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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Are You A Writer Who Thinks Big -- Really Big?



Some writers truly believe in their work and want to make a big splash.  They are willing to invest at a great cost – in time, money or resources – in order to do whatever it takes to break through the clutter and help them jump rungs in the ladder to the top?

Writers looking to create a name for themselves will:

1.      Orchestrate a best-seller campaign through pre-paid sales to friends.

2.      Pay for tons of social media followers.

3.      Go crazy with paid advertisements in high-profile media outlets.

4.      Take a huge, multi-city road tour with appearances in a dozen or more cities.

5.      Mail free copies of the book to influencers.

6.      Give out free digital copies to thousands of people.

7.      Invest in a strong public relations campaign.

8.      Extend into a sponsorship deal.

9.      Develop a relationship with partnerships to market the book.

10.  Create affiliate sales networks with generous commissions.

With unlimited resources -- and an uncontrolled willingness to use them - writers can pursue endless acts, stunts, and events to get greater exposure for their brand and book. For them, the pay-off goes beyond the sale of a book and extends to other potential benefits.  Marketing and promoting a book can lead the political or social change.  It can lead to paid speaking gigs, consulting deals, or even offers to host a T.V. show.  Amazing things can happen when your visibility gets high.

So what can and should you do when you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars laying around?

You certainly can employ some of the above strategies, just at a scaled down version.  Do four of those things, instead of all 10.  Do them on a smaller budget as well.

Some of what you choose to do will be based on your perception or estimate of what the return on investment will be. You also have to determine how much risk you are willing to take. Ask yourself if you’re willing to borrow or go into debt for this.  It’s gambling and casinos always say you should bet only what you can afford to lose.

But let’s dream big for a moment.  You think you’re book is great and will sell if people just learn about it.  You also believe if you gain enough fame, the payoff will come from getting hired or paid to do other things, such as consult. How do you test that thinking?  How can you be certain that if you spend 40,000 bucks you’ll make it back in book sales and additional benefits?

Many writers dream big, but fail to act big. They have hopes and dreams – but lack the resources, guts or vision to truly take their book to a whole new level.  The writer who wants to break through can always do the things that the big boys/girls do, namely spend lavishly on marketing, so what stops you from doing it?

·         Do you not believe it’ll work?
·         Do you not have access, even through a loan, to the funds?
·         Do you simply not know where to properly spend the funds?

If you dream big, you must act big.  But before you can commit funds to anything, research what’s possible.  Determine, with hard facts and evidence, why, what you propose to do, should work.  Then hedge your bets.  

Get an investor to kick in some money.  You may give away some of the profits but you also insulate against the potential downside.  Or don’t get an investor.  They are greedy and demanding.  Go into this so that it’s all or nothing – either your heart and mind tell you it will work or it won’t.

We hedge, question, fear, and doubt way too much.  We’re all guilty of it.  At some point, each of us has to take a stand – one from facts; ideas, emotion, vision, energy – and just go for it.  Go big or go home – and stop deliberating in your head about what to do.

By the way, if you make it big, I want to hear about it.  If you fall short, know that you tried.  It’s better to pursue your dream than to just keep dreaming.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©

Monday, September 26, 2016

How Do You Build The “Write” Platform To Snag A Good Literary Agent?



How should a writer create his or her platform, one that will show an ability to sell books – and impress literary agents and publishers?

A platform “is your personal ability to sell books through:

1.      “Who you are.

2.      “Personal and professional connections that you have.

3.      “Any media outlets (including personal blogs and social networks) that you can utilize to sell books.”

Those are the words of Chuck Sambuchino, who wrote about writer platforms in the newly published annual guide to literary agents from Writer’s Digest.

For those writers seeking to find a literary agent, they will find useful information and advice in the 26th Annual Edition -- Guide to Literary Agents:  2017.  

