Monday, July 29, 2013

Critters at the Keyboard . . . . Welcomes Gregory Delaurentis

Critters at the Keyboard  . . . . Welcomes Gregory Delaurentis

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by Gregory Delaurentis 

I have read and heard a lot about how to handle negative criticism. Before I took my first step to self-publish my book, I hardened my skin into a sheet of leather by studying how to handle and to expect negative remarks about my writing. The most helpful information came from a movie by Jamie Kennedy, on hecklers and critics. In the movie, which was a documentary, he was very hurt over what these two types of people do and had done to him. Therefore he went on a form of retaliation against the few critics that commented negatively on his acting and comedy.

Watching him in this, I could feel his pain, but there was no solace in his efforts. He did not find any relief or respite from his actions. And I realized that the best defense against such a heated offense as a bad review is to do nothing. I’m not saying to ignore a bad review altogether, because some reviews, even though bad, are given in a helpful spirit and can have positive effects. But then there are those that are just negative for negativity’s sake. These you can ignore, because they offer nothing.

If you reply to such scathing offense in kind, you will not reach the person who is giving it, and you just might turn off other readers for being too sensitive. The truth of the matter is that everybody is not going to like your writing, some violently so. So, what is your recourse at this point? To run about putting out fires, responding to all the negative criticism as if you are too thin skinned to deal with it? Do you jump up on a soapbox to justify yourself until you are over-justifying yourself? Or would you rather let people have their own opinions, which they do, and leave it at that.

If I need to reply to someone, I would rather choose to reply to individuals who enjoyed my work, and thank them for their patronage. Those that take the time to give you praise, should be praised in return. I’d rather not lower myself to the standards of those who tear down, but to rise above them, and enjoy the company of those who encourage. It’s my choice, as well as yours. 

Please enjoy this excerpt from Cover of Darkness

David first opened the door to a closet on the left, searching it with the gun muzzle, before approaching the door at the end of the hall and kicking it open. An angry, naked man stood on the other side, his anger changing to fear in seconds once he beheld the gun pointing in his direction.

“Get back into bed,” David ordered.

The pale-bodied man responded as he staggered backward. The foot of the bed struck the back of his knees, sending him seated on the mattress. The woman on the bed had by this time covered herself with the sheets, and curled her legs up.

While Kevin stood nervously in the doorway, David searched the room and the closets, the muzzle of the shotgun again serving as a probe, but found no one.

“What the…?” Chase asked David.

After searching through the room, David tossed the shotgun to Kevin.

Suddenly, Chase went white-hot heat, crawling backward into the arms of his woman in sheer panic screaming, “What do you want?!

“I want information,” David demanded, going to the foot of the bed, standing before them with Kevin directly behind him. “I want to know who whacked Osterman.”

How am I to know?!” Chase shouted back. His hair was a wild tangle, his eyes wide as saucers with fright.

“Don’t yell at me,” David said calmly. “I want answers. I’m not interested in killing you.”

“You bust into my crib and start throwing guns around. You’re crazy, man, what do you think I’m thinking?”

“You were moving dope for Osterman,” David persisted, ignoring Chase’s remarks.

Osterman! He jerked me.”

“With the Colombians.”

“Damn right.”

“And you didn’t like that.”

No, I didn’t.”

“So, you had one of your soul brothers do him in.”

“Oh hell, no. My people don’t kill. We don’t mess with weapons like you do.”

“And the reason for that?”

“More jail time . . . What are you? A cop?”

“Don’t worry about what I am,” David growled back. “You are moving weight. I want to know what happened after Osterman jerked you.”

“He jerked me. That’s all.”

“That’s all? You didn’t go to the Colombians? Liar!”

“Yes, yes, I did that!” Chase corrected. “I went to the Colombians as soon as I knew he jerked me. I begged them to give me another chance. They said they would, if I replaced their one hundred kilos. One hundred kilos! How do I do that?”

“Put bullets into Osterman for revenge.”

“How is that going to get me my one hundred kilos?”

“Let me explain it to you, genius. The Colombians trust Osterman enough to give him a heavy shipment. You find it, whack him, and take his shipment back to the Colombians. Paid in full.”
Chase thought that over for a second or two. “But that’s not what happened.”

“Convince me otherwise.”

