children and was an assistant professor in education in at Boston University. She has been in private practice as a psychologist with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey, for over 25 years.

Want More Dr. Barbara?

Visit her websites here:

Pick up your copy of SECRETS today! Click here!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Build A Book With Guest Blogger: Terry M. Drake

Today at the Book Boost we'll be building a foundation for creating your book. So, get out those tool belts and bandannas folks!

Here's what guest author Terry M. Drake has to say...

Laying The Foundation For Success: Tips For Writing Your Book!

So, you want to write your book and you are full of ideas, but you can’t put them on paper. I am going to share some tips, based on my research and based on personal experience. The most helpful book that I read and helped get me started on Live Happily, Ever After… Now!, was Writing Nonfiction by Dan Poynter. I believe even for a fiction writer several of the ideas are helpful and I am going to share them, along with other tips I used to stay focused and finish my book!

Tips To Ensure Success:
- Write about what you know
- Write with passion
- Paint a picture
- KISS- Keep it simple, stupid!
- Feedback
- Build-a-book
- Write in order of interest

“Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve!” – Wilfred Peterson

Yes, even prior to building your foundation and writing your chapters you will need to meet certain criteria to help ensure success. Write about what you know, because when you do you are able to write intelligently and passionately. To be a successful writer you need to get other people excited about your writing and in order for you to do this you need to write with enthusiasm and passion. It is easier to be passionate about what you know and love. Also, you want to paint a picture for your reader, you do this by paying attention to detail, using vivid descriptions and writing passionately. By using the KISS principle you will leave out unnecessary complexities and you won’t get caught up in making your work too complicated!

Unnecessary complexities only confuse the reader and make it harder for you to convey your message. Seeking feedback is the most important aspect to becoming a successful writer! The reason being is that you get quality information from successful writers in your genre and readers of your genre; this information is related to how you’re conveying your message and will benefit you in developing a polished product. You then take your feedback and revise your work, using the information to make it better.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less then perfect conditions. So what! Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” – Mark Victor Hansen

Now that you have the foundation for successful writing, you need to understand how to get started! I recommend you use Dan Poynter’s build-a-book method. To use the build-a-book method, you need a three ring binder, paper for the binder and you keep all your materials in the binder. You also keep the binder with you, so you can work on your manuscript whenever you get a chance. I used the build-a-book method to format my rough draft, by breaking my book into chapters and separating each chapter in the binder. I kept my research and writings pertaining to each chapter in its own section. Once you do this, your writing will have some direction and then you start!

Another of Dan’s great advice is that your writing doesn’t have to follow any specific order. What does this mean, well you can write the last chapter first, the second chapter next and so on. By doing this, you are giving yourself the freedom to write what is most interesting or inspiring to you at the moment and then piece everything together later. It doesn’t matter at this stage if it flows together, because it is your first rough draft and the most important aspect of your first rough draft is to get your ideas on paper. Once you have your ideas on paper, you can review it and revise it. It’s easier to make changes or add to your work, once you have your basic ideas on paper.

So, what are you waiting for?

A Note from the Book Boost: Wow, Terry! This all sounds so efficient and organized! I wish I could be more like that when it comes to writing. I think your suggestions will help a lot of people and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today. Will you take a moment to tell us about your book?


Live Happily, Ever After… Now! uses age old, time tested secrets (found in NLP, Law of Attraction, Positive Psychology, and Hypnosis) to teach you how to create the life you want! Ask yourself: Are you in control of what you think, act and feel? Are you living the life you want?

Would you like to be happy and successful in everything you do? The key is learning how much control you have over your life, your beliefs and attitudes about yourself, others and the world you live in. Once you understand that you are in control (and you will), then you can use the 9 simple steps to begin living the life you want.


The formula for Happiness What is the formula for happiness? As if there is a secret formula, which you could mix up a batch of in the lab. Well, actually it isn’t even that complicated. You don’t need the lab, you don’t need to mix any solutions, and that wouldn’t result in real happiness. As funny as this notion seems, our society has jumped on board with this idea.

