A New Language for Life by Dr. Louis Koster

In his new book A New Language for Life: Happy No Matter What!, Dr. Louis Koster shows you how to transform your life from a place of higher awareness, to trust yourself and life, and experience an overall sense of peace and well-being—no matter what.

Why did you feel compelled to write A New Language for Life?

Louis: I was humbled by my experiences. There is no other way of saying it. I felt entrapped by the circumstances of my life and at some point realized that there was nowhere else to go. I knew that the way I viewed the world had to change. This was my defining moment. I realized that if I considered life as fundamentally good, I may as well trust what was occurring in my life as fundamentally good, rather than condemning it. I made then and there a commitment to be happy and content, no matter what the circumstances of my life. This commitment became a passage of awakening and higher awareness that allowed me to transcend the circumstances of my life and reclaim my capacity to manifest my life. I then became willingly compelled to share this message of awakening and inner peace with others.

Why would someone want to read A New Language for Life?

Louis:  Entrapment in our circumstances is the human experience without exception at some point in a person’s life. In A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What!, readers are invited to dwell in two powerful affirmations–The Choice and The Insight, which by its own unique design, open up a passage of awakening and higher awareness without changing anything about the circumstances of your life. The Choice andThe Insight release being from its entrapment in language and allow readers to experience an authentic freedom to be and be present again to the true joy of life.What makes A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What! so appealing is the simplicity of its passage. A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What! is attractive, since the title of the book is attractive and captures people’s immediate attention.

Is there a particular timely nature of the subject area?

Louis: We live in an era of unprecedented change and are trapped in cycles of crises. In depleting the resources of our planet, we may lose the fragile web of life that sustains us on planet earth. There is more at stake in being happy than our individual happiness, since a commitment to being happy brings about a sense of oneness and perspective to our experience of life. Readers learn that our default way of being is insufficient to deal with our current issues and concerns and that true survival of the human race is only possible inside of oneness.

Are there specific benefits from reading your book?

Louis: Dwelling in the affirmations of the book, The Choice and The Insight, the reader experiences an authentic freedom to be in whatever circumstance they find themselves in life. A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What! shows how you can defeat day-to-day depression, struggle and unhappiness, or any ordinary bad mood.  A New Language for Life shows you how to weather the winds and storms of life from a deep and abiding source of inner peace.  Some of the benefits that workshop participants of A New Language for Life report are less resentment and more peace.  After the workshop, they were less preoccupied with other peoples’ opinion about them and the freedom to just be.  Participants felt less immobilized and consumed by the circumstances in their lives and were able to give attention to what really matters in their lives.

Describe the audience for your book.

Louis: The book is for anyone who is in transition in life and has a sense that there is more to life than what they are currently experiencing. The book is for anyone who is committed to a life beyond struggle and suffering, a life beyond a sense of entrapment by circumstances. The book allows you to empower yourself through the challenges you are facing in life. You are led  to a place where you start to trust your own experience of life and begin listening to your own truth again. The book offers a way to reconnect with the essence of your being and a way to live according to your true nature.

What personal experiences led you to write A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What!?

Louis: In essence, the idea for the book came to me by making the distinction between being, and the “I,” and by recognizing being as a separate, but invisible reality, the only reality that is in keeping with our true nature, despite what our senses, or the “I” tell us that we are. In hindsight, each event in my life has been an integral part of a journey of trusting myself and life, which allowed me to free myself from my self-imposed limitations, realizing that I am much more than what defines me, and come to an authenticity of being.

How do you see A New Language for Life making a difference for people?

Louis: A New Language for Life is a message of peace and oneness. A New Language for Life is a message of a higher awareness. A New Language for Life  allows you to live a life that is wholesome. A New Language for Life shows you how to defeat day-to-day depression, anger, and unhappiness, or any ordinary bad mood. A New Language for Life, shows you how to weather the winds and storms of life from a deep and abiding source of inner peace.

Where do you see the messages in A New Language for Life going?

Louis: I see A New Language for Life  becoming part of our daily conversations. People may see in A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What! a simple and elegant design that allows them to release themselves from the entrapment in language and start living their lives in a way that is more wholesome and in an alignment with the true nature of their being.

What do you see is the relevance of A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What! in today’s society?

Louis: The innate nature of being is kindness. How to get in touch with that and how to maintain that in the face of life’s daily occurrences, is the challenge. A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What! could aid people who are already participating in some spiritual practice to stay centered in their being. Now is the time. Now there is a window in the experience that people have of our current times, an opening to look beyond the horizon of what they see. Apart from personal enlightment, there is a narrow window in the next couple of years to change the way we view ourselves and each other to sustain our fragile life on planet Earth.

How do you see A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What! is in keeping with other spiritual teachings?

Louis:  Anyone who has been dwelling in the possibility of A New Language for Life, Happy No Matter What! will recognize similarities with Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Taoism. This book aligns with other spiritual teachings, in fact enriches other spiritual teachings.

What people, philosophers have influenced you in writing this book?

Louis: I was influenced by the philosopher Martin Heidegger, by Albert Einstein, and Krishnamurti, who all from their own unique perspective dwelled inside of oneness. I am inspired by the message of peace by the Dalai Lama. I have a deep respect for the wisdom of the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides, who spoke about unveiling the truth of oneness.

How has writing A New Language for Life influenced your personal life?

Louis: It allowed for my wife and I to have an extraordinary relationship. It allowed me to live a peaceful life. It allowed me to be more caring for my patients and be in touch with what really matters for them. It allowed me to step a little outside the classical paradigm of practicing medicine, which is predominantly evidence-based, and return to the art of medicine, where true caring makes a difference. It allowed me to have a great relationship with my brother and appreciate his great wisdom. It allowed me to just be grateful for the privilege of being alive.

Who were your biggest teachers?

Louis: My biggest teachers were my parents, my brother, and my wife and daughter. They kept me straight.

What are your other interests?

Louis: Spending time with my family, traveling, reading and language. I am currently studying Arabic, and welcoming any opportunity to practice speaking Spanish.

Who are you favorite authors?

Louis: My favorite authors are historical novelists like Gabriella Garcia Marquez, John Steinbeck, George Orwell, and Ernest Hemmingway.

To find out more about Dr. Louis Koster, visit his website: http://www.louiskoster.com/

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Upcoming Book Tour

Coming soon! Interview with Dr. Louis Koster on October 29th as part of the 2012 Virtual blog tour announcing the release of  A New Language For Life:  Happy No Matter What!

2012 Virtual Tour Itinerary for 

A New Language For Life:  Happy No Matter What! 

by Louis Koster


October 13
Tour Itinerary at Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist Blog
Tour Itinerary at Literature & Fiction Blog
Highlighted Title Listing at Independent Publisher
Review by Irene Roth at Blogcritics

October 14
Review by Irene Roth at Roth’s Book Reviews

October 15
Review by Laura Strathman Hulka at Readerwoman Blog

October 16
Review by Dr. Grady Harp at Powell’s
Interview and excerpt at Book Promo Central

October 16 – October 29
Three international ebook giveaways at Library Thing

October 17
Podcast with Big Blend Radio

October 18
US paperback giveaway at Curled Up With A Good Book
Interview at Curled Up With A Good Book
Review by Barbara Bamberger Scott at Curled Up With A Good Book

October 19
Review by Viviane Crystal at Crystal Book Reviews and at The Best Reviews

October 22
Interview at Alpha Chick

October 23
Review, video & excerpt at Spiritual Lounge

October 24
Excerpt at Your Awakened Self Blog

October 25
Review by Helen Gallagher at New York Journal of Books and at Open Salon

October 26
Author essay, excerpt & giveaways at One Story At A Time

October 28
Podcast with Where Am I Going Radio

October 29
Interview at Literature & Fiction Blog

October 30 – November 12
Three US paperback giveaways at GoodReads

October 31
Review by Christine Zibas at Digital Journal and at Bookpleasures

November 1
Review by Irene Conlan at The Self Improvement Blog and at Ezine Articles

November 2
Review by Gloria Oren at Gloria’s Corner Blog

November 5
Excerpt at Night Owl Reviews Blog

November 6
Interview by April Pohren at Blogcritics

November 7
Interview by Cheryl Malandrinos and giveaway at The Book Connection

November 8
Podcast with Conversations Live Radio

November 9
Videos at Preview The Book, Flickr, Photobucket, & Daily Motion

November 12
Review by Darin Godby at Luxury Reading and at Book Blogs Ning

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Rosen Trevithick

Rosen Trevithick is an Exeter-based, Cornish writer and playwright. Her light-hearted comedy dramas include the stage play, My Cat Geoffrey, a sweet , coming of age story set in Cornwall, and  the screenplay, The Winning Streak, a comedy-drama about three football fans and their relationship with chance.

Hi Rosen, Please tell everyone a little bit about yourself.

