“Contemplation + action = breakthrough.”
“Success takes many forms. Most people strive for something unattainable without realizing that it’s already theirs.”
“Spiritual growth and creativity are two sides of the same coin.” Continue reading
“Contemplation + action = breakthrough.”
“Success takes many forms. Most people strive for something unattainable without realizing that it’s already theirs.”
“Spiritual growth and creativity are two sides of the same coin.” Continue reading
5 star book review, ARCHOS Tablet, Author Lada Ray, book giveaway, book giveaway winners, Book: The Earth Shifter, Catharsis Legend of the Lemurians, Gold Train, Green Desert, Stepford USA, The Earth Shifter book launch, THe Earth Shifter mega-giveaway, top rated books
I am immensely grateful to all those who participated in The Earth Shifter Launch & Mega-Giveaway! To all my fabulous readers, reviewers, fellow writers, and fans who helped spread the word about my books, and especially, to all who wrote those awesome reviews, did author features, and hosted interviews: THANK YOU! Continue reading
5 star book reviews, Accidental Spy Series, ancient European languages, ARCHOS Tablet giveaway, Author Lada Ray, bible, book giveaway, books by Lada Ray, Dan Brown, EARTH SHIFTER, elohim, elves, Gold Train, Green Desert, Harry Potter, Hebrew, J.K. Rowling, Jack Sparrow, JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Linguistics, philology, Pirates of the Carribbean, Stepford USA, talking names in literature, The Earth Shifter, toponymics
2 SUPER-EXCITING NEWS, dear readers!
1. Both THE EARTH SHIFTER and CATHARSIS are now featured on the top-rated Amazon list for visionary/metaphysical literature, all thanks to your wonderful reviews!
2. THE EARTH SHIFTER Virtual Tour is nearing its grand finale and I have some awesome news about the upcoming giveaway! As you know, I’m giving away ARCHOS TABLET, as well as 2 complete sets of my ebooks.
I’ve decided to add something very special and exciting to my giveaway to thank all of my readers, reviewers and fans for your wonderful support and generosity. In addition to the above great prizes, I am also giving away signed paperback copies of The Earth Shifter, Gold Train and Stepford USA! Each book comes complete with 2 of my new, exclusive bookmarks, and this giveaway is open worldwide!
More about THE EARTH SHIFTER MEGA-GIVEAWAY
Links to all my books: bookstore
And now…how ’bout some TALKING NAMES, mate?
As Captain Jack Sparrow would probably say…
In the run up to ‘The Earth Shifter Virtual Tour & Giveaway Grand Finale,’ I want to invite you on a little linguistical adventure in which we’ll explore the fascinating subject of the talking names in literature, and learn some of my secrets…
Ready? Continue reading
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Update 5/20: GOLD TRAIN will be on sale: $1.49 (reg. $3.99) for a limited time on #Kindle! Or you can try it FREE with #AmazonPrime trial membership! Download today!
From the publisher: GOLD TRAIN (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure) has been beautifully re-edited and redesigned, new scenes and artwork have been added to both paperback and ebook versions! The new length is 288 print pages. New passages and scenes make characters and events stand out better, adding a more reflective/spiritual tone to the book and highlighting the romantic element, while preserving this novel’s trademark rip-roaring pace. Published by RAY HOUSE.
Amazon, Author Lada Ray, Barnes & Noble, book giveaway, book launch, books by Lada Ray, Catharsis Legend of the Lemurians, E-book, Gold Train, Green Desert, paperback, Stepford USA, The Earth Shifter, virtual book tour, YA Revolution
I have several very important and exciting announcements!
1. I am thrilled to announce the official launch of THE EARTH SHIFTER! It has been available as ebook since the beginning of the year, but now the paperback is also out!
2. I’m also releasing 2nd edition Gold Train (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure) paperback, which has been re-edited and substantially improved.
3. I’m also finally releasing Stepford USA (Accidental Spy Small Town Adventure) paperback – and it looks spectacular!
The E-publishing revolution has just started, and already digital shelves are full of senseless imitations rehashed over and over again. Some books are just openly negative, violent or meaningless. All you need is an e-reader and a simple click of a button in order to purchase an ebook. No one can possibly police what our teens and young adults are reading. Meanwhile, their minds are still delicate and developing, and perhaps they haven’t yet learned to discern what is good and what is harmful. Much of what our teens may be downloading on their e-readers may not be what they should be reading in order to develop into good human beings and responsible citizens of our planet!
Typically, author organizations and promotional sites do not distinguish books for integrity, quality of message and positive energy. It is up to us, readers, writers, bloggers and reviewers to convey this information to each other. YA Revolution aims to unite all those who are tired of same old, same old and who want to read new, original, inspiring books with message and heart. It’s also for those who want the same for their kids. We intend to give voice and help promote authors who deserve to be heard, whether they write YA or adult literature. The more good books are promoted by us all, the easier both teens and adults will be able to chose the right books to read!
Whether you are a young adult or simply young at heart,
join the YA REVOLUTION!
We are for literature with message and meaning! Continue reading
American Freedom Radio, Author Lada Ray, Bitcoin, conspiracy, Empire collapse, Financial and political predictions, Gold Train, Paypal, Radio interview, Reinventing Collapse by Dmitry Orlov, The Earth Shifter, The Vinny Eastwood Show, US economic problems
On March 18, 2013, I have been a guest on The Vinny Eastwood Show! After having been on a loooong writing spree and basically in seclusion, which was necessary to produce THE EARTH SHIFTER, it felt great to show my face to the world. My hair usually grows fast (must be all that spiritual growth ;)), and so, while I was busy writing, it has grown substantially, reaching almost to my waist. It’s especially noticeable on the vid, but don’t you get used to this look, as I intend to cut it! Well…until I again immerse myself into the world of Sasha and the Key while writing THE EARTH SHIFTER 2. At that point, I’ll let it grow again.
It was also great to hear my own voice – I was already beginning to forget what it sounded like! Consider this a warm up. This is my first radio interview in my capacity as an author, but it certainly won’t be last!
And now, back to the show! Vinny and I have touched upon some very controversial and interesting topics, such as the collapse of Empires, including the Soviet Union and USA, my analysis and predictions of how the USA collapse is different from that of the USSR, and how both are similar. We’ve also discussed my spiritual awakening and my personal experiences working for major US financial institutions, including how said financial wirehouses stack the odds in favor of their large investment banking clients at the expense of small private clients. We’ve talked about the Bitcoin phenomenon, Vinny’s problems with Paypal, and my recommendations for resolving them.
Have a listen!
A special shout out to Mark O’Neill at royalmanaball.wordpress.com who turned me on to the radio/video interview process! I am starting to dig these cool and casual audio/video chats, and having discovered that I have lots more to say on various topics of interest to many, I’ll continue lining them up.
Anyone interested in interviewing me, just give me a shout! I am presently looking for the new interviews during THE EARTH SHIFTER launch, April 10-30! I’ll also post more interesting segments soon on the Lada Ray Youtube Channel. Stay tuned, everyone!
Incidentally, a few people have asked me how to correctly pronounce my first name and what it rhymes with. Answer: Lada is like the note “la” in the musical scale, but instead of “la-la” you sing “La-da.” Have fun! ;)
P.S. I just found out that after our show, which exposed Paypal practices, Vinny Eastwood has resolved his Paypal problem. That’s just awesome!
