Thursday, October 26, 2017

BookCore: Track Book Sales, Rankings, and Reviews

A new book data tracking service has launched for self-published authors and small publishers to automatically collect all of their ebook sales data as well as a wide range of information on their rankings and reviews all in one place. Called BookCore, it is a web application that presents all of the crucial author data in an easy to read way, with everything arranged so so that it is easy to break down. More information can be found on the BookCore website at https://bookcore.net. The site explains that BookCore can collect all of its data from multiple websites, including the most well-known shops like Amazon, iBooks on the Apple store, the Google Play store, and Smashwords. This is beneficial for self-published authors because they don’t have to waste time tracking data down individually, helping to boost their productivity throughout the day.

More sites are soon to be incorporated, including stores like Createspace, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble, making BookCore a powerful online platform for all self-published authors, regardless of their field. Through editing book pages and implementing any number of changes, authors can track the effects by using BookCore. They can see when a change improves sales and if a change has a negative impact, finely following the details of every strategic choice.
BookCore is designed to act as a powerful virtual assistant, automatically and regularly connecting to authors’ Amazon KDP and other platforms to hone in on book sales data, so the author never has to worry about missing something. The site emphasizes that all of this, including the clear and accurate presentation of the data, is automatic.
By tracking reviews as well as sales, the program allows writers to see how their fans are reacting to their work by tracking reviews in real time as they come in. If they want to respond to their fans, they can then focus in on where the review came from and click through to the website to write back.
The BookCore site explains that the software is fast and precise, taking only a minute to set up.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

​Sweet Temptation: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Passion by Sarah Stuart

Romantic Suspense

Evie Taylor is a highly-paid detective who works all over the world. She has broken off contact with her family, who disapprove of her, and takes lovers who don’t expect commitment. Evie is not one of the “people who need people”. The only gap in the defences around her heart is a secret passion for a sexy superstar as unattainable as the moon, even though she does wear the gold bracelet he gave her and never, ever, removes it.

Michael Marsh, The Diamond Superstar, has retired from show business and is bored and lonely, and he hasn’t forgotten the girl who clinched the case against his beloved wife’s killer. He persuades Evie to move in with him, only to have an attack of conscience about the age gap and a young woman’s natural desire for children.

The stand-off ends when Evie is taken to hospital hovering between life and death and her mother doesn’t want to know. Michael loves Evie and will move heaven and earth to keep her, but if she recovers will she forgive the secrets of his past? Not all Michael’s offspring are what the media, and particularly a journalist known as The Spy, have been expected to believe.

Teenage Greta, jealous of the time her father spends at the hospital with Evie, joins an adult chatroom in search of a boyfriend. The contact she makes is a sex-trafficker, and he offers Greta independence, fame, fortune, and freedom from school bullies. A tempting cocktail of bait for a girl whose life is ruled by an over-protective father and his bodyguards.



“Michael Marsh and his unconventional family have long suffered the consequences of his disastrous relationship with his eldest daughter. Life is complicated further by Evie, Michael’s new love after two lonely years. When Evie falls desperately ill, he is left fighting a media troll who wishes to destroy him and his family, and an evil future mother-in-law, while trying to save the life of the women he loves.”


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Phil Stephens: The IAN Interview

Phil Stephens

Phil Stephens is an Indiana native and a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and of the Dale Carnegie Course. He spent many years working in Fortune 500 America. Raised in a solidly Catholic family, he attended Catholic grade schools in the 1960s and served as an Altar Boy. His writing has appeared in the local newspaper and Pen IT literary magazine. His passions include reading in his favorite genres—history and horror. He also enjoys cooking, exercising, and the environment. Stephens resides in beautiful Brown County in Southern Indiana with his wife Marie, and has an adopted granddaughter, Crystal Maiden, in the Philippines.







IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Phil StephensBlack-robed nuns, priests, bishops, the select fraternity of Altar Boys, and the ancient ceremonies of the Catholic Church. Music of the ’60s, boyhood shenanigans, Cootie doctors, and coming of age. Set in the socially and politically tumultuous period of the 1960s, The Altar Boy is the fictionalized memoir of Carl Sanders, a funny, sensitive kid, who’s caught in the middle when his family is fractured by the intrusions of a priest. We follow Carl's confusion and pain as he watches the pious fa├žade of the Church fall away to reveal unholy carte blanche, cover-ups, and collusion.

The book opens in the late 1980s. Carl and his brother down beer after beer at a favorite pub, trying to piece together their family’s chaotic past. The stakes are high—someone is about to return after a 20-year absence, threatening to re-ignite the family conflict. As the brothers’ painful recollections of their past become more traumatic, Carl drifts back in time to the era he tried for so many years to forget. 

The story is realistic, poignant, and at times very funny. Stephens shines a timely spotlight on the then-unquestioned power of the Church, while taking the reader back to the ’60s era of rock & roll, Catholic schools, social upheaval, and boyhood pranks.

IAN: Is The Altar Boy published in print, e-book or both?

Phil Stephens: It is currently published in print only.

IAN: Where can we go to buy The Altar Boy?

Phil Stephens: It is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

IAN: What inspired you to write The Altar Boy?

Phil Stephens: True events...and a story that needed to be told.

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Phil Stephens: Some chapters I outlined and some I winged.

IAN: How long did it take to write The Altar Boy?

Phil Stephens: Longer than I'm willing to admit.

IAN: How did you come up with the title? 

Phil Stephens: I wanted a title that conveyed the subject matter of the book and grabbed the reader.

IAN: How much The Altar Boy of is realistic?

Phil Stephens: Most all of it.

IAN: How is The Altar Boy different from others in your genre?

Phil Stephens: Very little has ever been written about this subject.

IAN: What books have most influenced your life most?

Phil Stephens: David Halberstam (The Reckoning), Sun Tzu (The Art of War) and Carl Sagan (Contact)

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Phil Stephens: Yes, if my first novel takes off.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Phil Stephens: It is one of the few things I have a talent for.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

Phil Stephens: I did.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

Phil Stephens: Finding the time to do it.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Phil Stephens: First of all START the book and then FINISH it.  Don't give up.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Phil Stephens: It is a stand-alone novel titled "On The Edge of the Stairs." A story of a young couple very much in love and planning their wedding but then the girl dies in a tragic accident.  As the woman lay dying she vows to the man she will reincarnate herself and come back to him.  And she does.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Lin Wilder: The IAN Interview



Lin Wilder holds a Doctorate in Public Health and has published extensively in fields like cardiac physiology, institutional ethics and hospital management. In 2005, she switched from non-fiction to fiction. Her series of medical thrillers include many references to the Texas Medical Center where Lin worked for over twenty-three years. Her latest book is A Price for Genius. Finding the Narrow Path was an unplanned return to non-fiction. All her books are available at Amazon.







IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Lin Wilder: In A Price for Genius Dr. Lindsey McCall's worst fears are realized. Not only have both drugs been stolen but two women have been kidnapped- one maybe dead. Lindsey had known Liisa Reardon's new drug was alchemy, only this time, the end product actually more precious than gold. The desperate call from Hank Reardon in Switzerland came late at night. 

·         Could Lindsey and Rich Jansen uncover who was behind the crimes? 
·         It was an inside job-could they figure out who had sold out the Reardons? 
·         All in time to save Reardon's daughter and her chief tech Ariana? 
·         Were they risking their lives as well?

The evil words smolder in her mind, the contents of the letter delivered to Hank Reardon: 

Hello Mr. Reardon,
By the time you get this letter, it will be too late. We'll already have her.
Here are the steps you must not take: 
·         Do not call the cops.
·         Do not contact Interpol.
·         Tell no one.
You must know Sir, there is a price for genius. We trust you will pay it if you want to see your daughter alive.

IAN: Is A Price for Genius published in print, e-book or both?

Lin Wilder: Both.
IAN: Where can we go to buy your book? 


IAN: What inspired you to write A Price for Genius?

Lin Wilder: In pondering why I write, I realized that the blurred lines between good and evil intrigue me. Each of us is a combination of both and our choices mostly determine just how good or evil is our life. However, there are extraordinary circumstances which can have such a profound impact that the goodness is all but extinguished.

Joe Cairns became my favorite character in A Price for Genius because we are forced to identify-mostly- with his stark combination of heroism and evil. But are there people who are wholly evil? I think yes.

On the other hand, Dr. Viktor Dragovik is evil. When pondering him, I realized that his loss of all that is good had to spring from somewhere. Since, in A Price of Genius, I had written that he was Serbian, that provided the necessary context: The terrible Bosnian War.

IAN: Do you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

Lin Wilder: Always when I write non-fiction, I use an outline. But learned that I am unable to use that very comforting tool with my fiction books. Is it winging? Perhaps. It feels more like keeping up with the pace of the story as the characters reveal themselves.

IAN: How long does it take you to write a book?

Lin Wilder: I’m about half-way and expect the 1st draft of Malthus to be complete by September 5th. So a year.

IAN: How do you come up with your book titles?

Lin Wilder: Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath. Dragovik comes up with a way to decimate the population of the world. And justifies his decision with extensive reliance on people who have predicted that the population will outgrow the earth’s ability to sustain them- ergo the British minister who predicted the end through famine: Malthus. I added the Revisited because there are many who are convinced of a massive biologic extinction by the end of this century. And added The Cup of Wrath to add an apocalyptic dimension to the story.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?

Lin Wilder: After many years of allegiance to most ‘isms’ known to man, I became a Roman Catholic. It changed everything. My writing is grounded in the notion that our lives are battlegrounds. My main character Dr. Lindsey McCall and her husband Rich are Catholic. They believe that the choices they make on a daily basis can profoundly impact our world. There are allusions to religious visions and priests in this and in every book which can provoke readers to wonder. Fully understanding that my view is counter cultural, I hope readers come away with some questions, curiousity about themselves, their world and God.

IAN: How much of your books is realistic?

Lin Wilder: I’m a researcher by trade. The sections on the genocide in the Balkans are real. At the end of the book, I’ll list excellent resources for those interested in learning more about Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Wars. There are individuals loudly proclaiming the biologic extinction. Malthus’ Essay was written in the late 19th century and is a fascinating read. The sections on chemical warfare are derived from history-so a great deal of the information in Malthus is based in history.

IAN: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Lin Wilder: We write what we know. Since I spent a career in academic medicine, my characters and stories emanate from that source. The protagonist of all the stories, Dr. Lindsey McCall appeared in my head, literally, a number of years ago. I knew that writing was a gift I had used all of my life but it had always been through non-fiction. The idea to write a novel surprised me. I had long ago put that dream aside. But Lindsey stayed with me. And I began to wonder, what would it be like to be a woman who knew she could master anything? No matter how difficult the problem? Or how impossible?

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

Lin Wilder: I do but when I speak about it in front of others I always advise them not to quit their day job.

IAN: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Lin Wilder: As a kid English major in undergrad, I dreamed of writing the ‘great American novel.’ But believed that in order to do so, the writer had to sacrifice his joy. That only if one was miserable—Hemingway, Fittzgerald, Faulkner, Salinger, Plath---could the writing be any good. In my early 20’s, I began to write non-fiction in the fields of critical care medicine. I found that the best way I could understand what I believed and knew was to write about it.

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Lin Wilder: New characters require a great deal of patience. Research too but that’s the easy part. After the research, it always takes time for me to see the new character. Like the autistic young girl Morgan Gardner...I read 8 or 9 books on autism but it took time to really ‘get’ her. The same with Viktor Dravovik. It’s taken months to get a real sense of who this guy is.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Lin Wilder: Each of the soon to be 4 books in the Dr. Lindsey McCall medical mystery books can be read as a stand-alone. Malthus Revisited-The Cup of Wrath highlights 3 characters who were introduced in A Price for Genius: Joe Cairns, Diedrich Braun and Dr. Viktor Dragovik. And, as always, introduces a new one. In this case, Morgan Gardner, an 18 yr old savant. This book adds a quasi-dystopian element to the series.



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tina Tamman: The IAN Interview

Tina Tamman was born in Estonia, which even today is a little-known country. Ever since embarking on her PhD at the University of Glasgow, she has been studying historical links between Estonia and Britain, the country where she’s been living now for 40 years and where for half of this time she worked for the BBC.
















IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

Tina Tamman: “Portrait of a Secret Agent” is a biography with an intelligence officer at its heart. His name is Brian Giffey, a man who has been a real discovery. Not a relation, a mystery man, a womaniser who fell in love with a girl half his age and, surprisingly, stayed true to her. So it is also a love story.

IAN: Is your book published in print, e-book or both?

Tina Tamman: Available as paperback and as e-book.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?

Tina Tamman: At Amazon. www.amzn.to/1n9qn6C  

IAN: What inspired you to write Portrait of a Secret Agent

Tina Tamman: It was by accident that I stumbled across this man, Brian Giffey. The more I learnt about him, the more interesting he became. He’s a true eccentric.

IAN: How long did it take to write Portrait of a Secret Agent?

Tina Tamman: There was a lot of research involved, so it took me 2-3 years. Some of it was spent travelling: Giffey’s private papers, for example, are in Sweden. Also, securing photograph rights and getting copies done took time.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

Tina Tamman: That was very difficult. I wanted something catchy but truthful as well, since it is a biography. There are so many spy thrillers around and I didn’t want my reader to expect more than I could deliver.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Portrait of a Secret Agent?

Tina Tamman: I hope they will think about secrets, even if briefly. We are all used to Freedom of Information requests but not everybody knows that our secret service is outside the system and no questions of any description are allowed. And so the reader remains in the dark as to why Brian Giffey has not been named in intelligence history even though he died in 1967 and has no living relatives. Is he linked to a scandal that has to be kept secret?

IAN: How much of the book is realistic?

Tina Tamman: It is all based on fact; there are also numerous photographs to illustrate the story.

IAN: How is your book different from others in your genre?

Tina Tamman: Secret agent biographies are not that numerous, although there are a great number of biographies of well-known traitors. What sets my book apart is Brian Giffey’s loyalty to the Crown. There is no reason why the public focus should fall solely on those individuals who betrayed work colleagues. Men like Brian Giffey deserve to be known as well.

IAN: What book are you reading now?

Tina Tamman: Very appropriately I’m reading “The Secret Agent” by Joseph Conrad. Cleverly and beautifully written, it is not really a book about the secret service - it’s a police story.

IAN: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Portrait of a Secret Agent?
Tina Tamman: I would allow myself to add some imaginary scenes, blend in a little fiction. I also think the title needs changing.

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Tina Tamman: Having no access to intelligence sources is very frustrating. It limits the field. While a fiction writer can invent, a biographer is not at liberty to do so. However, I cannot see MI6 opening its archives to researchers in my lifetime.

IAN: Did you have to travel much concerning Portrait of a Secret Agent?

Tina Tamman: Travel is an inevitable part of research because archives are dotted all over the place and private papers can be in people’s homes, either in the UK or abroad. Such travel allows thoughts to develop and new questions to arise. All very stimulating.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Tina Tamman: Most people have heard of James Bond but the world of intelligence is much more complex, also much more interesting than Bond. The more you know, the more you want to know.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

Tina Tamman: It will be a venture into fiction. A stand-alone novel, it will be about inheritance. And once again both Estonia and England will come into play, as will history.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Julianne DiBlasi Black: The IAN Interview

Julianne DiBlasi Black is a mom, Buddhist, vegetarian, eclectic playlist-fueled graphic designer, multidiscipline artist and illustrator. Who also writes. Her project Sleep Sweet is gaining national attention as a therapy tool in Children’s hospitals nation-wide including University of Michigan Mott Children's Hospital and the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville, Florida. Combined with it’s Augmented Reality counterpart - the Spellbound App (multi-platform) the book takes on new dimensions and is shattering the confines of traditional hospital stay with leading-edge momentum.




IAN: Please tell us about Sleep Sweet.

Sleep Sweet is a multi-award winning children’s bedtime book, that has been adapted with Augmented Reality technology to bring viewers a complete multi-sensory experience. It is being used as a therapy tool for calming anxiety and helping to distract young patients in children’s hospitals across the country. 

Viewed alone, the book is full of sweeping and fairytale like illustrations with repetitive almost suggested-mediation style text. But paired with a mobile device and a $0.99 app from Spellbound, viewers hear narration, interact with characters, enjoy ambience noises like running water and crickets and hear a beautiful acoustic guitar melody composed specifically for this book. The end result is magical, and I love getting feedback from hospitals about how it helps the kids get through a difficult process or just plan relax.

IAN: Is Sleep Sweet published in print, e-book or both? 


Yes! Sleep sweet is both printed and available in an e-book version, but I prefer the paper. To me it has more snuggle-into-the-covers appeal. Both the digital and the printed version of the book will work with the app.

IAN: Tell us about the Spellbound App and how it enhances the reading experience.

The Spellbound app uses the mobile device’s camera to recognize the illustration, then the 3D scene appears hovering over the existing page on the device. Users can touch the animals on the screen for reactions, have the book read out-loud or just listen to the original score- a gentle, lullaby looping classical guitar solo that is sure to please any age. 

The Spellbound app was just named on the Top Ten Trends in Reading and Book Apps for Children (Publishing Perspectives, Feb 2, 2017: Publishing Perspectives / Article by Porter Anderson) list and Made Nexus Magazine’s 5 Mind Blowing Augmented Reality Apps article (Jan 31st, 2017, https://nexusconsultancy.co.uk/blog/5-mind-blowing-augmented-reality-apps/?utm_content=buffer17d0b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer )

IAN: Where can we go to buy Sleep Sweet?

On Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com for direct sales or through me at www.SleepSweet3D.com for signed copies. I would also like to offer the Independent Author Network a discount for checking out my interview - go to createspace.com and enter in the coupon code JEZMRCF5 for a 15% discount on Sleep Sweet!

IAN: Which writers/books inspired you when writing Sleep Sweet?

I’ve always loved the classic bedtime tales like Goodnight Moon and The Busy Spider. While I enjoy all forms of children’s literature, I loved the idea of a book particularly designed for bed time. Something that could cary the reader far away to dream land. The illustration work is more painterly than those titles, more dreamlike and fluid. It is kind of a hybrid of my own fine art style and digital illustration.

IAN: When writing Sleep Sweet did anything stand out as particularly challenging? 

I think creating a succession of events leading from wide awake to fast asleep in the limited time frame of a picture book was the most challenging. The illustrations feature her getting more and more tired, finally falling asleep. It was difficult judging based on reading it aloud, how that would translate when reading it to a child. Too fast and they miss the point and don’t have the time to get relaxed, too long and you’ve become boring to the adult reading it. It was an interesting balancing act.

IAN: How did you come up with the story of Sleep Sweet?

Sleep Sweet is both a ritual my daughter and I share at bed time as well as all the stories I’ve told her about my life and where I want to take her some day. Many of the illustrations are from my own trips to Africa, Panama, Alaska and across the US. The book is a guided meditation, a dream journal and a vision board all at once.

IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Fortunately I developed my art circles of friends and cohorts early on and through social media, they have been expanded and brought with me anywhere I find myself. With such an awesome global support network already in place that were used to seeing my work and giving great advice, it was an easy transition to begin showing them my illustration work for the children’s books and then the full books themselves. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve never met, but through creativity and the bond of offering up yourself for review - and of course the marvel of digital relationships - I’m grateful to be well-loved and supported.

IAN: What are your ambitions for your writing career?  Full time?  Part time?

Because I am both an author and illustrator/artist I would love to do both part time, essentially creating a full time creative career. Currently I am working on several YA novels as well as a line of coloring books, but I’m also juggling fine art exhibits so I already stay quite busy with both :)

IAN: When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always been interested in short story and poetry, but when my daughter was born, I began creating stories based on our adventures, using her as a model. In the last four years since she was born, I’ve put out ten children’s books, all having something or other to do with our home, her development or silly things we share that other parents can relate to.

IAN: What do you like to do when not writing?

I’m really into hiking and camping, traveling and exploring the natural world. I find most of my inspiration in ancient cultures and the timelessness of the planet so when I have downtime I work to refill that inspirational well and fantasize about my upcoming projects.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress?

Because every project has its own ebb and flow, I tend to juggle many at a time. I really invite other authors and artists to connect with me, my contact info is:

IAN:  http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/julianne-black.html

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cng0fr

http://www.Twitter.com/4jblack

http://Amazon.com/author/julianneblack

Fineartamerica: http://bit.ly/2gfig9g

Niume : http://bit.ly/2e4r9PK 

Web: http://www.JulianneBlack.com