The wordFreeze!were suddenly heard from the doorway. David frowned as he glanced over his shoulder to see a scruffy looking black male, armed with his own shotgun.


Gregory Delaurentis spent his adult life roaming from job to job, working for Lockheed in California, various law firms in New York, and financial firms on Wall Street. Throughout this period of time, he was writing—unceasingly—finally producing a large body of work, albeit unrecognized and unpublished . . . until now. Cover of Darkness is the first in a series of upcoming books that include Edge of Darkness, Pale of Darkness and Cries of Darkness. These novels follow the lives of three individuals who do battle bringing criminals to justice, while they struggle to understand the complex relationships that exist among themselves. This intriguing trio has absorbed the attention of Mr. Delaurentis for the past year and a half, so much so he decided to self-publish their stories to bring them to a wider audience. [AUTHORS DISCLAIMER: These are works of fiction. Name, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.]

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Virtual Blurb Blitz Tour: The Billionaire Princess

 by Christina Tetrault

Christina will be awarding a $15.00 Amazon or BN gift card (Winner's Choice) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


She was raised as an American Princess

Following the betrayal of a former lover, Sara Sherbrooke swore off relationships, too afraid she would be used again. Instead she has devoted all her energy to succeeding in politics without relying on her family name. That is until one night in Hawaii with her brother's best friend Christopher Hall.

He is a self-made billionaire

Technological genius and CEO of Hall Technology, Christopher Hall first met Sara Sherbrooke when he and Jake Sherbrooke were college roommates. While attending Jake's wedding in Hawaii, Christopher is reintroduced to Sara, a beauty who was once way out of his league. But now as the most eligible bachelor in Silicon Valley, the only thing stopping Christopher from pursuing Sara is the thought of betraying his best friend.

As they work together to promote a new education initiative, neither can deny the attraction between them. But will their growing romance be worth all of the consequences?


As Sara sat sipping a bottle of sparkling water, the door opened again.  Silently, she watched as Christopher Hall climbed in.  If she hadn't seen him countless times on the web, she never would’ve recognized the man who'd climbed in the limo as her brother's Cal Tech roommate.  She recalled meeting the tall skinny kid with shaggy light brown hair and glasses when her family moved Jake into his dorm freshman year.  On the few occasions she had seen him back then he'd been dressed in jeans, Converse sneakers and t-shirts with hard-rock bands emblazoned on them.  The man seated across from her now seemed to be someone else entirely.

Today his light brown hair was cut fashionably short and there was no sign of the glasses he used to wear.  And those were not the only changes she noticed.  There was no missing the way his broad shoulders filled out his dress shirt.

For a second Sara sat speechless and stared at the man, as her pulse kicked up a few notches. Before he noticed her staring, Sara regrouped and pasted on her best society smile. “Hi Christopher. Did Jake tell you what is going on?”

Christopher shook his head.  “No.  He just said to get out here, but I have a guess.”

Sara expected him to continue and let her in on his suspicions.  Instead he grabbed a soda water for himself.  When several minutes passed and he didn't say anything else, she couldn't keep herself from asking her next question, “So, what is your guess?”

Christopher paused with the bottle halfway to his mouth.  “My money is on a wedding, but it's just a guess.”

“A wedding?  No.  Charlie and Jake wouldn't do that.  Our parents would be furious.”

“Like I said it's just a guess, but I know Jake and an out-of-the-blue wedding wouldn't surprise me at all.”

Would her brother do that to their parents? Sure a sudden unexpected wedding might be something Jake would talk about, but not something he'd ever go through with. Jake Sherbrooke and Charlotte O'Brien's wedding would be a huge affair much like Dylan and Callie's the year before.  Considering the size of the Sherbrooke family and the fact that the American public seemed so fascinated by them, how could it be anything less?

But if not a wedding like Christopher predicted, what other reason could Jake have for asking Christopher and her to Hawaii on such short notice?  Other than an impromptu wedding like Christopher suggested nothing else made any sense.

“Have you met Charlie?” Sara asked in an attempt to start a conversation.  Over the years they'd had few conversations so Sara figured she could either ask him about his company or the one thing they had in common, her brother.

Christopher returned his water to the holder near the door and Sara's eyes watched the way the muscles in his upper arm flexed and moved.  The sight sent her hand toward the air vent, which she redirected toward her face.

“I met her last year at Jake's office and we've all gotten together several times since.  I like her.  She seems perfect for him.”

“I think so too.”  Sara reached for more water.  “She's definitely the right woman for my brother.”  She took a sip from the bottle and then asked him about his company.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I wrote my first story with characters similar to those in the Sweet Valley Twins books at the age of 10 on my grandmother's manual typewriter. As I got older my stories and characters became more mature. During my freshman year at UMass Dartmouth, I read my first romance novel and fell in love with the genre. I have been writing contemporary romance ever since.

Today I live with my husband, three beautiful daughters and two dogs in Massachusetts. Whenever I have a free moment you'll find me either reading a romance novel or working on my most current story

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blog Blitz with Author SRHowen

Blog Blitz with Author SRHowen

Christmas in July, unwrap a summer ebook blog blitz
welcomes S.R.Howen

"The old one will come. When he comes, his one true wife must carry within her a child of the old one who would be king. Only then can the heart be found and the evil of the world kept in its bounds." –The Prophecy of the Land

Sorann is the queen's daughter and training to be an empathic healer. Javert is a member of the wandering tribe called the Zingari and their future king. When Sorann's failed healer's magic test brings them together, they discover the prophecy governing the land is false. In order to prevent magic, and the Zingari, from being wiped from the land, Sorann must become Javert's wife and leave everything behind that she once held dear.

Tricked by demons, and followed by the queen's soldiers, they must find the fabled Wizard's Heart in the frozen Winter Valley.

What sacrifices will they have to make along the way, and will Javert ever discover the true meaning of the Wizard's Heart before his people and the love of his life are lost?

This is the first book in the fantasy series Tales of the Zingari.

Some thoughts on being an editor, from S. R. Howen

Some thoughts on editing.  What is an editor’s job?  Sometimes I think, and I have been at this a long time, that new writers don’t have a clue what an editor does, or should do.  You send your baby into the world, and fantastic, do cartwheels, you have a contract.  Now what? Okay, you read the contract, you understand most of it, so you sign it. 

Then you get the introduction letter from your editor.  You look forward to the edits and the suggestions that will make your book better . . .

Unfortunately, many times this is the dream of every editor, that we wish every author understood.  How did that writer make it to that place where they get the contract—is often the cry of writers?  A lot of it has to do with the perception that writers have of an editor.

With the idea that an editor will fix typos, misspelling, word Usage, and grammar as well as punctuation, they send out their manuscript looking like a group of crows stepped in ink.  Often when asked, why didn’t you at least run spell check?  The answer is: That’s not my job, that’s what an editor is for!

This is what I would like writers to understand, you need to put the best possible effort into your manuscript, it may be a great idea, but if it’s buried under basic errors, you won’t get a contract.  You wouldn’t go to a job interview dressed in the clothes you took out of the hamper that you did house cleaning in the day before, so why would you send out a manuscript that wasn’t clean and pressed and dressed neatly?

Writing is a business.  You can call it art.  But it is a business; it’s not your baby.  You may feel you gave birth to the story and you need to love the story to tell it well, but you also need to have some distance from the love affair.  To be able to stand back and see the ugly spots in order to fix them.

An editor is there to help you get your vision down on that page, to make it shine, to polish the story until it does. They are not there to take the place of spell check, and basic knowledge of grammar.  Yes, we all make mistakes that an editor will find, but don’t think that fixing all of them is the editor’s job.

That’s your job as a writer, a craftsman has all the tools in his tool box to build the house, he doesn’t expect someone else to bring them.

I’m happy to share my tool box on many things, if you have done your work as a writer.

So what do I tell my authors?

 No question is a dumb question. ASK!

Everything your editor asks you to do is open to discussion, if you don’t agree with me, present your case.  We will talk about it.

Writing is a business.  You can call it art.  But it is a business, it’s not your baby.  So when I say fix this or this doesn’t work, I am not insulting you, I am helping you make a product that will sell.

I will hound you to the seven circles of hell to promote. 

I will hold your hand, if need be, and offer a shoulder of understanding if needed, and I will help you promote as much as I can.  And I will stand behind you and your book, we will get it in the best possible shape to present to the world—then the real work begins.

