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Celebrating Indies with Their Own Magazine: InD’Tale

May 15, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , ,
InD’Tale’s TJ MacKay & me
Recently, I met T.J. MacKay, the brilliant, savvy blonde and very vivacious lady behind the new on-line magazine, InD’Tale. The magazine is for readers and indie authors, blending industry information with behind-the-scenes looks at the writing life. Her passion for those folks who forge the road less traveled with their literary vision and are now paving it with their talent, is unparalleled.  Her emphasis on romance is just the tip of the iceberg. For Mothers Day, here is an interview with a lady who just gave birth to a magazine every author should read.
Rebecca: InD’Tale is a great play on words. Why the focus on Indie Authors?
T.J.: When Indie was just starting to boom, there was no really credible platform in the industry for all the talented authors.  I wanted to provide the singular place where they could learn some of the tricks of the trade and be celebrated through interviews and reviews.
Rebecca:  To follow up on the word play, is there such a thing as an Indie Reader?
T.J.: Almost everyone could be considered an “Indie Readers.”  I don’t think readers give a hoot whether a book has a publishers stamp on it or not – they just want a really good, well-crafted story.
Rebecca: Tell me about two articles in upcoming issues – one for authors and one for readers.
T.J.: Mark Coker of Smashwords.com – one of the first to celebrate indie authors – just signed on to be a re-occurring contributor. He has an article on the way in June.  We are finishing up a great three part series on screenwriting by one of Hollywood’s newest talents.  For readers (as well as authors) we have a behind the scenes look at an industry photo shoot that takes us step by step through the process of creating amazing book covers We do an in-depth feature interview on a favorite best selling author each month. This is done in a personal, conversational style so readers can really get to know the author … oh goodness, I could go on and on! 
Rebecca: You specifically talk to USA Today and NYT bestsellers for your in-depth interviews. Why?
T.J.: The feature interview is a 7 – 8 page layout, so the highlighted author needs to have the experience and credentials to be able to help teach those who are working to achieve that same level of success.
Rebecca: Do you know the requirements for an indie author to hit those lists so we can try really hard?
T.J.: The NY Times requires sales in multiple venues, which – when traditional was the only way to go – seemed fair and reasonable.  Now that Indie is such a huge portion of the industry, however, it’s become quite a conundrum for them.  Indie authors are making money but it is from one or two distributors (almost always Amazon) which doesn’t qualify them.  I asked the Vice-President of Amazon about it and he said, “Until we can convince New York to change their policy, authors may be faced with a choice: get rich or get on the list.”  I think this will eventually change.
Rebecca: How do you choose the books you’ll review?
T.J.:  As of right now, we review all books that are submitted and qualify. You can see our guidelines on the website. We review between 80 – 100 books a month and are working two months out right now.
Rebecca: Who are your reviewers?
T.J.: Currently, we have 24 reviewers.  All have professional credentials and are strictly screened and trained.  Professional reviews require a reviewer to set aside their personal views and look at a book from a strictly objective point of view. We have very specific guidelines that must be adhered to in order to maintain consistency and credibility. I also randomly read some of the books that are being reviewed to make sure that standard stays consistent.
Rebecca: Your emphasis is romance. Will you review other genres? 
T.J.: Actually our emphasis is NOT just on romance. We review almost all genres and require only that there be a romantic thread within the story. 
Rebecca: Are you or have you ever been an author? You are pretty darn passionate about books.
T.J.: Actually, I’m just pretty darn passionate about people and books! I doubt I’ll ever write a book. I was a journalist and my passion is in helping incredible authors become successful. I’m also an avid reader.  I read an average of 5 to 6 books a week just to keep up!
Rebecca: What else do we need to know abut the TJ MacKay brand and the way you want to bring readers and authors together?
TJ: The most important thing to know about me is how deeply and sincerely I want to help talented authors find success and readers find the books that will spark their love of reading.  It truly is a passion. Only those who have felt that drive to write, no matter what it is they write, can honestly understand how deeply that desire can run. Every single thing we do at InD’tale is for that one purpose.

Find T.J. at:  http://www.indtale.com
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Book Review: Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn

November 10, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

Strait of HormuzIt is with great pleasure that I participate this week in Davis Bunn’s blog tour for his newest book, Strait of Hormuz! I’ve been looking forward to reading this third installment in the Marc Royce thriller series because I loved Lion of Babylon (which is free on Amazon this month!) and Rare Earth, the first two books.
Marc Royce is a former CIA operative who still does “odd jobs” for his old boss, Ambassador Walton. He has been in dangerous situations all over the world, and he’s incredibly good at his job. But things are changing in his personal life, and just maybe he wants to live long enough to make some big decisions.
While struggling to find out where the new threat to America is coming from, sometimes at odds with his own government, Marc meets a really interesting array of people – a Swiss operative and a Swiss police inspector, a Persian art dealer, a knighted English art collector, and many more, as well as several people he’s worked with in the past. (I love it when you see characters appear in multiple books. It feels like you get to know them better.)
I loved all the action from the very first page. It gets off to a quicker start than the first book, which I almost didn’t read because I was bored by the political talk at the beginning. In Strait of Hormuz, I was hooked immediately and soo glad I’d set aside an uninterrupted afternoon to read. It was so fun to try to figure out what was happening as Marc and his cohorts were trying to do the same.
Without giving anything away, I was also really glad when Marc and one of the other characters finally sat down and decided to pray about what to do, and to pray for each other instead of just for the impossible thing they wanted. It seemed like they finally had a minute to put their faith in action in their relationship. Granted, there was an awful lot of trying not to get killed going on – LOL! – so I was okay that it took them awhile to finally sit down together.
I really enjoyed Strait of Hormuz, but not quite as much as the first two books. For one thing, this was the first of the three where twice I stopped and re-read what was happening. I wasn’t sure how we just went from point N to point P, so I just shrugged and made a mental leap and kept on going. It wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t confusing so much as it felt like I missed part of an explanation of what was happening.
Also, this was the first of the three books where the fact that Marc kept running into people with a Christian faith and/or background seemed less believable as the book went along. This element was one of the things I liked most about the first book, Lion of Babylon – that Marc found a few Christians who understood him and helped him in places you wouldn’t expect. It seemed real and natural in the first two books, but this time…I don’t know.
StraitofHormuzSweepstakesGraphicforLaunchTeamOther than those small things, I had a great time reading this book. Davis is so good at weaving action and thrills through a story, keeping you guessing the whole way! If you want to read the first three chapters for free, click here and “Like” his Facebook page, and you’ll see the beginning of the book there for you to read. Trust me, you won’t want to stop!
4 stars, Really Liked It
Help Davis Bunn celebrate the publication of “Strait of Hormuz.” Enter to win His & Hers Luxury Swiss Watches or a $150 Amazon Gift Card! You can enter once per email address per day. Rack up bonus entries by sharing the contest with your Facebook and Twitter friends!

I received a complimentary copy of Strait of Hormuz from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, came out in 2011. Her new novel, Unexpected Superhero, book one in The Adventures of Lewis & Clarke humorous urban fantasy series, is now available in print and ebook format. Love at the Fluff and Fold, book one in The Strays of Loon Lake romantic comedy series, will be released later this year. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.

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e-maginings Book Review: The War of Art

June 23, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

Title: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Author: Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance
Author’s Website: http://www.stevenpressfield.com/
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2002
ISBN: 0-446-69143-7
Available from Amazon.com.

I heard about this book in a blog post and decided it might be just what I needed. Lately I’ve been struggling to get the butt in the chair and actually write. I hate to use the dreaded words writer’s block, but getting through my previous WIP was like pulling teeth, one millimeter at a time. (Well, it wasn’t that painful, but you get the point.)

When I started to read, I was surprised to see that the Foreword was written by screen writing guru, Robert McKee, one of the last people I’d have expected to struggle with writer’s block. Somehow that alone was comforting to me.

The War of Art is divided into three sections. In the first he explores what keeps us from writing which he calls Resistance. Some of us think of it as the “little editor in our head”, that little voice that says, “Why bother? You’re not any good.” Or “You have better things to do.” Or it’s the impulse that compels us to clean out our closets before sitting down to write. Resistance is, according to Pressfield, both persistent and omnipresent. The only way to beat it is to become a Pro.

In part two, he talks about how to behave like a Pro. As our recent speaker, Bob Mayer, said , “apply the butt glue”. I know, easier said than done, but necessary nevertheless. Pressfield believes that the act of sitting down to work triggers progress:

“…one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance…”

In part three, he talks about inspiration and meditation and other tricks to help trigger your muse. I chuckled when he talked about all of the lucky charms he keeps in his work area. I don’t have any lucky objects, but I did copy the prayer to the muse he always recites before starting to work. It comes from the opening of T. E. Lawrence’s translation of Homer’s The Odyssey. I re-worded it a bit to:

“Divine Muse, goddess, daughter of Zeus, sustain for me this song of love.* Make this tale live for us in all its many dimensions, O Muse.”

* In this area you can add more specific information about your book, or if you’re not writing romance, change it to song of mystery or whatever genre you write in.

If you’re struggling with writer’s block or just looking for a little inspiration, I recommend this book to you. It helped me finish my story.

Linda Mac

Linda McLaughlin writes erotic romance for Amber Quill Press as Lyndi Lamont. Her next release will be Alliance: Cosmic Scandal, coming on June 29.

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