The Stratosphere by Brian Cox @BrianCoxWrites #bynr #scifi #bookreview

Reviews by GBU. Read the full review here I wasn’t too keen on the cover. I wasn’t sure what the symbolic silhouette of the people represented. First glance, it looked like one of those traffic crossing signs you see outside … Continue reading

Suggestions on Dealing with a Bad Review

David S Grant

It happened, you got a bad review.  It happens to the greatest and most
“successful” artists every day.  Still,
after reading the bad review you may need more than a hug.  Here are some suggestions on how to handle
the bad news.

  1. Don’t overreact. This applies to both good and bad reviews: stay “Even Steven”, and understand its part of the promotion process. 
  2. Promote the good parts. For example “David S. Grant’s new book balances his sense of humor with the dark topic of murder…” See, not so bad. Now that’s a blurb I can use, never mind that the review continued “…, but his emotionless and materialistic characters didn’t impress me.” It goes without saying which blurb will make the press release! 
  3. Go to CNN and read ANY article, then go to the comments. People are brutal, you will find a simple article about kittens receive threats, political statements, and worse… I try not to do this very often (because it’s depressing), but sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered. 
  4. DON’T reply or if you must, at least sleep on it. If you need review revenge go to Yelp and write a WORSE SERVICE EVER review on a restaurant you don’t like. Maybe that will get it out of your system and keep your writing professionalism intact. 
  5. DON’T obsess; it’s really not the end of the world. 
  6. Recipe for the perfect Margarita: Two shots of tequila, two shots of triple sec, one shot of lime juice. Shake and serve over ice. Repeat as necessary. 
  7. IF the medium is a place you respect and there is constructive criticism, then consider the review and improve your writing. Warning: Do not change your style over one review. See #5. 
  8. Remember that your writing is not for everyone, writing is personal and the specific genre you write may not trip the reviewer’s trigger. (Note: I would still place some blame on the reviewer who should only review items they can be objective over.) 
  9. Treat yourself to a nice dinner. I like tacos. Do you know what goes well with tacos? See #6. 
  10. Hey, remember that there is something worse than a bad review and that is NO reviews!

David S. Grant is the author of ten books including “Corporate Porn”, “Bleach|Blackout”, “Hollywood Ending”, and “Rock Stars”. His latest novel, “Blood: The New Red”, is now available. David lives and writes his weekly rock, travel, and NBA columns from New York City. 

For more information go to
Twitter: @david_s_grant

Blood: The New Red begins at an after party where Mickey, and ex-adult movie star
turned supermodel, is aligning himself with one of top Designers of Seventh
Avenue.  While trying to land a job on
the runway Mickey is thrown into the center of a scene where sex is often the
motivation, the wine is served by year, and cocaine is back in full force.  Juanita, Mickey’s girlfriend is having
difficulties staying sober, fully clothed, and off of her famous boyfriend.
goes to work for Fashion icon Paul Johnson, one of the two top Designers in
NYC.  The other is Sandy Johnson, another
Designer who will stop at nothing including murder to guarantee victory.  A runway exhibition has been scheduled for
the two to compete in and find out who truly is the best Johnson.  Mickey will be Paul’s top model, and Sandy
has found a homeless person nicknamed Kung Fu Master to show his line. 
addition to getting his new line in place, Paul Johnson is also buying chain
saws, the louder the better, to put the special in this special event.
you know that you can’t be sentenced to prison if actively seeking help at a
mental facility?  Paul Johnson knows
between the girls, counting Vicodin pills, and show preparation Mickey has
grown a conscience and no longer likes what he sees.  He believes (and his psychiatrist agrees)
that he has the power to change what’s happening around him.
before the show Kung Fu Master turns up dead and there is an attempt on
Mickey’s life.  After a brief period of
unconsciousness Mickey is back, is told that Juanita and brother Cheeks are now
also dead and that he must continue with the show.  After all, what would Steven Tyler do?
night of the show is laced with celebrities and models on the runway as well as
one particular popular day-time talk show host that may or may not be murdered
on the runway.
the end only one Johnson will walk away, although this is temporary as Mickey
has the last word.
before he pops his last Vicodin.


Always look
like a rock star. This is the number one secret on how to be famous. I’m
wearing chains, lots of chains. Eye shadow, lots of eye shadow. I wouldn’t say
my pants are tight, but then again, my balls might disagree with you at the

I’m standing on
the second level of the Grand Hotel, overlooking the bar area. My manager tells
me this is where I need to be standing. In five minutes I will move across the
room and stand next to a long mirror where one of the Hiltons will walk by and
notice my reflection. A photographer will be close by and be sure to get the
picture. This mirror has been placed here for this sole purpose. My manager
tells me not to stare at the mirror. If you asked me to list my weaknesses,
this may be my number one fault.

DJ Shingles,
the newest (which means hottest) DJ, is playing on a middle level between the
first and second floors. There is barely enough room for him let alone the
overflowing ashtray and oversized stocking cap. Rumor has it this is his last
show, despite this being his first. There is talk that he is moving into
production and will be working with a major player in the hip hop industry,
depending on who is hot at the time. DJ Shingles is wearing an Armani black
button-down shirt with the sleeves ripped off. Very last year, but this is more
a statement than a miscalculation on his part. Last season is the new season.

My manager
signals for me to make my way across toward the mirror. A reporter from GQ is following me and asking
me questions about who I’m going to sign with and whether or not my past will
affect my future. I get her number, tell her I’ll call her later, and then blow
her off as I approach the mirror. Always leak your press, never tell. This is
secret number three on how to be famous.

Four widescreen
televisions are fastened to the wall behind the bar. All are showing TMZ. An
orange haired girl wearing a Betsey Johnson dress sees me staring at the
television sets. She walks over and whispers in my ear, “It’s the new CNN.”

A waiter
carrying a tray of wine from 1980 is walking by. Every 15 minutes another
waiter, another tray, another year will walk by. Welcome to the world of
fashion parties. Ten percent content, ninety percent presentation.

A man who goes
by the name Dontay hands me a coffee cup that is full of scotch. My manager
tells me to sip it and not cheers anyone. Any buzz that insinuates I’ve been in
rehab and have put my porn career in the past is good press and can only help
my modeling career. As scheduled, I’m approached by someone with the last name

The Hilton is
wearing a blouse that is considered the color Ocean, the new blue, but since
Aquamarine blue was in fact the new blue for last season and last season is in
this season, no one should be caught dead in Ocean. Unless of course she is
being ironic. If so, she will have to mention this to at least three people
during the course of the evening.

“Mickey, you’re
back! I mean, uh…” Hilton looks at the coffee cup. “Welcome back!” She tips her
coffee cup to me.

I glance around
at the guest list, wondering who has the most juice at the party, but am
distracted by the waiter walking through with wines from 1990.

“Last season is the new season,
huh? Fuck that.” She laughs and looks fidgety as lights pop around us. At one
point Hilton puts her arm around me and kisses me on the cheek. FLASH. Mission

“I miss you,
Mickey. We should get together sometime, you know, have a cup of coffee, fuck,
or something.”

Sure, I tell
her and then she leaves because she has a rule about spending over forty hours
a week on the Lower East Side and this season many Fashion Week parties have
been in LES, the new SoHo.

According to my
manager, I need to make my way to a reserved table next to the bar where Paul
Johnson is sitting. My manager also says to ignore the temptation of champagne.
I have a job to do tonight.



Reviews are an author’s gold

Nicholas Maze

How do you get reviews?
When it comes to books, reviews are partial gold. Reviews
spark a person’s interest. If you are new to the writing scene and have no
reviews you can easily be overlooked: an individual will not take the time to
read about your book, even if it is a genre that they love.

Although you spent months or years writing, that two-paragraphed
review could hold the life of your book in its hands.

At the same time, you can have great reviews, but no
one ever sees them. Being unknown can stop you from being noticed all together.
So, a long list of great reviews can mean nothing. Reviews are a gamble, but
definitely worth the risk.

I also utilize book review services, such as *
and * These organizations locate reviewers for you, who turnaround
and submit their reviews to various online sites. By submitting reviews to
various online stores, they are increasing your presence and certifying you as
a worthy writer.
*Louise Wise: I haven’t checked these out, but be expected to pay.

How do you deal with bad ones?

In my world, a bad review is excellent!

I’ll give two key reasons why I enjoy bad reviews.
First, a bad review helps you to grow. When you receive a poor review, you have
the opportunity to see where you might have made a mistake or maybe missed some
information. Bad reviews help you to grow as a writer.

My second benefit is reality. When a curious reader is
going through your reviews, they will come across that negative review. Of
course they will wonder if the book is terrible, but they will also see that
real people reviewed your work. And, if you have good or great reviews to go
along with it, they can weigh their options.

About a week ago, I received my lowest review for my
latest work (EXIT: How to Leave Debt Forever). The reviewer titled the review,
“I didn’t find anything new here.”

Although, the title stated how my book was just like
any other financial book, the reviewer yet pointed out that they learned
something in the book. This type of review is even better, because I not only
received a “lower than average” review, but I also received good remarks on my
work. So, a curious reader will be led to read the negative review and find a
positive spin on it.

One thing you have to remember is that you will not
please everyone, so write from your heart and find the good in all your reviews
and comments.

The Exit
How to Leave Debt Forever

What 12+ years of schooling never provided is located within this amazing literature. From basic instructions on saving to the reason for America’s current financial dilemma, we receive great advice in the world of finance. People across the globe are crying for relief that will never come. In EXIT, we learn that financial strain is planned and orchestrated. The more America suffers financially, the more successful certain individuals become. How do we eliminate a problem that has been in place for almost 100 years? We first learn how to exit, escape.  

Genre – Non-Fiction/Self-Help/Financial

Format – Paperback & Ebook
Publisher – Pearle Pages Publishing
Released – February 21, 2012

Purchase Links:
Nicholas Maze Website
Barnes and Noble

Getting an agent – Mortal Kombat style

Emlyn Chand

Do you like to play video games? Have you ever played Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Soul Calibur, or Super Smash Brothers?

If you’re a writer who has attempted to land a literary agent, then you have to some degree. Securing a literary agent is one part fight and one part game, and there are many rounds to this battle.

I’ve made it through the first match alive but slightly worse for the wear. Rather than explain my literary agent submission experience in lengthy, dramatic prose, I thought it would be more fun to turn it into a video game script.

Welcome to Book Basher Super Fiiiight Time—Hiyaah!

Deep in the snowy wasteland of the mid-January Midwest, our hero boldly prepares for battle. With nothing more than a six-time-revised manuscript and a dash of hope, she sets forth on her journey toward publication.

Meanwhile in the magical urban forest called
“New York,” an army of battle-weary agents also prepare for their day’s
journeys. They have emerged victorious many times before and think nothing of
today’s show-down.

Within the space of the cyber realm, at last
they shall meet.

Our hero goes forth, query in hand, with
minimal armor to protect her feelings. Although she has honed her skills for
more than one year, nothing could have prepared her for this first battle.

Emlyn vs. The Literary
Agents—Battle 1—Fiiiight!

OUR HERO: “I’m calling on my strength.” She
circles her arms and performs a sun salute.

AGENT #1:  “He, he. I will make you
cry!” She looks at our hero from over her shoulder, sticks out her tongue,
and winks.

OUR HERO inches forward, hesitantly, toward
her opponent

AGENT #1 performs a swift maneuver, pulling a
red rejection stamp out of her pocket and bringing it to rest on our hero’s manuscript—
KO—“You die too easily, hmmpf!”
Out in MAY!

Emlyn vs. The Literary
Agents—Battle 2—Fiiiight!

OUR HERO: “If I believe in myself, I shall
emerge victorious”

AGENT #2: “Don’t waste my time,” he growls
through his robotic sheath.

