Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Email Confirms My Novel May be more Fact than Fiction

I just received an email from Dirck Storm, who confirmed that journalist Vic Livingston from Philadelphia, has in fact been harassed by some of the technologies I mention in my novel, Dark End of the Spectrum.

What's intriguing about his email are the links at the end. One site has information I read about five years ago during the initial research for Dark End of the Spectrum about how the Russians turned a conventional microwave oven into a deadly weapon. I included this information in one of the chapters of the book where one of the main characters tells how his wife died of cancer caused by this heinous weapon.

While this information is eye opening, I used it in my book for dramatic purposes and sort of half believed it. Now, it appears it may have been true.

Here's Mr. Storm's email and make sure you read my earlier post about Vic Livingston and how he says he has lived and breathed the dark end of the electromagnetic spectrum.

"Dear Mr. Policastro,

I am writing to confirm that what Vic Livingston wrote to you about his having been thrown into what has sometimes been described as a virtual global prison, replete with its uniquely tormenting features, is unfortunately all too true.  I do not personally know Mr. Livingston, but my own experience of being harassed in every conceivable nonelectronic and electronic fashion -- in ways that are essentially deniable and impossible to prove -- for nearly two decades leaves me no other choice but to endure this evil and engage in whatever feeble efforts I can to help end this monstrosity.

Because of its extreme sophistication, its utterly opaque leadership, its devastating physical and financial effects on its targets, and its now global reach, the targets are typically left with nothing but mutual consolation and ineffectual appeals to the authorities for help, and that is if they are lucky enough to figure out that others around the world have been similarly inducted nonconsensually into this unprecedented program. 

Knowing how extremely difficult it must be for any nontarget to understand what, how, and why this is happening, I would only ask your forebearance and time sufficient to read a couple of the better overviews of this covert hell on Earth, obviously written by targets without the benefit of a full explanation by the directors of these outrageous but deniable violations of human rights: (a cogent summary of what's happening) (longer initial page, with many other pages for further info) (single long page with technology and relevant historical information)

Sincerely yours,
Dirck Storm"

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Journalist Claims he has lived in the Dark End of the Spectrum

I recently received this intriguing comment from Vic Livingston, a journalist from Philadelphia regarding my thriller/mystery, DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM.

What is intriguing is that he talks about many scary technologies used by the government that I had mentioned in my book, which by the way is fiction.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

"Mr. Policastro: I have been a victim of the real dark end of the spectrum for six years (that I know about). Please react to this posting, from today's, as well as my articles and first-person victim account linked at the bottom. My telecommunications are subject to interception and spiking so I don't know if you will ever see this. I will check back here daily for the next few days. -- Vic Livingston


* Thousands of Americans, deemed to be "dissidents" or undesirables, targeted by Bush legacy program for debilitating microwave/laser assault, held hostage in their own homes to fed-supported vigilante "community policing" stalking units, equipped with warrantless GPS devices, who vandalize and terrorize as local police look the other way.

* "Directed energy weapons," portable units and a nationwide installation employing cell towers and satellites, induce weakness, exhaustion, head and body aches, physical and neurological impairment, strokes, aneurysms, cancer -- and many victims do not realize what is making them sick.

* Regional Homeland Security- administered "fusion centers" reportedly serve as command centers for covert electromagnetic radiation attacks, pervasive surveillance, financial sabotage of those identified as "dissidents," "trouble-makers" or slandered as threats to society.

* Use of microwave weaponry to torture and impair political opponents recently confirmed by deposed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya.

* Pleas for justice, to local police and FBI, go unanswered -- as do demands for a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigation and congressional hearings.

"These are crimes against humanity and the Constitution, being perpetrated under the cover of national security and 'safe streets' by multiple federal and local agencies and commands -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight, enabled by the naivete of those who think 'it can't happen here.'"

-- Victor Livingston, former reporter for WTXF-TV Philadelphia, Phila. Bulletin, N.Y. Daily News, St. Petersburg Times; producer/host, MSG Network Sports Business Report; columnist,

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kindle Numbers: Traditional Publishing Vs. Self Publishing

 I had to post Joe's post confirming the explosion of ebooks. Joe is the best selling author of the Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels and Jack Kilborn thrillers.

By Joe Konrath
I got quite a shock last week, when I got my bi-annual royalty statement. Hyperion publishes six titles in my Jack Daniels series. They gave me my ebook figures. Authors are usually quite secretive about their sales and their royalties.

Me? I'm spilling the beans. Here are my ebook Kindle numbers from Jan 1 to June 31, 2009.

Click here to read the rest of the story: Kindle Numbers: Traditional Publishing Vs. Self Publishing

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Bookcoach can Better Market Your Book

By Judy Cullins

When authors think of their audience buying books they think of bookstores. This myth sends authors taking the long, arduous road to seeking out an agent, a publisher, hoping their book will become a best seller. It won't. Why?

Because you are not famous, your publishing support amounts only to a three-month book tour, billed against your sales. Your book's shelf life at Barnes and Noble or other brick and mortar bookstores is about three months too. And, you the author must promote it full time to receive less than 50% of the profits.

Another reason bookstores disappoint the author is that most people go into the store to browse. They want fiction, some non-fiction, but they aren't sure what. If your book is shelved among more popular authors, potential buyers will pass it by for the well-known name.

Marketing guru, John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, says "I'm glad I don't rely on retail 'brick and mortar' bookstore sales for my income, but it will be nice to add that icing on the cake into my cash flow again."

Before his updated version this year, John has sold 45,000 copies of his book in three years. He is a marketer par excellence. He uses non-traditional marketing strategies; his web site, his ezine which offers tips, products and seminars, specialty stores, foreign markets, libraries, and back of the room sales from speaking engagements.

Because John is a recognized name, he gets a lot of shelf space in the bookstore - cover side out. For your lesser-known book, only your spine will show and after three months of initial placement, your book will fade away unless you put on your promotion hat to get customers to the store.

In one book coaching session, a new client thought he wanted to sell to the bookstores. I asked him who was his particular audience. He said business people. What kind of business people? Do these people go to the "brick and mortar" bookstore for a business book? Or, will they be more likely to subscribe to online business ezines or visit a business Web site for specific kinds of business books?

Your book coach knows that online promotion is the cheapest, easiest, and most profitable way to sell books.

  • Seventy percent of US adults haven't been in a bookstore for the last 5 years.
  • Bookstores sell only 45% of all books sold.
  • Bookstores return non-sold books to the author-think of the Starbucks people dripping their coffee and scone on your book.
  • Bookstores will take 90 days, even a year or more to pay you for your total book sales.
  • Bookstores only order two or three copies at a time because of limited shelf space.
  • Bookstores buy only from a distributor or wholesaler.
Why the big push to get a wholesale or distributor and get into the bookstore?

These people represent so many other authors don't you wonder how much attention your book will receive? They exact healthy fees, around 55%. That leaves a small profit for the author, and remember, bookstores, distributors and wholesalers don't promote your book!

After her distributor went belly up and she lost $160,000, one author said she would rather have more control over her priceless products. She distributes them all herself now through various venues that suit her personality.

Authors spend a lot of time and money chasing the improbable, when the "golden egg" of self-publishing and self-promotion is right in front of them. In my opinion, I'd sell my books everywhere except the brick and mortar bookstore!

Book and Internet Marketing Coach Judy Cullins helps businesses get all the clients and sell all the books they want.
Author of 11 business books including How to Write your Book Fast and Advanced Article Marketing, a 3-Book Special.
Judy offers free articles and eBook "Book Writing and Marketing Tips" with monthly ezine subscription at

Get fresh, free, weekly articles on book writing and article marketing on HubPage and Ezine Articles:

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Women on Writing Blog Event emphasizes Family

Today I'm participating in a mass blogging! WOW!

Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We're celebrating the release of Therese Walsh's debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy, (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers.

My most memorable family relationship was with my father. He was the hero in my life.

He moved through life with bold strokes, never letting other people bend him from the way he wanted to go. He was a pioneer in his family going where his ten siblings would not go. His bold strokes made all of our lives better.

When he returned from World War II, he took on the world – he married my mother and did things his way. He was always himself and didn’t care what other people thought of his thoughts or his actions whether they were laughable or significant.

He taught me to always reach for the stars even if you couldn’t touch them – just keep reaching. He wanted a better life for me and now I have it because of him.

“I want you to do better than I have,” he would often say and when life beat him down many times, he still had a smile, a joke, and a cheerful, contagious presence that no one could resist.

He taught me that keeping one’s word is more important than anything else in life because that is what made the true grit of a man, not his wealth or his position or his looks.
When we were teenagers, we would play cards on the back porch during those lazy, nothing to do summer afternoons and my friends would not play without him. His contagious personality appealed to all generations.

There are many heroes in the world today, but a true hero’s words linger inside of you all your life and guide you when you have to make the tough decisions. That’s what my father did for me – his words and presence are always with me providing a guidepost that I have used all my life. He is my hero.

Samuel Anthony Policastro 1925-1999

Visit The Muffin ( to read what Therese has to say about family relationships. And make sure you visit Therese's website ( to find out more about the author."

About the book:
The Last Will of Moira Leahy
The Last Will of Moira Leahy

By Therese Walsh


Moira Leahy struggled growing up in her prodigious twin's shadow; Maeve was always more talented, more daring, more fun. In the autumn of the girls' sixteenth year, a secret love tempted Moira, allowing her to have her own taste of adventure, but it also damaged the intimate, intuitive relationship she'd always shared with her sister. Though Moira's adolescent struggles came to a tragic end nearly a decade ago, her brief flirtation with independence will haunt her sister for years to come.

When Maeve Leahy lost her twin, she left home and buried her fun-loving spirit to become a workaholic professor of languages at a small college in upstate New York. She lives a solitary life now, controlling what she can and ignoring the rest--the recurring nightmares, hallucinations about a child with red hair, the unquiet sounds in her mind, her reflection in the mirror. It doesn't help that her mother avoids her, her best friend questions her sanity, and her not-quite boyfriend has left the country. But at least her life is ordered. Exactly how she wants it.

Until one night at an auction when Maeve wins a keris, a Javanese dagger that reminds her of her lost youth, and happier days playing pirates with Moira in their father's boat. Days later, a book on weaponry is nailed to her office door, followed by anonymous notes, including one that invites her to Rome to learn more about the blade and its legendary properties. Opening her heart and mind to possibility, Maeve accepts the invitation, and with it, a window into her past. Ultimately she will revisit the tragic November night that shaped her and Moira's destinies, and learn that nothing can be taken at face value, as one sister emerges whole and the other's score is finally settled.

Note: To read reviews about The Last Will of Moira Leahy, please visit Therese's website:
About the author, Therese Walsh:

Therese WalshTherese is the co-founder of Writer Unboxed, a blog for writers about the craft and business of genre fiction. Before turning to fiction, she was a researcher and writer for Prevention magazine, and then a freelance writer. She's had hundreds of articles on nutrition and fitness published in consumer magazines and online.

She has a master's degree in psychology.

Aside from writing, Therese's favorite things include music, art, crab legs, Whose Line is it Anyway?, dark chocolate, photography, unique movies and novels, people watching, strong Irish tea, and spending time with her husband, two kids and their bouncy Jack Russell.

Therese's website:
Therese's blog:
Writer Unboxed:
Participating Bloggers!

Day By Day Writer:

Adventures in the Writing Life:

The Beautification Project:

Reading Frenzy:

A Girl, Her Career, and Life on the Dairy Farm:

The 5th Line Project, Page 56, Line 5:

Read These Books and Use Them!:

Julie Bogart's blog:

A Ponderance of Things:

A Woman's Life Stages:

Danielle Buffardi's blog:

Just Another Perfect Day:

Stories of life: one writer-mom's odyssey:

Once Written, Twice Shy:

Writing Cops...It's What I Do:

Anna Louise Lucia's blog:

Word Wranglers:

Erin Denver's blog:

Writers Inspired:

Romancing the Blog:

MamaBlogga: mom's search for meaning:'s Freelance Writing:

GardenWall Publications:

Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem:

Five Scribes:

R.J. Writes:

Catch a Star Before It Falls:

Words from the Heart:

Magical Musings:

Fat and then, a journey back to my true self:

Gayle Trent, Cozy Mystery Writer:

Paris Parfait, Tara Bradford writes from the City of Light:

Cathy C.'s Hall of Fame:

Misadventures with Andi:

Kristin Bair O'Keeffe's blog:

Awake is Good:

The Writer's Edge:

Writing is About Putting Yourself to Words:

Squirrel's Treehouse:

Gaijin Mama:

Multi-Tasking Mama:

Self Help Daily:

Words and Coffee:

Elizabeth Kirschner's blog:

One Woman's Eye:

Entering the Age of Elegance:

The Write at Home Mom:

Mother Daughter Book Club Blog:


the SIMMER blog:

Scales and other lies:

Natalia Maldonado's blog:

writers, dogs, and germans*:

Meryl's Notes blog:

Little Miss Information:

Linda Mohr's Blog:

Reconsidering Sanity:

So Many Books, So Little Time:

Cynderella's Castle:

Dianne Sagan, Life as a Ghost(writer):

Janel's Jumble:

North Side Four (plus Eleanor Roosevelt, the Senator and the President):

Teresa Shen Swingler's blog:

Color Your Life Happy-Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.:


Behind Brown Eyes:

'Manda Blogs About...:

SFC Blog: Families Matter:

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Publish and Sell Helps Writers get Published

Today we have an interview with Henry Hutton, a good friend of mine who is helping revolutionize the publishing industry with his self publishing agency, Publish and Sell Enterprises. Known in publishing circles as The PublishingGuy, Henry has also created an online newspaper called PublishingGuy's News Update offering the latest news in the dynamic publishing industry - Anthony

1. What made you start Publish and Sell?

I’ve always had a passion for helping authors realize their dreams, and the revolution in publishing - especially with sites like and, along with POD - has enabled millions of authors the opportunity to see their book in print. We quickly learn, however, that publishing is not the hard part. Selling is.

Our goal at Lulu was to change the world of publishing and by turning it on its head. With our free publishing tools any author could publish their work into a printed book or ebook and make it available for sale to their buying audience. Although that in itself is a great achievement, it doesn’t get the author to the goal line, and authors quickly realized that publishing their book was the easier first half of the publishing process.

Generating sales is the biggest challenge to overcome.

Fortunately, while at Lulu I witnessed two sides of the independent publishing phenomenon:

1. Authors that published their book and waited for sales to happen, and
2. Authors that aggressively marketed their books using free social networking sites. 
Needless to say, the authors in the former group faltered while the authors in the latter group, even through trial and error, achieved moderate - and often surprising - success

My goal is to help authors better position themselves for success by not only making the best publishing choices, but by making smart marketing choices. In today’s Internet world, every author can identify, find, interact with, and sell to their audience much more efficiently and economically.

2. What makes Publish and Sell unique? Are there other companies like Publish and Sell?
I consider Publish and Sell Enterprises as a self-publishing agency. Although you can find many companies that offer author services similar to ours, those companies typically work with specific printing and distribution outlets.

I do things differently. I examine the needs of the author - the genre of their book, the audience that they’re trying to reach - and determine the best path to take in terms of publishing and marketing. Some authors might be best served by Lulu, while others might be served through Booksurge, and still others should go directly into the Kindle. I’ve learned over the years that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to author services, and forcing an author’s square book into a round publishing and marketing hole is asking for failure. 

3. Do you think there is a large market for your services?
There’s no doubt about it. A large percentage of authors that attempt the free publishing sites - Createspace, Lulu, Wordclay, etc. - never finish the publishing process. Furthermore, an equally large percentage that do publish never sell more than a couple copies. With a little hand-holding I’m convinced that many authors can do better. They just need to be educated and pointed in the right direction.

4. How does Publish and Sell work?
When an author contacts us we walk through their situation - including the “completeness” of their book, the genre, the market - and assess the overall strategy for reaching a successful outcome. This is a completely interactive process with the author.

We then put a plan and timeline together that reflects the publishing and marketing activities that will be required to accomplish our goals.

5. What challenges do you see for Publish and Sell?
There are a few significant challenges we face. First of all, since every author is different it’s hard for me to accurately predict resource needs. Will I need another ghost writer in three months or another cover artist? So far, however, we’ve done a good job managing our resource needs.

Secondly, as you know, the publishing world is rapidly changing. A few weeks ago Lulu changed their retail distribution program, and just last week Createspace began offering author services. It’s imperative that we stay on top of these rapid developments so that we can properly advise our clients regarding their options.

Lastly, it’s critical that authors make the proper choices when it comes to social marketing. Although there’s an abundance of free networking and social media tools, some may not be suited for the book’s genre, its market, or even the author’s personality. Some sites go in and out of favor, so it’s our job to stay on top of these changes and try to anticipate the trends that will work to the author’s advantage.

6. Are authors successful using your services?
You’d have to ask those authors, but I think it’s fair to say that they’re more successful than they would have been without my services. Especially when it comes to marketing, I can only educate and show them the best way to present themselves online, build and interact with their audience, and influence that audience to buy their book. At the end of the day the book must deliver. 

7. What advice would you give to authors considering self-publishing?
Do it, and don’t wait. You’re only harming yourself if you do. I’ve seen too many authors that have waited years to garner a publishing deal, without success. By self-publishing, authors - especially first-time authors - will better understand the process and challenges of publishing. They’ll learn what works and what doesn’t, and actually become better positioned - through the self-publishing success - to get picked up by a traditional publisher. Or, alternatively, they’ll find their niche and remain as a self-publisher to maintain control over their book and income. It can be a win-win, but you won’t know if you don’t try.