Author Bio

S.R. Howen grew up on a farm for the most part, spending part of her childhood as a military brat. The one constant in her life is story telling. She's always been a story teller--not a popular thing to be when you are five.

She's been with Wild Child since 2000 as an author and an editor. Currently, she lives in Texas with her family and assorted citers, 14 cats, 2 dogs, 2 squirrels, and a racoon.

She follows a Native American lifestyle--believing that each thing does indeed have its own spirit, and avoiding processed foods. If she couldn't kill it, catch it, or pick it in the wild, she doesn't eat it. Other than that, she loves fast cars, good writing, and good editors. They are a writer's best friend.

Find more of S.R. Howen here:

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Blog Blitz with Author Audrey Cuff

Blog Blitz with Author Audrey Cuff

Christmas in July, unwrap a summer ebook blog blitz, 

welcomes Author Audrey Cuff, Ed.D

When Ashley Brown was five years old, her parents left her in the care of her grandma, though her mother promised to return for her. At fourteen, Ashley is still living with her grandmother in Highland, a city on the outskirts of Maryville, a place known as the "ghetto."

Ashley has shadowy memories of her mother taking her to her favorite place, the library. Reading a good book allows Ashley to escape her poverty and crime infested community. One afternoon after listening to the Mayor's press conference, Ashley discovers that the Mayor is taking away the community library. In spite of being put on punishment for a week by her grandma for defending herself from the school bullies, Ashley feels it is worth the risk to sneak out of her apartment to mail a letter she has written to the Mayor about keeping the library open.

Every day homeless people approach her and beg for something to eat or for money. The most frequent requests come from two disheveled individuals Ashley has nicknamed "Orphan Annie" and the "businessman bum." As if escaping the homeless people isn't enough, there are a bunch of bullies who harass Ashley. One day, the bullies chase her into an alley. They force her to the ground and Ashley is afraid of what could have happened next. This is one time Ashley wished she listen to her grandma.

In print and ebook formats, the book, City of Thieves will be an audio book by September 2013.

Read an excerpt

Grandma, Grandma, what is so wrong?” I said. I jumped out of my chair and run toward the TV.

“That stupid mayor. I don’t believe it! She’s shutting down the library. The only library we have in this community and replacing it with some, some business store,” Grandma yelled. She scowled at the TV. “I don’t believe the stupid mayor. You see what I mean about people in power making decisions that ruin your life, and you have no say about anything.”

“Oh, oh, Grandma, that’s so terrible. The library is the only place I have left that’s positive in the community.”

“Ashley, don’t you get it? They don’t give a hoot about people from our neighborhood. All they care about is making money off of the poor,” she said.

Then a quick flash the mayor came on the television. Suddenly, my knees felt weak and heavy. I felt like I was ready to collapse.

“Grandma, what is, is the mayor’s name?” I asked. I struggled not to stumble.
“I’m not for sure. Some person name Baldwin, a Mrs. Baldwin I guess. Oh watch they are showing that evil witch on television right now,” Grandma said. She glared at the television. Grandma was going nuts.

I desperately tried not to break down, Grandma didn’t have a clue that I’d met Mrs. Baldwin, and I wasn’t about to tell her. Luckily, Grandma was going crazy about the mayor; she didn’t notice that I’m emotionally falling apart.

Author Bio

Dr. Audrey Cuff was inspired by her special needs students to write her debut novel, City Of Thieves. She wanted her students reach their goals and aspirations regardless of obstacles and shortcomings in life.  She also wanted her students to understand that they could fight to better their communities.

Dr. Cuff is a special education teacher at a high school in South Jersey. She taught psychology for the past 13 years to freshman students.  She is a vegetarian.   She enjoys evenings at home with her family and friends.   She completed two marathons in 2005 and 2006 in Hawaii for charity research to cure HIV /AIDS.  Also, her other hobbies consist of reading, going to the movies and of course writing. She has two children, and three grandchildren.  Dr. Cuff received her doctoral degree from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara California. She has the following certifications: Teacher of Psychology, Teacher of Special Education, and Supervisor of Education.  She was nominated and received the Outstanding Teacher award in April of 2006
City of Thieves is part of a three book series.

Find more about Audrey here

Find her books here