Melanie Robertson-King is the proud recipient of the prestigious SHINE ON Award in the ‘books involving her Celtic connections’ category.
I’ve been nominated for the SHINE ON award! In order to accept the honour bestowed upon me by fellow Ottawa Romance Writer, Maureen Fisher, I have to share seven random bits of information about me with you – my readers.
So without further ado,
Like my nominator, I’m an only child but both my parents came from large families. My mother was one of eight children and my father was one of twenty (his father was married twice and had 10 children with each wife).
I’m a first generation Canadian. My father came to Canada as a Home Child through the Orphan Homes of Scotland.
Not much of a surprise, but I love Scotland and all things Scottish and travel to the ‘auld country’ as often as possible, most recently this past August. I’m rather partial to a certain 18 year old Glenlivet single malt whisky and love haggis.
I’ve never lived any further away from Brockville than 15 miles. Before I started school, I lived in a winterized cottage on the shore of the St. Lawrence River.
I have a background in Computer Programming and work in payroll for an Eastern Ontario trucking company.
I’ve been a story-teller since I was a kid. My cousins and I would gather in the woodshed at my grandmother’s in the dark and scare each other silly with ghost stories.
I can live without chocolate. Yup, you read that right. If I have it fine and if I don’t, well that’s fine, too. Doesn’t say much for someone who writes romance.
The SHINE ON award is one that keeps on giving, so now it’s my turn to nominate the following worthy authors:
I’ve never been before so this will be a totally new experience for me. There’s lots going on and not just turkey stuff, although there is a lot of that, too.
I’ll be at the library with some other authors selling my novel, A Shadow in the Past.
Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.
So, if you’re near Lyndhurst, Ontario this Saturday (Sept 21st) why not come to the turkey fair?
COVER REVEAL FOR SOPHIE’S ENCORE PLUS EXCERPT AND GIVEAWAY!!!
Hooray! Nicky Wells is here today to celebrate the cover reveal for her third book, Sophie’s Encore. Read on for:
Here’s your chance to win an advance review copy of Sophie’s Encore or Rock Star Romance SWAG!
Her rock star is waiting in the wings, but will he get a second chance?
It’s all change for Sophie Jones—only this time, there is more at stake than just her happiness.
Rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, has been her patient and caring friend through the highs and lows since her wedding day, but now he figures it is time for her to start over. By stealth, the rock singer draws Sophie into the behind-the-scenes work for his band’s latest album. Through the days and weeks spent together at the mixing desk, Sophie discovers whole new horizons for her life, yet before she can even begin to explore them, she faces the very real threat of losing her rock star for good.
Join Sophie and Dan in Sophie’s Encore to find out how their journey will end…
Whoa! What do you make of this? And to intrigue you further, Nicky has shared this excerpt of Sophie’s Encore:
Sophie’s Encore: Excerpt
My bedroom door opened slowly and Dan crept in. All thought of sleep forgotten, I flicked the light back on and was met by an astonishing sight. There was Dan, the rock star, legend for his antics on and off stage, clad in a demure pair of checked pajamas with a button-up top and a mismatched, stripy dressing gown. His feet were stuffed into fluffy slippers, and he clutched a bottle and two glasses in his hands.
“Come on,” he whispered. “Dinner is served.”
I giggled and left my bed, grabbing my own stripy dressing gown and a pair of thick socks.
“What are you doing?” I breathed into his ear, but he simply took my hand and pulled me down the dark corridor toward the open-plan lounge.
“Have a seat,” he invited me and gestured at the dining table, which was once again laid, although only for two, complete with candles and napkins.
He set down the bottle and glasses and scurried off to shut the lounge door. While he busied himself in the kitchen, I basked in the heat from the fire which Dan had re-stoked, and observed my rock star with some degree of amusement.
Within a few minutes, he brought a dish of smoked salmon bites to the table, followed by olive bread, a cheese board, various cold meats, olives, pickled anchovies, and prawns with some sort of aioli dip. He popped the cork on the bottle of champagne, poured two glasses, and sat down, satisfied at last.
“Now we can eat,” he announced. “Tapas. What do you think?”
I raised my glass. “Cheers,” I giggled. “So that’s what you meant earlier. I think it’s amazing. It’s like a midnight feast. I’m just waiting for matron to discover us and give us detention. Why all the secrecy?”
Dan speared a prawn and pointed it at me. “Well, for one, as you say, matron will certainly come and give us detention. Peter is very strict on my sleep regimen, you see.” He dipped the prawn into the aioli before popping it into his mouth. The beatific look on his face and his scrunched up eyes suggested he was enjoying this humble treat far more than was warranted.
He swallowed and cleared his throat. “And for another, I’m on a strict diet. Every last bit of cheese gets weighed, the carbohydrates counted, the sugar added up. It’s really tedious.” He grimaced.
I helped myself to some bread and salmon. “Tedious indeed, I can see that. But why? I thought you were supposed to eat lots and get better.” I chewed greedily, my tummy having given an impressive rumble.
Dan speared another prawn and added a mountain of cheese and bread to his place. “Bliss,” he murmured before explaining further. “I’m supposed to eat healthy, not lots. So Peter has taken it upon himself to reform the bad eating habits of a lifetime. Bless him, it’s what he’s paid to do. I’ve been going along with it, and I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty good. But…”
He grinned his school-boy grin, took a big mouthful of food, washed it down with a large gulp of champagne, and finished his thought. “Well, it gets boring. And I wanted to do something special with you. On my own.”
I burst out laughing, but quieted down when I saw the alarm on Dan’s face.
“Sorry,” I whispered.
“Peter’s bedroom is right next door there,” Dan whispered back. “And he’s a light sleeper.” He pointed his finger, and we sat in silence for a minute, straining to hear.
“I think we’re okay,” Dan finally concluded and resumed eating.
I giggled softly. “Naughty, naughty, us.”
“Ha, we’re not naughty yet,” Dan shot back, speaking softly as well. “I was working up to that part.”
He winked, and my heart skipped and jumped. He didn’t mean—he couldn’t mean what I thought he meant?
“What do you mean?” I bumbled, hoping for clarification, but Dan was enjoying himself.
“All in good time,” he teased. “Let’s finish our meal first.”
Nicky wants to share her excitement about this cover reveal and upcoming release with you! She’s offering a giveaway — Enter for your chance to win:
One of TWO Sophie’s ENCORE Advance Review e-Copies
One Sophie’s RUN Mug
One Rock Star Romance Trilogy SWAG Pack featuring postcards and bookmarks
The small print! Entrants must be aged 18 or over. Giveaway is open internationally. Winners will be drawn via Rafflecopter.
****STOP PRESS: Nicky’s just told me that her first two books, Sophie’s Turn and Sophie’s Run, are now available for only $0.99 (or equivalent) each to celebrate the cover reveal! Hurry ~ limited time only!! Book details below!!!*****
SOPHIE’S ENCORE: coming your way in e-book and paperback editions on 5 SEPTEMBER 2013!!
About Nicky Wells
Nicky Wells is your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, Nicky writes Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next door. Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill!
Like Sophie, her leading lady, Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor to The Midweek Drive show on Lincoln’s Siren 107.3 FM. Rock on!
Fellow 4RV author, Holly Jahangiri, recently interviewed Vivian Zabel. They chatted about the company and the exciting PUSH It Forward Contest that Staples is running in support of small business.
You can read Holly’s interview below, or on her blog at this link.
Interview with Vivian Zabel by Holly Jahangiri. (reprinted with kind permission)
I recently chatted with my friend Vivian Zabel, founder of 4RV Publishing, the company that published my first two children’s books, Trockle and A Puppy, Not a Guppy.
“Tell me a little bit about 4RV Publishing,” I asked.
“4RV Publishing came into being when as an author I realized that writing had few choices: a major publisher through an agent, subsidy publishing, self-publishing, or vanity presses. I wanted the opportunity for good writers to be able to have quality books published, traditionally. Authors also deserved to have a personal connection to the company that adopted their ‘babies.’” Vivian smiled, knowing that’s the number one reason I chose 4RV Publishing for Trockle, a story which I had written for my son and one that I did not want to sell all rights to or lose all creative say over.
“How many books do you publish each year?”
“How many we publish each year depends on several conditions: staff availability, funding needed, and what submissions are worth producing. In the less than six years we’ve been in existence, we have published a total of 101 books, some of which are no longer under contract (we put a limit on the number of years we have publication rights). We have 26 more titles to prepare and publish this year. We’ve had to close submissions for children’s picture books until 2015, except for authors under contract or invited to submit, because our illustrators can only do so many books during a year.”
Staples is celebrating small businesses in May and they are awarding digital marketing prize packages each worth $50,000 to three small businesses as part of the Staples PUSH It Forward Contest. 4RV Publishing has entered this contest, and you can help! By voting every day for your favorite small business, you increase your odds of being randomly selected to win a $1,500 Staples Voter Prize Package.
“What awards has 4RV Publishing or its books won?”
“We have received a number of awards and honors the past few years,” said Vivian. Asking her to talk about the accolades earned by books her company has published seems to give her almost as much pleasure as asking her to talk about her grandchildren’s accomplishments. “The most recent were two books which received the Children’s Classical Literature Choice Award: Life on Hold by Beverly Stowe McClure – a book is now in the running for another CCL award – and Walking Through Walls by Karen Cioffi, illustrated by Aidana WillowRaven, which won a CCL silver medal also. Viji Chary’s Porcupine Seeds, illustrated by Bridget McKenna, received the Mom’s Choice Award for Excellence.
“The 2009 Oklahoma Book Award for Fiction went to Kirk Bjornsgarrd for Confessions of a Former Rock Queen.
“We had a number of books place in the Homeland New Day book competition: your book, Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard, took 1st in Children’s Books, and A Puppy, not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw, received 2nd in Tween books. Another author’s books took 1st in Novel and in Young Adult. One book received 2nd place at the North Texas Book Festival. Aldric & Anneliese, by Harry E. Gilleland, received honors from the Military Writers organization. Time Pullers, by Horton Deakins, placed in the top five for the USA Book Awards for Science Fiction. We have books entered in other competitions that haven’t released the winners list yet.”
“‘Another author’s books’? Don’t you remember the titles and who wrote them?” I pressed. I know Vivian doesn’t forget the names of the authors who’ve written award-winning books published by 4RV Publishing. It turns out, they were hers.
“Sure, I remember the titles: 1st in Novel was Midnight Hours by…me. 1st in Young Adult was Prairie Dog Cowboy by…me; 2nd at North Texas was Base Stealers Club by…me.”
I laughed. Vivian is a retired teacher, a mom, and a grandmother. She’s proud of her own books, but would rather shine the spotlight on others’ accomplishments. As the owner of 4RV Publishing, those are the kudos she’d rather promote. Next, I asked the million-dollar question: “Do you charge authors anything to publish their books?”
Vivian shook her head. “No, we do not charge authors anything to publish their books, or for any of the services needed to prepare their books once under contract.”
“I hear things are kind of rough in the publishing industry, these days – even some of the big publishing houses are opening subsidy imprints.”
“One reason publishers get in financial difficulties is the return policy. If a bookstore orders many more copies than they know they will sell, they can return left over copies years and years later and have their money returned. Publishers have to pay that money back, either through Ingram or their own distribution system. 4RV finally did away with returns after being hit with a huge bill for books returned that we could find no record of being bought, much less when they were bought. Major publishers pay millions every year for returned books. Of course that hurts. People aren’t buying books as much as they once did, and it has nothing to do with eBooks being available. It’s the economy. So many Big Guys are opening subsidy imprints. They need the income.”
“So why don’t you do the same?”
“Yes, we need the income, too, but we want the best books possible to be under our imprint. Once we accept payment for doing our job, putting out quality books, we lose at least some control over what is published under our name. We want the authors who deserve to be published to have their books in print and then in electronic format without a black mark against their names, which, no matter what some people say, still exists for self-published books. We try to give our authors the best chance to be successful we can.”
“Is it true that even the editors and illustrators work for royalties? So if books don’t sell well, they don’t get paid, either?”
“True and true. However, the owner of the company doesn’t even take royalties, nor does the head of the editorial department. We believe in the company enough that we leave what earnings we have in 4RV. What staff we have are dedicated to our cause. Of course we lose people quite often. They use 4RV to build a good resume and go on to bigger and better things. I can’t blame them, just ask they leave nicely without putting the company in a bind with unfinished projects. However, some stay even when they get positions elsewhere and do a few projects a year.”
“You’re an author, too – does owning the publishing house mean automatic acceptance and fast-track to print for your books?”
“Excuse me as I laugh. All submissions are sent to acquisition editors anonymously, no identification anywhere on the manuscript. One of my submissions was rejected — yep, rejected with malice. The head of the editorial department asked if the manuscript should be sent to a different acquisition editor, and I said, “No, she had valid reasons, and when I have time, I’ll revise and resubmit.” I’ve never had time. In fact, since 4RV was created, I have had only five books published by the company, and they were back when we had few submissions. I will have the first book come out later this summer, the first since early 2010, and it was in the works for three years.”
“So, 4RV is entered into the Staples PUSH It Forward Contest – what would you do with the prize money if you win?” Personally, I can’t think of many businesses that are more deserving of this “push” from Staples.
Vivian has big ideas on a shoestring budget. $50,000 lets her dream bigger – and lesser-known authors stand to benefit, too. “We need to upgrade all our technology and use digital accounting and record keeping. We would be able to create more eBooks. We need to hire people trained in digital marketing and promote our books even more effectively. The prize money from Staples would give us the “push” we need to compete in today’s publishing world.”
Help 4RV Publishing Win Staples’ PUSH It Forward Contest
You can help a deserving small business win $50,000 – and maybe win $1500 for yourself, while you’re at it! Voting is easy:
Go to http://tinyurl.com/a7hrdmv – this is Staples’ Facebook page already set up for you to vote for 4RV Publishing. If you have not already “Liked” Staples’ page on Facebook, that’s the first step; please click the Like button:
Next, you’ll be taken to this page, where you can Vote for 4RV Publishing – just click Vote now > :You will be asked to give Staples’ app some permissions (Might as well – you can always revoke them later, but they ask only for access to your public profile data – something everyone can see, already – and to your friends’ list, presumably so that you can share this with them and promote the contest via Facebook. I have plenty of friends participating and have not seen any of them “spamming” me in the name of Staples, so I feel pretty confident in granting the requested permissions.)
Last, but not least, when you vote, you’ll have a chance to enter to win $1500 for yourself – how cool is that? Just for helping a small business achieve more. We could all use this kind of “push,” right?
Want Some Good Books?
Shop direct from the 4RV Publishing book store from the comfort of home at http://4rvpublishingcatalog.com (many of these titles can also be found on Amazon and BN.com, as well, though I prefer to shop direct when possible).
There’s nothing like basking in the glory of a 5-star review of your novel. Even if it’s a 1-star stinker, at least you’ve moved someone to write why they didn’t care for your book. I’ve been told, too, you haven’t arrived until you’ve received one of these unpleasantly aromatic odorous reviews.
I’ve been approached by people in the supermarket who have bought my book and told me in the middle of the canned veg aisle how much they loved it, how I twisted the plot and kept them turning the pages so they couldn’t put the book down.
As authors these are the things we truly love to hear or read. It reinforces our belief that we’ve written a quality piece of work that resonated with that particular reader.
But when you don’t get that feedback – whether it be a written review, or a reader makes a point of telling you face-to-face how much they enjoyed your book – you don’t know.
When you read a book (especially if it’s a new-to-you author), do you take the time to write a review and post it on amazon, Goodreads or other sites?
“Imaginative and fast-paced. Couldn’t put it down!” – E.G. Foley, New York Times Bestselling author of The Gryphon Chronicles
“This well-written and intriguing fantasy was a delight to read. I can’t wait to read the second novel in this series!” – Linn B. Halton, author Never Alone on The Star Child by Stephanie Keyes
When all is lost, he will have to make the ultimate decision.
Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to a Celtic goddess. Now everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when Calienta, Kellen, and friend, Gabriel Stewart, find themselves on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why.
Suddenly, Kellen finds himself stuck in the middle of another prophecy that questions everything about him including where his loyalties lie. Plus, Calienta’s more than a bit different; she’s making choices that he doesn’t understand. And Gabe, his best friend? He’s started doing all sorts of freaky things that make Kellen question who he really is.
Kellen and Calienta will fight to stay together and keep the hidden part of the prophecy from becoming reality.
When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose?
Release Date: 12-April-2013, Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Sounds good? If you liked Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, Need by Carrie Jones, or Fallen by Lauren Kate, you will love this book!
About the author:
Stephanie Keyes has been addicted to Fantasy since she discovered T.H. White as a child and started drumming up incredible journeys in her head. Today, she’s still doing the same thing, except now she puts those ideas down on paper.
When she’s not writing Stephanie is also a graphic designer, presenter, teacher, musician, avid reader, and Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she’s best friend to her incredible husband of eleven years.
Keyes is the author of The Star Child YA Fantasy series, which currently includes The Star Child and The Fallen Stars. She is currently hard at work on the third book in the trilogy.
Interested in joining the blog tour from 6-Apr? Click here to register!
The annual Preditors & Editors Readers Poll, sponsored by Critters Workshop has drawn to a close. The results have been tallied and in the end, 4RV Publishing (with nominations in Children’s Books, Young Adult Books, Artwork from Books, Book Covers, Publisher, Author, Artist and Bookstore) finished with seven in the top ten.
Young Adult Books (2 4RV nominations) took 3rd place with with my novel A Shadow in the Past.
Artwork from Books (2 4RV nominations) had two results tied for 6th place. Ginger Nielson who wrote and illustrated Willow, an Elephant’s Tale and my talented artist Aidana WillowRaven for her cover design for A Shadow in the Past.
Artist saw Aidana WillowRaven earn a 9th place finish in addition to her tie with Ginger in the Artwork category.
Author saw 4RV Publishing President, Vivian Zabel place 6th.
My publisher, 4RV Publishing, was recently awarded the prestigious Best of Edmond Awards in the Book Publishers category! How exciting is that?
I am so happy to say that I’m a member of the family because that’s what we are from every level within the company. We care about each other and support each other. You don’t get that at every publishing house.
So as Stuart McLean says about Dave’s record store on the Vinyl Cafe, “we may not be big, but we’re small”. There’s nothing wrong with that, don’t you think?
Celtic Connexions welcomes US author Jack Durish. He’s got a lot on his plate these days, so without further ado, I’ve put him in the hot seat to allow him to get back home as soon as possible.
What is the one book you want us to read (title, genre, and availability)?
Rebels on the Mountain: Historical Fiction available in all ebook formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.
What is your one sentence synopsis?
A childhood crush evolves into romance when Nick Andrews, a U.S. Army spy, reconnects with Lucia Comas, an American-educated mulata, in Cuba while he is there to unravel the diplomatic mess created by Fidel Castro’s revolution.
Who are the main characters and who would you like to see portray them in a movie?
Fictional Nick Andrews: A U.S. Army Ranger and Korean War Veteran who has made a career of reconnaissance patrols behind the Iron Curtain – possibly portrayed by Stephen Amell.
Lucia Comas: An American-educated, island-born mulata, daughter of the second wife of don Carlos Comas, a Cuba sugar plantation owner, and love interest of Nick Andrews – possibly portrayed by Christina Milian.
Emma Regan: An American socialite whose husband, a retired pediatrician operates a free clinic on the sugar plantation she inherited, and sister to the don Carlos Comas’ second wife Sigourney Weaver.
Real Fidel Castro: The charismatic leader of the revolution that overthrew the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista – possibly portrayed by Jsu Garcia.
Che Guevara: The Argentinian doctor who became one of Castro’s most notorious lieutenants and his executioner following Fidel’s rise to power – possibly portrayed by Guillermo Diaz.
Ernest Hemingway: Nobel Prize winning author and Havana resident who mingled freely in the halls of power in Havana and purportedly supported Castro’s revolution – possibly portrayed by William Hurt.
Tell us about the story without revealing too much.
Nick Andrews uses the cover of a pleasure trip with friends, the Regans – a retired doctor and his socialite wife who own an estate in Cuba – to infiltrate the island from its halls of power in Havana to the rebel camp in the mountains at the eastern end of the island. Unexpectedly, he rekindles a childhood crush with the island-born niece of the Regans, and makes friends with a loyal Fidelista rebel. Romance, rum, rumba, and revolution layer themselves into a thrilling tale of intrigue, action, and suspense.
What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take?
I was slated to pilot a vessel from Galveston Bay to the Chesapeake, with a stop in Havana, when I was a young sailor, but the trip was canceled due to several factors including the fall of the Batista government in Cuba. I suppose that I never let go of the disappointment of missing that adventure. Thus, I followed events in Cuba closely and studied the history of the island and its people during the intervening fifty years. I spent another two years cataloging and studying my research, and another year and a half to write and edit the manuscript.
What other books have you written?
Dream Pirates – Fiction for young readers with impaired reading skills and new English speakers WordPerfect: Creative Applications – Technical manual Infantry School: A Soldier’s Journal – Personal memoir Vietnam: A Soldier’s Journal – Personal memoir Trifles: Literary Dessert – A collection of short stories to be published soon.
Which authors inspired you, your style?
Ernest Hemingway: Voice
Mark Twain: Irony
Charles Dickens: Memorable characters
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
www.jackdurish.com contains my personal blog as well as my biography, a synopsis of all my books and links to them, and recommended websites for anyone interested in reading.
How can we follow you? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
I am currently working on my second novel featuring Nick Andrews as a young soldier in the Korean War. Also, I have been posting to my blog a series of articles built from my research into Cuba with special emphasis on the love-hate relationship between the island and the United States. Most expect a change in US-Cuban relations when Fidel Castro dies, and Americans will begin looking forward to visiting this Caribbean paradise which has been off limits for so many years.
Thanks for stopping in, Jack, and sharing your story with us.
My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King