Saturday, October 11, 2014

Shameless promotion: Review of my Purrfect Way Book

Thought I would give my how-to book another shameless plug – the delightful review on Amazon of my book, Your Purrfect Way to Publish & Promote Your Amazon & Kindle Books said it all, I think.

It's been given 5 stars by the reviewer, also an author, and a great boost. Here's Sarah Sheard's review:

"Customer Review
A powerful go-to manual for aspiring self--publishers, May 21, 2013

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Your Purrfect Way to Publish & Promote Your Amazon & Kindle Books (Paperback)

I thought it absolutely fantastic in its usability and breadth. I'm a novelist who recently began ebook self-publishing. I've figured out some of the basics but this book maps a gazillion new pathways onward and upward.

I've found nothing to compare to this manual in clarity, range of topics and dip-in-ability. Ashton's been generous in offering this amount of research so affordably to ebook self-publishers at all levels. Written in a readable, friendly style too.

Sarah Sheard
author of: Krank: Love in the New Dark Times."

There you have it. Now, if you know ANYONE who is or might be writing a book, or who, in your mind, should be thinking of writing a book, tell them about this one – better still, gift it to them (Amazon softcover 400 plus pages only $14.99, and Kindle eBook only 99 cents).

And really, really think about writing a book and publishing it, yourself. 

What have you got to lose? Gift it to your relatives, your friends, and your carefully selected enemies.

If you are in business (employed or your own), how about writing a book about a field you know about? Looks good on your resume, eh?

Go for it!

Join the revolution!
You know that you are a Rebel.

The chances of a north American writer finding a publisher for his or her book are slim. But that does not mean that your book must forever remain unpublished.

You have an option.

You can decide to rebel against the traditional publishing way, and  become a revolutionary. You can ride the wave of the future.

You can join the ranks of the thousands of Independent publishers – also called Indie publishers or just plain Indies. That's a title to wear with pride. As such, you will become part of a major historical movement, as dramatic as the first invention of the printing press in 1458 by Johannes Gutenberg.

You can join the Gutenberg+ Revolution by publishing your own book, using Amazon's print on demand (POD) for your soft cover version, and Kindle for your eBook one.

Just as Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in the 1450's started a massive revolution in the production of books, so too the services offered to all of us by Amazon and Kindle are triggering a similar revolution.

And once you have published your own book, you will need to promote it.

That's tough.

But not impossible.

You will need to build your Author Platform, along the lines of this diagram:

And you will need to prepare your own Promotion Plan, like the one described in this post.

Don't forget to check out my manual for self-publishers – Your Purrfect Way to Publish & Promote Your Amazon & Kindle Books, which you can  read about at my Amazon author site:

And the best of luck to you!

And please consider subscribing to my author Newsletter using the subscription form in the right hand panel of this site.

When you subscribe, you will get a FREE 16-page summary of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! beat sheet.
Welcome to the Rebellion!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

From My Quotes Cupboard: London shuts the gates on the King

London gates
London was not part of the aristocratic system. Its municipality was no less independent and democratic than it had been in the Middle Ages.

It had always been a third power in the State, alongside the King and Parliament, and it was so still [in 1689]. The fact that the Royal Court was held outside the city boundaries, usually in Westminister, had saved the capital of England from ever becoming identified with the Government. It had always been possible to close the gates of London on the King...

Its Court of Common Council, which so often voiced the national feeling on foreign and domestic issues in the absence of any more representative institution, was a Parliament of small shopkeepers elected by their like.

British History in the Nineteenth Century (1782 – 1901) by George Macaulay Trevelyan 1928

For more Quotes, please CLICK HERE and for even more, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Many Hearts in Turbulence is why you must see it at the VIFF

Camillia Mahal as Jina
A startlingly adept portrayal of the harsh choices that some face is at the core of the Canadian-made movie Turbulence, now playing at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Without any Hollywood histrionics, this tight thriller-human interest combination of a movie strikes deep into your very being, from the opening scene to the final one.

The second movie by writer-director Soran Mardookhi tells the gut-wrenching story of Sherzad (Kamal Yamolky),  and his young daughter, Jina. Set in Vancouver, the film covers a few days in the life of these two and their relatives and friends.

The backdrop is the brutal events in Iraq at the time of the Iraq-Iran war, when millions lost their lives in a years-long war. With his family shattered and killed in Kurdistan, the main actor, Sherzad, flees to Canada, with his young, traumatized daughter.

The past is gone, but still has the family in its relentless grip.
Soran Mardookhi

Jina is played with superb understatement by Camillia Mahal, and Kamal Yamolky, in his first starring role as the father, delivers a performance that many actors in Hollywood would give their eye teeth to match.

The eye behind the camera is that of the producer/director, Soran Mardookhi, who after earning his BFA in Film Directing in January 2006, went on to produce many short films and two features. His directorial debut in 2007 was And Thus I Was Born, and was screened at film festivals around the world.

You can read more about the movie and its cast at the VIFF site, and in the review by by Alison Chang in The Source. Chang writes:

Mardookhi, 35, was born in Iran and immigrated to Vancouver in 2010. It took the director roughly two years to pen the script. From the beginning, he had Yamolky in mind for the role of the father. Finding the right person for the female lead proved harder.
Reflection before the climax

After last nights showing at VIFF, Mardookhi was asked about the progress of the movie from start to finish. He said that he started out with a clear course in mind, but the end-product proved to be far different from what he originally planned it to be. The script was changed often, due to the story pushing its own envelope, the interaction between the actors, the pressing need to keep within budget, and even the inability to find the right locations for what he had in mind when he first wrote the script.

Kamal Yamolky, a short, sharp-featured man in his eighties, appeared on the floor along with all the other cast members and crew, invited to join the spotlight by Mardookhi. 

For a man who has just started his film career, Yamolky has mastered several of the arts a successful actor needs: timing, self-assurance, and the ability to draw the spotlight to him like a candle draws a moth. 
Kamal Yamolky: stunning first role

If Yamolky had found himself in California in his early twenties, instead of Kurdistan, then engineering might have lost him but the movie industry would have benefited.

Jina is played by Camillia Mahal, 34, a Vancouver-born actress of East Indian descent. Chang quotes the director about how he handled her on the set:
“I didn’t say nice things to her, like I said to the others on set – I wanted her to stay in character – and I think it worked. She was the right choice,” says Mardookhi.
Chang’s quote about Mardookhi’s view of his movie sums it up best, in my view:
“This movie is made with [almost] no budget, but so many hearts were in it,” says Mardookhi.

 If you are in Vancouver, or visiting there, go and see Turbulence. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, July 14, 2014

From My Quotes Cupboard: How Botta’s Mounds lifted the Assyrians out of the abyss of the past

Thoughts of a man riding a horse through a desert resulted in one of the most important archeological finds of all times:

Flat was the land between the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers, but here and there mysterious mounds rose out of the plain. Dust storms swirled around these protuberances, piling the black earth into steep dunes, which grew steadily for a hundred years, only to be dispersed in the course of another five hundred ...

Here evolved one of archeology’s greatest triumphs, if only for the reason that the land of mounds showed no visible traces of past greatness...
Today it is called Iraq, and Baghdad is its capital ... In 1840 [Paul Emile Botta] was appointed [French] consular agent in Mosul, on the upper Tigris. Evenings, at twilight, when Botta fled the suffocating heat of the bazaars to refresh himself on horseback excursions out into the countryside, he would see the strange mounds that dotted the landscape everywhere ...
By sending off this little expedition Botta was eventually to immortalize his name in the history of archeology. The identity of the Arab informant is forgotten, lost in the drift of years.

But Botta is still remembered as the first to disclose the remains of a culture that had flowered for almost two thousand years, and for more than two millennia and a half had slumbered under the black earth between the two rivers, forgotten by men...
The moment had come when, no longer able to keep this conviction to himself, he sent the news to Paris, and so out into the world. “I believe,” he wrote with pride, and the newspapers made headlines of  it, “that I am the first to discover sculptures that can be truly identified with the period when Ninevah was at its height.” ...

            France was fired by Botta’s revelations. Aid was mobilized on the most generous scale to enable Botta to continue his work. He dug for three years, from 1843 to 1846...

            The palace was laid bare, rising up from mighty terraces... At one swoop the mysterious Assyrian people were lifted out of the abyss of the past.


Gods, Graves, & Scholars, by C.W. Ceram, Alfred A. Knopf 1956

For more Quotes, please CLICK HERE and for even more, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Writing thrillers: The Venice of Red Spies, Black Spies and Ruthless Doges

Venice - by Edward A. Goodall
The climax of our novel, Obelisk Seven, takes place in the Doge's Palace in the heart of Venice. 

In an earlier post (reproduced here), we explored the history of the city state of Venice, after visiting it on a European tour, with a delightful tour guide from Trafalgar Tours.

Our research surprised us: we had not realized how powerful Venice was for so many centuries, nor did we know that the Venetians were very tough defenders of their unique democracy.

The Tough Venetians  

They were tough on their powerful families, tough on their Doges, tough on their citizens, and tough on their enemies. 

They elected Doges using white balls and black balls, as well as a child, and they used spies to keep their citizens – including their leaders - under tight control.

The Council of Ten

Way back in 1310 the powerful Council of Ten was created. There was a conspiracy by a member of one of the families which ruled Venice - the Tiepolo conspiracy - against the Doge, but he fought it off and razed the palaces of the conspirators to the ground; then the Venetians decided to give the Council the job of protecting the Republic against crimes against the state.

Starting in the 1500s, three of its members served as State Inquisitors, known as the Supreme Tribunal. They had a secret police, and a network of spies all over the Republic. 
Spying was institutionalized in Venice from a very early time. 
The Spy system of Venice

The Big Three spies from the Council of Ten had the power to try and convict Venetians for treason. They built a huge network of spies inside Venice and in other countries.
One of the three State Inquisitors was known as the 'red one' because he was chosen from the Dogal Councillors, who wore robes of scarlet. The other two were chose from the Council of Ten, and were known as the 'black ones'. It did not matter what color their robes were; they were all powerful, ruthless, and believers in swift justice. They could torture anyone, or give amnesties to anyone. 

You never saw the face of your judge, when they hauled you in.
Council of Ten Chamber in Doge's Palace in Venice
The Doges were usually old men when they were chosen as the supreme leader of the republic of Venice, and they could not leave Venice unless at least two members of the Council of Ten accompanied them. 

The Republic was held together by the glue of suspicion.
Crackdown on a Doge

The Council of Ten would not tolerate even a Doge getting out of hand.

There's the case of Doge Fosari, back in 1423. He started taking too much power into his hands and the Council decided to teach him a lesson in humility.

They targeted his son, and accused him of treason. The charge was false, but that did not matter.

Monday, July 7, 2014

From My Quotes Cupboard: The fish that drank French blood

In the sea fight at Sluys, with Edward in personal command, the longbow men dominated the English armament, with one ship of men-at-arms placed between every two ships of archers, plus extra ships of archers for reinforcement if need arose. Not naval  power but the strength of soldiers and archers on board ship determined sea battle in this era. They operated from high-decked cogs of 100 to 300 tons fitted with fighting platforms or “castles’ for the archers ...

No one dared tell the outcome of the battle to Philip IV until his jester was thrust forward and said, “Oh, the cowardly English, the cowardly English!’ and on being asked why, replied, “They did not jump overboard like our brave Frenchmen.” The King evidently got the point.

The fish drank so much French blood, it was said afterward, that if God have given them the power of speech they would have spoken in French.


A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 1978

For more Quotes, please CLICK HERE and for even more, CLICK HERE.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Siamese cat photos 2014

Lovely and photogenic little critters, aren't they?

Both sides covered

Bookend cats

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Just in case you think you understand the Universe ...

Consider these theories, from BBC News:

So we now have tons of dark energy pushing the envelope, lesser amounts of dark matter holding the whole thing together, and the matter we know – that table you can rap your knuckles on – is a mere 2oth of all matter.

Good. That explains a lot.

Some more of my random posts for you: