Monday, June 25, 2012

A Life Without Love Is A Year Without Summer

Summer is the time of love and marriage and candlelight dinners on floating boats. It’s also the time of bug bites, sunburns, flip flops, bad horror movies, and hot, hot, HOT. So grab your iced lemonade, sunscreen, bug spray, flip flops and head outside by the pool to nestle down with a book. Or, if you're sensible like me, stay inside with the AC, lemonade with ice that won’t melt in three seconds, and that comfy chair no bird has ever pooped on to read. Whichever you prefer, check out Epstein LaRue’s novel Crazy thoughts of an Online Romance.
I have several thoughts about online romance, but don’t worry, I won’t share. Mostly because they’re crazy, and have to do with the whole…nevermind, this isn’t about my nutty thoughts—it’s about the book.
It’s actually three books. 1) A fictional nursing duet: Crazy Thoughts of Passion.  2) A story of love nurtured online: Love At First Type: On Online Romance, Based On A True Story.  And 3) the added NEVER RELEASED Epstein’s Guide To Online Romance. All for $19.99 (which may as well round up to $20 if you ask me…I sound like a commercial). Now if you’re a math geek like me, you’ll have worked out it’s about $7 bucks for each book. Can you say bargain? I can. (Buy one and you get one free…just kidding. You buy one, you get one.)
We’ve all had nutty thoughts over other people. It’s like you see them for the first time and all you can do is…*drool*…ahem. What was I saying? Oh, yes, crazy thoughts of passion will drive you crazy, but you can’t live without ‘em. (Or is it with them?) In Crazy Thoughts of Passion, Kaitlyn Malloy is a registered nurse and insanely attracted to gorgeous Lance Rosanthol. Only problem…he’s the son of her patient. Enter nursing ethics to complicate the already complicated situation. And we’ve all dealt with those. Minus the nurse part for me, because, seriously, hello..needles. But we can relate to those situations where your brain screams NO, NO, NO…and something else (heart, maybe) is all YES, YES, YES!  So, like romance, general craziness and passion? Here you go.
Love At First Type comes with a great pun and a great story. Nurse Kathy meets Jack over the internet and it’s love at…well, you know the rest. However, they’re not only separated by 1000 miles, but also, wait for it…24 years! Yikes. How will they make that work? But love knows no bounds, and after chit chatting more and more, Kathy and Jack want to make their Cyber Relation a Reality Romance. Odds are against them, but love is love. Or something like that. And, stunningly, it’s based on a true story, one of Epstein’s own love.
At the end, Epstein imparts her own tips for online dating, which, judging by her real life experiences, must be golden and successful. And, besides, who doesn’t want a guide to online romance nowadays? Everyone’s on those dating sites; just watch TV to hear all about those people Match-ing, e-Harmony-nizing or ChristianMingle-ling. It can’t hurt to have a guide. And, if all else fails, it’s amusing to read how you should do it even if you’re intent on doing it wrong or not doing it at all.
So, sit down. Read. Like romance? Here’s your next book. Not your usual cup of tea? Branch out and try it anyway. No harm ever came from reading a book. (Except in The Mummy. Bad Evy. But let’s not go there.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Star Publish LLC steps up to ebook challenges

"It's so easy, you can do it yourself." That's what THEY say. Like so many things in life, nobody seems to know exactly who THEY is. Without being able to identify them, how do you know if you can trust them?

As both an author and the Marketing Director for Star Publish LLC, many people have told me that it is pretty simple to submit an ebook to Amazon, Lulu, or any number of other places and it is FREE. Anybody who knows me, knows that I like free. But when it comes to my books, I don't have a clue how to do all of the formatting, create a cover, and all the other things that go into coming up with a professional looking good final product. If my books don't look good, nobody will ever know how good the story inside the covers is. That's why it's much easier for me to leave all of that to somebody who knows how to do it. I admit I am not that person; I don't know how to do it, and I don't have any interest in learning. I'd rather be writing, or even marketing my books.

The growth of the ebook market is astonishing. It is advancing by leaps and bounds. I have not been a huge fan of ebooks. Maybe it comes with age. I prefer to think that it is because I spend so much time staring at a screen that when I sit down to relax with a book, I want to do it in the old fashioned way. Still, every time I do any sort of personal event about my books, more and more people are asking me, "Are any of your books available as ebooks?" or they are saying, "I only read on my Kindle, Nook, etc." So, I have given in to the demand and some of my books are available as ebooks. Eventually, I hope they all will be.

