Reviewing The Kudzu Kid

The Kudzu KidThe Kudzu Kid by Darrell Laurant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very good book about the exciting and/or boring life of a journalist surrounded by crime, corruption and small town idiosyncrasies. It’s written by a professional journalist who might have drawn many examples from real life rural Virginia settings and situations.

The characters are well developed and believable. You probably know a few of them.

Short chapters with descriptive chapter titles lead to quick page turning, and finding solutions to a few trashy issues also leads to page turning.

Good job, Darrell Laurant!

 

Recommended Read: Air Force One Has Vanished

Air Force One has Vanished by David H. Brown
Air Force One has Vanished by David H. Brown

Where is the President?

Air Force One, the presidential jet, a symbol of US power that has traditionally been shrouded in so much secrecy IS MISSING…and because Air Force One is not technically a plane, but simply the call sign for any air force plane in which the president is traveling, the President of the United States is also missing!

Why is there no sitting vice president? Washington is in turmoil. Who is in charge?

So begins the new, fast-paced, highly relevant thriller by author David H. Brown whose 24-year-career as a government public relations officer gives him a unique vantage point into the inner workings of the U.S. government.

This political novel is an emotional roller coaster with a plot well-timed and seems to be plucked straight out of today’s headlines.

This is Brown’s ninth book. He also has been a public speaker for half a century.

See reviews or order the book from Amazon.com. 

Contact us for book signing or speaking information.

Dr. Connie Numbers to Speak at Sunset River Marketplace Gallery

Connie Numbers

Connie Numbers

On Thursday, Oct. 3, Sunset River Marketplace art gallery in Calabash, N.C. will feature Dr. Connie Numbers as part of the art gallery’s Coffee With the Authors series. The event runs from 10 to 11 a.m. and includes coffee and breakfast treats.

Dr. Numbers has a Masters Degree in Social Work and a Doctoral Degree in Psychology. She has a psychotherapy practice in Ocean Isle, N.C. and is also a spiritual teacher. Dr. Numbers has made a lifelong commitment to knowing oneself deeply on both a psychological and spiritual level.book_dr_numbers

Her book, titled “The Dear Ones Letters: a Path to Growing as a Human and Evolving as a Soul,” is the culmination of 30-plus years of analysis and spiritual mentorship. The “Letters” are notable for their practical wisdom in both spiritual and psychological matters. The author says, “The Dear One letters are like the breadcrumbs leading us on the path out of the forest to help us find our way Home. They remind us of how life really works and how to feel in control of it.”

The book is uplifting in nature and uses everyday situations in a guide to becoming a happier and wiser person. With specific techniques and stories from her own life, the author offers a process for diminishing fear, understanding how life is created, finding self-love and learning how to reconnect with the self.

The event at Sunset River Marketplace is free, but space is limited so reservations are required. Call 910-575-5999 or send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace.com. Join the mailing list for notice of future events at the same number and email address.

Sunset River Marketplace showcases work by approximately 200 North and South Carolina artists, and houses some 10,000 square feet of art work in virtually every genre. Custom framing, painting and pottery classes and art workshops are also offered through the gallery. Since opening its doors in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has supported not only the visual arts, but literary and performing arts, as well. It has become a popular community center and art hub for both Brunswick County and nearby Horry County, S.C.

Sunset River Marketplace is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW, Calabash, N.C. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 910-575-5999 or visit the website: www.sunsetrivermarketplace.com. For daily updates, “like” the gallery’s Facebook page.

 

Introducing Renee Miller

We love meeting new authors, and it’s our pleasure to introduce another with a bit about her own story, and a recommendation of reading her first two novels: In the  Bones and The Legend of Jackson Murphy.

Guest post by author Renee Miller

renee miller

As I prepare to promote the publication of my second novel, THE LEGEND OF JACKSON MURPHY, I’m making the social media rounds that marketing requires. This involves some guest posts (thank you, by the way for having me) and interviews. For every book we write, authors usually find ourselves answering questions like “Where do you come up with your ideas?” and “Who or what inspired your characters?” My favorite is, “Why did you self-publish?” Or they ask who my publisher is, and I say myself, and then we fall into awkward silence.

Self-publishing was not a decision I made lightly. I kind of went into it kicking and screaming. My ultimate goal is to publish my work with a traditional publisher, but today’s industry is changing rapidly and if you want to stay in the game, you have to keep up. Publishing your own books is not an easy task, not if you’re doing it right. You’re the editor, publisher, marketing guru, and pretty much everything. You’re all of it. This requires a lot of time and energy, and if it bombs, it’s all on you. That’s a lot of pressure and it’s exhausting. I don’t recommend it if you can avoid it, but as I said, the publishing industry is changing, so self-publishing is now a tool for new authors. It’s something I had to try.

