Thursday, 21 May 2015

Linzé Interviews: Massimo Marino of the Book Garage

I welcome my Facebook friend, Massimo Marino to my blog today to chat about his new business.

Linzé: Why did you start the business?
Massimo: We started BookGarage because we are convinced that self-publishing is here to stay, but we also think that successful self-publishing is not a do-it-alone thing. Rather, it requires the collaboration of professional experts, just like any other business venture. We do think that any committed author—no matter of how good he or she is—needs assistance with things like editing, proofreading, cover design, marketing, and the like. With BookGarage we want to create a community of like-minded people and be the one-stop shop for everything related to professional self-publishing.

Linzé: With all the publishing companies already in existence, what makes BookGarage unique?
Massimo: First, and just to be clear, BookGarage is not a publishing house, meaning we don’t publish books. Nevertheless, one of the services we offer is assistance with publishing. So, if a self-publisher needs help with the publishing of his or her book on, say, Amazon Kindle or Apple iBooks, we will do that, and we can take care of the technical details to make the book available on major retailers.
Regarding competition, other companies offering publishing services focus on authors and freelancers. Our business model is built on interaction between not only authors and freelancers, but also readers. This is important because bringing readers into the equation is about discoverability. And that is one of the main challenges for any author, with thousands and thousands of new books being published every day. Additionally, readers are frustrated for the same reason: it is difficult to discover authors who approach self-publishing in a professional way, we think readers will be pleased to discover authors who work a lot—and, thinking of Hemingway, bleed on the keyboard—and books that are polished.
In this sense, too, we think of BookGarage as a community of like-minded people, having a common goal, producing and enjoying well written books.
There are other features, too, which make BookGarage unique. For instance, the way we approach crowdfunding. We will discuss this more in detail on BookGarage.com closer to the launch of that particular service.

Linzé: What services do you offer for the author?
Massimo: The services we offer to authors are:
Editing
Proofreading
Translation
File creation and conversion
ISBN
Book cover design
Blurb and synopsis writing
Design and management of author websites
Video trailer production
Aggregated distribution
Marketing
Crowdfunding

We have just posted our first article on professional self-publishing, and why a committed self-published author needs a team to turn a manuscript into a book.

Linzé: How can an interested author get hold of you?
Massimo: An interested author can get hold of us via our website www.bookgarage.com, can register to our newsletter, and contact us directly via email. We are also reachable on our social media pages, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Linzé: Thank you Massimo. My fellow authors it looks like the Book Garage might indeed be the one stop service you have been waiting for. Take a look at their website and share the news on your social media timelines.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Research Comes in Two Flavours: Reblogged from an email by Richard Benyon

full dark house, christopher fowler
The kind of research that writers do preparatory to writing their novels comes in two flavours. 
On the bottom shelf, in the pale pink bottle, there’s the sort of research you do in order to get the elements of your story right. 
You’re writing a police procedural? Well, then, for goodness sake find out what the relevant police procedure is. 
Writing a medical thriller involving illegal organ harvesting? Then attend a kidney transplant to get the pictures of the surgery firmly fixed in your mind. (And if every surgeon in the country turns down your requests to attend such an operation, then look online until you find what you’re after. It’s all there, believe me!) 
But there’s a different kind of research. It comes in the emerald blue bottle on one of the upper shelves. It’s not the solution to a problem – but the inspiration for story. 
At the Oxford Literary Festival, the thriller writer Christopher Fowler talked about a novel he was writing set in London during the blitz. He’d read all the usual books on conditions in the city at the time, he’d watched documentaries, he’d done his homework. 
But then he remembered that his mother had herself lived through the Blitz. 
“She’d worked,” he said, “as a legal secretary in The Strand.” He wondered what she remembered about the period. 
“Oh,” she said, “I remember the telephone directories.” The telephone directories? What telephone directories? “Well,” she said, “when shop windows were blown out, they filled them with sandbags – but when they ran out of sandbags, they used old telephone directories to fill the windows. Used directories.” 
Now that, Fowler said, is not something that you’d ever find in histories of the time, or online. It’s a detail that could only have been reported by someone who’d been on the spot. And it was a detail that, he said, he used to great good effect in his novel. 
So when you need the sort of textural detail that simply brings a story alive, don’t rely only on the “official” history – seek out someone who was there (if that’s possible), and ask them what they remember, what struck them with particular force about the event they witnessed. 
This goes for more than specific incidents. You’re writing a story that involves a horrific motor-car accident? Well, then, go talk to a tow-truck driver, or a paramedic, who’s attended more horrific motor-car accidents than you’ve had hot dinners. 
Ask him to tell you about what he looks for when he arrives at the scene of an accident. Ask him for details of the sorts of things that he’s seen thrown clear of the colliding motor-cars. Ask him what he most fears as he’s racing to the scene, and what he most hopes for. 
And then allow these impressions to guide you as you develop story around the fictional accident in your novel.

Note from Linzé: The post was reblogged with permission. Keep a look out for another post from Richard coming in June.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Book Feature: Blood Moon (An Anthology compiled by Mary Blowers)

Blood Moon, Mary Blowers, anthology
Blood Moon is the second volume in the Anthology of the Heart series. Mary Blowers has once again pulled together authors from all over the globe to create a life-changing read. 
12 Authors, some never before published, wrote on the subject of Transformation. Blood Moon is a multi-faceted title referring to the three blood moons that have already occurred and one to come later this year. What transformation have they been a part of and what changes are yet to come? Is it the end times? No one will know until the day and the hour that He appears. Jewish teaching states that blood moons on Jewish feast days predict major events. Time will tell if it will be true this time. The blood moon phenomenon itself is an intense transformation that baffled and frightened people of the distant past, and possibly in some regions even today.
In the meantime, enjoy these 12 stories about Transformation. Change is often helpful, and always interesting.

Buy Links
Available on Smashwords.com and Amazon.com, with iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and several other online e-book retailers to follow soon, it is currently available in e-book formats and available in paperback from Createspace.com. More information will be forthcoming on Blowers' blog, http://maryblowers.com.

About the authors of Blood Moon
Mary Blowers, has just published an anthology of short stories from writers from around the world on April 25, 2015. Blood Moon is an anthology having to do with transformations of all kinds. The title is tied to the Jewish belief that blood moons recurring in groups of four have a spiritual significance and are an omen portending great change. 
Mary Blowers, editor, is a freelancer writer and independently published Christian author specializing in self-published anthologies. Blowers has written and published several books including Filled With the Holy Spirit; The Prophecy of Enchantria; and Fatigue: When Waking Up is Hard to Do, as well as her first anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live.
Contributing authors are Mary Blowers, Robin E. Mason, R. H. Ali, Tiago Mota, Dash McCallen, Jacklon Michelle Wright, Timothy Trimble, Wendy Janes, Peter Bouchier, Erik van Mechelen, Stewart Bint, and Vanessa Wright.

Note from Linzé: If you click the author's name, you will be directed to their Twitter profiles


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lesson I learned from wearing an activity monitor

Garmin vivofit, Garmin app
Yeah, it is a picture of the Garmin Vivofit, my husband gave me for our anniversary earlier this year. Nope, I was not upset (well, I was but that was because I couldn't get the damn thing to talk to my iPad, but that is a long story) as I had been using a similar app on my mobile phone since I got my Samsung S5.
Problem with the phone app
The trouble with the mobile phone app was that it only recorded information while I was carrying it around with me. Being of the female persuasion, I do wear a skirt or a dress upon occasion, and then my phone might be laying on my desk while I walked around at work. Sure, when I wear jeans, it fits nicely in my pocket and away it went recording its little butt of. I like the bigger phone, but there is no way I am going to wear it around my neck. So pocket, or hand it had to be.
But with this band, I could now carry the monitor all the time and literally everywhere, even to bed. And that is where I got the most valuable information, my sleeping patterns.
That thing about sleeping
While the Garmin app allows you to program your sleeping times, it also detects it automatically from you activity levels. If I decide to take a nap in the middle of the day, I just push the button to tell it that I am sleeping, then it records it as such.
Now to the iPad. The app synchronises the monitor with a profile you create with your personal details such as sleep time, and your goal for the number of steps everyday. Thank goodness for the iPad's pin code thing, because I am not particularly in favour of someone finding out how much I weigh. Yep, state secret that thing!
As I mentioned my sleeping patterns provided a lot of insight.
With a blood sugar issue, I have been known to visit the bathroom at least twice every night, unless I drink a lot of coffee before bedtime, then that number could be higher.
Since I would be relatively awake for that activity, I can see that on the records from the monitor. So lots of coffee = bathroom visits at night = medium level of activity.
If I get to bed at my normal time, don't drink litres of coffee, and wasn't doing jumping Jacks before I got into bed, my sleeping pattern would be much the same. No activity interspersed with low level activity which I have to assume was when I was dreaming, or my husband turned over and the mattress moved a little.
What I did notice was that on good days, I would sleep exactly 5 hours and 45 minutes. Okay, it might vary with a minute or two, but that was it.
I learned something about me!
This past weekend, I slept in, and what a damn mistake that turned out to be. I am not a morning person, but I had realised a few years ago that if I sleep beyond a certain time, I would be in really bad mood for hours after waking up. It later dawned on me that it was not the time of waking up that was the problem, but the number of hours I slept.
This past Saturday, I put in 7 hours and 35 minutes. What a mistake not to set that alarm clock! I felt miserable, and I am sure my husband was glad that he had other obligations that kept him from home until lunch time. I turned back from witch to wife after lunch. Trust me, it wasn't the food, since a good breakfast had made no difference to my nasty disposition.

So I learned that not only was my writing time an important part of my schedule everyday, keeping to my sleeping routine turned out to be the best thing I could possibly do for myself.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Book feature: The Guitar Girl by Aniesha Brahma

About the Book:

Sixteen year old Rhea Shah never thought that she would find herself falling for her brother’s best friend, Joy Fernandez, when they come home from college. Because she never thought that the dork who used to go to school with them would suddenly reinvent himself in college.
The only people she’s able to talk to about her absurd crush, are her best friends, Sophie and Arjav. Both of whom at first encourage, and then almost blackmail, Rhea to confess her feelings, which leaves the poor girl more muddled than ever!
Plagued with upcoming Board Examinations along with her friends’ suggestions, Rhea finds it difficult to concentrate, because she’s fallen for Joy, hook, line and sinker. In an attempt to vent to her feelings, she begins a blog, where she publishes all her songs and poems, dedicated to Joy, keeping her identity a secret.
But things do not go quite how she planned when a certain blogger named J. Fern begins to read her blog, and wishes to work with her…
Will Rhea ever confess her feelings to Joy? And will Joy find out the real identity of The Guitar Girl?

Book Links:

Meet the Characters of The Guitar Girl

Rhea Shah: 16-year-old Rhea Shah develops a crush on her brother, Robbie's, best friend, Joy Fernandez. She adopts the alias The Guitar Girl in a misguided way to keep a hold on her feelings. Rhea cares about her two best friends, Sophie and Arjav, although the latter knows how to push her buttons. She is pretty awful at hiding her feelings.

Joy Fernandez: 18-year-old Joy is Rhea's brother's best friend, as well as Arjav's cousin. He takes on Rhea as his student, teaching her how to play the guitar, unaware that she harbours feelings for him. He can be pretty dense at times - refusing to see what is really happening right in front of his eyes. He dates a rather crazy girl in college, Rosetta, who later becomes Robbie's girlfriend.

Sophie Ghosh: Rhea's best friend in school, who discovers her secret at the beginning of the novel and keeps encouraging her to confess to Joy about it. Initially united with Rhea on the front by finding Arjav, she begins liking him more than a friend. Both she and Arjav believe in meddling with 'destiny'. 

Robbie Shah: Rhea's older brother who has no idea has his sister has fallen for his best friend. He is too preoccupied with his band and his girlfriend, Rosetta, who Joy had dated before him. 

Arjav: Rhea's oldest friend, who knows her secret and wants her to tell Joy as well. He and Sophie like each other and likes to meddle with 'Fate'. 

About the Author:
Aniesha Brahma has loved writing since the age of six. She was schooled in Dolna Day School, and then pursued BA honors in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, where she went on to complete her MA in the same. Currently, she’s pursuing MPhil in Comparative Literature from the same place. Her hobbies include reading, writing, playing with her favorite pet, Pippo the cat, (and other kittens too), traveling and blogging.She has written innumerable short stories and poems, most of which can be found on her blog and in various magazines and newsletters. Her debut novel was, The Secret Proposal, published by General Press in September 2012. She won the Editor’s Pick for Romance genre in the IndiReads Second Short Story Competition, and her story The Difference, was subsequently published in the anthology, Voices, Old & New. She has interned with www.womanistan.com and www.zapondo.com, as their content writer. She has volunteered at Hope Foundation, Kolkata, teaching the children who attend the Chetla Lock Gate Coaching Center. Aniesha also had a brief stint as a writer for the Kolkata-based travel magazine, Touriosity.

Contact the Author: