Monday, October 31, 2011

In His Own Words- Guest Interview - John W. Mefford - Author of "Committed"

Release Notes is glad to have author John W. Mefford as it's featured interview.  Mefford is the author of the new release Committed, an exciting thriller.  Without further ado, here is John W. Mefford in his own words.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
My desire to write novels has hit me in waves through the years. It would creep up and stand on my shoulder and shout into my ear, “You can write compelling stories. You must write!” A couple of times I took a few minor steps, but self-doubt would inevitably knock it off my shoulder. Or my type A personality of performing fifty tasks at once would wear down my creative edge. I finally listened to my inner voice about two years ago. I locked myself away from every responsibility possible and focused on creating my writer’s mindset. Then, I started pouring out my thoughts. Fifteen pages into the story, I knew I could do it.

On average, how long does it take you to write a book?
This is my first! From the initial word until the final edit the creative process for Committed lasted about sixteen months. With future books I hope to complete the process in six months or so.

Where do you find writing inspiration?
Every person, story, interaction, vision, song, movie, dream, and job I’ve experienced. Depending on the scene, I might draw upon a similar emotion I felt at some point in my life. Or I might recall something I witnessed or even heard about second hand. Probably like many authors, I’ve been able to put myself in another person’s mind to see and feel the world through their eyes.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I think I wrote my first fiction book in the first or second grade. I can’t recall the title, but it involved a stork who was lost. I guess you could also say I was “self-published.” I remember drawing the cover art and piecing together the pages into a bound book. I was one proud boy.

What do you think makes a good story?
I think it’s more interesting to think about how a story is told. I could tell you two different stories: One is about a terrorist bomb-maker who meets and falls in love with a Jewish girl and must decide if he’s going to follow through on his assigned mission to blow up himself and the market his girlfriend’s parents own. The second story is about a black bird landing on the same mailbox every day when a young boy goes out to get the mail. The first story certainly sounds more compelling, more suspenseful. But it all depends on how it’s presented, how it draws in the readers, how it evokes emotion, and how it concludes.

Does your family (and/or close friends) know that you write and are a published author? If so, are they supportive of your efforts? 
I came out of the closest in steps. I wrote my first manuscript with my wife being the only person in the know. Then, I shared it with others. After deciding to go the self-publishing path, I first completed a mammoth amount of research, had my cover art created, and picked a target release date before I shared the big news. My wife has been my number one supporter from day one. But as I’ve taken each step more and more people have encouraged me. Lately the support has been phenomenal. I’m very appreciative.

Is there a main genre that you would like to write for? 
I have a number of story concepts that traverse outside of my current genre. One that stands out is a series of kids mystery books targeted at ages 8-12. On the way to school my youngest son begs me to tell him stories. Over the years, I’ve developed central characters and plots that take place in various locations. I’m curious to see if I could turn that concept into a long-running series. I think I could write about twenty of them.

Are there any other types of fiction/literature that you enjoy reading? 
As much as I love fiction, in particular mystery / suspense / thrillers, I’m a sucker for a well-written memoir of someone I’ve long followed and admired. It’s shocking to admit, I realize.

How important is reader feedback, good or bad, to you?
I think an important skill for writers of all types is being able to weed out the extreme views and find that thread of constructive feedback. If you can treat the comments like those received in a focus group, it should help you further connect with your target audience.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy a good workout. It allows me to not feel guilty when I’m sitting on the couch watching my teams play baseball, basketball, football, soccer, etc…Outside of playing with the kids at the park, I have to live vicariously through the athletes I watch now. My joints just can’t take the pounding. I coach my youngest son’s soccer team. My wife and I love going to the movies, and we love to travel – although we rarely get a chance to do it. But when we do, nothing beats reading a great novel while on the road.

What advice, if any, do you have for aspiring authors?
I think it’s difficult for anyone starting a new endeavor to determine if they should put their head down and forge ahead or solicit feedback from anyone who offers it. A lot depends on the writer’s personality. Trying to adjust your concept or narrative based upon Uncle Joe’s opinion might take you down a trail you’ll never escape. So, part of the journey of becoming an author is learning the most productive way you work as a writer. And don’t look at this as a single decision. Life evolves. We (hopefully) learn and grow. Book to book, you can alter how you work and from whom to solicit feedback. But, mainly, set your expectations so you can succeed. Look for opportunities to build your confidence and over time your wings will sprout and take you to places you never imagined.

New Review - Committed by John W. Mefford

Committed is an exciting new novel from John W. Mefford.  Using the world of corporate takeovers as a background for murder and deception, Mefford does a wonderful job of opening an inside view of the business world's more seedy side and the steps people will take to achieve power.

The main character is Michael Doyle, an emotionally stunted man who has chosen to keep his feelings to himself.  He is emotionally distant from everyone, even his live-in girlfriend, Marisa.  They have a loving relationship but Michael's reluctance to commit colors his entire life.  Even the impending sale of the company he works for doesn't really crack his shell.

Everything changes when Michael literally stumbles over a body in a dark alley.  They soon discover it's Tiffany, a temp that had been working for the company.  Even though Michael didn't really care for her, he feels compelled to find out the real reason why Tiffany was killed.  What he soon uncovers blows the lid off of corporate deception and greed.  It also threatens his life and the life of the woman he loves.

This story is so very engaging from the start.  The reader doesn't have a hard time understanding why Michael is so guarded but it is refreshing to see him come out of his shell as events continue to snowball into the rocking climax.  This is truly a modern thriller, in today's climate of corporate takeovers and companies taking everything from employees, it's interesting to see the process from the insider's point of view. This story also contains so many interesting characters that complement Michael.   Everyone of them stands on their own yet help move the story. 

I really did enjoy this and finished it in two days!  I would highly recommend it for fans of thrillers along the lines of John Grisham.

To find out more information about the author:

If you are interested in purchasing this amazing novel:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bestseller For A Day - All Hallow's Eve by Cristyn West - New Review

All Hallow's Eve by Cristyn West is the Indie Book Collective's Bestseller for a Day.  Release Notes is thrilled to have had a chance to read this wonderful thriller and share the love!  For today, this great book and several others are only 99 CENTS!  If you enjoy horror, thriller and a good detective story,
this novel has it all!

All Hallow's Eve starts out in the days leading up to Halloween.  There's a serial killer on the loose and Detective Paxton Prover and his partner Ruth Motte is out to stop him before he can strike again.  Once they realize, the killer's master plan, it's a race against the clock to try and save as many innocent lives as they can.

This story reels you in from the first page.  Ms. West has a gift for writing a very engaging story and realistically flawed characters.  Paxton has family issues and uses avoidance as his method to deal with them.  Ruth has her own issues as a suddenly single mother with a teen aged son.  The tension between them is both stress and a strong attraction that neither is willing to act on.

This book contained one surprise after another and the killer was truly creative in reasoning for his choice of victims and the methods he used to kill them.  Ms. West truly leads you on a chase to figure out who the killer is but I really think you'd be as surprised as I was when the killer is finally unmasked!  

This book was a delight to read and so timely for Halloween!  You might want to keep the lights on after you finish it!

Release Notes is proud to feature bestselling author Cristyn West as the Indie Book Collective's Bestseller for a Day!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bestseller For A Day October 28, 2011. Featured Book- All Hallow's Eve By Cristyn West #IBC

People are being martyred but not for their faith. Instead the deaths are part of a serial killer’s sick game as he chooses his victim by their name… then kills them in that Saint’s grisly manner.

Buy to Win!!! Enter to win a Kindle!!!

That’s right!
By helping us drive “All Hallow's Eve” to the top of the Kindle Lists on October 26th, YOU can win!
Because Cristyn is giving away a brand new Kindle!
Simply purchase “All Hallow's Eve” on October 26, then head back to the Bestseller For A Day Website and fill out the entry form (located at the top of the right hand column).
You will only need to enter your email address and the first five numbers from your Amazon purchase confirmation code.
And tah-dah! You just gained 5 entries to win a Kindle!
But Wait!!!
There are more books for just 99 cents!! 

To celebrate All Hallow's Eve, these authors are lowering the price of their books to 99 cents! 

Fierce Dawn by Amber Scott
The Evil Within - An Horror Anthology
Widowmaker by Cristyn West and Elena Gray
Make sure you check out these fantastic reads and grab them for the great price of 99 cents!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In Max's Own Words- Interview with Maxwell Cynn, Author of The Collective

Release Notes is thrilled and honored to have Maxwell Cynn, author of The Collective visiting today. 
Maxwell Cynn is a novelist, freelance writer, amateur coder, webmaster, and Indie publisher who writes deliciously romantic speculative fiction and blogs book reviews on a wide range of genres. His website, with links to all of his social media connections, can be found at  I hope you'll enjoy! 

In Max's own words:

I'm a pragmatic dreamer, a poet, a philosopher, and a construction worker. I enjoy fine art, literature, and classical music as well as Monty Python, dime novels, and hard rock. I prefer cheap beer to fine wine and a good play to professional sports. My interests include theoretical physics, classical history, technology, science fiction, psychology, philosophy, mythology, and the paranormal. I tend to be shy, but I love people. So look me up on your favorite social network, leave a comment on my blog, or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
I dreamed of being a famous author in high school, and later in my 20's I played at writing a few fan fiction stories, but it was in my mid 40's that I decided writing is what I wanted to do and started seriously pursuing publication.

On average, how long does it take you to write a book?
Writing is easy. I can type out a novel in 4-6 weeks when my muse is cooperating. Then there is editing, revisions, polish... So I'd say 4-6 months before it is ready for beta readers and advance reviews and a couple of months after that before it is ready for readers. It's easy to spend a year from concept to publish.

Where do you find writing inspiration?
In everyday life. I write speculative fiction which is simply saying, What if? What if a sexy desktop assistant program became sentient? CybrGrrl. What if a computer virus was designed to infect the user's mind? The Collective. I have a devious and over-active imagination, so I'm always thinking, what if?

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first attempt at a novel was a Star Trek fan fiction, but we'll skip over that. I was 45 when I wrote CybrGrrl and published it at 47. I have three other novels ready to publish: The Collective which releases Oct 22, .45 Caliber Jitterbug releasing in December, and La Belle Mort releasing in 2012.

What do you think makes a good story?
Good characters and character interactions. A great plot falls dead at the feet of poorly developed characters.

Does your family (and/or close friends) know that you write and are a published author? If so, are they supportive of your efforts? 
My family and friends know and are supportive in a limited sense. Some of them are not avid readers and few have made the jump into eBooks. Being 50, a lot of my friends and family are not what you would call tech savvy and still have trouble with the internet - yes those people are still out there. I think they would be more excited and supportive if they had hard copies of my books.

Is there another sub-genre aside from your primary sub-genre that you would like to write for and why?
Speculative fiction is a wide genre and allows me great latitude in what I write. I've stayed mainly in SciFi and Tech, but I've also ventured into Historic Mystery and Paranormal. But everything has a romantic element because I'm a romantic at heart. I also dabble in non-fiction and would love to write for a local paper.

Is there a main genre that you would like to write for? 
As I said above, journalism has a huge draw to me. .45 Caliber Jitterbug is a classic Cozy Mystery set in the late 1920's during Prohibition. The main character is a reporter for the local newspaper. It was my chance to write like an old style journalist (think Hemingway). I loved it. But it is my only novel in that style or genre.

Are there any other types of fiction/literature that you enjoy reading? 
I'm an avid reader and read almost everything. If there isn't romance involved I tend to loose interest unless it's non-fiction, but I love fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, historical, suspense, you name it.

How important is reader feedback, good or bad, to you?
Bad feedback is more important than good. Someone saying they like my work is encouraging, but not constructive. When someone tells me things that aren't working I can make it better and grow as a writer. But any feedback from readers is highly important. I write for readers, so their opinion is everything.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read. Seriously. I love reading. There is nothing better than curling up with a cup of coffee and a good book on my Kindle, except writing a good book myself.

What advice, if any, do you have for aspiring authors?
First, read and read some more. But read like a writer. Look at style, plotting, voice, characterization, everything. Then find your voice. Don't try to copy what you've read, but use the tools you learn from reading. Next, edit. I spend more time editing, revising, and polishing than I do writing. Find honest crit partners - not ones that tell you how awesome you are, or ones who tell you how much you suck, but ones who are honest enough to tell you either when appropriate.

One note about crit groups: Some writers (Hemingway, Stephen King) believe crit groups are not only a waste of time, but destructive. Others live by their crit partners. Crit groups are what you make of them and only as good as the members. I've known people who praise everything and others who trash everything (except their own of course).

You must take all of the advice, critique, and edit suggestions as just that - suggestion. You are the writer. It is your manuscript, your story. Ultimately you decide its final state. Listening, and following every suggestion will result in a total mess and your voice will be completely lost in the cacophony of differing opinions. Nothing will ever appeal to every reader, and often opinions will contradict.

