Friday, August 31, 2012

Author Spotlight : Marty Steere - Sea of Crises

Since I had some spare time tonight, I thought I would catch up with a few GP's and Spotlights. So tonight readers, starring on The Phantom Paragrapher is author Marty Steere and his book "Sea of Crises".
Synopsis: Sea of Crises- Marty Steere- April 2012
That shouldn't be here." Those are the last words uttered by Commander Bob Cartwright in September 1976, just before all communication with the crew of Apollo 18 is inexplicably lost during the astronauts' first moonwalk. Frantic attempts to re-establish communications with the astronauts are unsuccessful. Three days later, however, as NASA is scrambling to put together a rescue mission, astronomers detect a burn of the service propulsion system, and, on schedule, but still in eerie silence, the command module begins its return transit, culminating in the welcome sight of the capsule descending majestically beneath a trio of parachutes into the South Pacific. But when the hatch is opened, the navy divers tasked with assisting the astronauts into the recovery helicopter make a gruesome discovery. The bodies of the three men inside have been burned beyond recognition, victims of a failed heat shield. And with them has died any chance of learning the meaning of Cartwright's enigmatic last statement or what transpired during those three blacked out days in the Mare Crisium, or Sea of Crises. Unfortunately, unless and until man returns to the moon, it's a mystery that will remain forever unsolved. Or will it? Thirty-six years later, Cartwright's sons make a shocking discovery: The capsule that came down in the Pacific Ocean with three charred remains was not their father's capsule. And the body they buried all those years before was not their father. What they've uncovered puts the three brothers on the run, chased by a ruthless group who will stop at nothing to preserve the secret behind the fate of the Apollo 18 astronauts. The brothers will need to set aside past differences and pool their talents if they are to stay alive and unravel the mystery behind what really happened in the Sea of Crises.
Guest Post - Marty Steere :
My thanks to Paula for giving me the opportunity to make this post and introduce Sea of Crises.  It’s been fun sharing the book with the reading public over the past several weeks, and I’ve enjoyed the feedback.  The question I’m asked most often is, Where did the idea for the story come from?
While it’s hard to say exactly when an idea forms, I know how this one evolved.  It grew out of a process that I can pretty well track in my mind. 
In the beginning, I knew I wanted to stage an adventure, something that would be similar to the books written by my all-time favorite author, Alistair MacLean.  He penned several terrific novels in the 1960s and 70s, books that I discovered and devoured in high school, and I wanted to capture some of the magic I felt reading his stories.  One of MacLean’s favorite techniques was to put a relatively small cast of characters, including at least one with a dark secret, in a remote, harsh and isolated environment and let the sparks fly.  I thought it would be an interesting starting point for my story.
I was casting about an environment that would satisfy the “MacLean” criteria when I came up with one of most harsh environments imaginable:  The moon.  The minute I thought of it, I loved it.  It’s a place that’s been featured in a lot of science fiction and some horror, but it hasn’t been the setting for much mainstream fiction, and that’s what I was contemplating.  Moreover, in addition to satisfying the harshness criterion, it had the benefit of being extraordinarily remote.  But, I asked myself, did it satisfy the third prong - was it sufficiently isolated?  After all, the astronauts in the Apollo program were constantly monitored by mission control back on Earth. 
So then I thought, what if the astronauts in my story were cut off from all communication with Earth?  Wouldn’t that pretty much isolate them?  And the more I considered it, the more I realized that it would also be very eerie for the loved ones back at home.  As I looked at it from their standpoint, it took on a whole new dimension.  Then, I thought, what if something were to happen that would prevent the astronauts from ever telling what actually took place?  Wouldn’t that make for a compelling mystery?  Finally, I asked myself, what if I were to have the sons of one of the astronauts finally discover the secret, a secret that could get them killed?  And, voila, I had my basic outline.