If you are in the same boat, that of not knowing how to do-it-yourself and don't want to learn, Star Publish LLC offers a great deal for getting your books available to the public as ebooks that includes a full professional edit, creating a cover, doing all the formatting, getting it listed on hundreds of places where people can find it, and just about everything you need. It sort of reminds me of the old Greyhound Bus ads, "Take a bus, and leave the driving to us."

Here is what they offer, as well as the price, and if you have more questions, contact Don't wait. Every day you don't take action could be the sale of at least one copy of your book.

E-book Only Production Fees:
Base production fee starts at two hundred ($200) USD and must be paid at signing of contract.

Further costs must be agreed upon using the details below:

Editing (must be paid in advance of service):

Star full edit: $200

If editing has been done outside of Star and is acceptable in quality, i.e.: the manuscript is free of careless errors, the cost of the edit can be reduced to $100

Cover designs (must be paid in advance of service):

Author provides cover (must be up to Star quality standards): Free

Star creates cover from photo author provides: $50

Star creates cover using their own photographs or doing manipulation on provided photographs: $100

Star creates cover using artwork designed and painted by Star artist $200 to $500 depending on the complexity of the project.

Formatting (includes file types for Kindle, Nook, Apple, Sony, Kobo and other popular devices and must be paid in advance of service):

Must be done by Star Publish $100

Including any extras including images or non-standard fonts: $200

Any further formatting, i.e. any text deleted or added after production, warrants another $100 fee

  With the fees paid here, and this agreement, Author is also entitled to a reduction in publication fee for the Star print version of their Work in Trade Paperback if ever they choose. The credit shall be that of four hundred ($400) USD. The Star print package for any Author with this contract, therefore, will be eight hundred ($800) USD.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hiding in the closet

Sometimes our skeletons hide in the closets. Sometimes they hide in treasure chests or under the bed. Sometimes they are buried deep within the confines of our minds.

Star Author Janie Lancaster has written a wonderful children's book, Emily: Out of My Mother's Darkness. It will help children face their own monsters, as Janie was forced to do in her own life. Here is the description from the back of the book.

Join Emily as she opens a forbidden cedar chest, unlocks a Chinese box and discovers dark secrets. Share in her struggle to climb out of her mother's darkness.

Emily, a work of autobiographical fiction, is a character-driven story of a young girl's desperate search for her missing father. A memoir of the author's traumatic adolescent years. A time when a whirlpool of sadness pulled and tugged at her very existence. A time when darkness threatened light, extinguished hope and demanded courage.
In addition to this book, Janie has written and published some e-books that are available in several formats. To see a You Tube promo for these, please go here. Star Publish LLC has published her book, Julie and the Lost Fairy Tale.
Our world today is full of things that cause fear in our children. Please let Janie, through her writing, help you help them through the tough times.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Escape to Paradise

As I sit looking out the window of my office in Northeast Wisconsin, I see the after effects of our 2 feet of snow that fell on us last week. It is pretty, but enough is enough! And with the horrible tornadoes that ravaged the mid-section of the nation last week, topped by 2-5” of snow to hamper salvage efforts, the thought of escape looms large on the horizon.

Star author Linda Ballou offers the perfect getaway. Yes, she would like to whisk you off to Hawaii. She has written a delightful novel, Wai-Nani: High Chiefess of Hawai’i. You will meet a fascinating woman from the history of Hawaii, learn a bit about the background of the state, but there is far more.

Linda has also created a wonderful blog where you can get to know the author, but she also has a series of Sacred Sites in Hawaii on her blog. You can not only read about it, but you can almost smell the aroma of the flowers, feel the ocean breezes, and enjoy the foods. It is like taking a virtual tour of the country, both the old and the new.

Here are some links to additional interviews and book reviews for Wai-Nani.

You can purchase the paperback book here or the Kindle version here.

Enjoy. It sure beats staring at a snowbank!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creating High Emotion in Fiction

Many works have been called masterpieces of literature. Some for their wonderful imaginative writing, some for their style, but all because their stories have the power to make us as readers experience, with the very core of our being, some emotion whether it be fear, hopelessness, astonishment, or laughter. Something true and similar to all of us throughout this world is our emotions. We feel the same range of emotions no matter what our ethnicity, income, or lifestyle. It is one of the most important things that make people love a work of fiction. It’s what readers hunger for.

Emotion, I’ve found, is also something many writers struggle to accurately portray.

Often an author will tell us how the character feels as in:

Johnny felt saddened, walking to his uncle’s shiny, dark casket. Tears dampened his eyes. The room was hot and quiet sobs drifted through the air as his mother led him toward the casket where he would see his uncle’s body, cold and stiff.

