Saturday Book Review: “2050”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

2050 by Thomas Berry

2050

by Thomas Berry

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478775805

Synopsis:

Through ignorance, racism and selfish lobbies, Americans lost their freedom of speech. Fear of accusation closed the mouths of the powerful. In 2036 Isis easily created a Caliphate and introduced Sharia law. If students objected, one would be beheaded in front of a class. Rule by fear expanded. In one 5th grade class friends realized that their generation would be the last to save their beloved country. As they grew up, they studied how Lenin seized control of Russia. They decided to use his plan to save America. Cells were formed. Roger was selected leader. His girlfriend Emma was made head of supplies. Beautiful Sally collected info by working for a Mullah. Big black Harry brought in the Black panthers and the Hells Angels. Charley worked the Sharia political arena. The group developed well until a Sharia spy was exposed in their midst. They were forced into action ahead of schedule. Can they really extinguish Sharia law and restore America? Can one incredible sacrifice lead to a victory from failure? Find out!

Critique:

What a great story of sacrifice and courage. Like roger, I wanted to jump through the screen and save Emma. I love a manuscript like yours that paints a picture of a different futuristic world. You have a terrific writing style. You have obviously done a significant amount planning and preparation in crafting your work. Your prose is nicely written with details that capture the reader. Right from the start your plot was very engaging. You do a nice job of slowly making your way through the story with details and a certain voice that allows your reader to really interact with the characters(who are all round and very nicely developed). Characterization is one of the most important elements of a successful fiction story. I always love it when I leave a story feeling like I know the characters, this is true for your novel. You have crafted a quality piece of writing.

 

reviewed by Rae Morgan of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

After reading the synopsis and hearing other peoples opinions on this book I was not sure that I would like it or not. I had heard that people found this book to have a racist note to it so I was a bit dubious about reading it. However, when I started to read this book I did not find it to be written in a way that could seem racist. That being said I did also see how and why this book could be taken as having racist notes to it. When looking into this book just remember that this book is purely fiction and there is most likely no racist intent by the author. I found that this book was actually an interesting read and it will remain in my book collection permanently. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in contemporary fiction but if you are easily offended then this may not be the right book for you as it does contain some touchy subjects in relation to religion and crimes. I am strongly against racism so if I thought that the author meant this book to be took in a racist way then I would surely be honest and say that I thought that this book was racist and definitely would not be recommending it to anyone. I did find this book quite interesting to read and found it hard to stop reading.

– Amazon Reviewer margaret chadwick

Fear can be a deadly thing. When in fear people will do things they normally wouldn’t do. When people are afraid, they lose their freedom, their ideals, ideas and their rights. This is what happened in 2036 when Sharia law took hold due to Isis.Under Sharia law, you obeyed, you did what you were told or you paid the dear price. It didn’t matter who you were, how old you were, man or woman, you paid. Children were beheaded in front of their peers. As the young generation grew up, they decided enough is enough. This isn’t the world they wanted. They began to listen, to plan, to explore possibilities to save their beloved America. Everyone had a job and each job was as important as the next.

But are you ever really sure of the people you trust? Read this futuristic book about getting America back and making Sharia law a thing of the past. What will 2050 be like for our children? Will it be a fight to hold on to the America they knew and know can be again? What are we leaving our children and grand children?

– Amazon Reviewer gayle pace

Book Trailer


saturday self-published book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Conversations: 12/2/2016

THE WRITER-AUTHOR-MARKETING SPECIALIST

We have all survived November’s politics with much THANKSGIVING around the holiday table! Now it’s time to focus on the book(s) we’ve written with a fresh perspective toward the 2016 winter holiday marketing season. Are you ready? OR…are your knees knocking? I must confess I a bit stuck somewhere in-between. However, every year I learn little more—become familiar with new marketing techniques—and develop connections with folks who can help me. SO, let me put your mind at ease. No matter where you fit on the sliding scale of preparedness, we can all do something to promote our published books—AND—be inspired to continue writing current projects. My blogs this month will share a sundry of ideas to help you.

character writing fireproof proverbs

You’ll be reading this blog in the 1st week of December, therefore my first encouragement to you is: DON’T PANIC!

If you’ve peeked into the marketing blogs, magazines and how-to books you’ve probably read that authors must start marketing for the Christmas Holiday Season IN OCTOBER! I don’t know about you, but I’m writing my next book (and coaching two other authors in the development of their books), so I totally missed the month of October—and November. Now, it’s December 2nd and I’m recalling a wonderful piece of advice from a very well-known author I met at a Writers Conference. He said: “Continuous one-line conversations will sell your books any time of the year, but most especially during the winter holidays.”