Thousands of people are self-publishing every day. Their book is being purchased, it’s being read, and the author is receiving feedback. Yes, sometimes the feedback is negative, and sometimes the book wasn’t as good as it should have been. If that’s the case, it’s better to have a small self-publishing failure (that you can quickly recover from) than a failure with a traditional publisher. That’s almost impossible to recover from.  Take advantage of every learning opportunity that self-publishing provides.


8. Do you think self-publishing could be a path to commercial publishing?
Definitely! We saw this happen all the time at Lulu. Publishers would look at our top seller list and contact those authors. It made their job easy, because these authors knew the process of publishing, they knew their target audience, and they knew how to market to that audience successfully. That’s a publisher’s dream come true. 

9. What do you think will be the future of publishing?
The most interesting and immediate dynamic the industry is facing is ebooks. Devices like the Kindle and Sony Reader have made it easy and convenient to purchase and read books. These ebook readers are still a little too expensive for the mainstream market, but I’m confident that in time they’ll achieve critical mass and revolutionize the reading and publishing landscape.

For example, I love printed books, but now that I have a Kindle I very rarely buy a printed book. For one thing, the ebooks are always cheaper. Furthermore, I feel that - in a very small way - I’m saving a few trees every time I opt for an ebook. I don’t need another book sitting on my bookshelf anyway - I’ve got too many already!

Lastly, ebooks provide many advantages to authors. Although it takes a little time and effort, an author can publish their book as a Kindle ebook for free. Just go to and follow the instructions.

Talk about removing barriers to entry. Upload and publish today, and your book is being purchased and read by your audience in no time. Oh, and you’re receiving royalties in no time. In tomorrow’s world, ebooks will be an author’s best friend.

10. What do you enjoy the most about Publish and Sell?
I enjoy working with authors, and every author’s situation is different. No two poetry books are alike, nor are any two novels alike. That keeps things fresh, along with the fact that the publishing industry and its associated technologies are changing almost daily.

Also, as much as I dream of being a novelist, I can’t seem to write for the long haul. I am a musician, so I have a lot of songs that I’ve penned - along with some poems and short stories - but after a couple pages I’ve run out of things to say.

So I admire authors. I admire the varied processes by which they write, and I’m envious of the way that an author’s thoughts seem to flow uninhibited from their mind and into their manuscript. This capability - to tell a story, to invoke emotions, and sometimes even change the life of your reader is, frankly, astounding.

For more information on Publish and Sell Enterprises and how Henry can help you publish and market your work visit his site at or call him directly at 919 247-1832.

You can also find Henry on Facebook at, on Twitter at @PublishingGuy and on Linkedin at

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Self or Commercial Publication - Is There a Difference Anymore?

Editor's Note: We have a guest blog by best selling author Jeremy Robinson, who I refer to as the author's author. I followed Jeremy's career when he started as a self-published author, watched him create ingeniously unique marketing events for his books and finally land a lucrative three-book contract with a traditional publisher, Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press. He is an inspiration to all aspiring and just-published authors.- Anthony

By Jeremy Robinson

So what is the difference between being a self-published author and an author with a commercial publisher. Being a self-publisher for three years, this was a question I often wondered about. NY publishers and authors are very quiet about the inner workings of publishing and in some ways it felt like this secret society that you had to become a part of to learn the truth. In a way, that's true, because I didn't really know until I was in the club, so to speak.

I should mention that this is MY experience. I am a professional interior and cover designer and have hired editors for my books. Because I tried to treat the process of self-publishing as much like a publisher as I could (going so far as to start a small press), you will not find those typical self-publishing/big gun publishing differences in my perspective.

But I'm happy to talk about it and let YOU in on the secret. First, I'll start with the differences, because there aren't that many and, honestly, they're not nearly as important as the similarities.

1. You get paid an advance. Most of the time. Which is nice. It says, "Hey, we think your book is going to sell X amount of copies and we're so sure of it, we're going to pay you in advance for those copies". Wow! What a shot in the arm. But its not as grand as it sounds. Odds are, as a first time author your advance will be far less than you need to live on for a year, so don't quit your day job. And then there is the pressure to actually sell what was expected of you...which can be a lot harder than you think.

2. This is the big one, distribution. Your books, if the publisher is doing their job, will not only be available to brick and mortar stores, it will also be on the shelf without you having to lift a finger. Deep breath, smile, and sigh. Ahhhh.

3. Royalties. As a self-publisher I was accustomed to making $4.00 per book sold. That's now at $2.50 for hard covers and something like $.65 for mass markets. So to make the same amount of money, I need to sell roughly double the amount of books, which is, again, harder than you think.

