Friday, July 25, 2014

Getting to Know the Author of The Infinity Program

If you have not had a chance yet be sure to check out the review for The Infinity Program that is on the blog today!   I thought it would be great to learn a bit more about the suthor himself, Richard H. Hardy.  Check out his gust post today about selling his first novel!

Selling a First Novel

My first published novel was not really my first novel. Over the years I had made about a dozen
attempts but something always seemed to go wrong. I would write a hundred pages or so and
then just run out of steam. I would lose enthusiasm or would find that I had painted myself into
a corner. Or I would get near that perilous mid-point and be stymied when I saw the possible
directions of the story branch out into infinity.

Finally, back in the 1990s, I completed a novel. Since I was working full time in the IT field,
I used vacation time and holidays as I struggled to produce a masterpiece. I was determined to
create that mythical beast, “The Great American Novel”.

When I finished it, I soon realized that I had not written a great novel. In fact, it wasn’t even a
good novel. While the prose was adequate, the characters were not. The main POV character
was a passive victim of a storyline that was nothing more than a collection of incidents. I had
pursued the great white whale but had ended up with a white elephant.

But the failed novel helped me move forward. I had finally written an entire novel, all 300
pages. I had learned the hard way that the principle POV character must drive the story and that
a collection of incidents is not the same thing as a story. But most important of all I learned that
an unrealistic goal—writing “The Great American Novel”—was nothing but a millstone.

Despite all I learned with my first full novel, I still hit a couple of speed bumps on my second.
Once again I experienced a crisis at the middle of it. I was overwhelmed by the possibilities
in front of me, all the different paths that could be followed. But then I had an epiphany— the
middle of a novel is not so much about new plot twists; it’s about the development of what has
already been set in motion. Once I had that realization, I began to make progress again.

After finishing The Infinity Program, I thought the hard work was done. But I quickly learned
that writing a book was the easy part. Finding a publisher was what was really difficult. I wrote
countless query letters to mainstream publishers and agents in the U.S. and Canada. Much to my
dismay, I could not find anyone who would even look at it. After six months of this, I became
completely discouraged. I’m ashamed to say that I let the manuscript languish for nearly a year.

When I finally decided to market the book again, I concentrated on small, independent
publishers. I started off with queries to three different independents. I struck out with two of
them, but Camel Press, in Seattle Washington, expressed interest and asked to see my book in its
entirety. On 09/11/12 the book was accepted for publication by them. It was my own personal
9/11, but a joyous one.
My advice to anyone trying to publish a book is simple: Never give up!
Find out more about the author or buy your own copy here!

Book Review and #Giveaway: The Infinity Program by Richard H. Hardy


  • Publisher: Camel Press (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • Hardcover or Kindle: 250 pages
Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole. Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways—Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn’t know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer. Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office’s Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions. Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.

My Review:  While I am not an IT professional and there was often use of IT jargon I wasn't familiar with, I still understood the storyline.  I found the storyline highly entertaining and was able to finish this book quickly, and left wanting more.  I liked the multiple different plot twists going on and the quirkiness of Harry in contrast to Jons' normalcy.  I have met individuals with similar personalities to Harry and while difficult at times these people often do have superior focus on what they are doing in my opinion.  Richard captured this personality type perfectly.  I look forward to the next novel!

I would rate this novel 3 out of 5 for content.

About the Author: Richard H. Hardy

I worked for an IT company for twenty-six years.  When I first started, the CEO of the company warned me about the programmers, "Watch out for these guys.  They're the orneriest bunch of people in the world!"

While there was some truth in what he said, I soon learned that I not only respected the programmers, I liked them too!  I saw them blow up and walk out the door over a point of logic and react to criticism like a mother who had just been told that she had an ugly baby. I saw them working 36 hours straight, absolutely ecstatic when they had a breakthrough, or banging their heads against their desks when they failed.  They were passionate, intense, and larger than life.

I decided to write a novel about people like these.  Not the same people, but imaginary characters filled with intense passion and bubbling over with that odd mix of logic and irrationality.  I called the book The Infinity Program.  It was published by the Camel Press on April 1, 2014.  It's about a systems programmer who meets his ultimate challenge when he encounters a sixty million year old alien information system.

Looking to buy a copy for yourself?  Check out Richard's website!

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All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway.  I received a book for purpose of review and was not compensated for this post.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review & #Giveaway: Aqua Alaskan Nights by Amanada S. Jones

After losing her job, Hayley struggles to make ends meet and allows her career status to define her. She finds inspiration in successful photographer Trevor Tott, but their professional aspirations clash when she experiences his questionable ethics along with unwanted advances from her overbearing boss. With the help of the ship's crew, stunning Alaskan backdrops and a leap of faith, they might find business can be mixed with pleasure.
With cameos from favourite Aqua characters Harry and Casey, Amanda Jones weaves a plot that keeps the pages turning. 

Love happens on The Aqua… 

Have you jumped in yet? The Aqua series is the ongoing story of the cruise ship Aqua, where crew members such as Chef Amber and Captain Hallmann appear frequently, and other favourites, such as Harry and Casey, make cameo appearances. With each book in the series, the familiar characters and their stories grow and weave cleverly together. You’ll meet Hayley and Trevor again in books for the upcoming Alaskan and Caribbean series as well. Read along the entire series to get to know and understand the cruise ship, its passengers and regular crew members.

My Review:

Aqua Alaskan Nights is the first book I have read in the series and the first book by Amanda S. Jones.  It did not dissapoint and  I found it was an entertaining read.  If you are looking for a new author to read or if you love reading series then I think I have a perfect match for you.  Having never been on a cruise ship before it was fun to escape for a bit with Hayley and experience Alaska through the authors descriptive words!  One thing I most definitely did learn about myself is that I am soooo thankful I have never had a boss like Hayley's.

Author Bio:
Romance author, Amanda S. Jones, loves travel, chocolate and red wine. You'll find all of these elements in the books she writes! Her first romance series, “Aqua” takes place on the cruise ship, Aqua, a slow-burning pleasure dome of food and attraction that spurs the reader's imagination. Each book has exotic locations, sumptuous foods, seduction, enticement and true love, so open the pages and step aboard to see what's in store for characters with the help of the ship's crew, a romantic destination and a leap of faith.

If you're interested in updates on Amanda and her book series, sign up for the Aqua Club newsletter on her website!

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I was supplied a book for review purposes and not compensated for this post.  All views expressed are 100% my own  and not influenced in anyway.