For several years now I’ve written, queried, built my “platform” and got nowhere. I’ve had requests for partials and full manuscripts from agents and a couple of publishers, but in the end, it didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped for various reasons. Now I have a stack of manuscripts pretty much ready to go (I’ll admit, all of them could use a professional edit or two before publication), but nothing else. Sure, I have publishing credits. I write for a living, so my name is all over the Internet if you read online news/content sites. But these weren’t what publishers wanted to see, I guess. So there I was.

Then I read an article, and I can’t recall where it was I read it, about the hybrid model. Indie authors choosing to self-publish to create a bit of buzz so that publishers would have proof they weren’t a risk. Interesting, I thought. I read more articles, some by self-published authors who would never go to a publisher, others by authors already published traditionally who took the indie route for off-genre titles or backlists, and a few by authors hoping to “get noticed.”

Realistically, self-publishing alone won’t get a girl noticed. Not unless you hit that lucky spot where you sell a bazillion copies and force everyone to notice you. Not likely to happen. I believe my writing is good, my characters are relatable and that I can build a base of readers that will buy future books based on the ones I have out there now. My plan is to take that reader base to a publisher eventually. I’m not going to wait to be discovered, because I don’t live in La-La Land.

So far I’ve had fantastic results with self-publishing. By fantastic, I don’t mean I’m making a ton of money. I’m selling far more books than I expected. Locally (by locally I mean Tweed, ON and surrounding area), I’m closing in on 300 books sold (combined sales of 2 books) in local stores since March, 2013. I went into this believing I’d be lucky to break 100 books, so that makes me very happy. The feedback from readers is positive as well. They enjoy my characters and the plots keep them turning the page, which any writer wants to hear.

I could probably sell more books if I tweeted links and did the blog rounds, but my marketing plan isn’t to plaster myself everywhere. Maybe that’s a mistake, but I won’t annoy people into buying my books. I see authors tweeting links to their books constantly on Twitter. My feed is full of such tweets. Probably 3 out of every 5 tweets is “Buy my book!” That’s not the way to market, in my opinion.

My marketing plan is to be present and noticeable, but not just for my books. As a reader, I love authors who get in there as real people. They interact and make you laugh, cry, or whatever, and it’s not all about the books or the writing. Chuck Wendig and Christopher Moore are perfect examples of brilliant marketing. Yes, they promote their books, but if you follow either on Facebook or Twitter, you’re going to be entertained and informed. This is what I want to do. Have I succeeded? Um…not just yet. These guys are funny and damn smart. I need to work on one of those, possibly both.

When I sat down to determine how I’d market THE LEGEND OF JACKSON MURPHY, I chose to be low-key. I didn’t do the blog tour, because I’ve done that once. It felt hokey and weird to pay someone to organize readers and reviews. It feels dirty. Anyway, the character of Jackson Murphy almost markets himself. He’s an asshole. He’s a jerk and a lot of other things we don’t like. But he’s also got a bit of everyone inside his brain. He does and says the things we might want to do and say, but we refrain from acting on the temptation because of the consequences.

Instead of asking folks to read this book, I’m daring them. Some people can say no to a dare, but those people are missing out. Ahem, in my opinion, of course.

Links:

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Twitter

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From Professional Hockey Player to Published Novelist

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By Guest Blogger/Author Luke Murphy

From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.

In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing professional hockey in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.

I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

Then I made a decision to take my interest one step further. I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft.

I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. My first two purchases were “Stein on Writing”, a book written by successful editor Sol Stein, and “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King.

I read through these novels and highlighted important answers to my questions. My major breakthrough from Stein’s book was to “Show don’t Tell”. I had to trust my readers. I even wrote that phrase on a sticky note and put it on my computer monitor.

The Self-Editing book helped me learn how to cut the FAT off my manuscript, eliminating unnecessary details, making it more lean and crisp, with a better flow. I learned to cut repetition and remain consistent throughout the novel.

I continually researched the internet, reading up on the industry and process “What is selling?” and “Who is buying?” were my two major questions.

I attended the “Bloody Words” writing conference in Ottawa, Canada, rubbing elbows with other writers, editors, agents and publishers. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

The first person to read my completed manuscript was my former high school English teacher. With her experience and wisdom, she gave me some very helpful advice. I then hired McCarthy Creative Services to help edit DEAD MAN’S HAND, to make it the best possible novel.

I joined a critique group, teaming up with published authors Nadine Doolittle and Kathy Leveille, and exchanging manuscripts and information. Working with an editor and other authors was very rewarding and not only made my novel better, but made me a better writer.