You are told a medication will help with all your problems. You are bombarded with advertisements about how much better life would be with a cold beer or how you will be happy once you buy that new car.
I can confidently tell you that without a change in your beliefs you will not find true happiness. Medications, relaxing moments, alcohol, and material things can help you enjoy your life, but alone they will never bring you true happiness.

Permanent success and happiness will only come from within and only by making changes to the way you think about yourself and others.
Now, there is a simple formula for happiness and the best part about it is that it is already within you. Not only is it within you, it is under your control. It is also much easier than you think to lead a happy and successful lifestyle.

Most of you don’t realize or fully understand this and that is okay. The most interesting fact is that you already use the formula, you just don’t understand it yet and that results in your continued unhappiness.

Terry M. Drake is a Licensed Social Worker, National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Trainer of Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP. He has spent the last 15 years learning about himself and others, through his academic studies resulting in his MSW and his professional studies, as a family therapist, clinical supervisor and vast training and research into hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, the law of attraction and positive psychology.

Terry is currently a Director of mental and behavioral health programs, as well as a Life Coach and Hypnotherapist in private practice. He has begun to put his skills to use as an author, speaker, consultant and coach. Terry lives in Wellsboro, Pa with his wife and children.

You can learn more about the power of your mind and how to be happy and successful in everything you do, by buying his new book, Live Happily, Ever After… Now! 9 Simple Steps to create the life YOU want!

Want More Terry?

Visit his website here:
Pick up your copy of his book today! Click here!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Can I Buy You a Book? With Guest Blogger Gary Maccagnone

Today the Book Boost takes you out for a night on the town with author Gary Maccagnone.

He's sharing his unique marketing plan with us. Then stay tuned to read about his new book
My Dog Tim and Other Stories.

Here's what he had to say...

Just an idea to help market authors’ books.

How many sports bars do you believe exist in America? How many exist in all of North America?

Recently, I marketed my books on a large advertising screen in a trendy and well-frequented sports bar in my neck of the woods. Since the screen was underused, for a nominal fee, I created a couple banner ads that looped every three minutes in front of the patrons. The advertising did well for me. This year, three months before the Christmas season, I plan on running the identical campaign.

After moderate success, my thought is this: Why can’t one of the bigger publicity firms, those who have the staff and contacts, organize a similar type of marketing to sell books all across the country? When you go into a Damon’s or Buffalo Wild Wings or Champs, you’ve all noticed the multiple screens hanging near the televisions. For the most part, the screens are used to market the products of the establishment. There’s plenty of time on those screens to market other products.

In my mind, the firms could offer different packages for authors to have their work displayed locally, regionally, or nationally. What better way to get your name and your book covers in front of millions of people? Since it has worked locally for me, it seems like the idea should be given a chance on a larger scale. Of course, I’m a mere suggestion maker who doesn’t have the venture capital, or wherewithal, to make a project of this magnitude get off the ground. I’ll leave my idea for the big boys and girls to fight over.

Of course, I also realize, that what I’m suggesting may be the dumbest idea ever voiced in a public forum in the history of the world.

A Note from the Book Boost: On the contrary, I think your idea is fabulous! We are all always looking for new ways to get the word out about our books. I took a marketing class recently and it was all about finding your "niche" market. I think you've done it, here Gary! Won't you tell us more about your latest book?


My Dog Tim and Other Stories is an anthology of Garasamo Maccagnone’s finest works. The anchor of this collection is “St. John of the Midfield”. With newly added scenes, “St. John of the Midfield” is an almost mystical story of Bobo Stoikov, one of the world’s greatest soccer players, who escapes death in communist Bulgaria to find the American Dream. Due to severe injury during Bobo’s escape, he is unable to play once he arrives in America. Though he finds peace and happiness in simply coaching soccer to youth travel teams, his eccentric ways of teaching and his success lead to a hate-filled rivalry, and eventually, his death.

