Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Author Spotlight: Joyce DiPastena, Queen of Sweet Medieval Romances

As a book blogger, I've come to meet many interesting people in the community of authors, book bloggers, book publishers and publicists. Therefore, whenever I can, I will spotlight authors who are Italian, of Italian origin or write about Italy and its plethora of subjects.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Joyce DiPastena, an American author of Italian origin. Actually, her grandfather was from the region of Abruzzo, just like my grandfather! Joyce is proud of her Italian heritage, having told me about one of her trips to Italy with her sister. One of the things that touched me about Joyce is her kind-hearted nature. I once won a box of chocolates from one of her contests and although the chocolate company did not deliver to Canada, she insisted making alternative arrangements to deliver the box even though this would have been costly. I told her she could pass on the prize to someone else, but she told me no way, you'll get your chocolates. Thank you, Joyce!

Joyce has a degree specializing in medieval history, and let me tell you, she knows her stuff when it comes to the medieval era. A few years ago I asked about the genre she writes and why, this is what she said:

"I write medieval romances, although I tend to include so much additional plot alongside the romance that I had an agent tell me I don’t really write romances at all. But they’re all romances to me. There may be a lot of other stuff going on…mysteries, assassination attempts, medieval politics…but at the heart of each story is a man and a woman falling in love against all the odds around them.

I became fascinated with the Middle Ages back in high school, when I read The Conquering Family by Thomas B. Costain. I fell in love with King Henry II of England. Not “romantic” love. There was just something about the way his contemporaries described him that stirred a great affection in me for him. He seemed to be one of those rare kings who was actually more interested in trying to improve his country than in simply enjoying the “glory” or “privileges” of his rank. He is described as a man who hated war, even though circumstances forced him to spend most of his adult life at war. He was a man of tremendous energy and intellect. And he laid important foundations to the legal system that we have inherited from England and enjoy ourselves today.

His legacy was marred by his quarrel with Archbishop Thomas á Becket, and the son who succeeded him, Richard the Lionheart, is a more flashy character of legend. But everything I’ve read about Henry II since those high school days has only increased my love and admiration for this man. Loyalty’s Web and Illuminations of the Heart are both set during his lifetime, and although he has not yet actually appeared on the scene in any of my books, the references I make to him, small though they might be, are my own way of paying tribute to this great, underappreciated king."

I have read two of Joyce's books, Illuminations of the Heart and Dangerous Favor, both of which I enjoyed. You can find out more about Joyce and her books by visiting her website.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Winner of Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita!

Congratulations to our winner!

# 25 divavixenqueen has won the book Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita by Barbara Conelli

The winner was chosen using and has been emailed. The winner has 48 hours to claim the prize. Thanks also to all the participants and followers!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader Not a Writer and Page Turners Blog.

According to Barbara Conelli, "To live a dolce vita means living with an open heart and soul, indulging in life with all your senses." Want to know more chique secrets of dolce vita? Here's the chance to win a copy of her book, which I thought was a fun read that will give you the desire to visit Milan.

You can read my review here.

How to enter the giveaway:

1) Leave a comment stating why you want to win this book. Include an email address.

Extra entries:
Each extra entry MUST be a separate comment or it will not count.
1) If you are a follower with GFC, new or current, leave a comment telling me so.
2) If you are a follower through email subscription, new or current, leave a comment telling me so.

*The dates for this hop are from May 25 to May 31, 2012. 
*Giveaway open to Canada and US.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Words: What if you achieved literary success with a didn't write?

I just wanted to share with you a movie that I'm excited about. If you're a writer or an author, you'll understand why I can't wait to see this film that opens in theaters September 21, 2012!

The Words is the official 2012 Sundance Film Festival selection about a young writer facing the consequences of choosing ambition over love. 

