Friday, June 28, 2013

Manage Your Self-Publishing Project

The sudden spurt of self-publishing options and the number of authors opting for this route has changed the face of publishing. However, for many novices in the field, self publishing can be fraught with pitfalls. How to organize the project is one of the biggest hurdles. What to do first? Hank Quense's brilliant little book How to Manage Your Self-Publishing Project offers a workable plan of action.
This short and simple e-book contains a wealth of information. It represents a unique approach to self-publishing and is based on the author’s lectures and webinars. It uses to flow charts and mind-maps to graphically explain the processes. It is intended to be a self-contained guide on the self-publishing and marketing processes. It won’t exactly tell you how to self-publish or market a book, but it will present the steps you need to take to get your book self-published and how to start marketing it. There are notes associated with the flow charts and the mind-maps to explain the tasks involved in that part of the process. These charts can be considered as elaborate and extensive to-do lists with time frames on when you should be addressing each to-do item.
Self-publishing can be a confusing and expensive project for the novice author. Some authors use the ‘spray and pray’ approach, and end up doing things backward and wondering why such an expensive project did not work. Simplicity and organization is the key to success. Author Hank Quense approaches the task of self publishing in a multifaceted way. It’s not just about writing the book (usually the easy part). The nuts and bolts of ISBN, websites, marketing, budgeting, and additional extras to enhance the book’s appeal are also discussed. The author outlines a practical step-by-step approach, putting each aspect of the book process into its place for both the e-book and the print version. One can hardly go wrong with his clear mind maps and flow charts. It’s a good idea to print them out and pin them up next to your desk. He includes helpful links to areas such as creating press kits, and checking on service providers.
The book emphasizes the changing role of a self-published author: from being a writer, an author now becomes the CEO of his or her business. It is not enough to write a book and hope readers will buy it. It must be polished, produced, marketed, and nurtured after that. Marketing a book is hard work, but a logical approach will add to a book’s potential for success. Hank Quense will show you how in this eminently readable, useful guide. 5 Stars.
Altogether, Hank has over fifty published short stories and a number of non-fiction articles. Hank has initiated a series of lectures and workshops to share his expertise in creating fiction and publishing books. Create A Short Story is a 4-session workshop in which the participants design their own short story. He also gives a two-part seminar on Self-publishing a book and Marketing and Selling the self-published book. Visit Hank's author site or his Amazon page to find out more about his work.
First reviewed for Readers Favorite.
by Fiona Ingram

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review: Keeper of Reign

The ancient books were written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people; a Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it? For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse
which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema.  Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? When Jules’ family home is ransacked to find his mother’s Ancient Book and his mother is kidnapped, he realizes the threat is real. Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules realizes who is a friend and who is a foe, and doesn’t get himself killed first.
Although the book is listed as YA, this is a wonderful read for kids 10 and upwards. Central to the plot and the family is Jules Blaze. There is a nice feel to his relationships with his four younger siblings, each of whom has a clearly defined character. Jules is responsible, a little over-anxious at times, but eminently likeable, with a noble heart. His strength and courage mark him as a strong leader in this quest. He faces dangers, disappointments, and betrayal with maturity. An important aspect of fantasy and sci-fi is world-building: it must be real and credible. Author Emma Right does a great job here, incorporating the magical with the mundane, and blending the mysterious with the dangerous in expert fashion. The Elfies are extremely small, hence their hazards are myriad: from aggressive birds, insects, and animals, to falling acorns, to natural elements, to the evil Lord Gehzurolle’s agents. The author weaves back history and Elfie information deftly into the plot enabling the action to race onward. There is a helpful cast list for younger readers, as well as a map (always a bonus) to help adventurers share this epic quest. I found the ending a little abrupt, but it hints of more action to come.
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Sci-fi/Adventure

Five Stars
by Fiona Ingram

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: Alchemist

Be afraid, be very afraid of big pharmaceutical organisations.  When Montana Bannerman’s Nobel prize-winning father sells his company (including his genetics research and laboratory) to a giant corporation, Bendix Schere,  that labels itself as ’caring,’ she and her father think their financial problems are over. All they need to do now is research for cures that will benefit mankind. Right? Wrong. Within a short space of time, a pushy reporter (Zandra Wollerton) working on a wild and seemingly far-fetched story is dead. Too many babies are being born with Cyclops Syndrome. Is this
coincidence or genetic engineering? Then when more people connected to the company and the investigation start dying—sometimes in front of Monty—she takes fright. Who is behind the world’s most caring company’s hidden agenda? And when Monty narrowly escapes an attempt on her life, she wonders who can she trust? A co-worker? The police? Everyone she speaks to ends up dead!

What a thriller. I read this book a while ago and enjoyed it even more on the second read. It is a thought-provoking novel with enough of a sprinkling of the occult to remain credible. The Satanic side is not overdone, and wasn’t magic really science in disguise thousands of years ago? There is also enough science and genetics to keep the reader interested without overwhelming the layman with too much ‘stuff.’ Flashbacks are relevant and add to the story. The author has a way of keeping readers intrigued as new information filters through. I liked the characters very much and found them believable. The action jumps between scenarios to keep the readers on the edge of their seats. The plot is complex, but ‘big reveals’ are surprising and conspiracy theorists will be satisfied with this book.
One wonders, after reading this book, if the author knows something we do not. Even though this book was published in 1999, its relevance for today is perhaps even more compelling. We have become so dependent on medication, and (most interestingly) a new trend coming to the fore is genetic analysis. People can have themselves tested to see what diseases they might develop in the future and take steps accordingly to prevent such diseases developing. Perhaps big pharmaceutical companies will see a gap here and fact becomes stranger than fiction…
Peter James is an international, best-selling British author of crime fiction. Read more about his books here.

by Fiona Ingram

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Piggy on Wheels Teaches Kids Compassion

When I read the headlines on Galleycat that a piggy in a wheelchair had inked a 3-book deal with self-help publisher Hay House, I was instantly intrigued. Wouldn’t you be too?
His press release says: Chris P. Bacon, the pig in a wheelchair who quickly became a YouTube sensation in early 2013 with over 1.2 million views, is setting out to teach children about compassion, acceptance, and loving your imperfections. Chris P. Bacon was rescued by his veterinarian Dr. Len Lucero after a young woman reluctantly dropped him off to be euthanized because of a congenital defect that affects his rear legs. Dr. Lucero gave Chris a second chance at life and with two wheels strapped to the rear of his body, he is now a perfectly healthy and happy piggy-on-the-go.

Chris P. with training wheels
This little piggy was born with deformed hind legs, which means he lifts himself up on his front legs. While he is little, this modus operandi will work, but not later when he grows to full weight. His new owner modified his son’s toys to give Chris P. his first set of wheels. As the piggy grows heavier, he’ll graduate to bigger and better wheels. For many animals, life would be over, but for Chris P., life and a new role has just begun. His YouTube videos and his television appearances show him to be a curious, affectionate, independent and very intelligent piglet, with loads of personality and a secret obsession with grapes.

Chris P. says on his Facebook page: My name is Chris P. Bacon. I am a pig in a wheelchair. My veterinarian Dr. Len Lucero decided that I needed to be given a second chance. I went home with Dr. Lucero that day, so that I would have a chance at life as a handicapped pig. I live in Florida and love my new life! Watch me grow and take on new obstacles that life has to offer me. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Chris P. with owner Len Lucero
Owner Len Lucero finds that the pig is garnering fans by the barrow loads, and with his own website, Facebook page, Pinterest and Twitter account, it’s not hard for Chris P. to spread the message: it’s okay to be disabled. Chris P. and Len have a new task in life: putting smiles back onto disabled/handicapped kids’ faces. Chris P. and Len Lucero will be travelling to various centres to help kids. Chris P. will spread the message of love just by being himself!
Teaching kids compassion is a wonderful start in life. From this beginning, kids learn the best qualities that make them better human beings. Kids will learn about perseverance, overcoming obstacles, and tolerance towards others.