Amazon Kindle, author interview, Author Lada Ray, Barnes&Noble, book reviews, books by Lada Ray, Catharsis Legend of the Lemurians, Gold Train, Goodreads, Green Desert, indie authors, Smashwords, Stepford USA, The Earth Shifter, YouTube
Hello everyone! In October 2012 I did a Book Review Fest where I shared my new reviews of several awesome books by fellow indie authors. The Review Fest 1 became so popular that I decided to continue the tradition. As many of you know, my new release, fantasy/thriller THE EARTH SHIFTER, has received some very nice reviews in the past couple of months. Also, it is coming out as paperback on or after March 18th, which will be a pre-launch release: the official book launch is in April. The paperback will feature excerpts from the best and most interesting reviews The Earth Shifter has received so far.
I’m very grateful to all those who took the time and effort to not only read my book, but also post a thoughtful and honest review. Many of these reviews put a smile on my face and warmed my heart because their authors have captured the very essence of the story. All the reviews were fabulous and rich in material, and I had a hard time choosing which reviews, and which excerpts, to include. But due to space limitations, I had to make some hard choices.
Today, I want to honor all of my first reviewers by posting excerpts from their reviews, the links to their original websites and blogs, as well as other sources, where the full reviews can be found. The excerpts below have been selected for the inclusion in THE EARTH SHIFTER paperback Praise Section, as well as on the back cover. You will notice that one of the review excerpts below is longer than the others. That is because its author, Sofia Siberia, is the very first reviewer of The Earth Shifter, and also, because her review hits on so many great points that resonate deeply with the book’s message and intent.
For those who have missed my recent author interviews and features, I am also including the links below. What I especially love about these pieces is that they are all so different, reflecting varying personalities and interests of my interviewers, while working in concert to lift the veil of secrets, big and small, and complimenting each other quite wonderfully. Check out these one-of-a-kind and cool interviews (and this not an exaggeration!), which will shed additional light on the characters, settings, and the wild, wild ride that was the creation of this “cosmic adventure thriller,” as author J.J. Collins has called it!
Before we begin, a want to share some breaking news:
As you may have noticed from the image above, the front cover of THE EARTH SHIFTER has received a face lift based on my publisher’s guidance. I really like the new cover and I think it will showcase the book even better! This will be the cover we’ll use for both the paperback and ebook editions.
Also, just to mention, my birthday is coming up and to celebrate it, I’m starting a Read and Review Program. Anyone interested in reading and reviewing any of my books, including The Earth Shifter, Gold Train, Stepford USA, Catharsis & Green Desert, will receive respective ebooks for free. See the full list of my books here. The details of the Read and Review will be announced in a couple of days both here and on Goodreads, and it will be accompanied by a new, awesome giveaway, as well as other goodies! Please stay tuned!
Without further ado, The Earth Shifter Review & Feature Fest!
Check out these wonderful recent INTERVIEWS & FEATURES:
The Earth Shifter and yours truly have also been discussed in this cool radio/video interview: Ancients & Spirits: Author M.C. O’Neill on the Vinny Eastwood Show
Last, but certainly not least, I’m delighted to announce that I will also be a guest on the Vinny Eastwood Show at 6pm EST on March 18th, all thanks to Mark O’Neill’s glowing introduction, for which I’m eternally grateful! Tune in to listen on the American Freedom Radio or watch it at vinnyeastwoodshow.com and guerillamedia.co.nz. I will also post the show on LadaRay Youtube channel and here, on my blog, a few days after. Please tune in to listen, ask questions and comment! Hope you enjoy it, and please stop by to let me know what you think!
And now, the reviews!
5 Stars – “Lada Ray’s The Earth Shifter is the easiest five star review I’ve done in a long time, I loved and was captivated by the story right from he beginning. The parallels with so much of what is happening in the world today, and so many other detailed aspects give believability to this well crafted, wonderful story. My only complaint is that it is a trilogy and I have to wait till the end of 2013 to find out what happens next.”—Paulette Mahurin, Author – The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap (California)
5 Stars – “The best book I’ve read in two years! Warning: Lada Ray knows more about human nature than Gandhi himself! Read The Earth Shifter and you’ll see a new definition to YA fantasy.” —M.C. O’Neill, Author – The Ancients and the Angels (Chicago, USA)
5 Stars – “Fantastic new young adult fiction! I finished The Earth Shifter 3 nights ago and it has been on my mind since. The characters and plot have stuck with me and I eagerly await the next installment. As I was reading a book set primarily in Russia about comets striking the Earth, what should happen but a comet should strike Russia! That was crazy and gave the book a whole new level of intrigue!” —Rohan Healy, Author, Blogger (Ireland)
5 Stars – “If you could read just one book this year, seriously consider The Earth Shifter! This metaphysical fantasy/thriller is simply one of the most compelling stories you’ll find. Author Lada Ray expertly weaves a tale about the consequences that mankind’s insanity has upon the world. The adventure is all-encompassing and epic in scope, and the author mindfully balances multiple story lines where the characters play a very crucial role in the outcome. It’s a real eye-opening, earth-shifting experience for sure!”—Madeline Walsh, Blogger (New York)
5 Stars – “A cosmic adventure thriller that will take the reader through history and across continents. The plot moves along quickly, introducing each key character and sub-plot with precision timing. An awesome, fast-paced, original storyline with exceptional twists that will leave you breathless and wanting more. The book is outstandingly researched and a marvel of creativity. It contains the perfect mix of history, fact, fiction and creative imagination at its best.”—J.J. Collins, Author – James Madison, The Father of the Constitution (London, UK)
5 Stars – “A hypnotizing novel which moves with deeply ingrained subplots. It serves up juicy portions of a storyline you will be begging to finish reading. A book that is hard to put down…because it is more complex than you can imagine…the next page must be turned… MUST BE… And just when you think you know all the essentials, Lada interrupts your story with an added element, perfectly knitted into the world of Sasha and the Key. I wouldn’t hold this novel to being just a YA because it is perfectly suited for the adults as well. Most all of characters were easy to grab onto and hold close. Final Verdict: 10/10.”—Bite My Book Reviews
5 Stars – “Tolkien, move over, another Russian has hit the deck running. Must read!”—Nanakulikane Reviews (Hawaii) – see this review on Amazon
5 Stars – “The Earth Shifter is a rich cocktail of amazing ingredients with the two core, and most delicious components being, the mystical realm of Lake Baikal in Siberia, as well as the Prophecy of the Key. The author covers a wide range of interests from history and legends, to mysticism, prophecy and origins of humanity. There are elements of a spy thriller set against the glamorous backdrop of modern Moscow and New York.
My family is originally from Siberia, and I was mesmerized by the beautiful descriptions of indigenous Siberia, including shamanism, ancient history, Tunguska Meteorite explosion, local village life. The author Lada Ray is a unique mysterious encyclopedia in herself! Her writing style is inimitable and her esoteric knowledge is impressive. While reading the book, I just couldn’t help but wonder how one person can possibly know all that!
The unexpected twists and turns, amazing flashbacks, stand-out characters and unforgettable settings all fold into an astonishing kaleidoscope of events and a mystically-integrated message. Every new chapter is an escalating suspense, and every new piece of information is an introduction to another, even more gripping revelation. The Earth Shifter will keep you thrilled, intrigued and glued to the next page. You’ll wish you could finish your chores ASAP so you could absorb yourself in reading again. The book brings modern present and ancient past into a fantastic unity, being prophetic, revealing, casting lights on the shadowy preliminaries and the shifting destinies of humankind.