Starring Bradley Cooper, Oscar®-winner Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde and Zoë Saldana, the layered romantic drama The Words follows young writer Rory Jansen who finally achieves long sought after literary success after publishing the next great American novel. There's only one catch - he didn't write it. As the past comes back to haunt him and his literary star continues to rise, Jansen is forced to confront the steep price that must be paid for stealing another man's work, and for placing ambition and success above life's most fundamental three words.

More on this movie:

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Directed & Written by: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal
Produced by: Michael Benaroya, Tatiana Kelly, Jim Young, Antonio Calvache
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde & Ben Barnes
Genre: Romantic Drama
Studio: CBS Films

Are there any movies you saw that touched you in some way as a writer?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Jay Paoloni, Actor. This is my first time being tagged and I'm not sure I have the energy to meet all the requirements, but Jay states it's a way to meet new bloggers, to highlight and be highlighted. So, here goes!

The Rules Are:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post. (I think this gets done when you do rule #3.)
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
4. Tag eleven bloggers, however, you can break the rules and tag fewer people if you want. Make sure you hyperlink their names/blogs.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!
6. Have fun!

Here are my answers to Jay's questions:

1) Which is your favorite movie/novel character?
I can't say I have one favorite movie or novel character because as time passes (as opposed to saying as I grow older) my tastes have changed and I have new favorites all the time. As a teen, I loved Charlton Heston in Ben Hur, Romy Shneider in Sissi, and Jane Seymour in The Scarlet Pimpernel. But I also loved Jean-Marc Barr in The Big Blue. I wanted to swim with him and the dolphins...

2) How long does it normally take you to read a novel?
I can read a novel in two days if I love it, but it can take me up to a week if it's a heavy and dramatic read.

3) Can you watch a movie more than ten times?
Only if the ten times is spaced out in years.

4) Do you ever listen to music while working on a character/writing?
Yes! I associate characters with emotions evoked from specific songs.

5) Which movie role would you pay to be cast for?
Any one that has me totally transformed, such as an historical figure where I get to wear a 17th century gown, pick up my skirts and escape...using my wit and charms. Yeah, right! 

6) What's your favorite dish?
Hearty vegetable soup. Nothing beats this as comfort food when I'm down and cold to my bones.

7) Which book/movie made you run out of tears?
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) but now that I've had kids I try to avoid movies and books that are deeply emotional just because I'm sensitive by nature and can easily bawl...I mean, my kids' movies can make me cry! Seriously!

8) Have you ever prepared/created a character based on a friend or a family member?
Yes. The main character in my novel Daughter of Mine is loosely based on my youngest sister.

9) Have you ever had to improvise during a show?
Mmmm...never been in a show before.

10) Which is the best city you visited so far?

11) Were you ever introduced to a famous actor/writer?
I wouldn't say introduced but I've met several well-known writers, among them Tatiana de Rosnay and Sophie Kinsella, and corresponded by email with many, including Christine Trent and C.W. Gortner whose novels I really love!

Okay, I've decided to tag these blogs that highlight Italy in some way:

Here are my 11 questions to my tagged blogs. Feel free to be creative!

1) If you could travel back in time, where would you go?
2) What is the strangest food you ever ate?
3) Favorite Italian singer?
4) If there's one last phrase you could say to that wonderful friend who passed away, what would it be?
5) What book do you recommend I read next?
6) Thus far, what is one thing you regret not doing in your life?
7) If you could adopt a secret identity, what would it be?
8) When was the last time you laughed really hard?
9) Something you hate doing?
10) Favorite pastime?
11) Something about Italy that surprised you?

I hope you have fun with these questions!

Credit: The photo on this post is courtesy of Cyberkedi.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winner of Daughter of Mine!

Auguri to my winner of the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop!

#32 Ruthhill74 has won a copy of my novel, Daughter of Mine.

The winner was chosen using and has been emailed. The winner has 48 hours to claim the prize. I would like to thank all the participants and my current and new followers. Mille grazie!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway!

I am participating in the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop hosted by 
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Read For Your Future.
The dates for this giveaway hop are from February 17 to the 21st.
The winner will be announced on February 22.

I am happy to be giving away a copy of my novel!
Daughter of Mine
Tiziana Manoretti is an only child in her late twenties blessed with loving parents, a promising career, and a best friend who fiercely protects her. When her mother falls seriously ill and the relationship between her parents becomes suddenly strained, a carefully hidden family secret is revealed and Tiziana’s seemingly idealistic world is turned upside down.

After discovering she was born in a Naples orphanage and subsequently given up for adoption, Tiziana sets out for the small town of Gaeta in an attempt to find her birth parents. Meanwhile, her best friend Christopher is sending her mixed messages, causing her to wonder if there is more to their relationship than just companionship. As she becomes intertwined with a handful of interesting characters who help her uncover her past, Tiziana needs to decide whether her feelings for Christopher are deeper than she realizes. She discovers herself and others all while her family’s resilience and love for one another is tested when confronted with a shocking truth.

The answers lie in a box found in a closet in Italy, and Tiziana must determine if she wants to embrace the heartache and the pain from her past in order to learn forgiveness and find peace in the future.

To enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment with your email telling me one thing you like about Italy.
2. Optional: For an extra entry, follow this blog through GFC or email subscription and leave me a separate  comment telling me that you are now following. For those already following, leave a comment telling me so.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Stirring emotions through music

When I wrote my first novel, I often listened to music. Actually, some of my best scenes were written while listening to the music that inspired them. Because I'm constantly running from one place to another, I pop CDs in the car and inevitably stories start spinning in my head as I drive to and from work. Does anyone else do that too? Because I do it ALL the time. Or when I'm in the shower. Ideas flow out of me like the jet stream from the shower head.

A few years ago I met a talented pop violinist on the streets of Los Angeles as he performed music that blew me away. Josh Vietti (he told me his father is of Italian origin!) mixes hip hop and rock to create a unique genre of violin music. I love the sound of the violin so Vietti's music really captured my attention. I listened to his album all the way back home to Montreal--my mind having a field day with story ideas--and introduced it to my then 6 year old son who was inspired to take violin lessons and has continued since then. Thank you, Josh!

With his trademark black T-shirt and baseball cap, Josh's unpretentious manner is so appealing in an artist. I'm always attracted to authors who are the same way. Unpretentious that is, no baseball cap required.

Check Vietti out in this music medley video. I promise you'll be impressed...

 What music inspires you to write stories in your head?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Welcome to my little corner of Italy!

After blogging for more than three years and discovering a wonderful community of diverse bloggers through Library of Clean Reads and NouveauWriter, I rethought the notion of maintaining a static author website ( with high hosting costs. Yes, it served to highlight my book and author events but wouldn't it be more gratifying to share and interact with my readers on a more personal level as an author?

I hope you join me as I explore my Italian roots on this blog. My novel Daughter of Mine was inspired by stories of my mother-in-law's native Naples and my visits to my ancestral home in Rome. It is set in Montreal where I currently live, in Rome and in Gaeta, Naples. I wrote the novel at a time when my kids were younger and I escaped (while they napped!) into my Italian world set on my emerging manuscript. I was transported to Italy without a hefty plane ticket.

Of course, Italy is not a hop and a skip away from North American, *sigh*, but I hope this blog can give you a little taste of Italy right from the comfort of your home.

Laura Fabiani

Rome, panoramic view (my mother's beloved city)

Pescara, Abruzzo (my father's beautiful mountains)

Gaeta, Naples (my maternal grandmother's birthplace)

These photos were taken during my trip to Italy in May 2006.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Breakout Novelist

The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers by Donald Maass
Writer's Digest Books
ISBN: 978-1582979908
Published March 14, 2011
Spiral-bound Hardcover, 352 pages

There are many resources for writers on the market. Finding the book that is right for you, that inspires you and gets you moving to write that breakout novel and to improve your craft is not always easy to find. When I first read the introduction to this book, I felt that the author--experienced literary agent Donald Maass--was talking to me. I mean really talking to me. As an author I understood immediately what he was referring to, and I felt he understood exactly what I, as an author, needed to hear.

Out came my yellow highlighter, as I delved into page after page of things I needed to work on, things I already knew yet didn't know enough of. Everything I have read about novel writing, even taught in my workshops, Maass takes to a new level. I felt like I had a mentor, giving me meaty concepts to think about and apply as I typed away at my novel. Every time I picked up this book where I left off, it was like meeting with Maass at a café where I envisioned him sitting in front of me with piercing, intelligent eyes, pushing me to write not just any old story, but the breakout novel.

Sure, Maass deals with all the elements of a good novel—characterization, plot, setting, pace, ending, etc., but in ways that had me analyzing my manuscript constantly. The wheels in my head were turning so fast, I felt almost overwhelmed as I was drinking it all in. This is not a book to be read once. No way. Every page is good. And there are 343 pages of it. To illustrate the point being discussed, plenty of examples were drawn from books of various genres, some of which I had read and a lot of which I hadn't. And so I took notes.

This book was reflective for me as well as instructive. Today, with print-on-demand, almost anyone can publish a book. But as an author, you just don't want to publish a book for the sake of publishing a book. It's not enough. You want to publish a novel readers will care enough about, not only to read, but to talk about afterwards, a novel about something close to your heart, a novel you will slave after because it matters, a novel that is the breakout novel.

As a book reviewer, I read about 100 books a year, and I quickly understood what Maass was talking about as in my mind I could mentally pick out the books that really stood out to me as breakout novels, no matter what their genre or topic. That's the kind of book I want to write. If you're looking to write a great novel, a breakout novel, then this book is the one you need to read. Now. Highly recommended for any and all writers, experienced or not.

About the Author:

Donald Maass, author of The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers, heads the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York City, which represents more than 150 novelists and sells more than 100 novels every year to publishers in America and overseas. He is a past president of the Association of Authors Representatives, Inc., and is the author of several books.

For more information, please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Check out this Writer's Digest Q&A With Donald Maass

Note: I first read and reviewed this book on April 7, 2011 at Library of Clean  Reads.

Disclosure: Thanks to Ruby Mansuri from FSB Associates for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Nightime Novelist

The Nighttime Novelist: Finish Your Novel in Your Spare Time by Joseph Bates
Writer's Digest Books
ISBN: 978-1582978468
Published September 2010
Hardcover, 272 pages

Many writers have full-time jobs, take care of a household and children, and usually write in their spare time—such as early in the morning or late at night. I have done both. When I had the chance to review The Nighttime Novelist, I was curious if it would be different from the slew of writing resource books I've read in the past two years since I've published my first book.

The first thing I noticed was the gorgeous layout. This book has a spiral-bound binder format and contains colourful pages, charts, and worksheets. It's divided into three parts, Beginnings, Middles, and Endings, with a Coffee Break section after each part (which I thought cute and practical) that helps you to check how you're doing thus far. It's a book that covers all the basics—developing ideas, character development, plot planning, narration, description and setting, pacing, building suspense, climax and good endings.

All the chapters focus on the “technique”, “hurdle”, and “going deeper” of each topic introduced. And it's all colour-coded. Some may find this distracting but I liked it. Most of the content was not new to me. However, I liked the author's voice and his explanations: simple, to the point, told with good and appropriate humour. Whether we are new or more experienced writers, reminders of the basics and their deeper points is never a bad idea. All writers have their strengths and weaknesses. But for some it may still be too basic.

Bates makes good use of questions to get the writer thinking. Whatever the topic, these questions had me thinking about my current novel in progress. This was good. I learned a few things I could work on. I particularly appreciated the chapter on Narration where the author explains well the various POV options and how to find one's voice. This is by far one of the most confusing things for new writers and I get asked about this constantly when I give workshops. Bates' experience as an editor shines through in this book, although he himself has not written a novel.