Guest Review : Loki's Daughters - Delle Jacobs

Review of Delle Jacobs’ Novel Loki’s Daughters
If you are a fan of historical romance, then this is the book for you. Personally, I was not even in the market for a book like this. However I had a new Kindle and not a lot of money, so I was looking through the free book section. Lo and behold, I found this treasure. I have read it at least three times since I downloaded it.
Set in the time of Celts and Vikings, this romance pairs the enemies together in ways you can’t even imagine. From the windswept shores of the frozen north, a Viking come looking for the woman he rescued from his evil uncle when they were both only children. What he stumbles upon is a village without any men of fighting age, led by that same woman with the fiery spirit.
Through many trials and tribulations, the Viking and his friends manage to convince the village of wild Celtic women that they intend to settle and not raid. Once that obstacle is out of the way, the romance can get started. However there is a twist. One of the Celts has a secret and another plans murder. Will the tense truce and fledgling romance make it through?
If you love sword fights, strong women, lots of humor and descriptions of hunky, rugged men- then you’ll love Loki’s Daughters’.
Author Bio:
Paul and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare. They take care of all the necessary information related to “babysittingjobs.com”. He  personally think his blog will help finding information on all things related to a babysitter.

Guest Post - How to Get More Reviews for Your Book by Kay Winders

How to Get More Reviews for Your Book
Reviews are the lifeblood of book sales. They can help spread buzz about your book and send it to the top of the bestsellers' chart, or they can send your book to its literary grave by making sure that no one ever buys it.
Finding ways to increase the number of reviews you get is a good way to encourage the success of your book. (Assuming that they are good reviews...) Here are just a few ways that you can get more review for your book to try to drive sales:
Send Out Free Copies
The easiest and most efficient way to get reviews is to send out a lot of free copies to bloggers and journalists. Most bloggers and journalists are looking for good content to share with their readers. You make their job easier by providing it.
Create a master list of bloggers and journalists to contact when you have a book ready to launch, and send out an e-mail blast with a free copy of the e-book version. The more people you contact, the more reviews you are likely to get.
Build Relationships
Networking is a great way to spread the word about your book and encourage reviews. Offering incentives is a great way to grease the wheels for networking. When you contact other bloggers for reviews, don't just offer them a free copy for themselves. Offer a few extra free copies to give away to readers. It will help the blogger build buzz through a contest, and you'll get a few extra readers who may be likely to tell others about your book if they like it.
Encourage other authors to review your book by writing reviews of their books. Many will appreciate the gesture and offer to return the favor.
Write a Press Release
Press releases have fallen a bit out of favor now that more books and newspapers are published online and more correspondence is electronic. However, they are still effective marketing tools.
Write a good press release announcing the launch of your book and send it out to newspapers and appropriate websites. Even if you don't get a review out of it, you may get a story or a link, which could get more people to buy your book, who may then be compelled to write a review.
Use Social Media
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools for getting the word out about your book. Share details of your book's launch and build buzz among your users. Ask them to share the news with their own networks, and put out a call for reviews. You may even consider offering free copies to your fans or followers to encourage them to read and create buzz through word-of-mouth and reviews.
Market to Your E-mail List
An e-mail list is the most powerful tool in your marketing toolbox. If you have been building an e-mail list through your website -- as you should have been doing -- you can send out a message announcing the launch of your book through the list. Ask your users to write a review, and offer a free copy to anyone who's interested in writing one.
Getting a lot of (good) reviews is essential to the success of any book. You can use any of these methods to encourage more reviews and to build buzz around your book. Be careful that if you are offering any incentives -- such as free copies of your book or writing a review of another author's book -- that you aren't influencing the content of your review. You don't want readers to think that you bribed your reviewers into saying nice things about your book!
What other ways have you found to get more reviews of your book? Share your ideas in the comments!
Kay Winders is presently the resident writer for badcreditloans.org, where she researches the best way for people to pay off their debts without damaging their credit. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing, the beach and gardening.

Review: Boyfriend from Hell - Jamie Quaid

On the lookout for a new paranormal novel ?
Wanting to start a new series ?
Boyfriend from Hell (Saturn's Daughter, #1)
Review : Boyfriend from Hell - Saturn's Daughters Book #1 - Jamie Quaid - September 2012
Imagine one day you are trying to get on with your life , trying to pass law school so that you can find a way to expunge your record for a minor mistake and then the next thing you know, you are a witness to a limo that runs down a couple of children and your boyfriend is trying to kill you with your car of all things. Then the next thing she realises is that she whispers out the words damn you to hell and the car blows up with her boyfriend Max inside.  For Justina aka Tina/ Justy life is about to get a whole lot weirder when she discovers that she is one of Saturn's Daughters and her grandmother is Themis.  Tina has the power to send people to hell and kill others and when she does it seems that the universe loves rewarding her as everytime she kills , she becomes more perfect.  Can Tina get to the bottom of what is going on and what is happening around her ? It seems that "The Zone" where strange things occur is about to get weirder and a whole lot of suits are investigating and attracting the wrong attention.  With the help of Themis , and friends Andre/Sarah/Cora and of course the Man in the Mirror - Max can Tina save not only "The Zone" from destruction but also in time to pass her Law finals and sit the bar .
A nice, quick and easy read that will have the readers entranced by the first page as you want to discover more about who exactly is Saturn's Daughters and what Tina has to do with them .

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Jilted - Rachael Johns

Do you love Australian Fiction ?
Love getting down and dirty with good ol' Aussie Rural Chick Lit/ or as many call it Chook Lit ?
Review: Jilted - Rachael Johns - June 2012
Have you ever thought when you write a review with coloured font that sometimes certain books just scream out a colour and that's what you associate the story with ? For me Jilted screamed out Purple.
I have to say when it comes to Australian Rural fiction, I am in two minds as I have read some really amazing ones like North Star by Karly Lane , The Girl in the Steel Capped Boots by Loretta Hill and then I have also read a few that I just couldn't get into. Jilted by Rachael Johns falls into the first category of AMAZING. I loved it , from the very first page I was hooked and trying to discover what reasons the main character Ellie could have for standing up Flynn when it was obvious she always loved him and readers, I can tell you I never expected anywhere close to the actual reason and it will blow you readers away.  Jilted tells the tale of Ellie , a big-shot Sydney TV Soap star who has returned to her hometown of Hope's Junction to look after her guardian Matilda while she recuperates from a fall. Her visit home is anything but peachy as the whole town remembers the day she stood Flynn Quartermaine - the golden boy of Hope Junction up at the altar. All Ellie wants to do is look after Matilda and return back to her old life. However, as the novel goes along it seems that Hope's Junction still plays a part in Ellie's life and that no matter what happened she never stopped loving and vice versa Flynn. Can Ellie win not only the heart of Flynn back but also the hearts of those in Hope Junction ? What will happen when tragedy strikes in Ellie's life and it seems that there is no-one who will pick up the pieces ? Will the town come together for Ellie's sake or will she discover what it is truly like to be an Outsider ?
Find out in this awesomeness novel "Jilted" by Rachael Johns and I look forward to seeing and reading what she brings out in future times.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Little Night - Luanne Rice

Families can be hard to live with especially when someone becomes involved with a person that just wants you to themselves .
Readers : This book is one of those stories that covers alot of Family drama from Abuse , Violence, Death, Prison etc .
Review: Little Night - Luanne Rice - June 2012
When I first read the blurb of this book , it intrigued me as I love to read novels that are out of the ordinary, novels that target those edgy topics. Ones that it takes a certain type of person to pull off.  I had always percieved Luanne Rice as writing family sagas and romances so when I read the back of this novel I was a little cautious as in what to expect. I have to say I was blown away and I loved this book as with every page turn the story got deeper and deeper and it drew the reader into the book. As I said above, I do have to say that this book is not for the weak-minded , the ones who just want a fluffy story to settle down with before bed or to drink with their cup of tea. Little Night is one of those books that readers will have to brace themselves for as it will tear at those heartstrings as readers will discover violence , family abuse , narcisstic disorders , prison time , death and murder. The story starts in 1993 , when Anne married Fredrick , Fredrick we learn was an abuser - the dominant male . When Carol - Anne's older sister goes to visit , her heart breaks and she attacks Fredrick for what he has done to his family. Anne not wanting to destroy her make-believe happy family allows Carol to go to prison. Fast forward to the year 2011 , Carol is starting to get her life back on track and out of the blue recieves a letter from her niece Grit who asks to come and stay with her. What Grit brings though , is the past ten + years of tragedy and violence. Carol , shocked is to learn that the sister she once had is no longer the same person. With the help of Grit , can Carol find it in her heart to forgive Anne and give her a second chance to escape and live what little life she has left ? .
Readers, will squirm and have tears in their eyes as they flip through the pages and read Anne's journal and listen to accounts of Grit's life with her family.
A novel I think all should read and those who enjoyed Broken by Ilsa Evans will enjoy Little Night.


Review: Midnight in Austenland - Shannon Hale

Are you in love with Jane Austen ?
Do you love Austen themed novels ?
Have you read Austenland by Shannon Hale ?
Review: Midnight in Austenland - Book #2 Austenland Series - Shannon Hale - January 2012
For as long as I can remember I have always been an Austen fan, yet I have not really fully read her classic books but I think I am in love with the idea of Austen and the world she represented in her novel. I have read almost every single rendition of her classics from Austenland to Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict to Jane Austen Book Club in which I have also seen the film.  When I read that Shannon Hale had released a new book in her Austenland series , I just knew I had to read it so I first scoured to see if I could find an ebook version and to my surprise there was none to be found, so off I trotted to Book Depository and brought a copy :).
Midnight in Austenland takes us into the heart of Charlotte , who has just become divorced from her husband James and he is set to marry a new women named Justice. Feeling down and depressed, Charlotte decides that for the summer she needs to treat herself to a holiday . While recuperating at her parent's house, she comes across a dream list she made of all the things she wanted to do before she turned the dreaded 3-0 which I will be in 5 more years. One of her goals was to read all the Austen books ,which got me thinking that I will have to add it to my goals as well. With enough finance , she decides to treat herself to a holiday at an Austen-themed resort called Pembroke Park.
All starts well and the park is very authentic with actors galore , until one of the actors decide to play a game of sorts- a murder mystery but what happens when one of the guests at Pembroke Park take the game a little too far and Charlotte who has always had a knack for curiosity finds herself bang smack in the midst of it. Will Charlotte be the next one to be knocked off at Pembroke Park or will Charlotte with the help of Edmund Grey find the Killer ?
A fun Austen themed novel and readers stay tuned as Book #1 Austenland is being made into a movie .

Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: Wife 22 - Melanie Gideon

Looking for a good chick-lit novel ?
Did you enjoy Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham ?
Review: Wife 22 - Melanie Gideon - May 2012
Picking this book up , I wasn't sure what to expect but as I plodded along with it , the end result was that I loved It :). Told in a series of different formats from emails , to facebook entries , to diary entries, twitter etc. Wife 22 is the ideal read for anyone who is up to the play with Social Media applications. The novel starts off with Alice Buckle joining a marriage in the 21st Century research programme and has been given the identification number of Wife #22 by the researcher who is known throughout the novel as Researcher 101.  Each week Researcher 101 sends Wife 22 a series of 5 questions relating to her marriage and current life situations and each week faithfully Alice sends them on. In the midst of the novel we read as Alice struggles with family life from her husband whom she is becoming to appear distant from , her 12yr old son Peter who she thinks is gay and her 15yr old daughter Zoe who she thinks has an eating disorder . Alice decides that the only comfort she has is to email and talk to Researcher 101.  Eventually she convinces Researcher 101 to set up a facebook page under aliases so that they can chat on their and so begins a daily routine. As the pair get to know each other more , they start to fall for each other . Will Alice and Researcher 101 ever meet ? What happens when the pair become engrossed with each other ?
This was an amazing and fun novel to read as I loved the different formats used throughout the book , it made it more enjoyable to read.
The only downside I had with the book was that I wish that the questions were above her answers when she wrote them as I am not the type of person to open the back of a book before I read it , I did not realise that at the back of the book - there was a list of the questions asked until I had actually finished the story. Other than that this was a fun , light-hearted chick lit novel that does also show readers the dangers of Facebook and flirting online.


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