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A Date With . . . Tom Benson

Frank Parker's author site

My fourth candidate for “A Date With . . .” is Scottish writer Tom Benson. Tom writes across several genres and is also a founder member and administrator for the Independent Author’s Support and Discussion group (IASD) which brings writers together to help each other with everything from blurb writing to discussing the relative merits of different marketing strategies. I began by asking him about growing up in Glasgow in the 1960s, mentioning my mental image of the city as grey stone tenements and ship building.

“Your mental image is accurate and it’s how I remember the Eastend of the city where I spent my formative years. In 1960 our family moved west to a spacious apartment in a sprawling council estate. In the mid-60s from our secondary school we could see the hulk of the ‘Q4’ in Clydebank several miles away. When launched, the Q4 was named Queen Elizabeth…

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Venturing into Non-Fiction #FLLitReview

I’m in the process of winding down my current project. In the editing phase, Poison Pen will soon be completed and ready for release. By soon, I mean another month or so. After I complete my line edits and proofreading, it has to go to my editor (and then back to me for more polishing). But it’s amazing how quickly things happen once I’m over the editing hump.

The next project is a non-fiction book, called Changed for Life: The After-Effects of Near-Death Experience, based on my master’s thesis.


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The subject of near-death experience has fascinated me from the moment I first learned of it as a teenager. Rather than trying to prove or debunk the veracity of the experience, I chose to study the after effects, which are just as interesting.

One of the surprising aspects of this topic was learning about how even those who haven’t had the experience can be changed by it.

The book should be a fascinating read for anyone curious about what happens when we get a second chance at life.

To help me with the herculean task of completing further research to expand the existing manuscript, I’ve enrolled in Futurelearn’s “Research Writing” course offered through the University of Wollongong in Australia.

Exciting Times For Facebook Author Pages

Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a guest post by Marina Gioti. You may remember this author power couple from my recent feature of their booksMarina is revealing how she’s using the much-maligned Facebook Author Pages in a novel way that allows her to boost her sales without having to pay for advertising!

Exciting Times For Facebook Author Pages

Exciting times lie ahead for Authors when it comes to promoting their books on social media! Apparently, Facebook and Goodreads have identified the need for tools specifically targeted to authors. They seem to be engaging in a race to become the best platform for authors and help them reach and engage their audience. So far, Facebook seems to be the most user-friendly, but Goodreads is more targeted.

As we all know, user profiles have better penetration and reach than a page in facebook, but they also have certain limitations, such as…

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Future Me Tag #thebookrobinhoods

I’ve been challenged by M.C. Frank on the Book Robin Hoods to answer questions about the future me.

Challenge accepted.

Future Me tag

What do you want your life to look like in ten years?

When I look ahead, I’d want to have less stress and more writing in my life. I’d want to earn enough from my writing to pay bills, to buy a few extras, and to farm out the marketing.


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What do you want to ask the future you?

Is it closer to utopia or dystopia where you are?

What do you want to have her remember?

Never forget where you came from.

Where do you think she’ll live?

Off the grid in a log home.


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What do you think she will miss the most about your life now?

The calm before the storm.

What do you think she will be happy about she does not have any more that is present in your life?

Having to market her books herself.

Tagging all The Book Robin Hoods (writers and readers)!

Five Authors (Alive or Dead) I’d Like to Meet #MFRWAuthor

As an author, I love reading and talking about other authors. In a good way, of course. Sure, I may not always love their books, but as people, authors rock. This week I get to pick five authors I’d like to meet, which is a welcome change to narrowing a list down to one of something I love.

So, here goes (in no particular order, obviously, since Jesus falls third on the list):

  1. J. R. R. Tolkien — The master of literary prose. From the moment I started reading The Fellowship of the Ring, I fell in love with his writing style and his created world. I’d want to ask him what it was like to write it. What went through his mind as he created various parts. I imagine we’d have dinner (mushroom soup, perhaps) and a pint of ale at a pub.


