Friday, April 13, 2012

Special Event Finale and Giveaway

Update ... winners to our giveaway have been chosen and emails will be going out ... so watch your inbox!

Here's are the answers to the questions asked in the giveaway:

The composers of the music are - J. Thorn and Curtis Luck.

The photos answers are as follows:
Photo 1 = The blood drop from the header of the website
Photo 2 = The chain from the locket on the Blood Chronicles page
Photo 3 = The Blood Ripples from the blood pool on the Media Room page
Photo 4 = The center of the Born of Blood cover from the home page
Photo 5 = The MuseItUp Logo from the home page

See you Monday everyone!!

Welcome to the Grand Finale of our week-long event celebrating the debut novel, Born of Blood, by my friend and very talented author, S.B. (Brian) Knight. How appropriate that today is Friday the 13th (oooh ... a chill just ran down my spine).

It has been an amazing week! We kicked off the celebration with a special Meet & Greet Monday ... hopefully you all got a chance to link up your sites, Facebook & Twitter accounts ... and made some new friends (if you didn't, it stays open until 6:00 pm tonight). On Tuesday, Brian talked to us about "green" publishing and how both the process of getting books into our hands (as well as the books themselves) has changed over the years and become efficient and Eco-friendly. Our regular Change The World Wednesday challenge stayed on topic asking us to turn off the TV & Computer ... and read. Thursday found Brian and I chatting ... about books, writing and green living. And then ... some of you joined the conversation and told us a bit about yourselves ... about which book genres are your favorite and your feelings on whether there is hope for our environment. If you missed any of this week's celebration, you can "catch up" HERE. Brian's book tour may be leaving "our place" but it's far from over. For his complete schedule, click HERE.

I was very fortunate, a long time ago, to read a preliminary draft of Born of Blood. Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd like it ... dark fantasy novels don't entice me. But, because I admire Brian, I tried to approach it with an open mind. And wow ... from the first chapter to the last word, I was hooked. To say it was a "page turner" would be an understatement! I haven't yet read the final version of this novel but I can only imagine that it is even better than the original draft. If you're unfamiliar with the storyline ... here's the description from Amazon:

In BORN OF BLOOD, Jesse Banks unknowingly, steps into the middle of a battle between good and evil that has raged on for generations. As the danger escalates, she begins to put the pieces of her clouded past together.

Jesse discovers the truth about her ancestors and the horror that relentlessly pursued them — a horror that now pursues her. To survive, she must join the fight. But the immortal monster that stalks her has other, more sinister, plans, and will stop at nothing to see those plans accomplished. Can Jesse escape a fate worse than death and defeat an age-old evil?

Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Born of Blood is the first book, of three, in the Blood Chronicles saga. I can't wait to see how this story continues!

I'd like to thank Brian for making us a part of this wonderful event! And Brian ... I wish you continued success, my friend!

Born of Blood by S.B. Knight is available at:
MuseItUp Bookstore

Don't have an eReader device? No problem ... download a free application HERE for use on your computer, iPhone, etc.

Okay ... now for the moment you've been waiting for ... it's GIVEAWAY TIME! Brian has generously offered us a bunch of prizes:

Two lucky Reduce Footprints' readers will each win a $5 gift card to MuseItUp Bookstore
One lucky reader will win a signed copy of Born of Blood

And then ... in a special Bonus Round

One lucky reader will win a $10 gift card to MuseItUp Bookstore

Wow ... sounds great, right? You can enter in the rafflecopter forms below. This giveaway is open to everyone and will end tonight (Friday) at midnight (EST). Winners will be contacted by email.

Good luck to everyone!! To begin ... take a good look at these photos:

Photo #1
Photo #2
Photo #3
Photo #4
Photo #5

Now enter the Born of Blood Rafflecopter giveaway (may take a moment to load ... if it doesn't, please refresh the page):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you enter? Yes? Great ... move on to the Bonus Round:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

On Saturday I will post the answers to the photo questions so ... if you're curious, come back then!

Thanks Everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Conversation between S.B. Knight &
Small Footprints

We're continuing our Born of Blood celebration today with an interview ... an interview with a twist. S.B. Knight asked me 5 questions about books and reading ... I asked him 5 questions about environmental issues. I hope you'll have as much fun reading our responses as we had writing them!

Question to Small Footprints: What are your top 3 genres? Why?

My favorite genres are historical fiction, mysteries and non-fiction spirituality. I find historical fiction fascinating ... it gives me a glimpse of what life was like in another era. Since we typically define our history in terms of dramatic events such as war, religious persecution, etc., the story lines are often about how people overcome tragic events ... and stories about the indomitable human spirit are truly "feel good" experiences. When I find a really good mystery, I can't put it down ... I'm anxious to solve it but disappointed if I can do so too quickly. A talented mystery author can weave a story with intrigue and make my jaw drop when the puzzle is finally solved. It's exciting and I like the mental workout! Non-fiction spirituality is the only genre of books that I'll actually buy, keep and read over and over again. I'm especially interested in Tao ... the fundamental nature of the universe. It's a fabulous concept!

Question to S.B. Knight: Writing and publishing books has historically been environmentally expensive. As an author, how do you reduce your environmental impact throughout the writing process?

This is a very exciting time to be an author. With the introduction of eReaders and the availability of computers in virtually every home it allows writers to really cut back on the environmental impact. In earlier times writers would use stacks of paper to prepare one manuscript. This is not true anymore.

During the writing of my first manuscript I printed out a copy each time I edited it. That soon evolved to printing two pages on one sheet. Now I don't print my manuscripts, I write them on a laptop and complete my edits without wasting paper. My publisher and editors do a great deal of work on the computers as well which saves a great deal of paper.

I also like that I write on the laptop. With it fully charged I can write for up to six hours which allows me to unplug it from the wall, write, and save power.

Question to Small Footprints: Who are your top 3 authors?

Well, S.B. Knight is #1 on my list!! I also enjoy Susan Wittig Albert ... she writes The China Bayles Mystery series. I'm currently enjoying the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel ... I suppose one might call her books historical fiction since they offer possible theories on how humans evolved. In the non-fiction arena I really like Thich Nhat Hanh ... his work is beautiful and has the power to change the world.

Question to S.B. Knight: Do you incorporate green living into your novels? In other words, are any of your characters seen as Eco-friendly or do we find them protecting the earth in any way?

Well, would saving the earth from unimaginable evil qualify? At this point in time I would say no. I mean, my characters don't harm the environment in any way. In the Blood Chronicles the characters are fighting for survival and to basically save the world.

As my writing evolves and expands I plan to incorporate more aspects into my character development. Being Eco-friendly is very high on that list.

Question to Small Footprints: If you could have dinner with your favorite author, what would you talk about?

Oh ... knowing me I'd probably talk about vegan food, veggie gardening and living green. But I'd also like to know about their background ... where they've lived, what their family life is like, where they go for vacation ... things like that.

Question to S.B. Knight: Many people say that the environmental actions we take today have no benefit ... that it's already too late. Do you believe that statement to be true?

This response may seem harsh but I am speaking honestly. I believe the people who say things like this are using excuses not to change their lifestyle or take responsibility for what they are doing. To say something like this is equal to saying you're not taking cold medicine because you're already sick.

No, this statement is not true. As long as we inhabit this planet there is always hope. We may be running out of time but we will never run out of hope. Sometimes that is all you need to make a true impact.

Question to Small Footprints: When you read books do the characters remind you of people you know? Do you picture people you know as the characters?

Hm ... that's an interesting question. No, I don't believe I've ever read a book with characters who remind me of people I know ... or pictured anyone familiar in the story lines. I'm not sure that I'd enjoy the book if it touched that close to home ... and it would certainly jade my perception of the story.

Question to S.B. Knight: I know that you have children. How do you get them involved in protecting the earth?

Right now we are teaching the importance of turning off lights so it saves energy and the amount I'm charged on my electric bill. We also practice recycling cans, paper, cardboard, and plastic. I have a garden every year that everyone helps with and that is really good because they appreciate where the food is coming from. Finally, I change the oil in my vehicles and recycle the oil which they observe as well.

Question to Small Footprints: What is the number 1 thing that attracts you to a particular book?

Actually, I think I'm initially attracted by the physicality of the book ... the size, the color and the title. I will typically pass on small books because I don't want something which I can read quickly. As strange as it sounds ... some colors make me want to read a book while others definitely don't. I've probably passed on some great stories simply because of the title and, in truth, I can't really say which words entice me. After the physicality, there are two more "tests" I put a book through ... the gender of the author and the first few lines. I will almost always choose a book written by a woman rather than a man (I know ... it's an unfair bias) ... and if a book doesn't "hook" me in the first few lines, it loses me. I'm pretty sure, SB, that reading your book is going to debunk some of my book prejudices.

Question to S.B. Knight: You often participate in our Change The World Wednesday challenges, offering terrific ideas. What factors, in your life, have encouraged you to live "green."

I was raised in the country. My parents planted a garden, cut wood to burn in the fireplace, and took good care of everything they owned. They did this because we lived on a tight budget. These practices saved a great deal of money and still hold true to this day. I follow in those footsteps.

Why do we recycle as much as we do? After designing landfills I understand how quickly they fill up and I also know what takes up the most space (cardboard is on that list). Recycling also saves money by limiting trips to the landfill which saves on gas. Honestly though, we understand that recycling and being Eco-friendly is the right thing to do. We want to pass that on to future generations.

That was fun ... thanks to Brian for both answering my questions and challenging me to think a bit about my reading preferences.

Now it's your turn ... how would you answer these questions? Leave us a comment ... we're dying to know! And here's a little "heads up" ... I can't say for sure ... I make no promises ... but SB has been randomly rewarding those who leave comments this week so ... leaving one on this post just might bring you a surprise.

Join us tomorrow for the grand finale of our week ... it's going to be a lot of fun complete with prizes.

Born of Blood by S.B. Knight is available at:
MuseItUp Bookstore

Don't have an eReader device? No problem ... download a free application HERE for use on your computer, iPhone, etc.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The new age of publishing - Guest Post by SB Knight

Our week-long event continues with a fascinating guest post by SB Knight who shares his insight on publishing and the environment. If you missed yesterday's Meet & Greet ... never fear ... it will stay open until Friday evening and you can link up HERE.

The new age of publishing!

Printing, publishing, and the process of delivering the written word to readers all over the world has drastically changed. Actually, there are certain milestones throughout history that have greatly impacted the world of writing. Of course it all started with chipping symbols in store and/or painting them. From there we developed ink and the quill. Jump a few years and the world invented the ink pen. Technology took a nap but rebounded with the typewriter. Boy was that an invention. Books were published at a rapid rate by that time. Things did not slow down after that, soon the computer and laptop sprang onto the scene. To complete the leap we now have eBooks and eReaders. What is very sad is even with all of these advances the one thing that trailed behind was the environmental impact. Trees suffer the largest impact from book publishing but other hazards exist from the adhesive used for the binding to the ink used on the pages. Yes, we enjoy reading and although it is not often that books end up in the landfill or burned the true impact to the environment happens on the production side instead of the aftermarket such as we see with so many other items such as cardboard, empty plastic bottles, etc.

That was the bad news. Here is the good news. Technology, commerce, and financial feasibility have collided and a change is being seen in the publishing world. Allow me to get the most obvious out of the way right now. With the popularity of eBooks and eReaders the impact to our forest and trees is decreasing. Some may think that the fact that eBooks must be charged will use more energy but the Kindle, for example, can hold a charge for thirty days easy. That is twelve charges a year. I’m willing to bet that is on par or maybe even less than what a television uses in a year’s time.

With that out of the way let’s move on to the second most obvious jump in environmentally safe processes for publishing books. That would be…say it with me…recycled paper. Now here is a little something about recycled paper; each time paper is processed the fibers that make up the page breaks down which means the paper breaks down and loses quality. You know what I’m talking about, when you get paper at work and it looks flimsy and off white, maybe even a little thin but the package reads that it is recycled. It is recycled but it is recycled with paper products that have been processed a number of times. Publishing companies originally used virgin paper which is processed right from the tree with no added recycled materials. That has changed, Eco-friendly publishing companies use recycled paper with almost a 50/50 split of virgin paper and recycled material. This provides the thickness, crisp color, and paper quality everyone expects from a published book. This greatly cuts down the impact on trees. We may even see the day when there is no virgin paper used at all.

How do we know how much virgin paper and recycled material is actually used? I’m glad you asked. There are certification programs provided through councils and initiatives that track virgin paper use, recycled paper use, deforestation, and protection of regulated forest areas. Here are a few:

  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Other techniques and processes that lessen the impact on the environment are soy based ink and a process called coldset drying. This process not only saves energy but it greatly reduces pollutants from entering the atmosphere.

As you can see publishing companies have made great strides in reducing their footprints on the environment. I now have a fun assignment for you. What? I heard that groan but trust me, you will enjoy this. Click on the following website and take the quiz (click on ‘click to begin’) With each correct answer the tree grows. Once you are done scroll down for more information about all the topics I talked about here. So, what do you think of the environmentally friendly techniques and processes publishing companies are taking? One more thing – how many questions did you get right on the quiz? Be honest.

Thanks to Brian for a wonderful post. I don't know about you ... but I learned a lot! Oh ... and to answer your question, Brian ... I completed the assignment and, thanks to the information you provided, I got all but one question right!

Join us tomorrow when we'll start a brand new "Change The World Wednesday" challenge ... inspired by the release of Brian's debut novel Born of Blood.

Born of Blood by S.B. Knight is available at:
MuseItUp Bookstore

Don't have an eReader device? No problem ... download a free application HERE for use on your computer, iPhone, etc.