If you dream of writing a novel or are struggling with the one in process, know that you can do it even if your time is limited. Bates keeps with the theme of the nighttime novelist, who steals time to write, by offering a book that is easy and quick to read, to reference, and from which to learn.

Note: I first read and reviewed this book on January 13, 2011 on Library of Clean Reads.

Disclosure: Thanks to Leyane Jerejian from FSB Associates for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Be a Writing Superstar

Be a Writing Superstar by Joel A. Sutherland
Scholastic Canada
ISBN: 978-0545980005
Published Sept 1, 2010
Paperback, 112 pages
Ages 9-12

Okay, where was this book when I was a kid? I have always loved reading and writing (I published my first book Daughter of Mine in 2008) and this would have been the perfect book for me during my childhood when reading and writing were my solitary activities and I dreamed of someday writing a book. While my friends spoke of soap operas and games, I was reading books well beyond my reading level.

But the beauty of Sutherland’s book is that it appeals to both boys and girls and to both the secret writing kid and the one who would rather surf the Internet than pick up a book, let alone write. Sutherland has a great sense of humour and he knows kids. The book has short chapters interspersed with funny cartoons. It contains fun writing games (teachers could use the advice in this book for their reluctant reader/writer students) and how-to chapters on brainstorming, writing like a wizard, or a superhero or even an alien. How’s that to get kids imagining and writing? He even shows kids how to bind their book once it’s finished and how to host their own book launch, which I thought was fantastic!

And, of course, Sutherland’s love of books and reading comes across loud and clear. No surprise since he is a reference librarian and an author. There are convincing chapters that encourage kids to read a wide variety of genres with a suggested reading list at the end of each. He also includes the interviews of twenty-one Canadian authors such as Robert Munsch and Gordon Korman (my favorite as a kid) and calls them 5 Silly Questions With… They are hilarious and the authors’ answers give us insight into their own sense of humour. Sutherland even shows you how to interview your favorite author.

For the kid who loves to read and dreams of writing his own book, Be a Writing Superstar will be inspirational and may even help to kick start the beginning of a promising new career. For every other kid, it’s a fun book that will make them discover and hopefully explore the joys of reading and writing.

Note: I first read and reviewed this book on November 6, 2010 at Library of Clean Reads.

Disclosure: Thanks to Nicole Kritikos from Scholastic Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First Draft in 30 Days

First Draft in 30 Days: A Novel Writer's System for Building a Complete and Cohesive Manuscript by Karen S. Wiesner
F+W Publications, Inc
ISBN: 978-1582972961
Trade Paperback, 222 pages

I wish I had this book when I was writing my first novel. Although I was organized and had some sort of outline, the advice and worksheets of this book would have come in handy. A manuscript is a long document and unless you’re very well organized, keeping a tab of all your characters, settings and plot threads can get tedious. Have you ever flipped through your first draft just to confirm that the secondary character you introduced in chapter three still has that limp when he reappears in chapter six?

First Draft in 30 Days shows a writer how to create a flexible and customizable outline that is detailed and complete. The author states in her introduction that her book “teaches you how to become a systematic, self-disciplined, productive author—no matter your genre or level of experience.” Now that’s a heavy promise. Does she deliver? Yes.

When I began reading it, I was excited and inspired to write my second book. I could relate to almost everything she was saying and I was able to recognize what I needed to work on as a writer. You can follow the 30-day method meticulously or simply use it as a reference to improve your own style and technique. It is especially useful if you are writing mystery and suspense novels as you need to keep track of all your characters’ motives and alibis—the crime timeline, as Wiesner refers to it. I love the book’s layout. It’s easy to read and it includes dozens of worksheets to fill out as well as sample worksheets that dissect the character, setting or plot of best-selling novels. In addition, there are goal sheets to get your writing career going and a glossary and index.

If you’re seriously thinking of writing a novel, but are having trouble putting it all together or you’ve written a first draft but it needs revision and some major work regarding plot or character development, this book will definitely help you. I have used it as a basis for my How to Write a Book workshops. The practical tools this book provides will help identify your weaknesses and strengths as a writer. It is an excellent reference and useful workbook for writers who want to improve their craft.

Note: I first read and reviewed this book on August 26, 2010 on NouveauWriter.

Disclosure: I bought this book through Amazon. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Calling All Authors

Calling All Authors: How to Publish with Your Eyes Wide Open by Valerie Connelly
Nightengale Media LLC Company
ISBN: 9781933449432
Published Aug 2007
Trade paperback, 296 pages

Are you planning to write a book? If you are, this book is just what you need as you embark on your new project. For those of you who don’t think writing a book is that big of a project, this book will certainly dispel some of the myths about writing, publishing and marketing a book, making me wish I had a copy of this book before I published my first novel.

Calling All Authors is a must-have reference jam-packed with information the writer needs to know before, during and after publishing a book—both for authors wishing to self-publish or go the traditional route. The book’s front cover statement claims: Revealing publishing myths, misconceptions and realties for published authors and writers who dream of becoming authors. This book delivers what it promises.

From the onset, I liked the author’s voice. She is a publisher sincerely interested in helping authors get off to the right start and succeed throughout their book-publishing journey. As an author, I know how important that is. All writers have questions regarding self-publishing versus traditional publishing, what these two options imply, about agents and publicists, editors and proofreaders, and the best way to market their book. If you heed Connelly’s advice—along with the advice of other publishers, authors, and experts in the fields of publicity, writing, editing, graphic design and the Internet included in this book— you will get the answers and be ahead of the game.

Each chapter ends with a summary in the form of worksheets that the reader can fill in, making this a practical, hands-on book—one that the reader can use as a guide. The chapters I paid keen attention to were Chapters 7 through 12, which focused extensively on publishing, selling, and marketing a book. Chapters 9 and 10 in particular are real eye-openers regarding the confusing world of publishing, clarifying what writers need to know to make a conscientious decision. Because I am writing my second novel, the information in Chapters 1-6 is just what I need at the moment. The book’s layout makes it easy to read except that the narrow tall font used for the subtitles contrasted with the rest of the text font, and I found this distracting.

So much information is available in this book that it may be overwhelming to the new writer. But like any 7-course meal, this book must be savoured over a period of time for a good digestion and full absorption of the delicious banquet any writer will appreciate.

I highly recommend this resourceful book to anyone planning to write a book. Because if you are, you need this book.

Note: I first read and reviewed this book on August 26, 2009 on Library of Clean Reads.

Disclosure: The author sent me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Authors Access

Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers by Irene Watson, Tyler R. Tichelaar, and Victor R. Volkman
Modern History Press
ISBN: 978-1932690989
Published: Nov 1, 2008
Trade Paperback, 232 pages

Did you ever wish you could sit in a café with an experienced writer, editor, publisher, or marketing guru and pick their brain? Wouldn’t it be great if you could sip your favourite brew as they revealed their success secrets to you? Well, in many ways, reading Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers is just like that. It is composed of interviews, reports, and lessons learned from the writing industry’s most experienced veterans who took part in podcasts at

It’s a great book for writers to study as the advice and useful information can help them succeed before, during and after writing a book. Its large format makes it easy to read and to highlight text or post notes. It is divided into nine sections and readers can quickly scan through the table of contents and find the topic that interests them most and read it first. The chapters need not be read in chronological order but as a whole they give the reader a better understanding of the undertaking of book writing, publishing and marketing. In addition, included after each article is the original podcast URL as well as the author’s website(s) allowing for further research and, thus, access to more resources.

Although a more experienced writer may know some of the information, it can easily serve as good reminders. I learned many new things reading this book. As a published author and writer, I particularly enjoyed reading Chapter 8 – Marketing Your Work, Chapter 9 – Making the Most of Technology, Chapter 1 – The Craft of Writing, and Chapter 4- Editing Your Work. These chapters alone make the book very worthwhile. The chapter on book reviews is especially eye-opening, both for the author and the reviewer! If you are looking to self-publish, most of the advice in this book is for you. It can prevent you from making serious mistakes and teaches the basics of being a professional writer.

The only information I thought missing was that related to submitting to a traditional publisher, such as elements of a good book proposals, what agents look for in manuscripts, and how to write query letters. The back cover promises book proposals as one of the success secrets revealed, however, according to the index, book proposals is only mentioned twice and in passing. It’s not a topic discussed per se. So mentioning it as one of the book’s secrets can be misleading for the buyer.

Perhaps, because the authors had extensive experience in self-publishing, they chose to focus mainly on this as many writers today are choosing this avenue of publishing that is becoming more and more popular. And, because of the many podcasts on that were not covered in this book but that do contain such information for the traditional route, it wouldn’t surprise me if a second, anticipated book followed this one.

This book is an excellent reference tool that should be read more than once to fully absorb all the success secrets it reveals, and I’d like to thank the authors for sending it to me. I will be referring to it many times, as I place it next to my many indispensable writer resource books on my bookshelf.

Note: This book was first read and reviewed on July 31, 2009 on Library of Clean Reads.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Red Hot Internet Publicity

Red Hot Internet Publicity: An Insider's Guide to Marketing Your Book on the Internet (Revised edition) by Penny C. Sansevieri
Cosimo Books
ISBN: 978-1605207247
Published June 2009
Trade Paperback, 320 pages

Red Hot Internet Publicity is the kind of book you must read using a highlighter and post-it notes. Warning: You will spring into action less than five pages into the first chapter. And it won’t stop. Sansevieri’s book promotion advice is meant for you to get out there and do it. She expertly leads you by the hand and shows you the way.

Red Hot begins with a compelling introduction explaining exactly why the book marketing industry has shifted because of the Internet and why authors need to understand this explosive change. This grabbed me immediately because most people, including authors, still have the notion that author events and book signings are all one has to do to get one’s book noticed. This is no longer the case.

If you’re not Internet market savvy, you will be once you’ve studied this book. I say studied because this isn’t the kind of book one can read once and put away. It is a loaded resource book that packs a powerful punch. And best of all, it’s up-to-date because the latest copy is a newly revised edition. And because of the Internet’s ever-changing, expanding nature, this would be expected of a quality book about Internet publicity.

As an author with a Web site and two blogs, and active in the social networking world, I still learned an amazing amount of new stuff. As a matter of fact, I realized how much I didn’t know. Sansevieri covers a multitude of topics including: how to build a Web site (these chapters had me scrambling to my computer, making simple but effective changes that enhanced and improved my site considerably); keywords, search engines, online selling, and how to generate traffic to your Web site (more scrambling to the computer); everything you might possibly want to know about blogs, blogging, videos, and podcasting ( I wasn’t doing too bad in this area, but I learned great tips about working in blogosphere); social media, especially Twitter (if you haven’t embarked on this bandwagon, you’ll most likely do so after reading this section); virtual book events (I absolutely loved this part of the book!); virtual networking with articles, autoresponders, and email newsletters; ebooks, and so much more.

The chapters are short and to the point, and Sansevieri makes skilful use of bullet points, boxes and numbered points in articles, rendering the book easy to read and to search for specific topics. In addition, the book is sprinkled with sections that cover quick tips, Did You Know?, quotes, statistics, links, and tons of helpful tidbits. Speaking of links, I can’t wait to visit all the recommended sites, and there are many. Some information is repeated, but I certainly didn’t mind as topics overlap. The more one hears or reads of something the better it will be retained.

Bottom line: this book is worth every penny and more. If you’re an author who wants to get your book out there, don’t look any further. Read this book today and start selling your book.

Note: This book was first read and reviewed on October 17, 2009 on Library of Clean Reads.

Disclosure: This book was sent to me by Author Marketing Services in the form of a galley proof for reviewing. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.