Monday, October 25, 2010

Changing Face of Publishing: Interview with Donald Jacques

Changing Face of Publishing: Interview with Donald Jacques

Interview with Donald Jacques

PJ: This weekend we welcome Donald Jacques to the Changing Face of Publishing blog. Donald, will you please share a short bio with us?
Don: I have been single now for several years, enjoying bachelorhood. I am a simple man, my earliest years were as an Air Force brat travelling from base to base. I gained a fascination for tinkering watching my dad fix stuff around the house.

PJ: Tell us about “The Handyman” and where it's available.
Don: The Handyman started as a dare from a roommate many years ago, who saw me on an adult dating site. My first story was received very well, so I did 2 more on the same theme. When those were received well with additional requests, I thought I would make a book out of the stories.

This book will finally be released in print in November. This will be my third book with my publisher, who had to wait for this book since it has evolved into so much more than how it began. "The Handyman" will be available for pre-sales on and Amazon Thanksgiving weekend. Until then, it will be available for pre-sale on the publisher website,  

PJ: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Don: I have written the occasional poem for a lover, small story for a child or grandchild, but The Handyman is my first venture into publishing anything. It was actually almost an accident, but a happy one.

PJ: Describe your writing in three words.
Don: Tense, Descriptive, fulfilling

PJ: Do you have a writing routine?
Don: Not really. The bug strikes often: at lunch, dinner, or even on the road. I just pull over and write down enough notes to be able to get the story idea later.

PJ: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Don: Challenging: Trusting the story to find its own stop point.
Easiest: Trusting the story to unfold.

PJ: What’s the most rewarding aspect?

Don: For me, it is the comments from readers that tell me they love something, or hate it. If I have engendered a response, then I did my job as story-teller.

PJ: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Don: Honestly, I had not thought about it, but perhaps because I love women, an epic love story is attractive. As far as staying away from any, not on anyone's life. Life is far too precious, and enjoyable to shy away from new experiences - like it or not. More likely, I find new experiences worth wallowing every day!

PJ: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Don: Robert Heinlein, Shakespeare, Plato, Solomon (from the Bible), and Confucius

The comment: So glad you never tried to make it easier.

PJ: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Don: Planned a quiet party with my lover.

PJ: What do you do in your free time?

Don: Practice dreaming and loving. (not necessarily in that order)

PJ: What's next for you?
Don: Another book, of course! Working on the book, "2012: The Calm Before the Storm" coming out the beginning of January 2011.

PJ: Where can you be found on the web?

PJ: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Don: What is your favorite fantasy? (And these are not always erotic.) and second, would you REALLY want to see it come true, or do you like keeping the fantasy - a fantasy?

PJ: Thank you Don for stopping by the blog this weekend. Readers, Don is giving away a PDF ebook copy of The Handyman when it's released in November. To enter the contest, answer Don's question. Then you must either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to Only those who leave contact information will be entered in the drawing. The winner will be chosen on Monday, November 1st.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Julie Wise: Author Supporting Authors Virtual Book Tour

Title:  Dream Bigger:  Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease
by Julie Wise
Publisher:  iUniverse

Synopsis: When life's challenges get you down, and you feel like giving up on your heartfelt desires, it's not time to quit. It's time to dream even bigger! This book is filled with inspiring true stories, simple tools and exercises, and plenty of motivation. Learn how to re-chart your course and bring more joy and ease into your life as you pursue your dreams.

From Inside the Book:
Most people have a dream. For some, it’s something they’ve wanted since childhood but have never told a soul. For others, it may be something they tried once, and it didn’t work out so they gave up on it. Perhaps you have a dream that you keep dismissing because it seems risky or impractical. Our dreams make difficult times more bearable. They also bring joy into our lives, and inspire those around us. However, it takes more than a good imagination to make those dreams come true. It’s also about taking action and staying motivated. First, you need a clear idea of what you want. If you’re not sure, spend some time remembering your childhood and what you imagined you’d do with your life. The seeds to your dream are often found there. Once you know what your dream is, get to know it in detail. What does it feel like to be there? Who are you with, how are you dressed, what’s happening around you? Get familiar with it so that it’s easy to connect to that feeling whenever you need motivation. What’s stopping you from having that in your life right now? Make a list of any challenges or obstacles. The list is intended to give you ideas for actions, not to discourage you from moving forward, so don’t get too bogged down by it. Now take a look at the items on your list. What skills and resources do you have to meet those challenges? Who else can you call on for additional assistance? Talk to supportive friends and family members about your dream and see what ideas they have to help you move forward.
Take all of these ideas and resources and put them together into an action plan. This is a list of the steps you can take to make your dream a reality. Every day, check your list and pick one action you can take. Each time you take a step, celebrate, knowing that you’re that much closer to the life of your dreams.

Five Steps to Your Dream

1. Identify your dream
2. Make a list of your challenges
3. Develop a list of skills and resources
to meet those challenges
4. Create an action plan
5. Take one action each day toward
the life of your dreams

The ABC’s of Making Your Dreams Come True
by Julie Wise, Life and Relationship Coach and 

Author of Dream Bigger: Reclaiming A Life of Joy and Ease (available online at Amazon)

     What dream do you have for your life?  If you’re like most people, it’s something you think wistfully, but you’d never dare do it because it’s not “practical” or “realistic”.  We’re trained from a young age to make solid sensible choices so that our lives will be secure and stable.  While there’s a lot of sense in sensibility, it’s not a lot of fun, is it?
     When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer.  I used to write down stories and poems and staple or glue the pages into a “book”.  I’d add a cover with a title and my name proudly scrawled at the bottom.  My father owned a bookstore and I dreamed of having one of my books on the store shelf.
     However, as I grew up, I read stories of lonely writers starving in icy attics (usually in Paris, France or somewhere equally romantic) and decided I needed to find a more practical career.
I became a translator.  I thought that was a pretty good compromise.  After all, I was still working with words, right?  It was mentally stimulating, but it lacked the creativity that used to make my heart sing and dance.
     Then I was offered a job as the editor of my community newspaper.  Finally, I was living my dream (or so I thought).  I soon realized that although I was writing for a living, I was writing other people’s stories while my own languished deep inside my soul.
     I began to dabble again writing some poetry and short stories, but not showing them to anyone.  I even took some creative writing courses. One day I noticed that every time I went into a bookstore, I would spend hours in the travel writing section.  An idea began to take shape – maybe I could combine my love of travel with my desire to write.  So I sat down to write about a trip I’d taken to Costa Rica.  It quickly morphed into a fictional memoir.  I finished the draft, put it on a shelf, and …  got on with other things.
     The dream wouldn’t die though.  Last December, I started writing about a recent trip to Ireland.  Suddenly the ideas for Dream Bigger: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease came to me and wouldn’t go away.  That book has now been published.  My childhood dream has come true, many years after it first emerged.  
     That’s one of the cool things about dreams.  They never give up on us, even when we give up on them.
     So what can you do about your dream? Follow these basic ABC’s.
A. Acknowledge the dream. For starters, pick something simple that you’d like to bring into your life. It could be meeting a friend for coffee, going to see a film, getting out on your bike, or just curling up with a good book for an hour.  It doesn’t have to break the bank or turn your world upside-down.
B. Be resourceful. Make a list of what you need to put in place in order to achieve your dream. Do you need outside support or resources?  Where can you get that? What obstacles are in your way?  What can you do to resolve them?
C. Create an action plan from your list with clear simple steps.  And then, just do it!  One step at a time, knowing that each step whether big or little, takes you closer to your dream.
     To boost your motivation, check out the “Dream Bigger Reinvention Challenge” at and find out how people across North America are reinventing themselves and their lives.  Join the movement to dream bigger and win prizes to make your dream a reality!

Wise's goal is to help 100,000 people dream bigger. To do this, and to celebrate the release of Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, she invites the public to share their life dream in an online challenge. The 60-day "Dream BIGGER Reinvention Challenge" runs from October 1 to November 29, 2010 and offers contestants the chance to post a video about their dream, get votes and become eligible for an amazing grand prize. "By sharing our dreams, we'll inspire each other to ever greater heights," she explains. Go to and enter today!

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(Book Blog)

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Readers are the Quickies in Reading

READERS are the 

by Donald Jacques

A Printed book is personal. Each book has its own smell, texture, feel as you

read and note, and read again. It can be handled and read again and again
without any extra equipment - batteries not needed.

