Guest Post: Surviving A Camping Trip With The Kids

Dave McDonald from The Kayak Critic pops by The Bandwagon to share his wisdom and encourage parents to take the kids camping.

Going on a camping trip with children can be fun, but it can also be a challenging one. Not all kids love the outdoors and if your tots are like most of the children nowadays, it is probably difficult to take them away from their tablets, mobile devices, or computers; much more from accessing the Internet!

You’ll need the ultimate guide for camping with youngsters if you want to overcome these challenges and make your camping trip not just push through, but most importantly, make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

While things may not be all smooth, it’s still worth the try because of the various advantages that you can get from this adventure. You’ll have a closer relationship with your loved ones and this is also the perfect opportunity to bond with them.

Kids who are first-timers in camping can be prepared for the real trip by bringing them outdoors during the day. This will familiarize them with the setting that they will be in on the campsite. Backyard camping is also a great idea as they will feel more comfortable sleeping in a tent on the actual camping day.

To help you plan for a fantastic camping trip with your little ones, here is an amazing infographic for you. It contains great tips and guides on what you can do to make this experience memorable and as hassle-free as possible. You will become more confident in bringing your kids at the campsite.

 

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Ask The Author: M.K. Williams

Author M.K. Williams joins The Bandwagon to talk about her writing process.

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MK Williams is an Indiana-born, Philadelphia-raised, Florida-transplant working and living beneath the sunny, and often rainy, skies of Tampa. Williams’ writing influences include a lifetime of watching suspenseful mysteries and action movies and reading Stephen King, Ian McEwan and J.K. Rowling.

What inspired you to start writing? 

I’ve always enjoyed writing, some people like to paint or draw, I have always liked to write. I find that I genuinely enjoy the creative process of writing and I think I would keep on writing even if I didn’t keep publishing my work. I have always liked to read and my mom was always encouraging to me to write. I dedicated my most recent book to her, she definitely inspired me to pursue honing my craft.

What do you wish you’d known about the publishing process? 

I wish someone had asked me about my goals sooner. My husband was actually the one to ask me to define my goals. Did I want to be an international bestseller? Did I want to just have my book published? That actually helped me to define my goals and what success would look like for me. If someone had asked me sooner I may have been able to get to where I am now years ago.

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Tell us more about your book.

My latest book is a collection of short stories called The Games You Cannot Win. I love writing in all of its various lengths and forms and short stories are where I started out before I wrote my first novel. The four stories in this collection all follow a different character as they feel trapped in their career, trapped in their goals and what society expects, trapped in a scandal, or trapped in the past. In each one they feel that they are part of a game that someone else is playing with them, or on them, that they can’t get out of. Each story delves into the characters and tackles some serious issues in our society today.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t plan that writing will replace your day-job. When you write with the mindset that you are going to make a million dollars and quit the job you don’t like, you write from a very different place. Write because you enjoy it, that joy will come through in your words and will lead to your success.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu. It is a non-fiction book on marketing in the 18th and 19th centuries and how advertisers are constantly finding new ways to steal our attention. I am reading this as research for my next book.

You can buy The Games You Cannot Win on Amazon, Nook, and iBooks. Visit Williams’ website, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Ask The Author: Niki Meadows

Author Niki Meadows chats to The Bandwagon about her writing process. Niki has also chosen The Bandwagon to reveal the title of her new book!

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1) What inspired you to start writing?

Well, I thought it was fun to keep a diary as a kid and journal as a teen that I kept up into adulthood. I tried my hand at short stories and fiction over the years but it never went anywhere. I’d get started and it would fizzle out. I loved to read fiction but I wasn’t very good at writing it. I just assumed writing wasn’t for me to share. I couldn’t let go of my love affair with writing and decided to try blogging. The first time around I didn’t know what I wanted out of my blog and set it to the side. The second time, I was able to better identify what my blog would be about and that felt like a more natural fit for me. I really enjoyed engaging with others and saw that my posts sharing my life in a way others could learn from and be encouraged felt right. I’d long abandoned the idea of writing a book until I was inspired to write something I’d never considered: non-fiction.

2) Tell us more about your book.

The book breaks down the process I used to conquer a 17-year battle with depression. At the time it was less of a “process” and more of me just doing whatever I could to climb out of the bottomless pit I’d been in for so long. I’ve been on this journey for four years and realized that looking back I was able to identify key steps I took consistently to overcome depression. I was Divinely inspired to write the book and saw signs of confirmation all around me encouraging me to go through with this book. The biggest encouragement was sharing the idea of the book to people I would meet just through natural conversation and them being so interested in wanting it to use for themselves. It got to the point I was so fueled by the possibility of helping someone that I couldn’t imagine not putting this out there. I ended up combining my personal experience with my life coaching skills to write the book in a way that challenges the reader in a positive way, sparks inspiration, and elicits action on behalf of the reader.

3) Why did you decide to self-publish?

I wrestled back and forth with this as many first-time authors do. In the end, it felt like a better route for many ways. I decided to start with an e-Book first because I knew I would stall the process longer than necessary getting caught up on unnecessary things had I gone the print route. Self-publishing felt more personal to me, I’m all about connection and this was a way to have the book really embody who I am and what my message is about. The final aspect came down to cost. I was able to do most of the process myself, which made the investment a matter of time not money. I was able to lean on my network from my inner circle to my blogging community for the things I wasn’t able to do on my own. This has been such an amazing experience that I’ll cherish and I’m so grateful for everyone that supported me along the way!

4) Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Stay true to who you are. In a world of information overload, it’s easy to be swayed and try avenues you think will lead to success because they worked for others. I think you have more of the answers than you think, and you should listen to your gut. I’m all about research and information but ultimately I pursue what feels right and encourage others to do the same. There is no right way, just the way that feels right to you.

5) What are you currently reading?

I’m actually reading a few different books at once. My grandpa always did that when I was growing up and I never understood how he could. I’m not able to do that with fiction because I typically stick to one genre and end up mixing the details up. Non-fiction makes it easier to do so. I’ve got Sacred Contracts (Caroline Myss), The Gift of Dyslexia (Ronald D. Davis), and Adventures of the Soul (James Van Praagh) on my Kindle app that I’m reading. In print, I’m reading Abundance Now (Lisa Nichols & Janet Switzer), The Gifts of Imperfection (Brene Brown), and The Book of Chakras (Ambika Wauters).

6) Who are your feminist heroines?

My mom is one of my biggest heroines. She’s done an amazing job of teaching me to be the person I am through her own example. Oprah is what I consider a student teacher of life, a giver, and an inspiration as a female entrepreneur and woman. Ellen DeGeneres is also on my list. Her transparency, courage, and kindness are traits I admire. Queen Rania of Jordan for the amazing job she does bringing social issues to the table. I also admire women to promote and encourage self-acceptance.

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Niki’s book, Wage War On Your Mind & Fight For Your Life, will be published in April. Make sure you grab a copy!

Ask The Author: Ruth Francisco

Author and fierce feminist Ruth Francisco chats to The Bandwagon about Catfish Pearl, and her writing process.

rf_5544_2Ruth Francisco worked in the film industry for 15 years before selling her first novel “Confessions of a Deathmaiden” to Warner Books in 2003, followed by “Good Morning, Darkness,” which was selected by Publishers’ Weekly as one of the ten best mysteries of 2004,  and “The Secret Memoirs of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.” She now has ten novels, including the best-seller “Amsterdam 2012,” published as an ebook. She is a frequent contributor to The Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and currently lives in Florida.

What inspired you to start writing?

I started this venture into pirate lore when I was on a panel of Florida authors in Tallahassee. One of the other writers was explaining some peculiar local jargon, such as “square mullet” (marijuana smuggled in bales) and “catfish pearls” (a calcification of calcium carbonate behind the gills of a sail catfish). When I heard “catfish pearl,” I sat straight up, sparks shooting out of my head. “Catfish Pearl! That’s the name of a female pirate!”

Sometimes a character chisels at your brain and won’t let you rest until you write her story.

I started to research local history during the golden age of pirates. I live near one of the first Spanish Missions in Florida, and came across an amazing story. The Apalachee Indians who lived at Mission San Luis, invited the local Deputy Governor and his family to a fiesta at a neighboring mission. During the church service, the Apalachee trapped the Spanish inside and slaughtered them. The unborn child of the Deputy Governor’s pregnant daughter was cut from its mother’s womb. There is no record of what happened to that baby. Seemed to me the perfect beginnings for my heroine Catfish Pearl.

From there, research, and the indomitable spirit that emerged from merely the name Catfish Pearl, led the way.

Tell us more about your book.catfishpearlcover4

From a feminist perspective, female pirates seem like the first feminists. Anne Bonny and Mary Read, Grace O’Malley, Cheng I Sao, Rachel Wall. In reality, some were never pirates at all, merely scofflaws who fell in with pirates. But in mythology, they are feminist heroes, leaders of men, planning dangerous exploits, controlling ruffians and rogues and their own destinies. The common thread among all of these women, both in reality and in mythology, is that they did what they had to in order to survive. They refused to be victims.

I wanted to write a book about survival, how a scrappy, clever girl makes the best of every situation, lives through kidnappings and slavery, physical abuse, loss of family, loss of identity, and emerges stronger and smarter, capable of forging her own empire. It is this element of survival that makes the mythology of the female pirate queen so alluring, even to modern readers.

What do you wish you’d known about the publishing process?

I knew nothing when I started, which, at the time (pre-electronic books), was probably a good thing. I would never have had the courage to even find an agent. Now, things are very different. The old route of writing a few short stories, submitting them to magazines, then writing a book, finding an agent through queries and writer’s conferences, relying on the agent to sell your book, is long gone. Now, even agented authors with a string of traditionally published books have a hard time getting published with a publishing house. So what do I suggest?

  • Write a blog about something you feel passionately about and develop a following. Participate in other blogs.  Use social media to promote your blog.  (I used to suggest writers keep a diary; blog writing also makes you write every day, but gives you an audience.)
  • Before you embark on a novel, take a serious look at the marketplace, and see if you can find a home in Romance, Science Fiction, Horror, or Mysteries, genres that are easier to break into.  Imagine your book as part of a series.  The trick here is to be absolutely unique and fresh, but at the same time fit into the genres.
  • See if you can write comedy, satire, or parody.  Humor breaks all the rules.  If you can make people laugh, doors will fly open for you.  Wit and comedy spread through social media like nothing else (for example, Saturday Night Live’s Trump parodies).  You may doubt your comic gifts, but try it, read it, study it.  It will make you a published author.
  • Self-publish on Amazon, but first make your book as good as possible. Edited, a good cover, a good blurb.  Then self-promote.  Use Twitter and Facebook and other social media, participate in blogs, help other writers.
  • Agents?  Are they necessary?  Perhaps not, but keep yourself open to one.  Bear in mind, agents and publishers will only be interested if they see something they know will be a best seller.  Originality, brilliant writing, great story–nothing matters unless they see a big market for it.  Don’t approach them unless you can honestly see your book as a huge seller.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Set aside time to write every day.  Be disciplined.  Don’t check your emails before you sit down to write.  Be curious and aware.  Listen to the way people actually talk.  Read your work out loud.  Read newspapers and nonfiction for fresh ideas.  Just today there was a story on AOL about the wives of dictators around the world.  How fascinating!  What they must put up with.  The compromises and sacrifices.  How do they live with themselves?  Why do they stay?  Could make a fascinating book.  Every day the news will give you ideas.  Keep a list.  See if one ignites.

Also, I can’t impress enough about trying to write comedy and satire. In this political climate, there is a huge (yuge!) market for it. We need brilliant feminist comic voices.

What are you currently reading?

I read mostly non-fiction in my leisure. Since I’m currently obsessed with pirates, I’m reading “A Pirate of Exquisite Mind” about William Dampier, a 17th century explorer/buccaneer. I believe the more you know, the more convincing you are as a writer. Take for example how incredibly knowledgeable George R.R. Martin is about medieval history, and how it brings a brilliance to his writing the transcends the genre.

Who are your feminist heroines?

Elizabeth I of England, both in fiction and reality. To whip a country into shape, dominate and control a completely misogynistic society, politically out-maneuvering them all. Talk about survivors! She demonstrates what current feminists are grappling with. What sacrifices do women have to make in order to compete in a world not only still dominated by men, but configured on traditionally male power structures? Elizabeth gave up any hope for love or family. Can we have it all? Really? What are you willing to sacrifice?

Catfish Pearl | Amazon UK | Goodreads

A new adventure in Ben Aaronovitch’s bestselling PC Grant series, for September 2017

Gollancz is delighted to announce the acquisition of THE FURTHEST STATION, a brand new novella in the bestselling PC Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch, for publication in September 2017.

Publishing Director Gillian Redfearn acquired world rights (excluding the USA, France and Germany, which are represented by agent) from John Berlyne of the Zeno Literary Agency.

THE FURTHEST STATION is Ben Aaronovitch’s first PC Grant novella . . . and there’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line. And when commuters start reporting encounters with ghosts up and down the track – encounters which they forget entirely within minutes – Peter Grant gets a call to investigate. And the very first interview leads to a ghost-hunting expedition  . . .

The unabridged audio edition – read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith – and ebook edition will be published simultaneously with the hardback.

Ben Aaronovitch said: ‘This is my first novella and I suddenly understood the appeal of the form to both writers and readers. Novellas allow you to tell a story in a very elegant, streamlined fashion. Something you can read quickly but without feeling cheated at the end. I may write more.’

