author, blogger and book reviewer

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There’s Gold in Them There Curses: A Curious New Trend in Publishing

As an independently published author of two suspense novels, I am always looking for ways to get noticed. It’s no mean task either. Amazon is the largest book retailer in the world and they currently have somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 million print and e-book titles available, give or take a few hundred thousand. In other words, I am a broken needle in a haystack the size of Mount Kilimanjaro; but at least I’m not alone. We’re all in the same over-sized boat, if you’ll please pardon the mixed metaphor. What to do… what to do.

The publishing industry has changed drastically over the past decade and a half. On the plus side, it’s quicker and easier than ever for an author to get his/her work into the marketplace. However, the size and scope of said marketplace has increased exponentially. It’s sort of a double-edged sword. Sure, you can get your masterpiece published tomorrow, but it’s going to be tucked away somewhere in the vastness of an ever-expanding virtual bookshelf. Remember when the only way to purchase a book was to find it in an actual store? Those days are over, and bookstores are rapidly going the way of phone booths, arcades and drive-in theaters. They’re not extinct yet but definitely on the endangered species list.

Whether self published or represented by a “traditional” publishing house, it’s increasingly the responsibility of the author to shoulder the burdens of publicity, marketing and promotion. That isn’t a problem for a guy like, well, let’s just say Stephen King. But for every one of him, there are thousands upon thousands of Michael Sovas, M.L. Stoughtons and EM Kaplans. How do we, the collective anonymous, even begin to make a name for ourselves? Good question.

When I published “A Shot at Redemption,” my debut novel, I scheduled a signing event at a recently defunct local bookstore. I was deathly afraid no one would show up so I thought outside the box and came up with a little insurance policy. Without going into too much detail, I arranged for a high school music group to perform in conjunction with my appearance. It was a tremendous success, thanks mostly to them, but I knew at the time it wasn’t sustainable. As nice as it might be, I can’t travel around with my own personal minstrels.

When it came to “Parlor City Paradise,” my second release, I decided to try something different. I sponsored a photo contest and announced that the winning entry would be featured in the book’s cover design. I not only ended up with a great cover but also got some free publicity in several area newspapers, on websites, etc. My strategy was effective to a degree, but once again, not sustainable. It likewise failed to reach beyond my local market.

The vast majority of book buyers are now doing their shopping online. They go to Amazon or wherever, type an author or title into the search box and that’s it. That whole browsing thing has sort of gone away because it’s no longer possible to randomly wander aisles until you see something that looks good. If you don’t know what you want going in, your best bet is usually to pull up a book you already read and liked and start investigating related items. Here’s the point, if you’re not familiar with Michael Sova, M.L. Stoughton or EM Kaplan already, the odds of stumbling upon them by chance are somewhere between slim and no f***ing way… and that might be the key to this whole thing.

I was listening to a recent episode of NPR’s “Wait… Wait… Don’t Tell Me” and I learned about a new trend in publishing that’s both interesting and kind of disturbing. There is apparently a concern that millennials aren’t buying enough books and a concerted effort is being made to change that. What, you might ask, could make boring old books so enticing that they can compete with Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Candy Crush and the slew of digital media that’s available 24 hours a day? The answer, apparently, is profanity.

It appears that more and more books are being released with deliberately vulgar titles. Yes, I’m bleeping serious. Adult coloring books have suddenly gotten very popular so now there’s one called “F*** Off I’m Coloring: Unwind with 50 Obnoxiously Fun Swear Word Coloring Pages.” And for the culinary-minded, perhaps you’d like to pick up a copy of “Bake Sales are My B*tch: Win the Food Allergy Wars with 60+ Recipes to Keep Kids Safe and Parents Sane.” That’s a perfectly legitimate sounding book, with a B-bomb dropped in to make it more marketable.

As distasteful as it may sound, this idea does have some merit at least in the practical sense. Think about it. With works of non-fiction, it’s easy enough to use keywords to attract readers. Let’s say you wrote a book on classic muscle car restoration. Put those words in the title and anyone interested will find it in pretty short order. That, however, doesn’t work so well with most other literary genres…  until now. You want to sell books? No problem. Incorporate a few of the most popular curse words in your title and you’ll be able to quit your day job in no time. My next release will be a football-themed cookbook. I was going to call it “21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food.” Upon further consideration, I’m going with “21 Sundays of F***ing Amazing Football Food.” Bestsellers list here I come!

For the record, that last bit was a joke and I will be sticking with my original title…   probably.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

 

Still Plugging Away: Progress Report on Projects Old and New

   In my last blog post, Recharged and Ready, I discussed 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food and my plans to have the cookbook ready for publication prior to the start of the 2017 NFL season. I am happy to report that all systems are GO! I have begun the final round of revisions and they should be complete in the very near future.   After that, it’s a simple matter of formatting and page layout. I say simple but I expect it will be nothing of the kind. I’ll have to set things up one way for print and another way for digital and, given my near total lack of tech savvy and artistic ability, the entire process will likely be an absolute nightmare.  At least I’ll get to learn a new skill and there’s something to be said for that. Now where did I put the Tylenol?

As for my other on-going project, a third suspense novel, I have some news on that front too. For starters, chapters 1 through 15 are now complete and I’m really happy not only with the direction of the story but the way everything is coming together. This is my most ambitious literary endeavor to date and I don’t think I’ve screwed it up…   yet. Of course, I’m only about a third of the way through so there’s still plenty of time. Oh, and before you ask, I don’t have a time table for completion but I’ll let you know as soon as that changes. I do have a few little tid-bits I can share now if you’re interested.

Although my new novel is not a sequel to either Parlor City Paradise or A Shot at Redemption, a character from one of those books does make a return appearance. I’m planning on posting an excerpt sometime over the next couple weeks. Once I do, I’d love to know who you think the return character will be and why. The story will also feature a first person POV character, which is a first for me, as well as a character with a fairly significant autobiographical component. The reason is that it’s integral to the plot. Are you intrigued? Oh, and I have a working title. Unless I come up with something better, the novel will be called Blind Switch Do you like?.

Just because I have things on both the front and back burners, that doesn’t mean I’m neglecting my prior works. In fact, I recently started a promotional campaign with seriousreading.com. It’s a great website for anyone interested in books and authors. Here’s my Advertorial for Parlor City Paradise.   In addition, a new author interview has been published, and I have the opportunity to provide a guest blog post. I’ll do that as soon as I figure out just what to write about. This is really my first attempt at a semi-organized campaign and I’m anxious to see how it goes.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

Recharged and Ready

Punta Cana1My wife and I recently went on a real vacation together for the first time in well over a decade. Real, in this sense, means that our children did not accompany us. We even stayed at an adults only resort so we did not have the pleasure of other people’s kids either.  The resort in question was on Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We spent the better part of a week doing next to nothing. It was wonderful but I won’t bore you with the details other than to say that it took walking along the beach, feeling the soft sand between my toes, the gentle surf swirling around my ankles Punta Cana2and the warmth of the sun on my back for me to fully realize just how much I’d needed that brief respite from reality. I’m back now and once again settled into my small home office in Upstate New York. The weather outside isn’t very Punta Cana-like but that’s okay. I’ve got my mug of hot chocolate, fresh from a Dominican cocoa bean plantation no less, and I’m all charged up and ready to go.

I have, for the past couple months, been in something of a writing funk. I’ve got two projects in the works. The first is my 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food cookbook. The manuscript, if that’s even the right term to use, is complete, or was anyway, but I’ve been sitting on it for so long it now requires further revision. The other project is my third novel.   It is, without question, the most ambitious and challenging literary journey upon which I have ever embarked. More on that shortly. With Super Bowl LI (why can’t we just say 51?) rapidly approaching, the sports world is all about football right now so let’s begin there.

Based on title alone, you might be led to believe that what I’m offering is nothing more than a carefully selected collection of game day recipes, not that there would be anything wrong with that. My Cincinnati Chili recipe alone is worth the price of admission, even without the companion beer bread. However, this volume is on a far grander scale. There are, in my humble opinion, two things most cookbooks have in common. They lack entertainment value, and they lack humor. My goal is to serve up Thanksgiving-size helpings of both.

 

    That, as you have certainly already surmised, is an excerpt from the introductory material of “21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food.” It is, as I’ve tried to explain, more than a cookbook. The recipes are great but it’s entertainment too and the presentation is really solid, at least in my less than humble opinion. You get 21 weeks of tasty tailgate-type treasures interspersed with mostly humorous reminiscences of games and seasons gone by. Good stuff, right? I think so; but here’s the thing. No one seems to care.

The biggest challenge for any independently published author is to get noticed. That’s especially true for fiction writers because there isn’t much you can put in the title of a novel that’s likely to come up in a keyword search. Believe me. That stuff makes a difference.  And for that reason, my little cookbook has far more potential for commercial success than anything else I’ve written. In addition to football and food, I can tag it with search-friendly terms like NFL, cookbook, tailgate and/or any of the individual recipes. In other words, potential buyers could find my book even if they didn’t already know of its existence. That’s a good thing. However, I’ve mentioned this project on numerous writing forums. I’ve likewise sent the manuscript to a few perspective beta readers for feedback. The response has been… well, let’s just say nonexistent. I was really excited about this but no one seems to share my enthusiasm. I’ve started wondering if the idea wasn’t as great as I thought. That’s why I’ve been sort of dragging my heels in terms of getting the thing published. Cookbooks need photos, and/or videos if I go the digital route, and that translates to time and money. I’ve been reluctant to invest too much into something without at least the hope of some sort of return. That said, I do have faith in my efforts thus far and I’ve decided that, one way or another, “21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food” will be available prior to the start of next season. I’ve said it and put it in writing so now I’ve got to follow through.

I’d planned on transitioning into my latest novel and the struggles I was having with that but, at this point, I think I’ve probably rambled on quite long enough for one blog post.  I promise I will return to the subject soon and, if the mood strikes me, maybe even give you a sneak peek at what I’ve been up to. I was feeling rather… inferior for a while but I’m in a good place now and it’s full steam ahead!

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

Here Comes Stana Claus: Book Deals, Blog Posts & Newsletters

fat-santaHard to believe there are only two pages left in the 2016 calendar. They say time flies when you’re having fun but it seems to me that it goes by pretty quickly regardless. I officially began my writing career when my youngest child was an infant, I became a stay-at-home dad, and I needed something to do to keep me out of the rubber room. I now have two published novels, a football-themed cookbook that’s complete but I haven’t quite decided what to do with it, and a third novel, my most ambitious work to date, is well underway. I don’t have a timetable or even a title at this point but I know those things will come. Oh, and that infant responsible for getting this ball rolling is now a freshman in high school. Her older brother is away at college. Yeah, time flies and I’m suddenly feeling very old.

A shot at redemption 3d  Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away and that mean Santa will be doing his annual breaking and entering routine before we know it. Being the kind and generous soul that I am, I’ve decided to lighten his load a bit while at the same time giving you a wonderful gift idea for the booklover on your list and at a cheerfully low price to. From now through Christmas Eve, A Shot at Redemption, my debut suspense novel, will be available on all e-book platforms for just $1.79. That includes Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, Oyster, etc., etc.   You don’t have to deal with the holiday crowds. You don’t have to wrap. You don’t even have to see the recipient which is sometimes a good thing. Just use the gift option at checkout, enter an email address and preferred delivery date, and you’re good to go. It doesn’t get any better than that… except it might because I’m considering lowering the price on Parlor City Paradise too. Stay tuned for more info on that. Hey, it’s the season of joy and I’m just trying to do my part. All I ask in return is that you share this post with anyone you think might be interested, and if you read and enjoyed either of my books, please post a review. It only takes a couple minutes and it makes a huge difference, especially to lowly indie authors like me.

I do have one other small request. If you have not already done so, I would greatly appreciate it if you would sign up for my newsletter. Being a blog subscriber is not the same thing. And actually, I’m pondering some changes to my website and the blog post may go away or at least become a lot less frequent. You may have noticed that I’ve sort of scaled back on that already. I’d like you to stay informed, though, and getting on my email list is the best way to do that. Simply visit michaelsova.com, enter your email address in the field on the right and click Subscribe. You have my personal pledge that I will not fill your inbox with junk. You’ll barely hear from me at all. However, when I do have news on an event, a sale or a new book release, I want to be able to get the word out. Take a second to subscribe and please ask others to do the same. Thank you kindly.

And on that note, it’s time for me to get back to work. I need to finish the new manuscript so I can offer another great book deal at about this time next year. Let the Christmas shopping begin!

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

 

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging a heck of a lot lately. Or, maybe you didn’t notice… and that’s sort of the problem.   With about as much fanfare as a passing cirrus cloud, my second book, a suspense novel titled Parlor City Paradise, hit the shelves a little over four months ago. The story is set in Binghamton, New York, a once extremely affluent city which has been grabbing a lot of headlines recently thanks to a group of kids from nearby Maine-Endwell winning the Little League World Series for the first time since 1964. If I’d had the slightest inkling something like that might happen, I could have easily drawn some literary connection. Maybe Skid Row, one of the novel’s main characters, actually played on that team before dropping out of school at a young age. Sadly, though, I lacked the proper foresight and that bandwagon has long since passed me by. I can almost hear the driver, who bears a striking resemblance to Clark W. Griswold, saying,” Let’s burn some dust here. Eat my rubber!”

frontThe point is, I’ve got kind of a bad taste in my mouth because my book, which I’m really rather proud of, did not make the big splash I’d hoped for. I shouldn’t be surprised. The independent publishing revolution is both a blessing and a curse. Regardless of the quality of the work, any author can have his/her novel, memoir, poetry collection or how-to book on the best technique for screwing in a light bulb, not only published but in the marketplace within a matter of hours. You don’t have to edit, proofread, or even run a spell check. That’s the curse. The blessing is that masterpieces such as A Shot at Redemption, books that may not have made it past the gatekeepers of traditional publishing, are now available to the general public. There are, so far as I can tell, somewhere in the neighborhood of two million books currently available on Amazon. A lot of them are really great too. It’s just getting more and more difficult to find the diamonds amidst all that rough.

If I’m sounding sorry for myself, that’s really not the case. I’m just in a re-evaluation period. Perhaps re-focus is a better term. If I’m going to get my head above water, I know I need a straight and clear path to the surface. It’s simple enough in principle but involves self promotion, marketing and advertising, three things I enjoy about as much as brussel sprouts, Chlamydia and the New England Patriots, not necessarily in that order.  However, we do what we gotta do, and the main thing I gotta do is continue to write and improve on my craft. I’m well into my third novel and, although I’m not ready to share plot details, I can tell you it’s by far my most ambitious and personal endeavor. How’s that for a teaser?

Of course, I can’t just write and publish books unless I can also find some way to let you (aka the entire literate world) know I have these great things available for your reading pleasure.  Ideally, each person who does buy and read one of my books would not only enjoy the experience but post a glowing review and then rush out to tell a dozen friends. That… um… doesn’t happen so much. Plenty of folks have told me they love my books but that’s about as far as it goes. So much for getting you to do my work for me. Unlike Tom Sawyer, it appears I’ve got to paint my own damn fence.

just front coverFor now, that fence painting will mostly take the form of attempting to expand my horizons. As I’ve mentioned before, radio station owner, morning man, voice over expert and blog interview subject Mark Andrews is producing the audio book version of A Shot at Redemption. The recording work is done and the book is now in the lengthy editing phase. Once it’s ready, I will plan some sort of release event that will likely include some radio advertising and/or promotion. I’m also still figuring out what to do with my 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food cookbook. I think it has definite commercial appeal. I’m waiting on feedback from a couple beta readers and then I’ll decide what the next step(s) should be.

My final effort at horizon expansion is out of the literary realm altogether. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about blogging is getting the opportunity to meet and interview some really interesting people. Thus far, those people have all had some connection to writing or publishing. I guess I did make one exception when I interviewed Fantasy Football Today podcast host Adam Aizer. That was a bit of self-indulgence. I’m envious of anyone who makes a living talking about sports.  And in my next blog post, I will make an even larger exception when I interview Still: The Series creator, director and executive producer Jonathan Holbrook. What happens when an alien infection takes over a small Northwest town? You’ll have to watch the series to find out. You can, too. It’s available now on Amazon Prime . I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout makin’ no movies but I’m very much looking forward to finding out. And if you have any questions for Jonathan, please drop me a line and let me know.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

July Update: Nothing to See Here

Would you be surprised if I told you the year is already more than half over? We are, after all, well into the month of July. Check your calendar. You will find that I speak the truth. Days are getting shorter, and we are closer to our next new year’s celebration than we are removed from our last one. Hell, at the time of this posting, there are only about 165 shopping days left until Christmas! Hmm…. Is it inappropriate to use the words hell and Christmas in the same sentence? Where was I going with all of this anyway? I’m honestly not sure. And that, it occurs to me now, is sort of the point of this whole thing.

Before I attempt to plow forward, please allow me a few moments to sum up what’s happened over the past several weeks. First and foremost, Parlor City Paradise, my second novel and a work I’m quite proud of, finally hit the market. I’d like to say there was much fanfare but, in actuality, the release of the novel was about as earth shattering as Jimmy McMillan’s 2016 presidential campaign.

radar blip You’ve surely heard of Jimmy. He’s a karate expert, former postal worker, former stripper, and founder of the well-known Rent is Too Damn High party. Oh, and he officially ran for president, not that anyone really noticed.   And it appears James “Jimmy” McMillan III and I have something in common. We both tried to do something significant, resulting in two tiny blips on one big ass radar. Here’s the difference. Jimmy’s political aspirations are dead and buried. I, on the other hand, will continue to fight the good fight in the hopes that someday, somehow, someone will start giving a crap. In the meantime, I would greatly appreciate it if you would do me one small favor. If you read and enjoyed either of my books, please tell a friend and perhaps even post a review. With your help, I can begin to get this ball rolling.

For independently published authors, it typically takes a minimum of three books to even begin to establish a brand, a fan base, a following, etc. That’s what I’m told anyway, and that’s the fragile lifeline I’m currently clinging to. If I keep producing quality work, that effort will eventually be acknowledged and appreciated. That, at least, is the prevailing theory. And if it doesn’t pan out, perhaps I’ll go back to cleaning grease traps at McDonald’s. I used to be really good at that. I also once dumped a 55 gallon drum of hot oil right across the drive-thru lane. I probably won’t mention that on my employment application.

Okay, so 3 is the magic number and that means my next book has to really be something special. I’m facing a bit of a dilemma there.   I’ve mentioned my 21 Sundays of Fantastic Football Food cookbook a few times before. The manuscript is now complete and I think there’s a lot of commercial potential because the recipes are easy and delicious and the overall concept is new and different. Here’s the thing. I’ve inquired about beta readers in a couple writers forums I belong to and, so far, I haven’t gotten so much as a nibble. Am I reaching out to the wrong people or is my totally awesome idea not so awesome after all? I don’t have an answer to that one and, at this juncture, I’m not sure how best to proceed.  A book such as this would require a fairly significant investment on my part and I haven’t decided yet if it’s an investment worth making.

Rest assured I am not spending my days staring at the computer screen while pondering the age old question of to publish or not to publish. I have started work on a third novel. I don’t have a title and I can’t divulge any plot details just yet either. That’s not because I’m afraid of spoiling surprises. I simply don’t have anything to tell. I’m three chapters in and, although I’ve got a few thoughts, assumptions and disjointed ideas, I have no real clue where the story will take me. Characters thus far include a comedian, an assassin and a fiction author. At least one of those characters will not be around at the end of the book and may not even make it to the end of the current chapter.  That’s all I can offer for now. I might be able to share a bit more in next month’s update… but I wouldn’t count on it.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. My two novels, A Shot at Redemption and Parlor City Paradise, are available at Amazon and wherever e-books are sold.

Parlor City Paradise Launch & First Author Event

parlar city paradise 3d     It’s official. For the second time in just over two years, I am very proud to announce that something I created is available for purchase.   Parlor City Paradise, a suspense novel set in Binghamton, New York, can now be found at Amazon and nearly everywhere e-books are sold. That includes Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and of course the Kindle Store.

To coincide with the book release, I have scheduled an author event to take place Saturday, June 11th at SHOP 607 in Binghamton. I will be there from 1:00 until 3:00 to discuss the novel, answer questions and hopefully avoid making a fool of myself. If you are anywhere in or around the Tri Cities and have not yet visited SHOP 607, I strongly encourage you to stop by. Among other things, you’ll find handmade clothing and jewelry, arts, crafts, foods, books, and a whole lot more, and it’s all from vendors based in the Binghamton area.  It’s wonderful to have a retailer that celebrates local goods and I can’t imagine a more appropriate location for my book launch.

I received a lot of wonderful feedback for A Shot at Redemption, my debut novel. I’d love to think all those who bought and enjoyed it have been waiting impatiently for this new release and they clicked the pre-order button as soon as that option became available.   They likewise advised their book-loving friends and family members to do the same. I know that’s how it’s supposed to work anyway. When I read something I like, I always try to spread the word. Incidentally, I’m currently reading Don’t Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz and The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag. Both novels are excellent. Please tell them I said so and maybe they’ll return the favor. Of course, Hurwitz and Hoag are New York Times bestselling authors already and they’ll do just fine with or without my recommendations.

There’s a great deal to be said for name value and name recognition. At this point in my career, I don’t have much of either. I’m still earning my stripes, or whatever the literary equivalent would be. Maybe I have to develop carpel tunnel syndrome to prove I’m dedicated to my craft.   For now, though, I’m relying on creativity to get my proverbial toe in the door. I sponsored a photo contest to increase interest in Parlor City Paradise. And now that the book is out, I am resorting to the exploitation of children.  I’m nothing if not classy.

On June 11th, SHOP 607 will be offering much more than a selection of local wares and the chance to meet a fiction author most people have never heard of. Many members of the Windsor High School music program will be on hand to show off their myriad talents. They’ll be highlighted by the mixed A Capella group Noteworthy, but you can expect other individual and small group performances as well.   I have no doubt these young men and women will steal the show. Many of them are seniors, and this is likely the last time they will have the opportunity to perform together. They were a big part of an author event I hosted at about this time last year, and I am truly honored they have agreed to participate once again.   I hope to see you there. If you are a music lover, I can promise it will be worth your while. Maybe I’ll even be able to convince you to buy my book. It would make for a great Father’s Day gift.

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. Also, please pick up a copy of Parlor City Paradise, my new suspense novel.

The PARLOR CITY PARADISE Cover Revealed!

     Don’t look! Damn. It’s already too late. And that, my friends, is the problem with disseminating information in this particular format. There is a lamentable and unavoidable lack of drama. There is no ballyhoo, no pageantry, no flourish, no fanfare of any kind. How many times have you heard a magician say, “watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat?” And how anticlimactic would the trick be if that classic top hat was see-through? That’s kind of what I’m dealing with here. You click the link and, just like that, all secrets are revealed without so much as a paradiddle.   I’m sorry but that’s just not acceptable. This is a big moment for me and I’d really like a bit of pomp to go with the circumstance. Therefore, I’m going to ask you to do me a small favor. If you would, please clear your mind of any images you may have seen in the last few seconds. Then, click the audio link below, close your eyes, and don’t open them again until your speakers have gone silent. No cheating. And when you do open your eyes, do so slowly and imagine me bathed in the glow of a spotlight as I draw the curtain aside.

 

front     Okay, so that was kind of cheesy but is this cool looking book cover or what? I would again like to thank Kaitlyn Hession, Olivia Kristek and Kaylee Stone, not only for participating in my Parlor City Paradise photo contest but for submitting such awesome pictures. I published a few of them when I officially announced my winners back on May 1st. That blog post did not, however, display the image I chose for the front cover. You can see it here now, and I hope you are as impressed as I am. I tip my hat to Robin Gilbertson at RG Designs for taking an already striking image and making it truly pop. I can only hope the story that unfolds inside the book will be as engaging and memorable as the cover itself.

So, I wrote the original draft, went through a couple rounds of revisions, shared the manuscript with beta readers, considered their insightful feedback, completed a final round of revisions, sponsored a photo contest, inspected all the submissions, chose my winners, consulted with my cover designer, formatted all the necessary files for paperback and e-book publication, uploaded those files and ordered a proof for final approval. In other words, the easy stuff is now done. If you want to put that in mountain climbing terms, I have reached base camp and I still have one hell of a long way to go. The challenge moving forward is to somehow make people aware that Michael Sova has a second novel out. Then, with any luck at all, at least a few of those people will be interested enough to buy the book, read it and, dare I say, post reviews. I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d assist in this endeavor by sharing this post with all the fiction lovers in your life. I need all the help I can get.

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As for exactly when Parlor City Paradise will be commercially available, how does right now sound? Well, you can’t actually buy it just yet but you can pre-order through the Amazon Kindle Store or Smashwords.  I do not have a pre-order option for the paperback version. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, the official release date is Friday, June 3. If you’d like, you can go ahead and read an excerpt right now.   I’ve got the first couple chapters posted. That will introduce you to Skid Row, Bullfrog, Ricky and Carl, four of the story’s major players. I can’t promise you’ll like them all but I do think you’ll find them entertaining in their own way. And come June 3, the entire book will be available on Amazon and pretty much everywhere e-books are sold. If you live in the Binghamton area, you can stop by SHOP 607 and pick up a copy there. It would make a wonderful Father’s Day gift. Better still, it might be great to have on hand during the 4th of July picnic while you’re trying to ignore your family.

 

   

  If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book review blog. Visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook and Twitter @Micsova. Also, please pick up a copy of A Shot at Redemption, and look for my new suspense novel, Parlor City Paradise, due out in 2016.