Goodreads Giveaway Winners

The A Thousand Suns giveway has ended with almost 600 avid readers participating. The free copies of ATS have already been mailed to the lucky winners. Thanks all for taking part. Here are the winners:

Kim Mcalpine and Melitta Cross from Canada, and Becci Boersema, Molly Grosbauer, and Kylie Tagg from the U.S. Congratulations.

Jim

Mother’s Day

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I’m grateful for mothers and all women for the important role they play here on earth. We are surrounded on this planet by mothers and by other women who have an incredibly significant impact on our lives. Forgetting for a minute the role of women in bringing spirits into this world, imagine what earth life would be like if there were no women.

Women truly are the salt of the earth. Years ago I spent six years in the U.S. Marines and had ample opportunity to watch men spend extended periods of time together without the civilizing influence of women. And men under those conditions can be rough and violent and crude. And then I’ve seen those same men in the company of their wives and girlfriends, and they seemed to me as if totally different people. Calmer, more courteous, more solicitous of the welfare of others, and far more civilized.

Now I realize that Mother’s Day is not necessarily a happy day for a lot of women. Not every woman who wants to be married is married, and not every one that is married has children. And some women have lost children and for them Mother’s Day is a reminder of a child they once loved and served and wished with all their heart would find happiness and success in life. And this is the case in our home. Three years ago we lost a 26 year old son, so we too look at Mother’s Day a little differently now. And finally, for mothers who have children, these indeed are very perilous times, and many mothers carry wounds of children who started out so brightly and then made serious mistakes along the way, every one of which was like a sword through their mother’s heart. And even Mary, the Mother of God, when she and Joseph came to present the Christ Child at the temple, was told by Simeon “yea, a sword shall pass through thy own soul also.” So we see, even with a perfect child, mothers are not spared.

But nevertheless, for all this, Mother’s Day is still a happy day. Because if it wasn’t for mothers and the ‘spirit of motherhood’ and the talent for caring and tenderness found in every woman, this world would have been destroyed a long time ago – if not by God then certainly by men.

M Russell Ballard, speaking about mothers and daughters said in an April 2010 speech: “All women have within their divine nature both the inherent talent and the stewardship to mother, and most of what I will say applies equally to grandmothers, aunts, sisters, stepmothers, mothers-in-law, leaders, and other mentors who sometimes fill the gaps for these significant mother-daughter relationships.”

I take those words to be that women should never under estimate the incredible influence their natural God given talent for caring and tenderness has on the children, the men, and the other women that God brings into their life’s circle.

Now, in regards mothers: Neal A. Maxwell said in a speech in May 1978: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this.”

No one in our life has ever served us with more self-sacrifice than our mothers. No one will ever come close. Not even our spouse if we are married. Because with our spouses, we generally have a partnership. We both serve each other. But the relationship between a mother and a child is not a partnership. It is a one way street. Your mother serves you and gets back very little in proportion to what she gives. Think of all the meals, all the washed clothes, all the dried tears, all the diapers, all the baths, all the sicknesses, all the patience and love.

In Shakespeare’s King Lear there is a line that has become a proverb. It goes: How sharper than a serpent’s tooth to have a thankless child. And so I say to all children including myself: Honor your mother. Never take for granted what she does for you. And remember, actions speak louder than words when it comes to expressing gratitude.

Throughout history, women have always been teachers of moral values. Where would we be today if it weren’t for our mothers and all the other women in our lives. How blessed we are to have them.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Jim
Zurich May 12, 2013

‘A Thousand Suns’ Giveaway on Goodreads

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Thousand Suns by Jim Haberkorn

A Thousand Suns

by Jim Haberkorn

Giveaway ends May 31, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

How One Popular Book Blogger Does Book Reviews

Shauna Wheelwright is the popular book reviewer blogging from: http://ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.ch/ Over the next few days, she will be publishing a review of A Thousand Suns. I asked her about the process she goes through when reviewing books. Here is her reply.

From Shauna:
There is no right or wrong way to review a book…
Here is just what I do—
First, and foremost I must choose a book to review. I work in a bookstore and see what new books come in and choose a lot of those. I watch for “blog tours” and sign up for many of those. I also love it when authors contact me to review their books and I choose a lot of them that way—sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with request and have to say “not right now” along the way.

Second, I read the book. I choose to read every word often including the front and back of the book, the jacket flaps, the acknowledgments, the introduction, etc. I want to be able to stand by the book and not have any surprise words or scenes show up that I didn’t preview—this takes time.

Third, I have a high standard for what I read and for what I put on my blog. If I find the book has questionable material I will not post a review of it. That way you know that the books I post are safe to read…all of them!

Fourth, I write a positive review. If a book meets my standards it will be a good book and therefore it will be easy to find good things to say about it. Sometimes I will include a book description, a book excerpt, and/or quotes from other people and what they are saying about the book.

Fifth, I like to add a sidebar banner with a link to the review post. This gives the book more time on my main page in addition to the one time post. If a banner is not included, such as a blog tour banner, I create one myself.

Sixth, I try to find a blog or Facebook page that the author has and link it to their name on the blog post. This allows my readers to also find these author sites.

Seventh, I like to add author bios and pictures and sometimes I will add a “tens list” of some fun facts about the author.

Eighth, I am always open to book giveaways. I like to use the rafflecopter form and will include “likes” to author sites as entry requirements.

Finally, in addition to posting my review on my blog, I post reviews on Pinterest, GoodReads, LDSPublisher, DeseretBook, Amazon, Barnes&Nobel, The Book Depository, Twitter, and my Facebook page.
And that is the effort I put into each one of my reviews—
I am Shauna and I Love to Read and Review Books 🙂

A Horse Doctor’s Guide to Literature

As a general rule I avoid books that are labeled ‘literary.’ By so doing, I have no doubt deprived myself of some excellent reading. My problem is that I’ve read – or rather, have started to read – too many literary novels that yearned to be admired for their ‘profoundness’ rather than for being a good story well told. One literary book I have read is Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, and I found it to be extremely profound in its observations about love, courage, friendship, betrayal, war, life, and death. But it never shined a light on itself to announce its profoundness. There was never a sense of Hemingway doing anything more than telling an emotionally honest love story based on his deep observations of life.

Further, I find too many ‘literary’ books taking the horse doctor approach to their main character’s primary problem. Here’s what I mean. There was once a Far Side cartoon where a character was studying a book on horse medicine. Down one column on every page was listed a variety of horse afflictions and in the second column were the remedies: Broken leg – shoot the horse. Mangy tail – shoot the horse. Droopy ears – shoot the horse. Milky eye – shoot the horse. Etc.

In my limited experience, too many literary novels take the same approach. No matter what the hero or heroine’s complaint, just like Far Side’s horse doctor, there is always the same remedy. Here is how Far Side would portray it. Workaholic husband – illicit sex. A wife who doesn’t understand – illicit sex. Ungrateful children – illicit sex. Bored housewife – illicit sex. Sacrificed career to have children – illicit sex. Etc.

But maybe it’s the genre that is the problem. If a book is literary, then the characters, gosh dang it, better darn well have a more emotionally tangled, angst filled literary way of solving problems than pulling out an automatic and blowing a hole through somebody you could paddle a canoe through. Otherwise, the book might slip into the thriller category. My category. And serious writers don’t write thrillers. Or do they?

Three words: John le Carre’. Enough said. Also, three more words: Martin Cruz Smith. I just reread Smith’s Gorky Park – the first in his series of thrillers based on Moscow police detective Arkady Renko – a book that, in my opinion, is truly ‘literary’ in all the good sense of the word. Also, Olen Steinhauer – a masterful writer of literary thrillers, particularly his ‘Tourist’ series. Barry Eisler and his John Rain series are also particularly well written. Are they literary? Not as much as le Carre’ or Smith, but then, who is? But read Mr. Eislers first few books and see if his character’s descriptions and emotional ties to Tokyo are not literary enough for you.

In one place in Einstein’s Trunk, while I wasn’t paying attention, my hero Rulon Hurt, slipped into profoundness. He and Yohaba were forced to share a hotel room together, and it was causing Rulon all sorts of moral anxiety. To ease the tension, Yohaba asked him to sing her to sleep, and he, without thinking, chose For My Lover by Tracy Chapman. Afterwards, Yohaba from the bed, reminded Rulon who was laying on the floor, that they weren’t lovers. Rulon replied that she had a very narrow definition of the word lover. So we see, even Idaho cowboys can be profound when there’s a pretty girl involved.
But lest readers think I’m a total Neanderthal, I’m open to the possibility that there are a lot of great ‘literary’ books out there, and I’ve been depriving myself of some great reading. So, if anyone has any literary books they think I might enjoy, I’d be happy to hear your suggestions.

