Water Signs Featured on SVT Publishing!


Hard to believe it’s been over four years since I first sat down to write and subsequently publish Water Signs. And thanks to my good friend Don Smith, the novel is still generating interest. Check out his feature article The Signs of Summer Reading with Daria DiGiovanni on SVT Publishing:

SVT PUBLISHING: Let’s cut to the chase, what inspired you to write Water Signs?

DARIA DIGIOVANNI: Several reasons: It is a loosely autobiographical tale featuring characters that represent the American dream.

My hero, Ken Lockheart is a US Navy veteran who hails from a close, traditional and blue-collar family. Wanting something more out of his life than his Jersey Shore town can give him, he enlists in the Navy to serve his country (facing harsh disapproval from his father, who doesn’t support his ambition, but takes it as a personal insult). Ken doesn’t blame others for his circumstances, but works hard while he strives for something better.

Maddy’s father, is based on my own dad, and he is the son of hard-working immigrants. He works his way through college and medical school, always grateful for the opportunity this country affords him, and goes on to have a great career.

My book also presents a positive portrayal of Italian Americans versus the stereotype that is prevalent in our culture. The Rose family is based on my own family – hard working, upstanding people and proud Americans.

Maddy represents the struggle to honor one’s values and upbringing while trying to function in the modern dating world (conflict between morality and desire; women’s magazines never seem to represent her viewpoints; still sees herself as a chubby adolescent, even though she’s blossomed into a lovely young woman).

This story shares how Maddy and Ken both overcome challenges that test their faith, their relationship and their strength, but through the course of the novel, they come “full-circle” with a renewed faith in God and spirituality, and deep, abiding trust in each other.

Read the rest here.


Independent Publishing, Part Four

Don Smith’s final installment in this four-part series is now up at SVT Publishing:


It’s the great question of life.

WHY are we here? WHY do we do what we do? WHY can’t we stop and move on to something else?

Who knows?

And with this series, I have asked, “Why do people self-publish or independently publish?” I think I am going sum up the entire experience with a quote from Teresa Edmond, you will see in her remarks she says:

“It’s bad enough for authors…to get rejected by traditional publishers, but to know that one of the Big Six has asked Snooki to write a novel for them (with help from a ghostwriter, obviously), that’s really a kick in the groin!”

Bravo! That sums up the entire series and explains the WHY? of it all.

Is it a wonder that as I continue with Part Four of this series, I admit this was inspired by Teresa. Her dedication to her novel, which is a twist on the “girl meets guy” fairy tale and her deciding to independently publish her own novel, “Warding off Reality,” is why I decided to write this four part series.

In parts One and Two, I spoke with the amazing Alexandrea Merrell about self-publishing part Three I highlighted some of my friends who have self-published.

Here in part four, I highlight three other amazing writers and I pray that you contact them and acquire their novels – each is worth your time.

On a personal note, I want to think each and everyone of the writer’s for their patience as I finished this series. I have battle physical infirmities (see my Bell’s Palsy page here) and losing the hard drive of my laptop. This series has been an amazing journey and I have gotten to know many amazing writers, creators and artisans as a part of this.

Read the whole thing at SVT Publishing. And thank you again Don for including me!


Independent Publishing, Part Three

My friend Don just posted the next article in his four-part series for SVT Publishing that delves into the world of self-publishing from the perspective of seasoned media professional Alexandrea Merrell, along with some self-published authors including yours truly (thanks Don!). Visit SVT Publishing to read Part Three in its entirety, but here’s a snippet:

I am sure many of you know the movies “The Boondock Saints” and “The Boondock Saints II: All Saint’s Day.” In the last couple of weeks I finally saw both of them and I became a fan.

Both movies tell the story of two Irish brothers in Boston who take the law into their own hands and begin killing criminals and mob bosses all in the name of God.

I have found more than a passing commonality between these movies and “Taken” with Liam Neesom. Neesom plays a retired spy who travels to France to rescue his daughter from a group of slave traders.

While I am not doing justice in describing either of these movies, what I admire about both films is how they tell the stories of men who have said, “The system is not working, let’s do it on our own.” To me, there is a level of that spirit in writers who have decided to self-publish or independently publish their own books.

In the first two parts (part 1 and part 2) of this series, I decided to talk to Alexandrea Merrell, of Orndee Omnimedia, about the “ins and outs” of self-publishing. She talked about the pitfalls and what goes into making an independently published book a success. You may recognize the names of the following writers because I have discussed them previously, and it’s because I consider these people my friends. Not only have they inspired me, but I thought, “I bet they would inspire another writer out there.”

With parts three and four, I wanted to highlight their works here in a survey like way. Enjoy!


Independent Publishing, Part Two

Part Two of Don Smith’s series Independent Publishing further delves into the world of self-publishing and offers excellent advice from the highly accomplished Alexandrea Merrell for authors seeking to find success in this competitive field. Hint: it takes a lot of savvy and hard work. Here’s an excerpt from the post at SVT Publishing, but I highly recommend visiting the site to read the entire piece, which contains a wealth of valuable information. Thank you to SVT, Don and Alexandrea for their willingness to share!

Full disclosure time about this series about independent publishing/self-publishing… …early in January of this year, my friend Teresa Edmond decided to independently publish her first novel “Warding off Reality.” I thought it was time I explored the topic so I began reaching out to my friends who wrote, self-published and independently published their books and give them a chance to talk about their books. Unfortunately in mid-January I was detoured by a Bell’s Palsyattack which paralyzed the left side of my face, so I sat on the article.

In the meantime I gathered responses from several of my friends and I sat on them. While recovering I did two things – I self-published a short story, “Darting with the Dead” as an e-story on Smashwords which can be downloaded here.

Second, I also started my own interview show entitled, “Conversations with Friends and Creators.” I talked with writer Daria DiGiovanni as to why she self-published her novel “Water Signs: A Tale of Love and Renewal” with Lulu.com. I, of course, interviewed my SVT Publishing “boss” Crystal Storm and she explained why she started SVT Publishing.

During the interview with Crystal I thought, “It’s time to pull out my article on self-publishing.” I did a little more research and I even managed to discuss the issue with another writer and independent publishing expert, Alexandrea Merrell, of Orndee Omnimedia.

What resulted was a four part series about independent publishing. The first two parts are my chat with Alexandrea about the pros and cons of independent publishing and the final two pieces will be me highlighting friends and writers as to why they chose to go “The My-Way Highway.” You can see part one with Alexandrea here.

Now I continue with my chat with Alexandrea Merell:

QUESTION:Are there any examples of people who have made it big in the self-publishing field?

Alexandrea Merrell.

Alexandrea Merrell. Image Courtesy of Orndee Omnimedia

ALEXANDREA MERRELL: The authors behind the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” are probably the most famous.

Also, Kerry Wilkinson is an example of this.

[NOTE: On March 1, the U.K. Telegraph ran a story that Kerry Wilkinson had signed a six book deal with Pan MacMillan. See article here.]

QUESTION: But are those guys the exceptions to the rules?

ALEXANDREA MERRELL: [Making a living] can be done, you just have to understand the way that the publishing system works and you have to treat it like a profession, not a “get rich quick scheme.”

QUESTION: What are some ways first time writers can do that?

ALEXANDREA MERRELL: First, you need the book edited by an editor and most people could use a freelance artist for the cover.

It is proven that bad editing or no editing will kill your book and potentially your ability to get attention in the future.

Second, it doesn’t hurt to have it professionally reviewed. A place like Kirkus is a great start, but it’s not free.

Third, If people want to be taken seriously and get onto bookshelves, they need to invest in an ISBN (they can find that at Bowkers).

Fourth, if the topic could be damaging to their “day job,” the author might consider a “nom de plume” or a sort of stage name that they can build a brand around without damaging their reputation.

Many authors, even very famous authors, publish under different names depending on the genre.

If I can touch on this a bit, I would also add that this is especially true of people who write controversial subjects (politics, religion, cultural opinion, or sexually explicit works) or where it might be seen as problematic given their career. For example, a nurse who writes about murders in a hospital; or a police officer who writes about dirty cops. People need to think how their employer would view their writing in relation to their job. If you work in a day care center, you probably shouldn’t use your real name if you write about sexually explicit or violent events.

It’s not a matter of can you write about it under your real name, but it is a matter of should you write about it using your real name.

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