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Books Reviews

Justin Ordoñez, author of Sykosa – Guest Post

Please enjoy this guest post by Justin Ordoñez, author of the YA novel (for 18+ readers), Sykosa. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

Marketing, Or how I Proved the Existence of Hell.

Self-publishing requires either A) no skills and being totally deluded as to the reality of success in the book market, or B) no skills and the reality you’re going to have to learn a lot. And that’s a simple fact. Between writing, editing, formatting, choosing a printer, choosing retailers, web development, content generation, typesetting, book trailers and the fifty other things I’m forgetting, you’re certain to encounter a challenge for which you are in no way prepared, and not only are you not prepared, your desire to become prepared hovers somewhere near the axis of zero.

I discovered mine on January 11, 2012–Marketing.

Marketing’s an entirely deceptive term. When a thing is so multi-dimensional and other-worldly abstract, we expect it come coupled with tongue-tying terminology. I mean, who would touch marketing if it was done by someone called a, “Surpurgodunintrihumanthofeelemo-ologist?” (Stands for: “Surveyor, purveyor, and Godlike understander of all intricate human thoughts, feelings, and emotions.”) No one. And that’s just the beginning! As it’s really only one aspect of marketing. You not only need to communicate with the potential book buyer, but with the many marketing channels available, i.e. book bloggers, book reviewers, book recommendation sites, book social networking sites, and many, many more. Essentially, in order to succeed at marketing, when you’re not busy being a social butterfly, expanding your pool of contacts and showing a legitimate interest in people’s lives, you need to be a socially reclusive, type-A, mega-jerk who produces the stuff that gets sent to all the people who are now your contacts.

As this is seriously an enormously enormous undertaking, I did what I’d advise any author do. Write Novel Publicity and get some help. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Problem solved, right? How could it be that marketing is such a huge undertaking you cannot count on Novel Publicity alone? Unfortunately, while Novel Publicity is your access to the market, you are still your own personal generator of content. Guest blog posts, interviews, all manner of interactions still come from you, and they’re a perspective reader’s introduction to your writing, your style, your passion, and ultimately if they’re interested in your work.

These are elements I’m fine with.

Or…

These are elements I thought I was fine with.

After all, it can’t be that hard, can it? Blog-post-smog-post. Promotional-images-smosional-images. You’re a brilliant author who wrote an entire novel, what can this world throw at you that you can’t beat back with your bare fists? Well, a lot, and way more than you think, too. Do you know how to use Calibre? HTML? Gimp? Neither did I, but thanks to our good friend YouTube, I was able to spend a what-would-be-hilarious-if-it-weren’t-so-depressingly-true amount of time learning them. And it was going fine—sure, I was underslept, over-sugar’d, and had begun to scratch myself so frequently I was breaking skin in more than one or two places, but aside from all that, I was a marketing genius! I was…lying to myself. I was scratching my head frequently, and I was encountering a new, unforeseen challenge at every corner. (Novel Publicity would gladly have helped me, but I wanted their time to be used for, you know, generating publicity, not a grade school-style education seminar for me). Then, it finally happened, I realized what I had needed to realize since the beginning.

Children are evil.

No, seriously, they are. Stay with me on this one.

It happened while I was working on the image below.

Let me preface the story like this.

Being an adult means your time getting screwed over on the playground is over. Well, it’s not really over. Adults are as catty as children, but it’s different. Adults are so covert, so pathological, and so politically calculating in their screwing over of others that it trumps all human understanding. Kids simply call you a name and move on, so I suppose I mean to say that, as an adult, your days of outright mockery are over. No longer will you be subject to a choir of second grade girls singing, “Jus-tin, bus-tin, the big fat…” as the song dies since they had called you fat, there was nothing obvious to rhyme it with, and there was no reserve hatred left in them, and since they’re not total nut job psychotics like grown-ups, they move onto the sensitive boy who loves to draw unicorns and hearts.

As you may have guessed, I was talking about myself.

And I was wrong.

My days of outright mockery had only begun!

Why, you ask?

Because I decided to self-publish my novel, and because I lacked skills. The image above did not make itself. In fact, I’m only 20% certain of why it turned out the way it did. Much like a child, I bought in on total faith that the directions I was being given would work, then knocked this “learning comprehension” business aside. And why do I use child in that example? Well, being such an amateur, you won’t know how to correctly ask Google for answers. For instance, in the text up top, a professional knows to type, “How do you create text with a radius of so-and-so so it appears like an arch?” You, on the other hand, type, “How do you make text look like a rainbow?” That’s right. You’re gonna ask as if you were a six-year old, so guess what? You’re gonna get search results from midget-geniuses who’re so young they’re struggling to lose that lisp one gets when learning English.

With your earphones plugged it, that little voice starts at you in much the way that girl (or boy or still girl given your gender and sexual orientation) looked at you when you innocently sat next to her on the bus, that look of, “Who are you and what makes you think you don’t have to maintain fifty feet of distance from me at all times?” “Okay, guys, like, this is simple, like, first thing we’re gonna do is create a path.” Click-click-click-click-click-click! “Okay, looks nothing like what you want, but that’s fine, we’ll fix it later.” Click-click-click-click-click! “Okay, here we go, we color to alpha, create a new layer, color to alpha again.” Click-click-click-click-click! “Take the path tool, debate buying a shotgun now that I’ve convinced you you’ve failed at life, then change the angle, now, if you want to change the color, you use the select tool, but not like you’re used to using it, I’ll now proceed to click around the screen like a swarm of hornets attacking an intruder and not explain a single step.” Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click! “Alright guys, wasn’t that simple? Make sure you submit your humiliatingly easy questions so my buddies and I can laugh at you before we record the next lesson.”

How long did it take you to read that?

Divide that by four, and that’s how fast the kid said it.

(Blood pressure…rising).

In a way, it’s not the kid’s fault. Children have brains that learn everything quickly, effortlessly, and with no respect for it. It’s not till you’re a teenager when you hit places where, despite your effort, you’re not gonna learn it. Rationally, I understand this. But, as a human being, in a dark corner of my favorite local eatery, constantly pausing/playing/pausing/playing/pausing/playing while I toggle between Firefox/Gimp/Firefox/Gimp/Firefox/Gimp in an ever-failing attempt to emulate this six year old Einstein, I realize: It’s kind of amazing such a young kid knows this stuff. Still, I don’t know if I admire this child or I want to punch him in the face. That’s what this child had done to me. That thin line between love and hate, he has blurred it and I can no longer tell the difference between unconditional love and righteous hatred.

“Wow, mister, I’ve never met anyone as dumb as you before!”

So I add an addendum to my original statement: Children are evil, and so is marketing. And by that I mean: Marketing is responsible for all evil on the planet Earth. I’m serious. It’s hard at its every level. There’s no way to just be “good” at marketing, and nothing will diminish the fact that literal blood, sweat, and tears will be lost to its cause, which ultimately ends up at what we call the “marketplace,” or as I’ve recently been referring to it, “The Death-Vacuum that Took the Giant Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way and Said, ‘Wow, You Look Like a Tasty Candy Bar.’” I hate to use sports analogies since not everyone likes sports, but the only thing more infuriating than marketing may be consistently hitting a baseball.

In baseball, if you hit 30% of the time, you’re a legend.

In marketing, I’m gonna say if you hit 5% of the time, you’re a legend.

Sykosa, my new YA novel for which all this marketing is being done, is a work of love, but more than a work of love, it’s a good book. I went to fantastic lengths to ensure this. Like any good character should be, Sykosa is indescribable, but because we have marketing in this evil world, I’m going to do it anyway. Sykosa’s a sixteen-year-old girl who’s struggling to reclaim her identify after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. She’s also kind of a riddle, but that’s alright, because you’ll know—in your gut—this is exactly the decision she would make, even if you can’t articulate why. She likes a boy she probably shouldn’t, except you’re not going to think, “Why is she dating this guy?” because you’ll know—in your gut—this is exactly the guy she would date, even if you can’t articulate why. She’s bright and could do a lot with her life, but she’s letting it slip past her, and you’re not gonna get upset with her, you’re gonna empathize, because you’ll know—in your… Egh, I could go on and on. Sykosa is special, I’m telling you she is, and I’m working this marketing game—which fits me like the worst fitting glove imaginable—to get her an opportunity.

I don’t say that to illicit sympathy. This is marketing, after all.

As I’ve learned, if I wanted sympathy, I woulda joined the military.

Comparatively, they treat you nice there. (I jest).

Still, perhaps you can imagine… What’s it like to watch this child’s mouse clicking about the screen, thinking seven things at once, and me in my chair, unable to eat my entire plate of French fries cause my metabolism won’t allow it, confused cause, as an adult, you need things presented to you sequentially, and logically, and, like, yes, you need people to take at least one breath between sentences! I mean—seriously, when do children breathe? Does it ever happen? Is this one of those things you don’t have to do until you’re grown up?

(Count to ten, Justin. Count to ten… He’s just a child. Nothing more).

Anyhow, Sykosa came out this week, and now she’s finishing her Whirlwind tour. I’m writing this all before it’s happened and I think, I hope, I’ve survived it and things are looking good for the future. For now, all I can say, in my most evening news-ish marketing voice, “Please visit Sykosa.com for lots of Sykosa related stuff, like character profiles, sketches, funny diagrams, a video question and answer blog, and a forty page excerpt.” But, I wonder if it that message can be heard, if amongst this open array of electrical impulses large enough to capture the entire human imagination, and small enough molecularly to be stuffed into box so tiny we lack the technology to even build it, is there room for Sykosa?

Can she break through the mist? Do you hear her?

She’s trying to say, “What’s up!”

 

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Sykosa for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
  4. BONUS: Leave a comment on this post*

Leave a comment, win $100:

One random tour commenter will win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win. For a full list of participating blogs, check out the official tour page. You can enter on just my blog or on all of them. Get out there and network!

About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowd. Sykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez’s life’s work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Categories
Books Reviews

Novel Publicity Blog Tour – Sykosa by Justin Ordoñez

Please enjoy this excerpt from Sykosa, a YA novel (for 18+ readers), by Justin Ordoñez. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

First period. American history.

Who knows which is worse. At this hour, it’s too early to care. Luckily, it’s never too early to bitch and moan. And she would do so, save her teacher is already on it. He’s up at the board—in shock that not a pupil noticed how his cuff smudged all his bullet points. Like wrist trajectory were her problem. That’s a math problem. And math problems aren’t her problem for another two hours. Yawn. He’s still going on—something about full attention being on…

Her fingernails.

Fingernails, you see, are better than lectures.

Particularly these lectures. Particularly this class.

She wishes nail polish didn’t break the Academy’s Personal Code, then her fingernails could be pretty colors, and she’d feel like a pretty girl. They should let her do her nails in class. It’s no different from doodling. It also increases hygiene, and in high school, that’s nothing to scoff at. She may paint her fingernails this afternoon, just for fun, then remove it and—

Hang on. Her teacher said something will be on a test.

Never mind, she already knows it.

Anyhow, if she does do her nails, she has a problem. She doesn’t know what to do. However, she does know she doesn’t want to do something she’s already done. If she’s gonna do her nails for one night, then it’d be nice if it were a departure of some type. Alas, her brain has no ideas. Being pretty is hard! Yet, she likes it so very much. That does it. She needs to talk to Niko. For one, Niko’s her best friend. Two, Niko’s gifted in the department of being glamorous. And luckily, Niko’s her neighbor, so she drafts a note that she passes across the table.

What should I do with my fingernails?

Niko reads the note in delight, then dies of boredom.

I thought you were gonna share good gossip or something.

No, I want to do my fingernails.

Do something slutty. That’s always good for a thrill.

That’s a good idea.

Niko always has good ideas. Niko’s brilliant!

She wishes she were Niko.

And Niko wishes she were Sykosa’s breasts. That’s me, Sykosa! Well, technically, it’s my breasts. Breasts are an urgent topic for Niko, seeing as her prime puberty years have passed, and to Niko’s horror, she’s all As in the bra and all Ds on her report card. That’s harder on a girl than people think. And it’s why Niko collapses her cheek on her hand, then inconspicuously stares at those far-bigger boobs. Niko thinks she does it for a second or two. In reality, it’s seven or eight. Now, before anyone makes any assumptions, Niko’s not gay. She’s about as boy-crazy as a girl gets. To the point that she collects boyfriends as if they were Girl Scout badges.

And to be fair, this breast-staring is harmless.

Though every girl has her limits.

Hers have been exceeded. Not by Niko, but by Tom. He also has his cheek in hand, his eyes overcome by her chest—for what is maybe ten or eleven seconds.

Unlike Niko, he’s thinking of her as if she were some toy.

He may be right.

In the only snowstorm of the year, as the Academy froze under the sickly sweet smell of a dysfunctional oil furnace, she retreated behind the two bell towers of the Academy chapel. And on that very day, this very boy—in his ski jacket laden with those sticky tags they put on bags at airports—stumbled onto her smoking self and put his tongue in her mouth. It was a bold move. And it impressed her. They didn’t need to “talk.” Besides, it woulda fucked up the moment. I get shy fast. Accordingly, she kissed him until her heart beat so hard she became faint. It meant something. This feeling. She caught her breath. They sat beside each other. Seconds later, she wished they hadn’t stopped, so they restarted, then kept at it.

This time without the tongue.

Niko steals the note, then writes a new one.

Why is he looking at you like that? Only I’m supposed to look at you like that!

Niko’s the type who admits her faults shamelessly. While it’s slightly backward, Niko does so not as a deterrent from such behaviors, but to enable them. She rarely complains. Because that’s Niko. And somehow that excuses everything Niko does. That said, she supposes she’s predisposed to Niko’s jealously over her body, perhaps to the point of flattery. You see, this Tom-thing is nothing. Or if it is something, it’s certainly not enough of something. Not enough for her to buy a prom dress.

Why do you think he is looking at me like that?

Because you * him.

Not to delve too far into the well of note-passing dynamics, but she—and the Queens—use secret codes in case of confiscation. “*” means fuck, in all forms and conjugations. She has not * Tom. She has not * anybody. Her lips quiver at the *. It feels like something she’ll put off until she is thirty. Simultaneously, she also feels like it could happen in the immediate future.

Sometimes she just “knows.”

Gross.

Afraid?

No!

But, she is afraid. Everything is too complicated. It should not have to be. She goes behind the chapel. He goes behind the chapel. They make out. Simple, right? It’s not. Regardless, if even that must be complicated, then certainly the concept that she wants to go to Prom, thus he should ask her to Prom and then they should go to Prom is simple, right? It’s not. You see, he has this best friend, this confidante, this main focus, this everything—and her name is not Sykosa, but Mackenzie.

Or as you will soon find out: “M.” That’s what he calls her.

 

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Sykosa for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
  4. BONUS: Leave a comment on this post*

Leave a comment, win $100:

One random tour commenter will win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win. For a full list of participating blogs, check out the official tour page. You can enter on just my blog or on all of them. Get out there and network!

About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowd. Sykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez’s life’s work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Categories
Books

Novel Publicity Blog Tour – Doxology, an excerpt

Please enjoy this excerpt from the literary novel, Doxology. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

Sunday is Vernon’s wash day. And though he has enough money to buy a dozen of the nicest washing machines known to man, Vernon Davidson washes his clothes by hand. For his washing, as for everything else Vernon does, he has a system. As far as Vernon is concerned, his clothes come out looking cleaner and newer than any machine could get them. He wears all of his clothes during the week according to the schedule he has printed in black marker on the insides of the garments. Five sets of work clothes, three sets to rotate before or after work on those five days, and two sets for the weekend. When he wakes each Sunday and slips off his underwear, his drawers and closet are completely empty. If the morning is cool, Vernon goes out and washes his clothes wearing only a cotton robe. But if any warmth hangs in the air, as it often does by the first of March, Vernon goes out in the yard and washes his laundry naked.

Vernon wakes on the first Sunday in April with a nagging headache. He rubs his temples and lies thinking about Leonard. Finally he shakes it off, opens his eyes and stands up. Though spring is well along, a touch of chill is in the air, so he puts his robe on after kicking his underwear into the giant laundry pile, then goes into the kitchen to start breakfast.

For the last dozen years, since he quit going to church, Vernon starts Sunday mornings with a large breakfast of eggs, bacon, French toast, orange juice and coffee. He could have started working Sundays years ago if he had wanted, just to fill the time, but he never has. Sunday is the only day of the week he eats anything besides fried bologna and cheese sandwiches, which he makes twice a day for himself in the same greasy cast iron skillet he uses on Sundays to make his breakfast.

Once the coffee is going and the bacon and eggs, Vernon walks back into the bathroom. Though he usually doesn’t stop by the mirror in the hallway, this time he does. He turns and looks at himself face on. He opens his bathrobe, stands and flexes the long, corded muscles that still run through his torso after sixty years, pats the flat part of his stomach. In the bathroom he grabs a comb, comes back to the mirror and quickly whips it through his long gray hair. He works the comb through, notes again that he hasn’t lost a single strand. Then he combs through his thick gray beard and fluffs it just a bit. He smiles at himself wide, taps his perfect teeth. Better to turn gray than turn loose, he says to the reflection as he pulls on a chunk of his hair. I’m still looking good.

He goes back to the kitchen, takes his squeezable jar of yellow mustard from the refrigerator and squirts a quarter inch of the oily yellow substance into a glass. Then he unscrews the lid of a bottle of Jack Daniels, smells it out of habit, winces, and pours in three fingers’ worth. His stomach gags, as it often does, with the first sip. Vernon lowers the glass, catches his breath, and raises it again. This time it all goes down, and the bitterness radiates out through the hinges of his jaws, his stomach, the top of his head. He slams the glass down on the counter, proud of his effort. After a minute the sour taste goes away, and the whiskey begins to do its work on the rest of him. Everything starts to settle. By then the food is ready, and he slides it all onto a plate, pours a large cup of coffee, and sits down to eat.

By the time the food is gone, the good part of his drink is leaving him, as it seems to do earlier and earlier these days. He goes back to the kitchen for another round of the whiskey and mustard. Then he clears the dishes from the table and, with the sink already full, puts them on the counter. “Leave those for the cleaning woman,” he mutters to himself. He eyes the mess in the rest of the house, papers all over, dust on the floor. Vernon likes to pretend.

Back in the bedroom, he picks up all the clothes and places them in the proper piles. Then he carries them all to the rear door, steps outside, and looks across the creek running through his back yard. Vernon smiles. Everything in his yard is the deep, rich green of spring, and not a weed is anywhere to be found. He’s thought about planting flowers once or twice, something to break up the single note hue that soon enough will turn to brown. But, though everything outside is as it should be, nearly all color is missing from Vernon’s yard.

Nevertheless, things are looking good on his side of the creek. On top of that, a few days earlier someone showed up while he was at work and cut the grass at the Baptist church camp on the other side of the creek. Funny how things work out. Vernon sold that property to the church fifteen years ago, back when he was still part of it.

The arrival of spring means a lot of things. It means the mill where he has worked for thirty six years will bring some young guys in, guys Vernon will harass into doing his work for him. It means the bullfrogs that sing their throaty songs as he lies in bed at night will be back in tune any time now. And it also means Easter, and the Baptists he loves to terrorize will be showing up for lunches on the grounds at their camp across the creek starting next Sunday afternoon. And when they come, the men to stand around and talk about fishing or hunting over fried chicken and beans, the women to compliment one another on their new dresses, the boys to run around the playground and wear grass stains on their new Easter pants, Vernon will be there washing his clothes in the yard, in all his bearded, gray haired glory, as naked as the good lord made him. And that’s exactly what he’ll say to whichever one of those do-gooder men comes to the edge of the creek to complain about it in response to the shrieking of their children or the pecking of their wives.

“This is the way the good lord made me!” he shouts into the air, shrugs off his robe to the ground and spreads out his arms. Practicing for the first confrontation of the season. He can already picture the guy standing over there, usually Jerry Reeves or Tom Staples or Donnie Lyles. One of them is who they usually send. He just loves to see the looks on their faces as they stand there in their Sunday best, striped or polka dotted choke chains hanging from their necks, trying to look him straight in the face and not to let their eyes wander downward.

They always say the same things. “Come on Vernon, it’s kids over here. Come on Vernon, put some clothes on brother, my wife…” Sometimes they even try to guilt him. “Look at you brother Vernon, look what you’ve turned into, you orta be ashamed of yourself.”

But Vernon Davidson cannot be guilted. Not after what he’s been through. And certainly not after the four or five glasses of whiskey and mustard he’ll have in him by Sunday noon.

 

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Doxology eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Doxology for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

Help my blog win:

The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.

About the book: Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss, and the healing power of community and family. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Categories
Blogging Reviews

Novel Publicity Blog Tour – Doxology

Please enjoy this guest post by Brian Holers, author of the literary novel, Doxology. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

Not just for Christians

One of the beauties of self-publishing is that the gatekeeper has been fired. In this new world of books made possible by the Internet, no one is left to guard the door. To tell the reader what is what. This state of affairs may introduce an element of confusion for dogmatic readers, but the good news is, new breeds of literature are being created.

Self-publishing allows literature to cross over in new ways. Traditional Christian fiction publishers, for instance, disallow most references to sex, and even the most juvenile profanity. Self-publishing changes this. Not to suggest a writer should ever debase a genre—as writers we are obliged to choose our words carefully. But the old Christian books kept many readers away. “I’m not going to read that. That’s Christian. It’s boring.” Still, nearly every Christian I know periodically swears, fights, and even becomes amorous from time to time. Christians like good stories too, with depth of character, excitement, whimsy, action. The success of a book like The Shack shows the need for stories of real people dealing with real problems, in a faith-based context. It doesn’t even have to be good literature.

As humans, we all look for answers. Stories are stories. Conflict builds to crisis, which leads to a form of resolution. Sure, some people never doubt their faiths, even in the face of horrible tragedy. Others do. Some never ascribed to a faith in the first place, and instead spend their days casting about for a context to this condition we call humanness. The problem with much traditional Christian literature is this; when a character is pushed to a crisis, and the only change we read is “he fell on his knees, then and there, and accepted Jesus into his heart,” that incident may describe a beautiful sentiment, and may have value to a real person in real life, but as a reader, it doesn’t tell me anything. A reader wants details. He wants to see the sweat break out. She wants to hear the thoughts and words that accompany the character’s condition. Literature is literature. We want to see development. We want to get inside the characters. We want to get to know them. That’s why we care. Regardless of the genre label put on the book.

Doxology is a story in between. The book has a religious message; given its primary setting in rural north Louisiana, that message is Christian. But the characters are just people. They experience the same emotions all people do—love, joy, loss. Their conflicts grow and grow until they must be resolved. Like real people, they go astray, take paths of separation from God, or just from what is good for them. They experience desires that can never be fulfilled, want things that can never be had or even understood. They discover the traits in their lives that aren’t working, and set out to find new habits that will work. Many Christian values are universal—a belief, despite evidence to the contrary, that our lives are worthwhile. An understanding that letting go, and learning how little we are in charge, makes life more manageable. A certainty that the kindness and compassion we offer to others is returned to us a hundredfold.

Some say God. Some say the universe. But we all–when we’re honest, and when we pay attention, have a sense of something looking out for us, giving us what we need. Putting people we need into our lives. We give credit for these gifts as we see fit. Good literature promotes a point of view by showing the reader how a character’s modes of operation and beliefs work for her (or don’t). Good literature, whatever its genre, lets the reader inside. Lets the reader do part of the work. Doxology, in this vein, is a story at the crossroad of God and man. It presents God as the characters experience God, and as real people experience God, looking out for them, giving them what they need. Coming to understand how God has been there all along.

Doxology is a love story. Faith plays a role, as it helps the characters find answers and resolution, improves their lives. Like Jody and Vernon and the others, we all look for redemption from brokenness of the past. They and we find it, as people both real and imaginary alike do, in family, friends, productive work, a sense of place, a faith in something greater. Doxology is a story, first and foremost. Its characters face problems. Their conflicts grow. They look for resolutions and ultimately find them, imperfect as they are. We the readers get to know them, and we care. We sympathize. They matter.

 

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Doxology eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

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About the book: Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss, and the healing power of community and family. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.