Archive for October, 2013

Guest Author: Jayne Ann Krentz On Her Novel, “DREAM EYES”

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Author: Jayne Ann Krentz

jayneannkrentz_72dpiWhat is it about small towns and big secrets?  I love mysteries set in little communities where the crime has roots that extend into the past and because you know, going in, that the villain will be hiding in plain sight.  Add a ghost, some paranormal wind chimes, the curious physics of mirrors, a harrowing SCUBA diving swim through a flooded cave and a cat and I’m a happy writer. Yes, I managed to work all those elements into DREAM EYES.

The heroine, Gwen Frazier, sees ghostly images in reflective surfaces at the scenes of violent crimes.  (Mirrors work so well in a story of psychic romantic-suspense, don’t they?).  Her talent has seriously complicated her life.  For obvious reasons, Gwen tries to avoid those sorts of creepy locations but when she discovers the body of her friend and mentor, she knows she won’t be able to rest until she findDream Eyess the killer.  But to do that she’s going to need the help of a paranormal investigator – Judson Coppersmith.  And Judson has a few psychic quirks of his own thanks to nearly dying in the aforementioned underwater cave accident.

I’m often asked why I write romantic-suspense.  The answer is simple – it’s my favorite kind of story – the kind I love to read as well as write.  What can I say?  I grew up on Nancy Drew.  Romance and suspense work perfectly together because the danger raises the stakes in the relationship and vice-versa —  the love story heightens the tension in the mystery.   One element spins off the other.

Now, add a paranormal vibe to all of the above and both the mystery and the romance get kicked up a couple of notches.  For me, as a writer, it’s a delicious, exciting mix.

I hope you enjoy DREAM EYES.  And all you cat lovers out there, don’t forget, there’s a cat in the story!

About the Author

The author of over 50 New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ writes romantic-suspense, often with a psychic and paranormal twist, in three different worlds: Contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle). There are over 35 million copies of her books in print. Building on the success of her Arcane Society Series, Jayne continues her three newest paranormal series in 2013.

The Dark Legacy books are set in present day Washington state and delve into the paranormal crystal mining world and the Coppersmith Family.The second book, DREAM EYES is available now. The Ladies of Lantern Street novels are set in Victorian England and follow the adventures of the Flint and Marsh Agency employees. These ladies are not your average paid companions. The second book, THE MYSTERY WOMAN is available now. The Rainshadow novels started, unofficially, with the release of CANYONS OF NIGHT. These stories are set on a small island on the planet Harmony in the not so distant future. The latest novel in this series, DECEPTION COVE, is available now.

To learn more about Jayne, please visit her at http://www.JayneAnnKrentz.com

 

Guest Author: Jeffrey Archer: Delivering the Manuscript

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Cropped for TWITTERLast month I completed the 14th draft of the fourth book in The Clifton Chronicles series – Be Careful What You Wish For – and sent it to my agent and publisher. What followed was an agonising wait for them to read it over the weekend, and give their opinions on Monday morning. Even after 17 novels and 6 sets of short stories, it doesn’t get any easier.

The first draft of a book takes me around 400 hours, or 50 days, to write, long-hand, at my home in Majorca, where I can write with no distractions. I don’t have to answer the phone, or go out to dinner or visit the theatre. I sit in my writing room looking out over the beautiful Bay of Palma with the Tramuntana Mountains in the distance and I can think through plot, do some research, and write in total silence – well, except for the occasional dog barking nearby.

I would imagine very few writers work in the same way. Personally I’m extremely disciplined, and like to follow a set routine, writing in foBest Kept Secretur, two-hour blocks – 6-8am, 10-12noon, 2-4pm and 6-8pm. I have a large silver two-hour egg timer on my desk, that Mary bought for me many years ago, and it’s proved very useful for keeping me on track. A typical writing day will always include a couple of long walks – I find walking clears my head, especially if I’m wrestling with a tricky part of the plot, or introducing a new character. If the weather’s good I’ll eat a light lunch out on the terrace, and then in the evening I’ll relax by watching an hour or so of TV, maybe a film or a drama series.

My latest book, Best Kept Secret, book three of The Clifton Chronicles, was published in March 2013 in hardback. Even though the hardback had 21 weeks on the bestsellers list, it doesn’t stop one being anxious whenever a new publication day comes around.

His fourth book, “Be Careful What You Wish For,” in The Clifton Chronicles series will be released in March 2014.

About Author:

Jeffrey Archer has topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 270 million copies in 97 countries and more than 37 languages, and is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (fifteen times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries). He gained a Blue in Athletics at Oxford, was President of the University Athletics Club, and went on to run the 100 yards in 9.6 seconds for Great Britain in 1966. Jeffrey has served five years in the House of Commons and twenty-one years as a Member of the House of Lords. 

His latest novel Best Kept Secret, published in March 2013, is the third volume in a seven book saga called The Clifton Chronicles. All three books (Only Time Will Tell, The Sins of the Father and Best Kept Secret) went to No.1 in hardback on the Sunday Times Bestsellers list, and around the world.  Jeffrey is also an art collector and amateur auctioneer, conducting around 30 charity auctions a year which have raised more than fifteen million pounds in the last ten years. Jeffrey has been married to Dame Mary Archer for 47 years, and they have two sons.

Visit his website: www.jeffreyarcher.com

Follow Jeffrey on Facebook and Twitter @Jeffrey_Archer

 

Book Review: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton: Winner of 2013 Man Booker Prize

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

The LuminariesNew Zealand author Eleanor Catton, who was 25 when she started penning down The Luminaries, an ambitious 832-page murder mystery, became the youngest Man Booker Prize Winner ever on this Tuesday. The 28-year old author beat out Colm Toibin, Ruth Ozeki, Jhumpa Lehri, and Jim Crace to get the Fiction’s highest accolade.

Born in Canada to a New Zealand father, Eleanor has written just one previous novel- The Rehearsal-, in 2008 for which she was honored a fellowship to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. But now her second novel, which is set in 19th century New Zealand’s gold rush, brings a huge boost in sales and publicity. “I’d always wanted to write a story that was set during the gold rush years just because it was a period of New Zealand history that had always really fascinated me,” Catton said.

Begin with a complex, self-consciously Victorian plot, The Luminaries centers on a young Scots-born lawyer- Walter Moody who has just arrived to a New Zealand prospecting town and stumbles upon a secret meeting where twelve local men discussing a series of unsolved crimes; a dead recluse, a stash of gold, a missing rich man, and an unconscious enigmatic whore.

There is a goldsmith, a banker, a chemist, a gem hunter, a chaplain, a hotelier, a general contractor and others. They take turns to tell their own stories about the events that took place two weeks earlier in the town to the recently arrived lawyer- Walter. Catton’s The Luminaries is a story about power, gold rush, infidelity, identity, seances, puzzles, and opium, but especially, it is a celebration of the ability of storytelling, in terms of both of her amazing novel and the stories her characters put in the picture.

The author has amazingly portrayed the characters by using their distinctive astrologically coded personalities. For example, the character of hotelier is connected with Cancer and depicted as a “hopeless romantic.” She has meticulously and precisely highlighted all the things that divide her characters including race, gender, caste, family, religion and education. In her award-winning book, “The Luminaries,” Catton follows the formula of Wilkie Collins: “Make ‘em cry, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em wait.”

The plotting and structure of the novel is so graceful that will wrap you up in its world. Due to her exceptional writing and master storytelling acumen, Catton manages to fuse every known genre -suspense, murder, horror, romance, thriller, redemption in one story, which makes the novel a page-turner. Although, The Luminaries is a hefty book at 832 pages yet it’s chock full of goodness that will never let you put it down.

How I Began My Writing Career

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Guest Author: Ellen Oh

UntitledMy writing career started because of Genghis Khan. He is the reason I became fascinated with Asian history – in particular ancient Korean history. You see, back in the year 2000, Genghis Khan was named Man of the Millennium by Time magazine. I remember thinking how cool it was that an Asian man was considered the most influential man of the millennium. So I went and bought a bunch of biographies on Genghis and in the process, I learned more about Asian history than I’d ever learned before. It made me crave more information. But it was actually really hard to find a lot of books on ancient Korea. I researched online, scoured university library systems, and ordered foreign editions of books I couldn’t find here in the states. And it bothered me that so little of this vast and fascinating history was available to the American mainstream population. This is really the reason I began writing again (I hadn’t written creatively since college.) I just felt that all these amazing historical facts would make for a great novel.

Between the years 2000 and 2006, I wrote two adult novels that I’ve put away forever, never to see the light of day. I doubt that I’ll ever revisit them. Because during this period, I rediscovered my love for children’s books. I have 3 daughters and we were always in bookstores and libraries reading book after book. And as they got older, I began to become dissatisfied with the lack of cultural diversity in the books we were reading. We loved reading fantasies, but they were all western centric. And I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to have a Korean fantasy based on the myths and legends of Korea. (As an aside, a wonderful Chinese fantasy was published in 2011 – Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.) At the same time, I was also very conscious of raising 3 daughters and the rampant feminist in me wanted to use every opportunity I could to teach them that girls can do anything a boy can do, and better.

It was back in 2007, I was stuck in beltway traffic staring at the unmovingprophecy bumper of the car in front of me when the idea hit me. What if there is a legend about a great hero, and everyone thinks it is this young prince but then it turns out to be his despised girl cousin? I wrote the whole outline on little pieces of paper as I was stuck in traffic and ended up writing the book in 5 months. Of the 3 books I’ve written, Prophecy was the one that came out so smoothly, so easily. It felt like it was meant to be told.

I used a lot of legends and myths of Korea. One of the most famous legends is the story of the Rock of the Falling Flowers. It is a cliff in the old Paekche kingdom where 3,000 court ladies leapt to their deaths when faced with the invading Tang and Shilla army. Their colorful hanboks made them look like falling flowers – hence the name. I also use the myth of the 8 Heavenly Maidens and then twisted it to suit my needs. Usually, the folktales have the Heavenly Maidens descending to earth and bathing in a pool and some poor woodcutter comes and steals one of their clothes. Without her clothes, the heavenly maiden cannot return home and is forced to marry the woodcutter. Well I never liked that myth. As far as I’m concerned, that poor woodcutter is a stalker/peeping tom/kidnapper. So I changed that myth to make my Heavenly Maidens strong and with an important purpose in life.

I admit that I love research. I’ve spent over ten years of my life learning as much as I can about ancient Asian history. And yet there is so much more to learn. The more research I uncover, the more stories pop into my head, which is a good thing as Prophecy is the first book of a trilogy! 

About Author:

Ellen Oh is an adjunct college instructor and former entertainment lawyer who one day picked up a Genghis Khan biography and was never quite the same again. It was the start of an obsessive fascination with ancient Asian history that led to years of researching, which culminated in writing *Prophecy*, her first novel. She also loves martial arts films, K-pop, K-dramas, and cooking shows, and she thinks the *Last Airbender* series was the best animated show ever created. Originally from New York City, Ellen lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and three daughters and is always on the hunt for a decent bagel.

 

An “Elite” Shipping Program for Overseas Buyers @ Printsasia

Monday, October 14th, 2013

printsasia Elite ShippingWe are excited to introduce Printsasia “Elite” to all International Libraries and Institutes who regularly order books from us in substantial quantity. Printsasia ““Elite”” is a coupon based discounted International shipping program.

Understanding the fact that shipping internationally can be expensive for overseas buyers, we have come out with this wonderful solution, “Elite.” By using our “Elite” coupon, the shipping charges are applied as a fraction of book cost. We have been working hard for the past few months to make our overseas clients’ shopping experience delightful, speedy and smooth. Fortunately, today we have rolled out an ““Elite”” shipping program for buyers located outside USA to save money on shipping. With this new discounted shipping option, you will be paying much less shipping charges. To learn more about our “Elite” Shipping Program and visually see the difference it creates in International shipping charges, view this page.

If you have any further queries regarding our ““Elite”” International shipping program, feel free to mail us at web@printsasia.com

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

MalalaA year ago, a Taliban shook the conscience of humanity when he shot a 15-year old Pakistani girl in the head at point-blank range because of her forthright stand on education. Today, that girl has become an inspiration to many and a symbol of hope in a world ruined by violence and cruelty. Moreover, that audacious girl, who fights for the rights of girls’ education, is the youngest contender ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. The girl is none other than Malala Yousafzai, who refused to bow before an unlawful proclamation and triggered a revolt against the Taliban’s dictate.

On Tuesday, a day before the anniversary of her assassination attempt, her memoir “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban,” was released. In this memoir Malala shares, what she had faced on that fateful day and the encouraging story of her temerity and strong will power not to be intimidated by the terrorists. The book also tells about the remarkable courage she got from her family, especially from her father who motivated her to attend school in the face of threats and pressures.

Published by Little, Brown and Company in the US and written with the British journalist Christina Lamb, the book recounts Malala’s life before and after that traumatic event and her inspiring and long-running campaign to fight for the education of girls in Pakistan.

At the age of 11, Yousafzai started giving TV interviews in Pakistan about girls’ education. However, her identity first revealed while writing an anonymous blog for the BBC Urdu blog under a pseudonym. Her blog in which this stern supporter of girl’s education chronicled the arrival of Islamic Fundamentalist Taliban in the Swat valley and their atrocities of daily life became an overnight sensation and soon she became a potential Taliban target.

By this time, this young courageous woman and her father Ziauddin, an educator, were receiving death threats from The Taliban. Even almost being murdered by extremists, Malala did not stop her from talking and writing about education and Taliban’s injustices. She gave an interview in a news channel where she told that she would return to Pakistan one day and join politics. In a nation, where all leaders, politicians, diplomats and bureaucrats have an apologetic attitude toward Taliban, this indomitable girl stands against their tyrannies. For Malala’s courage to stand up for herself and other girls, she was awarded with multiple national and international honors.

In this book, readers will find a comprehensive and engaging detail of the shooting, narrations of the pivotal event, the story of her recovery, and the perspectives of several different personalities. Written in simple English, this well-composed book discloses the serious problems that people from terror-stricken Pakistan has been facing and how an attempt to assassinate Malala shook the world. After reaching at the end of the book, you only get encouraged from Malala on how she kept the guts to criticize the most atrocious and hideous terrorist group, despite being only a child of 11.

International Law and American Self-Governance

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Guest Author:  Curtis Bradley

curtisWhether it is addressing the use of chemical weapons in Syria, prosecuting Somali pirates, or trying to obtain custody of the NSA leaker Edward Snowden (to take just a few recent issues), the United States is constantly interacting with international law.  Most Americans know little, however, about how this law is developed and how it affects their lives.  I’ve been teaching and writing about international law for about twenty years, and I’ve also had the privilege of advising the U.S. government on international law issues when I served as the Counselor on International Law in the legal arm of the U.S. State Department.

My book, International Law in the U.S. Legal System (Oxford Press 2013), focuses on how international law is applied within the United States — by courts, the Executive Branch, Congress, and the states. Part of the discussion is historical, recounting the various ways that the United States has interacted with international law since its Founding.  This history reveals recurring tensions between efforts by the United States to protect its sovereignty and its desire to play a leading role in international affairs.  Some of these tensions were evident when the Senate narrowly declined to give its approval last year to a UN treaty on the rights of the disabled.

The book addresses all the major forms of international law, including treaties, international custom, and the decisions and orders of international institutions. It also considers many concrete applications of international law in the United States, such as in litigation brought in U.S. courts by foreign victims of human rights abuses, in challenges to state death penalty laws, and in the various controversies surrounding U.S. policies in the “war on terror.”  In doing so, the book highlights the vast array of topics now addressed by international law and how it increasingly addresses matters previously regulated only by domestic law.bradley

Sometimes, the application of international within the U.S. legal system can present challenges for the country’s commitment to self-governance.  For example, there are many good reasons for delegating authority to expert international bodies, but such delegations can also dilute democratic accountability.  Similarly, it can be useful to bind nations to evolutionary norms of international custom, but this category of international law can also be invoked opportunistically in an effort to circumvent the normal process for making law in the United States.

A central theme of the book is that the international law applied in U.S. legal system is often filtered to take account of U.S. constitutional values and structure, sometimes inconsequentially and sometimes significantly.  For example, it is not uncommon for courts and other government actors in the United States to balance the need for effective implementation of international law with the desirability of preserving space for executive flexibility, congressional deliberation, and state and local autonomy.  Regardless of whether one regards this filtering process as a form of “American Exceptionalism,” the book suggests that on balance it plays a positive role in facilitating U.S. engagement with international law.

About Author:

Curtis Bradley is a professor of law at Duke University.  He has written numerous academic articles concerning international law and U.S. foreign relations law, many of which have been cited by courts. In 2004 he served as the Counselor on International Law in the Legal Adviser’s Office of the U.S. State Department and since that time has served on the State Department’s advisory committee on international law.

Protecting The World’s Green Equilibria

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Guest Author: Christopher Wills

Few experiences in life are as overwhelming as a walk through a virgin rainforest, or a swim through an untouched coral reef. Here is a vivid glimpse of such a moment, captured on a visit to the island of New Britain, part of Papua New Guinea.

Christopher

On this coral reef, which is typical of the rich ecosystems of southeast Asia’s coral triangle, teeming schools of Anthia and Dascyllus fish hover over clusters of staghorn coral.

Green EquilibriaIn my recent book “Green Equilibrium: The Vital Balance of Humans and Nature(Oxford, 2013), I take the reader to many such diverse ecosystems. We visit virtually untouched rainforests and reefs that give us a glimpse into billions of years of evolutionary history. But we also encounter other places that have been badly damaged by human activity, and still others where scientists and conservationists are working hard to restore their ecological diversity.

On the way we discover why some ecosystems are more resistant to human-caused damage than others.  We also discover that these ecosystems have had profound effects on the humans who live in them. The genes and behaviors of peoples as varied as the tribes of the New Guinea highlands, the inhabitants of Nepal’s swampy and fever-ridden Terai, and the Sherpas and Tibetans who have adapted to life at extreme altitude, have all been molded by the worlds in which they live. We are much more intimately connected to, and influenced by, the natural world around us than most of us realize.

Divergence among the cultures of these New Guinea tribes people has been encouraged by the country’s rugged terrain, which has led to language barriers and warfare over limited resources.

imageWe explore the many ways in which ecosystem diversity, and the human diversity that often accompanies it, are generated. Some common themes emerge. One such mechanism, which my collaborators and I have discovered to be operating in rainforests around the world, is a type of natural selection called frequency-dependent selection. We found that rare species of tree often have an advantage. The advantage disappears when the species become common.

When such selection operates over long periods of time, it can generate and maintain diversity in ecosystems — a phenomenon that can lead to the complex ecological balances that I call green equilibria.

Such mechanisms have also increased the genetic diversity of the gene pools of all the species that inhabit ecosystems — including our own species. And they have opened up an opportunity for us to undo the damage we have done to our planet, and to harness and repair its delicate balances. At the end of the book, we explore how our own rich genetic heritage has endowed our species as a whole with a wealth of capabilities that far exceed those of any individual. And we see how it is possible to harness these genetic resources to save, and to restore, the delicate web of our planet’s green equilibria.

About Author:

Christopher Wills image

 

Christopher Wills is Professor of Biological Sciences Emeritus at the University of Calilfornia San Diego. The author of many popular books on evolution and biology, he was given the AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology in 1999. His most recent books include The Darwinian Tourist (2010) and Green Equilibrium (2013), both from Oxford University Press.

 

 

 

Book Review: Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep: Rewarding Sequel to “The Shining”

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

Doctor SleepThe Global monarch of horror fiction-Stephen king- is back with the sequel to his best-selling third novel- The Shining, comes out of 36-years of wait.  The major difference between the two is that how quickly he now plunges into the action. At the time, King penned down “The Shining,” he was a committed alcoholic but this time he is a recovering alcoholic, and in Doctor Sleep, we find a more nuanced view of the cause and the treatment of alcoholism.

Conceptually, there are many similarities in the Stephen’s new novel Doctor Sleep and the latest by his son Joe Hill- N0S4A2- as both books open with the protagonist’s childhood comes across with the terrible ghostlike creatures. “Doctor Sleep” picks up the story of Dan Torrance who survived both his evil-infested dad, Jack Torrance, and the malignant spirits of the gruesome Overlook Hotel when he was a little boy. While he escapes the hotel of horrors, he can’t shake the visualizations he sees by his psycho-intuitive powers to perceive the energy of other psychics. Finally, he settles in a small New Hampshire town, where he finds friends, an AA community that sustains him and a job at a nursing home where his remnant supernatural powers provide ease to the dying earns him the name Doctor Sleep. But his peaceful life is ripped apart when he telepathically meets the evanescent 12-year-old Abra Stone, who also has “the shining”, and who is a target of a clannish bunch of ­shining-eating paranormal beings called the True Knot.  Led by Rose O’Hara alias Rose the Hat, this gang of almost immortal travelers needs the psychic powers (which they call “steam”) of children to stay forever young.

In the author’s note that concludes “Doctor Sleep,” the remarkable new sequel to “The Shining,” Stephen King shows his bafflement with Stanley Kubrick’s movie adaptation – regarded by many people as the best horror film of all time. The author has faced a particular challenge in writing this follow-up to “The Shining” because he has not only to inscribe a convincing and satisfying new tale from the bones of “The Shining”, one of the most terrifying novels of the twentieth century, but he must also wrest control of our reminiscence of that small boy-Danny.

In spite of its many horrors, “Doctor Sleep” is more of a paranormal adventure crossed with a moving story of redemption, mixed with themes like family, mortality, and second chances. King’s latest won’t make you forget Jack Nicholson’s manic performance, but it is still enthralling and will offer you a fresh case of the creeps, and introduce some electrifying new characters.  

The strongest point of the novel is the portrayal of the development of the main character- now adult ‘Dan’, as he struggles with his own lingering demons (his past, alcoholism, and his precognitive ability),  with new characters like Abra, Chetta, Dave, Doctor John, and The True Knot. However, King took about 500 pages to develop the characters, yet the accessible flow of story and plenty of twists and turns along the way will grasp the reader’s attention until the end.

In overall, Stephen’s latest installment, “Doctor Sleep” is a well-crafted story of good and evil that keeps the pages turning and will thrill the millions of dedicated fans of The Shining and entertain anyone new to this icon in his canon.

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