I met Fauzia Burke when she was presenting at a San Diego writers conference and came away with no doubt she knew her stuff. I wasn't surprised she haI met Fauzia Burke when she was presenting at a San Diego writers conference and came away with no doubt she knew her stuff. I wasn't surprised she has marketed books for some of my favorite authors (Jeffrey Archer, Dean Koontz, and Daniel Silva to name a few). When her how-to book, Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2016) became available on NetGalley, I grabbed it.
Based on what I'd seen at her presentation, I expected expert advice that would kickstart the online marketing campaign for my latest novel in a down-to-earth voice suggestions achievable even for the novice marketer. And that's exactly what I got. It's important to note: If you're looking for a palette of marketing options that includes physical events such as book tours and radio interviews, this may not be the book for you. If you're looking for online events you can participate in that are low-no cost and the payback on time spent is excellent, this is the right book. Fauzia specializes in showing authors how to use readily-available online tools to market their books such as blogs, websites, social media, and more.
She calls this an introductory book but don't let that confuse you. I consider myself pretty savvy with online marketing--I've published dozens of ebooks over a decade--and I found nuggets that I can make use of immediately. Fauzia organizes the book into three parts:
* Getting organized * Turning Your Thinking Into Action * Staying the Course
Each has relevant subtopics like personal branding and know your reader, as well as worksheets to help writers organize their efforts around the specific topic. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
* The best part about online marketing is that it levels the playing field. * How do you prevent your brand from getting lost in all the social media noise? The answer: Be uniquely you. Aim for authenticity. * ...building an effective brand is a marathon, not a sprint. * Over the years, authors have told me interesting things when it comes to their audience. Most of the time it’s half the planet. “My audience is women..." [this is part of the chapter on knowing how to narrow your audience]. * Develop a long-term relationship with your readers... * You don’t have to be an early adopter and chase every new social media tool. Use tools that have a track record for success. * When you look at all the different elements of online marketing, you may feel overwhelmed. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to do it all. You can start slow and small and grow gradually. * Double down on what’s working and ditch what’s not. * The bottom line is this: Don’t spam ever, on any network. Always show respect for others and their time.
Overall, this book is highly recommended to all authors who are trying to market their book and just need a few meaty suggestions to make that go well....more
This story is right up my interest alley. It takes readers well beyond black hat hacking to how these criminals use what is called 'social engineeringThis story is right up my interest alley. It takes readers well beyond black hat hacking to how these criminals use what is called 'social engineering'--digging into people's lives to uncover detail to enable them to break into even the most secure computer systems. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of pentests--using ethical hackers to show corporations where the vulnerabilities in their networks are.
For those who aren't geeky nerds (like me), the author walks that line well. You will be wrapped up by the plot and the surprise ending....more
Danielle Girard's Exhume is the story of a frightened, damaged, abused woman, Dr. Annabelle Schwartman, whose (almost) ex-husband, Spencer, has been sDanielle Girard's Exhume is the story of a frightened, damaged, abused woman, Dr. Annabelle Schwartman, whose (almost) ex-husband, Spencer, has been stalking her for seven years--since she left him for severe emotional abuse and the murder of her unborn child. While hiding from him, trying to avoid anything that would allow him to re-capture her, she builds a life as an accomplished and well-regarded San Francisco Medical Examiner, hoping to have a quiet and normal life--
"Schwartzman preferred sutures. Staples were effective but seemed too industrial. The sutures were slower, and she enjoyed these last minutes with the victim, the time to fully process the death before contacting the investigator."
"The dead did not spook her. Skin slippage, blistering, the blackness of putrefaction—those were all natural parts of death."
Until he finds her, and this time, he's not just stalking. As a string of murders develop, she knows he is behind them and becomes both more desperate and more hardened until she accepts that hiding and running will not solve her problem: There's really only one way out. This could be a typical-though-heartwrenching story of a woman whose abusive husband would rather destroy her than allow her to escape his grasp, but the author doesn't let that happen. Girard is a gifted storyteller who knows just when to add an unexpected twist and a gut-wrenching plot point. She masterfully weaves in quite a bit of backstory to explain how both Schwartzman and her husband got to the point where something must explode. There are times, I admit, when revisiting Schwartzman's past slowed the plot down, but ultimately, it provided a deep understanding of how this damaged woman could do what she must do to escape. I cheered when I felt her morph from victim to vanquisher.
Overall, a good read that will keep you turning pages no matter the hour....more
Barbara Nickless' Blood on the Tracks is the story of Burned Man, a homeless ex-marine whose face is destroyed by an IED, who now rides the rails andBarbara Nickless' Blood on the Tracks is the story of Burned Man, a homeless ex-marine whose face is destroyed by an IED, who now rides the rails and eats from garbage cans. On his way home to get married, he's arrested for murdering his fiancée. The evidence is overwhelming, but not to Senior Special Agent Sydney Parnell, another ex-marine, and her partner Clyde, a former military working dog, both now serving as police on the railroads. She watched too many die in Iraq including her boyfriend. She struggles daily with the psychological impact it's left on her, as does her dog who watched his partner blown up and there was nothing the dog could do to save him.
"I had taken on debts in the war and had very little coin with which to pay it back."
Parnell can't move on and neither can her dog, and they struggle to get through one day after another, no semblance of the confident carefree animals they were before death destroyed their belief that life has a happy ending.
"The ravens of war always come home to roost."
Together, these two damaged officers set out to find the real murderer of Burned Man's fiancee. Woven throughout are flashbacks to her time in Iraq, ghosts of the dead who visit her regularly, and her struggle to tell the difference between reality and dreams. As the plot reveals itself, the reader realizes the flashbacks are building to a crescendo that is playing out through the murdered girl.
This is a rich story, not always comfortable, but addictive and emotional, with that quality of thrillers that forces you onward even as you're scared senseless of where you're headed. It is highly recommended for those who enjoy stories about Vets, the morality of war, and the loyalty of dogs....more
Alex Kava's Reckless Creed (Putnam's Sons 2016) is the third in the series about former detective Ryder Creed, now the owner of K9 CrimeScents, a smalAlex Kava's Reckless Creed (Putnam's Sons 2016) is the third in the series about former detective Ryder Creed, now the owner of K9 CrimeScents, a small company of working dogs in Florida that tracks scents for law enforcement. In this story, he is hired to find a runaway teen. Finding her is the beginning of the problems when he also stumbles across two dead birds that have no evident reason for dying. When it turns out they may have been killed by an illegally-formulated avian flu, it ties in with a case FBI agent Maggie O’Dell (the star of a separate Alex Kava series) is working trying to find a scientist who disappeared while illegally morphing avian flu into a deadly human virus. Creed agrees to train his dogs to sniff out the virus as part of the plan to stop the spread despite numbing reservations about how deadly it would be for his dogs to be around the disease.
I grabbed this book from NetGalley because I've enjoyed every one of the books in this series so far. This one continued the trend. Creed's love of dogs comes through constantly as a guiding light for the story.
"Tails stayed down. Hair at the back of the neck stood on end. Eyes were locked. Ears were still pitched forward. Creed dug a remote from his pocket."
As a dog lover, there were numerous times I flinched as he chased down this deadly and unknown hybrid of avian flu, often running into dastardly characters who would kill anything that got in their way as they unleashed the disease on an unknowing nation. I wasn't worried about mankind as much as Creed's dogs--Grace and Winnie and the entire crew--knowing they would stop at nothing to make their master happy, and only death would stop them. If you don't love dogs, you will still enjoy the story, but might not understand some of the motivations that drive the plot.
Overall: highly recommended for anyone who loves detective stories, murder-mysteries, dog stories, and thrillers.
--I got this book for free from NetGalley in return for an honest review...more
Co-authors Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson's Tier One (Thomas & Mercer 2016) is a heart-stopping, action-packed military thriller told through thCo-authors Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson's Tier One (Thomas & Mercer 2016) is a heart-stopping, action-packed military thriller told through the eyes of an American Special Forces operator, an Iranian Muslim jihadist, and the man responsible for pitting the two against each other to see who wins.
Dempsey is a top-level SEAL, so seriously injured in a mission-gone-bad that he must leave his SEAL Team and join a covert group of hand-picked operators who use HUMINT, SIGINT, and other intel-type of resources to wage their battles. Their first task: Find out who sabotaged the last mission that destroyed Dempsey's team. As the story progresses, we root for Dempsey to make the transition from warrior SEAL to intel-based operator as he struggles to come to terms with the changes required to fight enemies with this new approach. Sometimes we think he won't make it, despite his unusual traits (like a knack for remembering inconsequential trivia), maybe because of the demons that drive his behavior. We aren't privy to these in this book, but they leave lots to be unfolded in future books.
"Some people call it instinct. Others call it a sixth sense. I call it situational awareness."
The antagonist is an Iranian jihadist intent on paying back America for killing his son by doing his part to destroy it. Unlike some faceless terrorists, in this story, we get to know Mamoud, understand his motivations, meet his family, and see that in a different culture, with a different upbringing, this man would be considered a friend.
"Martyrdom is essential to jihad, he told himself. The plan cannot succeed without sacrifice."
One more fascinating character is the boss of the team--Jarvis. He's a synesthete, almost sociopathic in his lack of emotion for events and his practiced approach to dealing with people.
"The chemical formula of polystyrene (C8H8)n, popped into Jarvis’s head, accompanied by a mental image of an expanded hydrocarbon chain of hexagonal phenyl groups."
"Everything in life was an equation, and unbalanced equations set off chain reactions and became chaos."
Jarvis reminded me of L.J. Sellers' sociopathic FBI agent in Point of Control (see my review).
Overall, the authors have a wonderful way of presenting the story pieces and evidence in a way that brings readers along. The only problem I had with the book: The lead up to the climax I found somewhat annoying. I can't tell you why without spoiling the story. If you read it, what to you think? By the ending--all was forgiven; it was satisfying, well-done, and set up these characters for an ongoing series. Which I will be reading.
I've read one other book by these authors--Beijing Red (see my review) so expected a tight story with lots of twists and turns--and that's exactly what I got. This author is highly recommended, as is this series.
--This was received free of charge from NetGalley in return for an honest review....more
This is the story of Rufus, a clever, independent, and fascinating dog anyone would love to call friend. He takes care of his mistress when she's notThis is the story of Rufus, a clever, independent, and fascinating dog anyone would love to call friend. He takes care of his mistress when she's not writing, but in between, when she's lost in her words or traveling, he takes care of the dog community in his neighborhood. And shares the stories of his canine friends with us.
I keep this book at the ready on my Kindle for those times when I end up with 5-10 minutes to spare between appointments, waiting on a doctor, or need a mental break. The book is written like vignettes, organized around the central theme of Friends of Rufus, each story just a few pages (with the rare and pleasurable exception of longer stories). When I finish Rufus, I'll be getting the next in the series. I love having Rufus and his canine logic and wisdom in my life....more
The Bone Wall follows the story of two twins, entwined in a failing world that neither is prepared for. When the world almost destroyed itself over 30The Bone Wall follows the story of two twins, entwined in a failing world that neither is prepared for. When the world almost destroyed itself over 300 years ago, it managed to seal in some of the planet's inhabitants while condemning the rest to live outside the protective shell, in a world that was barely life at all. Now that shell is failing and the inhabitants within must figure out what that means to them. What follows is a savage fight to save a dystopian world that will never be the same.
This is D. Wallace Peach's fourth novel. Not only is it a page-turner, but it challenges our notions of humanity, fairness, and equity in a world where none of those can truly exist....more
Frank Rozzani, detective-turned PI, is hired to help desperate parents find their missing daughter. Florida police declare her a runaway, but a littleFrank Rozzani, detective-turned PI, is hired to help desperate parents find their missing daughter. Florida police declare her a runaway, but a little bit of digging tells Rozzani there's more to her disappearance than an angry girl escaping. He and his cybersleuth-gifted partner set out to find her before it's too late.
I enjoyed this detective mystery so much I will be reading the entire series. The story is fast-moving with all the twists and turns I like in detective mysteries. The two main characters are likable and well-developed with plenty of mystery to move them into a sequel. The story is positive and upbeat with a constant baseline of jazz music to underscore the plot....more
AV is one of my favorite bloggers because of her down-to-earth approach to life. Whether she's building her house from scratch or raising bees, she'sAV is one of my favorite bloggers because of her down-to-earth approach to life. Whether she's building her house from scratch or raising bees, she's always doing what I'd love to do if I had the courage. Her book is no different. In this story, set in a traditional French Canadian farming community, family of the slain Guylaine Claire gather together to mourn her death as they try to move on. Surprisingly (or not), they all come away with a better understanding and acceptance of themselves.
Karen Walker's debut cozy mystery, Murder in White Lace, is about homicide in a bridal salon. Max Walters is working as a bridal consultant while tryiKaren Walker's debut cozy mystery, Murder in White Lace, is about homicide in a bridal salon. Max Walters is working as a bridal consultant while trying to decide what direction her life should go when a client passes out and dies while trying on her bridal gown. Quickly, her death becomes murder and Walters finds herself embroiled in trying to solve it. Though she's never been even an amateur sleuth, with the help of delightful co-worker Keiko and handsome Detective Cruz, she finds she has a talent for unraveling the clues.
This is a delightful story--the start of a series, I'm told--and a must-read for aficionados of Murder She Wrote and the Heather Wells series. ...more