Guest Posts

Guest Post: Writing by Jen Benjamin

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.

Presenting Jen Benjamin…

Writing

Some people knit. Some bake. Some build cars or race cars or collect cars, while others prefer to take a trip back in time and ride horses. There are those who like to jog and those who like to garden. There are movie buffs and frequent museum visitors and people who spend hours upon hours playing chess. Or Candy Crush.

This world is flooded with ways people can amuse themselves. I amuse myself by writing.

I’m definitely not special. There are plenty of people who write as a hobby. And, if I’m going to be honest (which I can easily do when I’m staring at a computer screen instead of a person), we writers may among the more narcissistic members of the human race. Not in the pathological, personality disorder kind of way. Writers can be very lovely people. But when I write it’s fun because it’s a little like being God.

Hold please while I wait for lightning bolts…

Okay. I’m clear. God knows what I meant. It’s all good.

When I write novels (which I do in more than one genre and more than one name), I get to create a world that fits onto pages and characters to fill it up. And, like real, live humans, they don’t always do what they’re supposed to. I can make a person look a certain way, have certain mannerisms, use certain slang and, somehow, they always end up surprising me. Sometimes they get themselves into big messes and I have to rescue them.

It’s intoxicating.

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I wish I could say that writing for so many years has made me into a master wordsmith, but that hasn’t happened yet. What has happened is the realization that I will never grow tired of making up stories.

My first romantic comedy is called Follow Me Home and my first romantic comedy heroine is a little like me. She’s a writer, she has bad hair and she’s a little socially awkward. But the similarities end there because, unlike me, she’s a bestselling author who has a book being adapted for film.

The idea for Follow Me Home came to fruition thanks to a bizarre, embarrassing dream I had one night. In the dream, I was engaged to a young celebrity (young as in I’m in my thirties and he was in his twenties). It was a bizarre dream where I took him to a high school reunion and told all my friends it was an arranged marriage. As though an arranged marriage in the 21st Century is less odd than some old cougar with a young, tall drink of water…

Not long after I had the dream, November came along. Many people know that November means National Novel Writing Month. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when over-caffeinated writers from all over gather together on the Internet as they each try to pound out a novel in thirty days for no reason other than to make themselves do it. It’s pure torture and so much fun. Some people run marathons. Other people write entire novels in a month. And if there are people who do both, they need to be captured with giant nets and studied because I’m sure they’re not human.

That particular November, I didn’t have any certain idea for a novel so I decided to write one based on one of my recent dreams. I tend to have vivid, peculiar dreams so I had a few to choose from. The one with the engagement to the young celebrity was the least bizarre and seemed like the best route for a story. That was the birth of my first Rom Com.

Follow Me Home is a lighthearted tale that I hope will make people smile, because I wasn’t setting out to write a literary masterpiece. I amuse myself by writing and my only hope is to amuse the reader who gives me a chance.

 


About the author:

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

Contact Details:
Email: authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin
Twitter: @jenbenjam.

About the book:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Guest Posts

Guest Post: E-Book Revolution by Kenneth Eade

TODAY, AT TRB LOUNGE, WE ARE HOSTING AUTHOR Kenneth Eade, AUTHOR OF Traffick Stop.

Presenting Kenneth Eade…

EBOOK REVOLUTION

When I was going to college, I loved to go to the library to study, slink into a nice comfortable chair, and read until I drifted off to sleep. When Borders came out with their neighborhood blockbuster book stores, I did the same thing, and often left the store with a book I had the pleasure of sampling in the same comfortable way. Now, most people buy their books on the Internet, and read them on their Kindle.

A phenomena of the Internet has been the consolidation of retailers into new monopolies. Retailers such as Netflix replaced blockbuster stores such as Blockbuster Video, who found it impossible to sustain its brick and mortar retail stores against the power of the Internet and the popularity of download streaming. Newspapers have been outdated by means of publishing the written word more expeditiously, and, as a consequence, journalism has had to adapt to try to maintain some kind of quality.

The same has happened to the publishing industry, and the brick and mortar bookstores. Borders, one of the “Blockbusters” of books, was gobbled by Barnes and Noble, who now finds its biggest competitor to be Amazon. Amazon has developed a suite of tools that allow authors to enter the publishing industry, a place once reserved for the elite, and more closed than the world of Hollywood filmmaking.

