Joanna Penn and Jeff Haden Discuss Writing & the Motivation Myth

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The Motivation Myth. How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up To Win With Jeff Haden

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

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Author Christina Hoag Discusses her book Girl on the Brink

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Interview with Christina Hoag – Girl on the Brink

 

Do you consider yourself locked in to one genre?

I write both adult and YA. What they have in common is that I write contemporary realistic stories about social/moral dilemmas and issues. My adult title “Skin of Tattoos,” where the protagonist is barely out of his teens at age 20, is a gritty tale about gangs, sort of an LA twist on “The Outsiders,” that seeks to delve deeper into the reasons kids join gangs and the consequences of choosing that life.

 

Did Girl on the Brink begin with an idea, theme, or factual events?

This novel was born out of my own experience in an abusive relationship. I really wanted to write about it because being a former journalist I know a good story when I see one and I knew this was a good story, despite the fact that it happened to me. Also, I felt strongly that I wanted to write sort of cautionary tale to alert girls at the beginning of their dating lives to the red flags of dangerous relationships, such as a fast ramp-up of a romance and being pressured quickly to making a commitment. These signs can be easily misinterpreted if you don’t know what they mean. Using the aforementioned example, that can be interpreted as a “whirlwind romance,” like something out of a movie, but it can be someone looking for control. This stuff isn’t taught in schools or anywhere else so girls and women aren’t trained to look for these signs.

 

 

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Did you get emotional while writing this title? 

I had enough distance from the actual events not to get emotional, but it did bring back a lot of memories. However, I found that helped me write faster because I just wanted to get through reliving this stuff and have the project done!

 

Who is Chloe?

Chloe is a 17-year- old who wants to be a reporter so she gets a summer internship at the local weekly newspaper, where she meets Kieran on an assignment. She is smart and empathic, but she’s also going through the split of her parents and feels very alone. That makes her lean on Kieran all the more.

 

Who is Kieran?

Kieran is a 19-year- old aspiring actor. As a child, he suffered from an abusive stepfather and a father who left and never returned. So he is torn between loathing his real father for deserting him and desperately wanting his love and approval. This has created a huge insecurity in him, which is reflected in his desire to control and dominate Chloe. Although it’s never stated in the book, Kieran has borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by sudden, terrifying Jekyll-and- Hyde type rages.

 

 

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Is Girl on the Brink a standalone or will you write more YA novels?

I’ve got two more YA projects on the burner. Both are realistic contemporary stories that revolve around social issues, teens getting in trouble and learning from their mistakes. Both are also set in the same fictional town of Indian Valley, New Jersey, as Girl on the Brink, and involve some of the same characters.

 

What’s next for you?

I’ve been working on a few short stories and then will likely plunge into a YA novel. I’ve also got two half finished adult novels sitting in my proverbial drawer so I may dust one of those off. But my gut is feeling I should do one of the YAs so that’s what I’ll likely pursue next.

 

 

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“An engrossing tale of a dangerous teen romance.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Girl on the Brink is a must have for every high school and public library.” – Isabella Kane, author & school librarian

The summer before her senior year, 17-year-old Chloe begins an internship as a reporter for a local newspaper. While on assignment, she meets Kieran, a quirky aspiring actor. Smitten with Kieran’s charisma and his ability to soothe her soul, torn over her parents’ impending divorce, they begin dating.

But as their bond deepens, Kieran becomes smothering and flies into terrifying rages. He confides in Chloe that he suffered a traumatic childhood, and Chloe is moved to help him. If only he could be healed, she thinks, their relationship would be perfect.

But her efforts backfire and Kieran becomes violent. Ending the relationship is hard for Chloe and Kieran pursues her relentlessly to make up.

Now Chloe must make the heartrending choice between saving herself or saving Kieran, until Kieran’s mission of remorse turns into a quest for revenge.

 

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As a journalist, Christina Hoag had her laptop searched by Colombian guerrillas and phone tapped in Venezuela, was suspected of drug trafficking in Guyana, hid under a car to evade Guatemalan soldiers, and posed as a nun to get inside a Caracas jail. She’s interviewed gang members, bank robbers, gunmen, thieves and thugs in prisons, shantytowns and slums, not to forget billionaires and presidents, some of whom fall into the previous categories. Now she writes about such characters in her fiction.

Her noir crime novel “Skin of Tattoos” was a finalist for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for suspense, while her thriller “Girl on the Brink” was named to Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2016 YA list. She also co-authored “Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence,” a groundbreaking book on violence intervention used in several universities.

Born in New Zealand, Christina grew up as an expat around the world. She resides in Los Angeles and teaches creative writing at a maximum-security prison. She has also mentored at-risk teen girls in creative writing in South and East Los Angeles. She has been a speaker at numerous writers’ conferences and groups, bookstores, and libraries.

 

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How to Shift from Hobby Writer to Pro Writer with Honoree Corder

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How to Shift from Hobby Writer to Pro Writer with Honoree Corder

 

 

 

 

Do you have an accountability writing partner to help you achieve your dreams?

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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The Happy Medium of Storytelling Part 1

Retro microphone over recording software background.

 

 

Let’s talk about storytelling. Or rather, let’s talk about the medium through which storytelling is told and perceived. This is such a fascinating topic I couldn’t resist writing about it.

What is your choice of medium when it comes to books? Paperback, an ebook, or audiobook? I have particular interest in how audiobooks affect our perception of a story. Just stop yourself and consider this one thing. Medium.  According to Google medium is defined as the following:

1. An agency or means of doing something.

2. The intervening substance through which impressions are conveyed to the senses or a force acts on objects at a distance.

Both definitions are great, but I prefer the second one because it provides more insight into the topic. Some readers prefer the tactile and visual feedback of a book any day over a digital one. Others hail the ebook over any dinosaur book. I’ve always had trouble digesting books in physical form for some reason. But when the advent of the ebook was created I became a book addict.

Others prefer yet another medium of storytelling. The audiobook. People are listening to more and more audiobooks these days, including myself. Why? What affect does the audiobook have upon the reader? Or better yet, what affect does this medium have upon the listener?

 

 

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The narrator and his or her performance is the medium through which the story is perceived. No two narrators are the same in skill, personality, voice, training or delivery. So in a sense, you’re getting a completely different medium with each and every narrator. Cool eh? I thought so. But it doesn’t end there.

According to Professor Mehrabian, only 7% of communication is verbal, and 93% nonverbal. Or, the nonverbal component would be 55% body language, and 38% tone of voice. There is some debate about this (of course), so we have to take into consideration other factors such as context, etc. I’ll spare you the boredom. What I’m getting at is the paralinguistic, or paralanguage part of communication that makes up 93%.

Writing to convey ‘what’s not said’ is extremely hard, but the best writers do it with much practice. What’s not said makes up a huge portion of communication, meaning and in understanding another person. This is critical in the context of storytelling when conveying a character properly.

 

 

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They say that the nonverbal component is broken down into body langauage and tone of voice. Body language being 55% and tone of voice 38%. When you read a book the author has to convey this information adequately. All the nonverbal tells of communication must be rendered by the authors writing. Good writing does this well, but anything less is lacking a lot of useful information.

Now you throw in a narrator. I love narrators! We have to see the entire story through their eyes and skill amongst other things. These are what linguists call Paralinguistics, or paralanguage. Which basically means everything that isn’t verbal. According to the aforementioned statistics it means everything as far as understanding another person’s attitude, motive, mood, personality etc. All this must be skillfully conveyed through the narrator.

 

 

 

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Stayed tuned for part 2!

 

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Jasper Joffe talks Publishing on the SPF Podcast

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Independent author and publisher Jasper Joffe talks about the success his publishing house has had using a model very different to the traditional one.

 

 

 

 

 

I have you read any books published by Jasper Joffe books? Tell us in the comments!

 

Check out Joffe Books!

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

 

 

WILL TO LIVE IS THE SECOND BOOK IN A NEW CRIME THRILLER SERIES FEATURING KAY HUNTER — A DETECTIVE WITH A HIDDEN PAST AND AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE…

 

 

 

 

Will to Live Cover AUDIO

 

 

 

ABOUT AUDIOBOOK #2

 

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 8 hours 15 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 2

Release date: Oct. 12, 2017

 

Synopsis: Reputation is everything.

When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to locals as “Suicide Mile”, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder.

As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realizes the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a brutal serial killer.

With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries.

When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realizes the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him….

Will to Live is the second book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future….

 

BUY LINKS FOR AUDIOBOOK #2

BUY ON RACHELAMPHLETT.COM

 

 

 

 

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I’m becoming an avid fan of Rachel Amphlett’s Detective Kay series. They all seem to play out like movies whenever I read them. Kay Hunter combined with sensational plots, horrific, yet fascinating crimes with a good dose of mystery make this series a winner.

I find Amphlett’s writing rather creative and refreshing in the midst of today’s crowded market, which is no easy feat believe me.

The first two books have wonderful beginning scenes that whet your appetite for the rest of the book. In Will to Live, a woman walking her dog discover a man laid across the railroad tracks unable to move and screaming for his life. Only a fence separates them, but the woman is elderly with a bad hip and unable to save him in time. Unfortunately the train is unable to stop in time killing the unknown man instantly with a sickening crunch. So Detective Kay hunter has to determine first who the man is and if it was a suicide or something more deliberate? And why? Great book!!

 

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: RACHEL AMPHLETT

 

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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Audio Series Blog Tour: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

 

“If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

 

 

 

Scared to Death Cover AUDIO

 

 

 

About Audiobook #1

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 8 hours 27 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 1

Release date: Oct. 2, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: “If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realized.

With her career in jeopardy – desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.
For the killer, the game has only just begun….

Scared to Death is the first book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future….

If you like the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks series and the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza, discover Rachel Amphlett’s new detective novels today.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #1

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com

 

 

BOOK REVIEW

 

Rachel Amphlett has found the secret to create a thriller crime series. When I listened to this audiobook I got the sense that everything gels well together.  I’d say the author excels at portraying realistic crime scenes, fascinating plotting, with a unique killer. Which, in this crowded field is easier said than done.  A very solid book and balanced writing.

Narrator Alison Campbell has intriguing style of narration. Her accent is great with the ability to create various character voices.  Pacing is slower, yet lures you more into the story. Great job! I’m definitely looking forward continuing this series!

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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How to Engage Your Readers with Facebook Live

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How do you engage your readers? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

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Blog Tour: Unworthy by Stewart Giles

Unworthy cover

 

 

 

THE UNWORTHY MUST PAY

 

DS Jason Smith is dragged away from paternity leave when a woman is killed with her baby in the next room. When more women with children are brutally murdered, Smith discovers that they all have something in common – they all share a secret. When he finds out that the mother of his own child is on this list of ‘Unworthy’ women, he finds himself in a race against time to stop the killer before his whole world comes crashing down around him.

 

Available on Amazon

 

 

 

BLOG TOUR - Unworthy

 

 

 

Don’t miss the DS Jason Smith series

 

 

 

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One of the first things that stood out to me is the brutal nature of the crime and motivations of the killer. Someone with a twisted sense of justice takes matters into their own hands. There’s also an excellent sense of mystery throughout the book that connects the victims together, but what is it? What underlying factor connects them together? A fascinating crime with a brutal killer on the loose; DS Jason Smith and his team have a huge case on their hands. Stewart Giles, you gained another fan!

 

 

 

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Stewart Giles – Author Bio

After reading English & Drama at three different English Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling and finally ended up in South Africa, where I still live. I enjoy the serene life running a boat shop on the banks of the Vaal Dam. I came up with the DS Jason Smith idea after my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head. Whether it was intentional still remains a mystery. Smith, the first in the series was finished in September 2013 and was closely followed by Boomerang and Ladybird. Occam’s Razor, Harlequin and Phobia (a series of short stories detailing Smith’s early life) were all completed in one hazy 365 days and Selene was done and dusted a few month.

 

 

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Blog Tour: The Condition Trilogy Book 3, The Final Correction

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The Final Correction

 

 

 

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About Audiobook #3

 

Author: Alec Birri

Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

Length: 6 hours 34 minutes

Publisher: Essential Music Limited⎮2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 3

Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

 

Synopsis: The third and final part of a dystopian trilogy based on the author’s command of a top secret government unit.

So, Professor Savage has been unmasked as the monster Alex Salib always knew he was. But what was their agreement, and why is she still determined to see it through? The war on terror appears to be back on track, but why does President Kalten seem hell-bent on ramping it up – are the Americans seriously intent on starting World War Three?

And what of the treatment itself? Despite Savage’s arrest, the “corrections” go on, but to what end? The laws of unintended consequences are about to cause a seismic shift in the very nature of our existence. But then our new master knows that and won’t let it happen until we’re ready….

Ready to accept the unacceptable.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #3

Buy on Audible

 

 

 

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A mind boggling and very imaginitive book. From start to finish this has everything from nanobots, artificial intelligence to mad professors and strange experiments. Fascinating. Narrator Jonathan Keeble is absolutely spectacular.  His accents ranged from american with a country twang, British, Scottish, Irish,  and various spanish dialects. SPECTACULAR.

 

 

 

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About the Author: Alec Birri

Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.

 

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About the Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

If you regularly enjoy listening to audiobooks then this Shakespearean actor will need no introduction. Winner of a 2016 SOVAS award, Jonathan’s voice is rightly recognized as being one of the best, and his narration of The Condition Trilogy is no exception.

 

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