The Earth Shifter will literally “shift” your consciousness, for, after reading it, the world as you see it will never be the same again! I’m endlessly happy I discovered Lada Ray’s books and got to know her as a writer!” —Sofia Siberia, Blogger (Russia/ Ukraine/ Lebanon)
5 Stars – “World-enriching spiritual journey filled with drama and excitement! Another impressive thriller. Ms. Ray artfully puts the pieces in place, building the suspense steadily until the reader is fully encompassed. The Earth Shifter has incredible scope. It combines geopolitics, spirituality, cultural depth and, perhaps most of all, the idea that it is the relationships we form, how we treat each other, that is so important to the healing of the planet.” —Jason Sullivan, Author – Rahala, An Ascension Odyssey (USA)
4.5 Stars - “A complex tale with a great cast of characters. A great YA thriller that is sure to please. I think adult readers will enjoy it as much.” Kate Farrell – The Kindle Book Review & katesreads.com (USA)
You can also read these reviews & more on:
See book extras on Shelfari
THE EARTH SHIFTER characters/settings/themes/news/excerpts
Stay tuned to the Read and Review Program! Coming next week!
We have winners!
Congrats to all who won and many thanks to all who participated in the giveaway! Archos Tablet Super Giveaway is still underway and a new awesome giveaway for my biggest supporters and reviewers is coming soon! Check my blog for more, updates coming very soon.
But back to our results! The Earth Shifter giveaway for Kindle or Smash ebook formatting / manuscript editing / 3 sets of Accidental Spy ebooks (Gold Train, Stepford USA, Green Desert) has ended on 1/26/13.
Ebook formatting with my formatter, Mike of DWD http://dynamicwebdesign.net84.net/:
Entry #125 Allen
Professional Editing with my editor, Beth Lynne of BZ Hercules:
Entry #49 Paul H.
Entry #24 Wil
Entry #10 Mary E.
Entry #71 Sherry F.
See full results here: LadaRay.com/TheEarthShifterGiveaway
Accidental Spy Series, Amazon Kindle, Author Lada Ray, book sale, books for writers, Catharsis Legend of the Lemurians, ebook formatting, ebooks, giveaway, Gold Train, Goodreads, great reads, Green Desert, paperback, Stepford USA
The Holiday Season 2012 is quickly approaching, and the Party Season on Lada Ray Blog never stops!
ANNOUNCING: 50%+ price drop for both Accidental Spy novels: Stepford USA (US Adventure, #1) and Gold Train (Russia Adventure, #2), plus, a BIG giveaway! My ebooks are on sale everywhere, including B&N Nook and Smashwords.
For 8 days, from 10/14 to 10/21, GOLD TRAIN & STEPFORD USA will be $1.49 (or UK/Euro equivalent) everywhere! (regular $2.99-4.99).
Make sure you stop by and load up your fave reader with some great Holiday reads!
Please see the buy links below!
GIVEAWAY: I’ve got some great stuff to give away, and I hope everyone will find something they’ll like. For the first time, I am using Rafflecopter for this giveaway, as I hear it’s a great tool. Please check below to see what’s cooking in our several Rafflecopters – entering is as easy as 1,2,3!
GOLD TRAIN Paperback can now be ordered at Barnes & Noble $12.46 (best price!)
More buy links: LADA RAY BOOK STORE
Even more fun stuff!
Announcing Accidental Spy Big Giveaway!
Do I have stuff to give away? Oh yes, I do.
The Accidental Spy Giveaway takes place at my official author website: LadaRay.com
It is already up and running, so please stop by and check it out any time. New stuff will be added as we go along. Stay tuned for more!
There are 4+1 (!!) Rafflecopter forms @LadaRay.com.
KINDLE + SMASHWORDS (both!) PROFESSIONAL FORMATTING for your next book (Many thanks to Dynamic Web Design (DWD) for donating this great service!)
Signed copy of GOLD TRAIN paperback with personalized message
Complete set of Accidental Spy ebooks (Gold Train, Stepford USA, Green Desert)
Writers’ Pack: 2 highly acclaimed non-fiction books that belong on every writer’s shelf!
Plus, I’ll be adding CATHARSIS giveaway in a day or two! Stay tuned!
Something for everyone.
ENTER one or all.
But check it out for yourself!
Let the fun begin!
I am celebrating my first Anniversary of publishing with Amazon Kindle, and I have exciting news!
One year ago, on September 2, 2011 to be exact, I published STEPFORD USA, Book 1 of the Accidental Spy Adventure Series (formerly Jade Snow Adventure Series), on Amazon Kindle. Later the same month, I published Green Desert (Accidental Spy Prequel). On December 19, 2011 GOLD TRAIN (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure) came out.
To celebrate my first Anniversary on Kindle, I decided to give both GOLD TRAIN and STEPFORD USA a face lift. I’ve been wanting to change covers for quite some time as I believe that however nice the originals were, I could do better. So, I’ve been going back and forth with this idea for a while now and finally decided to take a plunge.
That said, I am very fond of the old covers and intend to keep them around as alternative covers. Gold Train paperback will still preserve its original cover till further notice.
Without further ado, presenting my new ebook covers:
GOLD TRAIN Cover 2012
STEPFORD USA Cover 2012
Check out the original 2011 covers here: Lada Ray Books
The new covers are live on Amazon Kindle on
Saturday, September 1, 2012!
Check them out!
Lily is very loving, beautiful, smart and fluffy, and I love her with all my heart. She co-starred in Stepford USA, and made her appearance in Gold Train as the super-intelligent and sassy cat, Princess Lily. She also starred in my YouTube video, Enchanted Halloween, as the Halloween Cat. Despite these lofty credentials, Lily Cat likes simple pleasures of life.
Lily and I, when we were just a notch younger
Us again, today
Hello, I am the official greeter
Lily’s famous ‘white paw pedestal pose’ featured in Stepford USA
And another version of the same pose
This carpet is very comfortable
Lily, this famous master of meditation, can meditate anywhere, even in the kitchen
Meditation over, time to go
Under the Bodhi Tree. A great place to relax, Buddha style
The Bodhi Tree meditation
I want my privacy, please!
Time for a nap
Lily: a portrait
Lily of the garden
The best hiding spot
A cozy spot by the warm heater on a cold winter day
What wouldn’t I do for a nice meal!
Time to say goodbye. See you again soon!
Mark your calendar!
GOLD TRAIN will be FREE on Amazon Kindle on July 10 for one day only!
Don’t miss it!
Updated July 9: See all buy links for US, UK, DE, ES, IT, FR below.
Dear readers and friends!
I will be saying goodbye to my participation in the Amazon KDP Select Program later this month. Therefore, I’ve decided to use this last chance to thank you for your support by making GOLD TRAIN FREE for one day.
Amazon Buy Links:
Gold Train Description:
For the fans of The Da Vinci Code and Jason Bourne comes this gripping thriller based on true historic events!
1918: Civil War in Russia. The entire Gold Reserve of the Russian Empire vanishes without a trace. But what if it’s about to resurface? And what if it’s about to be used to shift the global balance of power?
TODAY: The world’s largest treasure; dangerous adventure; forbidden passion defying time and space; conspiracy threatening to plunge the country into darkness.
Jade Snow, international journalist and stay-at-home mom turned spy extraordinaire, travels to Russia to reconnect with the country of her ancestors and investigate tantalizing mystery of the Gold Train. Instead, she is about to land in the middle of a deadly conspiracy threatening to change the fate of one of the world’s most powerful nations; and in the process, she is destined to meet a mysterious stranger who will change her life forever. When Jade’s only Russian friend gets murdered, she finds herself embroiled in a net of lies, glamour, intrigue and alien ideals. But running is not an option, as commitment to solve the murder and uncover the treasure makes her play the deadly game. Refusing to be a pawn in a struggle of forces beyond her control, Jade must choose between her worst friends and best enemies… and the future of the world just might depend on her choice!
Rated R for a couple of hot romantic scenes.
July 10 Update
Current bestseller rankings are:
US: #160 Kindle Free; #6 Mystery/Women Sleuths; #7 Action & Adventure; #10 Mystery; #30 Mystery & Thrillers; #99 Fiction
UK: #261 Kindle Free; #8 Mystery/Women Sleuths; #12 Action & Adventure; #33 Mystery; #57 Crime, Thrillers and Mystery
DE: #452 Kindle Kostenfrei; #2 Krimis (mystery); #5 Krimis & Thriller; #3 Action & Abenteuer
July 11 Update
Gold Train ended the day at #50 on Kindle Free Bestseller list; #58 on Amazon Books Free Bestseller list.
Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, book promotion, book sales, e-books, E-Publishing, Gold Train, Goodreads, Green Desert, Indie Publishing, KDP Select, Kindle, market share, Shelfari, Stepford USA
It appeared that the program was effective for the previous authors when they made their books free for up to 5 days. Usually, lots of copies would get downloaded during the free period, which made the book jump in the Kindle rankings. After the book came off the free period, it would retain the imprint of its free ranking, which would make the paid ranking jump as well. At least, this was the theory.
But the reality proved different…
Before I go into the story, I want to say that regardless of my feelings about the program, I am very happy and grateful that thousands of readers were able to download and enjoy my books for free. The most important thing for any writer is to be read. I wish all my readers a wonderful journey through the tantalizing world of Jade Snow! Enjoy!
And here is my story.
I made Green Desert, a Jade Snow Prequel set in Iraq, free for 5 days during the Memorial Day period. I didn’t expect too much, because it is just a short novella, and those don’t sell as well as novels. Although, as 5 star reviews from readers demonstrate, it is a darn good one! Green Desert promo was to be my test. I decided, if I liked what I saw, I’d run similar promos for my other books.
In five days, close to 1000 copies were downloaded in the US, UK, Germany, Spain and Italy. There were no downloads from France.
An awesome surprise was that I quickly received 3 unsolicited and unexpected, but very lovely, FIVE STAR reviews on Amazon. 2 of them also posted on Goodreads and Shelfari. On top of that, one of the satisfied readers added Shelfari book extras for Green Desert. Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a side benefit, for the first time I discovered Shelfari for myself (how out of the loop am I?).
The bestseller rankings jumped quickly and kept climbing. The highest I saw (I didn’t watch them all the time and only recorded some) were these:
US: #1780 Free on Kindle; #26 in Mystery/thrillers/ women sleuths
UK: #760 Free on Kindle; #16 in Mystery/thrillers/ women sleuths
DE: #1283 on Kindle; #25 Krimis (Mystery); #31 Thriller
ES: #700 on Kindle; #9 Policiaca, negra y suspense (Mystery/thriller/suspense)
IT: #811 on Kindle; #11 Gialli e Thriller (Mystery & Thriller)
Find out more about the GREEN DESERT free promo here!
I decided that 5 days was way too long, and as Green Desert was winding down, I made STEPFORD USA, Jade Snow Book 1, free for 2 days.
My first unpleasant surprise was that the promo didn’t start on time. It was about 5-6 hours late in the US and more than 12 hours late in the UK, which cut into the promo time. As a result, there was less exposure, and rankings suffered as well. The other countries were even slower. I finally emailed Amazon regarding the problem and they assured me they corrected it. A fellow author, who was running his free promo at the same time from the UK, only had his book listed free in the US. His book was never made free in the UK, which was his primary market. Needless to say, he was quite disappointed.
Despite all the delays, Stepford USA quickly shot up in rankings and kept climbing. Over 2200 books were downloaded in the US, UK and Germany. There were no downloads at all in Italy, France and Spain (I’m guessing, because of the “USA” in the title).
I didn’t get any new reviews so far, probably because it is a much longer book, although several nice readers wrote to me that they were enjoying the book and would definitely write a review. Thank you and looking forward to that! :)
These are the highest bestseller rankings I noticed for Stepford USA (again, I didn’t follow them all the time):
US: #193 Kindle FREE; #29 Mystery & thrillers; #9 Mystery; #8 Women Sleuths
UK: #358 Kindle FREE; #14 Mystery & Thrillers/ Women Sleuths
DE: #259 Kostenfrei Kindle; #5 Krimis & Thriller/ Krimis (mystery); #50 Populare Belletristik (popular fiction)
So far, so good!
Find out all about STEPFORD USA Free Promo here!
Meanwhile, Green Desert came off the free promo, and that’s when I had my biggest, and VERY unpleasant, surprise.
Not only the new paid ranking didn’t reflect the free ranking, but it actually was worse then the book’s pre-promo rankings! Due to how the Amazon rankings algorithm works, because Green Desert was off the paid shelf for over five days (it took extra 5-6 hours to get it re-listed) and no PAID purchases were made during that time, it lost its prior position. I realized that something changed and Amazon no longer took into account the free rankings in order to compute its paid rankings.
But as after-promo sales started, Green Desert ($0.99 or UK/Euro equivalent) initially went up to #35,000 paid in the US, then tapered off as sales slowed down.
So the theory that free rankings help improve paid rankings had to be thrown out the window. In the end of this article I’ll discuss what is behind this, what’s really happening with KDP Select, and how it affects you.
When Stepford USA came off its promo, I was already prepared for the aftermath. Sure enough, after the book re-gained its paid status ($2.99 or UK/Euro equivalent) its ranking suffered, too. It was all of a sudden in the #400,000 category in the US. Then sales picked up and in 2 days it was #20,000 in the US for a brief time.
I think an explanation is due here: Again, I didn’t watch the rankings all the time and this was the best I noticed. But I was told that it probably went much higher than that, because at one point dozens of books were downloaded in the US alone within a couple of hours. Then, as fewer books were being downloaded, the familiar scenario of sales tapering off together with rankings occured.
As I observed all this, I decided it wasn’t worth running the free promo for GOLD TRAIN. At the same time, Amazon placed Gold Train on sale. Regular price was $3.99, sale price $2.99. One would think that sales should have picked up because of this. But interestingly enough, once I started the free promo for Green Desert and Stepford USA, sales of Gold Train, which was my bestseller at the time, stopped cold turkey on Amazon. It’s like all the energy was zapped out of Gold Train in favor of the other two books. Or was it because the reader now expected Gold Train to be available for free as well?
Ironically, Gold Train sales actually picked up on B&N, Kobo and Sony, where the book is priced at $4.99.
1. I believe that Amazon has done a lot for the writing community. On balance, Indie authors and publishers have to be grateful to Amazon for pushing the envelope, for opening up the market and for the ease with which Indie titles can now be listed on digital shelves. The company deserves big credit for evening out the field.
2. However, in its relentless pursuit of the market share, Amazon is becoming ruthless, elbowing out competitors and insisting on exclusivity through its KDP Select program. The danger is now that it may become a monopoly, which in the end will hurt both Indie and Big 6 authors.
As a result, Amazon has been in a war with Barnes & Noble, as well as independent retailers. B&N and others have threatened to ban some Amazon authors from their shelves.
3. An important piece of the puzzle: I have found out that in the spring Amazon changed its KDP algorithm, so when the books come off the free promo, they lose their standings and have to compete anew to regain it.
Here is the reason Amazon changed its algorithm: The Big 6 publishers were unhappy that Indie authors gained standings and visibility by simply making their books free for a few days and then transferring those rankings into paid category. That hurt sales and rankings for the Big 6 books. So, Amazon bowed to pressure and changed its rankings algorithm to favor the Big 6, essentially taking away the only effective promotional tool Indie authors and publishers possess.
4. Amazon’s KDP Select is essentially a race to the bottom. If the readers are trained to receive books for free, they will hold off buying until the title they want goes free. Therefore, authors who value their work, perhaps because it’s worth it, get punished.
The worrying trend is: Amazon pushes everyone into this race to the bottom, thus devaluing all authors’ work.
5. If you tried KDP Select, you know that in order to enroll, you have to de-list your book from other retailers. This may result in a loss of future sales, as well as your ranking with those retailers. Plus, re-listing later is a huge hassle. That alone makes you think twice before enrolling.
And with the recent change in KDP algorithm, is KDP Select worth it?
On a much more pleasant note, many thanks to all my readers for downloading and reading my books! It means a lot for any author to be read and appreciated. If you liked my books, please consider reviewing them on Amazon, Goodreads and elsewhere ( I will also be re-listing on Smashwords, B&N Nook, Sony, Apple and Kobo in October). You can find all the buy links at my Book Store.
Always remember that you can make an author’s day by writing a simple review!
Thank you very much and see you on pages of my books!
P.S. Some time after this post, STEPFORD USA, GREEN DESERT, and especially GOLD TRAIN, started hitting some bestseller lists, albeit briefly. Read more about this, and about my KDP Select experience 2013!
Amazon, Author Lada Ray, book promotion, book trailer, classical music, Film, Gold Train, Goodreads, Green Desert, images, indie authors, movie trailer, music, nature videos, photography, Shutterstock, Smashwords, Social Media, Stepford USA, trailer, United States, video, Windows Movie Maker, YouTube
Authors traditionally rely on writing to spread the word about their books. Yet they often overlook videos as a fabulous promotional tool. Trailers historically have been reserved for movies. But with the advent of Social Media, it became possible to make book trailers at low or no cost.
A book trailer adds an extra dimension and visibility to the promotion of your book. And in our competitive world, we, authors, should use every advantage we can get. This, visual dimension can be quite valuable. A book trailer can be posted on your YouTube channel, website, author Amazon and Smashwords pages, Goodreads, as well as a number of other places.
I know, I know. You think it’s too hard. It actually isn’t, but there is a learning curve – a rather steep one. One point I want to make is that the trailer doesn’t need to be overly complicated. For example, you don’t need to make it into a movie, unless you like that kind of thing. It is very effective to use pictures/photos, together with a snappy narrative and suitable background music. This is my preferred way of making a trailer, but of course, use your imagination and let your creativity tell you what works for you and your book. Sky is the limit!
I estimate the learning curve for making a trailer at about 50-60 hours. So, if you can’t afford to dedicate this much time to learning about movie and trailer making, than you are better off delegating this task to someone else.
But if you are up for the challenge, here is what you need to know.
First, you need to start a YouTube channel. It’s easy to sign up and setting it up takes no more than half an hour.
Mine is called Lada Ray Channel and for now, I keep it simple. So far, I’ve made 4 book trailers and a bunch of nature/Halloween videos. But I may expand my channel in the future, time permitting.
Take a look at my channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/LadaRay/videos
Once you’ve set up your Youtube channel and learned the ropes, you can start making your book trailer. Estimated time for each trailer: 5-10 hours.
Here is what you will need:
1. Find and upload on your computer a movie maker software. Google it. There are several that are free, including Windows Movie Maker. Of course, you can also pay for a more sophisticated version.
2. Think about the theme and flow of your trailer. I love this part! It’s like directing your own movie. I usually write down the narrative for each frame and visualize what kind of picture would work with it.
3. Write out the narrative. Don’t overwhelm your trailer with text though. Remember, you are making a movie, not writing a book. It’s supposed to be snappy, entertaing, and a feast for ALL the senses.
4. Gather enough images to be used in your trailer before you begin. My advice, have plenty of extras. You can always discard the ones you decided not to use. It is much better than coming short while in the middle of your trailer-making process.
To find the images, go to a website like Shutterstock, where you can purchase royalty-free photos inexpensively.
I love photography, so whenever I can, I use my own pics for trailers and videos.
5. Find the music that works with your trailer. You can purchase a piece of music online, or use a royalty-free piece that is past its copyright. These are usually classics. A word of warning: classics are great if they go with your topic and presentation. But I sometimes see pieces that are completely mismatched. Try your music for size before applying it.
For example, check out my STEPFORD USA trailer.
The music used is a classic: Second Waltz by Russian composer, Dmitry Shostakovich, written in the 1940s. And it works very well with this particular piece.
6. After you’ve assembled all the elements, the real fun begins! Upload your images into frames, add text and music! Enjoy!
1. To make my videos look and feel more professional, I usually play with extending or narrowing time frames depending on how long I want every image to linger.
Check out my GOLD TRAIN trailer.
Notice how the music changes and highs emphasize the narrative and work with images?
2. Always fit your music to frame. Otherwise it will be too long or too short. This will make it look sloppy and unprofessional.
Check out my videos:
to see how the music precisely matches the length of the video. Unfortunately, not every video has this, resulting in a period of silence or a cut off piece.
3. YouTube offers some very cool video enhancement tools, like color enhancement, moving frames and text, etc. I used some of them in my videos. See if you can spot what enhancements I used in the following trailers and videos:
These video enhancement tools are great fun and I enjoy playing with them. Word of caution: make sure they work with your particular piece! And sometimes less is more.
Good Luck! If you decide to make a book trailer or if you already have one, feel free to post a comment together with the link!
P.S. When you set up a YouTube channel, make sure you subscribe to Lada Ray Channel and let me know about it. I’ll be glad to reciprocate!
Copyright Lada Ray, 2012
book, BOOK: Stepford USA, Catskill Mountains, EARTH SHIFTER, Gold Train, Green Desert, hiking, Moscow, my updates, mystery thriller, nature photography, New York, Rail Trail, Siberia, thriller, WordPress, writing, YA fantasy
The GOLD TRAIN blog tour, Stepford USA and Green Desert free promos, and life in general, have somewhat delayed the completion of THE EARTH SHIFTER, my new YA fantasy thriller. But I am getting back on track and have every intention of writing through the summer. THE EARTH SHIFTER release is scheduled for mid-September. So if I am MIA, you’ll know where to find me, namely, at my desk, typing away.
Note: This is only the preliminary cover
THE EARTH SHIFTER is set in Moscow, sacred Lake Baikal in Siberia, New York, China, as well as other mystical realms of this surreal Blue Planet. I will be posting updates of my progress, as well as the book’s synopsis and excerpts throughout the summer. To find out more about THE EARTH SHIFTER, please visit my author website http://www.LadaRay.com/the-earth-shifter.
I am also working on DRAGON GATE, the new Jade Snow Adventure set in Asia. It is currently set for release during the Holiday Season 2012.
The weather has been very nice, and I hope to also find the time to enjoy the great outdoors. We have pretty fabulous nature here, in the Catskill Mountains. I enjoy hiking on the local Rail Trail, a defunct rail road turned nature trail, looking for inspiration.
I’ve taken some fabulous photos, but since WordPress has been pretty uncooperative lately, it’s been difficult to post a lot of pics in one post, evidently, due to WordPress’ servers being overwhelmed. My husband’s verdict: they need more bandwidth. He should know, this is right up his alley. Perhaps, one day I’ll share as many great pics as possible. But today, here are just a few as a sampler. I think you are gonna love them!
Spring in the Catskills:
I worked hard the whole week! The weekend is almost here and I thought, why not play a little game? It’s fun, yet thought-provoking. Check it out and have a wonderful weekend!
But first, just a quick update: STEPFORD USA and GREEN DESERT free promos are over. Over 3000 free copies of my books have been downloaded during the past few days and both books appeared on Kindle international bestseller lists. A million thanks to All for your interest and support! I wish all my readers a very happy reading and hope you enjoy my books! :) Do remember to support your favorite authors by liking their books and contributing Amazon & Goodreads reviews!
This was the first time I’ve done the free promotion and I intend to share the results, my impressions (which are mixed at best), and thoughts on Kindle KDP Select program and the direction it’s taking, in a future post. For all the details/blurbs/book trailers/rankings see: STEPFORD USA post; GREEN DESERT post. I initially intended to include GOLD TRAIN in this free promo, but based on my impressions, I reconsidered it, at least for now. For more about that read my future post. For more about all my books see official author website: http://www.LadaRay.com
And now, game time! Check out this little entertaining game: The first 4 words you see describe YOU! I got “elegant” “eloquent” “stubborn” “outgoing.” And… “sweet” thrown in the mix, too. Interesting… I personally like to think I am more sweet than stubborn. Well, maybe when it comes to achieving a goal ;)
And what do you see? Have a go and share your results in comments :)
The GOLD TRAIN Blog Tour is over and I wanted to thank all my wonderful blog hosts and reviewers for their hospitality, time and valuable opinions.
As a wrap up of the tour, I decided to feature some of the coolest, most original and controversial of the GOLD TRAIN review questions and interviews. I wanted to mention that I never met any of my reviewers before they read/reviewed my book. Some asked me to review GOLD TRAIN, others I approached myself, and some bought the book, read it and were gracious enough to write a review. Eventually, I became very good friends with some of my reviewers, sometimes despite differences, or because we had so much in common – or both!
I am immensely grateful to all those who took the time to read and review my books! The feedback I received has helped me not only understand better my own writing, but also aided me in shaping up the future world of my heroine, Jade Snow.
This interview is so different and fun, so stand alone, that I call it “The Centerpiece of the GOLD TRAIN Blog Tour.” Author and blogger Jason Sullivan of DIFFERENT OUTCOMES blog interviewed me on May 1st, or May Day, as it is called and celebrated around the world. And we wanted to make this interview very, very special! It came out quite yummy, all thanks to Jason’s amazing questions: cool, in-depth and very unusual!
The interview includes a fun history primer of the Russian Civil War and a candid discussion about the fates of the descendants of Russia’s noble houses; a Russian/Soviet movie and book list; a chat about Jade Snow and what went into the creation of this unusual character; what it was like growing up in the Soviet Union and how May Day was celebrated in the USSR, as well as today’s Russia.
Included are also some awesome pics from another world – another era, and the story of my own thrilling Russian train adventure when my mother put me on the wrong train as a child.
Says Jason: “Luckily, the story has a happy ending due to the fact that the child in question was an intrepid thriller writer in the making.”
This is such a great interview, it is so chock-full of interesting, one-of-a-kind information – all thanks to Jason’s talent for asking terrific questions and for making his subject feel comfortable answering them! I HIGHLY recommend that you read it on Jason Sullivan’s blog DIFFERENT OUTCOMES! And I promise, you are gonna love it!
Review: 5 Stars – Solid Gold Thriller, February 18, 2012, by Jason Sullivan, Author, The Dark Yergall
This is an excerpt from Jason’s review of GOLD TRAIN. Read the entire review on his blog!
“If you enjoyed the charming young detective, Jade Snow, in Stepford, USA, you will absolutely love her next adventure in Gold Train… This thriller has it all! It has the two romantic locations of Moscow and St. Petersburg for its backdrop. It has real princes and princesses, who may or may not be undercover agents and spies. It has the whisperings of revolution, deepening international intrigue, plus beautiful trains and huge piles of gold!
Jade, however, is the real treat. She does not have super powers, nor even any formal training in the spy business, but she is daring, and clever, and her heart is always in the right place. She must rely on her intution to make choices her life, and world peace, depend on. Read Gold Train and be transfixed as Jade stays one step ahead of her adversaries through quick thinking and bold actions. This book is so believable it reads like a true story. Lada Ray takes you inside the grand houses of Russia to witness an unfolding mystery you will not soon forget.”
Next, a brand new review and May 4 blog tour stop by M.G. Edwards, Author of the new adventure book, Kilimanjaro.
This review is especially notable because Mike is a fellow writer residing in Thailand. What’s more, he is a former U.S. State Department official and American diplomat. I believe we both had started our careers well after the end of the Cold War, but if it happened earlier, we conceivably could have found ourselves on the opposite sides of the trenches, figuratively speaking of course. But no, not really. When I grew up in the Soviet Union, I was very far from politics, my interests lie abroad and I was very much critical of the direction the country was taking in the late 1980s – beginning of 1990s. For more on that, read my interview with Jason Sullivan at Different Outcomes Blog.
In today’s globalized world, Mike and I met on Twitter and became good friends, our “ideological differences” notwithstanding ;), once again demonstrating the fallacy of fighting instead of working together. And so, Mike’s review, bringing up a certain controversy, is very interesting. Below is an excerpt.
Review: 5 Stars -Gold Train is Golden, May 3, 2012.
Read the entire review and my guest post, Russia and I, at the WORLD ADVENTURERS blog.
“From the very first chapter, Lada weaves vivid descriptions of Russia and Russian culture into a story filled with thrilling suspense.
As someone with a keen interest in international affairs, I was happy to read the author’s unique portrayal of Russia, and in particular, Russian intelligence. So many western novels since the days of the Soviet Union have painted Mother Russia and the “Russians” as a nemesis, a stereotype that has continued, albeit muted, since the fall of the U.S.S.R. in 1991. Her account is a refreshing look at Russia today and a rare positive portrayal of the Russian authorities. While the truth may be different than her depiction, I give her high marks for originality. For Western audiences, it’s a new take on an old storyline usually reserved for Russia’s former Cold War foes. Her deep appreciation of Russian culture is apparent in her writing and translates well to readers. Lada does an excellent job navigating a subject that can be easily politicized — Russian politics – in a disarming way. Those with an eye for fashion will enjoy the exquisite descriptions of the trappings of European royalty.
I give Gold Train 5 stars overall. The novel includes all the elements of a novice spy-thriller masterpiece, from smart writing to a crisp plot that moves along with action and ties up loose ends, great plot twists, memorable characters, good dialogue, and fabulous descriptions. That said, it doesn’t achieve the threshold of greatness reserved for classic spy thrillers written by John LeCarré, Frederick Forsyth, and others. Perhaps, in time and another book, Jade will rise to the level of a Kay Scarpetta or Kinsey Millhone.”
I want to thank Mike for mentioning me in the same paragraph with John LeCarré, even if it was in a somewhat critical sense. In DRAGON GATE and the following books, Jade and I will strive to achieve the level of greatness of this Master of the genre. ;) Although perhaps it should be considered that I am not trying to emulate past writers and that Jade is a new and original character with her own ideas of how to act and develop as her destiny unfolds.
On my end, I have to give Mike high marks too, for bringing up the point about Western novels painting Russia and the “Russians” as a nemesis. I felt that the field had gotten way too lopsided and that someone had to even it out, even if just a little bit. Might as well be me… The distortion has gotten so disproportionate in fact, that it fails to resemble the truth even remotely. Watching some of the Western movies, or attempting to read some of the Western books relating to Russia makes me cringe.
And I want to ask my readers this: do you even remember those negative movies or books you were fed by the US media? Do you recall their titles? Did they do well in the box office? Probably not. Because the truth has a very funny way of sorting itself out. But everyone will always remember the classics, for instance: Gorky Park, The Russians Are Coming, Read Heat, The Russia House, and a few others. Why? Because these authors/movie makers didn’t take an easy way out, and because they told the TRUTH.
Review: 5 Stars – Brilliantly Written – A MUST Read December 20, 2011: Hayley Sale, The Kindle Book Review.
Hayley was Gold Train’s very first reviewer and I just loved how she managed to express so much – and so many thoughts that immediately resonated with me – in a relatively short review. I think her review speaks for itself! Below are a few excerpts:
“The plot lines… were brilliantly written and the story is just fantastic – there are layers that go deeper and deeper as we go along. I found that the way the author described the scenery and landmarks of Russia was just amazing – it made me want to go and visit myself. I was as interested in reading about the landmarks as I was about the actual storyline! This book had it all, not only a great mystery, and action but a little romance and even some humour. It really was superb, fast paced and well written. For me it was also one of those books that gets you thinking about things – even after you finish reading. I really hope that we get to hear more from Jade Snow and also Alexi.”
How do you go about making the setting come alive for the reader?
I call creating the right setting: anchoring the story in the here and now. As such, I am a big believer in creating a beautiful, vibrant setting, which comes alive for the reader. It is extremely important to anchor the story in both the time and space, so that the reader can be actively present every moment inside the story and participate directly in everything that happens. A beautiful, stand out setting can sometimes make or break the story.
I certainly put a lot of effort into creating a setting that speaks to the reader, one that fascinates, entertains – and absolutely does not let you go. I usually visualize the place, as well as what is happening in the scene, as if in a movie. I play the movie in my head, until it translates into words. Sometimes I need to feel the texture, touch the scene, so to speak.
Since GOLD TRAIN is action adventure thriller, it has lots of action scenes. To make such action scenes come alive within the particular setting, I would usually re-enact them. Besides making the scene crisp and believable, this game is also lots of fun!
What’s next for Jade Snow?
Jade Snow adventures continue! There are many more mysteries to solve, conspiracies to uncover and wrongs to right. There is also much happiness to find.
The next Jade Snow adventure, DRAGON GATE, will take her to the mystical lands of Asia where Jade has to solve another mystery, uncover another conspiracy and avert yet another global disaster. DRAGON GATE will be released later this year. Incidentally, you can read exclusive description and excerpt from DRAGON GATE in GOLD TRAIN Paperback (release 4/25/12). For a limited time, GOLD TRAIN paperback is available on Amazon for $9.99 (reg. $14.95)
Will we see Alexei, the mystery man who captures Jade’s heart in Gold Train, in the future Jade Snow Adventures?
Absolutely! The relationship between Jade and Alexei is the kind both men and women dream about their entire lives. A match made in Heaven – literally. Yet seemingly, it’s not meant to be, or at least, it’s not going to be easy…
But I’ll let you in on my secret. I have big plans for both Jade and Alexei. They can’t help but keep bumping into each other, first in Asia (DRAGON GATE), and later in Siberia, Russia, where Jade will be traveling after her Asia adventure. I have hinted in Gold Train that there is more treasure to be found. That was done for a reason, as Jade and Alexei will head to the legendary Lake Baikal in Siberia for the continuation of the Tsar’s gold saga. And their relationship will continue developing throughout the series with heart-stopping twists and turns throughout.
Dear reader, please join us for the future Jade Snow adventures, where Jade and I promise you a non-stop thrill ride with heart!
What other books are you working on right now?
I am also working on THE EARTH SHIFTER, a new YA fantasy/thriller, set in Russia, USA and China. It will also be released in 2012.
All up-to-date information about my present and future books may be found at my official author site: http://www.LadaRay.com.
Read Hayley’s review of Gold Train and the entire interview here!
5 Stars – Jade Snow is to journalism, what Jason Bourne is to action and espionage. December 29, 2011. J.J. Collins, Author, Famine to Freedom, Irish in the American Civil War.
I initially approached Jason Collins – now my favorite Irishman residing in London – regarding a review because he wrote about the history of the American Civil War. And there is a lot about the Russian Civil War in Gold Train. I thought it would be great to get his perspective. And his review totally exceeded my expectations! When he mentioned Jason Bourne, one of my great favorites in the contemporary thriller literature and film, I was blown away! It never occurred to me to compare Jade to Jason Bourne, but it made perfect sense!
And his comparison brought home an important point. Don’t try to tell your readers what other books yours resonates with; let them decide for themselves. So I removed a reference to The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure from the GOLD TRAIN’s product description. Since then, the reviewers took it upon themselves to compare Jade and GOLD TRAIN to Jason Bourne, Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew (the adult version), and even to Twilight (with a pulse and a Vodka twist)!
Jason Collins’ review makes a lot of great points. Here are some of them:
“The author has managed to develop a character with a fascinating thoughtful purpose. “Gold Train” is an absolute must read, the author goes beyond the obvious and whisks us along into the heart-stopping world of Jade Snow with breath-taking appeal for the next paragraph and page. The author’s knowledge and comprehension of the Russian political scene brings a very credible and believable level of authenticity to the plot.”
Read this terrific review, along with Jason’s review of the Jade Snow Prequel, Stepford USA here!
5 Stars – A Race for Gold! December 30, 2011, Kate’s Reads
A review excerpt by the lovely Kate:
“Gold Train is a fast paced thrill ride filled with great characters you will love and villains you will hate. And maybe a few you won’t know whether to love or hate. This is definitely one to read!”
Kate’s stop along the GOLD TRAIN Blog Tour route was on 4/28. Read the entire interview and review here. Here is an excerpt:Tell us a bit about yourself and how you decided to be a writer. When I decided to start writing, I wrote My Manifesto, in which I pretty much summarized the answer to this question: MY MANIFESTO For years, I was afraid to take a risk. As we all grow up being conditioned by our society and parents, so did I. And this was my conditioning: I broke through the Iron Curtain, moved across oceans and continents, traveled to exotic countries, translated foreign languages, worked for major companies and mastered new professions… but in all that time I was utterly terrified to do something totally unchartered and intimidating – sitting down and writing a book. My fear is gone. I’ve done my share of the same-old-same-old routine! It’s time to explore that which is aching to be explored – the murky waters of the human psyche, the dangerous landscapes of what was, and the fascinating, undiscovered world of what can be. As I make the most crucial and courageous step of my life, I am finally sitting down at my desk to write these words. I am officially the explorer of the ultimate frontier, located right here, at my computer. I am ready for new adventures! Are you? March, 2011
5 Stars – Review for Rachel’s Book Reviews, February 18, 2012
Check out this cool and witty review from one super-talented teenager:
“Based on actual events, I found it an amazing book. I felt like it was true to Russia, like I was actually there, spying on uprising monarchists. If I were to make a comparison, I would say it reminded me of Nancy Drew, always in the right place at just the wrong time. Except this is an adult version. On top of breakneck action, the ending blew my socks off. I really wasn’t expecting that to happen! It was 100% an original book. It’s even inspired me to learn Russian (that’ll be an adventure in itself!) Like Jade I think it’ll give me new insight to people in my family I never knew. (although, here’s to hoping it won’t involve a murder!)”
A few more review excerpts from the Gold Train readers:
5 Stars – by Madeline Walsh, New York, December 21, 2011: “In Gold Train, I think everyone will find mystery, suspense, action, passion, romance… and an amazing timeless story!”
5 star spy thriller, grips you to the end! March 17, 2012: “The protagonist, Jade Snow is a strong, independent journalist with international appeal. Her intuition, ability to reason and deductive prowess rivals the great Sherlock Holmes. This has got to be one of the coolest, most explosive and passionate novels I read in a very long time! The novel is very well written. I can’t say enough about it… has you hanging on the edge of your seat! Read it and you’ll see what I mean!”
5 Stars – Extreme Journalism to the MAX, totally original mystery adventure, May 3, 2012: “I’ve learned a ton about the real treasures of Russia… it’s people and it’s vision… Absolutely love it!!”
Check out these and other reviews on Amazon.
4 Stars – Suspense thriller with Russia as its backdrop, March 8, 2012, Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
This review stirred up a bit of controversy:
“Jade is a bright likeable character. She is educated and good at connecting the dots. While she has no training as a detective, her inquisitive mind and investigative reporting skills find her entwined in the mystery. I loved Jade the detective, but struggled to like Jade the person. While on this adventure she strays and breaks her marriage vows. Call me old fashioned, but this doesn’t sit well with me; even though the romance was passionate and Jade felt he was her soul mate. I realize this won’t affect everyone, so do not let this deter you from a great adventure. For more delicate readers, I must warn you that while most is implied, the romance does get pretty hot and heavy. The plot developed at a good pace, and the tale kept me captivated.”
I’ve addressed the controversy in question in one of my previous posts: Jade Snow: Savior or Seductress. Check it out!
Kimba also was gracious enough to host my blog tour on 5/3 as well as the Giveaway for 1 Gold Train paperback and 1 ebook. Check out both at Kimba The Caffeinated Blog.
Kimba asks some really COOL questions and here is an excerpt from our interview:
Your novels take place all over the world. Do you travel or do you research all of these places?I traveled all my life, for as long as I can remember. I am fluent in several languages and have been to over twenty six countries in Europe, Asia, North and South America, as well as Africa. I worked in Havana, Cuba as an interpreter for the Russian educational exchange delegations, including a couple of interviews with the man himself – Fidel Castro. I rely heavily on my memory and knowledge of a particular place and period. But in addition, I always do a lot of research to verify and clarify the smallest details. That’s what makes every scene come alive, and that’s what makes the book believable. Tell us about your protagonist, Jade Snow. My books are very international and I am a big believer in capturing life in all its complexity and facets. Jade Snow is a very strong, independent, smart and sexy heroine. She is also a citizen of the world and her heart is always in the right place, as one reviewer pointed out. She has to go through a lot and get tested to the limit during her adventures. I can’t emphasize enough how much our contemporary literature needs the smart and strong female characters and role models who are also real, genuine people. And how much we need more people with intelligence, courage and heart in our everyday lives! In the new world of the 21 century, we have to learn to live and work together, regardless of prejudices and borders, to understand each other and help those in need, whether it is by saving a stranger’s life, averting global disaster, or by a simple act of random kindness. Where do you like to write? Do you have a writing schedule? I prefer to write at my large and comfortable writing table at home, in my room full of books and inspiring pictures. Sometimes I write at a café. I don’t keep to a certain schedule, but if I don’t write for a while, I feel as if something is missing in my life. What actress would you choose to portray Jade Snow? Several years ago I’d say: Nicole Kidman. But today… she’d be too old. Jade is a very youthful 30 in Gold Train and she’s 28 in Stepford USA. I would choose Keira Knightley. She has the right character and personality and can play someone smart, witty, sexy, independent, courageous, a dash tricky and a little vulnerable, too. Of course, she’d have to become a redhead. ;)
Coffee or tea?
Great question! Both actually. Love the coffee aroma, especially Turkish or authentic Italian. Tea: I have a great collection of authentic green teas from China, India and Japan at home. Every writer needs a boost! Inspiration and caffeine are practically siblings!
If you had to be an animal for twenty-four hours, what would you be and why?
Ahhh… I’d be an Ussurian Tiger. The largest cat in existence, the most beautiful and the most rare. Found only in one spot on the planet: Ussurian Taiga, the Russian Far East. Was on the brink of extinction with only 29 tigers left just ten years ago, but now the population is up to 500. Like all cats, has an amazing night vision.
Or, I’d be a white eagle. Love the color, plus the ability to soar high and see everything from above. Both of these magnificent creatures take part in my upcoming YA fantasy/thriller, THE EARTH SHIFTER, to be released in 2012.
What kind of reader would like your novel?
Gold Train is for the fun loving, dynamic, adventurous people, who have open minds and are interested in the world around them, as well as foreign lands.
For those who love a fast-paced thrill ride with a purpose. For those who love history, sleuthing and mysteries, who are naturally curious, who want to immerse themselves in the story line and feel, like they are part of the action. And it is for those, who expect more from a story.
It’s also for those who love animals and mystical, psychic stuff, yet, are firmly grounded in this world. And for those, who care what happens in our world and who want to improve it.
Although the thriller side of the story dominates, let’s not forget that Gold Train, along with the other Jade Snow Adventures, has a strong romantic undercurrent. Therefore, those who are interested in romantic suspense, will also find Gold Train a compelling read. My way of writing romance is anything but traditional. The relationship between Jade and Alexei is marked by destiny, and I hope the reader enjoys it.
I again want to thank all my reviewers and interviewers for their wonderful and thoughtful reviews and interviews! I enjoyed them tremendously!
Check out the complete GOLD TRAIN BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE!
GOLD TRAIN is also available on Amazon UK, DE, FR, IT and ES, as well as Smashords, B&N, Sony, Kobo and Apple.
Please check out Lada Ray Book Store for direct links.
This Giveaway is for 2 GOLD TRAIN ebooks. And the winners are… David C. Cassidy and Pranjal Borthakur. Congratulations David and Pranjal! Each winner will receive a Smashwords coupon for 1 FREE download.
Here is the link to the GOLD TRAIN page on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/115344
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This post features original photography by author Lada Ray.
First, a few quick announcements: Today, May 6, is the last day of the GOLD TRAIN BLOG TOUR, and I want to thank all my gracious blog hosts and readers for a truly wonderful experience! I enjoyed all the interviews, reviews and new friendships very, very much!
Today is also the end of the GOLD TRAIN Giveaway on Lada Ray Blog. Giving away 2 Gold Train ebooks. This is the last chance to participate! Please check it out here! Two lucky winners will be announced at 8 p.m. tonight on this blog and on Twitter. I’ll also send both winners Twitter DMs with further instructions.
Finally, today is the last day to download GOLD TRAIN ebook on Amazon for $0.99 or the European equivalents. Tomorrow, the price will be $2.99 (reg. $3.99) – Mothers Day Sale. Buy ebook here.
GOLD TRAIN paperback is now on sale for only $9.99 till May 13 as Mothers Day Promotion. Regular price is $14.95. Buy GOLD TRAIN paperback here.
Happy reading and see you on pages of my books!
Now, without further ado, today’s post:
Sunday. Today, I was supposed to post my new piece, FACT AND FICTION IN GOLD TRAIN… but something in me rebelled against that. So I decided that I would do this very important article on May 12, as a follow up to the GOLD TRAIN Blog Tour. Also, another follow up, THE COOL, THE ORIGINAL AND THE CONTROVERSIAL, will appear on this blog on 5/9. See the GOLD TRAIN Blog Tour Schedule.
But today… the sun is shining brightly, the air smells like honey and freshly cut grass. So, my husband and I decided to get our camera and embark on a lovely nature adventure instead. We are surrounded by some wonderful nature here, in the Western Catskills. And it’s actively awakening now. Spring comes late to the northern NY State, but finally it’s here! My goal is to capture on camera its joyful awakening!
I am inviting you to share our today’s nature walk! Enjoy the images I’ve captured along the way, including the giant fields of sunny dandelions, the beautiful horses, graceful geese, local farms and colorful chickens, and of course, the mountains.
This is just a primer. I will be doing a bigger post: Spring in the Catskills, and a YouTube video later. Stay tuned!