This works of course, but it doesn’t show anything of the character’s feelings. It simply states a fact and unless a reader has had the same or very similar experience, they will relate very little to the character’s sorrow, fear, or joy. Instead, authors should strive to show readers, as in:

Johnny’s palms grew sticky as he moved closer to the shiny, dark casket. The carpeting was soft under his feet, seemingly muffling all sobs and whispers in the room. His breaths grew shallow and the air suddenly became hot. He didn’t want to look at the body, pale and stiff. It wasn’t the way he wanted to remember his uncle. It wasn’t the last vision he wanted to lock away for revisiting. What he wanted was his uncle to toss a ball to him, to drive him to the swimming hole, and to take him for ice cream. But Uncle Gerald wouldn’t be coming in his shiny, silver pickup ever again. Johnny swallowed, forcing down the hot tears filling his eyes.

This second example puts readers in Johnny’s thoughts and helps them to feel what he feels, helps him become real.

Another of the most common things I find is overstatement. In this I mean when an emotion is told after it’s been shown as if the writer doesn’t believe the reader will get it the first time. This works just the opposite; it actually dulls the impact. In the second example above, notice that Johnny’s grief was never stated as sadness. Yet his sorrow is unmistakable. Often times a writer will create a passage like the second example above and then go on with a statement such as, "His sadness overwhelmed him." Such an explanatory statement ruins whatever impact the preceding passage had provoked. Another form of overstatement is repeating the exact same emotion over and over every so many paragraphs, as if the writer is afraid the reader will forget how the character is feeling. Once an emotion is established, it should be left alone — although the character should react in ways he would, feeling the way he is — until the emotion deepens, lessens, or otherwise changes somehow. When self-editing a work, a writer must be aware of these easily overlooked effects and weed out the explanatory and repetitive occurrences as much as they possibly can.

By T.C. McMullen
Star Publish Owner
Author and Artist

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's not Disney, and she's no lady!

Sometimes the stars shine on us. Such is the case of Star author Kristie Leigh Maguire. The book we are featuring here today is No Lady and Her Tramp. It was written several years ago by Kristie and Mark Haeuser. It is now available as an ebook. (This is not a Star Publish LLC ebook, but Kristie is more than just a Star author. She is the founder of Star Publish and all Star authors owe our success to Kristie's vision and dreams for her own books as well as those of other authors. Kristie does have several print books available from Star. You can find them listed at the Book Catalog at Star's website.

No Lady and Her Tramp is not for children. You can send them to watch the new release of Disney's Lady and the Tramp on the DVD or Blue Ray versions that were just released yesterday, after being locked in the Disney vault for many years. Then you can settle down with Kristie and Mark's version. It's a bit rough around the edges in places (what else would you expect from a tramp?), but it's also laugh-out-loud funny. There are surprises at every turn of the page.

Kristie also has a brand new interview up here about her latest book, Second Chances (click on title to order). In my opinion (comment by JES, Star Publish LLC Marketing Director, author, and editor), this is Kristie's finest work to date. It is very different from her other books, but it will take you to the mountains of Wyoming, where the air is clear, but people's heads aren't always. All they have to do is follow their heart and they can find happiness.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A tasty tidbit

Yes, we have already established that everybody likes something for nothing. Of course if you've seen that commercial where the banker asks the kid in the highchair, you know that to every rule there is an exception. When he throws his food at the banker, it sort of makes you want to go help the kid.

With our economy in the dumpster, it's time for Star Publish LLC to step up to the plate and do their part to help you dig your way out. Even with the low cost of ebooks, it is frustrating to buy something and as soon as you start to read it you discover that it certainly is not your taste in reading.

With that in mind, you can find Star's Ebook Sampler here, just waiting for you to download it to see if it's worth spending your hard-earned money on a certain title. But don't stop with just that one book you had heard about. Try all of the excerpts to see if something else also appeals to your literary tastes. You'll find mysteries, thrillers, historicals, fantasy, and a literary romance. Trying a Sampler is a great way to wander into uncharted territories. A reader once asked Janet Elaine Smith, Star's Marketing Director, why she should "waste her time and money on something as stupid as a time travel." She rightly concluded that time travel is something that is totally impossible, so she was not wanting to take the risk of spending hard-earned money on something she was pretty sure she wouldn't like. Janet made her an offer that she couldn't refuse. She told her that if she bought the book and didn't like it, if she sent a proof-of-purchase to Janet, she would refund her money and she could still keep the book. About two weeks later, the reader emailed Janet, simply asking, "When is your next time travel coming out?" And that's how Janet came up with her first Sampler, to cast that lure out to people who might otherwise read a book in some of the other genres she writes in.

Now Star Publish LLC has taken that same concept and we are making our very own ebook Sampler so you can see what you're missing by not clicking through to purchase the ones you like the most.

Happy reading!