OUR HERO stands still staring at her massive
opponent. She can not forget the outcome of her previous match. She is
immobilized from this fear of failing again. She is almost too afraid to…

AGENT #2 sees his opponent’s hesitation. He
jumps high into the air and lands on our hero using a three-move combo—not for
us, misspell querier’s name, forget to mention ms title—BAAAAM!—KO—“Thank you
for giving me the opportunity to consider your work, weakling.” He laughs quite

Emlyn vs. The Literary
Agents—Battle 3—Fiiiight!

OUR HERO: “If I persevere, success will
surely be obtained.”

AGENT #3: “This is an automated reply—beep—if
you do not hear from us with 8 weeks’ time, then we have determined your work
is not a right fit for us—beep!”

OUR HERO: sighs, shrugs shoulders, and sits
to wait for her opponent’s arrival. Weeks pass by, months—no word from Agent
#3. Our hero stands up and jumps off the edge of the screen, effectively
eliminating herself from this battle—KO!

Emlyn vs. The Literary
Agents—Battle 4—Fiiiight!

OUR HERO has hurt herself in the fall. She
has spent weeks recuperating under the guidance of her writing sensei. Now, she
is finally ready to approach battle again. She has lost almost all of her
optimistic fervor. She now expects to lose but that doesn’t mean she won’t
continue to train hard and try her best in battles.
AGENT #4 emerges from the shadows and glares
at our hero hostilely. “Let’s make this quick.”

OUR HERO stares back. “I’m not afraid of
you,” she says. And she’s not. They can’t scare her anymore. She’s suffered
many defeats, what harm will one more do? Even with the slightest chance of
securing victory, it’s worth fighting, it’s worth suffering another humiliating
and painful defeat.

AGENT #4 removes a stack of papers from her
satchel and prepares to fling them at her opponent, Chinese star style.

OUR HERO sees the approaching onslaught and
jumps high into the air, landing at the agent’s back. She brings out her

AGENT #4 attempts to do a low-back kick but
misses our hero.

OUR HERO makes her attack. “I will not be
ignored. My name is Emlyn Chand and THE IRON PILLAR is an 85,000-word work of
multicultural women’s fiction…”

AGENT #4’s eyes glaze over. She has been
caught in our hero’s trap. Now she has no choice but to listen. She can attack
again once our hero’s attempts at securing victory have finished.

OUR HERO: “The most important of which is
love for oneself. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to
hearing from you.” Having used the only move in her repertoire, our hero raises
her eyes above her query letter and waits.

AGENT #4 is still in a trance-like state. The
well-written query letter has calmed her. She puzzles over her thoughts for a
moment, and then—“Yes, I am interested. I would like to request a partial
OUR HERO jumps high into the air, doing an
elaborate spin kick. She cannot believe what just happened. She won, she won,
she won! No KO this time. She lands on feet as light as the air.

AGENT #4: “This, of course, is only the first
step. If I like your partial, I’ll request a full, if I like your full, I will
consider offering representation.” She snaps her fingers and vanishes back into
the tangle of the urban forest.

OUR HERO is left all alone in the cyber
realm. She hadn’t realized that she would have to face this same agent again.
The agent will be back, no doubt, stronger, more vicious. The only thing to do
now is to wait and prepare herself mentally for the next battle. Our hero sits
down cross-legged and begins to count the blades of grass that cushion her
bottom. It shouldn’t be too long now…

Update:  Emlyn actually did get a literary agent four
months after she wrote this post! He’s currently shipping around the
aforementioned manuscript. Meanwhile, Emlyn decided counting blades of grass
wasn’t a productive use of her time and chose to self-publish her second novel,
Farsighted, the first in a YA
paranormal series.


Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.


Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an
unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may,
Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest
that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and
new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey
to change his future.
 Book Teaser: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still
“see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future
begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice
but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.

Buy from:  and

Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having
emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true
 Farsighted is her
very first novel. When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann
Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, 
Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to
connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb.
Visit for
more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!