And that's about it. There are other obvious differences, like working with an editor that's been in the business for a while, and a team of artists at a publishing house, but that experience is totally different from person to person, and for me, hasn't been too different than what I'm used to in my own self-imposed system of publishing.

As for what has not changed (despite how much I wish it would) is this: marketing. When I got the catalog from the publisher with PULSE in it, I looked at the list of marketing that was going to be done for the book...and you know what I saw? Everything I have always done for my books. Meaning, I would still be doing them...and that was it. There would be no marketing beyond what I could manage on my own.

If you're an author, you might be aghast right now. But you shouldn't be. This is life for most newbie authors. Many choose to do nothing and let the book sell from the shelf on its own, but I wouldn't suggest this.

You must act like you're still trying to prove yourself as an author, because you are! Getting a big publisher is just the first step in having a career as an author. What happens after that, once again, largely depends on the author's action or inaction. So, what hasn't changed is that I am still spending insane amounts of hours marketing. I created my video trailer. I hired a narrator to podcast my previous novel, Kronos, an inserted ads for PULSE. I'm active on my blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Youtube and Goodreads. I had multiple contests. Wrote and released press releases. Booked radio shows. Scheduled signings. And a slew of other things I have mentally blocked.

In fact, I would suggest you not think about what is different between self-publishing and commercial publishing. If you get a publishing deal, great, but don't think you've "made it." You're still a long way from that. I'm still a long way from that. So stay focused on what remains the same. Keep your desperation. Your drive. And maybe you'll get a second book deal when the first is done.
For more on me and the novels, please visit - Sign up for the newsletter while you're there!

PULSE is now available.

"Jeremy Robinson's latest novel, PULSE, ratchets his writing to the next level.  Rocket-boosted action, brilliant speculation, and the recreation of a horror out of the mythologic past, all seamlessly blend into a rollercoaster ride of suspense and adventure.  Who knew chess could be this much fun!"
-- James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST ORACLE

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fear Drives My Writing

This post is part of my September blog tour.

Both of my novels, DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH, both mystery/thrillers, were written out of fear, universal fears that I believe all of us consider at one time or another.

DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM is about Dan Riker, a computer security expert whose family is kidnapped by digital terrorists who take over the power grid and cell phone network and hold the United States hostage. Dan is the only one with the know-how to stop them, but the hackers have his family and he must decide to save his family or save millions of people.

While I wrote this book the fear of losing my own family pervaded my thoughts and I wrapped a plot around this fear using the latest wireless technologies and a lot of imagination. I still have my family and the thought of losing them is unimaginable. This was the fuel for DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM.

Dan's life is well planned, predicted and uneventful like most of our lives and I wanted to see how Dan would react when all of that is shattered in an instant when his family disappears.

Does Dan have the courage to save his family or will he just give up because he never had to face such insurmountable odds? Will he save millions of people whose lives are threatened by the terrorists or will he save his family? The book is not just about technology.

These are some of the questions I addressed in the book and when or if you read the book you may ask yourself these same questions and maybe better understand your own capabilities.

ABSENCE OF FAITH also addresses universal fears when residents in a highly-religious small town have horrible near-death experiences and wake up with burnt skin.  They believe they went to hell and that God has abandoned them. Matters get worse when a local Satanic cult emerges and wins over many residents.

My fears of losing all hope and all faith in the face of a downturn in life is what spawned ABSENCE OF FAITH. Again, I was interested in how people would react if you stripped them of all hope and faith. Would they pick themselves up and continue their lives? What would they do when this great fear overtakes them.

These are the questions I address in ABSENCE OF FAITH.

Bestselling author and psychic Sylvia Browne writes in her book, Prophecy, that, "...our beliefs are the driving force behind our behavior, our opinions, our actions. Without faith, without our beliefs, we're lost."

I have always been interested in religion and why and how it has such a powerful hold on all of us and what would happen if it were taken away.
I not only wanted my books to entertain, but I also wanted them to inspire, educate and leave readers with something to think about after they put the book down for the last time. I wanted the books to be relevant to people's lives today and some of the problems we all face in the journey of life. I hope my books are that and more.

Both DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH are available as paperbacks from Outer Banks Publishing Group, and as ebooks from and the Amazon Kindle.
Both books will soon appear on Barnes and Noble's new ebook site.

Visit my other blog for tips on writing, publishing, and books, THE WRITER'S EDGE.

Interviews can be found at

The Lulu Blog
Ask Wendy - The Query Queen


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where in the Blogsphere is Anthony S. Policastro?

