Category Archives: Books

Amazon’s basic Kindle to get Audible support so you can give your eyes a break

Do you seem to spend most of your life staring at a screen? You probably grab your smartphone within seconds of waking up in the morning, glare at your tablet while getting breakfast, and perhaps resume your smartphone interaction on the way to work. There you could be looking at a computer display for the rest of the day, before coming home to spend a good part of the evening looking at your TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphone again. If you have an ebook reader, there’s another display right there you could be looking at through the day.

So here’s the thing. If you have Amazon’s basic ebook reader and you fancy giving your eyes at least a little bit of a rest, then soon you’ll be able to pass some of that sensory action to your auditory canals thanks to Audible.

A recently updated listing on Amazon reveals that the company’s basic Kindle ebook reader will support Audible “in the coming months” via an over-the-air update, according to The Digital Reader.


Audible offers a library of more than 375,000 audiobooks (some of them for dogs!), magazines, newspapers, and radio shows, all of which can be streamed wirelessly via Bluetooth to wireless headphones and speakers.

Earlier versions of Amazon’s basic ebook reader supported Audible, but the company removed the capability as its range of readers grew.

Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis, its priciest ebook reader at $250, supports the service, while buyers of the basic Kindle, which starts at $80, will soon be able to enjoy the same benefit.

Bad news for owners of the Voyage and Paperwhite readers, however, as the feature isn’t coming to these midrange Kindle models. At least, not yet. Considering Amazon has owned Audible since 2008, it seems surprising that some of its ebook readers don’t yet support the service.

Just to be clear, you’ll need Bluetooth headphones or a speaker to use Audible on your Kindle, as the device has no speaker or headphone jack.

Amazon recently celebrated 10 years of the Kindle with discounts on most of its current readers, as well as offers on ebooks. While the offers on the devices have finished, you can still find discounts of up to 80 percent on many Kindle books as part of its monthly deals.



Vampyre New Moon – Eternal Coming Soon……

Book 1 is out now on amazon. Book 2 will carry on from the ending of book one. Val must continue to be the honorable person she is. Can she save everyone?



Prolific romantic fiction writer exposed as a plagiarist

A prolific, self-published romantic fiction novelist has been exposed as a plagiarist after a reader spotted that she had switched the gender in a tale of romantic suspense to turn it into a gay love story.

Becky McGraw, a New York Times bestselling writer, was alerted by one of her readers about the similarities between her own novel My Kind of Trouble, in which Cassie Bellamy falls for bad boy Luke Matthews when she returns to her hometown of Bowie, Texas, and Laura Harner’s Coming Home Texas, in which Brandon Masters falls for bad boy Joe Martinez when he returns to his hometown of Goldview, Texas.

“She emailed to ask if I’d started writing gay romance under a pen name,” said McGraw, whose editor subsequently reviewed both books, and highlighted the similarities. These have also been extensively detailed online by novelist Jenny Trout; Trout has provided screenshots and extracts from both books, and writes that “Harner’s clever trick here was to pick a book that was not M/M [male/male], but M/F contemporary romance. As far as readers go, there isn’t a lot of overlap between the two genres.”


McGraw writes: “Since she’d gotten the call from Imelda, the closest thing to a mother that Cassie had known since her own mother died when she was ten, Cassie had been in that mode. Once she decided she needed to come back, the memories she thought she buried ten years ago would not leave her alone. Thoughts of Luke Matthews would not leave her alone.”

Image result for Prolific romantic fiction writer exposed as a plagiarist

Harner, whose Amazon profile says she has written more than 50 novels and sold almost half a million books, writes: “Since he’d gotten the call from Isabella – the closest thing to a mother that he’d known since his own mom died when he was nine – Brandon seemed to be stuck on a never ending sentimental highway. Once he decided he needed to come back, the memories he thought he buried long ago wouldn’t leave him alone. Thoughts of Joe Martinez won’t leave me alone.”

“Her book was almost a word-for-word, scene-for-scene duplication of my book, except the characters’ names had been changed, and short M/M love scenes had been inserted,” said McGraw. “The only scene she didn’t include was the epilogue, which couldn’t be altered to an M/M scene. It involved the heroine in labour and the hero having sympathetic labour pains.”

McGraw is intending to take legal action against Harner, who has pulled the book from retailers since McGraw first posted about the situation on Facebook, along with her Deuce Coop series, which was revealed to be similar to Opal Carew’s Riding Steele novel, again a straight romance turned into a gay one. The similarities were laid out in a second blog post by Trout, who wrote that “it’s almost impressive how much Harner was still able to plagiarise from Carew here, given the fact that the characters are of mostly different physical and clothing descriptions”.

Responding to the Guardian in a statement, Harner said she realised she had “made mistakes”. “I own them, and I will deal with the consequences. In transforming two M/F romance stories into an M/M genre, it appears that I may have crossed the line and violated my own code of ethics,” she wrote.

“For those who know me best, you know that responsibility for my actions begins and ends with me. I will also add there are some personal and professional issues I’ve had to deal with in the last year that have stretched me in ways that haven’t always been good for me. I write about certain concerns related to military service for a reason; however, I am not offering that as an excuse. I just think whenever someone acts so out of character, it’s helpful to ask why.”

Harner added that she was “working to address concerns raised by two authors who have accused me of plagiarism”, saying that she would provide a more complete statement later this week. “Until then, please do not judge me too harshly.”

McGraw, however, urged other romantic fiction novelists to check Harner’s backlist to see if they recognise their work. “Considering that Laura Harner, AKA LE Harner, has ‘written’ in seven or eight genres in five years, started series in those genres, and published 75 books so far in that span of time, I’d say everyone in every genre needs to be concerned, both indie and traditionally published authors,” she said.

Trout added that there was “definitely shock” about the situation, but that she was “surprised that there isn’t more shock from authors”. She pointed to “this unwritten law in the world of romance, young adult, and new adult authors and readers. I call it Be Nice, in which every author is expected to be supportive and enthusiastic of every other author, regardless of bad behaviour. And a lot of authors exploit Be Nice to do really awful things to each other, because they know they’re not going to be called out.”

The only way, Trout said, that plagiarism will be taken more seriously “is if readers are willing to call it out when they see it, without making excuses for it or saying, ‘it’s OK, because I like this plagiarised version more’, which does happen, and if authors are willing to stand up for other authors.

“When someone takes something from you, you sort of look around to see if anyone else notices it, if they’re going to be on your side if you say something. And most of the time, the answer you get is that no one wants to be involved. So authors stay silent and hope it goes away, or they’re advised by their publishers or agents to just ignore it and Be Nice. Until there isn’t incentive for people to plagiarize, until there are actual consequences to their actions, then it’s never really going to stop.”


15 DIY Book Promotion Tools You Need to Know

No matter what kind of book you’ve written (or plan to write) there are many ways to reach your audience. Each of the DIY tools listed here are low or no-cost, and each of them works in its own way. One or more may be perfect for you.

Fifteen ideas might seem overwhelming, but remember that you only need to do one thing at a time. As one clicks and then another, you’ll soon be reaching your audience.

The bottom line is to practice selling your books one by one. Author and publisher Michael Wiese has been writing and marketing books successfully for over three decades. He tells all his forty-plus authors “Sell one book at a time.”

Instead of trying to sell your book to faceless thousands, find one person who needs and wants your book. Offer your book to that person. Repeat.

Slower than you want, but faster than you think, you may become a best-selling author.

  • Start Early

The most powerful and essential steps you can take toward promoting your book begin long before the actual writing of the book. Three years before the book is published–if you can–start building a network of supporters and reviewers. Keep track of everyone you meet as you research and write the book. Pay special attention to, and make notes about, those who demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for you and your project.

As the project evolves, keep in touch with these people. You might send them an occasional email, or keep in touch via a social networking site like LinkedIn or FaceBook.

For significant milestones–the signing of your book contract, the completion of the manuscript, the arrival of the galley proofs, and the arrival of the finished books–you might bring key people together for a house party. At the house party, you could read short excerpts from your book and answer questions about the project.

  • Contribute to Web Forums

Every field has at least one or two forums that people interested in your subject know and read. Find and join these forums.

Contribute to them freely. Give advice and reach out. Offer to help others. Put a link to your blog or website in your signature line. When you have a book contract and/or a book title, add the title to your signature line.

  • Start a Blog

Early in the process of researching and thinking about your book, start a blog. Add 120-130 words each day of helpful, inspirational information on issues in your field, which are related to the subjects in your book. Aim to create a genuinely useful body of knowledge over the following 12 months.

  • Write a Remarkable Book

Set out to write a remarkable book. If your book is not remarkable, keep working on it until it is. Give the manuscript to ten friends and ask for honest feedback. Find a brilliant editor (you can find such an editor at EFA) and pay him or her to edit your manuscript. Revise. Repeat.

Don’t stop until your reviewers start saying things like: “I loved it! This book is amazing!”

A remarkable book will generate word-of-mouth publicity. One person will read it, and recommend it to his or her friends. They will recommend it to their friends. This is the best publicity you can get.

  • Cultivate a Positive Attitude about Book Promotion

Think of book promotion as storytelling. The story you are telling is why you wrote your book, how it can help others, and how the world will benefit from your book.

If you can develop a positive attitude about book promotion, people will pick up on it, and tune in immediately. Some writers resent the chore of marketing. Their attitude seems to be, “I’m a writer. Marketing is the publisher’s job. Promoting my own book shouldn’t be my responsibility.”

Unfortunately–unless you are Stephen King or Malcolm Gladwell–the publisher probably won’t have the budget to market your book. If you don’t promote your book, no one else will.

  • Create a Media Kit

Your media kit should include:

* Professionally printed business cards with the book cover on one side and your contact information on the other side. Do not try to print them on your home printer. This is a time to invest in your product and yourself, not save money.

* A head shot by a professional photographer or a talented amateur. It should be well lit, with a neutral background. Your eyes should sparkle.

* A 100 – 150 word biography. The main purpose of the biography is to tell a reader why you are uniquely qualified to have written this particular book.

* A ‘one-sheet’ for the book: a single piece of paper with a glossy print of the book cover on one side and a one-page description of the book on the other side. Be sure to include a few short blurbs and recommendations from colleagues and friends in the description.

  • Create a Book Pitch

Consider writing at least three sales pitches for your book: 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds. When someone asks what the book is about, give them the 10 second pitch. If the person responds with interest, have a longer pitch ready!

Practice your pitches on friends until they tell you the pitches work.

  • Build a Website

As publication day approaches, build a full website. The website should include:

* A book blog, in which you write updates, corrections, errata and respond to reader comments and suggestions. This book blog may become the basis for the second edition of your book.

* Sample chapters from your book

* A link to the Amazon page for your book, so people can buy the book online

* Your media kit (see step 5)

* Book reviews and blurbs.

* Your schedule of appearances, including bookstores, speaking engagements and conferences

* Contact information.

  • Get Book Reviews from Individuals

Six months (nine if possible) before the book is due to appear in book stores, start asking people for reviews and blurbs. Send reviewers a printed galley proof of your book. If you don’t yet have printed galley proofs, send a PDF containing the first two chapters, a table of contents and your bio.

Don’t be afraid to approach the ‘biggest names’ in your field. (This is important.) Ask for both reviews and blurbs. Busy people may only have time to write a few sentences.

A word about PDFs: check with your publisher about their policies on review copies. Many publishers will NOT allow you to send out a PDF copy of the entire book. They are afraid the book will be stolen.

  • Write Articles

Every field has eZines, websites and magazines that advocate or deal with the subject of your book. Find them. Once you know where they are, look through them and figure out which ones talk to the audience for your book. Contact those sites or publications and pitch articles that will be of interest to their readers.

Schedule articles to appear around the time your book will appear in bookstores and on Amazon. For example, if your book is going to appear in bookstores and on Amazon in mid-June, schedule your articles to appear in July, August, and September.

Remember to pitch articles early, because many magazines and eZines have a 3-6 month lead time. Mention your book title somewhere in the article. In online articles, link the book title to its Amazon page so readers can click over and buy the book.

  • Get Book Reviews from eZines and Magazines

Ask websites, eZines and magazines in your field to review your book. Some websites or eZines may offer to trade, to review your book if you write an article for them. For example, earlier this year I contacted Writers Store and offered to write an article about what I learned while promoting my most recent books: Producing With Passion and Digital Video Secrets. This article is the result of that contact.

  • Get 20 Amazon Reviews

Amazon reviews are amazingly effective. Everyone from book buyers to publishers reads them.

Your goal is to get at least 20 reviews. Contact everyone you know and ask each of them if they would give your book an honest review. Let them know it can be brief. If they agree, send them either a galley proof, a promotional copy of the book, or a PDF containing a table of contents, two sample chapters, and your bio.

Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers are another source of high-value reviews. Find the reviewers who deal with books in your area. Write to them. Tell them you have written a book they might be interested in, and that you’d appreciate a review. If they respond, send them a galley proof or a promotional copy of your book.

  • Get Mentioned in email Blasts

Look for organizations in your field that send large-volume emails. Try to get your book reviewed in their email or newsletter. When the number of people receiving the emails is 100,000 or more it’s sometimes referred to as an email blast.

  • Speak at Conferences

As a published author, you have the qualifications necessary to speak at conferences. Contact conference organizers at least 6 months in advance. At first you may have to register and pay a fee to speak. Later, when you become better known, conferences may seek you out, and may even pay you to speak.

You should be prepared to give a 45 minute presentation. A useful way to structure a 45 minute presentation is to speak for 30 minutes, and take questions from the floor for the last 15 minutes. Plan to take a few minutes after your speech to circulate with the audience. Have a table in the back of the room where you or someone on your team sells books.

  • Make and Post Online Videos

Make a few 5 minute videos (or a series of videos) of yourself talking about key issues in your field. Put the book title and URL on the bottom of the video screen and in the credits.

Post your videos on several of the many video sharing sites including sites like, jumpcut, ourmedia, Vimeo, Social and YouTube. Embed the video clips on your website.

Plan on following your promotion plan–perhaps an hour a day–for at least a year. Resolve to do something every day on promotion. Remember – follow-up and persistence are the keys to success.


Vampyre: New Moon Now Available on Amazon and iTunes

Apart from the realm of humans and far from the light of day, a complex structure hides from many eyes. Here Val, a vampyre that follows the path of the Vigilante draws blood in search of justice and a path that she can call her own. She is joined by her lover Henrik, a vampyre from another path and together they are drawn into a world of intrigue that threatens to tear the world they know apart.

Soon the pair finds themselves part of a conflict older than them both, forced to seek allies in people that seem should be mortal enemies. In a world with so many different monstrous individuals it seems that only unity and the strength of overcoming differences can prevail.

A hidden organization has shown itself, one that seems to have been pulling the strings for longer than anyone truly knows. This order seeks a war to keep the factions separate in order to find an evil power that threatens to destroy everything.

Can Val and her uneasy companions find the answers they seek in time to prevent a war and the end of everything, in both the darkness and the light?

How to get started as an Audible narrator through ACX

Losing my full-time job of 12 years in August 2013 gave me the push I needed to accomplish a life-long dream: break into the world of voice acting.

The voice-over world was once the exclusive realm of artists in major markets such as Los Angeles and New York City. But today the field is open to thousands of part-time and full-time, home-based voice-over professionals.

There are many avenues through which a self-employed voice-over artist can find work. Two of the main sites dedicated to uniting voice actors and potential employers are and Both sites require a premium subscription to reap real benefits and receive customized audition notices. The beginning voice actor will need to spend considerable time creating a profile, as well as recording and posting demos. See my Voice123 profile for an idea of what a finished profile should look like.

As lucrative as these sources can be, competition is tough. A beginning voice actor will receive many rejections before landing that first voice gig. Persistence pays off.

However, I found earlier success auditioning for Audible, the top online seller of audio books. Their interface between voice actors and book rights-holders is called ACX.

By picking the right books, submitting high-quality auditions, and preparing for the time and effort it will take to complete an audio book project, even inexperienced voice actors can find themselves with a production contract.

This can be a long and complicated process. But that shouldn’t scare you away from giving it a try.

Here are the three main things you must accomplish to become an Audible narrator through ACX.

1. Set up your digital audio workstation

If you already have a moderately good computer – laptop or desktop – you’re about halfway there. The other main components to an adequate workstation are a condenser microphone, a preamp/interface, reference monitors (a fancy term for speakers), studio monitors (a fancy term for headphones), and audio recording and editing software.

But to achieve a high-quality sound you also must prepare a silent recording room or space. There are probably hundreds of ways to do this, from building a blanket fort to spending thousands of dollars on a high-end isolation booth.

My first recording space was a customized closet. I tacked carpet remnants onto the walls and added Auralex acoustic foam where needed.

When we moved to a smaller home last year, I had a custom-designed recording booth built into the corner of a spare bedroom. My increased level of experience warranted the extra expense. The result is a superior-sounding space that will give my clients a much better product.

The point isn’t how much you spend, but whether or not you can achieve the totally “dead” mic sound necessary for audio book recording. Search YouTube for a wealth of DIY recording booth and workstation videos from amateurs and professionals all over the world.

My equipment of choice:

  • Apple MacBook Pro with 8 gigabytes of RAM and a solid-state hard drive. These hard drives are more expensive, but much quieter and faster. They are also standard equipment on the latest MacBook Pro models.
  • Audio Technica AT-4050 microphone
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 preamplifier
  • I record using GarageBand software (available only for Mac) and edit using Adobe Audition.
  • Mackie CR3 reference monitors
  • Audio Technica ATH-M30x studio monitors

There are hundreds more options, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Take the time to find the setup that’s right for your budget and skill levels. Recording and processing a single audio track doesn’t require a lot of computer power. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need the latest, greatest machine for the job.

However, the reason I chose the MBP over the standard MacBook or the MacBook Air was available hard drive size. The extra processing power helps, too.

I caution against using cheap plug-and-play USB microphones, such as the popular Blue Yeti. Many of these models do sound quite good. But for a few hundred dollars more you can get a much higher-quality condenser microphone that will achieve a superior sound. This is why you’ll also need a small preamp unit, which is a power interface between the mic and your computer. Focusrite makes excellent products, but there are good competitors, too.

About speakers and headphones: Do not use or purchase standard, consumer-level products. This is because your typical household audio gear is designed to make music sound good, not to provide an accurate representation of spoken-word audio.

Studio and reference monitors, on the other hand, are designed to provide a “flat” frequency response. There’s no bass boosting or high-end attenuation you’ll find in products such as Beats headphones. Your audio equipment needs to give you the closest possible representation of what your voice sounds like. It will take some time to train your ears to appreciate the difference. But trust me … this is a critical detail you should not ignore.

Currently at $79.99 on Amazon, the Mackie reference monitors I use are hard to beat. You can opt for larger versions at a higher cost, but I have found this model to be more than adequate. It’s important that you mount or position your monitors to point directly at your ears. You can find stands or mounting equipment to achieve this goal.

Your studio monitors should be comfortable enough to withstand hours of recording time. Any of the ATH models will be an excellent choice, depending on your budget. Ensure that whatever you purchase is an over-the-ear model, not on-ear. This will help isolate your voice as you record and block out any external noises.

Once you have everything set up, it’s time to test your recording environment. I strongly recommend you submit some sample recordings to a qualified audio professional before your first audition. Get the opinions of a knowledgable person about whether or not you have truly achieved the right sound. It may be worth the expense to pay for a personal sound consultation before you begin auditioning.

2. Establish a profile on AXC

ACX is the online interface between audio book narrators and book rights-holders. There is no cost to join ACX, but you’ll have to do the work to establish a proper profile. See mine for an example.

Next, scan the list of available book titles seeking narrators. There are usually a couple of thousand titles on any given day. Begin by selecting male or female from the gender filter. That way you can at least immediately narrow down the books according to what rights-holders want.

After that, it’s up to you to find the right book for an audition.

At least in my experience, it is extremely rare that a rights holder will contact you out of the blue to offer a recording deal. The two or three times this has happened to me I have turned the projects down because the books did not match my personal requirements or preferences.

It’s much more likely you’ll have to do the work of searching through available titles and sending in auditions. Here are a few tips that may save you some time in this process. Ask yourself …

  • Do I have the free time necessary for this project? Each “finished hour” of an audio book will probably take you four to five hours to produce. Will you be able to complete it by the contract deadline? Some rights-holders are lenient about deadlines. But don’t assume.
  • Would I read this book myself? If a book isn’t something that interests me purely as a reader, I won’t audition for it. Your enthusiasm for the material will reveal itself in your recording. Plus, if you get the contract, you’ll have the added benefit of reading the book for free.
  • Can I accept a royalty contract, or will I only work for a payment per finished hour? Most of the contracts available on ACX are royalty-only. You have to decide if you think the book will sell well enough to be worth your time and effort. Of course, you can help out by promoting the audio book through your social network.
  • If this is a fiction title, do I have the skill to voice multiple characters? Fiction authors will want this from you. Do you have a theatrical background, or are you more of a straight reader? If you’re unsure, pick nonfiction titles until you get a few under your belt. If you really do want to pursue fiction titles, I can’t suggest strongly enough that you take some acting classes. I have personally performed in about 20 stage productions, both comedies and dramas. They have been invaluable experiences in learning the skills of vocal characterization.
  • Is this project truly something I can put my name on? Once your book is finished, your name and profile will be associated with it through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. If there is any hesitation about whether or not this title is right for you, don’t do it.

3. Complete your first ACX project

Being awarded that first contract with Audible is both thrilling and frightening. You’ll inwardly doubt whether or not you can really get it done. Pressing on and doing your best despite your fears will be a great accomplishment and will prepare you for future projects.

Here are some tips that will get you to the finish line more quickly and with less stress.

Be communicative. Keep a dialogue going with your rights-holder. You can do this through the ACX message interface or via your own email or phone. Ask as many questions about the book as necessary. If you have problems, let them know right away.

During production of an 18-hour book I came down with an illness that wrecked my voice for three weeks. I thought it would ruin my reputation. But being honest with the rights holder helped us both come to an agreement to extend the deadline. They’re going to want the best product possible from you. That will mean being patient if you get sick.

Be consistent. Nothing is worse than having one chapter sound different from another, or forgetting how you voiced a character from one scene to the next. Write up character descriptions if you have to. Keep listening back to previous chapters. It hurts to have to do it, but re-record when necessary rather than settling for mediocrity.

Be caring. Your voice is your instrument and your livelihood. Be realistic about how much it and your ears can handle. You only have so many good hours a day of recording and editing before fatigue sets in. Don’t push it. You will discover your limits by trial and error. My personal limits: three hours of recording and five hours of editing per day, period.

Be your own calling card. Every audio book you complete can become an advertisement for your next gig. It isn’t just a product you help sell. Its a digital resume that helps sell you!

So, be ruthless about quality. Allow for more time than you think you will need. Learn as much as you can about audio editing. Keep pushing yourself for better performances. Do not settle for a meager product or hope they won’t notice the mistake.

And one more critical point … Back up your work every night. I don’t need to tell you how devastating it would be to lose your recordings forever before you’re able to submit them for approval.

Beyond these three basic items, your journey toward becoming an Audible narrator will differ depending on your skill level, determination, and sometimes just plain luck.

Don’t give up. And keep seeking advice from the voice-over communities online and through other web-based channels. There is more free help and information out there than you could ever use.


Catching up with Anne Rice ahead of her fan club’s annual Halloween ball

When Sue Quiroz met horror author Anne Rice at a book signing in 1988, Quiroz got more than an autograph in her copy of “Queen of the Damned.” 

“I remember vividly what happened that day,” said Rice from her home in Palm Desert, California. “Sue came up to me and asked if she could start a fan club for me, and I said, ‘Not for me. But Lestat would love to have a fan club.’ ”

Quiroz became chief of the fictional vampire’s official fan club, and Rice got a lifelong friend and sometime personal assistant who heads up the annual Anne Rice Lestat Vampire Ball, now celebrating its 29th year in New Orleans.  


The exact name of the ball can change to reflect Rice’s most recent work: This year it’s the Atlantis Ball, Oct. 27 at the Republic. The name is a nod to 2016’s “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis,” the latest in the 12-volume “Vampire Chronicles.”

The road to Rice’s megawatt writing career began with the 1976 novel “Interview with the Vampire,” which grew from a short story she wrote on a whim.  “When it became so successful, I realized that the vampire was a perfect metaphor for the outsider, something many people can relate to,” Rice said.

“The Vampire Lestat” emerged in 1985, launching the wildly successful “Vampire Chronicles” franchise.  Paramount Pictures has just optioned “The Vampire Chronicles” for an upcoming television series.

These days, Rice lives in California and collaborates with son Christopher Rice, a well-known author of 12 books in his own right. The pair are working on a sequel to “The Mummy,” the novel that ended with a cliffhanger when it was published in 1989.

“Fans had been clamoring for a sequel, but the vampire world so took off that there wasn’t the space or time to continue on with ‘The Mummy,’ ” Chris Rice said. “Collaborations can be tricky, and every author is different, style-wise, but I was noticing more and more that famous authors were collaborating in the mystery and romance world.

“Author James Patterson is the most obvious. He has numerous collaborators. He couldn’t crank out novels at the pace readers are hungering for them without collaborators. But a collaboration with my mom meant entering a world that had already been built and involved keeping a certain tone that longtime fans related to.”

Added Anne Rice: “Our first step was to hammer out a plot with sketch pads and felt tips. It’s never more than a tentative roadmap, but from this, Chris wrote the first draft of what would eventually become ‘Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra.’ ”


“The core of how we did it was passing it back and forth,” Chris Rice said. “I don’t think either of us could have endured sitting side by side in a room writing together. So we went back and forth, making modifications along the way. …

“There was one place where Mom was certainly right. I thought Cleopatra should be a villainess, saying we had to have a monster in the story, but Mom thought she was much too complex a character to put her in a box like that … and she was right. If left to my own devices, I could progress a whole story through action and violence, but that is not entirely what smacks of an Anne Rice novel.”

Added Anne Rice: “There’s been an incredible appreciation of my work, as evidenced by the wonderful fans, like those who come out for the Halloween balls in New Orleans. One year, we had around 8,000 people in the ballroom. People came from all over the world dressed as characters from my books. When I attended in 2014, I was just so impressed.”

The mother-and-son duo are on a publicity tour for the new book, so she won’t be at the ball this year. Quiroz is expecting about 1,200 people at this year’s event at the Republic.

For fans of both the costume balls and the novels, there’s not much longer to wait. This year’s Atlantis Ball (tickets at takes place Oct. 27, and the new Rice collaboration, “Ramses the Damned,” hits bookshelves Nov. 21.


Amazon offers $30 off Kindle devices to celebrate tenth birthday

It’s been 10 years since Amazon announced the first Kindle e-reader. The device sees its tenth birthday next month, and Amazon is offering a discount to celebrate. Amazon is knocking $30 off the price of Kindle devices, for a limited time. 

The offer is applicable on the Amazon Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Voyage. The Kindle will be priced at $49.99 now, while the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage will be sold at $89.99 and $169.99, respectively. The devices were earlier sold at $79.99, $119.99 and $199.99, respectively.

Unfortunately, none of the versions of the Kindle Oasis made the cut for this deal. Amazon’s flagship Kindle continues to sell for $249.99 and it scheduled to start selling from October 31. The company is also giving you discounts on Kindle ebooks. You can get 80% off “top-selling books”, while there’s a free $5 credit on Kindle ebooks, for select customers. You can get that deal through this link.

The Kindle deals are available right away, starting from October 23. They will be available till October 25, although the Kindle actually turns ten on November 19.


Game of Thrones Actor, Audiobook Narrator Roy Dotrice Dead at 94

Roy Dotrice, who played Game of Thrones‘ pyromancer Hallyne, has died, reports. He was 94.

Appearing in two Season 2 episodes, Dotrice portrayed one of the men charged with creating King’s Landing’s stores of wildfire. He helped inform audiences about what Mad King Aerys did with the substance, and Hallyne also was involved in Tyrion’s plan to use wildfire at the Battle of Blackwater.

Dotrice also was the voice behind all of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks. Performing that duty for the first novel, A Game of Thrones, earned him a Guinness World Record for the most characters (223!) voiced by a single actor in an audiobook.


The British actor also appeared in several other TV series, including Beauty and the BeastAngel (in which he kinda played Wesley’s father), Just Shoot MeTouched by an Angel and Picket Fences.


<I>Game of Thrones</I> Actor, Audiobook Narrator Roy Dotrice Dead at 94

How to Edit a Book: Your Ultimate 21-Part Checklist

Yes, a professional editor can determine all this with a quick read of the first two to three pages.

If you find yourself saying, “But they didn’t even get to the good stuff,” then you need to put the good stuff earlier in your manuscript.

So today, I want to zero in on tight writing and self-editing.

Author Francine Prose says:

For any writer, the ability to look at a sentence and see what’s superfluous, what can be altered, revised, expanded, or especially cut, is essential. It’s satisfying to see that sentence shrink, snap into place, and ultimately emerge in a more polished form: clear, economical, sharp.

If you’re ready to learn how to edit a book, here’s what you need to do:

The Ultimate Checklist for Editing a Book

1. Develop a thick skin.

Or at least to pretend to. It’s not easy. But we writers need to listen to our editors—even if that means listening to ourselves!

2. Avoid throat-clearing.

This is a literary term for a story or chapter that finally begins after a page or two of scene setting and background. Get on with it.

3. Choose the normal word over the obtuse.

When you’re tempted to show off your vocabulary or a fancy turn of phrase, think reader-first and keep your content king. Don’t intrude. Get out of the way of your message.

4. Omit needless words.

A rule that follows its own advice. This should be the hallmark of every writer.

5. Avoid subtle redundancies.

“She nodded her head in agreement.” Those last four words could be deleted. What else would she nod but her head? And when she nods, we need not be told she’s in agreement.

“He clapped his hands.” What else would he clap?

“She shrugged her shoulders.” What else?

“He blinked his eyes.” Same question.

“They heard the sound of a train whistle.” The sound of could be deleted.

6. Avoid the words up and down…

…unless they’re really needed. He rigged [up] the device. She sat [down] on the couch.

7. Usually delete the word that.

Use it only for clarity.

8. Give the reader credit.

Once you’ve established something, you don’t need to repeat it.

Example: “They walked through the open door and sat down across from each other in chairs.”

If they walked in and sat, we can assume the door was open, the direction was down, and—unless told otherwise—there were chairs. So you can write: “They walked in and sat across from each other.”

And avoid quotation marks around words used in another context, as if the reader wouldn’t “get it” otherwise. (Notice how subtly insulting that is.)

9. Avoid telling what’s not happening.

“He didn’t respond.”

“She didn’t say anything.”

“The crowded room never got quiet.”

If you don’t say these things happened, we’ll assume they didn’t.

10. Avoid being an adjectival maniac.

Good writing is a thing of strong nouns and verbs, not adjectives. Use them sparingly.

Novelist and editor Sol Stein says one plus one equals one-half (1+1=1/2), meaning the power of your words is diminished by not picking just the better one. “He proved a scrappy, active fighter,” is more powerful if you settle on the stronger of those two adjectives. Less is more. Which would you choose?

11. Avoid hedging verbs…

…like smiled slightlyalmost laughed, frowned a bit, etc.

12. Avoid the term literally—when you mean figuratively.

“I literally died when I heard that.” R.I.P.

“My eyes literally fell out of my head.” There’s a story I’d like to read.

“I was literally climbing the walls.” You have a future in horror films.

13. Avoid too much stage direction.

You don’t need to tell every action of every character in each scene, what they’re doing with each hand, etc.

14. Maintain a single Point of View (POV) for every scene.

Failing to do so is one of the most common errors beginning writers make. Amateurs often defend themselves against this criticism by citing classics by famous authors who violated this. Times change. Readers’ tastes change. This is the rule for today, and it’s true of what sells.

15. Avoid clichés.

And not just words and phrases. There are also clichéd situations, like starting your story with the main character waking to an alarm clock; having a character describe herself while looking in a full-length mirror; having future love interests literally bump into each other upon first meeting, etc.

16. Resist the urge to explain (RUE).

Marian was mad. She pounded the table. “George, you’re going to drive me crazy,” she said, angrily.

“You can do it!” George encouraged said.

17. Show, don’t tell.

If Marian pounds the table and chooses those words, we don’t need to be told she’s mad. If George says she can do it, we know he was encouraging.

18. Avoid mannerisms of attribution.

People say things; they don’t wheeze, gasp, sigh, laugh, grunt, snort, reply, retort, exclaim, or declare them.

John dropped onto the couch. “I’m beat.”

Not: John was exhausted. He dropped onto the couch and exclaimed tiredly, “I’m beat.”

“I hate you,” Jill said, narrowing her eyes.

Not: “I hate you,” Jill blurted ferociously.

Sometimes people whisper or shout or mumble, but let your choice of words imply whether they are grumbling, etc. If it’s important that they sigh or laugh, separate the action from the dialogue:

Jim sighed. “I just can’t take any more,” he said. [Usually you can even drop the attribution he said if you have described his action first. We know who’s speaking.]

19. Specifics add the ring of truth.

Yes, even to fiction.

20. Avoid similar character names.

In fact, avoid even the same first initials.

21. Avoid mannerisms of punctuation, typestyles, and sizes.

“He…was…DEAD! doesn’t make a character any more dramatically expired than “He was dead.”