Write what you write. Write well structured prose without spelling or grammar mistakes, but write in your style - your voice. Don't let crit partners or popular books pull you away from your voice in an attempt to be "commercial." Readers can tell a false voice or a copycat and they won't read it. If I want to read Nora Roberts, I buy her books, not books by a Nora wanna-be.

Blog Tour - The Collective by Maxwell Cynn - New Review

Imagine... You have a virus on your computer. It's tracking everything you do and sending that information to the Collective. It can't be detected by any virus scan or blocked by any firewall. If you have a microphone, they are listening. If you have a webcam, they are watching you. But they aren't just watching. Flashes of light from your monitor are communicating with your subconscious. You are being brainwashed.

Dr. John Peterson discovers the virus and embarks on a mind altering search for the origins of the infection driving his patients mad. He discovers the Collective, and they discover him. A battle rages between the Nemesis virus and the ArchAngel network with the fate of mankind in the balance. Will man succumb to Nemesis and become drones of the Collective or rise as billions of individual archangels to light the world with freedom? One man, one woman, and a network of hackers hold the key.

This novel has it all!   Intrigue, suspense, romance and science fiction!  Maxwell Cynn takes advantage of something we use every day - computers and the web- and turned it into a bone-chilling tale of government secrets and the lengths they will go to in order to protect them.  The idea that this could really happen is what makes the story so mind-blowing! 

Dr John Peterson is a wonderful character, an every day, not so tech-savvy guy who realizes something is going on with a patient and it could be connected to the Internet.  What he discovers is so shocking that he is willing to risk everything to stop it.  Joined by an intrepid band of secretive hackers, Dr. Peterson races to stop the Collective before it's too late for us all.

This story really makes you wonder about what type of controls are lurking out their on the web.  With privacy concerns at an all time high, Maxwell came with this story at the right time.  It's a very realistic tale of "what if?" and the twists and turns it provides guarantee non-stop reading and complete enjoyment.  It'll also make you wonder what's really going on behind your computer screen...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blog Tour De Force - Masquerade - Day 4

BTDF_Oct_2011_logo copy

Thank you for sticking around our Masquerade Party. It’s been an adventure hasn’t it? Have you guessed the last 6 others correctly? If you have, #ssh , don’t tell. The big reveal is coming soon.

But first we have 6 more Masquerade-ers. Six more blogs filled with goodies plus the BIG REVEAL.

Which author will have the most correct guesses? Who doesn’t know how to hide? You know, the one that’s always found first during Hide & Seek?

Thanks for all the love you’ve been giving us on Twitter and Facebook, and Blog love…we’re overwhelmed with joy! We can’t thank you enough.

Now on to the good stuff…Today’s featured blogs.

Elena Gray: The Widowmaker

Jeremey Rodden: Toonopolis

Remember, each commenter gets a #FREE copy of the author’s book AND entry into their special give-away. That’s 12 free books!

On top of that, each commenter will be placed in the Blog Tour de Force’s KINDLE giveaway! It’s doesn’t get much more awesome than that.

Stay tuned for more authors, stops and free ebooks tomorrow!

The IBC Blog is "home base" so if you get caught up in the fun and lose direction, just head there where all the authors and stops are listed each day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blog Tour De Force - Masquerade - Day Three

BTDF_Oct_2011_logo copy

Are you ready for another round of Hide & Seek? You should be a pro at this by now. Let’s check. What day is this?

If you said, Day 3 of Masquerade, you’re pretty sharp.

We're at the halfway mark and this party is still going strong!

Please continue to Tweet, Blog, and post about our game. And remember to wave your Masquerade flag proudly...or pretend you have a flad.

If you're tardy to this party, no worries. We have four authors still hiding. They were having so much fun that they just forgot to leave. #oops

Today, we have 2 more authors who are pretty fabulous. That wasn’t a hint by the way.

Augusto Pinaud: The Writer

Ann Charles: Dance of the Winnebagos:

Keep the guesses and comments coming! Remember, each commenter gets a #FREE copy of the author’s book AND entry into their special give-away.

And don't forget that there is also a Kindle up for grabs for one lucky commenter! After all you need somewhere to store all your free ebooks!

Stay tuned for more authors, stops and free ebooks tomorrow!

The IBC Blog is "home base" so if you get caught up in the fun and lose direction, just head there where all the authors and stops are listed each day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day One - Blog Tour De Force Masquerade!!


Hold on to your costumes, scaredy cats, because the long awaited--much anticipated--Blog Tour de Force "Masquerade" starts TODAY!

Welcome to Day 1 of a SIX day broujaja of spooky fun where you get to guess who is disguised as who and along the way steal over 12 FREE ebooks.

We're talking bestsellers, award winners, and sleep with the lights on titles that will put you right in the mood for scare season.


Plus every commenter gets a chance to win a brand, new KINDLE to read them on.

Plus every author has a thrilling prize to give away.

Plus, IF you guess correctly (to be revealed Monday October 24th) you get extra entries towards that KINDLE, not to mention all important "I told you so" bragging rights.

Don't forget to peek at each author's sponsor sites, too, for screams and extras. See what kind of reads you're getting and what book reviewers thought of them, too.

These 12 authors are in each other!

Vicki Keiri--"Gifts of The Blood"

Augusto Pinaud--"The Writer"

Rachel Thompson--"The Evil Within" horror anthology

Maxwell Cynn--"The Collective"

Belinda Boring--"Cherished"

Jackie Chanel--"Change of Heart"

M. Todd Gallowglas--"First Chosen"

Elena Gray--"Widowmaker"

Amber Scott--"Soul Search"

Jeremy Rodden--"Toonopolis"

Lacey Weatherford--"The Demon Kiss"

Ann Charles--"Dance of the Winnebagos"

Who's under each mask? We're not telling, but each post will contain a hint or two. The fun starts off today at Amber Scott's then continues at Maxwell Cynn's.

Don't miss a single day of FREE! Go to to sign up for the newsletter and get a love note in your inbox each morning of a tour date.

Let the unmasking BEGIN!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bloodstone Heart - Author Interview With T. Lynne Tolles

Release Notes is thrilled to have CBLS featured author T. Lynne Tolles as guest author interview.  I found her words to be interesting and inspiring!  I hope you enjoy!

RN: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
TLT: I’m not sure. It certainly wasn’t my goal in life. I was actually trying to make a point with my teenager and it all kind of fell into place.

RN: On average, how long does it take you to write a book?
TLT: I would guesstimate somewhere between three to six months.

RN: Where do you find writing inspiration?
TLT: Everywhere, but if you want to get specific, most of my writing seems to happen in that pre-dream state just before I fall asleep.  I work out most of my plots and problem areas in this state. I guess it is when my mind is the most open to ideas and doesn’t have the stress of life ruling it.

RN: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
TLT: I didn’t enjoy writing in school. I guess I didn’t like being told what I had to write about even if it was very general.  It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I even had an inkling of stepping up to the task.

RN: What do you think makes a good story?
TLT: Real People…I like to think that if you make your characters as real as possible with feasible conversations and plausible reactions, than the characters can carry the story. Using life experiences in your writing helps you to connect to your readers.  A great story helps too, but if you can’t connect with the characters in the book than you’re probably not going to like any story that involves them.

RN: Does your family (and/or close friends) know that you write and are a published author of romance fiction? If so, are they supportive of your efforts? 
TLT: Yes. My mom and step-mom are beta readers and have no problem telling me what I could improve on.  My daughter has read some of the series, so yes all in all everyone has been very supportive

RN: Is there another sub-genre aside from your primary sub-genre that you would like to write for and why?
TLT: No, at least not at the moment, of course, that may change in the future, but for now I’m very happy in the genre I’m in.

RN: Is there a main genre besides romance that you would like to write for? 
TLT: If I were to ever venture out of the Young Adult genre, I suppose it would still be paranormal romance, just a little spicier. (giggles)  As it is I get embarrassed writing the love scenes even with them as tame as they are. That would be a pretty big leap for me.

RN: Aside from romance, are there any other types of fiction/literature that you enjoy reading? 
TLT: Classics I suppose…Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austin, etc.

RN: How important is reader feedback, good or bad, to you?
TLT: It’s all good. I try to look at everything as a whole and that it is all a learning experience. I’d be insane to think that no one would hate my books, after all the world is filled with different personalities and we all don’t like the same things. Think how boring the world would be if we all like the same things. I love getting letters from people and try to take their questions as a priority. As for reviews…well I think they are important, but I try not to take them too personally.

RN: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
TLT: Love jigsaw puzzles, computer games, knitting, sewing and napping. (Yes napping – it’s my favorite past time)

RN: What advice, if any, do you have for aspiring authors?
TLT: Hold fast to your dream and it will take you where you need to go. It may not take you in the direction you think it will but you’ll never know unless you try.