An E-Book is IM-personal. The way the market is today, the only real difference
between one book and another is either the cover art, or the reader it is viewed
on. Yes you can store a hundred books in one device, but can it go to the tub,
or the road trip, or even the campout? I think not. It would really suck if I
got to the best part of a new book and my battery ran out in the middle of the
woods. Egggaaack!

That being said, I suspect we are about to see the E-Book market diverge into at
least two tracks.

As the Nook, Kindle, and other readers are basically "quickies", they will
likely find their place as reference tools. For that quick read or catch up in
the car, on the bus, or subway. During lunch at work, a reader pulled from the
purse, or briefcase serves very well. Perhaps for the download of that technical
article you read about in the meeting last hour. I expect to see e-book prices
for these straight-laced digital texts (fiction AND non-fiction) to (on pressure
from Amazon and others) perhaps float between 5 and 10 dollars. Consumers just
don't see the value in the "cookie cutter" book that the current spate of
e-readers delivers.

Now, as the iPad appears to offer the promise of color and additional content as
mentioned a couple of times above, I suspect that consumers will be happy to pay
the higher paperback, or even hardback prices for e-books with just such
extended content. And with the power to have addons like, say, the LG phone's
projector module, the iPad would become a truly must-have device on which
reading that novelization of Avatar and its add on features like clips from the
move could actually become somewhat pleasant.

Finally, for a truly personal reading experience, nothing will ever replace the
printed book. Like a good wine, a printed book ages, and in some instances, can
increase in value as its condition is maintained. No E-Book will ever be able to
do that. One cannot build a "collection" of e-books (as stated above) that could
be donated to a library who would receive it with reverence, pride, and delight
- until some intern accidentally erases the whole set.

I say bring on the iPad, Nook, Kindle, but let them take their places in the
market. That is, once all the fear, greed, and dust settles.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ashley Barnard: October Phoenix Author Feature

Shadow Fox 
by Ashley J. Barnard

Jared Bruin doesn’t know who he is. He remembers nothing of his early childhood before the age of seven when he was abandoned in a park in St. Louis, left in an unfamiliar world that terrified him. He knows only that he is driven to learn everything he can about swordplay and sixteenth-century combat.

Almost twenty years later, as he is battling a heroin addiction, suicidal tendencies and a violent affliction he doesn't understand, he is hired to teach swordplay to an enigmatic woman with secrets of her own, who somehow provides a link to his past.
Then a missing journal arrives that provides many answers to Jared’s past, and in it another world is revealed, one of a Goddess, prophecies, elves, a devastating love triangle, and a war in desperate need of a hero.

Scaring the Relatives
by Ashley J. Barnard

One of my older sisters recently compared me to Giselle from the movie Enchanted. It’s a fair comparison; I sing when I clean the house, I love animals, I’m a hopeless romantic and I have a bright and sunny disposition. I want everyone to love me so it’s shocking to me when I annoy someone. The biggest difference between Giselle and me is that Giselle doesn’t write dark contemporary fantasy with heroin use, violence, occasional S&M and a liberal sprinkling of the F-bomb throughout. And if she did write it, she’d probably use a pen name and would die before letting anyone read it.

While I don’t use a pen name, I used to be very private about my writing. I didn’t share early drafts of Shadow Fox and its sequels with many people, and when I did give it to them I would worry about offending them or changing their perception of me. These early writings were very much in-your-face; I hadn’t yet learned any subtly as a writer whatsoever, and so nothing was left to the imagination. I would force you to see every tiny detail of a threesome or a homoerotic encounter, whether you wanted to or not. And then I would worry. Uh-oh. They’re going to think I’m this perverted freak. If some of them did think this they were kind enough to spare me their revelation. I think I would have been devastated otherwise. I was 24 and barely had a sense of who I really was, with absolutely no foundation with which to say, Think your worst; I am who I am.

Now, at 36, I am finally seeing Shadow Fox getting published. It’s gone through several drafts, and while it’s still racy and often graphic, I feel like I’ve reached a good balance between tastefulness and edginess.  It can always be improved upon, but I’m glad to say that I am proud of it. I refuse to be ashamed of it; so much of it reflects my inner being and I’ve finally allowed myself to love that part of me. I might warn someone that they are probably going to be surprised, maybe even shocked, but I will never again say to someone, “Oh, you can’t read this. You’ll hate it and/or me.” I’ll allow them to make that choice for themselves. The state of being offended is a choice as well. I have no control of this, and I’m finally at the point where I no longer care. If someone chooses to be offended by my books, I won’t hold it against them. I was tested just recently when my mother-in-law read the first chapter on my website. I think I actually felt the earth shift on its axis, and all she could say in response was, “I like the reference to St. Louis [where she lives].”  With the F-bomb in the very first paragraph, there’s no escape. But I was okay with this. In fact, I was a little smug. I think I’m ready to show the world that there is so much more to me than singing with a broom in hand or trying to make everyone happy. Now, I’m not entirely reformed. I still can’t think about my dad reading it without squirming. To him I’ll always be his little girl, and it will never be easy for him to reconcile this adult not-so-innocent me to the child me. But if that’s my only hang-up, I’m doing great.

What I hope friends and relatives will discover upon reading my books is that I’m still me, the sweet and happy Ashley they’ve always known, but with many more facets to my personality that actually make me a more interesting person. I hope that they won’t come out of it feeling deceived. I really am sweet and happy. But I’m also very passionate, and delving into the shadow of the human psyche is something I enjoy doing. And just because I write about heroin use or threesomes doesn’t mean I partake in them personally, just like listening to Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson doesn’t make me a Satanist.  It’s hard to avoid trying to pigeonhole people. When my best friend from high school and I reunited on Facebook after 20 years, I’ll be the first to admit that her tattoos and her own death-metal band threw me. But she has the one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know, and she routinely calls on angels to help ease the suffering of those less fortunate than she.

This week my debut novel went on sale with Champagne Books, and I recently found out they are publishing the two sequels within the next twelve months. I’m ready to shed my chrysalis and let you see the butterfly that was hiding there all along. Don’t worry: that sweet caterpillar that likes to snuggle is still there. But these wings are ready to take you for a wild ride.

Ashley is the author of seven novels, as well as three published stage adaptations of Jane Austen’s books. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband James and daughter Alexandria, and up until recently she and James ran their own Shakespearean theater company, Actors’ Renaissance Theatre. Shadow Fox is her first published novel, and its two sequels, Fox Rising and Night of the Fox, will be published in 2011.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wayne Farquhar: VBT Hosting

Title:  Blood over Badge
Genre:  Crime fiction
Publisher: 3 L Publishers

During an interview yesterday, the host asked “Wayne, when did you consider yourself a writer?” The question caught me off guard and I paused and then suddenly found myself searching for an answer during the LIVE show! I chuckled and said “about a week ago.” We had a good laugh and then I gathered my thoughts about the question.

I stayed with the theme and explained I never really gave the title much thought. I remembered years ago, at the beginning. I knew two things for sure: I desired to write and I had a good story to tell. So it began with trying to write the very best, “first line.” I wrote a thousand first lines until I finally settled with “Kyle Sanders fidgeted and his ankle shackles clinked.” The next goal was to write the best paragraph I could dream up. Soon after, paragraphs became pages and a chapter was born. I set goals to write the next scene and to capture the right voice of each character. As I moved along, the characters “talked to me” and they became real people. I created a roster listing every character. I identified everything about that character: Name, age, appearance, marital status, sexual orientation, nationality, likes, dislikes, ambitions, goals, jobs, history, favorite food and favorite drink. The list goes on forever, right? And every time I wrote about that character, I tried to include something about them. Mostly, it’s done through something they’re doing or saying. Or how they speak and what words they use. Adjective use in a character’s dialogue says a lot about who they are and what they think. Here’s a great rule of thumb: A reader should be able to identify the character by their dialogue alone, sans tags.

As I got further into the manuscript, I found my goals and objectives grew more complex and challenging. I believe it’s a natural occurrence during the writing process because our skills improve as we write. Writing is truly a craft and we have to continue to write in order to hone our craft.

Then one day it happened. I finished the story and realized I’d written a book. What I didn’t realize was, now the work really begins! The stars aligned and I found a great editor who said to me “if you want to write, you have to love to rewrite.” He wasn’t kidding. Interestingly enough, I found my goals had changed. And today, it’s been a long time since trying to write the very best “first line” and I’ve grown as a writer. Hey! … I just called myself a writer! Not a new writer, but a writer that’s grown and developed!

Someday, my 11 year old son will be old enough to read Blood Over Badge. He’s too young now because the book is “R-Rated.” My son will be able to go into a bookstore or library and see a book with his last name on the cover and binding. He can open it and read the dedication to him and his mom. If I didn’t mention it, that was my final goal for writing a book. The way I see it, I hit the grand slam! It’s been a long journey and I’ve truly been a writer for a long time … Ever since I typed the very first, “very best - first line.”

Bio:  Wayne Farquhar is a 28-year veteran working with the San Jose Police Department in California. He has worked through the ranks from officer to lieutenant with detective assignments in Sexual Assaults, Homicide
and Internal Affairs. He has also worked undercover assignments in
Child Exploitation, Child Pornography and Vice. He spent 10 years as a
street cop and hostage negotiator. Wayne has worked on Federal Task
Forces with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). He has appeared
on national television, /America’s Most Wanted/ on a murder investigation. BLOOD OVER BADGE is his first effort in crime-thriller
fiction, and he hopes to write more books and speak to larger
audiences about his experiences in law enforcement. Wayne lives with
his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you would like to formally invite Wayne to speak about BLOOD OVER
BADGE or law enforcement to your organization, association, conference
or expo, please send an email to


The murder of the Mayor of San Francisco’s daughter sets the stage for
this intriguing and spellbinding crime thriller. Two police detectives, Jack Paige and Casey Ford are assigned to catch a cold-blooded rapist and killer. In this gritty, realistic tale of homicide, unrelated mysteries of two murderers seem to come together and make little sense. What does a man rotting away behind the stench-enclosed walls of Angola Penitentiary have to do with an evil and cruel rapist and killer now on the run from California to Texas? What is the relationship to the killing of the Mayor’s daughter? BLOOD OVER BADGE, an intense, taunt and brilliantly told crime thriller, takes readers on a realistic, gritty and real-world tour de force exploring the underbelly of police and detective work.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

George Hudson: VB Tour Feature

Title: Drama

author: George Hudson
Genre:  urban fiction

The drama just doesn't stop in the lives of Deb, Tammy, and Lisa. Deb, the hard worker and savvy entrepreneur is blessed with a multimillion dollar contract, but has to enjoy the success without the comfort of her man whose fledging music career has him busy from state to state. Tammy has everything a diva could want, a multimillion dollar home, expensive cars, clothes, jewelry, and she thought love.

Drama is a book a lot like sex in the city with black characters,  each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character.  They take turns telling their side of the story.  It has everything, humor, emotions, great characters, and a lot of drama.

What is Urban Fiction?
Urban fiction, also known as Street lit, is a literary genre set, as the name implies, in a city landscape; however, the genre is as much defined by the race and culture of its characters as the urban setting. The tone for urban fiction is usually dark, focusing on the underside. Profanity, sex, and violence are usually explicit, with the writer not shying away from or watering-down the material.

It  doesn't matter whether you call it urban fiction, hip-hop fiction, ghetto lit or gangster lit, this genre has had a profound impact on publishing similar to the way that rap music did in its early days. What is significant is that a new audience for books has evolved. The material may be a little crude or harsh sometimes, but many find it to be true to the experience that it depicts.

Urban fiction the once misunderstood and under estimated genre has solidified itself in the publishing industry. The old traditional major publishing houses that once turned their nose up at urban fiction is now making six and seven figure deals to be a part of the growing genre. Most people think urban fiction is all about drugs, violence, and poverty when its not. For example my first novel Drama is about three women going through life's ups and downs. Right now it's a best seller within the company that's now only a year old. One of my premiere authors book titled Married to His Lies is on the verge of making essence best seller list and it doesn't contain the stereo typical urban drama plot. We at G Street highly recommend our new line up of books for our spring release.

George Sherman Hudson was born and raised in Atlanta Ga.. After being continuously rejected by different publishers because of the subject matter contained in his books while serving time, this father of two did some research and started G Street Chronicles, the urban book publishing company that's ran by him with the help of his COO and fiancé Erica Jones . While George is continuously working hard to make G Street Chronicles a recognized name in the literary industry, he's also working hard on his highly anticipated REAL series. George has authored five books in all. His debut book Drama is in stores now. Having published more than 10 titles in the first year of business George is determined to make G Street Chronicles an urban lit powerhouse.

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