Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Interview with William Leibowitz, Author of Miracle Man

William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years.  He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses.  At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group). 

William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University.  He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George. 

William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times – when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero –and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle ManMiracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.

For More Information

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I’m a lawyer in the entertainment/media business who practices in New York City.  I’ve been privileged over the years to have represented many highly talented performers and some of the major intellectual property companies, both domestically and internationally.  On a personal level, I love gardening, skiing, raising koi, and spending time with my family.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the Bronx, New York.

When did you begin writing?

Miracle Man is my first real effort at creative writing.  I finished writing it a bit over a year ago.  With the great critical reception that this novel has received, I guess you would call it “beginner’s luck.” 

What is this book about?

Miracle Man tells the story of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history (we’re talking 10X Einstein’s brain power), from the time of his birth and tragic childhood through his extraordinary accomplishments in curing diseases.  The book is a psychological thriller with a fast paced twisting plot that’s full of surprises and drama, as Austin battles abandonment and betrayal and the myriad powerful forces, external and internal, including Big Pharma and its political cronies that seek to destroy him.


What inspired you to write it?                                             

I wrote Miracle Man for a few reasons.  One was that I wanted to create a believable modern day ‘super hero’ who is an ‘anti-celebrity’ and isn’t a comic book character.  I thought that such a person could be inspirational when contrasted with the meritless celebrities that dominate media today (e.g., the reality TV stars who are famous for being famous, but have no real talent).  I think that the cult of the egotistical “non-entity celebrity” has undermined our social fabric and set a terrible role-model for kids.  I also wanted Miracle Man to be the vehicle within which I could convey, in an entertainment context, certain spiritual and humanistic messages that are important to me. 
In particular, one of the underlying themes in Miracle Man is the sanctity of each and every human life.  As the story of the protagonist unfolds, I think the reader will come to appreciate that one can never predict the ramifications of one person’s death.  Robert James Austin should have died as a newborn, but he was saved in the most unlikely of manners; he then went on to change the world in extraordinary ways.  We all are bombarded every day by statistics of death –how many people died in the latest war, or from famine, or epidemic or other manmade or natural cataclysm.  People’s lives are jumbled together by the media as meaningless numbers.  But what I want the reader of Miracle Man to think about ---is the individual.  That’s why Miracle Man begins with the quotation from Scriptures – “To destroy one life is to destroy an entire world, and to save one life is to save an entire world.”
In writing Miracle Man, I also wanted to get readers thinking about a real-life problem that affects us all. One of the powerful forces fighting Bobby Austin is “Big Pharma” which views him as their enemy since he cures diseases and thereby makes many of their “cash-cow” drugs obsolete.  In short, Austin is bad for their business.  Like Austin, I find it incomprehensible that virtually no major disease has been cured in over 50 years.  How can that be the case when so much money has been spent over the decades on research?  Simply put, there’s a lot more money in treating symptoms than there is in curing diseases.  Austin realized that Big Pharma has no interest in curing diseases.  It just wants to keep on selling expensive symptom treatments –and as we know, many people are on expensive ‘medication maintenance programs’ for years, sometimes for life.  Austin wanted to change that.  I think people need to start questioning Big Pharma on many fronts –from the price of drugs -- to why there aren’t more cures.

---So what I tried to do in Miracle Man is first and foremost to write an entertaining book that engages readers and keeps them turning the pages.  But within that entertainment context I wanted to get my readers thinking.  From the reviews I’ve received—I’m extremely gratified that this has happened.

Who is your favorite author?
                                                
It’s too hard to limit down to one but among my favorites are James Hilton, Oscar Wilde and Daniel DaSilva.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Miracle Man can be purchased in paperback or Kindle on Amazon, and from Nook and ibooks.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes—the website is miraclemanbook.com; it has a video, many reviews, author interviews and press. 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes—the best place to find it is on the website:  miraclemanbook.com, but it’s also on youtube.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Be very demanding on yourself and set high standards.  Your finished work must represent the absolute best that you can do and you have to be proud of it.   So make it as good as you possibly can.  Seek the criticism of others as you write and re-write.  Be patient with yourself.  It’s better for your work to be great than for it to be ‘quick.’

What is up next for you?

I’m delighted that readers have been calling on me to write a sequel to Miracle Man and the ending of the book does hint at one. I’ve begun to sketch out the plot line. The sequel will definitely have lots of surprises as the saga of Robert James Austin continues.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Musing Mondays - November 24



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme from MizB at Should Be Reading. It asks you to muse about one of the following each week…


• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musing:

Well, it sure has been a while since I did one of these. The real estate business is going well, but I miss blogging. I really wish I could balance both. I got home from grocery shopping last night at 10:15 pm. 

I haven't really reviewed much since October, but I am reading on the nights when I can stay awake long enough. I've almost dropped my Kindle in the tub a few times. That would be bad. 

Thanksgiving is this week. It would be great if you would like to share something you are thankful for. One thing I am thankful for is loving my new job. It would be awful if I went back to work and totally hated it. I've worked some pretty cruddy jobs in my day, but this isn't one of them. Hectic? yes. But I love it.

Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Commercial Acting in L.A. Book Blitz - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Shaan Sharma’s A SESSION DIRECTOR’S GUIDE TO COMMERCIAL ACTING IN L.A. is the commercial acting industry’s most comprehensive book ever written - - giving readers a step-by-step guide to breaking into and prospering in the commercial acting business in the world’s entertainment center, Los Angeles. Fusing his experience, wisdom, vignettes and wit – Sharma is about to change the lives of those who thought big-picture acting was nothing but a fantasy, as well as those commercial veterans who could be even more successful.

Readers of this book will learn how to become successful working actors in TV commercials in Los Angeles in this fun step-by-step guide by top Casting Session Director and Commercial Actor Shaan Sharma. “This isn’t hype – it’s tangible advice I have gained from running auditions for over 400 commercial spots,” says Sharma. “Readers will hit the ground running as they discover how the business works and what to expect, how to find good acting classes, refine their look, get headshots, get representation, get in with the top commercial casting directors, navigate the audition and call-back process, life on set and even how to stay busy between acting jobs. There’s also a bonus chapter for parents interested in getting their children into acting. The commercial acting world is so different than that of theater, TV and film that new students and veterans alike need to make the most of the time and money they invest in their careers.”

Shaan went on to say, “The kind of information in this book can only come from someone who has experience both in front of and behind the camera, who works with the top casting directors, directors, ad agencies and companies in the world. There are no other books out there like it. So, if you want to get into commercial acting in L.A. – this is your guidebook.”

Having directed audition sessions for over four hundred national commercial spots for dozens of L.A.’s top casting directors, Shaan Sharma is a well-known veteran of his industry. Now expanding his reach through a powerful new book, Shaan is looking to help thousands of actors better navigate their way through the commercial acting business by putting into practice the tips and information he has spent fifteen years discovering. Regardless of experience level, A SESSION DIRECTOR’S GUIDE TO COMMERCIAL ACTING IN L.A. contains insider knowledge that will help actors better understand the process and in turn be more successful. Shaan’s book features compelling illustrations by Paul Loudon.

203 pages
E-book, $19.99; ISBN: 9780990408024
Softback, $29.99; ISBN: 9780990408000
Publication date: September 22, 2014
Published by CreateSpace; Available at: Apple iBooks: http://bit.ly/VGv766; Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1vFnTtK; Barnes and Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/1xjHmTv; Kobo: http://bit.ly/1magu4h

Book Excerpt:
In the end, training to be the best actor you can be, creating your own work, getting in front of casting directors whenever possible through workshops and showcases, submitting yourself for work on and offline, getting great representation and working with them to expand your opportunities for mutual success, being knowledgeable about the business and casting process, giving as much as you can of yourself to other actors, and being awesome to, and interested in, the people that make it all happen day-in and day-out is the best way to maximize your chances of success, not only as a commercial actor but as a professional actor, period.

I hope that this information has been a helpful starting point in knowing what to do. Almost all of us move here from somewhere else with no good information as to how things actually work, and it can be so hap-hazard where you end up training and how you end up finding out the right information. It’s my hope that this insider look into the world of commercial acting and casting helps you sidestep the mistakes I and others naturally made when we started out. A better-informed and trained acting community will only make my life easier in the casting studio. In fact, this material is actually all a selfish effort for my own benefit. But hey, if good is achieved with it also, well then that’s extra karma for me.


As an L.A. actor himself, Shaan Sharma has a string of impressive acting credits on network TV shows such as “Scandal,” “Ground Floor,” “Growing Up Fisher,” “Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street” and “The Thundermans.” Shaan’s commercial acting credits include spots for FedEx, Best Buy and Capital One - - but it’s his experience as a Session Director for hundreds of commercial castings that have given him unique insight into what it takes to be a working actor. He is also an acting teacher with regular scene study on-camera acting classes for film and TV as well as commercial acting workshops. For more information, visit Mr. Sharma’s official website: http://shaansharma.com and his book page at: http://shaansharma.com/Shaan_Sharma_Acting_Studio/shaans-book.php. He is also a columnist for Back Stage, an actor’s news source at: http://www.backstage.com/experts/shaan-sharma/.


Shaan is giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
• This giveaway begins November 3 and ends November 29.
• Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, December 1.
• Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!
ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Straw That Broke Book Blitz: Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

In his rollicking new novel, THE STRAW THAT BROKE, author Tom Whalen continues his ENCYCLOPEDIA MOUSE series, a challenging and funny roller-coaster ride through the outer margins of science-fiction, philosophy, and word play. Readers who reveled in previous books in the series, such as THE CAMEL’S BACK (called “the Moby-Dick of mice” by poet and critic R.H.W. Dillard) and ROITHAMER’S UNIVERSE (which science-fiction writer Rudy Rucker termed “giddy fun”), are sure to greet the arrival of THE STRAW THAT BROKE with anticipation and joy. Lovers of such visionary writers as Kafka, Borges, Vonnegut, Lewis Carroll, and Douglas Adams (THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE series) also will find a kindred spirit in Tom Whalen, as will readers of all tastes who are looking for a thrilling literary adventure.

The main “character” in THE STRAW THAT BROKE is the Encyclopedia Mouse, who, according to the author, “is the one creature who can save the multiverse.”  In Whalen’s synopsis of THE STRAW THAT BROKE, “Bulwer Zetford’s work-in-progress, The Cosmic Messenger, is about to take a strange turn, and the multiverse with it, when Roithamer of Relix “beads” once again and brings swirling into Zetford’s Kaduza M-mon processor the Encyclopedia Mouse … Tale twines tale as the mouse battles his Doppelgänger in cyberspace, Heidegger, in his Black Forest hut, and a hyper-crazed Roithamer. Death is everywhere, but the mouse, birling (if only barely) in his Binding Nexus Drive, is determined to narrate the universes away from their demise.”

Whalen describes his style as “playful, parodic, philosophical, lyrical. I wanted THE STRAW THAT BROKE to be thick with character and plot and at the same time alive with language.”

“The word play is part of the novel’s texture, as well as being embedded into the plot and character of the mouse,” Whalen also explains. “No need for the reader to pick up all the formal play. It’s enough that this exists on a subliminal level.”

Whalen’s ultimate goal, he says, is to have the Encyclopedia Mouse books published in one volume “and eventually turned into a wide-screen baroque masterwork of cinema.”
In the meantime, THE STRAW THAT BROKE is available in print, ready to delight all readers.

What the critics are saying about the ENCYCLOPEDIA MOUSE series:

 “Pollinates post-cyber-punk with headier poetry than the genre has yet known.”
Andrei Codrescu
Author and NPR commentator

“Storytelling which is subtly, wickedly funny.”
The New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Tom Whalen is one of the most gifted and prolific of contemporary American avant-garde writers … a master of this genre.”
George Garrett
Dictionary of Literary Biography

“Tom Whalen twists our notions of what is real.”
Christine Spivey
New Orleans Review

172 pages.
Softcover, $13.46; ISBN:  13-978-0692259436
Publication date: August 1, 2014
Published by Black Scat Books
Available at amazon.com, Black Scat Books.


Tom Whalen is a novelist, short story writer, poet and critic who has written for Agni, Asymptote, Bookforum, Brooklyn Rail, Chicago Review, The Iowa Review, Film Quarterly, The Literary Review, the Washington Post and other publications. His books include Dolls, Elongated Figures, The Birth of Death and Other Comedies: The Novels of Russell H. Greenan, and the novels Roithamer’s Universe and The President in Her Towers. Whalen currently lives in Stuttgart, Germany, where he teaches film at the State Academy of Art and Design. See author on You Tube at: http://youtu.be/DIpaGoH4mJg.

Visit his website at www.tomwhalen.com

Giveaway

Tom is giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins November 3 and ends November 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, December 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Win $25 Amazon Gift Card: Climbing for Roots Book Blitz!


Title:  Climbing for Roots
Author: Alan Noble
Genre: 
Religion/Spiritual Growth/Christian Life
Publisher:  Axiom
ISBN:  
978-158169497-0

Climbing for Roots will explain fully the sin that so completely corrupted creation, and the plan of God for our salvation. We learn that Jesus is not only our Savior, but is also the Lord of our lives. What does that mean? That obedience will never earn us God’s love but it will always produce blessing. We learn that our salvation is secure, but we must strive for obedience because we are created to do good works.
 
When we trust Jesus for salvation, we become members of a new family—the family of God, also known as the church. Imagine! God is now our Father. As members of this incredible family, certain changes take place within us. We get learn about worship and praise, and have a relationship with Him. Climbing for Roots will teach us about ourselves as new creations, about this church, and about Jesus, the Son of God! We learn about the two ordinances or rites Jesus has given His church that will help us to remember who we are as Christians—baptism, and communion. As a member of God’s church, we learn that we are to serve each other in unity. We must consider others more important than ourselves. We learn that we need to persevere together, so that when Jesus returns, He will find us doing what He has left us here to do—serving Him by serving others.
 
Purchase at:
 
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Climbing-Roots-Christian-Foundations-Believers/dp/1581694970
 
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/climbing-for-roots-alan-noble/1118630853




Alan R. Noble is a born-again Christian, schooled in the Word since childhood. He was fortunate to sit under capable preaching and teaching throughout his life. His passion for the spiritual welfare of young people grew out of his years of work experience, and his understanding of the Scriptures. He realizes that young Christians need instruction in the meat as well as the milk of the Word (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Mr. Noble was educated at William Paterson University, a liberal arts institute in Northern New Jersey, and received a B.A. in education, with a certificate to teach elementary school. Later, he received an M.A. in Communication Arts, and a certificate in supervision. He worked as an educator for 31 years.

After his retirement from public education Mr. Noble enjoyed teaching in Christian Schools in New Jersey and Texas.

These days find Alan and his wife Kathie enjoying their travels between Kansas City and northern New Jersey as they visit their daughters’ families that include six beautiful grandchildren.

Pump Up Your Book and Alan are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

• By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
• One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
• This giveaway begins November 3 and ends on November 28, 2014.
• Winner will be contacted via email on December 1, 2014.
• Winner has 72 hours to reply.
• VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Climbing for Roots Book Blitz Schedule
November 3
November 4
November 5
November 6
November 7
November 10
November 11
November 12
November 13
November 14
November 17
November 18
November 19
November 20
November 21
November 24
November 25
November 26
November 28



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Interview with Andrea Hurst, Author of Always With You

When not visiting local farmer's markets or indulging her love for chocolate, Andrea Hurst is an author and literary agent. Her passion for books drives her to find and write stories that take readers on a journey to another place and leave them with an unforgettable impression. She is a developmental editor for publishers and authors, an instructor in creative writing at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and a webinar presenter for Writers Digest. She lives with her dachshunds in the Pacific Northwest, on an island much like the fictional Madrona, with all of its natural beauty and small town charm.

Her published books include Always With You, The Guestbook, the soon to be released Tea & Comfort, The Lazy Dog's Guide to Enlightenment and Everybody's Natural Food Cookbook, and she co-authored A Book of Miracles. To learn more about Andrea and her books, visit www.AndreaHurst-author.com

Join her on Facebook for book giveaways, delicious recipes and scenic photos from Madrona Island at www.facebook.com/andreahurstauthor


When did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was in college, where I was an Expressive Arts major. For my thesis, I wrote a cookbook called Everybody’s Natural Food Cookbook. While it would be years later till I started writing novels, this was my first experience with writing a book and getting it published.


What is this book about?

Always With You is reminiscent of the exploration of conscience found in Bridges of Madison County, and the passionate and often tear-jerking love stories of Nicholas Sparks. New York Times bestselling author of On the Island , Tracey Garvis Graves, said, “Always With You is the bittersweet and poignant love story of a woman trapped between temptation and the ties that bind.”

In Always With You, Cathy has buried herself in her work and kept men at arm’s length since the devastating failure of her short-lived marriage. But when an old high school friend, Pam, brings her family for a short stay, Cathy’s stone walls begin to crumble when she meets Jamie. Jamie, whose compassion and warmth slowly break down her defenses. Jamie, whose devotion to his four-year-old daughter melts Cathy's heart and makes her desperate for a family of her own. Jamie… who is married to Pam.

A profound love that transcends time and place is impossible to resist. But is love more important than friendship? Are loyalty and fidelity an anchor or a chain? In the end, it’s all about choices – tough ones that can break hearts. Now Cathy must delve into the deepest places of her heart and ultimately decide the future for them all. “Only dangling threads of Cathy’s pride remained. Love took prisoners no matter what the circumstances; it broke open the heart with no regard for consequences.” 

What inspired you to write it?


The idea came to me in a dream—a very powerful dream. It must have resonated with me deeply because I had to write that story. The story flowed out of me in just a matter of months. I sat down and started writing in first person, present tense, which I’ve never done before, even though, the story ends up in third person. I could basically hear Cathy’s voice telling me the story. And I really reacted to it as if I was hearing it, because I found myself very sad in parts of the book. Just thinking about the book today, it’s still a very emotional experience. In the end, it is a book about love and the choices we make from our heart.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Cathy is my favorite character from the book. She was a character I felt extremely connected to right away. As I said, the first draft of this book was in first person present tense in Cathy’s point of view. I have always had a vivid connection to Cathy.

Cathy, owns a health food café in Always With You and I actually owned a health food café, myself in 1977 called Over the Rainbow in Petaluma, CA, so, in that way, I had some experience with it. In 1977, health food was a big part of the culture and it was easy to connect to this character.

Cathy also had a difficult childhood that she managed to overcome and find love. I admire Cathy and understand how devastating her situation with Jamie was.


Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?



What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

One of the best investments I ever made in my book was hiring 2Market Books to help me create free promotions on The Guestbook and Always With You, especially when I bought a BookBub ad to promote it. These free promotions have helped me to build my audience and gain over 950 reviews on The Guestbook. This investment in having free promotions with big advertising really helped me find my audience and build a fan base.

What is up next for you?

My next project is book two in the Madrona Island Trilogy, Tea & Comfort. This book features Kyla, who owns a tea and herb shop called Tea & Comfort. Kyla was once engaged to a man, Luke, who just moved to Madrona Island. Now she must fight the attraction still simmering between them, even as Luke pushes her to tell him why she broke their engagement. Look for this beautiful romance, which should come out in March.