Gillian Redfearn said: ‘THE FURTHEST STATION is brilliant. Powered by a gripping mystery, brought to life by Ben Aaronovitch’s wit and wisdom, it’s a story of modern London and modern families – as well as a future bestseller’

John Berlyne said: ‘Readers far and wide have enjoyed Ben’s work thanks to Gollancz’s brilliant publishing. This wonderful novella will delight each and every one of them’

THE FURTHEST STATION | BEN AARONOVITCH | 21 SEPTEMBER 2017

£12.99 | B–Format HB | 9781473222427

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Ben Aaronovitch grew up as part of a famously engaged and lively North London family. He has written for many TV series including Doctor Who, and worked as a bookseller for Waterstones. All six of his Peter Grant novels have been Sunday Times and Audible bestsellers, and are sold in twenty territories around the world, and he now writes full time in addition to being actively involved in charity work. He still lives in London, the city he likes to refer to as ‘the capital of the world’.

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Gollancz is the oldest specialist SF & Fantasy publisher in the UK. Founded in 1927 and with a continuous SF publishing programme dating back to 1961, the imprint of the Orion Publishing Group is home to a galaxy of award-winning and bestselling authors. Through our long-running SF and Fantasy Masterworks programme, and major digital initiative the SF Gateway, Gollancz has one of the largest ranges of SF and Fantasy of any publisher in the world.

Spotlight: Never Forget by Richard Davis

Saul Marshall Series
by Richard Davis

The Bandwagon supports author Richard Davis, whose second novel Never Forget is due out soon! You can read James McStravick’s review of False Prophet here.


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A psychotic terrorist has his son. He will do anything to save him

When a rogue cult turns deadly, the FBI call on former conman Agent Saul Marshall. FALSE PROPHET introduces a gripping new series from thriller writer Richard Davis

Marshall is soon drawn into a cat and mouse chase with the leader of the cult, Ivan Drexler. As the scale of Drexler’s terrorist ambition becomes ever clearer, news arrives that he has taken Marshall’s son hostage. Removed from the line of duty, he must work alone, off-grid.

As the attacks intensify, Saul will stop at nothing to defeat Drexler.

But the FBI are questioning Saul’s own part in the carnage. He must work fast to save both his country and his life. Can Saul stop the carnage before it’s too late? And can he save his son?

As wave after wave of attacks break, the clock is ticking for Saul.

Title: False Prophet (Saul Marshall #1)

Author: Richard Davis

Release Date: 25th January 2016

Genre: Crime

Publisher: Canelo

Format: ebook

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28492501-false-prophet

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/False-Prophet-Marshall-thriller-Thriller-ebook/dp/B019M18AG8/

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Saul Marshall is on the run.

As a wave of seemingly random assassinations engulfs California, Marshall finds himself drawn into a situation spiralling out of control.

He soon discovers some of the webs’ most secure protocols have been compromised by a rogue team of former Chinese agents. When Marshall realises what they plan, the stakes are raised…

And that’s before the Secretary of State gets involved. Can Marshall unravel the deceit and tricks before it’s too late? Can he stop the carnage, or will he become part of it? One thing is for certain: either way his enemies will never forget.

 

Title: Never Again (Saul Marshall #2)

Author: Richard Davis

Release Date: 20th February 2017

Genre: Crime

Publisher: Canelo

Format: ebook

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34315196-never-forget

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Forget-Saul-Marshall-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01MV5TT5T

 

About The Author rd

Richard Davis graduated from University College London in 2011 and Cambridge University in 2012. The Saul Marshall series was born from Davis’s extensive travels around the United States and his long-standing obsession with thriller fiction. He lives in North London, UK, with his girlfriend.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RichardDavisAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DickDavisDavis

 

Tour Schedule

Monday 20th February

Alejandra’s Life

Tuesday 21st February

Fiction Fascination

Wednesday 22nd February

YA Yeah Yeah

Thursday 23rd February

Tales of Yesterday

Friday 24th February

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Big Book Little Book

Saturday 25th February

Teri Polen

Sunday 26th February

The Bandwagon

Monday 27th February

Everything Alyce

Tuesday 28th February

Jess Hearts Books

Licence 2 Read

Wednesday 1st March

Rachel Bustin

Paper Safari

Thursday 2nd March

Novel Gossip

City Girl Scapes

Friday 3rd March

Grab That Book

Everywhere and Nowhere

Sunday 4th March

Blue Striped Square

Sunday 5th March

Avid Reader

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