Sunday, 31 May 2009

President Obama and the National Book Festival,

Good news is about to take place in the world of literature.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will play host to approximately seventy authors and lyricists at the annual National Book Festival, which will be maintained on Sept. 26 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The previous first lady, Laura Bush, initiated the festival, in 2001, to advance enduring interest in literacy. The occasion, controlled and subsidised by the Library of Congress, will be free to the public.

I can only hope that good will come from the affair. Kudos to the event. Let there be more, worldwide.

*** National Book Festival, National Book Festival, National Book Festival ***

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End of post - President Obama and the National Book Festival.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Interview with Singer/songwriter, Nick Wilson

Tell Me a story - Interview.

I’d like to introduce you to a singer/songwriter friend of mine, Nick Wilson. He’s a local lad, worthy of global recognition. Nick, perhaps you'd like to tell us a little about yourself.

Hello and thanks, AJ. I’ve been in Spain for nearly 4 years and loved every minute.

Music was new to me when I arrived, but after singing in Bar La Luna in AlcalalĂ­ a couple of times, my fledgling musical career took tentative flight and I began performing at fiestas. This helped me to come out of my shell. After being in front of soooo many people, I was ready to take on the world.

I journeyed back to the UK to take part in X factor, but unfortunately didn’t get placed - in fact, I actually stopped singing for over a year because it knocked my confidence so much. With the benefit of hindsight, and after taking part in X factor, I wouldn’t really advise anyone to enter for it. No matter how strong or confident you think you are, it’s a real put-down to be rejected.

I recently performed in panto at the Care-Line Theatre. The show was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and I was selected to play leading male as Prince Lancelot. The tights I had to wear were a bit embarrassing but I really enjoyed it. It means I now have acting experience under my belt, which is always a good thing. Now, I’m waiting for the finals of Star Search 2009, Javea, Spain. If I win, I’m hoping to be able to support mum and dad, and hopefully dad will be able to retire.
So, Nick, what compelled you to write your first song?

The first song I wrote was called "Break Up" it was written after my girlfriend and I finished. I was really gutted and I guess writing the song helped me come to terms with it.

Have you always wanted to be a singer/writer?

Always, but never had the confidence to attempt it until recently.

And are you currently working on any projects our readers should watch for release soon?

I am, AJ, I’m taking part in Star Search 2009, Javea. If I win, you’ll hear my 4-track demo live on Bay Radio.

Great. I'm looking forward to that. Your work has already been on radio. How did you feel the day you heard your first song on air?

Wow, it felt surreal to hear my voice on radio. I’m no different to anyone else - I don’t suppose many people enjoy the sound of their own voice – it’s just the same when I watch a video of myself - I cringe.

I know what you mean, Nick. I hated my first radio interview, but authors are expected to do it as part of the publicity. Tell me about your songs. Do you find that you put a little of yourself into your songs or do you create them to be completely different from you?

They’re all based on personal emotional experiences; that’s the only way I can express myself.

So, what about when growing up, did you have a favourite singer?

Yes, it was always Ronan Keating, in my opinion he is a living legend.

And now: who is your favourite singer and what is your favourite genre?

It’s always going to be Ronan. His world is the world I’d like to embrace.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your creativity. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

I grew up in Worcester, and still have family there. I also loved it on the farm in Bristol where my grandparents lived until I was 12. It was like something from a fairytale. I’d feed the animals and play in hay bales; it was amazing – so tranquil. My goal in life is to have sufficient money to have my own farm or ranch.

Okay, let’s come back to your music. How long did it take you to write your most recent song? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long?

Well, AJ, the most recent is Expectations - I’m still working on it. The words took about two days. The music isn’t finished yet, so who knows.
And is there anyone you'd like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

I would certainly like to thank friends and family who’ve helped me through everything. With decisions comes responsibility, they helped me make the right choices.

Nice one, Nick. Great sentiments. Is there any one particular song that when you heard it, you thought to yourself, "I wish I'd written that one!”

Yeh! It’s called If Tomorrow Never Comes by the one and only Ronan. The lyrics are magical and so full of meaning. It written like all music should be

Thinking about your song-writing career, is there anything you'd go back and do differently?

I’d like to be able to spell properly.

I guess you could always use a dictionary, Nick. Your musical creativity is the most important thing. What is the main goal or purpose you’d like to see accomplished by your work?

I’d love to sing a song that could change someone’s life. I’d love to be the one who made a difference in the world.

Nick, before we end, is there anything you want the readers to know, anything you count as important in life?

The most important piece of information I can think of, is never forget those who help you. Friends and family are the most important things in your life, they’ll inspire you and help you achieve your ambitions. You’re never alone in this business there are so many people in the same situation, I have lots of friends who helped me start and if I find global success with my music, I’ll never leave them behind.

I'm off to see my girlfriend now because she’s most probably the biggest inspiration on my music. KEEP WRITING YOUR IDEAS DOWN OR YOU’LL FORGET THEM.
Thanks for that, Nick. May I wish you luck with your career.

*** Ronan Keating, Nick Wilson ***

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End of post - Inter with Nick Wilson.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Kanye West, writer?

Tell Me a Story - opinion

What a load of crap

Rap star Kanye West admits he doesn’t read books. He says he has no regard for them - yet he’s had the audacity to write one, and admits he wants you to buy it.

To see the whole story go to this Redgage article

Next post on Tell Me a Story

End of post - Kanye West, writer?

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Book Promotion

Tell Me a Story - Publicity Info.

For those with a book just out or about to be published, it's an exciting time. You probably have visions of fame and glory .... sorry to bust your bubble, but it doesn't quite work like that.

After the euphoria of holding that novel in your hands the truth starts to dawn. You need sales. Who is going to purchase?

Without promotion no one will know your book exists, there will be no sales, no best-seller, no matter how brilliant the writing.

The sad truth is, that for the majority of authors, there will no promotion campaign from the publishers. YOU will be responsible for your own publicity. How to do it, what to do?

As a starting point take a look at these tips for getting started with book promotion from Rusty Shelton of Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists.

*** Book promotion, Book promotion, Book promotion ***

End of post - Book Promotion

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Japanese author, Koji Suzuki, and 'Drop'

Tell Me a Story - comment.

Here’s a novel idea…. The ultimate in recycling.

The latest book from Japanese author, Koji Suzuki, “Drop,” hailed as a horror experience in the toilet, is printed on rolls of toilet paper. Is that some sort of foreboding? Does he expect it to be flushed away….. Or flushed with success?

Koji Suzuki is the author of the horror story ‘Ring’, which was turned into a movie by both Japanese film-makers and Hollywood.

At least this book might be useful for wiping your backside on if you don’t like the story. I suppose it’s not too far removed from the days when we had old newspapers hanging in the loo…. They say things go in cycles… Or is it recycle.

*** Koji-Suzuki, Drop, Koji-Suzuki, Drop, Koji-Suzuki, Drop ***

End of post - Japanese author, Koji Suzuki, and 'Drop'

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Saturday, 23 May 2009

Books-A-Million, profits from economic downturn

Tell Me a Story - comment.

It seems that not all is gloom and doom in the publishing industry after all. Maybe people are turning to books as a means of escape from economic misery.

Books-A-Million unexpectedly furnished better than predicted first-quarter results, the bookstore chain even posting a 2.0% sales increase during the period, with sales bringing in $118.2 million.

Books-A-Million say their book business remains "challenged" but the bargain book segment did well. Apparently, Stephenie Meyer and her Twilight series drove a substantial amount of the profit into their tills – so her writing IS good for something…

If things aren’t so bad after all, maybe they’ll stock a few other authors. Think on, Mr. Books-A-Million, we all need a leg up, especially in difficult economic times….

*** Books-A-Million, Books-A-Million, Books-A-Million ***

End of post - Books-A-Million, profits from economic downturn

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Friday, 22 May 2009

Author, David Sedaris, to sign books in Duluth

Tell Me a Story - news.

Those lucky enough to live around Duluth, Minnesota, are in for a treat.

Best-selling writer David Sedaris, will be in Duluth store, ‘Northern Lights Books and Gifts’, 307 Canal Park Drive, on June 8 to sign copies of his book, “When You Are Engulfed in Flames.”

David Sedaris, author of five previous New York Times Best Sellers, will read from his book and then sign books around 6 p.m.

Apparently the only condition for attendance to the event, is purchase of at least one David Sedaris book or CD from the store PRIOR to the date, to receive a ticket, which will be available June 1.

Actually when you think about it, he’s on to a good thing, he’s making two sales for each person attending – not a bad marketing strategy.

End of post - Author, David Sedaris, to sign books in Duluth

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Friday, 8 May 2009

John Hart and The Last Child

Here’s a novel approach to a novel. Fancy your name being read by thousands – fame at last…

John Hart

Best-selling writer John Hart has a brand new book coming out Tuesday, May 12. The Last Child is his third best seller, and sure to be seen around all good swimming pools everywhere.

The Greensboro Children's Museum NC is holding a release party before the release date on Monday, May 11 at the Greensboro Country Club. John Hart will be there himself for a sneak peek inside his new book.

Tickets are $150 per person and include a pre-released, signed and dated copy of The Last Child. Proceeds from the event will support The Greensboro Children's Museum.

In an attempt to boost money, there will be a raffle, which gives the winner the unique chance to have their name as a character in John Hart's next book!

Tickets are available for $20 or $100 for six. The winning ticket will be drawn by John Hart himself at the event on May 11th.

So there you are writers. Take a leaf from John's book. Hold a raffle to have a reader's name in YOUR next book - generate a bit of oomph!

*** John Hart, John Hart, John Hart ***
End of post John Hart and The Last Child

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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Stephenie Meyer and Jodi Picoult - whoops...

She’s in the news again. A lot of us who haven’t read her work might be suspect of it. Some of us will be very envious of the success she’s had. Most of us would like to emulate her sales. But whatever we might think of her, Stephenie Meyer isn’t going to go away.

Stephenie Meyer smacked once again by fellow authors.

Stephen King, recently gave Stephenie Meyer an academic rabbit punch by claiming she isn’t a very good writer. He is after all, Stephen King, and he carries a certain a reputation of slapping people down - and outbursts are expected of him now - bit of a loose cannon perhaps.

The latest author to singe the paperwork is Jodi Picoult. She has almost 14 million books in print, and has just taken a swing at the injured Stephenie Meyer – nothing like kicking someone whilst they’re down. In Newsweek magazine, Picoult pronounced,

“In terms of the literary content of the ‘Twilight’ books, they’re totally escapist. I think technically I am maybe a cut above her.”

Wow – she’s publicly stating she’s better than Stephenie Meyer. She probably is, but I rather think it's up to other people to decide that, not her. No one likes a big-head. She tries to qualify it later with

“Stephenie Meyer has gotten people hooked on books… and that’s good for all of us.”

Nope, the damage has already been done. No use going back on it, Jodi. No use saying you meant something else.

A nobody like me can get away with it – who the hell takes notice of what I think anyway – but Jodi Picoult???? Whoops, tongue slipped out before brain engaged, Jodi.

Too late, way too late….

*** Stephenie Meyer, Jodi Picoult, Stephenie Meyer, Jodi Picoult ***

End of post - Stephenie Meyer and Jodi Picoult - whoops...

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Malia and Sasha Obama in the garden

Tell Me a Story - comment.

Who ever would have believed this. For the first time in almost 100 years, vegetables will be grown at the White House.

Michelle Obama drags Malia and Sasha to the garden.

Michelle, Malia and Sasha are preparing a 1,100-square-foot raised-bed organic plot on the South Lawn of the White House. There will be over fifty assorted vegetables and herbs growing, and will not only be used for family meals and snacks, but also official dinners - a table talking point no doubt.

The family are also planning to install a couple of beehives to assist with pollination - and presumably provide honey.

Michelle Obama said in an interview with The New York Times,
“Growing food locally is sustainable, uses no fuel for transportation, and reduces the amount of chemicals released into the environment. It also teaches children about healthy eating and avoiding obesity.”

Malia and Sasha were apparently starting to put on weight through eating too many pizza and sandwiches. The exercise and fresh-air in the garden will certainly assist there - a spot of gardening always helps shed a few pounds.

I spend quite some time in the garden - nothing like a spot of back-to-nature to get the old brain juices going. I've planned one or two stories whilst pulling weeds - maybe I ought to push it as a way out of writer's block - writers, take note - pick up your spade if you want to complete that novel ....

Thinking about it, this could be the start of something big. Let’s hope kids throughout America will follow suit, after all, what’s good for Malia and Sasha is seen to be good for them too. Malia and Sasha appear to be THE trend setters

Time will tell…

*** Malia and Sasha Obama, Malia and Sasha Obama ***

End of post - Malia and Sasha Obama in the garden

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Friday, 1 May 2009

Debut novel from author, Jim Zervanos

Tell Me a Story - author news

The debut novel, LOVE Park, by Jim Zervanos is due to be released today, May 1st, 2009. Take a look at this MediaWire release to see what you think.

Hope he finds success. Its always good to hear debut writers hitting the right chord.

End of post - Debut novel from author, Jim Zervanos

Writing tips – manuscript submissions guidelines 15 vital checks
Overcoming writer’s block
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