When I was ready, I researched agents who fit my criteria (successful, worked with my genres, etc.) and sent out query letters. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

After months of editing with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books (Edmonton, Alberta).Luke Murphy

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way?

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?

Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one, but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.” Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower

“You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Hand-ebook/dp/B009OUT2ME

Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, like his Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorLukeMurphy and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy

David H. Brown Releases New Novel: Next in Line to the Oval Office

   Next in Line to the Oval Office There have been a gazillion books, movies, TV shows, etc. about the White House and the presidency.  Now comes the first one focusing on succession to the Oval Office beyond the Vice President.
    Never in U.S. history has anyone but a Vice President replaced a President.  But, what if during the inauguration ceremonies explosions at the west portico of The Capitol kills among others the incoming and outgoing Presidents and Vice Presidents?
    A 1947 law designates the Next in Line to the Oval Office, which is the title of this first-of-a-kind novel.  The Speaker of the House is about to be sworn in but suffers a stroke and cannot take the Oath of Office.  After him comes the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, but before he can be sworn in, the House quickly meets and elects a new Speaker.  She is sworn in, and the Senator vows revenge.
    There are twin plots to this novel: (1) Intrigue at the White House and on Capitol Hill; and, (2) Who was behind the explosions and why.  Just for kicks, there is a Deep Throat II (a reminder of the Watergate Era).  There are enough twists and turns to remind one of O. Henry, and enough excitement to make a film or a television movie.
    One critic said, “You’re not likely to put it down.”  Another said, “This has the strong possibility to be to political thrillers what John Grisham is to the legal ones.”
    Author David H. Brown already is working on a sequel that picks up where this book leaves off, For this novel, he called on his nearly 15 years as an Ohio newspaper reporter, and his 24 years as a government public information officer.  Until his death in December 2012, Sen. Daniel Inouye was the President Pro Tempore, and lived in the same condo building in North Bethesda, MD as Brown.
    Since his retirement from government in 1991, Brown has written seven other books: three fiction, four non-fiction, and a memoir.  He can be reached at grumpsflmd@aol.com.David H. Brown

Beach Music Book Author to Speak in Calabash, NC

Author Howie Thompson will discuss his new book, And the Bands Played On at Sunset River Marketplace art gallery in Calabash, N.C.  The presentation is part of the gallery’s ongoing Coffee With the Authors series. According to Thompson the book, which features some 60-plus bands, deejays and industry notables, tells the story of beach music from many different points of view.

Carolina beach music developed from various musical styles of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. It includes a wide variety of musical genres and influences, ranging from big-band swing instrumentals to the more raucous sounds of blues/jump blues, jazz, doo-wop, boogie, rhythm and blues, reggae, rockabilly, and old-time rock and roll.

Beach music is closely associated with the style of the swing dance known as the shag or the Carolina shag, which is the official state dance of both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Thompson begins his project by taking the advice of local club owner H. Lee Brown: to talk to legendary Charlotte, N.C. vocalist Billy Scott, who passed away in November 2012. Conversations with Scott provided ideas, experiences and invaluable insights, which served as a perfect springboard for Thompson’s book.

From there, he goes on to share stories of legends, friends, the many men and women, and the bands behind the music.  And The Bands Played On is a treasure trove of historical facts, musical culture and information.

Howie Thompson is also the author of Fat Harold: Legendary King of Shag and several sports books. He was an award-winning coach, earning three consecutive Adidas/NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year awards, two high school and youth state sportsmanship awards.

The Coffee With the Authors event at Sunset River Marketplace will be Thursday, May 2 from 10 to 11 a.m. Coffee, tea and breakfast treats will be served. The presentation is free, but seating is limited so reservations are required. Call the gallery at 910.575.5999 or send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace.com

Sunset River Marketplace showcases work by approximately 200 North and South Carolina artists, and houses some 10,000 square feet of art work in virtually every genre. Custom framing, painting and pottery classes and art workshops are also offered through the gallery. Since opening its doors in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has supported not only the visual arts, but literary and performing arts, as well. It has become a popular community center and art hub for both N.C.’s Brunswick County and nearby Horry County, S.C.

Sunset River Marketplace is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW, Calabash, N.C. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 910-575-5999or visit the website: http://www. sunsetrivermarketplace.com.

Iconic Historian Jack Thompson Speaks in Calabash

Jack_Photo Myrtle Beach, S.C. historian, photographer and beloved local icon Jack Thompson, will make a presentation at Sunset River Marketplace  April 11 at 10 a.m., as part of the Calabash, N.C. art gallery’s Coffee With the Author series. His book, which is titled Memories of Myrtle Beach: a Pictorial History of the Grand Strand Through the Eyes of Jack Thompson, features over 175 Grand Strand images that take the viewer on a journey through the author’s life at the beach.JackT_wall

Originally from Greenville, S.C., Jack Thompson has been photographing Myrtle Beach happenings since he stepped off a bus and accepted a job at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion back in 1951. That was Jack behind the camera snapping “mug shots” at the Myrtle Beach Jail. He was there during the heyday of the Ocean Forest Hotel and he was there to witness its implosion. Last year the state of South Carolina recognized Jack as the Official Chronicler of South Carolina’s Grand Strand and celebrated his birthday, Sept. 21, 2012 as Jack Thompson Remembering Myrtle Beach Day in Myrtle Beach.

Jack admits to his love at first sight with Myrtle Beach. “ …She has an alluring charm about her … If you give in to her promise … she will cast a spell over you and fill your shoes with sand that will sweep into your blood and melt your heart. That’s Myrtle, she’s a lady and she has my number … and continues to call!”

During the Coffee With the Authors event, Jack will discuss some of his famous images including the now defunct local Ocean Drive dance joint, The Pad; the implosion series of the Ocean Forest; and chronicling the city’s Sun Fun Festival through its 60-year run.

The event at Sunset River Marketplace is free, but space is limited so reservations are required. Call 910-575-5999 or send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace.com.

Sunset River Marketplace showcases work by approximately 200 North and South Carolina artists, and houses some 10,000 square feet of artwork in virtually every genre. Custom framing, painting and pottery classes and art workshops are also offered through the gallery. Since opening its doors in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has supported not only the visual arts, but literary and performing arts, as well. It has become a popular community center and art hub for both N.C.’s Brunswick County and nearby Horry County, S.C.

Sunset River Marketplace is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW, Calabash, N.C. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 910-575-5999 or visit the website: http://www. sunsetrivermarketplace.com.

Confederate History Author to Speak at Calabash Gallery

reavis_book

Sunset River Marketplace art gallery in Calabash, N.C. will feature author David Reavis at the next Coffee With the Authors presentation Thursday, March 7 from 10 to 11 a.m. Coffee, tea and breakfast treats will be served.

Formerly a treasury professional, Reavis retired from N.C. State Government in 2011 after 36 years of service, at which time Governor Beverly Perdue bestowed upon him the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine award.

After retiring, Reavis decided to write a historical novel about his family during the Civil War. He has been doing genealogy research for over 35 years. He grew up in the Reavis Homeplace located in Vance County, N.C., built by Samuel Reavis in 1789, which is the basis of his book. In writing his first historical novel, the author says he was inspired by the resilience of the human spirit demonstrated by his ancestors who endured and survived one of the most horrific periods of America’s history. While the book focuses on his own ancestors, the experiences and emotions are universal to any family whose relatives have gone off to fight.

Sunset River Marketplace is a 10,000 square-foot gallery showcasing artists from both North and South Carolina. Almost 200 artists are represented in a broad range of style and genre. Visitors to the gallery are invited to enjoy gourmet coffee, tea and treats while viewing the many works on display.

Included in the space are a full service custom-framing department, a pottery studio, art classrooms for ongoing classes and national workshops, and a regional book section.

Coffee With the Authors events are free to the public; however seating is limited so reservations are required. Call 910.575.5999 to reserve seats.

Sunset River Marketplace is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW in Calabash, N.C. Winter hours are Tuesday through Saturday,10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Starting in April, the gallery will reopen on Mondays.

For additional information, visit the website at www.sunsetrivermarketplace.com.

Stress Guru Presents in Dubai

Carol Spiers is an international stress management and employee well-being consultant. She helps groups learn how to bounce back from stressful situations created by competitive jobs and work demands. Her recent book is Show Stress Who’s Boss!

She will be speaking in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar in February. 

Wednesday 13th February:  DIC Excellence Series:  1 – 2.30 p.m.  DIC #3, Thuraya Hall

Contact:  Rekha – Rekha.Setpal@dubaiinternetcity.ae

Wednesday 13th February:  Toastmasters:  Speak-a-Thon.  6 – 8 p.m. DIC #3, Thuraya Hall.  Contact: Manuel:   manuel_asali@yahoo.com

Wednesday 20th February:  Intelligent SME Workshops:  Ritz Carlton. DIFC.

4 – 6 p.m.  Contact Sandhya: editor@theintelligentsme.com

Saturday 23rd February:  Women’s Public Speaking Masterclass:  Holiday Inn, Al Barsha.  9 – 5 p.m.  Contact:  Sam – st@carolespiersgroup.co.uk.  Only a few places remaining.

Carol writes a weekly column for Gulf News.

Are you resilient? If you need some help, let us know and we can schedule Carol for your team.