International Literacy Day

To celebrate International Literacy Day, take a look at the most translated books of each country. How many have you read?

Have you considered how challenging it is to translate books from one language to another?

Oh, the idioms!

My daughter had an exchange student in her high school who came from France. When my daughter mentioned that I spoke some French, he wanted to meet me. He had a few burning questions he was uncomfortable asking his host family. We met at the bowling alley one evening while the students were teamed up to bowl.

After his turn, he dashed over to the table where I sat and whispered in French that his host family was very kind, but he was tired of eating from a window. Ah, yes. The host family had children in many after-school sports, so fast food was their go-to meal. He said he was a fine cook and wanted to stay home to make dinner, but he didn’t want to offend the hostess. I assured him the hostess would cook if she had the time. He should offer to cook dinners and make a list of the items he needed. The cultural exchange worked both ways.

The other burning question on his mind was that some girls at school said he was hot and others said he was cool. He wanted to know which ones liked him.

Yes, English is a complex language with many connotations for the same word.

May you discover great stories from other cultures and nations in their original language or through brilliant translation. Happy reading! Click below for the list.

The Most Translated Books

 My books are listed below…

Authors on the Air Global Radio Network Interview

Authors on the Air Global Radio Network host Pam Stack interviewed author and aviator Joni M. Fisher. March is Women’s History or HerStory Month, celebrating women.

The Authors on the Air Global Radio Network is an international digital media corporation. It broadcasts radio talk shows, podcasts, and book reviews to 40 countries and the most popular podcast apps and video sites. It has three million listeners and over one million social media listeners.

Joni’s brand of strong women, strong stories suspense novels fits right in HerStory Month.

Here is the line-up.
March 4, 2020 6pmET KN Lee
7pmET Nicole Leiren
8pmET Joni M. Fisher

March 11, 2020 7pmET Carlene O’Connor
8pmET Lori Wilde

March 18, 2020 6pmET Silvia Moreno-Garcia
7pmET Sonali Dev
8pmET Tracy Blom

March 25, 2020 5pmET Catherine Coutler & Allison Brennan
7pmET Guest host Marietta Miles takes over
Ann Abel
Sarah M. Chen
Sandra Ruttan
Renee Pickup
Shawn Reilly Simmons
Nikki Dolson
Dharma Kelleher
LynDee Stephens Walker
Holly West

@PamStackHost @authorsotheair Book Review Crew

Confessions of an Omnivorous Reader

I am a reader. My favorite genres include mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, science fiction, and adventure. I read memoirs and history, newspapers, magazines, and if nothing else is handy, the cereal box. This addiction began at age four when my five-year-old brother started reading to me. I saw blotches of black lines and squiggles under the pictures. He ran his finger along the blotches, transforming them into sounds, words, sentences, and stories. I wanted that magic, that superpower.

The Library

In time, my brothers and I discovered that most magical of places—the public library! Unleashed in the children’s section, we read and read until mother dragged us out with armloads of loaners. Such riches! We could travel in time and space on adventures and learn about places far from home. Though mother probably brought us to the library so she could study in peace for her eventual law degree, she did us a huge favor. She kept us away from late afternoons of mind-numbing television.

When I travel to New York City, my must-see location is the New York City Public Library and to visit Patience and Fortitude, the lions who stand guard.

The Classics

By high school, my brothers and I launched into a competition to read the set of 100 classics in paperback that Mom had purchased. Baby brother, not to be outdone, read the Encyclopedia Britannica set as well. We teased him that only a geek reads reference books, but truth be told, I kept a dictionary by my bed to scour it for new words like syzygy and conflagration to drop into conversation. With reading comes a love for words. In my family, Scrabble is a blood sport.

reader joyThe Plays

In college, I studied 300 plays in depth. I had planned to work for a newspaper by day and write plays at night. Fortunately, that didn’t work out. I ended up writing for business, then for magazines, followed by a stint teaching report writing at a police academy, and then publishing my first novel. Throughout the decades, the joy of reading continued.

A website called became the social media site for readers, so I set up a profile and started listing books I’d read. It would have been easier check off books from a list of classics and the most popular books in the last the thirty years than to name them from memory. Since joining the site, I have tried to rate and review books as soon as I finish them. So many new authors, so many new books by my favorite authors, the to-be-read list is laughably long and considerably incomplete. May I live to read them all.

I read everything but erotica. The three erotica books I read were boring. Seriously, if Tom Clancy put a car chase in every scene, his stories would have been boring. If Stephen King put a killer clown in every story, well, forget suspense. Predictability turns me off.

I cannot imagine life without books. When someone says, “I don’t read” my first thought is “you poor thing.” No stirring of the imagination, no laughter, no seeing the world from a new perspective, no growth, no adventure, no new ideas, no passion…might as well take away color and music from the world. Do non-readers dream in gray?

The Favorite Authors

When asked to name my favorite authors, I begin with Richard Adams, Aesop, Mitch Albom, Louisa May Alcott, Isabele Allende, Poul Anderson, Piers Anthony, Aristotle, Isaac Asimov, Margaret Atwood, Jane Austin, David Baldacci, J. M. Barrie, Dave Barry, L. Frank Baum, Samuel Beckett, Peter Benchley, Steve Berry, Maeve Binchy, William Peter Blatty, Judy Blume, Ben Bova, Ray Bradbury, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Charlotte Bronte, Geraldine Brooks, Dan Brown, Sandra Brown, Edna Buchanan, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Meg Cabot, Erskine Caldwell, Taylor Caldwell, Truman Capote, Orson Scott Card, Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Raymond Chandler, Anton Chekhov, Lee Child, Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill, Tom Clancy, Mary Higgins Clark, Arthur C. Clarke, Beverly Cleary, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Harlan Coben, Jackie Collins, William Congreve, Joseph Conrad, Robin Cook, James Fenimore Cooper, Patricia Cornwell, Michael Crichton, E. E. Cummings, and Clive Cussler…

People stop me long before I reach the D surnames.

My husband begs me to buy books on Kindle to prevent book hoarding. I call it collecting. The books aren’t stacked two rows per shelf everywhere…yet. If I ever lose my vision, then I’ll switch to audio books.

Call me a book addict. Call me a bookworm. Call me when there’s a book sale.

This article first appeared on the blog Not Your Usual Suspects on January 19, 2018.

Love an Author

 open book emitting lights

Authors feel loved when people buy and enjoy their books enough to post reviews. Being appreciated for one’s hard work makes all the years of hunching over a laptop and gathering research worthwhile. I have a book coming out in May, so over the weekend my beloved manuscript rode off by email to the formatter and the cover artist. Sure, I’m so excited I want to tell strangers, but other than enthusiasm, well, marketing is not my strength.

For lack of a fairy godmother to make marketing happen with a wave of her wand, I must slog on to gain knowledge about the process and the best practices of marketing in the publishing world. Okay, so more hunching over a laptop, lots of reading, and a willingness to fling one’s soul into the abyss of a rapidly changing industry will be my lot. And then there is the fear factor.

Sending one’s book into the world feels like watching a toddler run across an icy lake. In a snowstorm.

I feel out of my depth. Writers by nature can be introverts and marketing skills come more naturally to extroverts. Nonetheless, I forge ahead in baby steps. Part of the marketing process involves finding comparables–books similar to mine in style, content, subject matter, or genre. Style is the toughest to identify. If a newbie author claims to write like Lee Child, or John Grisham, the claim comes off as hubris. I know which authors I would LOVE to be compared to, but that’s for readers and reviewers to decide, right? Then I found a website that samples a person’s writing and identifies which famous author has a similar style. It seemed an objective, outside opinion based on linguistic analysis, so I gave it a shot.

From a two-chapter sample of my upcoming book South of Justice came this assessment:

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Wait. What? WOW. Yeah, baby! 

Who am I to disagree with their fancy programming? I can live with that. My mother might even agree. For grins, I then submitted a three-chapter sample of my next book, North of the Killing Hand, and this is what the analyzer came up with:

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I could boost my ego all day with that kind of thing. Another of my favorite authors! Vonnegut’s lean sarcastic prose and quirky characters kept me up many happy nights. As much as I would be thrilled to have my style compared to Vonnegut or King, will the similarities boost my sales into the stratosphere alongside Cat’s Cradle, or The Stand? Please, oh, please!

A blog is the only forum I feel comfortable sharing the computer analysis of my style. Back in the real world, perhaps I should stick to finding works similar in theme, content, and genre. A much easier task. The hearty Beta readers and critique partners who patiently endured drafts of South of Justice identified my works as suspense with elements of romance, crime/redemption theme, and a strong female protagonist.

So as I lurch through the process of preparing this paper-and-electronic offspring to face the big world, know that all prayers are greatly appreciated. In the long run, readers like you will decide the value of a book, because no matter what the reviewers from lofty, high-brow media report, readers rule the industry.

In all the marketing information I’ve read, the most powerful marketing engine is word of mouth. My prayer is that my writing moves hearts, souls, minds, and mouths in a positive direction. Readers rule!

If you would like to read the first chapters of my books, click on the BOOKS tab above and choose a title from the drop down menu. Please leave a comment too, to start that word of mouth rolling. Feel free to share on Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, and tweet away, because the next book in the series is on the way.

Bear with me as I await that first look at the cover art. This is kind of like giving birth and counting the newborn’s fingers and toes. Will it be amazing? Will the cover reflect all the beauty and potential inside?

If you would like to be notified when the next book is published, add your email to my newsletter form on the bottom of the page. Expect to be notified:

  • To ask for your help in choosing cover art from artist’s drafts
  • To announce when the pre-buy link for a book is available, because the bigger the volume of sales that first week, the higher the book will rank. (High rankings influence buyers to take a chance on new authors like me!),
  • To get notice when a pre-publication discount is available, and
  • To notify you when a book is published.

Spread the love, spread the word, and this newbie author will keep writing the rest of the 4-part series. I’d so much rather write than market, but I will market with the resources and skills I can muster. Wave if you see me wearing a sandwich board at a major intersection.

No Television Week 27

stack of booksSix months and nine days without television and no regrets. Instead of wasting hours a day staring at a blinking screen, I have read twenty-four books from my TBR bookshelf and traveled to four foreign countries, one make-believe place, and seven cities outside my hometown. So far this year, I’ve traveled to:

  • Las Vegas, Nevada,
  • St. Augustine with a group of amazing women,
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios,
  • St. Maarten, Bahamas,
  • St. Kitts, Bahamas,
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico,
  • Grand Turk, Bahamas,
  • Maggie Valley, North Carolina,
  • Charleston, South Carolina (for a writer’s conference),
  • Jacksonville, Florida (fly-in with hubby to visit best in-laws in the world),
  • Lakeland, Florida (to report for General Aviation News on Sun ‘N Fun),
  • New York City (for funeral of beloved uncle),
  • and Tarpon Springs (to help a writer pal move).

I’ve learned how to load, shoot, and clean various handguns. (Serious fun.) Hey, writing suspense demands first-hand research for authenticity, right? And I’ve sent out two of my manuscripts to colleagues for final critiques in preparation of publication.

It is getting easier and easier to walk by the big screen and the remote with each day. Like friends who have non-stop schedules since their retirement, living without television has enriched my life by freeing more time for 3D living instead of two-dimensional vicarious spectating.

To readers following this blog–next year, an presidential election year in the U.S., you can join me in turning off television. If not to enjoy the peace and quiet for serious contemplation, then for the avoidance of the attack ads and divisiveness of modern political campaigns.

So far, the gains of hours more time each week to pursue my own interests has greatly outweighed the inert entertainment of television with its disturbing growth of sleazy reality television shows. I gain nothing from such shows, save a depressing view of humanity at its worst. Without television, I have gained an hour or more a day to pursue higher goals.