Monday, 22 December 2014

Into the Storm's Domain... Ged Maybury talks!

Ged Maybury 
and the Stonewind Sky

Today I'm talking to Ged Maybury about his Stonewind Sky series, published by Satalyte Publishing. The first book is Into the Storm's Domain.

1. Ged, please tell us how you came to hatch the idea of this series. Was there a particular jump-off idea?

A. In 2008 I discovered the word "steampunk" in reference to a certain favourite Japanese anime movie. Curious, I dug deeper and soon discovered both its meaning and a small group of computer geeks in the USA trying to create a steampunk-themed video game. I joined their email group and we were soon doing all the world-building stuff. Then suddenly I started writing it up as a story (I was useless to them as a computer programmer!) Anyway, the ideas grew and grew and it eventually became Across the Stonewind Sky. (The first title I chose was 'The Howlingstone' but I soon discovered it was in use elsewhere - in THREE OTHER PLACES!) Oh, and their game never got finished. I credit them in Book I.

2. In regard to series like this one, what do you think is the best time gap between releases?

A. I have no idea. It's a marketing thing. But as a reader, I'd like to have them a week apart! Currently we're putting them out at about 8-month intervals.

3. Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

A. I'm becoming very fond of Friennie Vorkers - who is a frequently recurring secondary character. She's wild, saucy, stupid, impulsive, easily distracted by cake (and men), and entirely too prone to pull out her pistols and start shooting things, instead of thinking. As you can guess - she's in there for comic relief.

4. Thinking of the situations and characters in your book, whose shoes would you perform best in?

A. Well not as my hero, Rodney. He's too brave and physical and confident wielding guns (but asides from that he is the most like me.) Ditto his opposite: Romarny. Or any of the 'Action Types'. I think I'd be more like the 'workshop elves' - those who stay in one place repairing and inventing. Ignatius Gore comes to mind. (He doesn't show up until Book III, btw.)

5. Did you always plan this as a series, or did you originally envisage just one book?

A. It didn't take me long to realise that I was concocting a world and back-story so huge and so detailed that no single book was ever going to contain it! To be honest, at this stage I do not know how many books it *will* take! I'm on Book VI now, there are two in the future where they go to the 'moon' (a different moon to ours), and a number of extraordinary landscapes I want to explore, plus Romarny's back-story, and maybe I might write up the *deep history* (Sissifreya's Story), then run some side-stories using my secondary characters... There could easily be a dozen books before I'm done.

Thanks, Ged! I bought Book 1 recently from the publisher and look forward to plunging in when I find more than five minutes to appreciate it.
Check out Book 1 at this url.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Ashley Howland and the Super Puppy

Today we welcome author Ashley Howland to Promote-Me-Please to tell us about her book Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist.
As usual, I asked five inquisitive questions.

Q.1. Obi the Super Puppy is an intriguing title. Please tell us about Obi. What breed is he and how is he super?

A. Obi was a yellow Labrador and he was the most amazing dog. Obi just knew how to capture the hearts of everyone. His legacy lives on. Recently I returned to my old school where I used to teach and take Obi for visits. The kids there who would only have been 5 and 6 at the time all remembered Obi. He was just that kind of dog.

Obi the Super Puppy is a fiction novel, but it is based on truth. I was always amazed at the crazy things he did as a puppy, but he always appeared to have purpose in his actions. I came up with the idea of him being a super hero in training because I’m pretty sure he thought he was. This is the story of him telling my two girls about his first adventure. I wrote it this way because they spent many hours talking to their dog.  

Q.2. Can you tell us a bit about the sequel to Obi the Super Puppy?

A. The sequel to Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist is close to being published. Hopefully I will have it all ready for the new year. It is called Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh. This time Obi is telling my kids and their new puppy – Stitch (superhero in training) about Obi’s first sidekick, Rigger. They are still battling the red mist, only this time it is affecting children, making them ignore Labradors…. Obi has to use the crazy skills of Rigger to help solve this mystery.

Q.3. What are your aims in writing this story, beyond telling an entertaining tale?

A. I loved sharing Obi and my two current dogs (Stitch and Chewie) with children. They get so much from interacting with these trained Labradors, who have so much personality. I have begun to write all of their stories to share their love of life with more children. It also helps to keep the memories of Obi alive. I love that he can continue to put smiles of faces.

Q.4. How do you think reading stories about dogs affects children’s attitudes?

A. I think children can relate really well to dogs. This is because a dog never judges, they simply love everyone who will pay them attention. Being around dogs and reading about dogs can give children a great sense of happiness and enjoyment. Plus so many kids never get to own a dog, so reading about one can give them that experience to some extent.

Q.5. Is Obi based on a real dog?

A. Obi was my first yellow Labrador. He was so funny and beautiful, quite the character. When I started teaching I used to bring Obi in to school as a reward for the students trying really hard with their behaviour and learning. It was highly successful. Later he worked for me in a not for profit organisation, where I worked with at risk youth to train Labradors as companion dogs. Obi was a great part of this program's success. Now I have Stitch, who was lucky enough to learn from Obi and he is in turn training Chewie. I laugh at Chewie because he comes from the same lines as Obi and it is obvious. They would have been peas in a pod. 

Thanks so much for visiting the blog, Ashley. And everyone... if you want to know more, visit the links below!

Purchase Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist:

He is also on Facebook:

Satima Flavell presents - The Dagger of Dresnia

Satima Flavell is an author, editor and reviewer of high fantasy living in Perth, Western Australia. She can often be found on panels at SF conventions, and when she's not engaged in SF activities she's probably in a dance class somewhere, either as student or teacher. She also spends too much time on Facebook. Today she drops in at Promote-Me-Please to answer five curly questions about her new book, Dagger of Dresnia.

Q.1.  Your title, "Dagger of Dresnia", does a nice line in alliteration. Was that happy coincidence or was it intentional?

A. It was intentional, or at least semi-intentional. It just leapt to mind along with its sequel titles as soon as I realised I was writing about three talismans. The other books in the series will be similarly titled: 
The Cloak of Challiver is book 2 (due for release mid-next year) and 
The Seer of Syland is book three, which should be released in 2016.

Q.2. If you were recommending The Dagger of Dresnia to a reader who knew nothing about it, how would you explain it in one sentence?

A. It's about Queen Ellyria, elvish widow of a mortal king, who tries to 
ensure peace among her argumentative triplet sons by entering into a 
pact with a dark spirit - and of course all hell breaks loose!

Q.3. If you were recommending The Dagger of Dresnia to a reader who knew nothing about it, what other books would you suggest as comparisons in tone and style?

A. I was utterly chuffed when the reviewer for Scoop magazine compared The Dagger of Dresnia to the works of Guy Gavriel Kay and Marion Zimmer Bradley, and a kind reader mentioned it in the same breath as George RR Martin! Those are writers I admire and try to emulate, so perhaps in some small way my work might be a pale reflection of theirs.

Q.4. How much input (if any) did you have in the cover art?

A. The cover art was created by the very gifted Marieke Ormsby of Satalyte Publishing. She sent me her first draft of the pic and I was thrilled to see how well the mountains depicted the scenery of my imagined northern Dresnia, and how the poppy field served as a metaphor for battle. Marieke was going to put Beverak, one of the sons of my MC, Queen Ellyria, on the cover. She'd used her own son as a model, but I thought the boy (who is only 12) looked more like Ellyria herself, so I suggested she give him plaits, which she did. I hope he didn't mind! :-)

Q.5. Where to now? What is your next project?

A. Book two, The Cloak of Challiver, is well underway (just the dreaded 
battle scene left to write!) and I'm gradually piecing together ideas 
for book three, The Seer of Syland. I haven't got the main character's 
story down pat as yet, and I might just have to start writing to find 
out what happens!

Thanks, Satima for answering my peculiar questions. Be sure to check out for Dagger of Dresnia and for some more great books.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Meet Mary-Lou Stephens

Today we welcome Mary-Lou Stephens to the blog. Mary-Lou answered five inquisitive questions about her book How to Stay Married.

Q.1. How To Stay Married bears the same name as a Jilly Cooper book. Do you find the two titles get confused?

Ive noticed a lot of books, as well as songs and movies have the same title. The Beautiful Girls have a new song out called Dance Hall Days and whenever I go to play it on the radio (my day job) I think Im going to hear Wang Chung! Yes it can be a bit confusing sometimes but Jilly Coopers book came out in the 60s and is a very different book to mine. Shes been married for 50 years now so clearly writing a book called How To Stay Married helps you stay married :)

Q.2. How To Stay Married is a partner book to your first book. In what way is this a sequel? Do you suggest reading them in the correct order?

My first book, Sex, Drugs and Meditation tells the story of how meditation changed my life, saved my job and helped me find a husband. How To Stay Married is the truth about the happy ending.
The books dont need to be read in order. I tell the story of how I met my husband in How To stay Married so you get the complete picture. The books work well alone or together. I had many people whod read Sex, Drugs and Meditation asking for a sequel which was wonderful. Im happy to be able to provide it.

Q.3. Who is the ideal reader for your book?

How To Stay Married is a memoir, as well as being a travelogue and a guide to relationships. Theres something in it for everyone. Ive used a trip around the world with cabin luggage only as a metaphor for learning to travel light in relationships of any kind. So if you have friends, a lover, a partner, colleagues or anyone in your life you want to get on well with, this book is for you. If you just want or need a great read this book is also for you. First and foremost its a story, as was my first book. A tale well told. If some of the tips in the book are of use in your relationships then thats brilliant too.

Q.4. Whats next? Are you planning another book in the near future?

My next book will be a novel. Ive written two tell-all books and now its time to make something up. The novel is set predominately in Scotland. Its about what happens when three women, whove lost everything, meet in a place known for making miracles happen. I also have plans for another two novels, two fiction series and a non-fiction series. Plenty to keep me busy.

Q.5. Have you had much feedback from readers this book has helped?

I have had a lot of feedback from readers who really relate to How To Stay Married. They laugh and cry to find themselves and their thoughts and reactions reflected in this book. Theres one tip in particular that readers find very helpful. Its one of seven tips woven throughout the book as part of my own journey however I have written a chapter of tips right at the end called For Those Who Like Lists. If you would like my Seven Tips to a Happy Marriage (and one from my mum) youll receive it as a gift when you sign up for my newsletter

Thanks for visiting Promote Me Please, Mary-Lou. For anyone who wants to know more, check out the links below.

Amazon author page 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Big Wide Calm by Rich Marcello

Today we welcome author Rich Marcello to Promote Me Please. Rich's new book, The Big Wide Calm, is now available, so I asked Rich five inquisitive questions about the story. Most of us are intrigued by the music industry and by the twin concepts of talent and fame. The Big Wide Calm promises both entertainment and enlightenment.

Q.1. The Big Wide Calm is an intriguing title. Can you tell us something about its origin?

Rich: About four years ago I got an idea to write three different novels about everything I believe about love. The first, The Color of Home, was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press. The third, The Beauty of the Fall, will be published in 2015/2016. The Big Wide Calm is the second of three. It’s a millennial coming of age story where the heroine, a twenty-five year old singer-songwriter named Paige Plant, learns to truly and deeply love platonically.

I believe there’s infinite well of creativity, of energy, that we all have the ability to tap. That’s what I call The Big Wide Calm. There are many ways into it – almost any emotion can get you there if you learn to go into feeling. With that said, humans have a hard time finding TWBC. Actually, probably for fear-based reasons, they do everything they can to avoid it. During the course of the story, Paige slowly learns how to tap into The Big Wide Calm, how to use flip negative energy to a positive and use it as a way in. My hope is that readers will resonate with what she goes through, and in some small way, the book will help them take their own step toward The Big Wide Calm.

Q. 2. An elusive music pro meets a naive new talent... what is John's first impression of Paige?

Rich: He thinks she’s incredibly talented and the same time both na├»ve and arrogant. Having worked with many young singers over the years, it’s a common profile for an up-and-coming artist who wants to make it.

Q.3. ...And what is Paige's first impression of John?

Rich: She thinks he’s eccentric, a little scary, and rich. At the same time there’s something about him--a sadness in his eyes and face--that pulls her in, makes her want to know more, and allows her to trust him, at least a little.

Q.4. Tell us a bit about the genesis of this story. Do you have a music industry background or did you need to do extensive research?

Rich: I’m a musician and a poet in addition to being a novelist, so the music part of the story came easily for me. I’ve also worked in recording studios over the years, and recorded four of my own albums.

Q.5. If you were writing one of those library lists that says, "If you like These authors you will also like this one", which three authors would you put at the top?

Rich: George Saunders. Milan Kundera. Alice Walker.

So, there you have it... something about The Big Wide Calm straight from its author, Rich Marcello. Read on for some interesting links.

Relevant links:

Amazon link to this title

Barnes and Noble link to this title

Twitter: marcellor

Facebook link 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Interview with Greg Clark, owner of Clean Air Plus

Hello and welcome to the Promote Me Please blog, where interesting endeavours get that bit of an extra push.

Today, I interview Greg Clark, owner of Clean Air Plus, which you may visit here

Q. 1. Clean Air Plus! That sounds enticing. How did you come up with the name for your company?

Greg: Back in 2004, the name was conceived during a discussion with a few family members. I believe it was my Dad who thought of the name. Originally, I was going to call the company "Air Purifiers HQ." Thankfully, I chose the name Clean Air Plus instead. I think it sounds more professional, like an actual brand name.

Q. 2. What brought you to the air-purifying business in the first place?

Greg: Growing up in one of the smoggiest areas of the U.S., Fresno, California, had a lot to do with it. For many years, Fresno was considered the asthma capital of the country. While I never had any severe health problems, I began developing allergies in my mid-20s. On many occasions, I was simply unable to sleep because my nose would get stuffy, and my throat was always irritated. I began looking for an air cleaning device that would remove the pollutants and allergens lurking in the air, causing these symptoms. Like so many people, I bought the cheap store brand air purifiers. They provided minimal filtration at best. After a few years of not-so-effective results, I contacted a well-known allergist in town to get his recommendation. He referred me to his brother, who was a sales rep for the better quality air purifier companies. After a demonstration, I bought two of the Austin Air HealthMate Plus Jr air purifiers.  Check it out here! After a few nights' use, I was impressed! I could breathe much easier, sleep much better, and felt better overall. I got to thinking that there really was a need for these products. And having considerable experience with the internet at the time, I started to envision developing an e-commerce based website that would offer only the very best air purifiers.

Q. 3. Who do you think will get the most benefit from your products?

Greg: Definitely allergy and asthma sufferers benefit the very most as they have a genuine need for clean air. Also, pet owners have a need for our products considering the amount of dander in the air. Otherwise, health conscious people make up a large demographic of our client base. These types of people are usually concerned with preventative health. Usually these types are into organic food, filtered water, non-chemical cleaning, etc. I would consider myself one of these types, so I can relate. In my opinion, everyone should have a HEPA air purifier in their bedroom, considering the amount of time spent in that room each night. During sleep, the body undergoes detoxification and repair, and having clean air to breathe is especially beneficial to this process.

Q. 4. It's a splendid idea to have articles available on your website for visitors and customers. Do you get much feedback on these?

Greg: I do. In fact, many visitors become customers after reading the articles. When I developed Clean Air Plus, I decided that it should not only be a sales site, but also a place where relevant information would be presented. Many of our articles are based on recent scientific studies. That's one of the key differences between us and much of the competition. These articles are not written as sales pieces; rather they serve as an educational and informational resource. Of course, the final paragraph of each article is promotional and invites the reader to check out our product offerings.

Q. 5. Describe in a few words how it feels to be a small business owner in the 20-teens.

Greg: Challenging, given the level of competition in this industry. There are numerous air purifier dealers on the web. Sadly, many of these dealers seem to be interested in sales over quality. While they do a great job at paid advertising, many of these companies sell products that provide minimal filtration at best and are made using cheap materials. From day one, our company never compromised. We made a decision to offer only the best air filtration products and continue to represent these same quality brands to this day. Everything we sell utilizes a medical grade HEPA filter that removes fine dust particles, allergens, microorganisms and soot from the air. All purifiers are either made in the USA, Canada or Switzerland using the finest components. Fortunately, we have many loyal customers who tell their friends and family about us. Word of mouth has been our very best form of advertising.

Thanks, Greg, for a friendly and informative interview.  Readers, if you'd like to share this interview via twitter, facebook or email, you are more than welcome. Greg's interview ill be at this url for the foreseeable future. The Promote Me Please blog is open only to reputable and family-friendly material.