Category Archives: Spotlight

WELCOME #RRBC SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR MICHAEL LYNES @woodheat

Please welcome Michael Lynes, Spotlight Author!

Hello Followers: TODAY begins the month of November showcasing another SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR. It’s also a holiday month giving thanks for all our blessings here in the United States. So let’s celebrate while Michael is sharing with us “The Publishing Process”.

CONGRATULATIONS, MICHAEL, ON YOUR AUTHOR BLOG TOUR!!


The publishing process

There is a Reaper is our first published work.

Both Margaret and I have been actively writing for many years, Margaret’s efforts mainly consist of revelatory and philosophical essays. She has also written about alternative medical practices, using energy flows and ‘chi’ as well as holistic healing techniques and meditation.

My essays have mostly been technical, including many white-papers and internally published papers for research and more academic audiences. I have always had a consuming interest in story craft, being both a voracious reader as well as a provider of critical writing advice to others. I possess a good command of the mechanics of writing, able to use the written word to convey my ideas and concepts succinctly and clearly.

These skills were important, and both our experiences stood us in good stead thru the process of writing Christopher’s story, but they were hardly equal to the scale of the effort.

There is a Reaper was more than 135,000 words in manuscript…over 500 pages. It is a substantial work, especially for a first time author. Once written, we were faced with the daunting challenge of actually forming the text into an actual book, a container that would honor the content within and give pleasure to the potential reader.

Barry Sheinkoph of BookShapers was our godsend.

Margaret had met Barry and his wife Eugenia years before. I had met them also, once or twice, and frankly though Margaret had told me that Barry was in the publishing business I initially did not even think of bringing the project to him.

When I had ‘finished’ with my MS, (so I thought), I started to cast around and do some online research to find out how to get a book published. I spent a lot of time on many different ‘author’ sites, reading blog posts on the correct way(s) to get a work published; each new set of sure-fire rules promptly contradicting the last. After wading thru this morass for a few nights it became clear that there were three main options:

The first general approach was to contact a series of publishers, in essence ‘pitching’ the MS to them in the hope that they would be willing to publish the work of an unknown author based on the strength of the story alone.

The second was to submit the work to various book agents and agencies, looking to acquire their support. The idea was to find an agent or agency that would become an advocate for me and for There is a Reaper – connecting us with editors, a publisher and possibly even assisting with the marketing of our work.

The third avenue, and to my mind the least desirable, was self-publishing. In essence this would mean contracting with a printer and having your work put into book form on your own dime. There were many ‘vanity’ print houses that would take your MS and basically have it printed and bound for a fee. This seemed to me then to be one step above having a few copies run off at Staples. I was sure that this was not the correct way to go.

So I began the process to try and get a publisher interested in the work. Together, Margaret and I wrote a ‘pitch’ letter describing ‘There is a Reaper’ in brief. Along with this we selected a couple of example chapters from the finished MS; some publishers wanted to see the work, others only wanted a short synopsis to begin. I searched for publishers who I thought would be right for the special type of memoir we had created. With high hopes we sent out emails, and submitted letters and copies of excerpts of the MS.

The response was, to say the least, underwhelming….

Undaunted – we pivoted to our second potential venue, securing an Agent to represent us. I spent a few more hours/days working up and researching a list of potential literary agents. Each agent or agency had different specialties, and sub-specialties. Some were interested in mysteries, some in dramas, still others in fiction etc. I sifted thru the list, looking for agents who would consider non-fiction memoirs, an encouragingly long list. Again I went to each agency website, they all had different requirements on how to submit, one wanted PDF’s another excerpts directly in the body of an email (making the except look horrendous by the way), still another wanted physical media (!) – needless to say we skipped that one.

All of them had variations of the evaluation process. Some said they would look at the work and get back with in a few days. Others said that they needed a month or more, still others gave no fixed time with the stern admonition to “under no circumstances contact us directly to enquire about the status of your evaluation” – lest we incur instant disqualification. So we submitted, first to five agents, then ten and I think in the end almost 30 different agencies. With each submission we had high hopes, and with each new response we received these hopes dimmed. All of the replies were uniformly polite, and almost all praised the quality of our writing and the significance of the work as a whole, BUT….none of them were willing to take any risk with an unknown author and a large work. We were stumped.

After receiving several weeks’ worth of rejection letters I thought that perhaps I was just not engaging the ‘right’ sort of agency. After all I was basically picking these targets at random, doing internet searches and ‘cold’ submissions. One evening it came to my mind that one of Margaret’s friends, Barry something-or-other, had some connections to the publishing world. We talked about it, “Oh…you mean Barry Sheinkoph… Eugenia’s husband…”, she replied, “Barry teaches creative writing and I think he does some publishing work. You should contact him and see if he knows a good literary agent or agency that we can send your book to…”

So I asked her for his contact info and drafted a short email. I described There is a Reaper in brief and told him we had been looking for an agent to take us on. I ended my note with a request. Did he know of any literary agents who might be willing to help?

I really did not expect too much. After all of the rejection letters I figured that Barry’s reply might be just another reject…Polite, encouraging and yadda-yadda-yadda.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

Barry turned our whole process upside down. He asked me one key question – “Why?…Why do think you need an agent? What you need is an editor…”

So…Barry became our editor and the published book, There is a Reaper, which will be released to the world in just a few short weeks, is in large part due to his skill and dedication in working with us on its creation.

Thru judicious cutting, Barry helped us focus our prose and crystalize our vision. The MS we started with was a gem in the rough, and his was the master touch that brought its clear and sparkling facets to view. I am very proud of the writing that both Margaret and I did, but I am grateful and not at all ashamed to say that without him, publishing Christopher’s story might never have been more than a dream.

Thank you Barry…


Author Bio:

Mr Lynes is a serial entrepreneur who enjoys dry red wine and single malt scotch. When not occupied with arcane engineering projects he spends his time playing with his two grandchildren, baking bread, feeding seasoned hardwood into his ancient Timberline woodstove, working on his various cars, bird watching and taking amateur photographs. His current menagerie includes one short-haired turtle shell cat and a pair of actual turtles.

 

His last book, There Is A Reaper: Losing a Child to Cancer, was an Indie B.R.A.G. Gold Medallion Honoree in January 2017, a silver-medal winner of the 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards for Memoir, a medalist in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards for Memoir, a winner of the 2015 TISBA (The Indie Spiritual Bookk Awards), and a finalist in both the Independent Author Network 2015 Book of the Year award and the Beverly Hills Book Awards for 2015.

 

Mr Lynes was awarded a BSEE degree in Electrical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and currently works as an embedded software engineer. He has a consuming interest in the science of emotion as promulgated by Dr. Paul Ekman and has made a comprehensive study of his Face and Emotion courses.

 

Mr Lynes has four sons, has been married for over thirty years and currently lives with his wife and youngest son in the beautiful secluded hills of Sussex County, NJ.

 

*  *  *

 

Follow Michael online:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/woodheat

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MLynesAuthor/

Website – https://mikelynes.wixsite.com/mlynesauthor

 

*  *  *

Michael’s Books:

THE FAT MAN GETS OUT OF BED

 

THERE IS A REAPER


Thank you so much for your support today of Michael. Please go to the RRBC Website for the rest of his tour. I know he will appreciate it.

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

Welcome #RRBCSpotlightAuthor Suzanne Burke!

Spotlight Blog #8 Final Post

 

burkephoto
It is my pleasure to introduce Spotlight Author Suzanne Burke to my followers. Suzanne is a proud member of our Rave Reviews Book Club Family where we support and propel each other.  If you like what you see, click on the “Join/Renew” tab to register and to learn more about this international virtual book club.

.

And Now…Enjoy!

Interview with Sheila Harrington

Hello and a very big welcome to my final post for the tour. My heartfelt thanks for following along on my journey, and a special thank you to my host.

If you have read the tour post where I included an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Acts Beyond Redemption, the following imaginary interview may unsettle you just a little.

It’s between another character, namely CNN reporter Marissa Clarke and the woman nobody really knows, Sheila Harrington.

photo1s-burke photo2photo3

***

CNN: Please welcome to ‘Marisa Speaks’ my very special guest today, Miss Sheila Harrington. Good Morning, Miss Harrington.

Sheila:  Oh, please, not Miss Harrington! Do I look like a schoolmarm to you? You may call me Sheila.

CNN:  Very well … Sheila. Thank you. May I ask why you agreed to this interview when so many others are vying for your attention?

Sheila:  I like your style. It’s really, just that simple.

CNN: Why, thank you. You have been recently, and very regularly, photographed in the company of our Governor, Damon Henderson. The word on the street is we can expect an important announcement about your relationship very soon.

Sheila: Some rumors can be entirely inaccurate. Can’t they, my dear?

 CNN: So the rumors of an impending engagement are false?

Sheila: I don’t believe that is what I said, my dear. I believe the custom is for the man to have asked me first, or of course, I could ask him. I haven’t done that.

CNN So you’re ruling it out?

Sheila. Don’t put words in my mouth, my dear. It’s irritating, and most unbecoming.

CNN: Let’s move on. What can you tell us about the very strong suggestions floating around both here and in Washington that the Governor is about to throw his hat in the ring for the upcoming Presidential Elections?

Sheila: Would he gain your vote, Miss Clarke?

CNN:  That wasn’t my question.

Sheila:  Your researcher should have informed you better, Miss Clarke. If you had bothered to check, you would have discovered that Governor Henderson has scheduled a press conference at 10.00 am tomorrow morning. I’ll see to it that you have a front row seat. Thank you. I believe that concludes our little chat. It’s been … enlightening.

CNN: But …

Sheila: Tomorrow, Miss Clarke.

Sheila stood and with a smile for the camera, she left the studio.

##

I’m smiling away to myself here in Sydney.

Now THAT was fun!

And now if I may, on a personal note. My spirit has been renewed and uplifted because of you folks. All of you. Thank you for making the time in your busy day to join me on this joyous adventure.  Being a member of Rave Reviews Book Club has enriched my life.

I leave you with a Big Aussie hello and thanks.

I look forward to seeing you here being ‘Spotlighted’ in the near future.

kuolabearphoto4

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Suzanne Burke lives, laughs, writes and enjoys her life in the beautiful harbor-side city of Sydney Australia.

She is a mother and grandmother, now in her sixties, and considers every moment of every day as a precious treasure to be valued and explored, and not simply endured.

Her non-fiction works are written under the pen-name of Stacey Danson.

They are both challenging and thought provoking works covering the earliest years of her life, the topic of child abuse and the PTSD that accompanied her into her later years  are not, by virtue of their subject matter an easy or comfortable read, yet so many have read them. She will be forever grateful that her readers have assisted in raising the awareness into this painful and enduring evil.

An awareness that is vital in any efforts to stem this tide of inhuman acts perpetrated on the most innocent of us all … the children.

She escapes into the world of fiction in her thriller and suspense novels, continually exploring other genres such as paranormal and dystopian, and always delighting in the magical escapism offered in the written word.

She is an avid reader and reviewer who enjoys sharing the works she explores.

 amazon-cover-sburke2

Follow Suzanne online:

Facebook – @StaceyandSuzie

Twitter handle – @pursoot

Website – https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

Book Purchase:  AMAZON

 

 

 

WELCOME #RRBC SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR SHERILYN POWERS!

What would you do if after 50 years of being told you have a “chemical imbalance” and depression, you found severe allergies were at the root of your problems – not mental illness?

RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB “SPOTLIGHT” Author Sherilyn Powers explores the connection between allergies and depression in her book, I’m Not Crazy… I’m Allergic.

book cover titled

Allergies, inflammation and depression

One of the main things I learned while researching my book, I’m Not Crazy… I’m Allergic, is that allergic reactions cause inflammation or swelling. It can be quite noticeable in the hands and feet/ankles, but elsewhere inflammation is harder to detect. But when you are experiencing a food or environmental reaction to allergies or sensitivities, where does that inflammation show up in your body?

Everywhere, and not just from the neck down.

This means there can be inflammation in the brain as well.  Symptoms of severe swelling of the brain include everything from headaches to seizures and loss of memory, vision and more.  Mostly we think of these in terms of head trauma. However, any type of inflammation on the brain can create problems.

Those extreme reactions aren’t necessarily going to be the case in allergies or sensitivities, but exactly how much swelling does it take to create some of these issues, even to a lesser degree?

People are not exact science. We all have our own idiosyncrasies.  What one person can handle with no visible issues, completely overwhelms others. So the answer is – no one knows exactly.

Another thing that is now being recognized by the medical community is that inflammation has a very strong correlation to depression. One of the examples used by Maria Almond, MD, MPH in her article Depression and inflammation: Examining the link is how there is a difference between the symptoms of a cold and what actually keeps you in bed when you have a cold ie. “the accompanying fatigue, inattentiveness, loss of appetite, change in sleep pattern, heightened perception of pain, and apathetic withdrawal” or as she terms it “sickness behavior”. This “sickness behavior” is extremely similar to depression and “depression frequently is comorbid with many inflammatory illnesses”.

Would it not be the same with an allergic reaction that includes generalized swelling? I am willing to guarantee that people having an anaphylactic reaction (which includes extreme swelling, particularly of the airway) will be anything but on top of the world emotionally or physically. If you asked, I’m sure they would be quite emotional, panicked, and even after the epinephrine calmed their physical reaction, they would still not feel all that great emotionally.

What about allergies or sensitivities that people go through for weeks at a time from exposure to pollens or mould? Would this not create “sickness behavior” as well, or depression?

Imagine having a severe cold or pneumonia for a long time, your mood would probably not be the greatest – and that is knowing what was wrong with you.

How about an unknown food allergy that you have had for say, over forty or fifty years? Constantly feeling like you should be in bed or at least not having any energy to do the daily life tasks… and not knowing when, if ever, you would feel better.  How depressing would that be?

Looking at it this way, it is easy to see how some people could easily be misdiagnosed with “just” depression when it could be something physical, not mental or emotional at all.

Reference:

http://www.currentpsychiatry.com/home/article/depression-and-inflammation-examining-the-link/b436332438ceca4baabe8be08701d6dc.html Depression and inflammation: Examining the link – Current Psychiatry 2013 June;12(6):24-32.  Maria Almond, MD, MPH, Clinical Director PsychOncology Clinic. University of Michigan

IMG_6811_pp (2)

Sherilyn Powers’ contact information:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/imnotcrazyimallergic

Twitter: @SPowersINCIA

Website:  http://imnotcrazyimallergic.com


HERE ARE THE BUY LINKS…

FriesenPress: http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000009092106

Amazon: (in most Amazon locations): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011WGZT10/?tag=friesenpressc-20

B&N:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/im-not-crazy-im-allergic-sherilyn-powers/1122329150?ean=2940151145718

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/i-m-not-crazy-i-m-allergic-1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/im-not-crazy…-im-allergic/id1022088586?mt=11


Thank you so much for stopping by and supporting Sherilyn Power’s time in the SPOTLIGHT. Be sure to pick up a copy of her amazing book. I got mine!!!

Don’t forget to go to the blog tour site to keep up with her stops. Here is the link: https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/spotlight-authors/