The book tour for my award-winning title has been scheduled. Laura, the book promoter, has booked a total of 18 stops–three more stops than expected–so the tour will run between August 1st and August 19, 2016, with 17 scheduled reviews, 2 interviews, 6 guest posts, and and 1 giveaway posted across 13 blogs. For more info, visit CBB Book Promotions’ website. I hope to see you all there.
Any given day that Johanna White did not have to interact with Detective Louis White, her ex-husband, or Melinda Morton, his douchebag lawyer, was a good day in her book. By that rule, the past two weeks had been full of good ones. Today, though, was murky.
The only possible way to define it.
To calm herself down, she circled her desk and looked out the window. Thunder roared in the distance as a flash of lightning stabbed the ceiling of black clouds.
Nothing unusual about November downpours in Vancouver, she thought, still chewing on her lip.
Only today, Johanna’s mood seemed to mirror the weather outside. Like the thunder, her mind rumbled while waiting for the clock to tick ten o’clock—the time when Family Supreme Court in Vancouver opened.
She turned and glanced into the face reflecting from a six-foot crystal mirror propped against the wall. Staring back through shimmering blue eyes, was a young woman with long blond curls. A strand that refused to stay clipped back coiled around her ear. Her gaze glided from the top of her hair, down to the white silk blouse tucked in her black pencil skirt, ending with a study of her black leather shoes with three inch high heels. Fashion was not something that Johanna focused on, but she’d been told she had a natural flair for it.
On the surface, her smooth complexion and full lips looked calm and collected, but inside, a knot of nerves felt like a bomb ready to explode.
No, this was not her normal self. She hadn’t always been anxious. Fearful. Years ago she had been calm, optimistic, joyful. She had even been happily married, once. But that was a long time ago. Ten years, exactly. Ten years since Louis had charmed his way into her life—flirting with her and making promises he never intended to keep.
They used to be endlessly happy. She recalled how proud she was to be married to a cop. In fact, Louis’ direction in life was the first thing that had attracted her. But slowly, she had watched her loving husband morph into this deranged lunatic who treated her like yesterday’s garbage. “Our problems are your fault,” he’d told her time and again.
Even so, he had managed to string her along until he confessed to having an affair. That was the beginning of their end. He swore that the affair meant nothing to him. He didn’t want to lose her. He suggested marriage counseling, and for a day or so, she even considered it, wanting to believe they could work out their problems.
But her instincts, trying desperately to block his pleas, pushed her to engage in a gut-wrenching scrutiny of her married life. The word enough kept slamming into her mind, crushing her attempts to find excuses for Louis’ behavior.
In the end, her common sense had won. Certain her marriage was over long before Louis’ affair, she had filed for divorce, and their happily-ever-after had ended too soon. However, memories of the good times still played at the edge of her mind. They were few and far in between, but that didn’t make them any less memorable. Not even the bitter divorce could wipe out those blissful moments. After all, her two beautiful children, Athena and Aidan, were there to remind Johanna she had been in love. Once. For that reason, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
But now, Louis was trying to take her children away from her. Well…he had been trying since they first separated, but this time, he might just succeed. And it was the reason Johanna’s nerves had knotted in the pit of her stomach.
More than four years of fiery court battles had culminated with another hearing where a crooked psychologist had testified that she was an irresponsible parent.
The court scheduling had informed her the day before that The Reasons for Judgment were ready, but she saw the email too late. The future of her children rested on that judgment.
Everything made so much more sense now. How Parenting Coordinator George Finn had ignored her concerns; how he had diminished Louis’ actions; how he had left her feeling helpless and frustrated.
Everything had come to light when she discovered, too late, a chain of emails sent to her, by mistake, detailing how George had been hired fraudulently right under her nose.
Lies have a funny way of coming out. Well… funny only if you are not at the receiving end.
Johanna cringed, thinking how easily Louis and his family had manipulated her. If she had discovered the chain of emails before George testified, she could’ve proven they all plotted against her.
Louis, George, Melinda, and Karol—Mommy dearest, the most evil of all. They had all plotted to take her out of the picture. Out of her children’s lives. In court, the emails would’ve been gold.
Another sigh escaped through Johanna’s gritted teeth. She wrapped her arms around her waist tightly, to hold herself together as she silently recounted the tall tales.
Lie number one: George had been hired one month after the trial, not three months as ordered by the court, and as they all claimed. Even more sickening, they hired him while Louis insisted that a Parent Coordinator was not possible due to financial hardship.
Lie number two: Melinda Morton told George that the court had appointed Louis to choose a Parenting Coordinator. Not true. Louis only had the right to choose after three months from the trial and only in case he and Johanna couldn’t agree within that time frame.
Lie number three: Ms. Morton assured George that Johanna was a difficult person, on drugs. Therefore, he had to restrain Johanna from making any decisions regarding the children. This was the condition of his employment.
Lie number four: The court hadn’t given George the power to take sides, yet he had responded affirmatively to all their requests, including excluding Johanna from every decision-making.
Lie number five: “Oh, what the hell? Every single word that comes out their filthy mouths is a lie,” she mumbled.
Find out what his retainer is, Karol had written in an email to Melinda, and tell George we want to sign the agreement. We’ll worry about Johanna later.
The email had felt like a sucker punch to her gut.
“Like they celebrated my birthday without inviting me. How could I have been so naïve and not seen this coming?” Johanna pondered, shaking her head.
Unfortunately, now it was too late. The judge had released his order on their last court appearance.
The ping of a message yanked Johanna from her mind storms. Walking back and sitting in her office chair, she hoped against hope it would be the email from the court scheduling.
It wasn’t. It was Angela Grey, her assistant. Where are you? she wrote in capital letters. Your next meeting is in an hour, and I need to brief you on a few things before that.
Johanna’s cleaning business, the one she had started while married to Louis, as a way to earn some money when he’d blocked her access to their joint account, the one Louis had continuously mocked, was growing faster than she had ever expected. It employed over a thousand people. In fact, it had expanded so much that Johanna could no longer run Spic & Span Cleaning from her home, so she had leased an entire floor, a total of twelve offices. At the same time, she had to hire ten more supervisors, an accountant, and an assistant—Angela—who also served as Johanna’s general manager…and apparently, her rude keeper. Angela was a true asset, so Johanna turned a blind eye to her assistant’s lack of diplomacy…and loud voice.
With a long sigh, Johanna informed Angela that something had come up, and asked her to reschedule everything for tomorrow just as her phone beeped again.
This time, the message was from the court scheduling. Her heart did a little flip then settled into a bumpy rhythm. She didn’t need to read the message—she knew the drill. It was to alert her about the arrival of the order in the form of an email.
With a trembling hand she clicked on the Chrome menu on her computer’s toolbar. She logged into her email account and went to her inbox, then clicked on the one that read, Reasons for Judgment. The email opened slower than it should, or was that just her imagination?
Once it opened, she stared at it for an ungodly amount of time, unable to click on the attachment. This was it. Her children’s future and hers rested inside the little red rectangle. Once she opened the attachment, there would be no going back. Once she saw it, she could never unsee it. For a long moment, she contemplated whether to call her mother from upstairs and ask her to open it.
Don’t be ridiculous. What are you? Two? she scolded herself. Whatever the court’s decision, she would have to deal with it just as she had in the past.
With trembling hands Johanna clicked on the attachment, and then squeezing her damp hands into fists, she held her breath. The fraction of a second it took the PDF file to open seemed the longest of her life. Once it opened, she scrolled down to the last page. And froze.
Residency with the father jumped at her from beneath Interim Order written in bold letters. Wide-eyed and unable to read the rest of the order, Johanna sat there. The punch in her stomach slowly rising and forming into a lump in her throat. Tears welled up in her eyes, and the more she stared at the screen, the more bitter the lemons pelting her reality.
She had lost custody of her children. How?
Two mirrored calendars in both homes… the judge’s words echoed in her mind.
All air had left her lungs as a sudden sick feeling churned her insides. She peeled her eyes off the screen and stood on shaky legs as if all the muscles and bones in her body had suddenly liquefied. The room tipped and turned, and she felt herself folding like a ribbon. She reached for the desk to regain her balance.
“Johanna, are you okay?”
Still holding on to the desk, Johanna turned toward the sound of her mother’s voice with tears gushing out.
Placing one hand on Johanna’s shoulder and her forefinger from her other hand beneath Johanna’s chin, Anna raised her daughter’s face until their eyes met.
“Hey. Hey…” Anna pulled Johanna into a tight hug. “You want to talk about it?” she asked softly.
Johanna unwrapped herself from her mother’s embrace and pointed to the screen that still bore the open court file, then she collapsed into her office chair. “I’ve lost my children, Mom,” she said between sobs.
Anna’s eyebrows drew together and a crease formed between them. “What?”
“We got the order. Oh, my God! Mom, I lost my children. What have I done?!” Johanna screamed. Hearing the words aloud, made it final. Made it more than she could bear.
Anna took another step. “I don’t believe it. That’s ridiculous. We’ll appeal.” Anna’s voice sounded brittle. She leaned down to bring the screen to her eye level. “Let me see that.” Her frown deepened, but only for a few moments. As she read on, her face lit up. “You haven’t lost your children,” she said when she finished reading. “Look. It’s still 50/50,” she added, underlining the words on the screen with her finger.
Johanna’s sobbing halted, and she squinted trying to read the bullet points on the order through tear-filled eyes.
Joint guardianship based upon Joyce Model, will require the mother to be consulted on all matters regarding the children;
Access days are as follows: Mother-Tuesday and Thursday, and alternating weekends;
Holidays, spring and summer breaks, will be split equally as stated in the old order;
Parents shall create a monthly calendar that will be displayed in both homes, showing, the children’s birthdays, activities, and each parent’s access time;
Father will be responsible for the children’s sporting activities;
On mother’s weekend access, the father will pick up the children one hour before the game, and will bring them back one hour after the game;
When father is working or otherwise not available to care for the children, the mother will take over the care of the children. This is to eliminate the use of daycares and other babysitters;
Johanna shook her head. “I don’t understand.”
“Forget the wording. It doesn’t mean anything. You have them Tuesday and Thursday, and every other weekend.”
Pushing her hair away from her face, Johanna forced out a breath, trying to calm her pounding heart. “I don’t have them the same amount of days. I have them for two weekdays while Louis has them for three.”
“No. This Order is only valid until the end of the school year,” Anna said, clearly trying to muster as much enthusiasm as she could. “Look,” she said, again pointing at the computer screen. “You have them Tuesday and Thursday. He gets them Monday and Wednesday. Friday is alternating. You have them one Friday, and he has them one Friday.”
“Are you sure?” Johanna wiped away tears and read the order again. This wasn’t the time for guessing. She had to be sure. “But I don’t understand. Why did he write residency with the father?”
Anna shrugged. “I don’t know why he did that, but I know I am right. Mark the days on the calendar and you’ll see I am right.”
“So, should we not file an appeal then?”
“I don’t know. We need to think about it. I mean they are just words. You still have your children, but instead of having them one week on, one week off, you guys share them on daily bases. I’m not sure why the judge did this, as it’ll confuse the children, but I’m sure if he wanted to take your children away, he would’ve. I don’t think that was his intention.”
“I hope you’re right.” Johanna wanted to sound positive, but she wasn’t sure who she tried to convince.
Anna pressed an assuring hand on Johanna’s shoulder. “It’s only until the end of the school year, dear. So a few more months.”
Who was she kidding? Clearly this was a new disaster in her life. Johanna nodded once then shook her head. “Do you know what he’ll do now? He’ll go and flash that order to everyone. He’ll show it to the children’s teachers.” More tears flowed, choking the words in Johanna’s throat.
Still on Johanna’s shoulder, Anna’s hand gave it a gentle squeeze. “Who cares? No one will care.”
Johanna buried her face in her hands and when she spoke her voice sounded nasal. “People will have the same reaction I had—she lost custody.”
Anna spun the office chair, so Johanna faced her. “Look at me,” she said. “You need to stop worrying about what other people think of you. What has he done to you? I’ve never known you to live your life by other people’s standards.” Johanna wiped out her tears with the back of her hand but said nothing. Anna added, “You need to work on that attitude. You’re scared, and that’s normal. But molding your entire life around Louis’ wants and needs is not.”
“I am trying, Mom. Believe me, I am trying. There are days when I hum on all four cylinders. Then there are days, like today, when not even a 95 octane gasoline could fire up those babies. He has turned my entire life upside-down and inside-out.” She took a deep breath. “And the worst part, I can’t even blame anyone.” She shook her head. “Actually, it’s not entirely accurate. I have myself to blame. I singlehandedly managed to screw up my entire life.”
“You need to stop blaming yourself. You have done nothing wrong.”
Johanna rolled her eyes. “Not a single thing, huh? Mom, I love you for trying to make me feel better, but how can you say that? I chose him. I chose to marry him. I chose to have children with him. You warned me. Remember? “Look at his parents,” you said. “Whatever is wrong with them, it will eventually be wrong with him.” I didn’t listen, and the signs were there, all but screaming narcissist. His, and his mother’s lack of compassion for each other, should’ve been my red flag.” She paused to let out an expulsion of air. “The only good thing out of this marriage is my children.”
“Look. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes, but if your children are the only good thing from your marriage, you need to focus on them. When you married him, you didn’t know what kind of a person he was. He tricked you.” Anna flailed her arms in the air. “Hell, he even tricked me, and I always considered myself a good judge of character. Yes, I was worried about his family values in the beginning, but I never knew the lack of family values equals viciousness. Stop blaming yourself.”
Johanna’s gaze shifted to a picture of her and the children, propped against the printer. The picture was taken shortly after her divorce. She picked it up and gently caressed her thumb over each child’s face. Athena had inherited Johanna’s fair skin while Aidan was darker just like his father. But both had dark hair like Louis, which made their light blue eyes look even bluer and bigger. “I’ve destroyed my life and my children’s lives,” she said bluntly.
“Give yourself a break. You’ve been under a tremendous amount of stress. Had you shattered, no one would’ve blamed you. And yet, you’re still standing strong.”
“I don’t know about strong, but I am still standing.”
“It breaks my heart to see you suffer so much.”
“I only suffer, because my children are unhappy with this arrangement. I know they love their father, but their father is hardly around and Karol…I feel powerless. It’s absolutely nothing I can do to help them!”
“You’re wrong. Love them, and don’t let them forget that for a minute. The power of a mother’s love always prevails. Things will turn around in your favor. You’ll see,” she added with a forced smile.
Johanna reached out to her mom, and they wrapped their arms around each other. Anna had always been so strong and optimistic. She had comforted and encouraged Johanna. But now, for the first time, Johanna felt worry in her mother’s tone.
She held Anna tightly as if trying to reassure her. She had sensed the same concern in her grandmother’s tone a few days ago when they spoke on the phone.
“Place your troubles in God’s hands and trust that He’ll do what’s best,” her grandmother had told her.
Clearly, Johanna’s divorce was no longer her divorce. It was stretching and affecting everyone within thousands of miles of its epicenter.
Unbullied is a YA novella that I coauthored with my granddaughter under pen names Alexa & Angel
Dumas. We dedicate this book to victims of bullying across the country and around the world.
Bullying is a serious issue that affects millions of children.
Daddy would never do this to me. Never. The thought buzzed in Kylee Sidhu’s head like a swarm of wasps.
Sitting on the edge of her bed, she stared in mid-air, tense energy pulsing in her ears. She pressed two fingers to her temples to calm her roiling emotions, but her anxiety slowly morphed into anger, slicing through her mind like a knife through butter.
How could she stay calm when Coquitlam was the last place on earth she wanted to be? Deep in thought, she hugged her knees, resting her chin on them. These feelings had been storming through her since Amelia Bennett Sidhu—her mother—announced her decision. HER decision.
Kylee’s opinions didn’t seem to matter to Amelia—although they should have—now more than ever, because now it was Kylee and Amelia against the world.
A crease formed between her eyebrows as the image of herself stared back from a full-size mirror hung on her door.
She’d been told she was pretty to a fault. Her freckle-sprinkled nose twitched. Now, she didn’t see beauty. All she saw was misery. The usual sparkle in her green eyes was gone and replaced only by sadness and something else…
Constantly, Amelia told her she loved her, but her actions proved otherwise.
Why didn’t she ever listen to what Kylee had to say? She was her mother. Wasn’t listening part of motherhood?
Had she ever heard Kylee’s concerns? Likely not—not the words, not the door slamming, not the angry exchanges.
So they had packed ten suitcases with their most precious possessions, and Charlie—their dog. At least, Amelia had agreed to bring Charlie.
A suppressed, almost silent groan forced its way from behind Kylee’s gritted teeth. Her dark hair gleamed under the fluorescent light as she shook her head.
Why did we have to move to this God-forsaken town? I hate her! Kylee’s mind screamed.
Everything was different here. No, everything was the exact opposite from their lives in London. Their house was old, not new. The streets were quiet, not noisy. The ground was sloping, not flat—in fact, their house stood on a hill high enough to reach God. And, to top it all, she had no friends in Coquitlam. Likely, she never will.
And what the heck kind of name is that? Why couldn’t we stay in a town with a name that I could actually pronounce? And spell.
Not one good reason to move, except her mother’s new job—English Professor at the University of British Columbia—which according to her mother, would allow them to live a very comfortable life.
We had a comfortable life. In London.
In less than a week, Kylee would start school.
“You’ll make new friends,” her mother had repeatedly told her.
“That’s not fair,” she had protested, and like most fourteen-year-olds, Kylee guessed, she did her best to hate her mother for making her move.
“Look, we need to do this, you know that.”
No, she didn’t know that. If there was a point to her mother’s argument, Kylee must’ve missed it, but clearly, her mother had made up her mind. Nothing that Kylee said or did would change Amelia’s mind, so Kylee stopped arguing. In fact, beyond the absolute necessary exchanges, she stopped talking with her mother altogether.
Now, what? she wondered.
Would she make new friends, like her mother had promised, or would she eat alone at lunch? Would she ever go to a school dance? Would she ever go to the malls?
Questions… Questions… Questions.
She had left all her friends behind in London. Noah was her best friend in the whole world. She and Noah had known each other their whole lives.
Kylee’s gaze shifted to a picture of her and Noah, propped against a lamp. The picture of them, holding hands as they learned to walk, was taken on their first birthday. She picked it up and sighing, she gently caressed her thumb over Noah’s face.
He was five thousand miles away. They had promised to email and call each other every day. But realistically, they both knew that even if they kept their promise for a while, it would never last. It was human nature to leave the past in the past. In fourteen years of life, she’d learned that much.
Frustrated and scared, Kylee slouched back between soft pillows piled against the headboard. Hugging her knees to her chest again, she searched her mind for a seed of hope. Her research had revealed that Canadians were warm and welcoming people.
Perhaps you should just relax, Kylee, and see what happens, she tried to comfort herself.
“Mum told me that if I stay out of everyone’s way, I should be okay,” Kylee scorned aloud. The silence didn’t argue with her.
She laughed. Probably the most pathetic, sad laugh that ever left her mouth. She heard the despair in it, as a soft knock on the door interrupted her parody. The door opened, and Amelia peered into the room.
“Are you all settled?” her mother asked in her soft British accent.
Kylee’s eyes shifted away from her mother. She was still upset with her.
“Oh, come on, sweetheart. Don’t tell me you will never speak to me again.”
Kylee rolled her eyes but said nothing. Amelia reached and gently patted her daughter’s back. “You know I need this job. Hopefully, now we can start fresh here.”
“You’ve ruined my life!” Kylee shouted louder than she’d intended. Lowering her feet to the ground, she stomped into her bathroom slamming the door behind her.
Amelia sighed and walked out of the room, closing the door with a soft click. She stopped and in a moment of desperation, pressed her palm against the door.
What am I going to do with you, Kylee?
She inhaled deeply and released it in frustration. If she knew something about her daughter, she knew she would not be able to sway Kylee’s standpoint tonight.
Teenage hormones, she found herself thinking, but deep down she knew it was more than that. Since she’d made the announcement, she had often pondered if aliens had abducted her real daughter, because that’s how turned backward she was.
Amelia knew Kylee had reached those special years—torn between the easy life of a child and the enthralling one of a teen, but Amelia felt there was more. A lot more. She had a feeling Kylee blamed her for Rahul’s death.
Kylee had not cried since January 27th, the day her father died, but her school counselor had told Amelia not to worry.
“She’s still in shock. Even if she blames you, she doesn’t really mean it,” Ms. Lancelot had said.
Perhaps it was my fault.
If she hadn’t argued with him, Rahul wouldn’t have taken his eyes off the road.
NoNoNo. I will not go there again.
But just then, the sound of someone’s tires screeching on the pavement outside, sliced through the silence like a high-pitched scream, triggering old memories.
Amelia closed her eyes, fighting images that played at the edge of her mind. However, the wailing sounds proved to be stronger, and fragmented colors pulled together forming images from that fateful day. Each new picture felt more vivid than the last, reminding Amelia that her husband was dead, and she might have been responsible.
She shivered. The memories persisted. Emotional. Scornful. As usual, guilt swept over her.
She was there again…smelling burned rubber and hearing metal parts grinding on the icy road.
The snow had fallen in thick fluffy flakes over a compact layer of ice, and Rahul seemed to think that because he drove a four-wheel-drive he didn’t need to worry about road conditions.
Amelia and Rahul had been celebrating their fourteenth wedding anniversary when they got into an argument about Amelia wanting to return to work full time.
They carried their argument outside the restaurant and into the car, each getting more heated as the words flew back and forth.
Amelia remembered it vividly. “Why can’t you understand, Rahul? You refuse to see how important this is to me.”
“When Kylee was born we agreed that you would be a stay-at-home mom. Now you want to leave our young daughter to fend for herself. You know she’s at a vulnerable age.” Rahul hit the steering wheel with the flat of his hand, frustration emanating from him in waves. “We don’t need the money, Amelia.”
“It’s not about the money. I miss my job. I miss my life outside of being just Kylee’s mom or Rahul’s wife. I need to be Amelia, too. Please try to understand.”
He cut a glance at her, which clearly said he did not understand. They were still arguing as they approached the turnoff, Amelia knew that Rahul was going too fast, but before she could say it aloud, the car skidded and flipped. Everything seemed surreal as the car rolled in slow motion. Amelia couldn’t tell how many times it rolled or even when it stopped rolling.
Slowly, she became aware of the metallic taste of blood in her mouth. The car settled, engulfing her in silence as she drifted in and out of consciousness.
Two weeks later, she awoke in the hospital—the same day Rahul died.
From that point on, Amelia seemed just to go through the motions of life. She had loved him so much that the news of his death had brought her whole world crumbling down. Therapy had helped, but her attitude generally might have rubbed on Kylee.
No, no, no! I’ll not go there again. I won’t waste time on things I can’t change. It was just an unfortunate accident.
Brushing her dark thoughts away, Amelia walked into her tiny kitchen, considering what to make for dinner. She had two choices—frozen convenience food, or stuff she needed to chop and season.
I’m definitely not chopping anything tonight.
She grabbed a frozen lasagne out of the freezer and slammed it into the oven. Brushing her hands at a job well done, Amelia headed for the living room where she collapsed into an oversize rocking chair. She flicked through the television channels, trying to find a good show—one that would cheer her up.
Flu season had started and threatened to be a bad one. ISIS had kidnaped more Western journalists. More beheadings in the Middle East. A teenage girl was arrested in Toronto after stabbing five people, including one of her teachers.
Is there any good left in this world? Amelia wondered.
The screen flickered its images through her mind as if the whole world had turned upside down. She shook her head feeling the blood leave her skin and continued to look for something more positive to watch. When nothing satisfied her, she tossed the remote onto the coffee table and walked over to a picture of Rahul, Kylee and herself, propped on top of the fireplace mantel.
She let her fingers trail down Rahul’s face then linger over the picture. For more than a year since his death, she’d been angry with him for leaving her. Then angry with herself for blaming him. Perhaps now she could finally put all that behind and start a new life. If she could only reach Kylee.
The novel is well crafted to portray the depth of the characters relationship and how their lives are all interwoven.
Michael – the sweet boy whom everyone loved, now Chief Inspector with Scotland Yard.
Daniel – his half-brother whom he hates simply because he was conceived.
Martha – Michael’s wannabe grandmother, his “Cookie”
Seth – the love child – a troubled boy, who turns criminal.
John – Seth’s father.
Edith – Seth’s stepmother who adores him and spoils him rotten – literarily.
And many others.
Seth is that one character in a book that readers love to hate. With this one, though you want to be sorry for him, you simply can’t. Not to say that people like that don’t exist in real life, but only for creating this one evil character, I would give the author 5 stars, because I imagine it wasn’t easy to create such horrifying scenes in such a vivid way.
The author gave each character their own unique identity, portraying good and bad, love and hate, loyalty and betrayal – genuine emotions that people have.
Though some scenes are violently descriptive, the book is well written, fast paced with well-developed characters and an unexpected ending.
The story is well written, the characters are well developed. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes Sci-Fi.
As an Indie author, I’m constantly looking to find new ways to market my books. One thing that had bugged me for a long time is that we, Indies, are at a disadvantage when it comes to new releases. We do all we can to let our readers know that we wrote another book, which will be released soon, but we don’t have contact with all of our readers, right? In fact, Amazon is discouraging us to have ANY contact with our readers or else they would take down all reviews placed by people who “know” the author. I think that’s ridiculous, but who am I to judge?
The best way to alert readers about your upcoming release is to place it on pre-order—an option that’s not extended to Indies.
Well, that’s not true. I recently came across something that few Indie authors know—how to place your new book on pre-order months before the release.
Here is how:
- First, you need to know that AA program works well if you’ve NOT published your book yet through CreateSpace.
- Second, you must have your ISBN for your book. Now, here, I was a little confused because many people told me that I had to buy my own ISBN. Not true. CreateSpace (CS) provides a free ISBN. So first you go to your CS account and create your book. Conduct all the steps to approve your book. That’s where you stop because now you have your free ISBN. DO NOT approve your files.
- Once you have your ISBN, you have to set up an Amazon Advantage (AA) account. https://advantage.amazon.com This will qualify you as a vendor. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated; if I could do it, you can too. Just follow the simple steps that will guide you from A to Z. I used my name, email, and address in all required fields. When they ask you for your banking information, if you live outside the USA, simply mark the payments made to Don’t worry about the ridiculous $15 charge they mention because you’ll only use AA for marketing purposes before release.
- Now you have your account so go ahead and sign in.
- At the top of the page, click on the ‘Items’ tab and a pull-down-menu will appear.
- Click on ‘Add an Item’.
- You’ll be asked to enter your product (book, music-pop, music classical, DVD, VHS). Pick Book Option.
- Enter your ISBN, then continue with the steps as prompted.
- After you have completed all the steps, you’ll want to upload the image of your book. Note that your pre-order must be live on Amazon before you can add images to it. Go to “Items>Upload images” on the AA menu and upload your book’s cover. The image must meet stringent specifications, but most importantly, the file must be named accordingly (Main). Amazon will then verify your image and in 1–2 days, your pre-order page will be updated.
- 1-3 days before the release date you should approve your book (in your CS Control Panel after being satisfied with your proof copy) so that it gets published.
- This is the last in the series of steps. Request (through your Amazon Advantage Control Panel by opening a support ticket) that AA stops fulfilling your orders. Tell them that CreateSpace.
Good luck with your book and happy selling.
Check out my new book – Resilience – that is up for pre-order.
As I’ve mentioned before, writing a book is an art. It takes more than telling a story; more than writing words on paper; even more than the back-breaking work you have to put in it from start to finish.
In this article, I’ll talk about POV—point of view. What is a point of view and why is it important to your story.
Point of view in literature is a window through which the reader sees, hears, feels and smells the story. Setting the POV is entirely up to the author.
There are three types of POVs, but only two of them are regularly used .
- First-person POV—the author narrates the story with the pronoun I or We. In other words, the reader can only hear, see, feel, and smell what I or We can hear, see, feel, and smell.
Example: Ica Iova’s, Unsung Victims. The story is seen exclusively through Johanna’s eyes. The reader only gets to see, hear, feel, and smell what Johanna sees, hears, feels, or smells.
~ I felt pleased and troubled in the same breath. My own image—aged image—gazed back at me from the mirror. Maybe not so much aged as soul-tired. Heartbroken. Blond wisps spilling out from a loose ponytail and a pair of sluggish blue eyes crafted the image of a worn-out figure. ~ Johanna’s POV ~
- Second-person POV—the author speaks directly to the reader. This POV is relatively uncommon. However, some authors have employed it efficiently.
Example: Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller. The author speaks directly to the reader.
~You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveller. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, “No, I don’t want to watch TV!” Raise your voice—they won’t hear you otherwise…~ Italo Calvino ~
- Third-person POV—the author narrates the story through a third-person’s eyes. Here, the author may choose a third-person omniscient POV, where the thoughts and senses of every character are open to the reader, or third-person limited, where only one character’s mind and senses are accessible by the reader.
Example: Ica Iova’s, Boundaries. More than one character’s POV is open to the reader. The following example is one scene containing two POVs separated by a paragraph break.
~ To her dismay, through all that darkness, she thought she saw the gleaming light of determination intensifying in his eyes. She realized that this was it. He had used every tool in his considerable arsenal to seduce her. And she’d be damned if she didn’t let him have it his way. ~ Gabriela’s POV ~
~ He could probably pull together more rational reasons, but the two years they’d been apart, had made him recognize what was important in life, and it wasn’t defending stupid criminals. ~ Landon’s POV ~
Writing from multiple points of views is my favorite because I can switch back and forth between characters—I can allow each character to express their thoughts and emotions.
However, writing from more than one POV can be tricky and distracting to the reader. The author must be very careful to keep the story focused. Each character must wait for their turn to have the podium so they don’t clutter and confuse the plotline, pacing, and ultimately the reader.
Yes, you can write stories in all three types of POVs, as long as you remember these two simple rules: a) write in the POV that makes you comfortable; b) if you write in third-person omniscient POV, insert breaks between POVs—either paragraph breaks or chapter breaks.