Fresh off the press, it tells would-be authors what they need to know to create a great query letter and book proposal, how to secure the right agent, and what you should expect an agent to do for you. It also has a detailed directory of literary agents, with contact information and notes on what particular agents are looking for.

A platform can be anything that reflects your brand and connections.  In short, it is the thing you can point to that says “I’m somebody” or “Lots of people know me.”

For some, they can point to past media coverage – articles about or by them in major outlets or genre–targeted publications; guest-posts on influential blogs; radio interviews in decent-sized markets; and television appearances. For others, it could be that you show large social media followings on whatever platform of choice – You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ to name a few.  Perhaps your platform is a digital rolodex and you can show a database of 40,000 e-mails.  Whatever form it takes, you need to be able to impress others so they will feel inclined to invest in and work with you.

All of the potential in the world is wonderful, but agents and publishers need to feel confident there will be a payoff when they sign you.  No one wants to waste time or dream alongside of you.

So what else can you do to make a nice platform?

·         Feature some great endorsements or testimonials on your web site.
·         Show videos from public appearances and list organizations where you delivered presentations.
·         Blog regularly and build up followers to a substantial size.
·         Show a lot of views/likes for various posts, videos, or podcasts that you created or were the subject of.
·         Become a regular contributor to a publication or media outlet.
·         Have an impressive resume that shows supportive credentials for the subject matter that your book’s on.
·         List memberships and leadership positions to major organizations.
·         Show any awards of relevance.
·         Reference writing contests that you placed a high in.

So, where do you start?

Anywhere.  Then build on it.

If you speak at a local library and it goes well, schedule more talks at local libraries.  In between those appearances, increase your Twitter connections.  Send out queries to magazines and newspapers to get some freelance articles under your belt.  Attend some networking events in your field.  Launch a blog or podcast.  Create a short video series.  Go with your talents and interests and get out there.

Who knows, you may just find that your platform is so big that literary agents will start coming to you!


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.



Interview With Author James Carpenter

1. What inspired you to write your book?
Several years ago, I met a man in West Philadelphia who was flashy, self-confident, extraordinarily friendly, and wildly eccentric. He got stuck in my mind and a few weeks later I wrote a parody of him into the opening paragraph of what would eventually become No Place to Pray. I named him LeRoy. Over the months and years that followed, the novel changed in every way a story can possibly change: plot, setting, point of view, structure, language, tone. Everything except LeRoy, the one constant. But even he underwent a transformation as the story let me know it wanted to be tragedy, not pastiche.

2. What is it about?
No Place to Pray is the story of two friends, one biracial and the other white, who share a self-destructive alcohol addiction. Over the twenty years of their friendship they lose everything except each other. It’s also a commentary on the failure of social and religious institutions to provide a lifeline in times of despair, leaving the book’s denizens with no place to pray.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
No Place to Pray’s first chapter ends with this line: “They stood up from the steps, some of them swaying, and got in the cars and went off in a line toward town, their glowing taillights like a string of beckoning lanterns guiding all prodigal wayfarers home.” My hope is that readers leave the book asking, "Is there more that I can do to lighten the prodigal’s burden and welcome them back?"

4. What advice do you have for writers?
Begin early to establish a network. Find people who will support you and that you in turn can support. Build friendships around writing and reading. You’ll need favors as you go, people to critique your writing, give advice about publishers and agents, and to help you with the mechanics of submission. But it won’t work if you see the network as only sustaining you. Give back. For every favor you ask, grant two. Every time someone in your network reads one of your works, read someone else’s. Be gracious and generous with your time. Be genuinely curious about what others are doing. As you buoy each other up, you’ll all become better and more successful writers.

5. Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
Would anyone have guessed fifteen years ago when the Kindle hadn’t yet been invented that eBooks would comprise 20 percent of today’s market? What about the growing legitimacy of self-publishing, once derided as the vanity press? Web site publishing? On demand publishing? What these practices have in common is that they were unforeseen and profoundly disruptive. In the same way, I don’t think we can predict what comes next and what comes after that, other than to say that whatever it is, it will be even more disruptive than what we see now. All of us, wherever in writing and publishing we stand, are in for a bumpy ride.

6. What challenges did you have in writing your book?
No Place to Pray has three plot lines (four, if we count LeRoy’s adventures) occurring in three time periods and two settings. All of them intersect each other. My most difficult problem lay in how to structure these interwoven parts in a way that wouldn’t bewilder the reader and to make the text flow as naturally as possible. Over the five years it took me to write the book, I tried a number of approaches before settling on the annunciative technique I finally used. Originally, I organized the book into five parts, one for each of the threerealistic lines, one for LeRoy’s stories, and a fifth for a series of letters Edna wrote to her daughter. The result was a mess. Nothing melded smoothly into anything else, incidents that logically led to others were so far removed from each other spatially that the connection wasn’t at all obvious, and the book was just too long. Eventually I dropped Edna’s letters altogether (anexperience much like going through the passing of a dear friend), interlacedwhat remained, and finally set the chapter tags.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
It shouldn’t be mine. Every reader has a list of books they’ve been meaning to get to for a long time and just haven’t been able to. Something they wish they’d read to fill a gap in their reading experience or that one book by a beloved author that they missed or a book a close friend recommended months ago and they promised to read. If you can buy only one book this month, indulge yourself and choose one from that list. No Place to Pray will still be here next month.

Born and raised in rural Mercer County, PA, James Carpenter made his way through college working various eclectic jobs and, after graduating, taught middle and high school English. He then retrained as a technologist, eventually developing the Erica T. Carter software system that composed the poetry anthologized in the Issue 1 dustup. Erica’s poetry has been published in several dozen literary journals and he’s presented Erica at international conferences, including at the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, and the e-poetry 2007 conference in Paris.

Carpenter spent fourteen years as a member of the affiliated faculty of The Wharton School, where he lectured in computer programming, system design, and entrepreneurship before retiring to write fiction. Since then, his writing has appeared in numerouspublications including The Chicago Tribune, Fiction International, Fifth Wednesday Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, and Ambit. His novel, No Place to Pray, is forthcoming from Twisted Road Publications in September.

Learn more on his website, or through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads

No Place to Pray can be purchased on Twisted Road Publications, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

Interview With Author Bill Thompson

1.      What inspired you to write your book?
The inspiration came from three things: the events of 9/11, the ongoing threat of terrorist strikes in America and an unsettling idea—that with enough money and connections, dangerous people could put a man in the White House.  The idea for this book arose from my wondering what would happen if both the President and Vice President disappeared but were not conclusively dead. In such a situation there is no precedence for appointing a successor. In my story, many citizens believe terrorists are behind this so it’s imperative that order be restored quickly to avoid panic. Since Brian Sadler and the sitting president are college roommates and best friends (from a previous book in the series) it made sense that Brian could help.

2.      What is it about?
It’s about what happens when a boorish, dislikable career politician assumes the presidency, presumably to calm a tense situation. A billionaire in the Middle East wants to control a major U.S. corporation and suddenly—with Cham Parkes in the White House—he has a perfect way to make it happen.  Was it all part of a plan?  Brian Sadler is recruited by the CIA for a routine mission in London that involves the billionaire’s daughter, whichsuddenly turns deadly for Brian and his fiancée. He learns about Operation Condor and suddenly understands the high-stakes game that’s being played in the White House.


3.      What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
I haven’t considered everlasting thoughts as part of what my readers come away with, but it’s an interesting question! I hope people enjoy the tales I spin and want more. My goal is to create fiction that’s entertaining, satisfying and a fun read for those who like the genre in which I write. When I read for pleasure I often pick up books that are like mine—archaeological mysteries, thrillers set in remote jungles with dangerous people who make the books interesting.

4.      What advice do you have for writers?
Go for it! If you want to write, make it happen but treat it seriously. Make time in your life, force yourself to a schedule that’s realistic for you and go for your dream. It used to be harder to get a book into print than to write one. That’s not the case anymore. There are many great resources for indie authors today. Websites, blogs, webinars and chat rooms offer ideas and suggestions that are immensely helpful. I print the information that’s potentially important for me, mark it up and then mark it up again, highlighting the points that I want to try myself.  You may not sell a zillion books the first year, but if what you’re writing is really good, well edited and proofed, and you’re willing to devote as much time and resources to marketing and publicity as you do to writing, it could work. Why not give it a try?

5.      Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
Sometimes I think “real” books will disappear altogether and everyone on Earth will end up with a tablet to read on. But there are people of all ages who insist on paper books. They like the feeling when they hold one, turn a page, or flip back and forth.  When I research my books, it’s usually non-fiction I’m reading. For that I always buy paperbacks. I have to do it the old-fashioned way—with tabs, a highlighter and notes in the margin. Fiction, however, is a different story. I used to travel with twenty pounds of books in a briefcase. No more, thank God. That’s not going to change. Ebooks are here to stay and if you want to be successful you have to publish in that genre. Many authors do ebooks exclusively. As I said in the previous answer, it’s easier than ever to get a book into print. It sounds crazy, but that’s the simplest part. The competition for a reader’s attention, especially with the crazy number of indie author-publishers, demands that a serious author —one who actually wants writing to be a career—must be ready to make his or her book stand out somehow.  In an industry where thousands of books a week are published, only a few can possibly rise to the top of reader interest. That situation isn’t going to change.

6.      What challenges did you have in writing your book?
Sticking to a writing schedule, outlining, creating self-imposed deadlines and other such mundane back-office tasks are the easy part for me. My challenges usually come with the story line itself.  For me, it’s often the research—the things that make the story sound plausible—that present the challenge. This time was no exception, given the unprecedented premises of this book. Some of the ideas—a Supreme Court vacancy while the other political party controls Congress, for instance —are straight from today.  Dealing with the order of succession was more challenging, since neither top official had been declared dead. I had to draw on what would most likely have happened in real life for that one.

7.      If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Order of Succession is meant to be a quick, entertaining read. A Kirkus review says “the baddie’s plan, as well as the good guys’ strategy to fight back, are riveting, featuring varying motives and inevitable double crosses.” I hope readers will find Brian Sadler and his attorney-fiancée Nicole Farber as engaging as other readers have, and will come away having enjoyed a getaway from the daily routine of life.

Bill Thompson became a corporate entrepreneur early when at age 12, he started a company that bought and sold coins. By age 25 he had founded an insurance agency that became one of the largest in Oklahoma. Expanding and adding to that firm, Thompson created a financial services holding company that operated in several states plus Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and England. He later sold his interests and joined his son as an executive in a computer memory manufacturing and distribution company, which by 1995 had grown to be in the top ten nationally by sales.

When that company sold, he decided to pursue a lifelong passion—writing archaeological thrillers. His burning interest in ancient sites, mysteries of the past, unexplained things in the jungle and stories of adventure in remote places drove him to frequent trips around the world. He has visited numerous historically significant sites, including Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, Avebury, Egypt, Petra and many ancient Olmec, Aztec and Maya cities in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

For more information, please visit www.billthompsonbooks.comand connect with Thompson through Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Order of Succession can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Don't forget to check out the next stop in the tour at Musings in the Middle!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Interview With Writer Kenn Goldblatt


Author of The Pro Se Litigant's Civil Litigation Handbook


  1. What inspired you to write your book? My book is the result of over twenty years’ experience in litigation in various roles that began as a represented litigant, then proceeded to a litigation manager for a case in which I was sued for going to the aid of a friend and mentor, then to successive levels as a paralegal, after which I became a self-represented litigant, then represented others in states and Federal circumstances where I could do so without having a law license.

Along the way, I was able to observe all of the problems the average person involved in litigation encounters – largely because they too often don’t have a clue about how the litigation process actually works and what is actually required to prevail in a civil lawsuit. As I helped those people along the way, I realized that they needed a detailed set of instructions of what to do, how to do it and when if they were involved in a lawsuit.

Whether they are representing themselves as a pro se litigant, or choose to hire a lawyer to do the work for them, my Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook is designed to provide them with the detailed knowledge of the litigation process from pre-litigation investigation through trial on the merits that they need to protect themselves – either by proceeding pro se or by monitoring what their attorney is doing to make sure mistakes are kept to a minimum as the case proceeds.

  1. What is it about? The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook explains the civil litigation process from the point of determining whether there is actually a case to be filed through each succeeding step that is required to give readers the best chance of prevailing in their lawsuit whether they are the plaintiff doing the suing or the defendant being sued. It explains each successive step of a civil lawsuit and provides checklists to help its readers keep track of precisely where they are in the process and each detail of what must be done at that time. The book provides a Glossary to teach readers how to “speak litigation” so they can be as effective as possible as they proceed through the process.

In addition, it provides an Appendix of sample documents to show readers what their documents should look like and the type of content they should contain to have the maximum impact on the judge. Readers who are thinking of filing a lawsuit to correct a wrong that has been done to them are shown how to get organized and how to proceed as effectively as possible. Readers who much defend against a lawsuit that has been filed against them are shown just what steps are necessary for erecting a formidable defense.

  1. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? The book is designed to answer the perennial question I have been asked by litigants I have helped over the years: “Isn’t there an easy way to do this?” My answer is always “No.” The first thing I tell them is that they need to forget what their sixth grade teacher told them: that if they just go to court and tell the truth everything will turn out alright. Litigation is difficult and is too often tedious and exhausting. But it just as often can’t be avoided. It has strict rules that must be followed, and customs that must be respected and followed carefully. Learning the process is not easy, but neither is it impossible.

It takes dedication and commitment to develop the proficiency that is required. The goal of The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook is to take the mystery out of the litigation process to help readers understand that, if they have the basic skills civil litigation requires, or are willing to learn them, they can represent themselves or ably manage their lawyer in the protection of their rights and recovery of their damages.

  1. What advice do you have for writers? Whether you’re writing a book or a legal brief or pleading, the goal should be the same: tell your story as directly and succinctly as possible so that the reader understands what you mean and what must be done to be successful at what you are proposing. Different writing tasks require different styles and different skills. Writing a motion to move a judge to action on your behalf is very different from writing a children’s book to inspire a reader to a different kind of action, or writing a how-to book to teach an adult a practical skill. Understanding precisely what the goal of your writing must be, and focusing on accomplishing that goal through your presentation is the basic goal no matter what you are writing.

  1. Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? It is increasingly obvious to me that fundamental and sweeping changes are happening in all parts of our lives these days. A person can look at almost any part of the surrounding world and recognize the impacts those changes are having on our daily lives. In the two areas of most concern to me – litigation and publishing – those trends are as striking as they are obvious. There has been a steady increase of pro se litigants representing themselves in courts across the United States at every level of the state and Federal systems.

Today, over five million pro se litigants are involved in those courts. In publishing, the changes are just as dynamic and unsettling. Where authors were required to compete in a narrow field of book, magazine and newspaper outlets, today their opportunities are growing exponentially. The development of self-publishing organizations have broadened the print possibilities as quickly as e-publishing on the internet, through e-books, and social media have opened up virtually unlimited possibilities to writers in all fields and at all stages of experience. As a result, more writers have more opportunities to reach more (and more varied) audiences than ever before.

  1. What challenges did you have in writing your book? Writing The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook presented a number of challenges. The book is not intended to be a substitute for a law school education. Yet, at the same time, it needed to prepare its readers who intended to become involved in litigation with a detailed explanation of what precisely is involved in fighting a lawsuit and the most effective ways to do so.

Next, it needed to provide step-by-step guidance through the civil litigation process from beginning to end. I found the key to explaining the steps was the development of the various checklists designed to keep the reader on track from start to finish – and through each sub-process along the way.

Then I needed to explain the requirements of effective legal writing and how it differs from other forms of written presentation. There, I developed the Glossary and Appendix to acquaint the reader with the specific words they needed to understand to navigate the process and printed examples of what their documents to be presented to the court should look and sound like.

Closely following the content of the book should give the average pro se litigant the best chance of avoiding the common mistakes that doom pro se litigants before they start and give them the best chance of prevailing in their individual lawsuits. Even if they decide that they do not have the necessary skills and/or dedication to proceed pro se, the book will acquaint them sufficiently with the civil litigation process to manage their own litigation sufficiently to reduce their costs and prevent their attorney or the attorney’s staff from making costly mistakes that the litigant will ultimately have to pay for.

  1. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? Virtually every adult needs to be able to protect themselves from the possibilities of litigation that is increasing exponentially in the United States. Whether they are simply protecting themselves from the increasingly common scams that are ensnaring consumers, or avoiding litigation resulting from an auto accident, dealing with litigious landlords or neighborhood associations, or any of the other dozens of situations that are becoming increasingly common in ensnaring average individuals in the litigation process at some level, readers of The Pro Se Litigant’s Civil Litigation Handbook will be prepared to evaluate what needs to be done when faced with the prospect of civil litigation and protect themselves in the process. Whether they need it now, or are simply likely to need later, it is a reference book that should be close at hand to be immediately available when it is required.

For more information, please consult: http://www.proselitigantshandbook.com/
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

Interview with Author Newton Frohlich


1492: A Novel of Christopher Columbus

1.  What inspired me to write 1492? Reading my client's present of two volumes on the Columbus family's litigation to enforce Columbus' contract with Ferdinand and Isabella (which entitled him to one-eighth of North, South and Central America), I realized this contract was signed the same time the King and Queen of Spain signed their decree expelling from Spain, on 90 days' notice, all Jews  though Jews lived in that land for over a thousand years.  As a lawyer, it had been my experience that leaders of large organizations didn't sign such major documents at the same time without there being a connection between them.  So, the question was:  what was the connection between Columbus' contract and the expulsion of the Jews?  And another question was:  how could it be that people who had lived and prospered and been accepted for so many years be so cruelly treated?

From these initial questions, the rest fell into place.  I visited the main New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and found that the first letter Columbus wrote when he returned to Europe, even before he wrote to Queen Isabella, was a report he sent to the financial backer of his voyage of exploration, Don Luis de Santangel, the Jewish-Converso banker who financed his voyage, telling his investor, in essence, "we did it."  Don Luis' nephew, Vicente de Santangel, assassinated one of the Inquisitors for torturing his family.  Don Luis' deal with Queen Isabella was that he would put up all the money for the voyage but the Queen would not have to pay him back unless the voyage was successful.  But he also hoped he King and Queen would spare the life of his nephew. That bet, he lost.  Vicente was executed though the rest of the Santangel family was spared.

From these two discoveries, plus encouragement from a book written by Simon Wiesenthal on the subject, and many, many other works on the influence of Arabs, Jews and Christians on Columbus, I went to work.  Eight years later, after living in Israel and Spain and visiting Italy, 1492 was done.

2.  What is 1492 about? 1492 is the story behind the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.  It weaves the Jewish, Christian, Arab influences on the discovery and also describes the life and times that, in many respects, were not so different from today.  When I started my work, the Arab oil embargo threatened the prosperity of the West just as Arab control of the trade routes to the East threatened the prosperity of the West in Columbus' time.  The challenge then and now:  how can the West reach the East and not be thwarted by Arab control of the oil and trade routes.  Columbus' answer was to sail to the West by first sailing South, and when he reached Africa, then sail ing West.  To return he would first sail North, and then, catching the winds that blow due East there, sail back to Europe.

So, getting around the Arab blockade, as it were, was the initial challenge then and now.  And the came the Inquisition by the Church into the bona fides of Jews who converted to Christianity to save themselves and their families from being tortured and burned at the stake.  But it quickly became clear that religious purity was not on the Inquisitors' minds.  Rather it was convicting Jews, confiscating their property and finaing the Christians' war against the Arabs.  As with today, the East was on one side, the West was on the other side, and Jews were in the middle.

3.  What do I think will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish my book? I hope they will realize that the magical event of discovering America emerged from a nightmare.  I hope they also will realize that after a thousand years of living together  through difficult times and good times, Christians, Jews and Arabs were torn apart and destroyed by the hatred sewn by greedy, fanatical leaders.  Yes, Columbus was successful in discovering America, but no, Spain and Portugal did not succeed either.  After a brief period of wealth and power from looting the gold of the Incas and the Aztecs, both countries went into decline. In destroying, torturing and expelling the Jews they eliminated their urban middle class with its doctors, lawyers and businessmen.  Likewise, in destroying and expelling the Arabs, they eliminated mathematicians, scientists and craftsmen, not to mention traders.  It took Spain and Portugal 525 years from 1492, but finally each country has just passed laws admitting their mistake in persecuting and expelling Jews.  They have now offered all the descendants of the Jews citizenship.  

4.  What advice to I have for writers? Persevere.  When I left law practice after I built a firm with my two partners into a 16 man Washington success, I hoped to write historical novels.  I saved every penny so I could support my wife and children over what I thought would be a long haul, but I didn't realize the hail would be quite so long.  I'm happy recognition has at last arrived.  The Shakespeare Mask has been awarded the Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal for best historical novel.  1492 had been described by Publisher's Weekly as "captivating and extraordinarily vivid," and translated in Spanish and Dutch as well as published in America  But be prepared to struggle and always remember the real success comes every day when you get up, sit down at your computer and write.  Two of my four grandchildren have announced to Grandpa that they are writing historical novels, too.

5.  Where do I think the book publishing industry is heading? I wish I knew, but it doesn't look good.  It seems to me people spend more time looking at television than reading books.  I hope I'm wrong.  My son and daughter and their spouses and children read intensely.  They also put limits on the childrens'  watching tv as my wife and I did.  But I don't know about other people.  Bookstores seem empty.  Maybe peoole browse via Amazon and Goodreads.  I hope so.   Martha and I try to buy books from Bookstores to keep them alive.  

6.  What challenges did I have in writing my book? For 1492, and for The Shakespeare Mask, too, the biggest obstacle is peoples' willingness to believe in myths rather than seeing the truth.  Re 1492, people actually believed that Queen Isabella pawned her jewels to finance the proposal of a nice young fellow from Genoa when there was absolutely no evidence for that.  It just sounded sweet.  If they had only known Queen Isabella was not "sweet" and the money was put up by a Jewish-Converso banker desperate to save his nephew and the rest of his family from burning at the stake, they might have been open to the truth.  As it was, it took publishers years to accept the truth.  

The same goes for The Shakespeare Mask.  The myth that an uneducated young man could write the most sophisticated works of literature in the English language without any knowledge of Latin, Greek, Spanish, French and Italian when so the plays the poems of Shakespeare required  such knowledge as well as travel to the countries where they were spoken boggles the mind.  Five U.S. Supreme Court Justices believe, as I and thousands of others do, that the Earl of Oxford wrote the works of Shakespeare, "beyond a reasonable doubt," and yet much of the academic community stonewalls the idea.  It's only a matter of time before younger scholars who have not made a career based on the acceptance of the myth take over universities and publishing houses but, until then. many wallow in the myth.

7. If people can buy only one book this month, why should it be mine? 1492 is very timely because the historical events it describes are applicable to what we see happening all around us now, the same struggles and challenges exist even today, and it reminds us that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.