Best regards,

Jim
Zurich, Switzerland

What I wished I’d known before my first book got published – by Stephanie Connelley Worlton

From Jim: Stephanie Connelly Worlton is the author of two excellent books, Hope’s Journey and Everything You Need to Know about Girls Camp: The Essential Planning Guide for Leaders – both available from Amazon and other book resellers. In the post below, Stephanie shares what she’s learned on her epic journey to become a published author. To get to know Stephanie better, check out her Kreating Krazy website at: http://stephanieworlton.blogspot.ch/

Now here’s Stephanie,
I’m going to admit a secret (and I suspect there are many new authors who share the same experience) – When I dove into the publishing business I was undoubtedly naïve. There it is, simple, yet so common. I suppose like many of my peers, I had this illusion of world tours, marketing stampedes, and huge royalty checks. I thought all I had to do was write my masterpiece, get a contract, and then everything else would fall into place. It was only a matter of time before Hollywood would be banging down my door for movie rights….

And then reality hit.

In all fairness, I know there are aspiring authors who’ve spent years researching the craft as well as the business and are in a much more informed place than I was when I sent off my first manuscript. In hindsight I probably should’ve done a little more homework. Nonetheless, most authors I meet seem to have been in my same boat, wishing they’d known just a few basic things before their first book came to life.

As they say, there is no better teacher than experience, and I hope that my experience will be a great teacher to someone. Here are the top five things I wished I’d known BEFORE my first book launched:

Writing is the easy part. – When you’re up to your eyeballs in developing characters, advancing your plot, and then editing and re-editing, it’s hard to believe that the real work hasn’t yet started. The biggest misconception I had as a newbie author was that my job was simply to write the book and the publisher’s job was to do everything else. Makes logical sense, right? A writer writes, a publisher publishes… but what about everything else? Lucky for me, my publishing company has a great editing staff and an amazing team of cover designers. Because of them, the final product comes out beautiful, with no stress on my part. But then the work starts. Marketing, networking, getting reviews, scheduling book signings, coordinating blog tours, interacting with fans (not really work, but it does take some time), and more marketing.

Marketing is mostly the responsibility of the author. – No, I’m not kidding. Doesn’t the publisher employ a publicist/marketing agent? Yes. Isn’t his/her job to market your book as their title implies? No. The job of a marketing agent is to help an author market their book, not do it for them. They support you and try to keep you on track, they encourage signings and help set them up with the book stores, but ultimately selling your book is your responsibility. There are many ways to market a book, but in today’s high-tech digital world, it shouldn’t be surprising that the most effective tools are internet based. Every author should have a website and/or blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. They should also take advantage of other networking tools like Google+, LinkedIn, and even Pintrist. They should make sure their author information is up to date on book sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, BarnesandNoble, and any other site that might carry or recommend your book.

Have a webpage/blog and a following BEFORE your book launches. ¬– Timing really is everything and it’s never too early to start building an audience and creating your brand. It takes months and sometimes even years for a book to grow from manuscript to finished project. Don’t sit idly by waiting for that surreal date when your book finally becomes real! In fact, you don’t really need to have a contract or even a finished manuscript before you start building your brand. If you’re serious about writing, start sharing your talents via a blog or other method. Don’t be shy about talking about what you are working on and occasionally share tidbits of your work(s) in progress. Start following other authors and book bloggers and develop a relationship with them.

Other authors are your best friends. – There’s a weird dynamic in the publishing world that seems almost contradictory in most business models: your competition isn’t really your competition. They are in fact, your biggest cheerleaders, marketing supporters, and promotional helps. Develop a network with other authors. Support them. Encourage them. Consider joining a writing group or an author’s guild. Interact with them online and, if geographically possible, attend writer’s conferences.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your book. – Seriously. Talk about your book. Not in that annoying, every word that comes out of your mouth is about your book kind of way, but in appropriate settings at appropriate times. You know your book and its contents better than anyone else, so when you stumble upon the opportunity to say something about it, do. Don’t be embarrassed or overly humble. Most people want to know… and many of them are so thrilled to be friends with a “pseudo-celebrity” that if you’re excited about your project, they will be too.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the amazing publishing community. Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege to get to know many fabulous authors and I consider it an honor to be numbered amongst their friends. I’m so thankful for the help and advice they’ve shared with me and I hope as I tuck more titles and experience under my belt, that I can be an asset to others as they have been to me.