What did he mean by “one-line conversations?” You probably already know—Facebook and Twitter first of all, then creating one-line quotes from your book that can be placed on your blog, Instagram and Pinterest, and everywhere else online that you can reach. For example, here is a quote from my self-published book: FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words.

Most authors I know are also using one of the EMAIL marketing sites to send out weekly hello’s to a collected list of Readers and writers. The emails I find most appealing are the “short and sweet” ones that encourage my own writing efforts. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction this is an excellent marketing tool. However, I’ve discovered that I need help with offering potential buyers something that is of value to them and nudges them in the direction of my book.

If you self-published the team that supported you to get your book in print and online can also help you with marketing through multi-level promotions. Their experts can develop a series of emails that build excitement for your books and/or video clips that will play on YouTube plus many other suggestions that are specific to your needs.

So…this week I hope you will take a deep breath, relax, and begin thinking about the exciting month you will have promoting YOUR book(s). Those of us who are introvert writers CAN do this because of all the things available to us on our computers IN THE COMFORT ZONE of our writing rooms. The professional “assistants,” who have the expertise to help us, also love to communicate via emails. And once you’ve entered into this marketing realm—well—you just might find it a lot of FUN! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

In Your Corner: Be the Life of the Party…Literally!

book club book party coffee tea nature

It can be hard, reinventing the wheel. Every holiday season, the same challenges and opportunities roll around–and every author is forced to decide: this one, or that one? Host a reading at the library, or coordinate a potluck and book sale at home? Or, worst of all, there’s the option of letting the holidays slide–of letting them drift away in a haze of busy schedules and truly important family and social demands–without making use of them as an author.

My suggestion? Host a holiday writing party! This isn’t your plain-Jane reading or book sale, although you could definitely incorporate elements of those tried-and-trues into your new plan. No–a writing party is much more inclusive and much more fun for kids of all ages (“from one to ninety-two” as Nat King Cole would put it). And while you are still the facilitator and secret power-broker behind the scenes of a writing party, you’re not the sole event–and at this time of year, that’s a blessing! No really, one can only pull off the holidays if one is expected to carry every burden. And typically, once the idea of a writing party is broached, everyone is eager to pitch in!

If you’re thinking “Hey! That’s not such a bad idea!” then I have a couple of suggestions, based on prior experience (I love these parties!):

  • Have everyone bring a dish, and in a twist have them steer clear of the typical holiday goodies, which everyone will very soon be sick of from sheer quantity–candies and cookies and so forth. Instead, have them bring something inspired by one of their favorite books! Kids might find something in Redwall to inspire, and there is an entire genre dedicated to “geek cookbooks” online, where you can find cookbooks (official and unofficial) with recipes from The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Little House on the Prairie, among others … so this is not such a difficult challenge to meet. (And adults: there are endless lists of cocktails inspired by literature out there, so don’t be afraid to crack open that bar after the kids go to bed!)
  • Dedicate a part of your session just to snacking. It’s worth it, and it gets the chatting and the fiddling and the greasy fingers out of the way before the serious work begins. There’s usually a quiet lull in the conversation about twenty minutes in which serves as a nice segway–but again, everyone’s party should be tailored to suit your specific vision! Just make sure that food is stored away from the writing table, since messes do tend to happen–and everybody has a favorite “loud chewing sound” story! (Hot beverages are usually handy at the table, though.)
  • Then, get down to business. You’ll know what this ought to look like when it happens, and when it feels right. Every book club, writing club, and party has its own rhythm, but don’t worry–you’ll know. Sometimes it’s helpful to keep a timer nearby, or to set one up on your phone–breaking writing up into a couple of shorter sessions with quick snack and bathroom breaks in between is one way to keep everyone’s blood moving and energy up. And if that doesn’t cut it, consider leading a couple of breathing activities or even–yes!–yoga moves! Studies indicate significant improvements to focus in intellectual activities when the body is kept active and balanced. (It helps with carpal tunnel syndrome, too. Shake out those cramped wrists and fingers!) Oh–and don’t forget to offer up a couple of writing “prompts” for anyone in need of inspiration, and gear them towards your audience. Adults may want to write fiction–or letters to loved ones at Christmas. Kids might want to doodle or draw, or slay a dragon in five paragraphs or fewer!
  • Wrap up with a quick reflection. Try to steer clear of putting any one person on the spot, but offer up a couple of open questions about books, characters, challenges, and more. At this point, or as the last writing session is wrapping up, you can begin bringing the snacks to the writing table. The goal is for everyone to reach a point of total relaxation and contentment, and holiday joy.

Be inspired. There are so many shapes and forms your writing party might take–it may look nothing like the one I’ve described here–it might be outside, with just a couple of friends, or inside, with a pack of small children looking on. It could be held at the library! Or at your kitchen table. There’s no one way to hold a writing party–but a writing party is the best kind of party. After all, like the adult coloring movement–like Knit Night–like quilting and gardening and origami and yoga and meditating on one’s reading, writing is an activity which triggers serotonin release, calm, peace, and rejuvenation in those who take part in it. We can’t think of a better way to kick the holiday stress than by hosting a writing party!

What do you think? Will you have a chance to host an event this Christmas season? We’d love to hear about it. Drop us a line in the comments section below.

book party grandpa grandfather grandchildren children

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

From the Archives: “How NaNoWriMo Can Explode Your Writing Career – Yes, Really!”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: October 19th, 2012 ]

National Novel Writing Month, shortened to the kitschy NaNoWriMo (nan-no-RYE-moe), is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that challenges writers to pen a whopping 50,000 words in the month of November. Though it started in 1999 with fewer than two dozen participants, it’s estimated that more than 200,000 speed-writers tackled the challenge in 2010.

NaNoWriMo can kick-start a newbie’s writing efforts, or helped experienced authors loosen up and try freestyle for a while. Many NaNoWriMo participants have even gone on to have their projects published! At the very least, the project is a great writing exercise – and an chance to promote yourself as an author or your future book. In the true spirit of this virtual writing challenge, use the Web to turn NaNoWriMo into a prime marketing opportunity.

  • Start by crowing about your plans. If you don’t already have one, build a blog page on WordPress or another free blog site. Give readers daily reports on what work you’re doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Perhaps you’re reading Moby Dick for inspiration, attended writers’ conference, or you’ve bought a new thesaurus. Bring your audience along with you and get them excited about your adventure. Duplicate your efforts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and any other social media platform you wish.
  • Solicit feedback. Engage your readers in the process by sharing potential plot points and asking them for their ideas. People love the be involved in the creative process, and you may be surprised what scintillating characters and plot twists could spin out of these virtual brainstorming sessions.
  • Poll your potential audience. Ask your friends and readers to answer simple, multiple-choice questions: Should my protagonist be male or female? Which name do you prefer for the main character? Should the hero get the girl – yes or no? It’s a quick way to get people invested in your success and to gather a general consensus when you’re not sure which path to take.
  • Choose cover art. This could be as simple as changing your Facebook photo for the duration of the NaNoWriMo challenge or as involved as designing a prospective book cover. The idea is to associate an image with your project that will set a tone, create an image, inspire you and engage your readers.

Once November 1 rolls around – and, trust me, it will sneak right up on you – it’s time to hunker down for real. To successfully complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, you’ll have to write consistently most days from November 1 through November 30. You’ll need to average 1,667 words per day to meet the 50K quota, more if you take any days off. That means at least a couple solid hours of writing most days. (And leave a little extra writing time to update your blog or Twitter followers and post progress reports on Facebook.) The trick is not to get caught up in achieving perfection in a few short weeks; the goal is a lot of words in a short time, so focus on quantity in November — you can sort out the quality later.

I highly recommend joining a regional group so you can communicate with other participants, listen to ideas, share writing tips and gather suggestions from others. Many past NaNoWriMo authors have valuable advice that can help you make the most of the NaNoWriMo experience.

Now get writing!

– by Elise L. Connors

On this, the second-to-last day of NaNoWriMo 2016, I thought we might take a quick peek back a the beginning of things—not because, at this point, any of us want to travel full-circle, but because sometimes it’s important to be thinking more in terms of beginnings than endings. (And trust me, there will be plenty of time to talk about what comes next over the coming weeks and months. We’ll be checking in with you on what you do with your NaNo projects, dear readers.)

nanowrimo

In the beginning, when you decided to dive into this NaNoWriMo thing, you were excited. Passionate. Completely blinkered to the outside world as you dove into this other world, the world of your own creation. (Even if you were writing about the “real world,” it’s never quite as magical as what you put down on the page, is it?) As the days passed, you began to feel the grip of pressure tighten and the weight of responsibility begin stalking you seriously down the block. And at some point or other, you considered giving up. Maybe you did, in fact, give up.

That’s okay.

But again, let’s go back to that beginning—where everything was golden and rose-colored glasses weren’t even necessary to see things as bright and full of opportunity. Every author needs that moment, once in a while, to reinvest the writing process with joy and meaning. And it’s so elusive, so fragile, so easily lost.

Don’t give up on yourself, even if you gave up on NaNoWriMo or your latest lengthy writing project. Don’t despair of never getting that golden moment back. It will come. It might take its time in coming, but it will come. It might crop up unbidden, or it might crop up as you work hard to cultivate it.

Whether you finished NaNoWriMo or not, go back to those early structures and habits and practices—like the one in Elise’s list from 2012, above—and evaluate: what worked? What hurt? What can you use or adapt moving forward? Don’t beat yourself up about what’s over and done and beyond altering; keep one eye on the past and one eye on the future, and you’ll find a way forward.

And as always, we’re here to help you with that.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing News: 11.28.2016

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

This fantastic article from the Star Tribune puts the spotlight on Laura Vosika, mother of nine, author and musician who still somehow finds time to run an independent publishing company out of her home. Voskia inhabits a world where self-publishing has highly inflated the number of books being published per year. The rise of self-publishing has turned authors into simultaneous entrepreneurs who must be tuned in to the world of marketing and design. With this rise in quantity, however, there has not necessarily been a rise in quality, which is why Voskia adds a weekly writing group to her already jam packed routine.

Find out how this inspiring woman balances all of these aspects of her life and still was able to sell over 60,000 copies of her book as a self-published author by reading the article above.

When Ben Batchelder took to the backroads of Brazil with his black labrador retriever, he claims that his new book essentially ‘wrote him.’ Of course, after the book was written, self-publishing did not come nearly as easily. Batchelder says that self-publishing should be see as a grand opportunity for learning how to market, how to proof, how to design a book, etc. etc.

While Batchelder learned these important new skills focused on publishing, he also learned how to be patient and persistent, and the importance of reaching out to friends, old and new. He says,  “[Publicity] events have flushed out old friends, made new ones, built contacts lists, and provided fodder for blogs and various social media platforms.”

In this poingant article, Tom Chalmers addresses some harsh realities of the publishing world in general balanced with the corresponding silver linings of those realities. For example, he points to the fact that prints sales are finally not falling, ebook sales have stabilized and authors have accepted digitization as a core aspect of the publishing world who have learned to work with online conglomerates such as Amazon, rather than against them. He goes on to say that authors have acknowledged and accepted that bookshops will not be on the rise, and that “the all-powerful customer will continue to demand more for less, or preferably for free. We are long past any return to the past.”

While acknowledging those realities, Chalmers makes clear that self-publishing authors have been paving the way in this revolutionizing world of book publishing in general. Self-published authors have shown the importance of being close to the customer, of tireless marketing and promotion online and elsewhere, and of business savvy practices. So if self-published authors are leading the way, does traditional publishing have anything to offer authors anymore? Chalmers makes it clear that traditional publishing companies cannot simply try and rehash the innovations of the self-publishing market, but need to find new ways to prove that they are still contributing unique and relevant things to the field. The question is, will traditional publishing companies make this a priority, and if not, what does the future look like for them?


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Ringing in the Holidays: New Year’s Eve Edition!

Blogrunner’s Note: This is the post which was scheduled to post on Wednesday, November 23rd. For some reason unbeknownst to us, it failed to post successfully—so we’re bringing it to your feeds today! And still in plenty of time for NYE, thankfully. Thank you for your forebearance.


As New Year’s Eve approaches, we authors can often be found meticulously scribing resolutions for becoming more active writers or more active in our book marketing in the coming year. Some of these resolutions are probably rehashed from last year’s list, resolutions that we just couldn’t seem to uphold. They are resolutions that have become Ghosts of New Year’s past, ever returning to haunt us and remind us of our floundering in hopes to try to inspire “real change” this time around.

2017 happy new year

Hopefully when you look back at 2016–presuming you aren’t actually the Scrooge–you will have done some great and productive things that can be built on in the year(s) to come. That’s one of the great things about New Year’s: it forces us to look ahead. It is a unique day–much like a birthday–that reminds one of the passing of time, and that another year of our lives has “just begun,” so to speak.

So with 2017 about to begin, as an author it is important to evaluate what are important aspects of your writing and publishing that you need to improve upon. If you’re like most authors, when you’re trying to formulate goals, resolutions or whatever label you want to give them, you are probably at least in part motivated by a desire to sell more books.

While marketing is not every author’s forte, it is essential to be as skilled at marketing as you are at writing, that is, if you ever want anyone to read your stuff. If you set aside time each day for writing, why should you not also set aside time for marketing?

This year, I implore self-published authors to set aside 30 minutes a day for marketing efforts. 30 minutes is a  small enough amount of time that the tediousness of such a task won’t weigh on you, but over days and weeks, it is enough time to help you make huge strides in building your audience.

In those 30 minutes you can do a myriad of things. Reach out to people on Twitter, Facebook, Google+. Reach out to blogs that have a similar subject matter as your book. Gues what? Getting featured on a blog means that you get to do what you actually love–writing–while also promoting your book. It’s a two for one!

Creating a Goodreads profile, updating your Amazon author page and updating your headshot are all also quick and easy ways to revamp your book marketing.

Another relatively easy task that can fill your 30 minute time slot is to send emails to potential reviewers. Reviews are a monumentally important marketing tool, especially when they’re reviews from respected authors or professionals. Speaking of respected professionals…it’s never a bad idea to send a signed copy of your book to your college alumni magazine as well!

In summation, this New Year, commit to a small, daily marketing effort that will pay off for years to come.


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com

Saturday Book Review: “The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of BlogCritics.org:

The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott michael osborn

The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott

by Michael Osborn

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781432788933

Synopsis:

Matthew was fired from his job as church historian. His wife divorced him. At the funeral of his father, he realized it was his excommunication that killed him. Does Caitlynn have to die also, because Matthew was a naughty boy? Can he find her before it’s too late? They took everything from Matthew. All he had left was his rage.

Critique:

I was interested in how a book written in the thriller genre could answer “Was Joseph Smith the Hugh Hefner of the early 1800s?” and was soon to find out.

The beginning of the plot finds Matthew Alcott in the desert, naked and beaten. He makes his way to a small New York town, Resurrection Corner, and settles in find solace in a 12-step meeting for alcoholics. Alcott writes a book, gleaned from information gathered while he was a historian for the Mormon Church, which exposes Joseph Smith and revelations that were hidden by the church. The hierarchy of the church finds out about the manuscript and uses unscrupulous ways to prevent its publication.

That is the premise and the mainstay of the plot, but there is another side to the story and that is the struggles of an alcoholic and how the disease influences life. There was a complete sub-culture that readers, especially men in recovery, would relate to and get pulled into the story.

Personally, I found the exposed information on the Mormon Church interesting. Being this is a fiction book, I’m not sure how much of the information is embellished, but I would assume the basis is true. The power of the church and those running it are viewed as being corrupt with political and cultural clout.

The beginning of the book was very difficult to read because it in written in staccato style. The overuse of fragmented sentences presented flow issues and got boring. I also found redundant and irrelevant parts of the book that could be left out. These alone were burdening. As well, there were a significant number of editing issues that a professional editor would catch and polish up. Because of these issues, it was hard for me to convince myself to continue reading, but after reading reviews of the book, I continued with the challenge.

The second half of the book became more urgent than the first half, and the writing style changed to give the plot more flow and begged interest to move forward. I enjoyed reading the second half because the writing was more grounded. In fact, a few chapters did end up being page-turners, but the whole book fell short of the thriller genre.

I believe Michael Oborn has a gift of writing and could have his work developed into thrillers worth mentioning. His dedication to research the topic is noted and his knowledge of alcohol dependency and addiction certainly comes through in his writing. Although fiction, I do encourage readers interested in some aspects of the Mormon Church to check out The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott: Heritage of Secrets I think you will find it fascinating.

reviewed by Cristina Lanzi of BlogCritics.org ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

This somewhat fact-based, action packed fiction, is suitable for any ‘thriller’ reader – and you do not have to be Mormon or ex-Mormon to understand or enjoy it. Other reviews have already explained the storyline, and I don’t like to write ‘spoilers’, so I will in the main concentrate instead on the actual ‘read’.

One reviewer commented that they did not like the clipped sentence style but I found it dramatic and compelling. One or two other authors are renowned for it but it must be difficult to make it work as the style is rare. Mike Oborn has no such problem and I found it refreshing, quite appropriate for the story, and absolutely delightful to read. For me it added a quality to the work which is somewhat unique and I found it very enjoyable.

The book contains a book within a book, a story within a story, as our hero tries to publish a book which his Church would rather did not see the light of day. Another review describes the work as being similar to ‘Angels and Demons’; something I very much doubted – until I read it. Turns out that it is that good and it would make a very powerful movie. I simply could not put it down – all the time captured by where we were and wondering what happens next – just the way a good thriller should be.

I know the author suffered at the hands of the Mormon Church and left the fold several decades ago and it has taken this long for him to find a way of putting the past behind him – he finally found it in the form of writing. This I can thoroughly empathise with as I am a fellow ex-Mormon. I resigned membership and wrote my own way (non-fiction) through the trauma that follows such action, with the loss of friends and family who reject you as an apostate. Unconditional love is preached, but not practiced with someone who discovers that Mormonism is a provably hoax religion in which the conspiracy to deceive modern day members and investigators is alive and well. Only those who have experienced discovery of the truth and subsequent rejection could ever empathise with what Mike Oborn has been through in real life.

The main storyline is current, but to clarify and update background as we go along, the author constantly takes us momentarily back in time to several points, from the early 1800s and Joseph Smith’s depravity, to Matt’s (our lead character’s) earlier life and to what was happening a few years previously, to him and also to other characters in the book. This again is criticised in another review, but I thought that was harsh as it is not an unusual style of writing and I was very happy with the way this not only helps the reader understand appropriate background right at the point where such understanding is required, but I was also impressed by the way the author cleverly integrated such departure each time in a succinct and meaningful way – always tying in such links clearly and professionally, and quickly – back to the present.

I for one was never confused, never lost – and always on the edge of my seat with anticipation. It was a very satisfying way of bringing essential background into the story. I didn’t have to try to remember anything important for later in the book – it was brought in at exactly the right point in a ‘short and sweet’ manner. The fact that there is indeed quite a lot of such departure was clearly a deliberate style adopted by the author in order to enable the reader to understand everything in context and it worked very well; it enhanced and explained – but never detracted. All the threads were carefully and expertly brought together in a very satisfying manner.

In short, I cannot say enough about this work. Whilst writing it was an outlet for the author’s grief at the loss of so much – the outcome, regardless of what is ultimately true and what is fiction – is a masterpiece of writing and will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good thriller. The Mormon aspect in this work detracts no more than the Catholic aspect in Angels and Demons – it is a natural integral part of the plot which is as easy to understand for someone who has no idea what the Mormon Church believes as for someone who does. All I can say in conclusion is – just get the book and enjoy the ride – you won’t be disappointed.

– Amazon Reviewer Jim Whitefield

A classic novel starts with a crisis. As this book begins, Mathew Alcott has been divorced, fired, robbed, drugged and left naked in the Nevada desert. Powerful forces want him silenced, but have stopped short of killing him. Having already fled his native Utah and cut ties with his family, Mathew resolves to change his identity and disappear altogether.

He sets off on a drunken odyssey across the country. Arriving at random in New York State, Matthew goes to ground in a small town called Resurrection Corner. There he finds rest, companionship and a measure of peace. I enjoyed how Oborn built up slowly the relationship between Matthew and his new lover Cate. She is intrigued but disgusted by him at first, a drunk trying not-too-successfully to sober up. The description of their first night together is original and beautiful. But Matthew has brought with him burdens that he cannot easily put down.

A former newspaper journalist, he is determined to write a book examining critically the foundations of the Mormon Church. Matthew sees something of himself in Joseph Smith, the Church’s charismatic founder. And Matthew is determined to bring to light discoveries he made while working in the Church archives. The novel alternates between vignettes of Smith’s life and Matthew’s.

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of Oborn’s portrayal of Mormonism in general or Smith in particular. Suffice it to say that the Church and its members portray the rich, powerful and morally challenged opposition, a role played in other novels by capitalists or politicians depending on the author’s taste. We are meant to despise the bad guys, so they are made loathsome.

As a Chemical Dependency Professional, Oborn writes with passion and compassion about Matthew’s struggles with alcoholism. Other characters in the story -fellow addicts, counselors and caregivers – share this theme. The novel’s climax and conclusion feature an ensemble of unlikely heroes.

Like the Da Vinci Code, Oborn’s novel is at one level a long-running battle between Mathew Alcott and a secret society allied with the church. At another level it explores men’s use of religion to subjugate and control women. One may read it for entertainment, or to ponder deeper questions not limited to fiction.

– Amazon Reviewer David K. Stone

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