Joel Goldman: On Publishing

I’ve just finished No Way Out by Joel Goldman and I loved it so much that I wanted to check out an interview with the author on YouTube (as I usually do). In the one below, Joel Goldman gives his view on traditional publishing and self-publishing, comparing the two. I find it very useful, because he lists and explains the pros and cons of each route that an author can take, supporting his statements with examples about the publication process, as well as the royalties, from his own publishing experience.

“Self-publishing is a no-brainer if you’re an entrepreneur,” says Joel Goldman.

Now I understand why this internationally acclaimed best-selling crime novelist, with 8 novels published traditionally, has switched to self-publishing.

A great interview! Thank you, Mr. Goldman! 🙂

Nadezhda Seiler’s “A Measure of Guilt”

AMOGHappy New Year, my friends! I hope it will be productive and joyful for everyone.

Today is the second anniversary of the publication of my novel A Measure of Guilt, and since it’s my creation, I treat this date as its birthday. I think it’s only right to start posting on my blog in 2015 with this acknowledgement.

Thus, the New Year’s celebration continues for me. 🙂

Here’s the blurb:

Nineteen-year-old Kate Flanagan has already endured entirely too much in her young life. Two years earlier, her kid sister, Angie, and her best friend, Sandra, were kidnapped from a San Diego amusement park, and Kate’s guilt over the part she played in the tragedy is beyond measure. Believing herself undeserving of a normal life, Kate avoids relationships, feels estranged from her parents, and has no social life. When she begins receiving increasingly chilling anonymous notes on her windshield, she dismisses them as the work of a random stalker.

The fifth note, however, claims that the writer has information about her sister. Hopeful that Angie and Sandra are still alive, distrustful of the police, and frightened by the escalating threat of the notes, Kate nevertheless decides to smoke out the source of the notes. With the help of an amateur private investigator, Kate sets out on a mission to find her sister and best friend— a hunt that leads her straight to her deranged stalker.

In this intriguing mystery tale, a woman anxious to atone for the past mistakes that have cost her nearly everything puts her life on the line in a desperate attempt to right a terrible wrong and catch a determined criminal.

If you read my second novel, Without Thinking Twice, you will be surprised (pleasantly, I hope) to meet again with one of its characters in A Measure of Guilt. And if you read A Measure of Guilt, you may be interested in its sequel that I’m currently working on, which will be released this year.

The novel can be purchased on Abbott Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. The e-book version is available for download for most e-readers, including, but not limited, to Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony.

Joseph Lewis’s “Stolen Lives”

51EhiLH69vL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_[1]Joseph Lewis‘s thriller Stolen Lives explores the subject of human trafficking, particularly sexual exploitation of young boys.

Fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern, ripped from his home two years ago, has been held captive in a hideaway together with eleven other victims his age or younger. Now Stephen Bailey and his friend Michael Erickson are snatched from the street on their way home and brought to the same dreadful lair to share the fate of its inhabitants. Every boy that ends up in this unlawful prison has been carefully “selected” by his predators on the basis of his good looks and athleticism and then watched until the right moment to be abducted. Every boy vanishes without a trace. Every boy is robbed of his virtue, innocence, dignity, and health at the hands of the ruthless perverts subjecting him to unspeakable sexual, physical, and psychological abuse. Every boy is disposable, as soon as he gets ill or when he grows past his “desirable” age; then he receives two bullets in his head, execution style, and is dumped in some faraway location never to be found. None of the boys has any hope of survival.

When George Tokay, a Navajo teen living in Arizona, accidentally witnesses one of the executions and reports it to the authorities, the FBI finally has hope of cracking the case. Agents Pete Kelliher and Summer Storm, who have been trying to track down the predators for the past two years, can finally break into the criminal ring, operating in several states, and rescue the boys.

But now they have to protect George too, who has also become a prey. As the manhunt for the criminals escalates, the FBI agents realize that the perpetrators are two steps ahead of them, which points to a possible mole within their ranks. Who can you trust when everyone is under suspicion? Pete Kelliher has to keep the information privy to only a very close circle. With every passing hour the chances of finding the boys slip away, and the stakes go higher.

Stolen Lives is a fast-paced, adrenaline-laced story that accelerates your heartbeat and keeps your eyes glued to the page from start to finish. One of the most important tasks that every author has to accomplish is to create characters that the reader will care enough about to keep reading. Joseph Lewis has accomplished this task. We care deeply about the abducted boys during their ordeal in captivity and the potential victims. We admire and respect the FBI agents risking their lives in their hunt of the criminals. We want nothing else but for them to find and rescue the boys and then punish their tormentors.

