"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Tour, Contest and Giveaway with Phyl Manning

It's my great pleasure today to have author Phyl Manning as my guest.  Phyl is on a two-week blog tour for her novel Here, There, and Otherwhere.

Originally from Nebraska, Phyl Manning is a widely traveled long-time educator who started teaching at age sixteen in a one room school house but did much of her 45-year service (classroom, curriculum, counseling, administration) at international schools overseas. She has lived and/or traveled extensively in the West Pacific, Southeast Asia (expanded to include Nepal and Sri Lanka) and Southern Africa as well as Europe. Her long-time experience/research/expertise/passion included international wildlife and the traditional Inupiat (Arctic Inuit).

Here, There and Otherwhere, Vol. 1, recounts adventures as an adult in overseas venues. Vol. 2 recovers adventures at various ages in domestic (U.S.) life. These will be her fourth and fifth books to see print.

Phyl Manning has a married daughter and family in Chico, CA, and a married son and family in San Diego.

Phyl has written a guest post for us on the importance of book covers.  At the end of her post, you will find an excerpt from one of her novels, a blog tour Elephantology contest announcement, and the opportunity to enter a giveaway for free copies of  Phyl's books. 

So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Phyl Manning!

Why Book Covers Are So Important

"Don’t judge a book by its cover!" is something I remember hearing even before I could read—but of course I judged books by their covers! I was three years old, and that cover was my way to recognize my favorite book (of the moment) whenever someone said he or she would (oh glory!) read to me. AND the cover design also helped me decide which unknown book to pick off a shelf.

Now I’m a whole lot older, and if the book is written by one of my favorite authors, I pay no attention to the cover. However, if it’s a NEW author, or someone I haven’t really decided on, yet—then you betcha! That cover is likely to become a major factor in my selection, even though I may be oblivious to my reasoning. Sorry, can’t help it. I’m human.

In my own writing, I’m "lucky"—surrounded as I am by talented family members and friends who are both artistic and generous. One daughter Irene is a magician on the computer, so she and I together have the final say. Her husband Steve carves big hunks of wood into "people" heads and torsos . . . and he granted me an appropriate picture of one of his carvings for Volume 1of Here, There & Otherwhere. Irene did the rest—the design itself and the (very important!) back cover which—artistically—had to contain certain specific information as well as appeal. Irene’s older sister Carolyn is a sculptress, and one of her creations graces the cover of Volume 2 in the two-volume series. An artist friend who lives in Paradise (no kidding! It’s a town in the Sierra foothills of northern California) has done the covers for two of my earlier books . . . exactly to my specified vision, and I can’t complain. In fact, the children’s book of African jungle animals he designed is a collector’s item.

Stephen King or Barbara Kingsolver, I’m not. I might be as good, as might you. But we don’t have the promotional chops. Therefore, we can be sure that much consideration by a potential purchaser is placed on our books’ covers. . . and on the covers of books by any author who is not well known.

Visit Phyl at http://phylsbooks.com or http://KalanaPress.com

About Here, There and Otherwhere

Here, There and Otherwhere are in two volumes published approximately one year apart, both anthologies of narrative nonfiction. The genre by its very nature (not memoir, not autobiography) requires true-life adventure with focus never on author per se but rather on what is happening under what conditions. In narrative nonfiction, the author is the story-teller but not ever the story itself.

Volume 1 takes place at some time during forty years overseas, mostly in settings such as the West Pacific islands, SE Asia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, southern Africa and involving often unusual people in a usually exotic settings along paths not often taken. Reader is allowed to accompany author on a high porch in the Nepali jungle awaiting a tiger . . . to be "mooned" by a herd of elephants . . . to find out what happens when a customer so much as touches a piece of fruit at a green-grocery in Northern Italy . . . to find out why we humans are prey as well as predators.

Volume 2 occurs mostly in the United States (two exceptions) over a span of a century and a half. How exciting are "the facts of life" when you are not yet five years old? Prone on low groundcover, can you survive the tornado ripping through your ballfield? How does it feel to continue living when the U.S. Government has pronounced you "dead"? And what happens to a tiger no longer willing to be "a tiger in [somebody’s] tank"?

Excerpt: 'Blood Relations'

My favorite cousin Bill and I were both four years old this summer, but I was more four than he, being nine months older. I was also a good bit taller than he. And more substantially built, as well, a condition which lost luster in subsequent years.
"You don’t like rutabaga," Bill told me.

I couldn’t argue with that.

"Or even spinach," he continued.
I tried to keep my nose from wrinkling.

"And that’s why my rabbit Fred is going to beat your Henry in the race."
I had no ready response because I was trying to figure out how the speed of a rabbit was conditioned by the diet of its mistress. But I stayed silent. After all, Bill was my smartest cousin.

"And because I eat lots of vegetables and fruit," Bill continued, "I’m going to grow taller and stronger than you." He let that pronouncement sink in before adding, "And also older."

Was that even possible? I hadn’t lived enough years to know the answer.

Blog Tour Contest: Elephants*Pachyderms*Elephantology

Sure, they can paint—but only YOU can write. Yes, about elephants. We’re hosting a two-level contest with (a) modest $$ winnings and (b) possible inclusion in Elephanthology, a planned anthology of elephant lore—short stories of fiction or narrative nonfiction (imaginative writing, not articles per se), poetry, flash fiction . . . all published with author’s name for each piece.

To find out more, visit Phyl's web site.

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