A recent study found that nearly 70 percent of consumers say it is unlikely that they will give up on printed books by 2016 (per this story at tinyurl.com/q4fm2hu), and the British marketing research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24, about their media-consumption habits; the survey found that 62% of the respondents said they prefer printed books to eBooks (per this story at tinyurl.com/ktljhph).

I was surprised by these findings because I was sure that ebook sales had been growing at an exponential rate. The annual BookStats Study reports that 457 million ebooks were sold last year; a 4456% increase since 2008, when 10 million were sold (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/05/15/e-book-sales/2159117/). Although paper titles sales are higher, you cannot ignore the steady increase in the number of ebook sales, which I still think is the future of publishing. I think you have to account for the demographic, in that most older readers will naturally choose a print book, whereas younger readers, who tend to do their homework on their laptops, will opt for an ebook.

According to successful New York Times Best Selling Author Hugh Howey, who has turned his back on the publishing industry and now publishes his own books, he makes more money self-publishing and it frees his time that he would be using chasing agents and publishers to write more and better books.

Print books are still being purchased because the non-Generation Y readers are slow to convert to Kindle. They prefer having a printed book in their hands, so there will be a market for the printed book in the near future. However, ebook Sales are still up, and older readers are buying Kindles. Impulse buying is much stronger with eBooks, which are delivered instantaneously, and they are cheaper than print books. I think the reading public will still prefer print books, but, as time goes by, eBook sales will overcome them, merely due to the demographics.

My ebooks both have printed versions that sell on Amazon and are also offered at Barnes and Noble. Although they sell only online, online book sales account for more than 50% of all book sales, as recently reported in Digital Book World (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/online-retail-now-accounts-for-nearly-half-all-u-s-book-sales/). I think that the trend is toward online sales taking over traditional retail outlet sales. We have observed many book store closures and consolidations in the past few years and I think we can continue to see more. I myself will miss being able to go into a book store, pick up a book and relax in a soft chair while sampling its passages to see if I feel like buying it, but you cannot deny the trend. My ebook sales are still running about three times higher than my printed book sales, but the option is there to appeal to both markets, and that is what Amazon is doing with giving authors their “Create Space” platform.

I think publishers have to offer both ebook and print book formats to appeal to both sides of the market. In the end, it is the quality of the book and the promotions that are used to bring awareness to it rather than the medium that is going to control. Like any other product, you have to package and offer it to the consumer in a way that appeals to his or her buying habits.

However, as the reading public ages, new readers will be almost exclusively eBook oriented. I regret the demise of the printed book, but I don’t see that there will be anything that can be done about it, except to preserve them in libraries and museums. With the trend toward iPads and Kindles, and public schools even proposing issuing iPads to students, young people will eventually grow up not knowing what it is like to read a printed book. Technology will do the same thing to the book that it has done to the printed newspaper.


About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written sixteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

About the book:

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Please Note: This book is on sale till 13th March 2017 on US and UK Kindle for 99 cents and all royalties will be going to Prajwala (http://www.prajwalaindia.com/) to benefit victims of human trafficking.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Self Discovery: The Foundation to Finding Yourself by Jasmine Farrell       

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jasmine Farrell, author of Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves.

Presenting Jasmine Farrell…

Self Discovery: The Foundation to Finding Yourself

My initial step on the path to self-discovery wasn’t an intentional one. I merely woke up one morning in December of 2014, remained in bed for a few minutes in silence and focused on my breathing. Prior to that moment, I was beginning to question my faith, what I had been taught, my level of self-love and whether I honestly viewed myself in a positive light (which wasn’t so affirmative, I should add). Hence the not-so random-subconscious decision to wake up one morning in silence. In the days after that morning in 2014, I began to meditate on the things and people I was grateful for. From there I would alternate between silence and gratitude. I eventually began to read some books about meditation, its benefits, the reason for its demonization and its correlation with self-discovery.

Self-discovery is not a beautiful journey that makes you smile and feel giddy all the time. It’s sometimes messy because when you self-reflect, you begin to hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make. You begin to discover parts of yourself that aren’t so nice and flaws that would make you cringe if you knew someone else who had those same flaws. Nonetheless, the journey is imperative—and priceless!

If you are not sure where to start, why don’t you try the challenges below:

Media Detox:

We are all media junkies. Let’s be real. Whether it’s social media, television, news articles that are doused in yellow journalism, gossip magazines, YouTube or everything all at once, we love to spend hours feeding ourselves whatever media is on offer. While social media has its benefits, as does as a moderate consumption of media too much of it can flood our minds, causing us to drown out what our gut is attempting to say—in addition to muting our own insight and yelling out what media has to say for us. We’ve drowned ourselves with such a copious amount of media that we sometimes look to media to think for us. Because God forbid we might have a mind of our own that isn’t in alignment with media.

Challenge: Do not grab your phone and check your social media accounts when you first wake up and just before you go to bed. Subtract two hours of your television viewing or your video streaming time. Substitute it with an activity that involves connecting with a loved one—in person OR on the phone (this does not include texting). If no one is available, how about making some arts and crafts or coloring? Yes, I said it: Color in a coloring book.

Side note: Some of you have jobs that require you to engage in media. If so, then hustle, Queen. Nevertheless, you can still cut it back during your personal media surfing time!

There Are Beautiful Moments Surrounding You:

Gazing outwardly and taking in life as it plays out around you is a lovely habit to adopt. While walking to work or venturing off to the store, look around you. Stop internalizing what you did wrong the other day. Roll your eyes and move forward from that person in front of you who randomly stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to check their phone. Breathe in slowly, exhale and really look around you. Did you catch the baby giggling at the sight of big bubbles being blown by the mother, or feel the light breeze on a hot-ass I’m-about-to-be-a-cooked-meal-for-a-cannibal day?

Being in the present moment aids you in discovering what you like and what you abhor. It allows you to open up and truly observe the things and people you may have been depreciating. Sometimes in the midst of being present in the moment, you may realize the main person you have been depreciating was yourself.

For me: Being in the moment also helps my common NYC anxieties and my intrusive thoughts. If I’m focused on what’s going on externally, I won’t be too harsh with what’s going on internally.

Challenge: Whenever you can, slow down. Walk a little slower, look at the trees, the homes and the colors that grace your eyeballs. Breathe. Slow down. Observe. Breathe and repeat!

Throwbacks!

Remember the hobbies or activities you used to engage in a few years back that made you smile like you were related to Mr. Kool-Aid? Reflect on that allotted hobby or activity and really consider if you lost interest or whether life happened and you became too busy.

Challenge: Find time for the activity/hobby you love. Make time for it! The time you surrendered from social media can be used for this challenge!

In a society that encourages us to love and be ourselves unapologetically, yet dehumanizes, exploits and subtly belittles us, it can be quite natural to second-guess our value. It is understandable that you may feel as though you are unworthy to wholeheartedly love yourself. Many of us were taught to put ourselves last, in order to obtain happiness or rewards in the long run (how is that working out for you?). A few of us were even discouraged from even showing an ounce of confidence lest we became “cocky”. Confidence is not cocky. Knowing you’re dope all by yourself just as much as the next person isn’t cocky. Devaluing another being while boosting up your own self-esteem—that is cocky.

Push through the cognitive dissonance with a new mentality that is receptive to this:

You ARE worthy to love, know and understand yourself.

How else will you shed your light brightly, love others and live life with purpose?


About the author:

jasmine_farrell_jpgJasmine Farrell is a freelance writer and blogger. From Brooklyn, NY, she has a Bachelor’s in Communications and she loves red velvet cake. Writing in her Grandmother’s memo pads is included into her repertoire of writings. Creative writing is her niche. She loves reading, randomly dancing and creating off-key ballads.

About the book:

phoenix_coverPhoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a collection of poetry that draws the reader into the world of personal identity, inner growth and the complexity of human relationships. Ordinary and common images, especially ones found in nature, are used to craft poems that appeal to the uncommon, the suppressed and the others. Filled with incredible grace and accessible wisdom, the poems explore a wide range of complex emotional themes. With unexpected metaphors and sparkling similes, the pieces vary in rhythm and theme making each one like a foil-wrapped candy: something to savor, enjoying each new bright color on the tongue.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com