Other stories in the anthology include: “My Dog Tim”, an ode to the author’s beloved childhood pet; “White Fang”, a tale of revenge that has more do with orthodontia than Jack London’s infamous dog story; “The Note Giver”, the story of a mysterious old man who arrives at St. Isidore’s and turns the congregation upside down by handing out notes that sting the individuals with truth and insight on their own bad ways; “White Chocolate”, “Goalie Boy”, and three vignettes.


Sometimes life isn’t fair. At seventeen, I was strong and confident. With Tim it was just the opposite. After seventeen years, two strokes, and a huge gain in weight, he lost the ability to properly move his hind legs. At that time in his life, he usually stayed to himself in the laundry room.

On the day of Mark’s graduation, Tim stiffly dragged his enormous body to the back door. He put his nose in the corner of the door and pushed out so my brother Glenn opened it. The two of us lifted his back end up so we could get him down to the grass from the porch. Perhaps it was the excitement of the party that brought Tim to the backyard. Perhaps Tim remembered all the voices in the crowd, the friends, the neighborhood boys and girls, my aunts and uncles and cousins who had pet him a million times.

The party stopped. Without anything being spoken, our friends, family, and relatives all gathered around Tim, as if he were about to perform a new trick. Tim looked at them all, his mouth open, his tongue hanging out, saliva thicker than jelly oozing from the curve of his mouth.

My brother Glenn got an idea. He ran into the house and came out with a rolled-up newspaper. When Tim saw it, he lifted his head in approval, then tried to inch forward but stumbled.

“Steady old man,” Pops spoke. My brother Mark and I grabbed him, put our arms around his over sized body, lifted him up and got him balanced again. Glenn then put the paper in Tim’s mouth.

What a magical moment. It was like the old Tim was back. His body looked like it was on steroids and he couldn’t move anything but his neck and head more than and inch or two. But you could tell by the look in his eyes that his mind was flying around the backyard again, zipping in and out of tacklers, shattering record speeds, twisting and turning away from his many attackers.

On impulse, Glenn feigned like he was tackling Tim by jumping over him. Mark did the same while I slid under him. It was bad acting, worse than the Three Stooges, but the crowd approved and gave the three of us a standing ovation.

That’s when Tim dropped the newspaper. Tim struggled but got his legs beneath him so he could sit. He stared at the crowd that was still clapping, looking at all of them like he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Garasamo Maccagnone studied creative writing and literature under noted American writers Sam Astrachan and Stuart Dybek at Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. A college baseball player as well, Maccagnone met his wife Vicki as a junior at WMU. The following year, after injuring his throwing arm, Maccagnone left school and his baseball ambitions to marry Vicki. After a two year stint at both W.B. Doner and BBDO advertising agencies, Maccagnone left the industry to apply his knowledge of marketing in a new venture in an up-and-coming industry. Maccagnone created a company called, “Crate and Fly,” and turned it from a store front in 1984 to a world-wide multi-million dollar shipping corporation by 1994.

In the mid 90’s Maccagnone decided to fulfill the promise of his writing career, by first penning the children’s book, The Suburban Dragon and then following up with a collection of short stories and poetry entitled, The Affliction of Dreams. His literary novel, St. John of the Midfield was published in 2007, followed by his For the Love of St. Nick, which was released in 2008. Maccagnone expanded the original version of For the Love of St. Nick and had the book illustrated for a new release in June 2009. My Dog Tim and Other Stories is a literary anthology of the author’s best work.

Garasamo “Gary” Maccagnone lives today in Shelby Township, Michigan, with his wife Vicki and three children. At this time, he is researching the location for his second novel, tentatively titled, He Lay Low.

Want More Gary?

You can visit Gary online:
Pick up your copy today! Click here!