LET’S MEET AARON MARSHALL

This is the first time I’ve featured an author who writes for children, possibly the hardest readers to please – they know what they like and are not afraid to voice their opinions loud and clear!  But it’s the parents and grannies who buy the books, so why not take a look at Aaron’s work after reading what he has to say:-

Hi. I’m Aaron. I love adventures – especially adventures with my dazzling wife and 3 curious kids, exploring California’s coastline.

I’ve spent the better part of the last two decades teaching, bagging graduate degrees in Philosophy and Education. My day jobs still allow me to teach, lead overseas trips, and work at a zoo. No matter what a particular day holds, I want to be a little more heroic when the sun sets.

How about you? Want to be heroic? Grab your supersuit and join me.

aaron blog pic

 (This is my secret identity. Should I add glasses? No one knows I’m heroic. Shhh…)

Let’s be clear about two things:

1.    Storytelling matters.

The Story Keeping series tries to capture the excitement of stories at bedtime. Our heroes (Riles, Sissie, and Little Finn) tuck into their bunks to hear grandpa read, and the story literally comes to life as they help the hero navigate conflict – from inside and outside the pages.

As one reviewer notes, “it’s akin to the choose your own adventure stories of the 1980’s” so there’s a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in the whole project.

Helping them along the way, Grandpa guides and mentors the siblings through twists and turns that will, as he says, “Put goose bumps on your arms and tickle the hair in your ears.”

Want to enjoy this shared “storytelling” experience? Grab the audiobook and parent guide for free at http://bit.ly/2nswJRs.

2.    Happy Endings are worth saving.

In a world full of bullheaded people, misguided fanaticism, and all sorts of crazy – happy endings are an even bigger deal.

Story Keeping is all about saving happy endings. Our heroes jump in and out of stories to secure them – every night they can.

In this series opener, everything changes as Grandpa opens up a magical, glowing book for Riles, Sissie, and Little Finn. Turns out Space Spy Drift Elwick needs saving. Space Pirates are about to destroy earth and he can’t even remember his name. Dive in with our heroes as Riles dives into the glowing pages. Will it be enough? Will they find a way to help Drift, save earth, and secure the happy ending?

aaron's book

 

For more about Aaron, head over to www.armarshall.com

Snag the audiobook for FREE at http://bit.ly/2nswJRs

To grab a kindle or paperback copy of this series opener, head over to http://amzn.to/2nxsMZF.

Story Keeping: The Night I Became A Hero: An action adventure chapter book for children – Kindle edition by A.R. Marshall. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Story Keeping: The Night I Became A Hero: An action adventure chapter book for children.

Jump on our mailer for sneak peeks and deals on the rest of the series (http://bit.ly/2nswJRs) – book 2 is almost launched, and book 3 will launch early summer!

NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAYS TO PROMOTE/ADVERTISE YOUR BOOK

I was a little dismayed by one response I got to my blog on AM I WASTING MY TIME. This author thought I was being negative. Not at all, perhaps the humour was a little obtuse. Take me seriously at your peril! I thought I was just being realistic and we all need to think out of the box these days and find new ways to promote our books. And, please note this is also aimed at those who read books as it will give them an excellent insight into what hoops we authors have to leap through to get to the #1 slot.

Be warned, some of these ideas may mean you connecting with unsavoury characters in the underworld (I’m still trying to find out who they are myself) but I’m sure it can be done.

First, gatecrash any really big national news channel while they’re on air carrying a pile of your books. Slam one copy against the nearest camera, so it gets a huge big close up. You can be sure that all the other cameras will be focused on you as you are dragged out kicking and screaming – remember to use the title of your books frequently in your protests as they evict you.

TV studios

Second, choose a suitable venue, Buckingham Palace is good, or the White House if you’re American. Chain yourself to the front gates after tying several print copies of your book to various parts of your person. Make sure the chain links are thick, if possible some metal that will take a long time to saw through (google metals suitable for your purpose)

Third, storm into a large book fair dressed in the most bizarre costume you can find (for me, writing about Africa this would possibly be bare-breasted with a grass skirt) flinging leaflets in all directions. You might even manage to disrupt an important, serious lecture. Generally make a nuisance of yourself.

