Tuesday, December 29, 2015

THE RIVER - a new Thriller - is FREE Dec 29 - 31

Bestselling author Patrick Jones – read also an interview with him – launched his latest book last month: THE RIVER  – Fishing will never be the same again…

In rural Missouri, Crawford County has had more than its share of wildlife problems. Not even a year earlier the woods were home to a vicious killer brought back from extinction. Something is haunting the rivers in Crawford County. The Missouri State Water Patrol must solve the deaths of several residents who died in the river but can they stop this menace before more people are killed?

THE RIVER #Kindle ebook is #FREE from December 29 - December 31, 2015 
in celebration of the new live audiobook of THE RIVER

You can even get THE RIVER in audiobook form for free 
via Amazon's 30-day-free-trial on Audible:

Sunday, December 27, 2015

How to Choose A Bestselling Title


Oxfordwriters published a great article: How to Choose a Bestselling Title and they give examples how, by only changing the title, the author's book sales numbers skyrocketed.  They asked: “What if you could sell ten times more books just by changing your title?"  OK, that's believable.  "What if you could sell nearly a million more books just by changing your title?”
“This is exactly what happened to author, Bob Morrison, when he self-published his book.  When it first went on sale as “The Entrepreneurs’ Manual” it sold only 12 copies.  Disillusioned by these sales, and thinking the title needed an overhaul, he renamed it  "Why S.O.B.'s Succeed and Nice Guys Fail in Business".  The book has since sold over 800,000 copies!”

Amazing Results
“In a world where we are bombarded with information, an attention-grabbing title can make all the difference between success and failure.  If you are still having doubts, here is a handful of other manuscripts that have been successfully re-titled:

"The Squash Book"was tested as a title versus "The Zucchini Cookbook". The first title sold just 1,500 copies. The second sold 300,000 because it was more specific.

John Gray didn’t get much attention with his book "What Your Mother Couldn’t Tell You and What Your Father Didn’t Know".  He shortened it to "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus". The rest, as they say, is history…”

How to Choose a Bestselling Title:
Oxford Writers advice:  “Top titles create anticipation, excitement and enthusiasm. They express the passion of your message.  They connect emotionally with your reader.  This is what you are aiming for.”

Get eleven tips how to find the most intriguing title for your book. Top titles create anticipation, excitement and enthusiasm. They express the passion of your message. They connect emotionally with your reader. This is what you are aiming for…  Read the whole article and get lots of tips.



Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas at the Beach in South Carolina

... Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA, to be precise.
Temperatures around 78F, Dec 25, 2015, lots of sunshine, just a bit mist at the beach. 


Snowman hides behind the Palm tree

My dog Bentley always enjoys the beach


I met this friendly couple in Christmas mood at the Beach


Not sure what these fishing rods are for...


Walking through a residential area next to the beach ...


I discovered this beautiful old truck


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Important Shipping Deadlines for Online Orders

Amazon Shipping Deadlines for Christmas 2015

FREE Shipping  -  Wednesday Dec 16
Restrictions apply (varies by item).

Standard Shipping  -  Friday Dec 18
Or get FREE Two-Day Shipping with Amazon PRIME.

Two-Day Shipping  -  Tuesday Dec 22
Or get FREE Two-Day Shipping with Amazon PRIME.

One-Day Shipping  -  Wednesday Dec 23
As low as $2.99 per item with Amazon PRIME (varies by item size and weight).

Same-Day Delivery  -  Thursday Dec 24
Available in 16 metro areas, on over a million items. Or FREE on qualifying orders over $35 with Amazon PRIME.

Last-Minute Gift Ideas  -  Friday Dec 25
Give the gift of PRIME. or an email a gift card.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Travel Plans for the Holidays? Amazing Deals Today Dec 13



High-end Travel Gear for the Lowest Prices ever - for example:
Delsey Luggage Helium Aero International Carry On Expandable Spinner Trolley
by DELSEY Paris TODAY ONLY $99.99  
instead of $360.00 regular
Get it it here, and see more offers / sizes:

Read more about travel in North America and Worldwide:


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Did You Know: Ancestors of Famous People

Photo: Vera Kratochvil

Apple Founder STEVE JOBS - the Son of a Syrian Migrant

DONALD TRUMP - his ancestors came as religious refugees to North America ... welcomed and fed by the Natives (remember "Thanksgiving").

Watching right-wing voices and their acting, one can only wonder and be reminded of parallels to 1939 Nazi propaganda... 

Millions of Syrians had been fleeing an endless, bloody war for months and years, and more than 3,000 drowned before a single photograph of a three-year-old Alan Kurdi, lying at surf’s edge on a Turkish beach brought some attention to this human crisis.

MACLEANS, the Canadian weekly wrote:
"His death was a reminder of the huge risks his father was willing to take because staying would be so much worse." "The other defining image of the Syrian crisis springs from another realm entirely. .
In yesterday’s Daily Mail, a figure far more powerful than the three-year-old Alan Kurdi has been marshalled again on social media: pictures of Steve Jobs, defined as “a Syrian migrants’ [sic] child,” even “The son of a Syrian refugee,” are making the rounds. Jobs, adopted at an early age, is the biological son of an American mother, Joanne Carole Schieble, and Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian who came to the U.S. in 1954."

Dear Mr. Trump:
All we know is that they both were humans, which in the end is all that should matter - not if one believes in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam.  The Natives did not ask your ancestors, Pilgrims from the Mayflower, what their religion was, before saving their lives and feeding them... 

Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays / Happy Hanukkah or whatever you believe in.


Friday, December 11, 2015

US President Obama's Favored Book in 2015

The Guardian reported:
US president Obama chooses Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies as his pick of the year, while the first lady selects Elizabeth Alexander’s The Light of the World.


Read the NPR review here:

If you haven't read it already, or want to gift it to a friend or family member, get it here: 



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas in Italy, Spain and Greece

In many European countries the festival of the Epiphany on January 6 offers yet another chance for festive celebrations - and certainly for gifts. Customers in these countries can do their shopping relaxed on Boxing Day and take advantage of much lower online and store prices.
January 6 is traditionally the day that Spanish children get their Christmas presents. Shoes are placed outside their bedrooms overnight, in the hope that the "Three Kings" will be generous with gifts of sweets and small toys. On Epiphany people also eat a sweet, donut shaped bread with candied fruit that contains a small toy or coin.
Ending of the old year and beginning of the new year, il capodanno, is a great time to celebrate in Italy.  Women wear their red underwear to ring in the new year! They say it will bring you luck in the coming year (and maybe many bambini : ). Beautiful red dessous are popular gifts on this last day of the year.

January 6: Italian children, or at least the ones who have been good, are given gifts not by Santa but by a witch. La Befana flies down chimneys or through keyholes to leave presents after deciding who has been naughty and who has been nice. Children leave out stockings, hoping to wake up to discover sweets and toys.
In Greece, Epiphany allows for a cleansing of the "goblins", little ghosts, that pop up between Christmas and January 6 to wreak havoc.  The only cure for this mayhem comes on the eve of Epiphany when the village priests bless the waters that people sprinkle throughout the house. This is usually enough to chase away the evil spirits for another year.  


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Amazon Trivia since 1994 - Infographic


Amazon makes a lot more money with selling web services than they do with selling books and other goods..
Forbes.com wrote recently: “A few months ago Amazon reached what its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos demurely tells me was “an interesting milestone.” The retailing giant, so ubiquitously associated with books, then music and video, now has tens of millions of products in stock -and a majority are non-media goods: drills, dress shoes, tennis rackets and almost anything else that a human can ship. During the last ten years however their largest revenue comes from web services. 

What about AWS = Amazon Web Services and their Cloud Business? Amazon Web Services (AWS) are always two steps ahead of the competition, even as countless new clouds come online to compete. How can they do it?

  • Innovation comes from small teams that work directly with customers.
  • It is easy to prioritize new projects when the engineers really know the customer.
  • Amazon works to lower costs for customers, not just lower costs for itself. "We’ve reduced prices 19 times over the past 6 years, and this an area we will continue to focus," Werner Vogels, Amazon's CTO says.
Hundreds of thousands of customers around the world – from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to government agencies use Amazon's cloud and other web services. 

How Far Amazon Has Come
by infographiclabs. Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
Amazon Prime Introducing the Prime Membership, was a brilliant move for Amazon. The average member makes $1,224 in Amazon purchases each year, compared with $505 for non-Prime customers. The TIME wrote: “Membership in Amazon Prime, which offers unlimited free two-day shipping, has doubled in less than two years. Analysts predict it’ll double again by 2017.  Even more interesting than the growing Prime ranks is what Prime seems to do to subscribers. 
2010 Businessweek story stated that Amazon Prime broke even within three months of launching, not the two years predicted by its creators. That’s because customers spent as much as 150% more at Amazon after they became Prime members. Subscribers not only ordered more often, but after paying the US$99 fee, they started buying things at Amazon that they probably wouldn’t have in the past.  Since shipping was always speedy and free, members saved themselves a trip to the store for things like batteries and coffee beans.”
“In all my years here, I don’t remember anything that has been as successful at getting customers to shop in new product lines,” Robbie Schwietzer, vice president of Amazon Prime, told Businessweek.
Amazon has launched a public cloud Marketplace for desktop apps in spring of 2015. They will now sell subscriptions to software such as Office and Visual Studio on a pay-monthly basis. The new desktop software offered across the Marketplace will run on Amazon’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) service, AWS WorkSpaces.
The monthly subscriptions will start at approx. $30 for Windows Desktop and Office Professional Plus.  Formerly paid apps deployed by organizations had to be managed, monitored and billed separately. Now any add-on applications purchased across the Marketplace are paid for monthly with the total AWS order.

See also: The Hidden Empire, Update 2013, a Slide-Share
Former executives all have stories about Bezos’ obsessive focus on the customer – and a perfect delivery system.  Read the Amazon e-Commerce Success Story by CBS - or hear it directly from Jeff Bezos’ speech.
And here is his advice for entrepreneurs:  

However who has contributed to Amazon’s success as well?  You and me!  By uploading our books to Amazon.  Let’s pad us on the shoulder too!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

2015 CYBER WEEK DEAL for your own BOOK

Cyber Week Deal


CYBER WEEK DEAL: Just $39 (instead of $79) for your own BOOKS'
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Your Benefit for 3 months and beyond: - Introduction of your book
(1 page, incl. links) on 4 websites (stays there forever!)

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Get a great head start for this holiday season!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories

Fiza’s first compilation of short stories makes her come across as a sort of modern day neo-mystic.  Through the 22 stories in the book, the author communicates to us lessons in faith in a way that will appeal to both adults and children alike.  The language is simple and lucid, yet enticing and appealing at the same time.” Reviewer for ‘The Examiner’
This collection brings together, a variety of bizarre Christmas stories never heard before. From creepy dark catacombs to a haunted winter wonderland, this treasury brings with it, a mystical side to Christmas and the birth of a legendary baby. Whether deep in a forest of India or back in time, in Bethlehem, ‘Treasury Of Bizarre Christmas Stories’ brings to its readers the holy, the Almighty, the haunted, the obsession, the innocent, the magical and the reason to celebrate.

About the Author:Fiza Pathan holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology. She is a qualified teacher having also a Bachelor’s degree in Education, her special subjects being History and English.  Fiza is an avid reader of books of all genres and writes short stories and articles. Don’t miss to read Fiza’s blog regularly: http://insaneowl.com

More Books by the Author:
Fiza Pathan is also the author of ‘S.O.S. Animals And Other Stories‘ and ‘Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them‘, as well as the sequel: 'Classics: HOW we can encourage children to read them' which is available as a paperback edition and various digital formats on Amazon and other platforms.  Her latest two books are women's fiction - even so they describe the 
grim realities that women are facing in India: NIRMALA: The Mud Blossom and Amina: The Silent One.
Discover more on Fiza Pathan's Amazon page and see the long list of Fiza Pathan’s book awards

Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories is available:


Grants for Writers – Get the Money / Residency - Apply!

Among the country’s largest grant makers, in average one proposal in three is typically funded. Study the requirements carefully, ask for copies of grant proposals they have previously funded. Some samples can even be found on their websites or other resources available online.  Write your proposal in a positive manner and language and proof-read it carefully.  Explain how your project can benefit others.  

How to Write a Grant Proposal
If you have never written a grant proposal before, do some research on the topic before you begin.  Numerous how-to listings and guidelines offer insights to novice grant writers, and even those with experience.  Understand the meanings of the vocabulary being used in grant guidelines or to access a glossary of common terms.  Some sponsor guidelines will even provide just such a glossary unique to the particular sponsor. 

Current Grant Offers:
For Australian Writers
International Fellowships in Helsinki, Finland,  Berlin, Germany or Rome, Italy.
The International Residencies Program enables the artistic development of individual artists and groups by brokering and offering high quality residency experiences.  Residencies last between 6 months and one year.  See several case studies of residencies
Closing: midnight, 1 December 2015. 

Rauschenberg Foundation 2016 Artist as Activist Fellowship
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation announced the 2016 Artist as Activist Fellowship, which provides independent artists and art collectives with a demonstrated commitment to applying their creative work to the public sphere up to $100,000 over two years along with access to opportunities for professional advancement. This years theme is racial justice with particular focus on mass incarceration. US-based artists and artist collectives seeking to work full-time on an ambitious creative work tackling this issue should apply. Fellowship period is May 1, 2016 – April 30, 2018. Applicants will be notified in Late April 2016. 
Deadline: December 7 at 5:00 pm (EST).  

Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency in New Smyrna, FL
In this beautiful, modern residency, close to New Smyrna, FL, artists participate in informal sessions with their group, interact/collaborate, and work independently on their own projects. The relaxed atmosphere, unstructured program and lush, unspoiled environment provide considerable time for artistic experimentation, exploration and creation. Full and partial scholarships are provided.
Open to all artists (US and International), a basic command of the English language is necessary.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old at the time of the residency
Deadlines: March 24 for Summer, May 19 for Fall residency.

November 2015: Application for Amtrak Residency is Open!
The Amtrak Residency Program:  “An idea sparked by our customers, the residency offers a select group of writers the chance to traverse the country in trains and experience amazing scenery, an environment that fosters engaging connections and the unique opportunity to explore and be inspired by the diversity of landscapes America has to offer.  The 24 residents offer a diverse representation of the writing community and hail from across the country.”

For more Grants and Residencies do check out the websites below.  Most grants will be offered every year. So if you miss a deadline, mark your calendar for the next one. Read this article to get ten tips before applying.  There are hundreds of possibilities for writers, and statistically the odds you win are pretty high!






Friday, November 20, 2015

An Author's Experience with Amazon Pre-Order

... and solutions for YOUR pre-orders.
Bestseller author Mindy Klasky "Our pre-orders for the set steadily grew as we invested time, money, and effort in promoting Mischief. On November 2, 2015, well before Amazon’s ten-day deadline, we uploaded the final version of our text file. That final version contained nineteen novellas, each of which was proofread, formatted, and hyperlinked in a master table of contents. Amazon confirmed receipt of the final file.
On November 17, Mischief Under the Mistletoe went live.  Shortly after midnight, approximately 8100 pre-orders were fulfilled. Alas, Amazon mistakenly sent those customers the placeholder file instead of the final file. (New customers who placed orders after the book released, received and continue to receive the correct file.)
Forty-eight hours later, the situation remains unresolved. Nearly 40% of our reviews are one- or two-star reviews, commenting exclusively about the problems of the placeholder file. Most frustratingly, Amazon refuses to delete the one- and two-star reviews–even though those reviews patently have nothing to do with the quality of the product."  Rather with Amazon's faulty delivery... but read the about the whole horrifying ordeal here:
Here are some Solutions to Protect Your Pre-Orders I suggested to Mindy:
We had issues with pre-order for "Marketing on a Shoestring" in March and are banned for a year - due to the fault of Amazon's untrained and incompetent employees. But this was nothing to what you went through... Forget Amazon pre-orders. Five things authors can do in the future:
1. Sell through Apple i-Books as well: You can set up pre-orders ONE YEAR in advance!
2. Sell pre-orders from your own website(s): easy and inexpensive to set it up, you get to know your customers and you EARN MORE.
2. Create an e-BOOK giveaway at LibraryThing or BookLikes three months in advance.
3. Create a print-book giveaway at Goodreads six weeks in advance.
4. Set up a virtual book launch and announce it through Goodreads and Google+ EVENTS (free)
5. Use your (and your other box-set author's) email newsletter to create excitement for your upcoming box-set every months in the period before your book launch.
6. Not happy with Kindle publishing/KDP/KindleUnlimited results/ Book-Review-Plugging / Pre-Orders? Registered Letter to Amazon CEO Russ Grandinetti. Or sue them for substantial costs and losses / reputation that you experienced through their unprofessional behavior and spreading lies to your readers.
Always remember: Don't put all your eggs in one basket! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Amina: The Silent One - Fiza Pathan Latest Work

Multi-author Fiza Pathan launched her latest title a month ago – an even tougher read than her award-winning book Nirmala: The Mud Blossom.
Her latest work, Amina: The Silent One, brings vividly to life the grim realities that are facing women in India today, the grinding, filthy poverty, and debasement with which most Indian women must contend in their daily lives.  This book will shock you and rip your eyes open. Through the magic of fiction, it tells an awful truth in human terms that cannot be told in any other way. 
The degradation of women in India is nearly universal, and ranges from their second-class status in society, often excluding them from educational and professional opportunities to their frequent physical and psychological brutalization, often involving assault, rape, and sexual slavery.
The anglicized educated Indian and the western industrialized world is appalled at the horrific news reports—all too frequent—of women attacked in public places, beaten, degraded, raped, and murdered. The situation and treatment of women in India is simply incomprehensible to most modern educated people.  The media carries the hair-raising news reports; we shake our heads in outrage, confused that such cruelty and debasement of women is commonplace in a country that has long had the benefit of western cultural influence, education, and governmental systems.
Yet the awful reality women endure in India completely escapes us because we are unacquainted with the actual, tangible details of their lives and the world they inhabit.
In her latest work, Indian national and accomplished novelist and poet, Fiza Pathan has gone a long way in removing the obstacles to a true understanding of the hellish reality most Indian women experience.  Her characters are fully imagined and alive to the reader, and she does not stint in telling the gruesome, shocking truth.  She is candid and unsparing; she does not use euphemisms or false niceties in telling the tragic story of a Mumbai, India slum family that, against all odds, produces a female musical prodigy.
This novel will get under your skin and stay with you for a long time.  Pathan’s characters live and breathe; you are sure to remember them; the sordid details of their lives and their struggles and heartbreaks materialize before our very eyes.

Amina: The Silent One goes a long way in opening our lives and hearts to the plight of women in India and may actually be an agent of positive change in Indian society.

Fiza Pathan's book received a Honorable Mention In the in the section 
"Regional Literature" at the New England Book Festival.  Congratulations!

Fiza Pathan is a teacher and the author of several award-winning print and e-books:
  • S.O.S. Animals and Other Stories
  • Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories
  • Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them
  • Nirmala: The Mud Blossom
  • So This Is Love – Collected Poems
  • Classics: How we can encourage children to read them
  • Flesh of Flesh (Short Story)
See the long list of Fiza Pathan’s book awards on her Amazon site.
To meet Fiza, visit her websites and social media presence: