¿Cuál es vuestra Alaska?

Hola a todos:

Denali. Mt. McKinley
Denali. Mt. McKinley de Wikipedia

Como ya sabeis, mis post son un poco sui géneris. Ya sé que el título de hoy es un poco raro, pero dejadme que os lo explique.
Este año (a principios de Mayo, para ser más precisos) celebro uno de los cumpleaños gordos. Bueno, cumplo los 50. No es un gran secreto. Hace tiempo que llevo diciendo que quiero hacer algo un poco especial. No una fiesta (no me molestan las fiestas pero prefiero reunirme con unos cuantos amigos o charlar con gente en una atmósfera relajada y no me apetece organizar nada complicado ahora mismo), pero me apetecía un viaje interesante. No sé porqué hace tiempo que tengo ganas de ir a Alaska. Siempre me ha resultado un lugar atractivo. Supongo que será por las películas, los libros de aventuras, por cómo suena, la variedad de climas, lo enorme que es, las muchas actividades, su belleza… Por si queréis leer algo más sobre ello os dejo un enlace en Wikipedia. Éste en inglés

También comparto varias de las imágenes de Wikipedia en este post y también comparto un par de otros enlaces que me parecieron interesantes al final.

Debido a circunstancias personales de las que los que leéis mi blog hace tiempo ya estaréis al corriente, no creo que pueda hacer el viaje este año (no tenía planeado ir de viaje el día de mi cumpleaños sino cuando en las mejores fechas, ya que con Alaska, como con muchos otros sitios, planear la época perfecta para el viaje es muy importante). Si habéis visitado Alaska o tenéis sitios web o consejos específicos de la mejor manera de planear un viaje, os lo agradeceré mucho, ya que sigo con la intención de hacer el viaje, aunque puede que tenga que esperar al año que viene….

Augustine Volcano
Volcán Augustine

La pregunta en el título de este post se refiere a ¿qué es vuestra Alaska? en el sentido de, ¿qué es esa cosa que lleváis tiempo  pensando hacer pero que no habéis podido o algo que siempre estáis dejando para una mejor ocasión? Para mí durante varios años fue saltar de un avión en paracaídas, aunque lo hice hace unos años (¡Y me encantó! No, no en tándem con otro, sino sola, aunque por supuesto tuve que completar un curso, etc, etc…). Alaska no es el único sitio en mi lista de lugares que quiero visitar. Como mi lista de libros para leer, es muy larga pero…

Did you realise it was quite this big?
¿Sabíais que era tan grande?

Así que decidme, ¿cuál es vuestra Alaska? 

Como os había prometido, os dejo un par de enlaces más sobre Alaska que tienen muy buena pinta (y es una buena manera para tenerlos a mano cuando planee mi viaje en más detalle):

The Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information

The Alaska Organisation (Expert Travel Advice from Alaskans)

Forget-Me-Not the State flower
No-me-olvides la flor oficial del estado

Porque yo soy así, y por razones evidentes, este  post me hizo pensar en una cantante que en realidad se llama Olvido (y qué nombre más bello), pero a la que siempre hemos conocido como Alaska. Así que os dejo un par de sus canciones de los ochenta. Y a las chicas/mujeres que no la hayan visto, echadle un vistazo a la portada del disco que aparece en el segundo video, y sabréis porque me gusta no solo escucharlo.

Alaska y Dinarama: ¿Cómo pudiste hacerme esto eso a mí? 

From the same album: Deseo Carnal: Un hombre de verdad 

Gracias a todos por leer, ver, y acordaos de pasarme consejos e información sobre viajes, y comentad, compartid, dadle al me gusta y haced CLIC is os apetece! 

Carreras de trineos (por lo visto este año tuvieron que irse más la Norte porque hacía demasiado calor)
Carreras de trineos (por lo visto este año tuvieron que irse más la Norte porque hacía demasiado calor)

‘Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer: And Her Parable of the Tomato Plant’ by Marsha Roberts. Now in audiobook! Narrated by Della Cole

Hi all:

You’ll remember on Tuesday I was telling you about the audio version of my book ‘Escaping Psychiatry’.  Due to my personal interest in the topic of Audiobooks I’ve been talking to other authors and reading information about it wherever I could. Marsha Roberts is one of the authors of the group ASMSG that I mention quite often (and I also belong to). She has also recently published her very successful book ‘Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer: And Her Parable of the Tomato Plant‘ (What a title, eh?) in audiobook format, narrated by the fabulous Della Cole, an actress Marsha and her husband and fellow-author Bob Rector know quite well. As I’ve never brought you her book before, I thought I’d take the chance to introduce you to it. And to Marsha.

Author Marsha Roberts
Author Marsha Roberts


After years of producing Corporate Theater for clients such as IBM and Coca-Cola, Marsha Roberts developed, produced and marketed Letters From The Front, the only professional theatrical production to tour military bases around the world. This heartfelt show touched hundreds of thousands of lives, toured stateside and abroad for fifteen years, was the first play ever to perform at the Pentagon and became known as The World’s Most Decorated Play.

The daunting process of getting this never-been-done-before production off the ground and onto a worldwide stage gave her a keen awareness of what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles and find the miraculous in the commonplace. She shares many of her experiences in her inspirational memoir “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant” which Kirkus Reviews says is “An optimistic look at the magic of life.”

Confessions of an instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer audio
Confessions of an instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer audio

“Anyone who has wondered whether God or miracles are possible in our lifetime will want to read this uplifting book.” ~ Anne Holmes, CEO Natl. Assoc. of Baby Boomer Women

Confessions belongs on the nightstand. When hope is not at hand, it can be.”
~ Dianne Harman, Author

“You feel after reading that the writer is now your friend and you know her so well! Fantastic.” ~ Duncan Whitehead, Author

“So entertaining and full of faith, I had tears streaming down my face… only to find myself laughing a few pages further.” ~ Simon Okill, Author


An optimistic look at the magic of life.” — Kirkus Reviews

Goodreads Listopia Voted #1 Must Read Memoirs ~ #1 Most Inspiring Books ~ #1 Best Happiness Books

An unflinching look at the life of a Baby Boomer woman told with heart, humor and charm. Roberts grapples with the question: how do you keep the twinkle in your eye and the sass in your walk as you get older? The unique way she finds the answer has been described as “Funny, touching and inspirational” ~ “Heart tugging and heart warming” ~ “Delightful”

Roberts takes the reader on a captivating journey where real life collides with real miracles. With stories ranging from candidly intimate to wonderfully adventurous, each chapter or parable uncovers a piece of the puzzle. And as it comes together, the picture that emerges reflects Roberts’ life-affirming belief in God, the essential ingredient in her secret formula for happiness.
A charming and uplifting read, Marsha’s style of writing makes you feel as if you’re with a trusted friend, sharing life lessons over a cup of coffee.

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it don’t forget to like, share, comment, CLICK and of course LISTEN!

Ah, and I thought I’d leave you a link to Bob Rector’s great article on the process, steep learning curve and difficulties of creating an audiobook for those of you who might be thinking about it.

The Scary Guy

My Meeting with The Scary Guy (Hay-on-Wye 3rd July 2014). Part 1.

Most of you will probably think I’m talking metaphorically here, and The Scary Guy is some spiritual thing I’m going through, a fear I have that I decided to confront,  I don’t know, writers’ block, therapy…But no, I’m not talking metaphorically. The Scary Guy is a real guy. I met him here in Hay-on-Wye. We were introduced by Anne, co-owner of Addyman Books, in the second week of my stay in Hay-on-Wye (at Tomatitos, the renowned Tapas Bar) and after having a general chat, Anne lent me his book and he gave me his card. As soon as I got home I checked his website as I was intrigued by the conversation and the work he had been telling us about. I was impressed by his ability to touch so many people and to make his message reach such wide variety of public, from school children to army personnel. It’s not easy to summarise briefly what he does (and as you see he puts it much better than me during the interview) but if I had to try and give you some idea before you go and explore his website and all the materials available, I’d say he talks to people about how to deal with prejudice, making sure that they understand that the best way to deal with the negative energy thrown at them is not to add their own negative energy. You cannot fight bad energy with more bad energy. The prejudice never is and should never become the problem of the victim of the prejudice. Scary uses his very personal style, his appearance, his personal experiences and his special way of connecting with people to deliver his message of love that appears incongruous at first sight. Defying conventions and challenging expectations is what the Scary Guy is about, and he’s tremendously successful at it.

The Scary Guy
The Scary Guy

We exchanged e-mails and he kindly offered to lend me a copy of the film made about him. I watched the film and I told him I’d like to talk about him in my blog but I was happy to share or post any materials he already had. He offered to do an interview instead. The more I read of the book and the more I thought about the movie the more I knew this would be an interesting conversation, even though I found it difficult to formulate specific questions. With just a few jotted down I went to meet Scary (and Cathryn Woodhall his wife, business partner, collaborator and as much a part of the project as he is). Scary and Cathryn live in a lovely cottage across a beautiful church (St Mary’s Church of England, recently refurbished and looking as good as new).

I must admit to not having much of an order set in my head and any jumping from item to item is up to me not Scary.

I told Scary I was reading the book written about him 7 Days and 7 Nights. An Official Biography of “The Scary Guy” by Mark David Hatwood. He noted that he has not written any books as reading and writing has never been one of his better skills and he learns in other ways. He told me that Cathryn is working on several books about him and what he does, because she’s “smart”. When we talked about the concept of smart he told me the considered himself rather than smart “different”. He talked about meeting young people and how they did not like to be considered “normal” and they didn’t like to be labelled normal. “Normal” has become a concept that does not work for much of the youth these days. He went on to expand and say that everybody is unique and it is improper to try and define somebody with a single word, as there are many variables that contribute to defining who we are: our behaviour, what we learn, how we learn, how we perceive things. Our minds are different and our bodies are different. He observed that there might be people who smoked all their lives and die of old age never having developed cancer, whilst somebody  else might die  young with fewer (on non) exposure. It is not only environmental; it is also down to one’s genes. We talked about research onto the possible effect of Nicotine in brain receptors, and how it is possible to find research stating the negatives of smoking but there are also studies looking at developing medication to act on Nicotine receptors positively. (Scary told me he smokes cigars only, maybe one a day when he is not on tour and he finds it relaxing and enjoys the ritual of it. It reminds him of the ‘old ways’ of human life, where men in the 50’s would go to the barber shop and share stories). Not that I’m encouraging smoking, I’m a doctor after all, although the comments are correct.

We discussed the nature of some of the current health and food research and how there is plenty of emphasis on the negative impact of a variety of things (sugar, fat, etc.). He told me he feels his Mother’s advice was the best, as she always advocated using common sense, and not have too much of one thing all the time to the exclusion of everything else, that the best is balance and not excess (as of course there are well known risks like diabetes, heart disease…from unhealthy diets), as the body needs variety. He showed me a box with chocolates and he told me it had been like that (full) for several weeks, and he might have two or three but would not eat them to excess.

I asked Scary who he looked up to. He told me his mother. He described her as a “closet genius”. Scary told me he didn’t find out how smart she was until she died. He told me he always felt she was different and they had a somewhat disconnected relationship with her when he was an adult. She was intelligent and humble, very private and quiet. She was also ahead of her time, in the way she thought about food, behaviour, religion…

Scary told me that he only discovered after she died that his mother had been interested in Astrology and had become an expert, that nobody knew and they found that she had done astrological charts on a lot of people. He felt he only discovered how his mother really was after her death and maybe he never really knew her before. His mother would never say anything negative about anybody. He noted that, ironically, he was now living just across a church (Church of England) and recalled how his mother would never make any negative comments about any religion. Scary’s mother was born and bred a Baptist. His mother took him and his brother (they were 6 and 5 years old) to the Baptist Church three or four times and never again. “She quit.” When he asked her years later why she had stopped going and taking them she told him that she did not like what they were telling her to do with her kids. He didn’t ask for an explanation at the time but in reflection he thought she referred to the way they did not encourage them to do things or to take responsibility for their behaviour.

St Mary's Church in Hay-on-Wye, still undergoing renovations
St Mary’s Church in Hay-on-Wye, still undergoing renovations

To illustrate his mother’s character Scary told me that when they would go out he would “egg her on”, encourage her to make fun at people or make comments about them (if they were fat, or looked peculiar…) but she would always tell him: “Stop it. Stop being crass.” He never managed to influence her to behave in such a negative way. He never had a chance to ask how she had come to be like that. Scary told me that his challenge was to see if he could do the same, to stop being negative about people. His mother died March 16th 1993, 21 years ago.

I asked him what he found most difficult when trying to change his behaviour. He told me he found quite difficult to stop judging people. He said he finds that kind of behaviour in others too all the time. As an example he told me he had walked into Hay’s chemist, where he knows the people working there quite well and there were two female customers at the counter talking and when they saw him they laugh out loud. Sarah, from the shop, didn’t laugh and said, quite loudly: “That wasn’t me. And it wasn’t any of the others who work here either.” Scary commented to the two female customers who had laughed, how of the 7 billion people in the world at least 6 billion would laugh at him, and the 6 billion who laugh would also be the ones to end up hiring him to get over their stuff! Scary observed that his comment might be initially lost on them!

Scary said that he used to be always quick to judge and make decisions and at the time he would have thought of himself as “good at categorising and stereotyping.” He would put people in neat boxes so he believed he would know how to deal with them and on many occasions he’d be wrong. Now he does not do that and he observed such behaviour might cloud people’s perception and interaction (putting as an example what he might have thought I’d be like based on the information he had about me).

Scary is a man with many tattoos as you will have noticed in his pictures and the story of how his tattoos came to being is well detailed in the book and movie. I wanted to ask him if there was a particular plan or an overall design he had been working towards at the time of his tattoos (although it did not seem that way, at least at the beginning). He told me he enjoys tattoos and that is one of the reasons why in the past he had 3 tattoo parlours, because he didn’t have space left for more tattoos so to carry on enjoying them he decided to tattoo other people. He told me there was no specific design he had worked towards, and he would decide in the moment, depending on what felt good at the time. He told me that due to his problems with reading and writing he did not learn by reading books, and he would mostly learn by observation in an experiential form. He would do whatever felt appropriate in real time at the moment, based on his perception. He gave me as an example a tattoo in his wrist; a barcode. He told me that a long time ago, as long as 20 or 30 years ago, he went to the supermarket and as he was queuing to pay he noted the woman at the till passing a tin over the glass register panel and as she did the register would speak: tin of bins so many cents. He was fascinated and asked her how it did that and she explained that the reader read the code and it could retrieve lots of information. He was fascinated by that idea and designed his bar code tatoo based on a Campbell Soup Tin, but he added the lettering ‘Generic Brand’ in reverse that he could only read if he looked it up to a mirror.

Scary and his LOVE tattoo
Scary and his LOVE tattoo

Scary talked about how fascinated he had been at the time with the possibilities of such a system of codifying information and how he could see microchips being used for all kinds of things, including on humans. This topic got us talking about government controls, IDs, etc. He told me he accepted that the government, any government, would have to have access to certain data and observed that due to the kind of work he did he had had to send his data to the FBI to check that he had no criminal records. He acknowledged the importance of background checks. He said that he is not pro control for control’s sake but there is also the fact that some people are criminal and psychopaths and can cause plenty of harm to others and so having background checks can at least minimise such instances. We briefly discussed the latest controversy about Facebook and their experiments controlling people’s moods and interactions and he observed that it goes to prove, as he believes, that people are mostly reactive to the environment.

Scary and I were talking for quite a while so we decided we’d bring you the interview in several parts. But, if you want to find out more about him, you don’t need to wait until the next installment here. I leave you links so you can explore by yourselves.

Scary’s Website:

Join Scary on his Facebook Fan Page


Scary’s Biography: 7 Days & 7 Nights


Thank you very much for reading, thank you to Scary and Cathryn for their kindness, and help, and if you’ve enjoyed it,  you know what to do: like, share, comment, and of course CLICK!

Book reviews

Coctail of reviews: ‘A Plague of Dissent’, ‘A Year of Book Marketing Part 1’, ‘Naked in New York’ and ‘The Key to Success’.

As you know I usually tend to write about…well, writing, on Tuesdays’ posts. I had an ‘interesting’ week last week (I got stranded in Charles de Gaulle airport due to the snow and ended up spending most of two days there. I didn’t sleep there thanks to my friend Iman and her family, and the RER [train line], but otherwise…). The change of plans gave me time to finish reading some books I had pending and I’ve done a number of reviews. I thought I’d post them here too, all together, for your enjoyment. I’ve also included the translation of the review of a book in Spanish ‘La llave del éxito’. They are all five star reviews, but very different books. I’ve also included links and hope you feel interested enough to have a look at them. And on Friday I have a guest author: Nicole Fergusson…Really looking forward to her post.

Don’t forget to click!


Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent

‘Be Scared, Be Very Scared’

Don’t let the title of my review put you off. No, Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent is not a horror book (although I love horror books). At least not a horror genre book. What the title refers to is the slow realisation – whilst reading the novel – that it is not only topical and the socio/historical events described very close to the bone, but the fictional elements are more than plausible. Although one might have a different opinion as to some of the premises (who organises the terrorist attacks and their reasons, for example), the actual details and planning of it sound incredibly convincing and the more horrifying for it.

The author is well versed in British current affairs and he uses them to create a multilayered background to his fictional (? we hope) story. Recent big news items (phone hacking scandal and enquiry, riots, allegations of child pornography, coalition government…) are not only part of the setting of the novel but become an integral part of the plot, and they are seamlessly woven together to create a complex and realistic tapestry. I live in the UK and must say some of the incidents and situations made me chuckle.

The novel is extremely well plotted and even minor incidents that at first sight might appear insignificant are eventually relevant and their significance revealed. A woman accidentally ran over by a car, a man caught up in the riots and injured, a rugby training session…everything falls into place like a well-oiled machine.

We get to know the main characters gradually, and they reveal themselves to be not only likeable, but also true heroes. Adam is a fantastic protagonist, who goes from being maligned by the media; in an attempt at revenge by a jealous husband, to risking his life to save…well, everybody. His brother, Dan, Ron, his friend and special agent, Isobel, his love interest, the few honest detectives and policemen, are all real people you can relate to but make a larger than life cast who can take on any situation. You would want them by your side in a moment of crisis.

‘A Plague’ is cinematic in its style, moving with ease from sweeping takes that quickly provide a general view of the national and international situation and the consequences of the events narrated, to minute takes of details such as weaponry, computer files and medication. The pace accelerates and you become gripped by the events, at once thrilled and worried as to what would happen if it were real. Would there be enough honest members of the police, and concerned citizens (like Adam and friends) to halt such a terrorist ploy?

I don’t want to give away too many of the details of the novel as not to spoil the many surprises, but I won’t hesitate in recommending it to anybody who enjoys well plotted thrillers, conspiracy theory based stories, current affairs (not only British but international), spy novels…In summary, anybody who loves a good book. I was pleased to read that Nic Taylor is planning to follow ‘A Plague’ with at least two more novels. I for one can’t wait.

Here is the link to the book in Amazon:


A Year of Book Marketing Part 1. Marketing Your Book One Day At A Time by Heather Hart.

I was familiar with Mrs. Hart’s work from some of the publications she has co-authored like ‘Book Marketing 101: Marketing Your Book on a Shoestring’ and the writers’ group of same name in LinkedIn. I asked for a copy of her book when I read her reply to another author who was after novel ways of marketing his book, and a bit tired of ‘same-old, same-old’. She kindly offered me a free copy in exchange for a review and I’m pleased to be able to respond in kind.

The idea behind the book is that it can be used (after reading the first three chapters that contain general advice on marketing, particularly useful to the novice writer) as a daily prompt/calendar, that instead of only having quotations for the day, contains an idea or marketing prompt for each day. The idea is explored in some detail and follows a quotation. Some of the quotations were familiar already (not less useful because of that), some less so, but all were at once reflective and encouraging. The clear message (if it can be simplified into one) is: work hard, consistently, focus on what works for you and you enjoy, but don’t be afraid to try new things. And Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I’m fairly new to self-publishing and marketing, although I have been trying my hand at it for a few months. I found reading Ms. Hart’s book that I’d tried some of the ideas suggested, some would not be workable for me at the moment (I’ve only published e-books so far and some of the ideas require a physical book), and some…Well, I should try. I’ve left notes to myself, and even before I read the whole book I checked the appendix and started listing my book on some of the free sites I hadn’t tried yet.

Ms. Hart’s style is easy to follow, engaging, and I particularly liked her sharing her own experiences and insights, including things she did not feel comfortable doing, and her less than successful efforts. I also liked the pace of the book, the encouragement it offers, and its emphasis on having a long-term plan, checking what one is doing and trying to maximise that, rather than frantically trying everything at once.

I read the whole book at once, rather than using it as it is intended (and that’s a limitation of my review), but will definitely be taking her advice at heart and trying some of the ideas I hadn’t considered (and some I’ve been thinking about but haven’t quite got around to…).

In conclusion I would recommend it to anybody who is into the publishing business, no matter the genre, and who feels they could benefit from encouragement and not heavy-handed expertise. And I will be looking forward to part 2.

Click on the link to buy it in Amazon:


Naked in New York. A Memoir by Emmy Winning Writer Alan Cooke

Naked in New York is one of those books that we might never have come across unless circumstances conspired to bring them to our attention, but once they do we feel fortunate because they enrich our lives.

Although I love poetry (or some poetry at least) I don’t regularly read it. I came across the author’s YouTube video where he reads an excerpt of this book (that at that point was not yet published) in Facebook.

Alan Cooke is an actor, writer (poet), filmmaker, and hearing him read ‘Naked in New York’ is an experience that I can recommend wholeheartedly. It’s mesmerising, emotional and ravishing. (His audiobook is available in his website).

The memoir describes the five years the author spent in New York, shortly after the 9/11 attack. He is not only an observer but also a participant that immerses himself in the city, its people, and its atmosphere that had been hardly shaken by the incident, an open wound that has left an indelible scar. His is not a story of the American Dream come true (at times quite the opposite), but even if it was just a necessary condition to get to write this book, it would have been more than worth it.

I have had the advantage of listening to a copy of the audiobook read by the author. It has made me stop on my tracks more than once, left me speechless because of the beauty of a sentence or a moment, made me sad at times (like when he reflects upon 9/11 or on the fate of the less fortunate inhabitants of the city), made me smile (a small gesture noted, a deep shared moment with a stranger, the bird having a bath and smiling), and made me reflect and think back to moments and experiences I could identify with. I might have thought it, but he says it much better.

Naked in New York is beautiful, heartfelt, insightful, self-reflective, personal and universal at the same time. It is truly human. I can’t think of anybody who would not like this book, and I would be worried about anybody who does not. Please read it and tell others about it. There isn’t enough beauty around. We must promote it.

Click on the link to buy the book it on Amazon:

Click on the webpage to buy the audiobook:


The Key to Success. Be noticed in Amazon: Marketing for writers by Armando Rodera

I am a writer and started to publish e-books a few months ago. From that moment on (although now I know I should have started well before that, but we can always learn something new) I’ve been reading a fair amount about book marketing. I have watched podcasts, I have read how to guides, books, YouTube videos, I have taken part in groups and discussions…What I mean is this is not the first book I read about it.

What makes Armando Rodera’s book different to all the others? (Because I can assure you it’s very different). Although the majority of these book have personal examples to share about what worked or did not work for the person writing the book in their efforts at marketing, The Key to Success is something other than just a marketing book, it is the story (or as we’ve heard so often these days the ‘journey’) of the path that Mr Rodera has followed since he discovered his vocation and love for writing up to now when he’s a world renown author.

The author offers advice, but it’s based on personal experience, rather than on strategies, plans and boring formulae that might or might not apply to the personal circumstances and taste of each reader. It is a publishing business’s (independent publishing mostly) guide , but one of this annotated guides, where one pauses to read about the typical dishes of the area, the customs and habits of the people, and the folklore of the region. It’s a guide for the traveller of discerning taste and good palate.

Another thing that makes the book exceptional (in my opinion the most important one) is the sheer quality of the writing. The majority of the marketing books I’ve read are written in a fairly simple and practical way, and that’s it. The Key to Success is different. When I was reading it there came a moment when I was no longer focused on the advice and I just concentrated on the pleasure of reading the book. I can assure you that any person who reads the book and has not read any of the author’s novels will feel compelled to read them.

Read The Key to Success. Use the good advice, but most of all, enjoy the prose and style of Armando Rodera. I believe this is the real key to his success.

Click to buy it (in Spanish) here:

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to CLICK. I’m checking!

Reseñas de libros

Cóctel de reseñas: ‘Una plaga de disensión’, ‘Un año de marketing de libros’, ‘Desnudo en Nueva York’ y ‘La llave del éxito’

Como sabéis normalmente los martes escribo sobre…escribir. Pero la semana pasada fue un pelín ‘especial’. Me quedé atrapada en el aeropuerto Charles de Gaulle por la nieve, casi dos días enteros (y no me tocó dormir allí gracias a mi amiga Iman, a su familia y al RER (el tren) que si no…). Eso me dio tiempo a terminar de leer varios libros que tenía pendientes, y luego a escribir las reseñas. Así que pensé en publicarlas hoy todas juntas aquí por si os interesan. He traducido tres al castellano (las tres primeras) y la otra es de un libro de un autor español. A ver que os parece. Y no os olvidéis de hacer click!


Nic Taylor’s  A Plague of Dissent  (Una plaga de disidencia)

Tened miedo, mucho miedo

No dejéis que el título de mi reseña os quite las ganas de leer el libro. No, Una plaga de disidencia de Nic Taylor no es una novela de terror (aunque a mí me encantan los libros de terror). Para ser más precisos, no es una novela del género de terror. A lo que se refiere el título es la forma en que uno se da cuenta, lentamente  ̶ mientras se lee la novela ̶  de que no es solo que la novela sea muy actual y los hechos que narra tengan un parecido muy sospechoso con la realidad (particularmente inglesa), sino que incluso los elementos ficticios son más que posibles. Aunque habrá quien tenga opiniones muy diferentes sobre algunos de las premisas (como por ejemplo, quienes son responsables de los ataques terroristas y sus razones), los detalles y la planificación suenan increíblemente convincentes y por eso dan aún más miedo.

El autor está bien informado sobre la actualidad y las noticias en el Reino Unido y usa su conocimiento para crear un complejo mundo donde emplazar su ficcional (esperamos) historia. Noticias y hechos históricos recientes (el escándalo de las escuchas ilegales de conversaciones telefónicas, los disturbios y motines en varias ciudades inglesas, alegaciones de pornografía infantil, gobierno de coalición…) no son sólo parte del decorado donde se desarrolla la novela sino que se convierten en un componente central y básico de la trama, y ficción y realidad están entretejidas expertamente creando un tapiz complejo y realista. Yo vivo en el Reino Unido y me reí con algunos de los incidentes y situaciones que reconocí (o visualizé de inmediato).

La novela está muy bien tramada e incluso incidentes menores que a primera vista parecen insignificantes al final encajan perfectamente y su importancia se revela en el momento justo. Una mujer a la que atropella un coche accidentalmente, un hombre atrapado en los disturbios y herido, una sesión de entrenamiento de rugby…todo encaja en su sitio como en un rompecabezas.

Llegamos a conocer a los personajes principales gradualmente, y descubrimos que no es solo fácil identificarse con ellos, sino que son héroes (aunque accidentales). Adam es un fantástico protagonista, que pasa de ser vituperado por los medios de comunicación (un marido celoso a la busca de venganza es el responsable) a arriesgar su vida para salvar…a todo el mundo. Su hermano Dan, Ron, su amigo y agente especial, Isobel, su amor, los ‘pocos’ detectives y policías honestos, son todos gente real, con los que el lector se puede identificar, pero unidos forman un equipo que no le envidia nada a los superhéroes a los que estamos acostumbrados. En un momento de crisis todos les querríamos de nuestra parte.

‘Una plaga’ tiene un estilo cinematográfico, pasando de tomas largas que nos dan una vista general de la situación nacional e internacional y las consecuencias de los hechos narrados, a detalles minuciosos de cosas como las armas usadas, ficheros de ordenador y medicamentos. El ritmo acelera y te quedas enganchado a los acontecimientos, a la vez excitado y preocupado por lo que podría pasar si fuera real. ¿Habrían suficientes policías honrados, y ciudadanos preocupados y bien intencionados (como Adam y sus amigo) para detener un ataque terrorista?

No quiero dar demasiados detalles de la trama para no arruinar las muchas sorpresas, pero sin dudar lo recomiendo a todos los que disfruten de thrillers detallados, historias basadas en teorías de conspiración, noticias de actualidad(no solo inglesas sino internacionales), novelas de espionaje…En fin, a todos a los que les guste un buen libro. Me encantó leer que Nic Taylor está planeando al menos otras dos novelas en la misma serie. Yo ya estoy a la espera.

Haced click para comprarla (en inglés)


Un año de marketing de libros. Parte 1. Marketing tus libros día a día de Heather Hart

Yo conocía la obra de la autora porque había leído algunas de sus las publicaciones en las que ha colaborado como ‘Book Marketing 101: Marketing Your Book on a Shoestring’ y el grupo de escritores del mismo nombre en LinkedIn. Le pedí una copia del libro cuando leí su respuesta en una discusión del grupo a otro autor que andaba a la busca de ideas nuevas para intentar promocionar su libro, y estaba cansado de las viejas fórmulas. Ella amablemente me ofreció una copia gratis a cambio de una reseña y me encanta poder corresponder a su amabilidad.

La idea del libro es que se puede usar (después de haber leído los tres primeros capítulos que contienen consejos generales sobre marketing, particularmente interesantes para escritores novicios) como un recordatorio/calendario diario, que en lugar de contener solamente citas inspiradoras para ese día, contiene sugerencias o ideas de marketing para cada día. Esa sugerencia se desarrolla en más detalle y suele seguir a una cita of frase. Algunas de las citas me resultaron familiares (aunque eso no las hizo menos útiles), algunas no tanto, pero todas hacen reflexionar y animan. El mensaje más claro en resumen es que hay que trabajar duro, ser constante, concentrarse en lo que te funcione a ti y lo que disfrutes, pero no hay que tenerlo miedo a probar cosas nuevas. Y también que Roma no se construyó en un día y muy poca gente consigue el éxito de la noche a la mañana.

No hace mucho que me dedico a la auto-publicación y al marketing, aunque llevo unos meses en ello. Leyendo el libro de la Sra. Hart ví que había probado algunas de las ideas que sugiere, otras no me sirven a mí en este momento (sólo he publicado en formato digital y para algunas de sus sugerencias se necesitan libros en papel), y otras…Bueno, debería probarlas. Tomé notas, e incluso antes de leerme todo el libro consulté los apéndices y empecé a listar mi libro en algunas de las páginas de web gratuitas que no había probado.

El estilo de la autora es fácil de seguir, coloquial y ameno, y me gustó particularmente como comparte sus propias experiencias y las lecciones que ha aprendido, incluyendo cosas que le resultan difíciles, y los cosas que probó que no funcionaron. También me gustó el ritmo del libro, los ánimos que da, y su énfasis en tener un plan a largo plazo, en comprobar los resultados de lo que uno ya está haciendo e intentar maximizarlo, en lugar de ir como locos intentando hacer todo a la vez (mea culpa).

Leí el libro en una sentada, en lugar de utilizarlo en la forma en que está diseñado, día a día (y eso es un pero de mi reseña), pero tengo la intención de tomarme sus consejos en serio y probar algunas de las ideas que no he intentado ( y algunas de las que he estado posponiendo…).

En conclusión se lo recomiendo a cualquiera que esté metido en el negocio de auto-publicación, de cualquier género, y que crea que se beneficiaría de algo de apoyo y consejos expertos sin avasallar. Y estoy a la espera de la Parte 2.

Haced click para comprarlo (en inglés):


Desnudo en Nueva York. Una Memoria de Alan Cooke (Actor y realizador ganador de un Emmy)

Desnudo en Nueva York es uno de esos libros que podríamos no haber descubierto nunca si las circunstancias no hubieran conspirado para atraer nuestra atención, pero una vez descubiertos nos sentimos afortunados porque enriquecen nuestras vidas.

Aunque me encanta la poesía (o alguna poesía al menos) no la leo con regularidad. Descubrí el video YouTube del autor leyendo un fragmento de su libro (que entonces todavía no estaba publicado, aunque existía una versión en audio) en Facebook.

Alan Cooke is actor, escritor, realizador de cine, y oirle leer ‘Naked in New York’ es una experiencia que les recomiendo a todos (especialmente si entienden inglés, aunque su voz vale la pena oirla de todas formas). Es emocionante, bello y magnético.

La memoria describe líricamente los cinco años que el autor pasó en Nueva York, poco después del ataque del 11 de Septiembre. No es un observador imparcial sino un participante que se sumerge en la ciudad, su gente, y su atmósfera que fue severamente sacudida por el incidente, una herida abierta que ha dejado una cicatriz que jamás se borrará. Su historia no es la del sueño americano convertido en realidad (a ratos todo lo contrario), pero incluso si sus penas y sufrimientos fueron condiciones necesarias para que este libro viera la luz, hubieran estado más que justificados.

He tenido la ventaja de haber escuchado una copia del libro en audio leída por el autor. Me ha hecho detenerme a pensar más de una vez, me he quedado sin palabra contemplando la belleza de una pasaje, me ha puesto triste (como cuando reflexiona sobre las consecuencias de 9/11 o el destino de los habitantes más desafortunados), me ha hecho sonreír (un pequeño gesto, un momento íntimo lleno de significado compartido con un extraño, un pájaro que se baña y luego sonríe), y me ha hecho reflexionar y pensar en momentos y experiencias con los que me he identificado. Puede que haya pensado lo mismo que el autor, pero él lo dice mucho mejor.

Desnudo en Nueva York es bello, sentido, lleno de reflexiones íntimas, penetrante, personal y universal a la vez. Es realmente humano. No puedo creer que haya nadie a quien no le guste este libro, y de hecho me preocuparía por tal persona. Por favor, leedlo y contárselo a todos. No hay suficiente belleza a nuestro alrededor. Debemos promocionarla y compartirla.

Haced click para comprar el libro (en ingles):

Haced click aquí para ir a la página web para comprar la versión audio:


La llave del éxito. Consigue destacar en Amazon: Marketing para escritores de Armando Rodera

Soy escritora y empecé a publicar libros digitales hace unos meses. Desde entonces (aunque ahora sé que de hecho tendría que haber empezado mucho antes, pero todo se aprende en esta vida) he leído bastante sobre el marketing de libros. He visto podcasts, he leído guías, libros, videos en YouTube, he participado en grupos y discusiones…Vamos, que éste no es el primer libro sobre el tema que me leo.

¿Qué diferencia al libro de Armando Rodera de todos esos otros? (Porque es muy diferente, eso se lo aseguro yo). Aunque la mayoría de estos libros suelen poner ejemplos personales de lo que le funcionó o no al escritor durante sus esfuerzos de marketing, La llave del éxito más que un libro de marketing a palo seco, es la historia (en inglés hoy en día le llamarían el journey, el viaje) del sendero que Armando Rodera ha seguido desde que descubrió su afición a escribir hasta hoy en día cuando es un autor reconocido en el mundo entero.

El autor ofrece consejos, pero basados en su experiencia personal, no tanto en estrategias, planes, y fórmulas aburridas que pueden tener aplicación o no a las circunstancias y gusto de cada persona. Es una guía sobre el negocio de la publicación (independiente en su mayor parte), pero una de estas guías anotadas, en las que uno se detiene a leer detalles sobre los platos típicos, las costumbres del país, y el folklore al uso. Para el viajero con discernimiento y buen gusto.

Otra cosa que hace destacar este libro (en mi opinión la que más), es la calidad de la escritura. La mayoría de los libros de marketing que he leído están escritos de forma sencilla y práctica y poco más. La llave del éxito es muy diferente. Llegó un momento en que los consejos eran lo que menos me importaba del libro, y el placer de su lectura lo que más. Puedo asegurarles que cualquier persona que lo lea, si aún no leído las novelas del autor, sentirá deseos incontrolables de leerlas.

Lean La llave del éxito. Hagan uso de sus buenos consejos, y sobre todo disfruten de la prosa y el estilo de Armando Rodera. Yo creo que esa es la verdadera llave de su éxito.

Haced click para comprarlo en Amazon:

Y el viernes, autora invitada Nicole Fergusson!