Hay House, the world’s largest self-help and motivational publisher has signed a three-book deal with Chris P. Bacon, his dad Dr. Lucero and co-author Kristina Tracy, who has worked on children’s books with Wayne W. Dyer, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Deepak Chopra and more. The first book, geared towards children ages 4-10, will launch in Fall 2013.

Help Chris P. spread the word by visiting his social media sites and following his trail of good deeds. Please share his antics and share the message.

by Fiona Ingram

Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to Sell eBooks Directly to Readers

Great sales = success . However, finding readers and selling directly to them seems to be as easy as searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. However, thanks to Penny Sansevieri and her great newsletter, I have uncovered some new leads to benefit indie authors.
This article explains how to sell your eBook directly to readers without using an online reseller such as Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, or Kobo. Readers can get your book and revisions immediately, and you can make as much money as possible on each sale. However, this is too perfect a picture, so keep two factors in mind.
  1. First, somehow you need to get the eBook to your customers and their money to you. This can entail website hosting, fulfillment, payment processing, shipping, and customer service.
  2. Second, this method only works if you have the ability to expose your readers to your offering.
    While people might stumble upon your book on Amazon, iBookstore, Nook, Google Play, and Kobo because of internal recommendation engines and large amounts of traffic, this isn't going to happen with this type of sale.
Gumroad charges $0.25 per download plus 5 percent of the sale for hosting and selling your file. For example, if you sell a PDF for $3, Gumroad keeps $0.40 ($0.25 + 5 percent of $3) and you'd get $2.60. This is more than you'd get from Kindle Direct Publishing for the same transaction. Gumroad also offers a "$0+" option. This means that people can pay whatever they want to-including nothing.

I used Gumroad to distribute a PDF of What the Plus! Unfortunately, I didn't track results when I varied the price from $2.99 to as low as "pay what you want." Over the course of a month, 26,717 people clicked on the link, and 1,632 people downloaded it.

Most people paid $0, but the donations amounted to $803.23, so the average amount paid was approximately $0.50 per copy. This was four months after the introduction of the book. By that time, I had given away approximately 15,000 copies and sold 15,000 copies.

People cannot pay with PayPal because Gumroad only accepts credit cards. Also, Gumroad asks for a minimal amount of personal information, so it cannot provide information about where your customers live. Someday you may need this information to charge sales tax or value-added tax for digital content.

Gumroad requires a preexisting and loyal audience that will click on a link that you provide. As a first-time author, this may be difficult, but you'll learn how to build your "platform" in the next section of the book, "Entrepreneur." If you can make this work, there are two big benefits: retention of more of the selling price and access to the e-mail addresses of everyone who has bought the file.
E-Junkie is another way to sell your book directly. Unlike Gumroad's per-copy flat fee and percentage, E-Junkie charges according to the number of files and storage space that you use. The number of downloads is unlimited.

A collection of ten files totaling less than fifty megabytes costs $5 per month. Therefore, if you had one book that is less than fifty megabytes (which is a huge size for a book), you'd only pay $5 per month, and you could sell an unlimited number of copies.

Unlike Gumroad, customers can use PayPal, Google Checkout, TrialPay, and but not credit cards. Finally, also unlike Gumroad, E-Junkie can calculate sales tax and VAT charges because it knows where your customers reside.
ClickBank is a third way to sell ebooks directly. You create an account, upload your file, price it, and sell it. There is a $49.95 activation fee to get started. Customers can use credit cards or PayPal.

A key difference between ClickBank and the other two services is ClickBank's affiliate program. The scenario ClickBank paints is that people discover great books in the ClickBank marketplace. Then they join the ClickBank affiliate program, get an affiliate link to their favorite books, and promote the link on their blog and through social media.

The company says that it has 100,000 affiliates in 200 countries. It claims to have paid more than $1.8 billion to affiliates and vendors (the people who upload files) and to process 30,000 transactions per day.

The revenue split with ClickBank is different from the other direct-sales sites. ClickBank operates on a wholesale price/retail price model, which means you set a wholesale price (the price at which ClickBank and other affiliates buy the book from you) and a retail price (the price customers see and pay). Your revenue is the wholesale price, since you are selling to ClickBank, and they are the seller of record to customers.
Ganxy is an interesting start-up in this segment. It enables you create a "showcase" for your eBook and sell it in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF format. Ganxy provides payment functionality, file hosting, and customer service.

Ganxy charges 10 percent of net sales, where net sales is the selling price of the eBook less a payment-processing fee. Think of it as a website like Gumroad, E-Junkie, and ClickBank that is dedicated to selling eBooks.
If you can convince people to buy your book from these services, you can make more money per book. Nathan Barry's App Design Handbook is an example. Barry has a concentrated market of app programmers, and these programmers are willing to pay his book's price of $39.

For these programmers, the book isn't a $2.99 Gothic-romance whim. Designing apps is their livelihood, so a $39 price point for a book that can help them succeed isn't a problem. Barry makes approximately $38.20 per book, so if he sold 2,000 copies, he could buy a Porsche.

On the other hand, online eBook resellers such as Amazon and Apple pay less per copy, but they may sell more copies. Also, direct sales do not count toward sales rankings for bestseller lists, and books on these lists tend to sell more because they are visible.

If your customers are not price sensitive and you have a way to reach them, then selling direct can work. If these conditions do not exist, then it may be better to make less money per copy but sell more copies using online resellers and bookstores.
If you're wondering about using PayPal to sell eBooks, it's not applicable to most self-publishers because this would require creating a website where your readers have an account, and you control access to your eBook's file. Essentially, you'd have to become your own E-Junkie and manage an ecommerce site.

PayPal provides payment collection, and when someone pays, it tells your website to grant access-for example, if someone buys more weapons in an online game. Credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa work in similar ways. However, these companies do not act as your store by hosting your eBook and selling it.

So your customers can pay with PayPal and credit cards, but on Gumroad, E-Junkie, and ClickBank, not directly to you.

This fantastic information comes from Guy Kawasaki, who has written 12 books, 10 of which were
traditionally published. His newest book is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book, which helps people understand how and why to self-publish.

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, is available as an eBook ($9.99) and in paperback ($24.99). Visit

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

by Fiona Ingram

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Q&A with author Tanya J. Peterson

Today I welcome author Tanya J. Peterson to my blog for a Q and A. Last week I reviewed Tanya’s book Leave of Absence. I found it unusual in subject matter and extremely informative. Leave of Absence deals with mental disorders and imbalances, some temporary and some long-term. I did a bit of research and the statistics are scary.

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older or about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the
Author Tanya J. Peterson
leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for two or more disorders. In my research, I also noticed a large variety of other disorders, ranging from schizophrenia, to PTSD, to panic attacks.

  1. You are a counselor with an education and background in this kind of work. You deal with facts – so what made you turn to fiction to create a story about mental disorders?
I strongly believe that fiction can be a power vehicle for conveying human truths.  There is a plethora of excellent non-fiction books written about the different mental illnesses, and that’s very necessary.  Non-fiction does a great job of teaching very important factual information.  For my purposes, though, it has two drawbacks that I wanted to avoid:  non-fiction books target a very specific audience, and they tend to focus on the conditions/disorders rather than on the human beings behind them.  In using fiction, I hope to attract a broader range of readers in order to spread the message further.  Also, with fiction, there are characters, people with whom readers can connect.  So, in the case of Leave of Absence, not only will readers see what schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, and loss really are, but they will see what it’s like for the people who experience these mental illnesses.  I suppose I should confess there is one other reason I opted for fiction.  Fiction is incredibly fun to write!  Even though this is a very serious subject, it was an enjoyable process. 

  1. In my view, the ‘collateral damage’ is often forgotten i.e. the effects on family and friends who find it easier to walk away because they can’t cope with a loved one’s disability. How do you feel a fiction story can help them?

Sometimes, friends and family walk away not because they don’t care but because they are overwhelmed or don’t fully understand the implications of their loved one’s illness.  Reading the facts about a mental illness (or a physical one, for that matter) is essential and gives people a fundamental understanding of that illness.  Being able to recite the symptoms of or the helpful medications for a disorder unfortunately doesn’t help prepare someone for the day-to-day interactions with a loved one experiencing a mental illness.  In Leave of Absence, Penelope has schizophrenia.  Her fiancé, William, knows that this involves such things as hallucinations and delusions.  However, knowing this doesn’t automatically make things easy for him.  He has watched their lives change.  While they used to have an active social life, they have become isolated for various reasons associated with Penelope’s illness.  Penelope’s demeanour has changed, and she is different toward William than she used to be.  William struggles with this, yet he still loves her deeply because he sees the Penelope behind the illness.

Your observation of “collateral damage” suffered by friends and family of someone experiencing mental illness is very astute.  The lifestyle and relationship changes to which William has to adjust are very common.  In reading about the experiences of fictional characters (as long as the experiences are realistic and accurate), people can experience a sense of connection.  Their hardships can be normalized, giving a feeling that they’re not alone.  In seeing that the difficulties are common, they can feel a sense of relief that what they are feeling and experiencing is normal rather than a sign that they’re doing something wrong.
One more thought about fiction’s power.  Even if a reader doesn’t experience exactly what the characters of a story do (because mental illness is very individualized; schizophrenia, for example, doesn’t look the same for everybody who experiences it), he/she can use a novel as a tool for discussion.  A story and its characters can be vehicles for expression and a way to open up communication.  (A caregiver can say, “Penelope hears Eleanor Roosevelt, and she’s really mean to her.  What are hallucinations like for you?”)    

  1. How did you come up with the two different characters in Oliver and Penelope?
That’s the fun part of fiction!  Oliver and Penelope are completely figments of my imagination, and developing them was a delight.  Before I began writing, I knew the theme I wanted to convey (that there are real human beings behind a mental illness, and they’re not fearful people) as well as the mission (to counteract negative stereotypes and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by increasing understanding of it as well as empathy for those who experience it).  I also knew that in this novel I wanted to portray schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder as these are illnesses we hear a great deal about but have little true understanding for.  There are many negative, and incorrect, stereotypes associated with each of these.  With that in mind, I knew that I had to start not with a storyline but with people/characters.
 I have a personal quirk:  I love stories that have male characters with whom I can bond.  Therefore, I wanted Leave of Absence to have such a character, and Oliver was “born.”  I imagined him thoroughly, and it felt right that he be the one with PTSD (well, maybe not “right,” because that’s kind of mean, but you get my drift).   His story developed further in my mind, and of course I knew that the poor guy would also be suffering from depression and complicated mourning (complicated mourning isn’t a classifiable mental illness, but it is something that causes pain and difficulty).  I then turned to schizophrenia and imagined who would experience it.  After some visualization and brainstorming, Penelope was “born,” too.  I spent time with her as well.  I wanted to know these two well before I started to write their story.  By the time I was ready to write, I knew them so well that the story almost wrote itself!

  1. I believe you have been on ‘both sides’ of the couch, and have experienced some of the anguish of stress. Can you tell us how this helped you in creating your characters?
I have indeed been on both sides.  I have an advanced degree in counselling, and I’m a Nationally Certified Counselor (in the US).  I’ve worked and volunteered my services as a counsellor.  This background has helped me understand the facts about mental illness with accuracy (although I didn’t rely only on this but rather conducted research before and during the writing process as well).  It has also helped me see the people behind the illness and understand their very human emotions.
The professional background was very helpful, but so was my personal experience.  I actually have been a patient in a behavioural health centre much like Airhaven in Leave of Absence.  It was there that I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder and various anxiety difficulties.  The hospitalization came in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident in which I sustained a closed head injury (and having two separate concussions in the months that followed this accident didn’t help matters).  There were other stressful events happening at the same time.  None of this caused bipolar I disorder, of course, but they all made it difficult to continue to deny and ignore.  Dealing with this has given me a deeper perspective than I would have otherwise.  Oliver and Penelope, and their experiences, are entirely fictitious, but my own life experiences (both professionally and personally) have (hopefully) helped me give them depth and dimension. 
  1. What has been the response of readers to Leave of Absence?
I’ve been absolutely thrilled by people’s reaction to Leave of Absence.  I’ve had readers report that they have a deeper understanding of mental illness, that they see people with mental illness in a new light.  I also read a review by someone who said that he used to be a psychology teacher and that he wishes he would have had Leave of Absence to use in his classroom for illustration and discussion of mental illness.    Reactions like these are exactly what I am hoping for with Leave of Absence!
Additionally, I recently learned that Leave of Absence was selected as a finalist in the “faction” (fiction based on fact) category of the (US) National IndieExcellence Awards contest.  For me the best part about this is the category, because this really is fiction based on fact, and I hope that this will lend credibility to my work.
I’m also really pleased that many people seem to really connect with Oliver and Penelope.  I love it when people tell me that when the book ended they weren’t ready to be done with the characters (William, too).   I’m so happy about this for the sake of Oliver, Penelope, and William.
  1. Where do you hope to take this new venture – are there more books in sight?
I feel so strongly about increasing understanding and reducing stigma, so I hope this new venture gains momentum and keeps going.  I’ve been giving presentations and talks about mental illness, and using Leave of Absence as a tool.  I’ve even been invited to speak about mental illness at the national conference (US) of the Mothers of Incarcerated Sons Society,Inc.  I’m extremely excited (and nervous) about that.  So I hope to be able to continue to speak about mental illness.
I do love writing, too, and I’ll always believe that fiction is a great tool for creating understanding and empathy.  I hope to be able to continue writing novels.  As a matter of fact, I am working on a new one right now.  I’m still in the very early stages, and I’m developing the characters at the moment.  It’s a bit difficult because I still feel connected to Oliver, Penelope, and William, but as I brainstorm and imagine, I’m already bonding with the new group.  This one will of course be very different from Leave of Absence, but it will address the same overall theme.  It will be fun!
  1. Is there anything you’d like readers of my blog and the book to remember/take away with them?
First and foremost, I want you and your readers to know how deeply I appreciate all of you.  Fiona, thank you for hosting me on your blog, and readers, thank you for reading Fiona’s review of Leave of Absence as well as our interview.  I believe strongly in my mission (for the sake of others rather than myself), and I really hope to be able to spread my message.  It’s not easy to start up, though.  For a variety of reasons (the primary one is that I wanted to retain control over what I could and could not do with
Leave of Absence
Leave of Absence [I’ve been told I’m stubborn]), I decided against the traditional publishing route despite potential opportunities.  Whether I published traditionally, independently, or a hybrid of the two (which I did), I’m starting out unknown and I need to work to make readers aware of Leave of Absence.  I couldn’t do that without you, and I am truly grateful for your time and attention.  Thank you.  Fiona, your blog is incredibly well-done, and it’s an honour to be part of it.
You’ve asked terrific questions that have helped me convey my message, so I don’t want to be too repetitive.  To close, I will simply say this:  seek always to understand, for behind someone’s difficulties is a human being.

Here's wishing you a wonderful journey and great success with your fantastic book Tanya. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight with us today.

by Fiona Ingram

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: The Great White Elk

Alexander McKee, a mixed-blood British Indian agent, was one of the few individuals in history able to unite Indians and exert unbelievable leadership on their behalf. When the War for Independence broke out between the Colonies and the British, McKee chose to remain loyal to his mother country. He played a major role on the American frontier during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the post-war era. Because of his selfless devotion to the British and the Native Americans, he forfeited massive real estate and social standing when he left his Pittsburgh mansion to organize Indian raids on the American frontier, for which he was branded a traitor by the Continental Congress.

It’s hard to make history come alive, but in the capable hands of author Frederick Wulff, the historical character of Alexander McKee, a British Indian agent of the colonial frontier, springs vibrantly from the dusty pages of history books. The author uncovers the tragic realities and the bloody consequences of colonialism and the sad disintegration of the Indian way of life as the white man’s behaviour and lawlessness eroded their culture and their rights. The devastating effects of the rum trade cannot be underestimated. The author also reveals the incredible personal story behind the man who played a seminal role in this compelling and chaotic piece of American history. Born of a Shawnee mother and a British father, choosing sides could not have been easy for McKee in the culture clash between the land-grabbing colonialists, the traders, and the Indians, the original
inhabitants of this new territory. McKee was a man who could straddle two cultures, understanding both, but ultimately choosing to speak up for the displaced Indians, and losing much in the bargain. McKee is revealed as an exceptional man, intelligent and educated, perceptive, and possessing great leadership qualities. From his mother he learned the values and traditions of her people. He helped broker a precarious peace between Indians, traders, and settlers. McKee earned the title “The Great White Elk,” and this term of respect and admiration was well-deserved as he maneuvered British frontier policy and promoted the interests of the beleaguered Native Americans in the post-Revolution era. His principles and actions did not appeal to later historians who branded him a traitor.

Frederick Wulff’s account of this remarkable man will keep history buffs captivated. Minutely researched and written with a deep understanding of the era and Alexander McKee, this book is an excellent read. The author has an easy-to-read style that makes the wealth of information easily assimilated. Five Stars. Highly recommended.

by Fiona Ingram

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

17th Kid Lit Blog Hop

Please see our NEW RULES below!

Welcome to the 17th Kid Lit Blog Hop. The Kid Lit Blog Hop takes place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. We have managed to create a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists, as well as parents seeking out their next great read. So, you are more than welcome to link in and take some time to make some new friends. Please join me in welcoming a new permanent hostess, Reshama at Stacking Books - a wonderful blog with many recommendations for the best children's books. We are also pleased to have Fiona Ingram, the author of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab (click for my review of this FABULOUS middle grade book) and a blogger as well, joining us this week as co-hostess of the Hop. Welcome Reshama and Fiona! Please be sure to give each of our hostesses a visit to say a quick hello!

Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

Kid Lit Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Kid Lit Blog Hop"><img src="" alt="Kid Lit Blog Hop" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Kid Lit Blog Hop Rules *NEW*:

1. *NEW* We ask that you kindly follow your hostesses and co-hostesses. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.), but we've added our preferences below. If you could just give us a quick "follow" or "like" that would be much appreciated! Make sure to leave us a message if you are following us (i.e., on Twitter or Facebook or on our websites) and we will be sure to follow you back. Thanks! :-)


Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews Twitter * Goodreads

Jaymie @ Snacks for Max Twitter * Facebook

Heidi @ Geo Librarian Twitter * Facebook

Sue @ Kid Lit Reviews Twitter * Facebook

Katie @ Youth Literature Reviews Twitter * Facebook

Julie Grasso, Author of Escape From the Forbidden Planet/Blogger Twitter * Facebook

Cheryl Carpinello, Author of Guinevere & The King's Ransom / Blogger Twitter * Facebook

Reshama @ Stacking Books Twitter * Facebook


Fiona Ingram, Author of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab / Blogger Twitter * Pinterest

2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.

* Don't link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post*

* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one *

* Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*

* Feel free to link more than one post.*

3. *NEW* Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you! 4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you're linking up. If you'd prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links! 5. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!
Interested in co-hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop? Please email renee @ motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com and put Co-Hosting Blog Hop in the subject line.
Happy Hopping!