Friday, August 29, 2014

We Are Not Alone 

maggie 1

Ghosts and apparitions have held great interest to humankind through all the ages. At first, ghosts of the dearly departed were accepted as fact and formed part of everyday life and rituals, but as we became gradually more technologically sophisticated, so the skepticism grew. It is a basic instinct to fear what one doesn’t understand or can’t reasonably explain.

Because “ghost-hunting” isn’t a real science and has depended on amateurs with imperfect methods and imperfect equipment, knowledge has remained rather sketchy. Of course ghost stories are steeped in folklore. As tales get passed on from generation to generation, they becomes embellished and distorted. These stories were told to warn and to entertain and weren’t necessarily meant to be accepted as fact.

Personally I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, and have recently started questioning the nature of apparitions of the dead. I wanted to know why the spirits of some people linger after death and others not. To find answers, I first had to explore the nature of ghosts in general.

Let’s be honest. We’ve all heard inexplicable little sounds we hear at odd times for which we couldn’t find reasonable explanations. And because we’re scared of ghosts and things that go bump in the night, it makes one feel better to blame the noisy neighbors. And what about the movement we catch from the corner of the eye that we assign to shifting light casting shadows? Sometimes when we can’t come up with a logical explanation, it’s just more comforting to blame our own overactive imagination. But is it possible that all this space around us is not empty?

I believe we’re all born with the ability to “see.” Unfortunately our perception changes over time as we mature. This suggests that in the process of socialization, the ability is blocked when it’s assigned to the child’s imagination.

Here are a few interesting “facts” regarding the experience of ghostly activity:
•                Whereas children can see ghosts, only about one in ten adults retain that ability.
•                Women are more likely than men to see a ghost.
•                The higher the IQ, the lower the likelihood of seeing a ghost.
•                People actively looking for ghosts are the least likely to see one, and by the flip of a coin, those who disregard their presence are quite likely candidates to have a ghostly experience.

The most common explanation of what ghosts are, is that they’re the spirits of people who have died prematurely and so still have unfinished business to complete. The soul incarnates into each new life with a set of prescribed tasks to complete in that life for the development of that soul. When death comes unexpectedly or early, some of the tasks might still be incomplete and the soul is unable to cross over to the spirit world. The spirit then lingers around his or her old haunts and friends and family. This kind of sighting is highly interactive, and not only is a conversation possible, one may even capture the spirit in a video or photo. Some people stick to this theory of the nature of ghosts because they seem to accept it as proof of life after death.

Another theory is that high-impact events are recorded in the surroundings where the event takes place. The recording is then replayed so to speak, over and over, but can only be seen by people who have retained the sensitivity. This could manifest as the actual seeing of the apparition, but it could also take the form of recurring smells or sounds. The recording consists of a very strong emotion or a violent event. As this is only a recording of an event, it makes sense that there can be no interaction with the ghost as such. This is what is called poltergeist activity, as a poltergeist is attached to a place or house or even a single room in a house and doesn’t respond to the people occupying the space.

A third theory of what ghosts are, states that they are naturally occurring electromagnetic events. We all leave impressions on the places we visit during our lives. So, one place could have the impressions of many people who had visited it over time. I’m not sure if these impressions would be interpreted as ghosts, though.

Similarly, there is a theory that ghosts are actual people living in parallel dimensions that overlap our dimension for a time. I suppose one must consider all options, but this one seems unlikely.

And the theory that ghosts live only in the imagination would seem to satisfy only those who have lost their ability to perceive.

Whatever the nature of ghosts, I believe they are there, whether one accepts them or not. And remember, if you don’t believe in the existence of such spirits, then you stand a much better chance of being  visited by one.

maggie 2

South African born and bred, Maggie loves all things paranormal. Her stories reflect her interest of things unexplained. Maggie loves books (the smell of paper), tea, wine, and her cat Felix, who is her constant companion.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why did self-publishing drop 46%?

file000532567424Over the years, people have claimed that traditional publishing is a dinosaur, eBooks are the future, and self-publishing is taking over. However, the facts don’t support those theories.
Before moving on, the purpose of any blog on UP Authors is to help you make decisions and move forward productively. We don’t guess at UP Authors, nor do we give you our opinion. We stick with reality and leave the fiction to the writing of stories.
Traditional Publishing Update
Traditional publishing has taken a small dip…1.6%. In terms of business, that’s “Holding steady.”
Traditional publishing isn’t growing. It’s not failing. It’s holding steady.
Han Huang, Director of Product Management for Data Licensing at Bowker said, “Traditional print production is holding up relatively well…industry reports that eBook sales growth has been slowing.”
eBook Update
Remember that traditional publishing doesn’t put a lot of funding into eBooks. This is why they can raise the prices to $14.99. If they sell eBooks, it’s a bonus.
Traditional publishers use statistics to make business and marketing choices. It’s a fact that 6% of readers prefer only eBooks and 46% of readers prefer only printed books. (Wall Street Journal) There are some readers that purchase both eBooks and printed books, but the numbers are low.
Yes, there are 200% more published eBooks than last year, but only 6% of readers are interested in buying those eBooks. Do you see the difference?
Self-Publishing Update
In 2010, there were 3,844,278 self-published books. It was a time when people started going on their own to find other sources of income. They put up their own website, uploaded a book to Amazon, signed up for Facebook, and realized that publishing and marketing was cheap.
That turned out to be the problem with self-publishing…cheap.
Books were rushed and poorly written.
Publishing was rushed, which flooded the markets with first-time authors.
Marketing was rushed, producing low results.
In 2012, self-publishing dropped to 2,042,840 titles and in 2013, self-publishing dropped to 1,108,183.
I’m not great at math, but that’s about a 50% drop each year, which means by 2016, there may only be 130,000 self-published books.
What’s the main reason self-publishing is fading away?
Huang, an expert in product management said that self-published books are, “Marketed almost exclusively online.”
Traditional publishing uses multiple ways to market, along with focusing on specific areas to market which is based on the author’s genre, storyline, and characters.
Self-published authors attempt to market books to the entire world via Amazon, social media, and their website.
Here’s the good news!
Every self-published author that continues on this trend will fade away. It’s not my opinion…it’s a fact.
For those of you that want to succeed at self-publishing, then you can succeed by following traditional marketing methods.
Here’s a list of traditional ways to market. Remember that you don’t have to do all of this at once. Mix and match, invest what you can, but this is your only way to survive and eventually sell millions of books.
~ Target Market Research (Knowing which cities would purchase your book. Also, which cities have the highest income and education rates.)
~ Book Conferences
~ Events
~ Book Signings
~ Book Clubs
~ Media Coverage
~ Advertisements (Billboards, Newspapers, Commercials, Movie Theatres)
~ Press Kits
~ Book Reviews
~ Reading Samples/Serialization
~ Speaking Engagements
The next stage should be…
~ Placement of books in big box stores
~ Placement in bookstores, both chain and local (Especially bookstores that report numbers to the Bestsellers List)
~ Placement of books on the end-caps of bookstores and big box stores
~ Film Adaptation (There are resources for film adaptation. See below.)
Some authors feel it’s great news that self-publishing is fading away. This opens the door for authors that are going to stick it out and adjust their marketing. Meanwhile, the authors that rush a book on Amazon will soon fade away.
Start a budget for marketing, even if it’s only $50 a month. This simple adjustment will propel your career, while other authors find a different career…
“There’s a big gap between you and the all-time bestselling authors in the world. Inside that gap are billions of potential readers.” ~ Ron Knight
AMP up your book sales and turn your book into a movie!
Free marketing tips! Join the 4,000 writers that follow UP Authors!
Need more tips and advice? Sign up for the UP Authors Newsletter!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Paranormal Romance Guild Review of Dark Moon

4****Star PRG Review

Book:  Dark Moon
Author:  Maggie Tideswell
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Publisher:  All Things That Matter Press
Rating:  Adult

This is a story of love and the occult.  At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to the characters who are involved in the story.  At first it is confusing, but then we are taken on an interesting exploration of the characters and their eventual involvement with each other.
Storm Fenton is a psychologist living with her best friend, Donna.  Storm has been dating Trevor Heardt for almost a year and is hoping that he will propose marriage to her. But things change when Storm meets a man on the beach, Jarred Walters, a Navy Captain, and has a sexual encounter with him.  The encounter results in Storm becoming pregnant, leading to her decision not to marry Trevor, even if he asked. She is determined to raise her child on her own and doesn't even know the father's name. Since she was a virgin when she met the stranger there is no doubt that the baby is not Trevor's.
But a pregnancy and a onetime sexual tryst are just the beginning of the bad things about to happen to Storm.  When Jarred finally finds Storm and realizes that she is pregnant with his child, he is determined to marry her and raise his child. But Storm wants Trevor. Or does she?  Why is she constantly thinking about Jarred if Trevor is the one she wants?
While all this is going on someone is raping and murdering women.  There have been seven murders and no clues as to the culprit.  Can the murderer be someone no one would expect?  Trevor's actions become irrational.  His mother is a witch and he finds out that he has a long lost sister.  According to his mother there is something evil about Trevor, and he has plans for Storm.  What are those plans?  If his mother is a witch, does he also practice magic?  Does he practice Black Magic? Who is Trevor really?  Will Storm make the right decision in who she wants to be with? What about the baby?
Although I couldn't figure out what the characters had in common in the beginning, and it seemed a little confusing, it didn't take long for the author to clear everything up.  The love story was beautifully written and I couldn't help hoping that Storm would pick the right man.  Did she?  This is also a story of good over evil and who eventually wins. I really enjoyed this book it had it all, great characters, love, romance and of course, magic.  So many twists, turns and surprises.  You never knew what was going to happen next.  It held my interest throughout.
Reviewed By:   Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
Dark Moon is available from the following fine online stores:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Author of the Week: Maggie Tideswell

Author Bio: Maggie Tideswell
I live in Johannesburg, South Africa, married a wonderful Welshman more than 30 years ago and we had three children. They are now all grown up and we have been blessed with two grandkids, a girl and a boy.
I love to cook and read, and when I have the odd moment to myself, I am usually doing one or the other. I think I would have been a wonderful chef, but I wouldn’t have been able to stand the heat in the kitchen.
Two of my books have already been published, Dark Moon in September 2011 and Moragh, Holly’s Ghost in July 2013. Three more, in various stages of completion, clutter my desk demanding my attention. I have always had more than one work in progress at any given time.
Book Bio:
A marriage of convenience between strangers, helpful fey friends, hidden agendas, a custody battle that couldn’t be won and a haunting.
Set in the winelands of the Cape in South Africa, Joshua responded to an advert placed in the newspaper by Holly’s helpful friends. Strange things start happening from the moment Holly accepted his proposal of marriage. They met for the first time on the steps of the chapel they were to be married in. Each had their own reasons for doing this, but Nicole, Joshua’s jilted fiancĂ©e wasn’t happy about his marriage to another woman. Joshua and Holly have to battle Holly’s ex-husband over her two children. And Holly has to solve a 30 year old murder mystery before the ghost that was haunting her would be at peace.
Could the attraction Holly and Joshua felt towards each other blossom into love?
Both my books have been published by All Things That Matter Press, a small press in Maine, USA.
Date Published:
Moragh, Holly’s Ghost was released on July 17, 2013.
Link to book on Amazon:
Why did you decide to become an author?
Maggie Tideswell: I was very young when I told my mother I was going to be a writer, but it was many years later before I realized my dream. I have always been a dreamer, making up stories and situations and resolving them. It was only when I was in my forties that I found time to actually write the stories in my head down.
What genre do you write and why?
Maggie Tideswell: I love the paranormal romance genre. Let’s face it, romance is everywhere. Even the birds and the bees do it. Even hard core crime stories and horror has elements of love and romance. My paranormal elements are not the vampire, zombie and creatures with tentacles variety, but rather visitors from the other side of the grave, the craft and the way people interfere with each other. The theme nothing is as it seems plays a strong part in my work.
What inspired you to write this book?
Maggie Tideswell: The meeting between strangers have always fascinated me. People meet for the first time every day, but only some of those encounters have far-reaching effects. But what happens when two strangers are tied to each other by the bond of marriage?
Do you have any tips for new writers interested in seeing their work in print?
Maggie Tideswell: Only one, and that is perseverance. You have to learn to absorb criticism and rejection without breaking your stride towards your goal. Don’t take anything personally and if you don’t at fist succeed, try, try again. If writing is in your blood, don’t give up.
Do you have any tops for new published authors when it comes to marketing and promotions?
Maggie Tideswell: Again only one, and that is persistence. Strive to do something every day to get you and your book before interested people, and it doesn’t have to break your bank. Try new ways of marketing and again, don’t give up. If something doesn’t work, move on to the next. Leave no stone unturned.
Do you have any upcoming books you’d like to mention?
Maggie Tideswell: I do indeed. My third paranormal romance is titled Roxanne’s Ghost, set in the winelands of the Cape Province of South Africa. When Ben’s wife Roxanne dies in a car wreck and his housekeeper gets too old to take care of his little autistic child, Ben needs to find a qualified nanny. Jessica James arrives for her interview for the position on Friday 13th, late in the afternoon with a thunderstorm brewing. The attraction between them is instant, but Roxanne’s twin has plans for Ben.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brummet's Conscious Blog - My interview with Lillian Brummet

 -- World Of Writing --

* Today's guest is author Maggie Tideswell , who lives with her husband, Gareth, and their cat, Felix, in Johannesburg, South Africa. They have 3 grown-up children and have been blessed with 2 grandchildren. The paranormal has always interested her and she finds ghost and questions like why some people linger after death and others not fascinating. Alternative religions has been of particular interest to Maggie, too. For these reasons, South Africa and particularly the southern Cape region, paranormal and the craft all have a place in her writing. Tideswell has 2 published books, Dark Moon in 2011 and Moragh, Holly's Ghost in 2013. There are many more to follow. Find out more about Maggie via:
  - & -   


Q: How have your books gotten published?

I was looking for an agent when I heard that it was easier to find a publisher. I took a few days to work through the Predators & Editors publishers listing and submitted to any who accepted email submissions, accepted unagented submissions and were reading the paranormal romance genre. There were 35 in total. All Things That Matter Press, a small press in Maine, USA was the first to respond. They published both my first and second books.

Q: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I never have less than 3 books going at the same time. I believe one reaches a point in the story telling process when one must take a step back from the story, work on something else for a while, to give the story time to mellow. When one comes back to it, one looks at it with fresh eyes and new perspective.

Q: How many books/stories have you written?

In the 20 odd years since I started writing, I completed 7 novels, all in the paranormal romance genre, and have plot lines for 5 more. My 2nd published book, Moragh - Holly’s Ghost, has now turned into a series, titled Moragh Haunting. I am working on book 2 and 3 at the same time. Mt 3rd book, Roxanne’s Ghost, which will be published soon, will also become a series. I worry that I won’t have enough time to write everything I still want to.
Q: Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer?

Perseverance is a very attractive trait in a writer, so cultivate it. Never give up. Remember that writing is a craft, and has to be learnt like any other craft. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

Q: When starting a book project do you choose the title first, or does that come later?

Oh no, the story names the book. I give a new project a working title, but only when the book nears completion do I know what the title should be.


  Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dark Moon book trailer, Maggie Tideswell (video by KnoxworX)

Displaying Pilgrims Rest.jpg
The tiny mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest.

Author Interview: Maggie Tideswell

Maggie Tideswell
Maggie Tideswell became an author rather accidentally, when she was bored at work one day. Now, she is the author of two paranormal fiction books, Moragh, Holly’s Ghost and Dark Moon. She no longer works in the boring job that prompted her to begin writing and instead works part-time, devoting the rest of her time to working on upcoming releases. 
Blogger says you’re in health care—what prompted you to get into writing?1. I noticed that your profile on
I was in health care. A couple of years ago I worked for a stoma therapist here in Johannesburg as receptionist. Directly after leaving school I nursed for a year, but for most of my working life I have been in the hospitality industry. My writing career started quite unexpectedly, even though I always knew I would be a writer one day. I was the duty manager one weekend and as there wasn’t a lot to do on Sundays, I started fooling around on the computer and wrote a scene. It was horrible, but I honed it until I was happy with it. Then I wrote another scene and then another and … that was the start of my first novel and I gave it the working title of An Absolute Bargain. This book became my second to be published under the title Moragh, Holly’s Ghost about 20 years after that Sunday being bored at work.
2. I’ve noticed that you live in South Africa. How do you think that has affected your books? Is there a distinctive South African influence in them?
There definitely is a South African slant to my writing. One hears it often said that one should write what one knows. As I was born and raised in South Africa, one could say I know the setting well. At first I toyed with the idea of setting my stories somewhere different and exotic, but then local customs for that area crop up and I was stumped. I didn’t want to color my work “unauthentic” because of the setting. I use South African slang and customs and readers have commented that my writing is uniquely different because of that.
3. Are supernatural romances all the rage in South Africa the way they have been in the U.S. and Europe over the past few years?
Absolutely. It is a known fact that people like to be “scared” and South Africans are no different. Paranormal is a universal trend. But to me there is paranormal and then there is paranormal. Zombies and vampires and werewolves are paranormal, but you won’t find any of those in my stories. Teeth and tentacles are also classed as paranormal, but personally I find both very off-putting. To me, supernatural is what cannot be seen, only experienced. And ghosts of course are my favorite. The romance isn’t between humans and ghosts, but rather two people falling in love despite the fear of a haunting.
4. Who are your influences? What supernatural authors do you like?
I lived in a tiny mining town from the gold rush period and that was where my fascination with ghosts started. The house we were in was haunted. This I experienced myself, although I have never seen a ghost. That house had cold spots and nightly footsteps and all sorts of cheepy things going on. Shortly after moving in, I started awake one night as if somebody was leaning over me. When I spoke to a few of the locals who had been in the town for a long time, I was told that the house we were in used to be a hospital and that it was probably the nurse who came to look at the new “patients” in the night.
Barbara Erskine’s writing is very similar to mine if some respects and I have read most of her books. I also enjoy Dean Koontz and Anne Rice, to name but a few.
5. What’s your writing process like and how long does it take you to write a book?
It starts with an idea, which grows into a scene, which grows into a chapter. I have to know what the outcome is going to be. And I need to allow a story to rest and mellow, so I normally work of two or three books at the same time. I find that taking a break from a story adds fresh perspective when I return to it. Characterization is very important and I look at each character separately and then at them all interacting together as a whole. All of this is rather time-consuming and it might be many years before I am happy that a book is ready for readers.
6. Out of the three books that you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?
They each have a different set of characters and I always fall a little bit in love with my hero. I am working on the second and third books in the Moragh Haunting series of which Moragh, Holly’s Ghost is the first. It didn’t start out as a series, but when I finished writing Moragh, Holly’s Ghost, I realized there was so much that was still untold. For instance, what became of Nicole? She is the focus of the second book, titled Poppet Nicole. And then I worried that the reader would be left with the idea that Donald was only bad, whereas he was searching, like the rest of us. I had to finish telling his story too in a third book, for which there isn’t a working title yet.
Now that Roxanne’s Ghost is finished, I had the same doubts about those characters. I am planning another two books to follow Roxanne’s Ghost when I’m finished with the Moragh Haunting series.
Dark Moon will remain a stand alone book. I feel the story came to a natural conclusion and there isn’t much I would have liked to add, except maybe to tell Donna’s and Elle’s stories. They both had a raw deal in Dark Moon.
So, as you can see, all three books  are all close to my heart.
7. How did you find your publisher, All Things That Matter Press? Tell me a little bit about how they work. 
When my first book was ready, I was desperate to find a publisher for it. I went down the Preditors & Editors list and submitted to every publisher who was interested in new authors of my genre and who accepted email submissions. I sent out about 30 submissions in the space of 2 days and All Things That Matter Press responded about 6 weeks later. They publish speculative literature, of which the paranormal genre forms a part. They do not publish romance, normally.
They edit the manuscripts themselves and do a wonderful job with it. They provide the cover art, although I had my own covers designed by an independent designer. The authors don’t pay them for any of this. When the book is released, they list it online with amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many more, but the marketing and getting the word is the responsibility of the author.
8. How has living in South Africa affected your marketing of the book? Obviously it’s a bit of a hassle to do events or book readings in the U.S. or Europe, so what do you do to compensate?
Marketing a book in South Africa is a lot different and more challenging that is the US and Europe. So far I have neglected my home country and have concentrated on internet marketing, but it isn’t enough. I am launching a marketing campaign targeting South African print media, radio and bookstores.
9. What plans do you have for the future in terms of writing?
Many more books! As I have already explained, I have 4 books in the pipeline (2 in the Moragh Haunting series and 2 to follow Roxanne’s Ghost – I must really think of a title for that series!) I am also working on a novel set on one of the Portuguese islands off the east coast of Africa and flashes back to the slave trade off the African coast. I will never stop writing. Story ideas just pop up all the time and I am just worried that there won’t be enough time to write them all.
For more information, you can check out Maggie’s blog or you can visit her Amazon author page to look at the titles currently available for purchase. Also, you can check out her YouTube trailer for Dark Moon below: