Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Mark Uysk - Featured Author

Mark Usyk is an author and a good friend of mine. He is an ordinary guy who loves to fly fish and hang out in the good old outdoors. He is a dad, a fisherman, a writer, and an all-out real person. He has written and published two books to date and doesn’t plan to stop; and he shouldn’t! 
Mark’s first book is called Reflections of a Fly Rod which I read after I edited his second book, Carp Are Jerks. When my husband first bought a copy of Reflections of a Fly Rod, I thought, Ugh…yawn, I don’t even like fishing. I’m not reading this. But after reading his second book, I definitely wanted to read his first…and I’m glad I did! Here is an excerpt to give you a little idea what Reflections is about:

Fish stories are like opinions. Everybody’s got one. The difference is people actually enjoy a good fish story. In his first book, Mark Usyk sets out to prove that he not only has a couple of good stories, but that he knows how to tell them as well. But are they really all fish stories? Or is he trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe as only an angler can? From his time as a cell tower climber with a bunch of fly rods packed alongside his climbing gear, to his days spent at a grungy and thankless production factory job indoors and all but cut off from the great outdoors, to memories of simpler days and the ones that got away, here are 61 short stories told by a self-proclaimed marginal fly fisherman. Whether they’re about fishing or something more is up to you to decide.

As I mentioned, I was the editor for Carp Are Jerks. I was unsure about the job at first, thinking - Oh man, a book about fishing…I don’t know if I can do this!! I didn’t even read his first book! But I took the job and am glad I did because after the first page, I was hooked (no pun intended). Not only is Mark a great storyteller, but he writes about real-life stuff. It’s not just about fishing…it’s way more than that. It’s experiences in life; it’s things gained and things lost. 

In Carp are Jerks, you’ll go on an adventure with Mark from ordinary fly-fishing adventures to outdoor adventures with his kids, his friends, and even people he hadn’t met until the adventure! When I read the final work of Carp are Jerks after editing, I laughed in places, I teared up in places, and even nodded my head in agreement to certain things. The most fun was getting excited when people were fishing and actually caught something! Mark’s book will definitely bring out emotion. 

Mark also creates wood burnings with unique pictures and passages from his books. They're truly amazing....visit his FB page for more information...Mark Usyk, Author.

Mark’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. You can purchase his books as hard copies or as Kindle versions. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. Don’t look at the title or cover and say “I don’t even like fishing”…don’t make that mistake. The stories go beyond fishing and you won’t want to miss out.

Find Mark on YouTube! He has a fun channel called Mark Usyk, The Marginal FlyFisherman. Go on adventures and learn from Mark. Like I said, he's a fun and ordinary guy who loves the outdoors (except mowing lawns...he hates mowing the lawn!).

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Taking You Back...My 1st Children's Book

When did I begin writing? Well…as soon as I learned how! I was always writing short stories as a kid, but my writing “career” began in 2015 when my first book, Hammy’s New Home, was published.

My husband and I have friends who live – literally – in the woods and they have a homestead. They raise chickens, roosters, goats, ducks and pigs. They also have gardens. One day, we were visiting and met a young pig named Sir Hamalot (aka “Hammy”). Hammy was adorable; he ran around his pen snorting and I just fell in love with him! I’ve always been partial to pigs. 

The four of us were sitting on the enclosed porch drinking coffee and chatting, and Hammy kept making a lot of noise in his pen. I began to feel sorry for him being alone out there, so I made a joke and said, “Aww, he wants to come up on the porch with us!” And by “us” I meant my husband, myself, Hope and Donny, and their two dogs, Mona and Maggie. We laughed and I said that would make a good book. I chuckled some more but didn’t think much of it.

Until later.

The idea of Hammy wanting to join us on the porch kept niggling on my mind, and one day I sat down and began to write about it. I wrote about a young pig who lived on a farm and had goat friends and two dog friends named Molly and Melly (not the names of Hope and Donny’s dogs, but close). When I was finished, my husband told me I should publish it. Hmmm, ok, I had no clue how to go about that. So, what did I do? I googled how to publish a book. I chose self-publishing because it seemed easier (HA) and more royalties for myself (true), so I looked up the steps. I hired a good friend, Chris Strange, to do the illustrations, and I taught myself how to build the book.

It was a long process. I didn’t use a self-publishing company at first, so I ended up paying a lot for printing costs and shipping (thankfully in the end, I earned my money back through book sales) and down the road I ended up publishing Hammy’s New Home on IngramSpark so distribution was wider.

I put a lot of work into my first book (heck, a lot of work goes into ALL of my books) but after publishing a few more books, the process became easier and now I can offer not only editing services, but book formatting and self-publishing consulting services as well (visit my website Get It Write for more information).

In 2017, Chris and I were the “stars” at a local elementary school where Chris worked (the kids LOVED the book and would ask Chris to draw pictures for them). I read Hammy’s New Home to several hundred kids, and then Chris talked to them about his illustration process. We were a hit!
My friend, Tina, hosted my first book signing at her store, and I read to preschool-age kids at our local library as well. 

Hammy has always been a big hit with kids – and even adults! Will Hammy make a comeback? I think he will…stay tuned for updates! You can visit my author page at Melanie ~ Author/Editor and like and follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MelaniesBooks/.

If you haven’t read Hammy’s New Home yet, please do, and leave a kind review on Amazon!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Do You Love Books?

If you’re a writer, you love to read…right? I mean, what writer doesn’t love to read? 

Sometimes we don’t know what to read. Maybe we have some favorite authors but want to try a new author and/or genre. Sure, you can go on Goodreads and look at reviews and find books that way, or even Pinterest, but I love reading reviews from people I know who love books. 

So, I’m sharing two of my favorite blogs for you to check out.

Tina’s blog, Read N' Reviews, is all about book reviews. Tina is an avid reader and takes time to write out an honest review after each book she reads. She also has a Facebook page called Read N’ Reviews Book Page where people can post books they love and there are certain days when authors/bloggers can post their links.

Faith has a blog called Gold in the Clouds. In this blog, Faith shares about her faith in Christ, her family and friendships, and also posts book reviews. You’ll definitely want to check out and follow her blog.

Do you have a blog about writing or book reviews? Post in the comments; I’d love to follow you!