Tag Archives: book review sites

Welcome to 2018: Book Lovers and Writers Unite!

emoticon hiWelcome to the SEVENTH year here at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! That’s right, SEVEN years! We are celebrating our seventh year of bringing you news about books, reviews, interviews, guest articles, and our professional editing and publicity services. We’ve seen a lot happen over these last seven years and I want to personally thank everyone, in all the genres we dabble in, for their support. You have my eternal gratitude for your respect, inspiration, and love.

UPDATE ON THIS BLOG

At times, I get so busy working in publishing, polishing books by others and sharing them with the world, and in what little free time I have, and depending on the season, I have the needs of my growing three kids, so this blog doesn’t see as many reviews or interviews as in the days I tried to do five to six posts a week that were strictly reviews and interviews. In fact, when I started it seven years ago, it was to talk about the books I was writing! It was my outlet for that from my busy job(s) as a marketing and PR professional out there in the world.

Now, I’m running Hook of a Book Media and working with many top indie authors and writers, even bloggers and publishers, on editing, writing mentorship, and marketing and public relations/publicity. Currently, I work with not only authors, but directly for Sinister Grin Press as an editor and doing marketing and publicity as well as Raw Dog Screaming Press. Working in publishing is very busy. I often work 7 days a week and some days 15-18 hours a day, seasonally. Out of the book industry, I still occasionally do marketing, advertising, copy writing, and PR work for business and non-profits. As well, I am chair of the board of directors of a our local mental health center and rape crisis domestic violence shelter. This also keeps me busy!

But since I’ve stopped doing as many posts, I’m happy to say though that my traffic, due to all my well-written content, stays very high each month and posts are read and re-read even from many years ago. I learned to write for SEO many moons ago, and so much of my views come from google searches. I’m very proud of that. As much as I can, I hope to continue to do reviews, interviews, news, and hosting guest articles on my blog, interspersed with news of my own publications and writing pursuits. This is NOT a review mill, but a site run by an educated journalist, a PR professional, editor, and author.

WHAT NOT TO DO AS AN AUTHOR

I’ve not got off to a great start of posting here in 2018 yet, at least in the realm of posting reviews and interviews at least. My first major post at the beginning of the month was to be an interview with a historical fiction author. It was one that I was to post months prior, but that I hadn’t gotten posted due to our overwhelming personal struggles last year (including moving to a rural area, no internet service – then it taking over two months of a wait for installation, family problems, my son having a very long extended illness, my kids needing me, etc), and the blog becoming a last priority.

As the air cleared a little, and our internet finally was hooked up, and life had a bit more of a routine, even on crazy days, I began to catch up, and I posted the interview. I noted at the beginning of the interview about the delay, the season, and that I wanted to get 2018 off to a better start. Unfortunately, the author asked me, after I had spent about two hours formatting it, to take it down and re-post in the coming summer, also indicating to me that in the introduction I had written, since I noted one thing of accomplishment she had achieved since my previous review posted,  I had left off two awards she won (I hadn’t heard).

As this blog is volunteer-run, posts and hours to do them are always free, and I’m already spread very thin, often times only sleeping two hours a night (and sometimes struggling with my own health issues), so I didn’t really take too kindly to this at all from a personal stand-point. Being cordial back, and as always a professional, I removed the post and only asked her to remind me when she wanted posted, but did indicate to her that I wished she had respected my judgement. I hold no ill will. But as a future note to authors, both from the stance of running this site and personal desires, plus as a note from me as a professional, don’t do this. Don’t harass, embarrass, or take bloggers, reviewers, or media and their time for granted. Most of them, if not all of them, in the book world, do it as a labor of love. When you do these things, it makes it more like free labor and less like love.

My interviews, since I am a trained journalist, consist of originality every time. I write each interview catered toward the author. I sometimes ask the hard questions. I could get paid for my interviews, and I have, but on my own site they are free to you. Please understand the time involved in writing and posting them. It’s your job as an author to respect my time as well as your own, provide me with good answers, photos to accompany them (often times I spend time searching them out and verifying for use), and to share it along with me. This is the same advice I give my author clients, or any clients in entertainment or even business, when working with other sites or the media.

MY WRITING

And all of this talk of time does even mention the fact that I’ve made goals for myself of actually carving out more time for my own writing. Last year saw my own first collection published, a dark poetry and fiction mix called BREATHE. BREATHE. by Unnerving, as well as work in two more anthologies, HARDENED HEARTS from Unnerving and MY FAVORITE STORY from Project Entertainment Network, in which authors and podcasts hosts featured their favorite story. Proud to say I am in this with authors like Brian Keene, Christopher Golden, Jonathan Maberry, Mary SanGiovanni, and more. This year, I already have two secret projects going and I’m writing and submitting more this year as well. I need to be creative too, just like you do.

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So, now that I’ve cleared the air, I hope that my site continues to offer the best it can, as well as our business Hook of a Book Media, in which we offer editing, writing mentorship, publicity services, and more. Tim is now also offering editing services. I’m often booked, so please consider him if you’re looking for editing services as well. You can find information on that under our services tab. We offer respect and professionalism and support those who bring their best selves as well.

WANT TO BE FEATURED?

I am always open for guest article submissions, either articles you’ve written or interviews you’d like to do with others as a feature on my site. As well, I’m always available to try to fit in writing a guest article for your site too or to be interviewed. For book reviews, we are always open to receiving e-mails about new titles you’d like us to consider. I do not do formal reviews of clients book or book from publishers I directly work with on my blog or other online sites, for ethical reasons.

YOU CAN BE INVOLVED HERE

Upcoming projects of note for the site: we will doing volunteer campaigns for Women in Horror Month, Women in History, and National Poetry Month! You can check each individual page on this site for the calls and more information ongoing.

Thanks for a great seven years so far, and really looking forward to a wonderful 2018 in the book world. My best advice to everyone: JUST BREATHE. HAVE PATIENCE. IT WILL BE OKAY! 🙂

If you follow me here, THANK YOU!!

-Erin

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Filed under Book Reviews, Book Services, Breathe Breathe, Editing, Feature Articles, Guest Posts, My Writing, Q and A with Authors, women in history

The Extraordinary Story of Eight Musicians on the Titanic: The Band That Played On by Steve Turner

The Band that Played On, by Steve Turner, is an original twist on the historical story of the Titanic, the luxury ship that went down in 1912 that has forever haunted the minds of many Americans. Upon the coming of the 100th anniversary, Thomas Nelson publishers suggested this subject to author Steve Turner; it put a new spin on the tale, which generally focuses around stories of the survivors, or those ticketed elite passengers who didn’t survive. This one tells the story of eight musicians who were aboard to entertain the passengers and yet were a few of the bravest of them all.

The book delves into the lives of the musicians and their families prior to, during, and after their time on the ship. Turner, a biographer, of course does grand research and is able to give such a clear portrait of each individual in the orchestra and what brought them together leading up to that fateful day. Seemingly strong in courage, they kept playing entertaining music for two hours even after people where drifting in the ocean, until finally playing “Nearer, My God, to Thee” as the ship went down. What courage this must have taken to not be running for their lives, but thinking of others and blessing their last minutes on Earth with the sound of music.

A highly researched and historical account, this non-fiction is well-written and an inspiring tale. For anyone that loves history or biography, this one is one you don’t want to miss. It is a proud memorial to those musicians for their strength and fortitude as they stayed at their “posts” until the final moments while other people, from rich to poor, screamed in many languages as they were confronted by death.  This book is a great living, tangible documentary in book form of these eight men who died doing what they loved, and be intrigued by their lives and their fascinating story.

Steve Turner is a journalist, a poet, speaker and author with a special interest in music. He lives in London.

Note:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Interview with Indie Author Caroline Barnard-Smith and a Sneak Peek at “Jinn Nation,” her new vampire novel.

Today my blog is a stop along the “Jinn Nation” Book Tour of UK-based author Caroline Barnard-Smith.  I’m happy to share with you an excerpt of the her newest book and an interview with this Indie author, giving you a little taste into her juicy vampiric mind! We even are giving one e-book copy away to a lucky reader!

 

 Win a FREE E-book!!!

You can win a free e-book of “Jinn Nation” (in any e-format you choose) by reading this entire blog and leaving your comment in the comment section of the blog, by commenting to @ErinAlMehairi on Twitter, or by commenting on Faceboook under the post of this blog on my wall (www.facebook.com/almehairierin). At the end of the week, winner will be randomly drawn from the comments and name and info will be given to the author. Please be sure I know how to reach you if you comment or you will not be eligible.

Read an Excerpt from “Jinn Nation”

Once, the vampire Dylan had feared nothing and no one. He’d rampaged throughout the world on a seemingly never ending quest to fill his eternal years with the finest, most outrageous extravagances; with exquisite, soft-limbed young women and copious amounts of rich, vibrating blood. But life, however full of joy, inevitably changes.

Finding himself alone for the first time in his long unlife, Dylan turns to the preternatural race of savage creatures called the jinn – a path that inevitably leads him to Christa, a strangely childlike woman with the power to control minds and read thoughts. Mutually intrigued by each other, they set out on a blood-soaked road trip that crosses the United States and the Atlantic Ocean, finally leading them beyond the world itself to the mysterious fae kingdoms of the Inbetween.

Click on the excerpt link to be sucked into the story of “Jinn Nation”~ You don’t want to miss this!!! Jinn_Nation_-_Excerpt 

Interview with author Caroline Barnard-Smith

It has been so nice to meet you Caroline. I am very curious about your book and your host of anti-heroic vampires!

Q:  What makes you love to write stories of vampires and bloodlust so passionately?

A:  I think it’s the sense of freedom that attracts me to vampires. They’re not a part of society, they live on the fringes where they can go where they want, be who they want, eat who they want.  There’s also the rock star element, of course. Vampires are bad through and through (or at least they should be) and there’s something innately sexy about that.  As a writer it also gives you permission to be bad, which is far more fun than it probably should be.      
 
Q:  Have you always been writing this genre, or has it been a migration?
 
A:  I started out writing straight urban fantasy, spurred on after reading the newest book by an established urban fantasy author and realising it was so awful, I was sure I could do better (I’m not naming any names but trust me, it was bad!) I never actually found out if I could do better because that particular early novel will spend the rest of it’s sad life buried on my hard drive, but raw and ridiculous as that book was, full of witches and wizards and fairies and elves and anything else I could plagiarise from my favourite fantasy novels, it taught me a lot about the craft of writing. It taught me how to explore characters, how to plot and how to get to the end of a long project, so I actually owe that little book a lot.  

Q:  Tell me about your idea and the creation behind your newest novel….
 
A:  When I started all I had in my head was a scene in the middle of a nighttime American desert where two people, two people with secrets, met in a bar.  I started writing and before long the story turned into a sort of bloody travelogue across the United States and beyond, taking in many of the places I wished I could see but couldn’t afford to visit.  I’ve already talked about the freedom that vampires represent and there’s no freer place than the open road (if I’m to believe the movies, anyway), so putting the two together made Jinn Nation an immensely fun book to write.

Q:  What do you want most for your readers to take away from your book? How do you want them to feel?
 
A:  I know it’s a cliché but I really do write the books I’d like to read, and that certainly doesn’t involve gutless vegetarian vampires who sparkle in the sun; so I suppose I’d like readers to come away from Jinn Nation thinking, “Finally! Someone’s given Dracula his balls back!”  I’ve also tried hard to make my female character, Christa, less of a moaning, pining bore than many of the female characters I see in paranormal fiction these days.  The women in these books are always bemoaning their tragic, fated love lives or readying themselves to jump over some metaphorical cliff at their supernatural boyfriend’s command. They’re too Mary-Sue-like, ie. they’re ridiculously attractive, have every super power under the sun and are probably black belts in karate for no goddamned reason. I desperately wanted to stay away from this, even though Christa does have quite considerable mental powers… Hopefully, readers will think that I’ve succeeded.  

Q:  What was your debut novel, Dunraven Road, about and does it tie in with Jinn Nation?

A:  Dunraven Road does loosely tie in with Jinn Nation because the vampire Dylan stars in both novels, but that’s really where the similarities end. Dunraven Road is a close, oppressive novel, with the action mostly confined to just one street (hence the title!), while Jinn Nation is far broader, global even, and has lighter moments. I wasn’t planning to write about vampires when I started my debut novel.  I set out to write about the experience of living in a small town in your twenties and somewhere along the line, an ancient brotherhood of vampires appeared and forced me to include them.  The vampires were definitely the villains in that novel, leaving the reader to root for the hapless humans who happened to stumble right into their diabolical scheme, but Jinn Nation saw me going back to a format first made popular by Anne Rice that I hold dear to my heart: the vampire as anti-hero.        
 
Q:  What are the differences between traditional publishing and indie publishing? What are the benefits of indie publishing? The hardships?

A:  The biggest difference must be that you have to do absolutely everything yourself, or at least hire someone to do it for you. I’m very lucky to have an excellent proofreader, but after my manuscript came back from her I had to edit my work thoroughly, checking spelling and grammar as well as making sure the plot actually hung together. I then had to learn how to format my work as an ebook and a paperback to be published through a print on demand service. The only aspect I had to draft in extra help for was the cover, because I’m completely hopeless with Photoshop.  A traditional publisher will do all these things for you, but they also don’t give you much control. They might demand changes to your manuscript and you certainly wouldn’t get any input into the typesetting or cover design.  All of this is a lot of hard work, but personally I’ve found the experience immensely satisfying.  The paperback proofs of Jinn Nation were delivered just the other day and being able to hold that beautifully printed book in my hands and think, “I did that”, was fantastic.          
 
Q:  Would you like to tell me about your craft business? Is it just as dark and juicy?

A:  Sadly no! It’s completely different from my literary work. I taught myself how to knit in my early twenties because I wanted something to do with my hands so that I’d stop biting my nails. Since then I’ve become good enough to start writing my own patterns and these are what I sell at CazzCraft.co.uk, along with knitting supplies such as bamboo needles and stitch markers. It’s been a lot of fun and once I’m finished promoting Jinn Nation, I really should get back to work on it and write some new patterns!   
 
Q:  How do you juggle being an author, an artist, and a mom?

A:  Well, my daughter always comes first of course, and then I have to do everything else in moderation. It’s fairly easy to continue pursuing my personal projects at the moment because the Sprogling is only 4 months old. She sleeps a lot of the time or is content to sit with me while I work (one-handed) at the computer, but I’m sure this will all change once she starts running around!   
 
Q:  I hear you have a radio show, what should listeners expect from the show and how do we tune in?

A:  Yes, I had my very own radio show 🙂 It was called Write Around Devon and it aired on my local community radio station once a week. I loved doing it because it was basically just me playing my favourite songs and talking about my favourite subject. I even got to interview quite a few local authors. I gave it up when I was pregnant before I grew too big to fit under the desk (hehe) but I’d love to return to it one day.

Thank you Caroline for sharing about your book and offering advice to us!  Wonderful insight!! You’ve been awesome to talk to and I wish you much success. Stop by again!

For more information on Caroline and her books, go online to:  http://www.carolinebarnardsmith.co.uk and visit her blog at: http://barnardsmith.wordpress.com.

Contact Caroline online also at:

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caroline-Barnard-Smith/83412182938

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/CazzySmith

How do you buy “Jinn Nation”?

Paperback – https://www.createspace.com/3565931

Amazon Kindle USA – http://www.amazon.com/Jinn-Nation-ebook/dp/B0058OE3JC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309947539&sr=8-1

Amazon Kindle UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jinn-Nation-ebook/dp/B0058OE3JC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1309947612&sr=8-1

Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/70355

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Welcome fellow book nuts!

I am NUTS about books. Not just novels for my age, but also books for all ages of children. I collect picture books and I love reading young adult books just for fun. I hope this blog shares new and old titles of children and young adult books for you, suggested titles of all books, reviews of all types of books, talk about my new children book series I’m diving into for 2011 (I hope you’ll be my sounding board and critics), and let you in on what I’m reading right now. I can’t wait to throw out the bookmark and jump in!

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