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  2. Margaret Atwood — I’ve loved Margaret Atwood’s novels since I was a teen and stumbled across The Edible Woman. While her writing can make me uncomfortable, it always moves me. I’d love to hang out with her and discuss writing and women in society today. I see us at a cafe in Yorkville.


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  3. Jesus — Since Jesus told parables, he counts as an author, though his stories were told orally and scribed by others. A discussion with Jesus would be enlightening. I envision us hanging out in a garden. I’d ask all kinds of questions about life, the universe, and everything. He’d talk while I listen wide-eyed. I’d have to record it. I’m sure it would all flash by in a blur.


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  4. Nora Roberts — The Queen of romance, Nora Roberts’s books captivated me from the first, though I only picked them up for the first time in 2014. I typically avoided romance novels for most of my life, but I loved to read about relationships. Nora Roberts showed me that romance novels are worth spending time on. Her “big Noras,” as she calls her larger novels, are among my favourite books. I particularly love her In Death books. Eve and Roarke are my favourite fictional couple (next to my own Michael and Carolyn, of course).  Case in point: she’s written around 200 books and I’ve read almost all of them even though I only started reading her books in the last few years.

    I picture having high tea with Nora at the Prince of Wales in Niagara-on-the-Lake.


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  5. Stephen King — The King of horror. He had a heavy influence on my writing career. I fell in love with Salem’s Lot when I was a young teen and couldn’t get enough King books after reading that one. All I wanted to do after that was write, not necessarily horror, mind you, but his writing was easy to read and spell-binding, and stimulated my desire to write. King’s main characters are Joe or Jane average. They struggle to pay rent. They battle addictions. No one swoops in to save them. They are relatable. For our meetup, King and I would meet in a jazz bar and chat over sodas, burgers, and fries.


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That’s my shortlist. If it were up to me, it would be much longer and would include writers I’ve come to know only virtually and would love to meet. I’m talking about you, Tom Benson, Nico Laeser, Sylva Fae, Anne Francis Scott, Lucinda Hawks Moebius, and all you other IASD, SFF Learning Group, or MFRW members who’ve helped me muddle through the quicksand that is indie publishing without ever meeting in person.


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For more posts from other writers on this subject, check out the MFRW 52-Week Challenge post for week 6.


Raspberry Reads Rainbow Monsters

Raspberry Sassafras

Today, Raspberry Sassafras is reading Sylva Fae’s Rainbow Monsters and its sequel, Mindful Monsters. These fun, colorful books are aimed at children ages 3 to 7 and are suitable for bedtime stories, or as illustrated early readers. In addition to the rhyming story, each book has a puzzles and activities section at the back.


Rainbow Monsters

On a mixed up rainy, sunny day,
Rainbow Monsters love to play.

Jump on a cloud and join the rainbow monsters in their fun and games. Come and meet each of the monsters and learn the colors of the rainbow.

Available on Amazon

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Mindful Monsters

All the Rainbow Monsters are Mindful Monsters, too,
Respecting one another, like all good monsters do.

The Rainbow Monsters are back, teaching you how to be mindful. If you want to grow up as fit, happy, healthy and strong as a monster, join them in their colorful antics.

Available on…

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KDP Print Just Got A Whole Lot More Attractive

Nicholas C. Rossis

CreateSpace-Amazon logos | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksI’m sure most of you have heard the news by now, but if you haven’t, Amazon has announced some major changes to its KDP Print program. Only two days after I was telling people in this blog’s comments that I wouldn’t even consider moving to KDP Print from CreateSpace until Amazon addressed its two most glaring issues, the company announced it had. On top of that, it addressed my major problem with CreateSpace, thus making it a whole lot more likely that I will soon be moving over.

Problem #1: No Physical Proofs (Solved)

The first problem with KDP Print concerned its means of proofing your manuscript. Well, you can now order printed proofs from KDP. Proofs allow you to review a physical copy of your draft paperback prior to publication.

Note, however, that the process is a bit more cumbersome than the one CreateSpace uses. Specifically, here’s how you…

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