Fourth, crawl across a major public square (Times or Trafalgar would be good) wearing only your books. If you don’t get on the local news, I would be amazed. When arrested hold a book signing at the police station – especially good for those who write crime thrillers.

Fifth, frame your book covers and hang them beside an important piece of art in a national gallery –  The Night Watch, The Mona Lisa, Guernica would be good ones to choose.

painting

Six, print out several hundred copies of large posters showing your book as #1 best seller on the NYT list and stick these over the frames so thoughtfully provided in underground and metro stations. It should take a while before anyone notices it’s the wrong book, but in the meantime … think of all those sales.

metro posters

Seven, identify where they are shooting exterior location scenes for a blockbuster film and walk into as many shots as possible reading your book. Before you’re thrown out fling copies at the major stars. Who knows they may pick one up and read it and give you an endorsement.

film set

Eight, (only if you have a head for heights) climb up some important building and refuse to come down until your sales graph on KDP has streaked into the stratosphere.

I hope these helpful hints will take you to #1 and allow you to share your masterpiece with the whole world. However, if all else fails, in desperation, you could blog about your books and hope to make a sale or two.

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Do you have any other creative ideas you could share with us? if so, please leave a comment and maybe re-blog to get the word out there.

Next time we travel back to the Far East – have a good week.

NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAYS TO PROMOTE/ADVERTISE YOUR BOOK

I was a little dismayed by one response I got to my bog on AM I WASTING MY TIME. This author thought I was being negative. Not at all, perhaps the humour was a little obtuse. Take me seriously at your peril! I thought I was just being realistic and we all need to think out of the box these days and find new ways to promote our books. And, please note this is also aimed at those who read books as it will give them an excellent insight into what hoops we authors have to leap through to get to the #1 slot.

Be warned, some of these ideas may mean you connecting with unsavoury characters in the underworld (I’m still trying to find out who they are myself) but I’m sure it can be done.

First, gatecrash any really big national news channel while they’re on air carrying a pile of your books. Slam one copy against the nearest camera, so it gets a huge big close up. You can be sure that all the other cameras will be focused on you as you are dragged out kicking and screaming – remember to use the title of your books frequently in your protests as they evict you.

TV studios

Second, choose a suitable venue, Buckingham Palace is good, or the White House if you’re American. Chain yourself to the front gates after tying several print copies of your book to various parts of your person. Make sure the chain links are thick, if possible some metal that will take a long time to saw through (google metals suitable for your purpose)

Third, storm into a large book fair dressed in the most bizarre costume you can find (for me, writing about Africa this would possibly be bare-breasted with a grass skirt) flinging leaflets in all directions. You might even manage to disrupt an important, serious lecture. Generally make a nuisance of yourself.

Fourth, crawl across a major public square (Times or Trafalgar would be good) wearing only your books. If you don’t get on the local news, I would be amazed. When arrested hold a book signing at the police station – especially good for those who write crime thrillers.

Fifth, frame your book covers and hang them beside an important piece of art in a national gallery –  The Night Watch, The Mona Lisa, Guernica would be good ones to choose.

painting

Six, print out several hundred copies of large posters showing your book as #1 best seller on the NYT list and stick these over the frames so thoughtfully provided in underground and metro stations. It should take a while before anyone notices it’s the wrong book, but in the meantime … think of all those sales.

metro posters

Seven, identify where they are shooting exterior location scenes for a blockbuster film and walk into as many shots as possible reading your book. Before you’re thrown out fling copies at the major stars. Who knows they may pick one up and read it and give you an endorsement.

film set

Eight, (only if you have a head for heights) climb up some important building and refuse to come down until your sales graph on KDP has streaked into the stratosphere.

I hope these helpful hints will take you to #1 and allow you to share your masterpiece with the whole world. However, if all else fails, in desperation, you could blog about your books and hope to make a sale or two.

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Do you have any other creative ideas you could share with us? if so, please leave a comment and maybe re-blog to get the word out there.

Next time we travel back to the Far East – have a good week.

