Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story

Authors be aware! Always research a company before publishing with them.

David Gaughran

ASandfriendsweboptAuthor Solutions has forged partnerships with a long list of famous names in publishing – from Simon & Schuster and Hay House to Barnes & Noble and Reader’s Digest.

Recent disclosures in various lawsuits, along with information sent to me by a Penguin Random House source, detail for the very first time exactly how these partnerships work and the damage they are causing.

Since a second suit was filed at the end of March, Author Solutions is now facing two class actions, with the new complaint alleging unjust enrichment and exploitation of seniors on top of the usual claims of fraud and deceptive practices. It also has a wonderfully precise summary of Author Solutions’ operations:

Author Solutions operates more like a telemarketing company whose customer base is the Authors themselves. In other words, unlike a traditional publisher, Author Solutions makes money from its Authors, not for them. It does so…

View original post 2,915 more words

Advertisements

Body Image

So earlier this week I reblogged an article about body image and the song “All About the Bass”. In summary this article claimed the song was “skinny chick bashing” (to paraphrase). Reading through the article I had to agree that this artist was taking a swing at skinny girls.

I used to be one of them. One of the skinny girls. Size 0 jeans. Extra small tops. I could shop in the junior’s department at 19. I wasn’t huge in the chest but I was young, petite, proportioned, and perky.

Then I had two kids.

Yeah, I’ve dropped the weight, mostly, but I’m no size 0 anymore. To add to my “body angst” the shifting in my body proportions makes me look flatter in the chest than I used to be.

I’m happy with who I am and happy enough with how I look. Yeah, I would change a few things, like toning my joey pouch and fixing my crooked teeth, but overall, I think I look good.

Am I a “stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll”? Look at the picture. Am I a Barbie doll?

Am I a skinny bitch?

I have never once shamed a person about their weight. In fact the only person I discuss their weight with is my sister, and that’s more to let her vent than to lecture her or fix her. Yes, I believe junk food is evil and yes, I ate half a bag of chips yesterday while out with my husband. I also had cheese and crackers for lunch. I’m not perfect, I admit that. I’m not a gym-goer. I don’t exercise enough. Too many lazy days and I’ll start packing on pounds and I know it. I’m one slipped will-power day away from gaining back all the baby weight.

I know there are people who hate me because I’m skinny, but did you know I was threatened with an intervention once? My friends told me outright that if my weight ever dropped into the double digits they’d duck tape me to a chair and force feed me lasagna smoothies. Did you know my 74 year old grandmother wears the same size jeans as me? This is genetics, people, I didn’t starve myself to be here.

Yes, I know I’m blessed that my genetics allow me an easier time of maintaining a “popular body image” but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m ugly. I have stretch marks on my thighs and hips and ass. My stomach looks like cottage cheese it’s so wrinkly from having kids. My teeth are awful, my hair is staticky and unruly and an awfully plain mouse brown colour.

I admire women who are confident in their bodies because a lot of the time I am not. Positive body image has NOTHING to do with weight and everything to do with how we see ourselves.

I am fortunate that my husband loves me and helps me see my worth and my beauty. He even makes me feel sexy. But I don’t think beautiful or sexy has anything to do with weight either.

So to all you curvy women out there, go out an rock those curves. You are beautiful because you are a human of immense value with so much potential. Same goes for the skinny girls, and the ones in between and the ones who don’t fit the molds, and the ones who don’t fit the stereotypes. Go out there and be bold and beautiful and sexy by being you.

We don’t need significant others to be sexy. We don’t need to be a certain weight or dress a certain way to be sexy.

Last thing I want to say: Let’s start building each other up. Y’all are gorgeous.

New Disorder Sweeping our Nation

Breaking News: There is a serious disorder sweeping through North America. It has been present since the 60s and has only grown in severity. The number of people affected has grown exponentially. This is serious and serious measures need to be taken to ensure the spread does not continue.

What “disorder” am I talking about? Autism? Downs Syndrome? ADHD? No. Nada. Sorry. None of those has me up in arms. I’m talking about celebrity worship.

I hear you all screaming “that’s not a real disorder!” and I’m sure half of you are headed for the back button on your browser but please, hear me out. This is a social disorder that I firmly believe needs to be addressed.

It has been bothering me for some time, and for many reasons. Why are people obsessed with the lives of movie stars and musicians? Why do I care about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s marriage? Why do I want to know what Reese Witherspoon ordered at the coffee shop last Tuesday, and why do I care that she was wearing sweat pants?

I get it that these people are talented. I can’t act, I’m too self-conscious, too much of an introvert. I can sing but I’m really only good enough for church choirs and bonfire sing-a-longs. I’m not being hard on myself, I know I have talents and strengths but acting and music aren’t high on the list. I understand that people who play sports are talented too. Again, it’s not my strength – I’m an out of shape stay-at-home mother after all. Even at my physical peek back in high school I didn’t play on any school teams. Sports do not interest me unless I can sit in front of the TV and watch big guys in tight pants smash into each other for an hour or two.

That being said, I know a lot of other people who are very talented. Brain surgeons for example. I can’t do that. I can’t deliver a baby either. I can’t split particles or develop vaccines. All of that takes a lot of dedication, talent, and passion.

My talent lies in the written word. I write books and I know a lot of other very talented writers (whether I know them or simply know of them, it’s sort of the same for this article). So why doesn’t Stephen King get his 30 seconds on TMZ for wearing sweats to the coffee shop? I’ve never seen a brain surgeon’s divorce on the cover of the gossip magazines.

What is it about actors and musicians that makes them so irresistible to people? It can’t be the money. Bill Gates has money and he doesn’t show up on TMZ every night. Donald Trump has money and I’ve never seen a photo of him getting the newspaper in his pajamas.

I know why they’re famous. We all watch their movies and listen to their music. We all know who they are. But why this obsession with their lives off the screen. Just because I love The Avengers and have a major crush on basically everyone in that movie (shush, my husband already teases me about it) I don’t follow Robert Downey Junior on Facebook, I don’t stalk Tim Hiddleston on Twitter, and I don’t cut out magazine articles about Chris Evans.

I don’t care how many nose jobs someone has. I don’t care how hard they party. I don’t care if they’re getting a divorce or getting married, or having kids. I don’t care if they drink lattes or smoothies or what they wear on their own time, or if they look good in a bikini (unless it’s in a movie, then I care, but only for the duration of the movie). I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THIS IS A BIG DEAL!!!

Please, someone, explain this to me!

Now, I suppose I owe an explanation for why I think this is a “disorder”. We’re obsessed. As a culture we’re obsessed with this trivial crap. And that’s causing a lot of problems.

1) In general people are paying more attention to what Kim Kardashian names her kids or wears to the store than you are to the political turmoil in North America. Look at what’s trending now on MSN or Facebook. Most of the time it’s celebrity news.

2) We are ruining their lives. I can’t imagine the stress of having to examine myself in the mirror under a microscope to ensure I look paparazzi perfect just to go to the corner store for milk. I can’t imagine the stress of having my kids’ temper tantrum in Wal-Mart aired on TMZ. I can’t imagine the embarrassment of having my marital struggles on the front cover of a magazine. THEY ARE PEOPLE. They are allowed to go to the store in sweat pants. They are allowed to have lives!! Why are we scrutinizing and judging them every second of the day. Seriously! Why do you think so many celebrity marriages end in divorce and so many of their kids are fucked up? Maybe if we just minded our own business and didn’t butt into theirs they wouldn’t be so messed up.

3) We are comparing ourselves to them. I will never be as pretty as these movie stars because I have to spend at least 6 hours a day in front of a screen writing to even scratch some spending money together. I cannot afford a gym membership, fancy equipment, personal trainers, plastic surgery, designer clothes … I can’t even afford to spend more than fifteen minutes on my personal appearance in the morning. If my hair and teeth are brushed and my clothes don’t clash I’m doing great!
We will never be as pretty as these people. We will never look perfect and airbrushed like them. But we still sit their and ooh and aah over their dresses and their hair and their styles and their waist sizes. Why? We can’t be them. Why would we want to? When did individuality and self-esteem get replaced with trying to be carbon copies of celebrities?

Culturally we need to pull our heads out of our asses. We need to spend less time staring at the tabloids and more time visiting art galleries and museums. We need to spend less time watching TMZ and more times watching documentaries and the news. We need to stop worrying about our waist size and start worrying about our overall health. We need to stop judging people for what they wear to the coffee shop and start judging them on what they are doing to make the world a better place.

I always love to hear about how Emma Watson is speaking out for women’s rights and how movie stars visit children’s hospitals. That makes me happy. I also love to hear about ordinary people protesting, or setting up memorials, or holding fundraisers for good causes. I love to hear that the pandas in the zoo in China successfully had a baby and maybe they won’t go extinct after all.

I don’t like hearing about war but I feel obliged to know about it. I don’t want my head in the sand. I want to know what’s twisting the world up and tearing it apart. I want to have an educated opinion on it.

Where do you stand on all this? Harmless distraction? Entertainment? Or is celebrity worship turning us into sheep?

Why I Will Never Respect Meghan Trainor

Ambitiously Living

Dear Meghan,

You have manipulated thousands of adolescent teenagers into a twisted ideology of positive body image, and what’s worse is that I don’t think you even know you in are in the wrong. I do believe that you have a good, kind heart- I really do. However, I believe you are grossly misinformed and confused about your own image, and because of that, you should not be a symbol of positive self-image for women of any age.

Your fame is based off of your promotion of the idea that every female is beautiful in her own way- a belief that I have as well. The difference is that I don’t promote the idea that being curvy is necessarily better than being thin. You have degraded petite females to get further on your path to fame, and further skewed the concept of “positive body image.”

Any revenue you have collected…

View original post 449 more words

SURPRISE GIVEAWAY

SORRY! Just got the phone call. It was a girl. If you voted on my facebook page make sure you message me for winner goodies.

My sister-in-law was due 2 days ago and still no baby! So this contest is open until she pops.
Just comment with whether you think she’ll have a girl or a boy. I’ll edit this to let you know when the contest closes. EVERYONE who guesses correctly will win a digital copy of ReImagined.

PLEASE make sure to check back for the winner announcement because I will need an email to send the book to.

Author Casia Schreyer Donates Profits from Debut Novel to Help Bully Victims

Thanks again, Lepplady for sharing my story!

Lepplady

cas1cas2

Nothing Everything Nothing is a young adult contemporary novel about the tragic effects of bullying as seen through the eyes of the victim. Molly experiences severe bullying and harassment, both in person (at school, in the store, on the street) and online and it drives her to attempt suicide.

But Nothing Everything Nothing isn’t a book that dwells on problems. We already know there are problems. This is a novel that talks about solutions, and the biggest solution offered here is: talk to somebody.

When Molly closes down lines of communication, her problems get worse. She becomes isolated, vulnerable, and afraid. On the occasions when Molly reaches out, to her mother first and later to the school, the police, and the psychologist, things start looking up. It’s a long road full of ups and downs. Molly’s journey is a painful and difficult one, but it has a hopeful ending and…

View original post 456 more words

Interview with Author Grace Brooks

Grace Brooks writes under the pen names Heather Radford and Lynette Tamar Mark.
Books available are, The Asquinn Twins: Frontier Life, The Asquinn Twins: Where The Trail Forks and The Asquinn Twins: No Greener Pastures.
Grace’s latest release is The Asquinn Twins: No Greener Pastures. She also wrote A dog For Keeps(Lynette Tamar Mark)
Grace Brooks(Shortt) hails from Sesekinika, Ontario, but currently lives in The Pas, Manitoba with her husband and Papillion.

1/ What genres do you enjoy reading?
A: I enjoy Y/A, Mystery, and family type movies, and the odd romance.

2/What genres do you write? What age groups are your books for?
A: Really, my writing is without age limits. I write Christian/YA for ages twelve and up.

3/Tell us a little about your latest release. Where did you get the inspiration from?
A:My latest rlease is The Asquinn Twins: No Greener Pastures. This book is a continuation of Book One in The Asquinn Twins Series. The boys, Ken Asquinn and Bradan Turehue are not living the Christian life as they did as boys. Their behaviour gets to be so unchristlike, both boys are expelled from Golden Ridge Baptist Church, the church Ken’s father, Obediah Asquinn, Pastors.The boys go onto police college and graduate.
By now Ken has married Bradan’s sister, Charlotte and Bradan has married Ken’s sister, Martha.
Ken’s behaviour gets so bad, Charlotte leaves Ken and returns to Forest Lake, their home town.
The inspiration came from an incident in my life when a little girl in Ontario. When I wrote the first book, other ideas for a series sprang into my mind.

4/What are you working on now?
A/ I’m working on a sequel to A Dog fro Keeps. This book was published as a grade three reader in 1987. I’m attempting to make an ebook sequel.

5/Tell us about your creative process. Do you outline, or just write wherever the story takes you? What does your workspace look like? Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?
A/ I used to write wherever the story took me. Since a writer in residence took me through the writing process and taught me more about plot, I outline and research and make sure I know my characters by writing descriptions of each major, minor and in between character.

6/ What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel?
A/ I find writing the first page of the novel to be the hardest. So much has to be introduced to the reader here, especially in a series. Characters from the previous books need to be introduced early so the reader will know later on who this character is.

7/What about the wasiest? What part of the writing process just feels natural for you?
A/If there is an easy part of writing, I’d say from Chapter Two onwards to the last chapter. Sometimes bringing the book to a believable conclusion is an art in it’s self.

Thanks, Grace Brooks for sharing this information with us today.
Links to her books: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Heather+Radford

CALLING ALL ROMANCE AUTHORS!

OMG. I will be entering Rose in the Dark into this competition.

Kobo Writing Life

RomanceWritingLIFE_Logo-Crop

Publishing giant Mills & Boon, high-street bookseller WHSmith, online eBook retailer Kobo along with the self-publishing platform Kobo Writing Life have partnered up to the end of offering  the Romance Writing Life competition.

The winning novelist will be awarded the grand prize of a publishing contract with  Mills & Boon, including both print and digital release. The book will be jointly promoted by Kobo, Mills & Boon and WHSmith.

Second and third prize winners will be awarded the brand new Kobo Glo HD.

Authors will submit a synopsis and first chapter of their romance novel, up to a maximum of 5,500 words, which will be reviewed by a judging panel.

Romance Writing Life was created in the hopes of discovering talented new writers of Romance. The winning title might be an unpublished gem just completed by the author a week before…

View original post 340 more words

Upcoming Public Appearances

Have you ever read a blog, Facebook post, Tweet, or interview by/with an author and wondered what they actually sound like in real life? I mean we just sort of assign them a voice, right? And when we do hear them it’s like “Hey, you sound different than I expected.” Or, “Hey, you sound just like you write”.

Well, here’s your chance to hear me!

On May 1st at 1:30 pm (wait, what timezone am I in?) CDT (Central Daylight Time) or -5 hours UTC I will be on the radio! CJOB 680 AM is a local talk radio station here in southern Manitoba, it’s very popular and I’m already nervous about being on air! I’ll be talking with Dahlia Kurtz and I have 2, 8 minute segments over the half hour from 1:30-2:00.

If you want to listen but you’re out of range you can listen online at cjob.com.

On May 3rd I will be at the Kids Help Phone Walk so Kids Can Talk event. I’ll be at 400 Spence St (the Duckworth Center Gym at the U of W) starting at 10 am. You can swing by, say hi, and even buy a copy of Nothing Everything Nothing in support of Kids Help Phone. $2 from every paperback always goes to Kids Help Phone.

Can’t make it? Send me some good lucks on Twitter! I’ll be shaking with nerves both days. @CasiaSchreyer

If you can make it bring your phone for some #bookselfies!

Can’t wait to meet lots of new people!

Author Interview with Doreen Pchajek

With us today we have Doreen Pchajek a first-time writer from Ste. Anne, Manitoba. Doreen’s book, Ultimate Tragedy tells the story of her experiences after suffering the devastating loss of her only daughter in a car accident. Besides writing the book, Doreen also established the Stacey Pchajek Memorial Foundation, a registered Canadian Charity which gives scholarships, bursaries & prizes in her daughter’s memory. Thank you for joining us today, Doreen.

What genres and authors do you enjoy reading?

I used to really enjoy reading suspense thrillers and mystery novels. Since the accident though I find it very difficult to read as I have a great deal of difficulty with memory & concentration. There are so many great books out there right now that I’d love to read; if only I could read like I used to! My favorite authors are Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

What genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?

So far the only book that I have written is non-fiction and it is for age 16 and up.

Tell us a little about your book. Where did you get your inspiration?

I had always enjoyed writing and there were many people who told me that I had a talent for writing. My daughter Stacey told me often, “You should write a book mom.” The possibility of writing a book had always been somewhere in the back of my mind. However I always seemed to be so busy being a wife and mother so it was just something to think about down the road.

When Stacey died at the age of thirteen, our whole family’s lives were thrown into turmoil. After going through six very difficult years it occurred to me that by putting my experiences into a book it could help others who are going through a similar tragedy and at the same time help others to understand what bereaved parents go through.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’ve been kept busy raising money for my daughter’s memorial foundation which is very important to me. However, I am currently contemplating writing another book. I’m just not sure if it will be another non-fiction or something else.

Tell us about your creative process.

Since my book was based on my own actual experiences it didn’t really involve a lot of creativity. Writing non-fiction stories does involve some creativity though as you still have to tell the story in a way that captivates your audience.

Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you?

Yes, my story was definitely outlined and since I have difficulty with memory I had to rely on help from family members. Together we put everything in point form in chronologic order and I worked from there.

What does your workspace look like?

My workspace is usually quite messy with papers all over the place. Every so often I have to clean it up so I can find things.

Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?

As for quirks or odd habits most of the things I like to do while writing are pretty normal. Except that I like to write at night when everyone else is sleeping. Since the accident I don’t sleep well at night. I am usually ready to fall asleep about the time that everyone else is waking up. I think that I kind of like to be alone in my thoughts.

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel? What about the easiest? What’s your favorite part?

Writing Ultimate Tragedy was extremely difficult for me; especially when I was reading Stacey’s hospital chart. The easiest part was knowing that it could help so many other people. My favorite part was seeing the actual finished product.

Thank you for sharing with us today Doreen Pchajek. You can find Doreen’s book on Amazon.