Rosen: I’m Rosen Trevithick, a Cornish writer; part girl: part geek. I’ve just launched my second book, Straight Out of University. It’s a contemporary romance that explores the experience of leaving university and adapting to the real world. Sophie Sweet is a perpetual student at Oxford University and out-and-proud bisexual woman, but her father’s health sends her back to the rural community where she grew up, and she finds that she no longer fits in. She’s just about to run screaming back to Oxford when she accidentally falls in love with a man, and her life turns upside-down.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Rosen: I experienced leaving university and moving to the country myself two years ago. The contrast between the two worlds was profound. Amusing things happened to me everyday, so eventually I decided I had to write a story using that premise.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Rosen: Primarily, I wanted to entertain but there is also a little rebellion against the standard bisexual stereotype used in fiction.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Rosen:  Straight Out of University is a stand alone book. I’ve written a novel in the past, Footprints, but it’s a completely different genre and has an unrelated plot. I have no plans to write a sequel to either of them.

What’s the hook for the book?

Rosen: I like to think that the humour will keep readers turning pages.

How do you develop characters and setting?

Rosen: I actually design the appearance of my characters using a character tool in a computer game. Then, I print them out, glue them into a pocket book and scribble notes around them.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Rosen: When Sophie moves to a country village, all of the young mothers seem very bizarre to her. She cannot understand why they’re all falling out over whose daughter will play Mary in the next carol service.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Rosen: I make detailed notes beforehand.

Do you have a specific writing style or preferred POV?

Rosen: I find writing from first person most natural.

How does your environment/upbringing colour your writing?

Rosen: I grew up in a village in the country and then moved away, which helps me notice little things about remote places that I may have otherwise missed. Also, going to university made me challenge my views and I think I’m a lot more open-minded as a consequence, which is certainly reflected in Straight Out of University.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.


Well if you’re looking for something just a little bit different, this is that kind of book. It was like dipping a lolly into a bag of pop rocks, I was never sure where the author would take it next. – Cheryl M-M 

What are your current projects?

Rosen: At the moment I’m very busy trying to promote Straight Out of University, but I don’t enjoy that side of things – I prefer to be writing. I’m also working with a small theatre group, The Coffee House Players, putting together a comedy sketch show.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Rosen: General info: http://www.rosentrevithick.co.uk/
Trailer for Straight Out of University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47VoHXM-4VY

Blog tour dates:

Tuesday 8th November – Kait at Catz – http://kaitatcatz.blogspot.com/Wednesday
Wednesday 9th November – Along the Write Lines – http://alongthewritelines.blogspot.com/
Thursday 10th November – Mel Comely Author – http://melcomley.blogspot.com/
Friday 11th November – Bisexuality and Beyond – http://suegeorgewrites.blogspot.com/
Saturday 12th November – Fentonton 

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J. A. Adams

Today’s guest author is J. A. Adams. This interview is from the blog tour arranged by Nia Promotions. 

J. A. Adams is author of Chameleon, Unfinished Business, and is excited about the re-release of Purple Haze. In Purple Haze, a car accident ends the lives of a young couple and no one suspects foul play until another body surfaces leading the people of Pineview, TX to believe a killer is in their midst. Twins, Landan and Janda Colquin try to uncover the identity of the killer as a complicated haze settles between life as they envisioned and the one that they now know exists 

Tell us about Purple Haze.   

J. A.: Residents of Pineview, Texas suspect no foul play when a popular young couple dies in a car accident. However, years later, when another friend of Landan and Janda (the Colquin twins) turns up dead, the twins mull over the possibility of a killer in their midst. Fearing for their lives, can the twins and their friends figure out the identity of the killer before there is another murder? For all involved, they soon learn life is seldom played by its precedent rules as a haze between the world in which we live and the one in which we wish we did emerges.

What sparked your interest in writing?

J. A.: I was introduced to books at an early age and have been reading since age four.

Do you have a memorable story to share regarding that moment?

J. A.: In Kindergarten there where 3 of us who could read. Our teacher recognizing this would pull us aside one by one during recess for a few minutes of reading tutoring. I think this introduced me to the fact that there was something extra special about being able to understand those marks on paper.

Do you have any writing rituals?

J. A.: No. But I am a little obsessive because when I start, I just keep going and going. I even wake up at night from sleep with an idea for something I am working up and will actually get up and write.

How long did it take to write Purple Haze?

J. A.: About two years. In the middle of trying to get it finished, I was helping with the planning of my oldest daughter’s wedding.

What is the most surprising feedback you’ve received regarding your work?

J. A.: The positive life changing impact I have had on readers.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

J. A.: Never stop writing. Don’t give up on your dream.


J.A. Adams, author of three psychological suspense novels–Chameleon, Purple Haze, and Unfinished Business–uses personal and professional experiences to bring awareness to psychological issues that affect our relationships. 

Adams actively writes and volunteers with numerous organization bringing awareness to teen dating violence and women issues, as well as, advocating against intimate partner and family violence.

Adams resides in Austin, TX with her husband and children nearby. For more information visit www.jaadamsauthor.com.

For more information
Purple Haze is available in print and ebook through most online retailers and your neighborhood book stores. To learn details about locations and online purchases visit www.jaadamsauthor.com.
You can also follow your virtual book tour online at www.niapromotions.com.

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Black Diamond by Ja’Nese Dixon

Black Diamond by Ja’Nese Dixon is a romantic suspense novel about an undercover FBI agent investigating a vicious group suspected of trafficking conflict diamonds.  Ja’Nese chats about some of the key topics she researched while writing Black Diamond.

About Black Diamond
Camille Blackwell, an undercover FBI agent, poses as a jewelry purchaser in an international diamond trading company in hopes of identifying the domestic players in a vicious rebel group suspected of trafficking conflict diamonds. The Bureau requests CIA renegade Marc Fulton’s assistance with sweeping international intelligence to identify the major rebel organizations with the finances and stateside connections strong enough to evade criminal prosecution, despite Camille’s objections.

Their attraction is instant and tense; both resolve to focus on the case. But when Camille receives an encrypted memory stick from a murdered co-worker Marc may be the only person she can trust.Black Diamond is the eagerly anticipated debut novel by Ja’Nese Dixon. True love, like black diamonds, is rare and precious but when murder and a persistent criminal threaten a frail relationship, will love triumph?

About Ja’Nese Dixon

Ja’Nese Dixon writes fiction novels for readers yearning to escape and disappear into a good book. Ja’Nese’s debut novel, Black Diamond is scheduled for release in June 2010. She resides in Houston, Texas, with her husband and their two children. For more information visit http://www.janesedixon.com.
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Black Diamond by Ja’Nese Dixon Virtual Book Tour is organized by Nia Promotions, a marketing company that assists authors and publishers with using web-marketing strategy to market and promote books on the internet. Follow Ja’Nese’s tour at http://bit.ly/blackdiamondvbt.
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J. A. Adams

Today’s guest author is J. A. Adams. This interview is from the blog tour arranged by Nia Promotions.

Tell us about Chameleon.

When dreams turn into nightmares, spur of the moment decisions test the silent codes of family honor. Diane Darhling, beautiful, scholarly, and heir to a multi-million dollar fortune, finds herself caught in a triangular web of love gone seriously wrong. Two men, Jimmy and Jerrell, whose polarized unrelenting desire to have her is felt to the depths of the soul.  One loves unconditionally. The other, a suave psychopath. Reading like a backdrop story from headline news, a twisted plan, forged in pathological and psychotic manipulation, is plotted by the Chameleon.

From where do you get your characters?

Everywhere.  Life, everyday life, personal experiences and encounters with people.  I am a people watcher. Sometimes I may meet someone and their persona matches a character I am working on or a future book in my head.  My characters are often composites of several individuals and/or personality types.  I may meet a person that stays in my head and eventually I may create a story around them.  I joint down a few notes for use when I begin working on that particular character.

For example the new novel I am working on, Pineview’s Secret.  One of the major female characters in the story came out of a bus ride I took 4 years ago traveling from Austin to Houston.  She was one of the passengers.  I did not meet her directly, she sat behind me and in her conversation with another passenger she made mention she was in the adult entertainment business. Then just a few months ago, I met another young lady which provided me with the additional persona I needed to finish out this character.  You will meet her in the upcoming novel Pineview’s Secret.

What do you want most for readers?

I hope that my books will invoke discussion about the lines and boundaries surrounding our most intimate relationships.

I want the reader to come away with the understanding there is true evil in the world.  Situations that on the surface appear to be within the normal realm of life, coincide as residents of evil.

One may discover themselves suddenly caught up in a world of mayhem with no seemingly available outlet. Incidents, commonly known as red flags, are evident throughout the story of Chameleon, but are completely ignored by the innocent and naive main female character Diane.  This shows the danger naïve young women, upon leaving home for the first time entering the adult world, can fall prey to the influences of a seemingly well meaning male whose true intention is solely personal gain at any cost.

What is your base for these theories?

My master’s work is in psychology with concentration in development. Plus, I have 25 years experience and training working with dysfunctional individuals as well as families.

What do you want most for readers?

I hope that my books will invoke discussion about the lines and boundaries surrounding our most intimate relationships.

About J.A. Adams

J.A. Adams, author of three psychological suspense novels, uses personal and professional experiences to bring awareness to psychological issues that affect our relationships.

For 30 years, Adams has worked with traumatized victims of violence and crime. Adams’ experience, paired with her writings, allude to healing the spirit and soul of victims.

Adams currently resides outside of Austin, Texas. She continues to write and volunteers with numerous organization bringing awareness to teen dating violence and women issues, as well as, advocating against intimate partner and family violence. Such organizations include the Ortralla Foundation and Recovery Ministry at Gateway Church. Moreover, she regularly speaks and mentors women using her life as proof that one can love again after trauma.

To learn more about J.A. Adams and her work visit www.jaadamsauthor.com or they can post a comment on my Facebook Fan Page www.facebook.com/fansofjaadams. She also has an author’s profile on SIR Authors at www.sirauthors.com.

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This interview is brought to you by SIR Authors, a book marketing and promotions group organized by Nia Promotions featuring seven authors working together to market and promote their work. To learn more visit www.sirauthors.com

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Daniel Dinges

Dan Dinges, who earned his MBA from the University of Washington at Seattle, retired to write after careers in business management and education.

Shelagh: Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Daniel.

Daniel: Recently I moved to the Rio Grande Valley after a varied career in business, consulting, and management.  Along the way, I earned degrees in economics and business.  My life’s journey has taken me to virtually every state in the union.  I have had long-term residences in Illinois, Virginia, Washington state, Alaska, and Minnesota.

Semi-retirement gives me the opportunity to explore interests, including writing, that I overlooked in the scramble for material success.  I am also able to spend more time with my spiritual side and at this writing, am a member of the council of elders at my church.

Companion animal rescue is a passion for me.  I am active at the local shelter in the areas of adoptions, breed rescue, and fundraising.  We are taking an important step in solving the pet overpopulation problem in the Valley by opening a low cost, high volume spay/neuter clinic.  I will be the director of operations during the startup of this organization.

My two boys have families of their own now.  The eldest lives in Boston and is busy raising two sons of his own.  The younger is also raising a family.  A granddaughter joined us last fall.  They are moving to Texas soon.  I hope to see a lot more of both families in the future.

In my leisure time, I enjoy travel, golf, and long walks with my two dogs, who were both adopted from the local shelter.

Shelagh: When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish?

Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Daniel: Writing has always been a part of my professional life.  As a consultant, manager, and trainer, I have often been tasked to use the written word to put across the results of my labors in reports using clear, concise, and complete terminology.  The goal of a report is to make the complex understandable and actionable.

Get Out of the Way is my first attempt at writing for the entertainment of an audience.

I think that all good books try to engage readers on multiple levels.  In this respect, Get Out of the Way is no different.  It refers to a time of great social change that left many without a feeling of closure.  To some, it seemed that the country shut the door on the mistakes and failures and went into a state of denial.  The message of this book is one of hope for growth through retrospection and healing through reconciliation.

I also believe that the messages in books should be tailored to the work.  At this point, I do not believe the subsequent works in this series or in future projects will be based on the same message.

Shelagh: Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Daniel: Get Out of the Way is the first book in a series about America in the last century.  The series will tell the story of this amazing and in some ways frenetic period in our history through the eyes of Tom Daniels and his family.  The kaleidoscope of sweeping changes the series will examine include: the integration of the western pioneers into an emerging industrial society, the assimilation of refugees from post WWI Europe, the Great Depression, WWII, the Vietnam era, and the post-Vietnam transition of America from an industrial power to a service-based society.

Shelagh: How do you develop characters and setting?

Daniel: My characters act naturally within the context of the story.  I build profiles for each of them using a combination of available checklists plus some personal insights.  One thing I do that may be unusual is to try to add a cast of archetypes from classical literature to each of them.

Actually, I see the War and the Draft as characters, or rather extensions of the Greek God of war and one of his henchmen as opposed to back-story.  They are creators of action on the part of the protagonist.

Settings are not just places.  They also add color and action to the story.  In addition, they are important to the reactions of the characters.

Shelagh: Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Daniel: The way I went about putting together this story is similar to the way I learned to put together a consultative piece.  The entire piece needs to work as a whole before the actual writing begins.  I need to know where I am going before I start out.  I use a top down strategy including storyboarding to plan how the action progresses.  Each scene is a chapter or set of chapters.  That way there is a blueprint to go forward.

This does not mean that the final product looks exactly as it did during planning.  There are always changes in direction as the creative process evolves.  Each new development needs to be integrated into the overall plan before proceeding.  That way I avoid running into a dead end three quarters of the way through.

This process worked well for me, and I plan to go forward with new projects in a similar fashion.  No doubt, experience will dictate modifications.

Shelagh: Do you have a specific writing style or preferred POV?

Daniel: I hope that I present a distinctive author’s “voice.”  Voice is as telling to a writer’s identity as an author’s signature.  My intention is to maintain it throughout my work.

POV follows from the nature and structure of the specific piece.  For that reason, the POV of Get Out of the Way is first person.  The result generates mixed consequences.  On the one hand, the work is, as one critic stated, authentic, believable, and true to life.  Another view, put forward in different review is that the work is a memoir thinly disguised as a novel.  While the work depends heavily on historical events, critical parts of the book are purely fiction.  This is intended to be an example of a relatively new genre known as Creative Nonfiction where the whole attempts to provide an entertaining yet insightful look at an important time in US history.

Shelagh: How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Daniel: A writer’s voice is a combination of a number of factors.  The environment/upbringing of the individual is part of it.  I do not know how it could fail to come through.  I think my journey through life brings on a certain skepticism and challenging of authority that is perhaps indicative of my generation and evident in my writing.

Shelagh: Share the best book review you’ve received.

Daniel: Get Out of the Way was an amazingly enjoyable read.  Written from Tom’s point of view, Daniel Dinges did a wonderful job capturing the spirit of a young man and his struggle to survive the war.  Written from the first person point of view, Tom was a likable voice.  His walk down memory lane brought to life his problems, fears, and struggles of his choice to enlist.  His account was so lifelike, that I felt like I was there along with him throughout his two years of service.

I enjoyed Mr. Dinges’ captivating style of writing.  I look forward to seeing more from this author and will be keeping him on my watch list.

– Theresa Dunlap, Library Thing & Just One More Paragraph Blog

Shelagh: What are your current projects?

Daniel: On the writing front, I am in the preliminary stages of writing the next Tom Daniels book.

I am also developing a work of speculative fiction set in the Southwest about 75 years in the future.

It takes place in a group of new United States territories located in what is left of Mexico.  The Mexican nation succumbed to the onslaught of organized crime and invasion by an unlikely coalition of socialist and Islamic jihadist powers whose ultimate goal is the destruction of America.  The remnants of the country petition for protection and the US really has no choice but to come to their aid despite the fact that it is itself on the decline.

Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Tate Publishing

Daniel Dinges


Rest of the tour:

4/5 Pop Syndicate http://www.popsyndicate.com/books (guest blog, trailer)

4/5 Once Written http://www.oncewritten.com/#MeetTheAuthor (Meet The Author essay)

4/7 Suite 101 / Reading & Literature http://www.suite101.com/readingandliterature (trailer, excerpt, QA, giveaway)
4/7 Julie Bertinshaw Blog http://burtinshaw.wordpress.com (guest blog post)

4/8 Curled Up with a Good Book http://www.curledup.com/win.htm (giveaway)

4/9 Incurable Disease of Writing Blog http://www.missyfrye.net/Blog/?cat=106 (giveaway)

4/12 Incurable Disease of Writing Blog http://www.missyfrye.net/Blog/?cat=106 (article
4/12 Incurable Disease of Writing Blog http://www.missyfrye.net/Blog/?cat=106 (excerpt)

4/14 Book Blogs Ning http://bookblogs.ning.com/group/bookbloggiveaways (giveaway)

4/20 Catch That Book Radio http://www.blogtalkradio.com/catch-that-book (podcast interview)

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Interview: Shelagh Watkins

Susan Whitfield, author of three published novels, Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck and Hell Swamp, interviewed Shelagh Watkins on her blog on Monday 12th October:

Shelagh Watkins is writer, editor and publisher at Mandinam Press, and author of three books: Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine, Mr. Planemaker’s Diving Machine and The Power of Persuasion. She set up the Children’s Fiction group on LibraryThing,  and the Published Authors Network group on LinkedIn and is administrator of the Published Authors forum. There are over five thousand members in the combined groups and networks. When she is not networking, administrating, publishing or editing, she miraculously finds time to write!

Susan: Welcome to my blog, Shelagh.

Shelagh: Hi Susan, Thank you for inviting me to be your guest.

Susan: When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Shelagh: I began writing in 1998 and wrote my first novel, The Power of Persuasion. The book, a work of literary fiction set in Scotland, takes the reader around the world from Europe to the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, and then back to Scotland. I wrote my second novel, Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine, in 2002. Although a work of children’s fiction, the book is aimed at a wide audience: from nine-year-olds to ninety-year-olds! I wrote the sequel, Mr. Planemaker’s Diving Machine in 2011.

Susan: When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Shelagh: The Power of Persuasion, which I submitted to all the major London publishing houses, was well received but failed to attract a single publisher. Along with the rejection slips, the advice from all the publishers was the same: I needed to find an agent. However, finding an agent proved to be as difficult as finding a publisher so I stopped writing. I did not write again until 2002 when my brother died and left two young children, then aged five and eight years old. I began writing again and, this time, I found a publisher. The second book, Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine, was published in 2005. Two years later, the publisher, PublishAmerica, gave me joint print rights and exclusive electronic rights to my novel and I self-published the book through Lulu.com and as an ebook on: Amazon’s kindle.

In 2007, I rewrote The Power of Persuasion, which took twelve months to complete. In January 2008, I set up Mandinam Press to publish the novel. Having learned how to self-publish, I used the experience to publish Forever Friends, an anthology of short stories and poems written by members of the Published Authors forum and network. The book was published in September 2008 and, this month, appeared in Today’s Chicago Woman magazine.

The only message I would pass on to anyone setting out with the idea of becoming a published author is to be realistic about expectations and do not have a preconceived notion about the number of sales a first time author should make. For some new authors, the number of books may be in the thousands but, for the majority of newcomers, the number of books sold is more likely to be in the hundreds. This means that royalties will be small − small enough to be disregarded as an increase in yearly income. It is far more likely that the expenses incurred in selling a few hundred copies of a book will far exceed the amount earned in royalties.

This situation is no different to those facing most talented individuals who pay traveling expenses and teaching/coaching expenses when pursuing their chosen career. It is the same with writers. Everyone has to learn and, as such, new writers should accept that the learning process will involve some costs.

Susan: Briefly tell us about your book(s).

Shelagh: Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine is a story of flight, fantasy, adventure and courage. Although Emmelisa Planemaker is a strong-willed little girl, she misses her dad, who died when she was only five years old.

Emmelisa and her brother Dell have a happy and carefree life until their father becomes ill and is forced to retire at the age of forty-three. After retirement, Mr. Planemaker decides to build a scaled, model airplane because he wants to build something lasting for his children but he dies before completing the task.

Three years later, Emmelisa is being seriously bullied at school by a group led by the notorious school bully, Mayja Troublemaker. When Emmelisa becomes increasingly withdrawn and unhappy, she seeks help and advice through the computer her father had used to locate specialist model aircraft companies in his quest to build a model airplane.

The computer is more than just a computer and full of surprises: Mr. A. Leon Spaceman being one of them! He guides the two children to Hardwareland, where they train to become astronauts and take on an extraordinary mission into space: to follow their father’s TRAIL OF LIGHT.

Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine was a top ten finisher in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll 2005.

The Power of Persuasion is a tongue-in-cheek work of literary fiction set in Scotland. The title is taken from Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The satirical fictional story is about a journalist who stalks a reader (as opposed to a reader who obsessively reads everything written by a particular journalist). The reader, Beth Durban, is aware that she is being followed around and is totally bemused by the unwanted attention:

Beth Durban is persuaded to write a letter to the editor’s page of a national Sunday newspaper in response to a film critic’s prejudice against adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels. When she receives an unexpected visit from the newspaper’s critic, F. William D’Arcy, she is bemused but, after several sightings of the inquisitive journalist, she’s neither pleased nor amused.

Beth is so distracted by the unwelcome interest from such an arrogant man she fails to see that a close work colleague is falling in love with her. As a scientific researcher in a Scottish University, she has led a varied life travelling the world, spending time in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, America, Singapore and Israel. With such a full life, she has had little time to form any serious, romantic attachments that might lead to a permanent relationship.

When she decides to take driving lessons, Beth opens up new opportunities for herself and realises that perhaps she isn’t too old to find love after all.

The Power of Persuasion was a top ten finisher in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll 2008.

Susan: What’s the hook for the books?

Shelagh: There is an underlying philosophy to Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine that is left for readers to figure out for themselves. The opening chapters lay the foundation for the philosophical underpinnings of the book. Mr. Planemaker is dying. He knows this as do his family, friends and work colleagues. They are all trying to help in this last stage of his life.

In his dreams, the Dream House is his final resting place. In his first dream, when the children approach the door, the house disappears because the time is not right for them. They will not be stepping inside the house for quite some time. Bill Dare, who built the house, tells Mr. Planemaker that no one lives inside the house and no one has ever lived inside the house – this is the house of the dead, not the living. The door to the house is missing and cannot be closed or reopened: a one-way passage. Mr. Planemaker asks about the missing door and Mr. Dare explains that the door is actually there and those who can see it won’t be able to walk into the house. In other words, the door is always closed to the living and only open for the dying.

In all his dreams, Mr. Planemaker asks about the children because every waking minute is spent thinking about his son and daughter and what will happen to them when he has gone.

At first, Mr. Planemaker is afraid and he doesn’t want to step inside the house. It is grey and gloomy and unwelcoming. To allay his fears, the people who built the house – the architect, the builder and the workmen – are always cheerful and reassuring. They know the house is bleak and uninviting but the love and care they put into it overshadows the dull, plain appearance of the grey house.

When Mr. Planemaker meets Joy Nair, he is given his first glimpse of light inside the house. The light is warm and soft, and makes the prospect of stepping inside the hallway more attractive. However, he doesn’t step forward because his thoughts are interrupted as he remembers the children. He still wants more time with them.

At the end of chapter five, he finally gives in and his last dream takes him through the door, not into darkness but into light. Before he finally slips away, he asks about the children and is told that they are going to be okay. With that last thought, Mr. Planemaker lets go of his grasp on life and steps into life after death. Now you must read the story to find out what happens to the children.

The hook for The Power of Persuasion is on the first page:

“Do you wake on Sunday mornings feeling bright and cheerful before you step out to buy your favourite Sunday newspapers, and spend the next four hours reading the print off the page? Does this weekly ritual result in a change of temperament – signs of irritability, aggressiveness and a distinctly argumentative frame of mind? I do. To be more accurate, I did. Everyone around me suffered from my inability to avoid the very thing that caused the Jekyll and Hyde mood swings. The news items didn’t affect me much, but the journalists with a point to make were my Achilles’ heel. To a man and a woman, I disagreed with all of them. We were as black and white to each other as the printed page before me. There was no grey area, no common ground and no compromise.

How could there be compromise in a situation where they wrote and I read? In order to see one another’s point of view, I would need to explain mine. To inflict regularly my own half-baked ideas on my family would have been unfair, and yet they probably suffered more from my silent fuming than they did if I succumbed to soap box outbursts.

The more thoughts I kept to myself, the greater the irritation, but at least I did eventually begin to recognise all the symptoms of Sunday paperitis.” If you like the style of writing, you will want to read on …

Susan: How do you develop characters? Setting?

Shelagh: My characters are composites of people I know. I take characteristics of someone I know well and put those characteristics into a completely different character. A teenage girl with a bad attitude might be transfigured into a difficult young boy with a surly disposition. The appearance of the character will be very different to the real person.

Most settings are taken from real life where possible, otherwise I do extensive research to make the setting as real as possible. This was extremely important in the Power of Persuasion where every location had to be accurate whether I had visited the region or not. The reader must not be able to detect the difference.

Susan: Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Shelagh: Cosmos, by a mile. He is so bright and all-knowing. He is always there if he is needed but he is never under anyone’s feet. He is the perfect companion. By the way, Cosmos is a cat, but an extremely bright one!

Susan: Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Shelagh: No. The plot drives itself. All my brilliant ideas away from the word processor soon lose their brilliance when I begin to type. Writing seems to release a creativity that cannot be evoked any other way.

Susan: Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

Shelagh: Yes. My style of writing for children is very different to my style of writing for adults. There is a sharpness to my adult writing that is absent in my children’s novels.

Susan: Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Shelagh: My best reviews are all for Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine, which appeals to just about anyone. The Power of Persuasion is really aimed at Jane Austen fans and not everyone is a fan! Consequently, I found these few words encouraging:

“I read your book some weeks ago and hope you do not mind, put some thoughts on paper:

I was intrigued the way you set out your book with the link of the mysterious appearances of D’Arcy. My very early and mistaken assumption was that Beth’s letter was equivalent to Elizabeth’s refusal of Darcy’s proposal of marriage by Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. If you saw the production with Colin Firth, he became frustrated at this and was obviously haunted by her.

I was particularly interested in the ‘snapshots’ – I could see where the university scenarios came from and those concerned with human interaction showed your perception of how we mortals behave. You must have done a lot of research on some of the geographical visits – I have been to most places so recognise the authenticity. Many of these could be expanded into short stories and then you could have your own anthology. Well done!”

Susan: What’s the most unexpected thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

Shelagh: I was amazed when a presenter from Preston FM community radio asked if I would be interested in a serialisation of Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine. The book was aired over ten weeks from May-July this year. Daily excerpts and a Sunday Omnibus edition totalled over thirteen hours of air time. It was quite brilliant. The narrator, Mike Gardner, did a superb job.

Susan: What are your current projects?

Shelagh: I am about to ask for submissions for the third anthology in the Forever series.

Susan: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Shelagh: On my website: http://shelaghwatkins.co.uk

Susan: Shelagh, I wish you the best with all of your many endeavors!

Shelagh: Thank you Susan for allowing me this opportunity to talk to your readers. It has been a real pleasure, and thank you to all the readers who dropped by to read this blog post.

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