NOT ABOUT LUCINDA (FOR A CHANGE)

I’m typing this under the dining room table, squirming in shame because it has dawned on me that my blogs have all been about me, me and then a bit more me – oh and a lot of dead people too.  But blogs are for sharing, so it’s about time I introduced you to some other great writers besides myself ha ha (Ignore that). So the plan is to feature a new writer each week besides my usual blog and the first up on the podium is

JULIE C GILBERT

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)

Hi. Thanks for letting me chat with you today about the latest Heartfelt Cases story. The Christian Mystery series features a pair of FBI agents and several really personal cases. As one of my narrators pointed out, I sort of have a thing for kidnapping. Such is the case here too. The Keres Case can be read alone, even though it’s book 4. There are tie-ins to The Quinn Case – a short prequel – as well as the first three stories, which are their own novellas. If you enjoy mysteries and suspense stories with dashes of humor, this is a great series for you to check out.

The Keres Case:

After six years of silence, a serial kidnapper and killer returns …  His plans are convoluted. His motives are obscure. He leaves notes, cards, and other clues. What he truly wants is a worthy opponent. He kidnaps a boy only to return him in the Erie National Wildlife Refuge as promised. Then, he snatches one of the volunteers searching the woods for the child.

The Keres Case (1)
When FBI Special Agents Ann and Patrick Duncan are assigned to the case, they soon realize the kidnapper likes getting personal. To make matters worse, the perpetrator has help from surprising sources: victims’ families. The more the agents learn about The Keres Legacy, the clearer it becomes that their family and friends are both fair game.

Losing clearly means somebody dies, but even winning might come at a cost.

Invitation:

The Collins Case is permafree so you can grab that any time.

If you’d like Heartfelt Cases 2: The Kiverson Case, all you have to do is sign up on my website.

I look forward to meeting you. If you have questions or comments, you can always reach me at devyaschildren @ gmail.com (take out the spaces).

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Invitation:

The Collins Case is permafree so you can grab that any time.

I checked out Julie’s author page and she has over 20 books on there, a prolific writer, so do go and take a look.

I am featuring authors in my monthly newsletter as well as a chance to win a book and enjoy backstories so here is the link if you would like to sign up  http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf   Have a great week everyone!

ALMOST THE END OF BIG TRIP GUIDED TOUR – ON AND ON WITH VICTORIA

There was one more temple complex to visit, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol (don’t worry I can’t pronounce these names properly either). This was acres and acres of ruins stretching almost as far as the eye can see.

THE PROMO BIT (only because I’m told ‘it’s the right thing to do’)

Just in case you’ve not come across my Amie series – she’s the young housewife I take out of England and dump in Africa and then civil war breaks out. She has a terrible time and then the saga continues in books 2 & 3. I am currently writing book 4, it’s a wonder she’s survived this long. 🙂  This is the link for book 1. http://amzn.to/2ieb5zo

And to be extra helpful, this is what they look like. Thanks to Daz Smith for the covers and to Gabi Plumm for making them readable 🙂

THE HISTORY RUBBISH

You must have heard by now that Victoria was soppy over Albert, so soppy that she wanted to name all their children either Albert or Albertina until it was pointed out to her that they would get all their banks accounts and post and credit cards muddled up if they all had the same name.

A good example was the day Victoria turned 25, (she had already been on the throne for 7 years) and she received a portrait of himself from Albert with a group of angels in the background, and she was quite thrilled. (The day DH gives me something like that he’s out the door!)

TRY TO IMAGINE THE NAUSEOUS PICTURE HERE

Victoria was jealous of any time Albert spent with the children. Albert, or Bertie the eldest boy, wasn’t making much progress and the royal couple noticed with horror that he was everything his father was not, – charming, easy with the opposite sex and eloquent with a gay, (no, not that sort of gay) sunny nature. As they saw it, he was well on the road to ruin.

BERTIE SAILOR OUTFIT

 

But his greatest sin was one his mother could never forgive him for – next week, or maybe the week after if I change my mind.

BREAKING NEWS

Those of you who have put up with my inane / insane ramblings over the last few months may remember that I hate giving books away for free. It’s not that I’m mean, but when I think of the blood, sweat and tears, the hours of labour, not to mention the cost of editing and the cover design, it’s hard to hand it over for nothing, even though, like many other authors I’m not in it just for the money.

So, at the beginning of this year I decided that if at all possible I’d not give books away – free chapters yes, but not the whole book. Whether I can keep to this remains to be seen.

TLP HIGHER RES

This is all leading up to my news that I am reducing the price of Truth, Lies and Propaganda book 1 to $/£0.99 for five days only.

To tempt you to download it for that ridiculous price, here is an extract:

It’s rare that you get away with trying to cut corners – someone somewhere will always notice – and we fell into this trap in a big way.

We were on another shoot for Durban Tourism. This time they were quite specific about what they wanted. Not just the usual sea, sun and sand, they explained, this is more for those looking for adventure.

“We need to show the different kinds of things the visitors can do, active things.”

“Fine,” we said, “what do you suggest?” Ah, that set them thinking, but eventually they came up with an answer. One of those wildly, adventurous, active things they wanted was fishing in the rock pools off the shoreline.

Now personally I wouldn’t go on holiday to catch fish in rock pools, especially things with claws and teeth, but I guess they knew what they were talking about and knew what normal people really liked to do on holiday. Who was I to question them?  crayfish

This was a larger than normal budget shoot, it must have been for a really big, important expo. We could have real, live models from the modelling agency and, much to my horror, the clients said they wanted real, live fish as well!

I’d planned to stock up on fish props from the local toy shop, or if they didn’t stock plastic crayfish, (I had my doubts about that), at worst I would change that to the ‘ocean fresh’ counter at my local supermarket. But now that wasn’t going to work either if they wanted them alive. Carl knew of a couple in his favourite fish restaurant, but when he went to enquire about them, unfortunately they’d been eaten the night before.

That was plan A and B up the creek, so we moved on to plan C. I would pop down as the fishing boats came in the following morning and purchase a couple of live crayfish from them. No, correction – I would get someone else to go down and buy the creatures, my bravery has its limits.

Plan C wasn’t going to work either. Crayfish were not in season and were nowhere to be found in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Natal. Could we think of a plan D?

Carl was a very keen fisherman and he came up with the bright idea of bringing some crayfish up from Cape Town. He picked up the phone.

On day one of the shoot, we met up with the models at a very smart, colonial hotel just north of Durban. They looked young and absolutely gorgeous, so understandably, I hated them on sight.

Next came Carl, straight from the airport, complete with a large box filled with ice and three crayfish in the back of his SUV. I found it hard to believe they had survived the trip still alive, but I was not about to question their health.

We lugged the camera gear, plus the box of crayfish, through the hotel, past the swimming pool and down to the rocks below. We were joined by the male model, I think he was called Sam, he was the one who would be doing the fishing.

Carl kept the fish in the box until he was ready to shoot the scene, and then slid them into the large, enclosed rock pool. He was not going to show they were in a confined space, but use creative camera angles to suggest they had access to open water and so on. I’m sure you get the picture. We did too.

The crayfish took to the water with glee, and then must have been thoroughly cheesed off when they were immediately recaptured by the male model, muscles rippling in the wind, as he suddenly leapt out of the water holding up one in each hand. You’d think the silly creatures would have learned their lesson the first time round. I could add here that I observed from a very safe distance, just in case they escaped and came my way.

Eventually we got the whole programme in the can (I’m using a little more in-house language speak here) and after the edit, the clients viewed it and were very happy. The clients were very happy for two whole days, until they received a call from a rather irate gentleman, obviously an important crayfish expert, who demanded to know why we were trying to pass off Cape Town crayfish as swimming off the coast of Durban. Didn’t we know that further south the crayfish were bright pink and the pale coloured ones lived near our shores? Or was it the other way round?

Frankly no, we didn’t. Nor apparently did our clients from the Tourism Board. I can’t remember what happened next, but we were in disgrace after that episode. It was no good us whinging about the huge number of awards we had won, or how many other happy clients we could mention. We had got it wrong this time.

umhlanga beachfront

Now as 2017 is the year I learn to market, apparently I need to tell you why you must buy my book and how you can’t live without it.

It’s a great book.

It will make you laugh and gasp out loud.

It will tell you stuff about Africa you didn’t know.

It will tell you what goes on behind the video cameras and how the ‘truth’ is manipulated.

It’s a good read.

It won’t be this cheap again for a long time.

You will enjoy it.

Amazon.com  4.8 on 41 reviews   4.7 on 35 reviews on Amazon.co.uk

And to be extra helpful, here are all the links.

http://amzn.to/2ihtYNf

B& N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/truth+Lies+and+Propaganda    

Apple itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/truth-lies-and-propaganda/id1146681503

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truth-lies-and-propaganda

Scribd. https://www.scribd.com/book/321929081/Truth-Lies-and-Propaganda

Inktera http://www.inktera.com/store/title/78827da8-7700-48f0-b070-dbb4f255e162

Did I do all that right? Bear with me, I’m learning.  All comments from you proper marketing people gratefully received!

PLEASE DON’T BE MY FRIEND

The other day I posted the following on my Facebook Timeline.

Dear Prospective Face Book Friend, I do understand that you may be looking for pen pals and maybe even a romantic connection, especially if you are posted abroad in a war zone. However, despite this being a public page, I use it to chat to my reader and writer friends and exchange hints, reviews, and other marketing information. So it’s probably not the kind of page you are looking for – besides, I’m a happily married grandmother, who’s rapidly losing the wrinkle war. I hate to decline friends, so I hope you’ll understand and not make a friend request.

Yes, I know I come across as hard, overbearing and pretty unpleasant, but I’m really a softie inside and I don’t like to refuse a friendship, my page is public after all. The problem is, I don’t like to be rude or offend, but then (like many of us) I get bombarded with virtual roses and bottles of drink and even more flowery comments.

I was also hoping my post would deter the ones from humans who, deep down, may not be genuinely interested in me and my books. For example I had one who asked me what I was wearing. Ah, I thought, s/he was curious about writers and their habits, so I told it (with a name like Alex it wasn’t easy to tell). I’m sitting here I wrote in my usual creative gear, IMG_0726my fluffy red and white pyjamas liberally adorned with red reindeer and Xmas trees (I bought them around Christmas time) under my red furry dressing gown with the rabbit on the pocket, a pair of free airline socks and my favourite reindeer slippers. (They may be mooses, I’m not quite sure).

I was then treated to a picture of my new friend. S/he wasn’t wearing very much at all and what s/he was wearing defied comprehension.  DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!

So with the very best intentions, I hoped my post would not subject me to such heart-stopping shocks, (it’s not good to call the paramedics in too often), this post will do the trick I thought.

Sure enough a few minutes later I got a friend request from a dear little granny living in France. She looked so cute and cuddly, grey wavy hair, delightful smile, pretty dress. Great, I thought another fan friend who has heard about my brilliant books and can’t wait to read them, she might even buy one, or two, or three, or four. I cheerfully pressed accept and said how happy I was to connect with her.

In just a couple of minutes she private messaged me, telling me how thrilled she was to be my friend. She lives in France, and she was dying of cancer. How sad I thought, my fingers were poised to send her virtual hugs, hearts and kisses.  She was a widow previously married to an English entrepreneur, (I hadn’t noticed at this point she had a German surname) and he had been killed in a car crash with their only daughter. I reached for my hanky

IMG_0727

and upped my mental reply to include a bunch of virtual roses (I was trying to decide if a bottle of plonk would be suitable as well in this instance). She continued by telling me she had 10.5 million Euro in the bank and if I promised to donate it to various charities….I could keep 20% for myself.

I groaned. Yes, it’s what we called in South Africa a 411 letter – they want your name, bank account number, the date you stopped being breast fed, your inside leg measurement and all your pin numbers.

What a disappointment. Off I go to Facebook to do the blocking and reporting thing – DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!  But FB do send you a nice apology don’t they – saying they’re sorry you’ve been subjected to this.

They can’t still be catching people out with this scam surely? Did s/he think I was born yesterday? Well maybe looking at my avatar…?

Now the big question of course is, she’s given me her private email address, so do you think I can add it to my Mailchimp list so she’ll get my monthly newsletter? I’m a bit worried she might unsubscribe.

You can subscribe if you like http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf