May Newsletter & Random Musings

May Newsletter

Signings, New Vendors & More

Hello. I have a few updates to share about the series.

Availability – I’ve often received emails expressing issues with the ebooks lack of availability beyond Kindle. In the past, I’ve only listed it exclusively with Amazon Kindle however, that has changed this week and The China Pandemic eBook version is now available at most major retailers. Kobo, BN.com, Scribd, Page Foundry, Tolino and of course Amazon. By next month, The Cascade Preppers and The Last Infidels will also be available at these retailers.

Book Signing – I will be reading from The China Pandemic on May 28th at 6pm at the Liberty Lake, WA Library. If you’re in the Spokane area, I’d love to meet you. Bring your paperback book for signing or you can purchase one there. (No purchase necessary) We’ll talk about the series, the publishing world and any other topics that arise.

Editing News – This has been a long journey. One of the most major issues in indie writing is finding a professional editor. Though I’ve had The China Pandemic edited five times, I knew it still needed polishing. So, I finally tracked down the best possible editor with fantastic credentials and he accepted me as a client. He has worked for major publishers. He’s worked for Amazon’s imprint 47north. And he’s worked on many major bestsellers. His name is Brian Bendlin and he just completed The China Pandemic. He is now re-editing The Cascade Preppers and so on and so forth. I’m finally relieved that when I publish something, it will be in it’s best form, from now on and I know you are too. 🙂

In other news, I’ve received a few contacts who are interested in representing the series as literary agents. This means, that possibly in the near future, Graham’s Resolution will be professionally Published. This is something I will only agree to if I do not have to sign a no compete clause which limits the number of books an author can produce in a year. If so, it means the series will be more broadly available and I can focus on writing instead of business; which would be nice…

Last but not least, I’m taking a trip soon to Hope, Canada. Though I’ve traveled to every destination in the series, I haven’t been to where the group is fleeing. I feel no matter how much research you do online, nothing compares to the impression you get gleaning from the place you’re writing about. So next month, off I go and I’ll take pictures to post. (Now I just need to write about Hawaii or France…)

Also, The Malefic Nation is coming along well though I don’t anticipate it release date until the end of summer, I’ll keep you posted. The manuscript is over half way complete and I want the story to end the best way possible. After completion, I’m leaving the series for a while. I may come back and write a prequel and/or a sequel, but I have a few stand-a-lones that I’d like to get out of my system first.

One thing I could use your help with, if you haven’t left a review on the series, please do. I would appreciate reviews on all the books I’ve written including Deception on Durham Road. This is one way you can support your favorite authors.

Thank you for all you kind notes. I welcome them anytime.

Until later!

A. R. Shaw

Book Review – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

There are a few books you read in a lifetime and think, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Without a doubt, that’s how I feel about All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

It’s about a gemstone, an orphaned German boy set during WWII and a French girl; the daughter of a museum locksmith. The narration goes from one to the other as the events of the war culminate in a town in France, where the three finally meet.

The tale is profound and heartbreaking at times. I typically avoid anything to do with WWII, it’s just not my preferred genre, but I found this book mesmerizing and beautifully written. The only negative that I can come up with is the title. It’s just not worthy of the story inside. I understand why it’s used. I get the relationship with radio, I’m a radio operator myself, but this novel deserved something better. I don’t know what that is, but I do know what it isn’t: a long title that is so vague it’s hard to remember. Instead, one might be apt to say, you know that book by Anthony Doerr; the good one? That’s the only thing that troubles me. The rest is perfection.

The last, best book I read was Eleanor by Jason Gurley. I loved Eleanor, it was my best read of 2014. So far, this is my best of 2015 and the year is nearly half over. Somehow I don’t think I’ll find anything better; even this early in the year.

Anthony Doerr is the author of five novels and, not surprising, is a Pulitzer winner. He’s practically plastered with well-deserved literary awards. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his family. You can check out his website by clicking on his name above.

So if you’re going to read one book the rest of the year, and you’ve already read mine 🙂 read All the Light you Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Book Review – At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Did you read Water for Elephants or see the movie? I did. I loved the book, and the movie was barely as excellent as the book; hardly. Well, At the Water’s Edge, is written by the same author, Sara Gruen.

Not surprisingly, it’s a romance novel but one with a few menacing twists and turns. It’s an adventure set during the war in a conflicting time of super wealth and utter despair under war-torn Scotland. It’s a well-written, lovely story but not too romance-ish; if you know what I mean.

I tend to write in a male driven genre, and though I do write a bit of romance into my novels, I don’t love to read serious, over the top, romance books. That’s why I found this one intriguing. I don’t find it realistic. However, I loved At the Water’s Edge. It’s a great fictional story. There is a little romance and a little fantasy involved in a menacing way. No spoilers. I can tell you, if you loved Water for Elephants, you’ll like At the Water’s Edge. 

Sara Gruen is a bestselling author with five titles to her name. You can visit her website here. (Make sure your sound is up, it’s quite enchanting.) This author is one to keep track of. I’m sure she has more bestsellers coming soon.

 

Book Review – The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

I’m still behind on the books I’d like to recommend, but I promise to catch up soon. I rarely read paperbacks anymore. It’s a shame. However, my family and I walked into a small bookstore after watching Interstellar (if you haven’t seen Interstellar, go see Interstellar) several weeks ago, and I had read a blurb about The Orchardist and wanted to give it a try, so I purchased it.

What I didn’t know at the time was the author lives in Washington state. And, I was in contact with the editor of this book before realizing she was the editor. Small world. The Orchardist is a lovely book. The book itself is beautiful. By that I mean, the physical book. It has a cover like watercolor paper, and the pages are uneven in the old style. It’s a work of art, and the story is a treasure.

I wasn’t sure I’d like the story, but that’s why we read isn’t it? You should learn something from a story that you didn’t know before or you should be gifted something at the very least. I began The Orchardist, and it turns out, the story was as lovely as the cover and the pages in between.

I will say, I wish the ending had been different, but I  loved it despite that. It’s a tragic yet beautifully written tale. I don’t think I learned anything from it, but I often find that I’m thinking of the picture Coplin painted with her words. She gifted something and for that I loved The Orchardist.

It’s a lengthy book so if you’re an impatient reader needing constant action, this isn’t for you. If you’re a male reader who loves action, this isn’t for you. If you’ve read the classics such as Of Mice and Men or Pride and Prejudice, you’ll like The Orchardist.

I still have reviews coming for At the Water’s Edge, and my current read All the Light We Cannot See, coming soon.

Mother’s Day Sale

In Honor of (7)

 

Because I’m a Mom of four great kids who are now young adults, I know the life of Motherhood 🙂 In Honor of Mom’s daily sacrifice, please gift to her the ebook, The China Pandemic for only .99 the entire week of Mother’s Day! May 9th-16th.  Get her flowers, a little chocolate and something unique from you.

She’ll love and appreciate that you recognized her stamina of mom-hood. All those late nights worrying over you. The hand she had no qualms about, thrust before your vomiting mouth. The dirty diaper Dad refused to change, but Mom couldn’t let you go around like that one second longer. The money she transferred to your account to get you out of a bind. Teaching you to cook that meal you used to make your girlfriend adore you. Washed the stains out of your favorite blouse. Told you to always use you as an excuse for peer pressure to keep you out of trouble. The list is mighty long and variations apply. No one loves you like Mom. Always remember that.

Author Introduction – The Pilgrimage Series by Tom Abrahams

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I met Tom Abrahams in association with the Kindle Worlds Perseid Collapse group. He’s a multitalented guy, fellow Texan and great family man. Not only is he a successful author, Tom is also a news anchor for KTRK in Houston, Texas.

He’s interviewed some of the most famous people in the world and witness both triumphs and tragedy, it’s no wonder he’s a good author as well.

I’ve read the first in his contribution to the Kindle Worlds, Crossing. Tom takes a completely different view and shows what it would be like for a vacationing family to survive the mess that is Perseid Collapse. I think he did a great job with Crossing and after reading this one, I’ve got the other two in the series on my To Be Read File.

Not only that, Tom is the author of several other full-length novels.

The tag line for his work is, Political Fiction with a Punch and Sedition leads the way. The President of The United States is dead. There is no Vice President to take his place.

As the nation slips into a constitutional crisis, a small group of disenfranchised neo-patriots conspire to violently seize power.
They have the will. They already have someone on the inside. And they have the explosives.

Standing in their way is a woman who listens to conversations not meant for her to hear. She reads mail not intended for her to see. She knows their intention. But can she stop them in time?

SEDITION is a smart, fast-paced, modern day political novel woven in reality and based on the 1820 British plot, The Cato Street Conspiracy.

It navigates the thin line between good versus evil and patriot versus traitor, proving there’s always a reason behind treason.

So if you like the realism and historical context of a Dan Brown thriller, mixed with research of a Tom Clancy novel…you’ll love SEDITION.

Allegiance is another series Tom has underway. And the description starts like this,

Beer, Redheads, And Politics…  Jackson Quick should have known better.
First, he trusted a Texas politician.
Then he fell for a leggy woman.
Worst of all, he drank a beer that tasted funny.
Now he’s running for his life, trying to piece together how he fell into a battle over something so small it takes a high-powered microscope to see it.

I think reading these novellas is a great introduction to new writers and their work. It’s a small investment of both budget and time to read a novella. Once you’ve completed reading you get a sense of the author and if you really enjoyed their style, check out their mainline work. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of these novellas and I hope you will too.

Book Review – Departure by A. G. Riddle

At some point, I will catch up on the books I’ve recently read and want to recommend. This one was an easy recommendation, no vacillating on the issue. Departure by A. G. Riddle is a beautifully written book involving a plane crash, time travel and a mystery with a struggle of who to trust with your gut instincts.

Actually, it’s somewhat more complicated than that. A. G. Riddle is from the same technical career as my husband, and they’ve both come to realize there’s a laser edge to all the technical gadgets we’ve come to love and depend upon. Technology can be a precarious and evil thing with too much dependency and reliance. I think most brilliant people in this field come to this conclusion at some point, it’s an aha moment, but that’s beside the point. Departure is an excellent stand-alone read and one I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Not only that, the novel is slated to become a movie by 20th Century Fox. I love that when I find out after I’ve read a great book that I’ll also get to enjoy it as a movie. It’s about time the film industry turns their attention to a host of creative and often intriguing indie books instead of the same old thing.

Author A. G. Riddle is also the author of the bestselling, The Atlantis Trilogy. His success with that series has led to many opportunities. I’ve only recently met this author, but he’s a great guy and I hope you’ll enjoy his work as much as I do.



 

Cover & Title Reveal for Graham’s Resolution Finale

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Some news about Graham’s Resolution

Now that I’m at the halfway mark of writing book four, I have a better idea of how the series will finish. Yes, this will be the final book in Graham’s Resolution for now. I may come back and write a ‘ten years later’ book in the future and possibly a prequel, but it’s exciting to see that the story is coming to its end. There are still secret plans in the works for the series, however.

So I’m presenting to you the fourth book of Graham’s Resolution with The Malefic Nation.

Malefic

Here is the new cover. The season is summer and I like the way the cover artist, Keri Knutson, has depicted the town below the mountains surrounded by a lake and the brilliant summer sky. She’s a very talented cover artist and I’ve enjoyed working with her on this series.

She also made the Audio cover to match. Darriel Driml is currently working on The Last Infidels audio, and I believe he is nearing completion soon. I hope.

GR4AB

This is a bittersweet realization that the series is nearing completion but I’m ready to move on, and I have a few projects in mind. I do still plan to do a companion novella for Deception on Durham Road, but I’m not sure if that project will be next or if one of my standalone works will  be the next focus.

In any event, I’ll keep you posted. I’ve got a new editor, and he’s very qualified and is currently editing the series, starting from the top.

As for the Presale issue, I didn’t like the way it treated my readers. I think it’s flawed in the release mechanism. So, I will hold off on submitting The Malefic Nation as a PreSale until its near release. I think that’s fairer.

That’s all for now, I welcome questions and comments. Thank you, and I hope you like the new cover!

Author Intro – Sean T. Smith – Sunshine Patriots

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I met Author, Sean T. Smith in correlation to Steven Konkoly’s Kindle Worlds Perseid Collapse release. (That’s a long title) I’d never read anything by Sean before and so after reading his contribution for the PC Worlds (Ha! PC, not.) I thought, heck, this guy can write! And, I mean it. He really can write well.
Sunshine Patriot’s has a smooth lyrical voice. The pacing works. You feel for the characters. I all, I enjoyed it and know you will as well. I think it’s perfect for both male and female readers too.

These PC novellas provide us with a great way to try out new authors without committing to an entire novel. After reading Sunshine Patriots I looked into his other works and then I recognized his covers. Our series often play hop-scotch with one another  when ranking. I love the cover art and I know the story within is great if it’s anything like Sunshine Patriots.

Sean also blogs about writing religion and the apocalypse. I’m not certain in that order but well here’s his website where you can check him out.

Book Review – The Martian by Andy Weir

Okay, first off, Wow! If you haven’t yet read The Martian by Andy Weir, please do. You’re missing something. I loved this book! And…it’s going to be a movie, so read it quickly before all the previews ruin it for you.

This is going to make one heck of a movie. I can’t wait to see how they manage some of the um…aspects. (I don’t want to give anything away.)

This is a book written by a self-proclaimed nerd. What a better way to make a great story? You can check out Andy Weir’s website here. He’s a great simple guy in a nerdish world. When I find books like this written by folks like him, I’m so happy for their success.

Here is a description of The Martian from Amazon. 

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

The description didn’t really convince me to read the book though. I tried the Look Inside feature and after getting to the end, I bought it immediately.

The story is unique in that it’s written in frist person and the astronaut is actually there. You feel his disappointment and pain. You’re hoping for him. You’re on the edge of your seat nearly the whole time. The best thing of all, he’s included real life humor both the sad kind and the best kind.

Of all my book recommendations…this one is required reading!

You’ll thank me!

The Martian also comes in Audio!