For the non-romance reader in your life—or the romance reader looking for something different:
Free from Brandon Hale:
Selected by Digital Book Today as one of the Best Kindle Books of 2013…
Book 1 of the Day Soldiers series (Books 2, 3, and 4 are also available. Book 5 is coming soon).
A legion of vampires and werewolves has declared war on the human race.
For ten years now, humanity has been at war with the creatures of darkness. The war has changed the world. The day now belongs to humanity and the night belongs to things once thought to exist only in myths and legends… but there is hope. This new enemy has united humanity and an army has stepped forward to protect the light from the darkness. An army of heroes.
The Day Soldiers.
Eighteen year old Lily Baxter always knew the Day Soldiers would be a major part of her life. She had been preparing for it since she was eight. She was ready to go to war. The one thing she wasn’t prepared for was the day the war came to her.
Part horror, part comedy, part adventure, Day Soldiers will take you on an exciting ride through a world where monsters are monsters and the only thing they fall in love with is the taste of human blood.
My writer friend (He said I could call him that if I buy him some tequila.) Russell Blake is in the Wall Street Journal.
Fast-Paced Best Seller: Author Russell Blake Thrives on Volumes
Updated Jan. 7, 2014 10:34 p.m. ET
Yoon Kimn wishes Russell Blake wouldn’t write so much.
Ms. Kimn, a 46-year-old IT consultant who lives in Coram, N.Y., is addicted to Mr. Blake’s fast-paced mysteries and conspiracy thrillers. In the past two years, she has torn through all 25 of his books. But it is hard to keep up. Mr. Blake has been publishing a new novel roughly every five weeks. In December, he released two new books: a hard-boiled noir detective novel starring a struggling Hollywood private investigator, and a thriller about an ex-Mossad agent on the run.
Author Craig Osso writes thrillers under the pen name Russell Blake.
“I wish he would slow down,” says Ms. Kimn, who says Mr. Blake’s frenetic publishing schedule leaves her little time to read other authors. “I have so many other books I want to read.”
Some novelists are obsessed by plot pacing and character development, others by a literary turn of phrase. For Mr. Blake, it is about speed, and volume. Mr. Blake, who self-publishes his books, has released 25 books in the last 30 months.
He wrote one of his best-selling books, the 229-page thriller “JET,” in just 16 days. He churns out 7,000 to 10,000 words a day and often works from eight in the morning until midnight. He spends many of those hours on a treadmill desk, clocking eight to 10 miles.
“Being an author is like being a shark, you have to keep swimming or you die,” he says. “People don’t want to wait a year and a half for the next book in the series, they want instant gratification.”
The hours and miles are paying off. Mr. Blake discovered that one way to sell a lot of books is to write a lot of books. He says he has sold more than 435,000 copies of his books, at around $5 to $6 each, and under Amazon’s self-publishing program, he keeps 70%.
The author has released 25 books in the last 30 months.
He signed a deal to co-write thrillers with the blockbuster novelist Clive Cussler. Their first book, a collaboration that will be published under both authors’ names, is due out this fall.
(via Fast-Paced Best Seller: Author Russell Blake Thrives on Volumes – WSJ.com)
Highland Soldiers: The Betrayal
How the Hum of a Coffee Shop Can Boost Creativity – NYTimes.com
Pulling up a seat at your favorite coffee shop may be the most efficient way to write a paper or finish a work project. But now a new Web site lets you bring the coffee shop to your cubicle.
The site, called Coffitivity, was inspired by recent research showing that the whoosh of espresso machines and caffeinated chatter typical of most coffee shops creates just the right level of background noise to stimulate creativity. The Web site, which is free, plays an ambient coffee shop soundtrack that, according to researchers, helps people concentrate.
In a series of experiments that looked at the effects of noise on creative thinking, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had participants brainstorm ideas for new products while they were exposed to varying levels of background noise. Their results, published in The Journal of Consumer Research, found that a level of ambient noise typical of a bustling coffee shop or a television playing in a living room, about 70 decibels, enhanced performance compared with the relative quiet of 50 decibels.
A higher level of noise, however, about 85 decibels, roughly the noise level generated by a blender or a garbage disposal, was too distracting, the researchers found.
Ravi Mehta, an assistant professor of business administration at the university who led the research, said that extreme quiet tends to sharpen your focus, which can prevent you from thinking in the abstract.
“This is why if you’re too focused on a problem and you’re not able to solve it,” Dr. Mehta said, “you leave it for some time and then come back to it and you get the solution.”
But moderate levels can distract people just enough so that they think more broadly. “It helps you think outside the box,” he said.