My blog tour for both of my novels, Dark End of the Spectrum and Absence of Faith has started.

Below is where I will be in the Blogsphere.

Many thanks to all my fellow bloggers and authors who are supporting me in this tour.

September 14, 2009 Alice Osborn
September 15, 2009 Elisa Lorello
September 16, 2009 Sarah Weathersby
September 17, 2009 Ellen and Jon Batson
September 18, 2009 Jon Batson
September 19, 2009 The Writer's Edge
September 20, 2009 Writing is about putting yourself to words
September 21, 2009  Susan Whitfield
September 22, 2009 Stacey Cochran
September 23, 2009 Wendy Burt
September 24, 2009 Publish and Sell Henry Hutton

Both DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH are available as paperbacks from Outer Banks Publishing Group, and as ebooks from and the Amazon Kindle.

Both books will soon appear on Barnes and Noble's new ebook site.

Interviews can be found at

The Lulu Blog

Ask Wendy - The Query Queen
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Monday, August 31, 2009

The eBook Market Just Blew White Hot

By Anthony S. Policastro

If you thought the eBook market was hot before, it just went super nova with Smashwords newest distribution to "major online retailers, the first of which is Barnes & Noble and their various properties including, Fictionwise, and their eReader app."

Like the other 2,600 authors on Smashwords, I received an email Friday evening from Smashwords owner and creator, Mark Coker announcing the new distribution arrangement.
"To put everything in perspective, we're developing a process that will enable
your books to receive widespread retail distribution within days or weeks of
publishing on Smashwords. Some of what we're doing here has never been done
before, so like I said above, please be patient as we work together to pioneer
the brave new world of ebook distribution," wrote Mark Coker in the email.
In addition, Barnes & Noble just ramped up its eBook efforts and currently has more than 700,000 eBook titles listed on its site and it hopes to surpass one million books within the next year. The book retailer will also be the exclusive eBook provider to Plastic Logic's upcoming eReader device - an eight and a half by eleven inch device with a touch screen and wireless capabilities for downloading content. AT&T will be the wireless carrier for the reader and this means users in Europe and parts of Asia will be able to download content. The Kindle's wireless feature works only the United States.

All of these developments could be a paradigm shift in the eBook market because Barnes and Noble is opening its arms and accepting the work posted on other commercial eBook sites. They are clearly scooping up as much market share as possible to compete against the Amazon Kindle. (See the related article below in The New York Times.) Even their pricing model is similar to Amazon's with major titles selling for $9.99 - the same price as the Kindle. Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is featured on Barnes and Noble eBook site as a preorder for $9.99.

What's more significant is that you can download a book from Barnes and Noble and read it on your iPhone, iTouch, Blackberry or PC or Macintosh by simply downloading the B&N eReader software for the particular device. And they announced they will be adding additional devices. Kindle books cannot be read on the Blackberry or on a PC or Macintosh. This move could pull market share from the Kindle.

It will be interesting to see how the eBook market evolves in the next few months or years with these two titans battling for the same market share on an equal playing field. If Barnes and Noble keeps its pricing in line or lower than Amazon and stays a step ahead of the technology, they could be the winner.

Smashwords photo is the official logo of The photo of Plastic Logic's new eReader is from Plastic Logic's website.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Think Outside of the Bookstore Box

By Anthony S. Policastro

I recently attended a friend of mine's book launch and signing at a local coffee house here in Raleigh, NC and I found it highly successful.

Martin Brossman, the author of Brossman's Social Media and Online Resource Directory for Business definitely thinks outside of the box and the bookstore.

Instead of having his book signing at a local bookstore, he choose the New World Coffee House, a small, cozy spot that worked well with his book.

The event lasted about three hours and more than 50 people came and went, bought signed copies or drank a latte or a mocha and mingled. Several of the book's contributors were also there so it was like an author's fest - you could meet and talk with several authors.

One of the reasons for the success of this event was the atmosphere - people could mingle, talk, ask questions of the authors the entire time unlike a bookstore signing where there is only a short time for questions and the author is gone.

The moral of the story - don't restrict yourself to just bookstore signings. Think of places that compliment the content of your book. Martin's book is about social networking, viral marketing and the best ways to promote your business on the Internet. The coffee house was a perfect setting for his book - people could socialize, network, and indirectly promote their businesses.

And if you want to know how to promote yourself or your business online, definitely pick up Martin's book. I've read it cover to cover and it is an invaluable resource for online marketing.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Should There Always Be a Free Lunch?

2009_07_21_DSC04873Image by gwydionwilliams via Flickr

By Anthony S. Policastro

I recently received a comment from a reader named Pepe on my earlier post Would You Pay $26 for an ebook? about the price of ebooks. I was impressed at what he said because he is a reader in favor of the author.

Here is what Pepe wrote:
"I think that 10$ is too much for having a book with drm, indeed for a book with drm I wouldn't pay more than a dollar.

Otherwise, if a get a book at a small price, provided it's without drm, and provided at least more than 50% of the price goes to the author I would pay for it, gladly, even these 10$ if the book really pleased me and is a long one."
He believes at least fifty percent of the book price should go to the author. And he has good reason.
"But this is even expensive, lot of people paying this amount will consider they have the right to give it away freely, and this is not good for the author, so why not sell them really cheap, let say 2 or 3$ and convince people that they should pay for reading it because that way the author will be able to produce more of these books they really enjoyed?

I think this is really possible, there's money for the author, for the online editor and people will be happy knowing most of the money they pay goes to whom really deserves it."
Like many authors, Pepe believes that Internet users should change their mindset in the belief that digital products on the Internet should be free.

Whether you believe it or not, there is a cost to someone to create the book, upload it to an ebook site and promote it so that readers may buy it. The cost may not always be physical, but it is a cost in time - time the author could be using to write the next great American book or just spend thinking of something new to write.

We need more readers like Pepe.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Never Judge a Book by its Genre

By Anthony S. Policastro

My newest book, Dark End of the Spectrum has received several reviews and they have caused me to nearly fall off my chair when I heard them.

When I finished writing the mystery/thriller, I thought it would appeal mainly to computer geeks, readers interested in technology, and people who knew their way around the Internet.

Not only does it appeal to these audiences, it also appeals to women who are not so computer savvy, women who don’t really care about technology, but simply enjoy the story.

Here's what Sheila Deeth of Oregon said about it on Amazon:
"But the novel isn't just about technology gone wild. Dan has a wife and child and a home life too, and the up-down relationship of a marriage strained by work grounds the tale very realistically. The author writes convincing dialog, and Amelia's sudden anger as Dan leaves to help the CIA saddened me because of its plausibility."
What is even more interesting is that she obtained the ebook version first and read it on her computer. Here is her comment on that:
"Descriptive details and discussions slowed the story down at times, but not enough to distract me from reading on. I stayed hunched over the computer late at night, wishing I had a paperback to carry to bed, but unable to stop reading. This is certainly a thrilling book for anyone who likes technology, conspiracy, action and disaster; one to read when you've plenty of time to spare because you'll not want to put it down."
Several others who are currently reading Dark End of the Spectrum have said the same thing - "It's a page turner and I can't put it down."

I'm lost for words.

Why? Because I didn't expect those reactions. Because I first billed the book as a high-tech thriller. At first, there didn't seem to be much interest. I changed the description to suspense/thriller and there was a bit more interest. When I changed it to mystery/thriller lots of interest.
The family elements in the story - the real struggles with marriage, raising a family, making a living, and just trying to enjoy life - have broadened the book's appeal to a wider audience, primarily women who are not into technology.
What can you learn from this as a writer? Be very careful how you describe your book and the genre you choose for it. Genres tend to pigeon-hole the book into a specific audience and even turn away audiences who may find it interesting enough to buy.

Always include a family element. After all, everyone has a family whether they are blood relatives, cherished friends or a special group.

Never judge a book by its genre. Judge it by its content, the story, and whether you would truly want to read it. Be a cross-genre reader. You will be surprised how it will make you a better writer.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

The Future of Publishing is Really the Future of Reading

Cover of "Brave New World"Cover of Brave New World

By Anthony S. Policastro

I recently came across a very interesting article by Clive Thompson in Wired Magazine about the future of reading.

Here are some of the points that struck me as highly significant:
  • People should start thinking about the future of reading rather than being always preoccupied with the future of publishing.
  • Every other media that has gone digital has been transformed by its audience with the ability to comment on the content.
  • Books need to be set free digitally to improve book discovery. It may also spawn a class of "professional readers" whose commentary is so informative that you would pay to download their take on a particular book.
  • Programmers are already working on XML-like markup languages that would link every chapter or significant passage of a book to a unique URL address. Then you can easily examine the contents of a book with a few clicks.
  • A few authors have given away digital copies of their books and found they end up selling more print copies. (I'm one of the those - both of my novels are free as digital downloads.)
It's a brave new world out there for books, but the publishing industry is moving like a snail to embrace these new technologies. But that's Ok because others will do it before them and reap the benefits along with us readers.

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