Rape, especially the rape of minors, is a tough subject to write about. Joseph Lewis does it masterfully. He avoids explicit description, yet we get a vivid picture of the horror that the victims go through. That takes talent.

Stolen Lives is fiction, but it reads like true-crime nonfiction, thanks to the author’s extensive research of the subject and his experience as a professional counselor of abused children. The staggering statistics on the number of vanished and murdered children that Lewis skillfully inserts into the narration give the novel a feeling of case study.

Stolen Lives reads as a stand-alone novel, but it is the first book in the trilogy. There is a prequel to it too, also published this year, titled Taking Lives, which introduces the main characters and depicts events transpiring two years earlier.

Strongly recommend.

Nadezhda Seiler’s “Without Thinking Twice”

ResizeImageHandler[10]Today I devote this post to my own novel, Without Thinking Twice. It’s the second anniversary of its publication and, even if it’s not a bestseller, I think it deserves acknowledgement, just like all the other novels that I review in my blog. Because I put my heart and soul into this book is a good enough reason for me to celebrate this anniversary, don’t you think? 🙂

Here’s the blurb:

Russian brides, Lara and Yulia, are navigating their new lives in the United States. After the initial excitement that surrounds their marriages to their American husbands suddenly wears off, the two women develop a friendship that they both hope can help them survive the clash of personalities, cultures, and expectations that now overshadow their everyday lives.

Lara, a practical woman who hooked up with her husband, Sam, on the Internet, is fairly content with her life in America—until she realizes she needs more from her marriage and life than financial stability. Yulia, a closet poet and a believer in idealistic romance, fell in love at first sight with Bill in Moscow. Unfortunately, unable to distinguish fantasy from reality, Yulia falls prey to an idealized image of her philandering husband who secretly yearns for his bachelorhood. As both women face drastic changes in their destinies, they soon realize that their worries about speaking flawless English are the least of their problems.

In this contemporary romance, two Russian women on a journey to what they once thought would be a fairy tale now must wonder if they will ever attain a happy ending.

Although Without Thinking Twice is not autobiographical, I used some of my personal experiences and observations in it. The novel challenges familiar stereotypes, gender and culture based, telling a story from the point of view of both Russian and American characters, being narrated by four people, two women and two men, whose voices, stories, views and goals distinctly differ from one another.

I was quite happy when Without Thinking Twice was chosen to be included in the Abbott Press 2013 Honorary Catalog.

The novel can be purchased on Abbott Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. The e-book version is available for download for most e-readers, including, but not limited, to Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony.

Writers on Writing

What a fun little video! Sarah Negovetich, the author of newly-released Rite of Rejection, demonstrates how to write a novel in 90 seconds.

What?! 90 seconds?! Just 90?!

Well, yeah. It’s doable. Sarah did it 🙂 and Rite of Rejection is a fine novel (read my review on this blog or on amazon.com), and now she shows us all the steps.

Looks sooooo eeeeeasy! I’ve never tried to pin flashcards on a board, but I’ll try it with my next novel.

Thanks, Sarah! 🙂

Writers on Writing

I remember what one of my English professors at TWU said about a better time when to start writing fiction–while you’re still young, when your imagination, skills, and energy are at their peak.

Here’s a contradictory opinion. Lee Child, the author of the best-selling Jack Reacher series, believes that “not only can you, but you should start (writing) late, because you’ve lived, you’ve gotten experience…” which young people lack.

Also having started writing late, I can’t agree more with Mr. Child.

Sarah Negovetich’s “Rite of Rejection”

51PgU1YZfUL._UY250_[1]Sarah Negovetich’s Rite of Rejection is a YA novel set in an imaginary society ruled by a leader named “Cardinal” with absolute power. The author masterfully depicts a country with a totalitarian regime (reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany) where its citizens are so brainwashed that they follow their leader unconsciously, like sheep. Not because they don’t have a mind of their own, but because they’re so enamored by Cardinal’s personality and his ideas that they wholeheartedly trust his “wisdom” and his supposed “devotion” to the well-being of the nation. (Here’s a classic example of the personality cult for you.) When, in an attempt to cleanse the country of criminals, the government designs a machine capable of sorting out the “good” citizens from the “bad” ones and sending the latter to a penal colony for the rest of their lives, no one has any doubt in the faultlessness of the Machine. Even those “rejects” who have never done anything wrong sincerely believe that they might have a propensity for committing a crime, just like the Machine has “predicted.”

That’s how sixteen-year-old Rebecca Collins feels when she, a good girl, is ripped from her family and home and exiled to the PIT, a place of no return. It happens right before the Acceptance ceremony, the biggest event in her life, when she’s about to be welcomed into the society as an adult. After she goes through the Machine (which is just a routine procedure in her mind), she will attend a celebratory ball, where she will dance with eligible bachelors, and, hopefully, with her future husband. (Yes, in this country, a woman’s role is limited to being a wife and mother.)

But Rebecca’s high expectations are crushed when the Machine rejects her. She’s in the PIT now, living in wretched conditions, among “criminals” like herself and actual hardcore criminals. She is confused and scared. How will she survive? Will she survive? Fortunately, she meets other teens who become her friends and who reveal the truth about the Cardinal’s “just” and indisputable policies.

There’s yet another test for Rebecca to go through, this time in order to prove her worthiness and loyalty to her new friends; there’s a love triangle; there’s an attempt to escape; there’s a vital-for-survival friendship and there’s an unfathomable betrayal… And, of course, there’s nail-biting tension all throughout the novel.

Will Rebecca and her friends free themselves of the abject existence in this hellhole? And if they do, where will they go? They can’t go back to their home after all.

Rite of Rejection is so interesting that I read it in one setting. I was disappointed with it ending on a cliffhanger, but I assumed Sarah Negovetich would write a sequel. I do hope that she will.

Favorite line: “There’s freedom that comes with words that don’t fall into perfect measurements or even stitches.”

Book Review: Joshua Ferris’s “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour”

91q1PSDZ9KL[1]Joshua Ferris’s To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is a literary novel about a man in his late thirties searching for meaning of life and his own place in the world.

Paul O’Rourke, a successful dentist in Manhattan, is a man of contradictions: he’s cynical and self-centered, but he genuinely cares about his patients; he’s an atheist, but he’s drawn to religious people; he’s a huge Red Sox fan, but he gets upset about the team’s major victories; he feels aversion to the Internet, but he is obsessed with his smart phone.

Suffering from insomnia, Paul stares at the ceiling night after night, pondering such issues as his perception of himself and the perception of him by other people, as well as asking such questions as: When you meet a person for the first time, how do you present yourself to them? Do you show them your true self? When you fall in love with someone, how much of yourself do you share with that person? What if you lose your identity to them?

(Don’t we all ask these questions too?)

Paul searches for answers because he’s been unfortunate (and thus, insecure) in love. Growing up poor and fatherless since he was nine, he craves for a warm, loving family. That’s why each time he falls for a girl, he falls in love with her parents too, and he wants their acceptance and love in return. But he tries too hard to be loved—to the point that his efforts backfire.

Well, it’s bad enough that all those questions keep Paul awake at night, but then he finds out that someone has impersonated him online, created his professional website, and begun posting “his” opinions on Twitter and Facebook. That’s when things go from bad to worse. To his horror, those opinions are of a controversial nature, discussing religion, citing from the Bible and other holy texts, thus upsetting his acquaintances and people he cares about. But since “his” posts have gone viral, Paul is powerless to do anything to stop them. Fortunately, he identifies his impersonator, but that person makes Paul ask bigger questions about himself: Who is he, really? What’s his identity? Does he really know himself and his heritage? Etc. (Once again, it resonates with us because identity theft is an actual problem these days, isn’t it?)

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this yeah, which was my main interest in it, assuming it must be a great literary achievement, but, frankly, I can’t say that it has met my expectations. Yes, it is profound and thought-provoking, and it is funny too, but (and I hate to say this) it’s also tedious, in places. Paul’s narration sounds almost like stream-of-consciousness—painstakingly detailed descriptions of his daily routine, his watching baseball games, his thoughts on religion, his correspondence with his impersonator…on and on it goes, sometimes ad nauseam. I even wanted to quit reading it. What kept me going, though, was Paul’s great sense of humor and his flashbacks (many related to his relationship with his ex-girlfriends and their families) that peppered the novel. His little jokes and anecdotes made me laugh so hard, at times, that I had to put the book down to wipe my tears.

You may or may not like the novel, but one thing I can promise you: after reading this dentist’s account of his patients’ dental problems, resulting from insufficient care, you will start flossing twice as vigorously after each meal and snack. 🙂

Joshua Ferris is a gifted writer and I’ll definitely read his previous two novels.