The Cigar Maker…a #1 Best Seller?

April 30, 2010

According to Amazon’s sales ranking for Entertainment/Pop Culture/Cigars, The Cigar Maker hit #1 this morning! Not a huge accomplishment, since this is only the Cigar category (and with the frequency these lists are updated, the ranking will likely fall fairly quickly)….but still, a chance to pop a few corks and celebrate!

Under the Genre Fiction/Family Saga category, it’s currently #74.

The book is available on Kindle, or on paperback from Amazon, or at the official site. Buying from the official site helps the author the most, from a financial standpoint…but you probably figured that out.


The Cigar Maker – 1st official review

April 19, 2010

And it’s a good one! Here’s a highlight:

“In basing a story on actual recorded historical incidents and real people, the reader is blessed with a narrative more incredible and fantastic than anything a writer could create of whole cloth – such as the incident that opens the story. Did it really happen, the loosing bird in a cockfight in Ybor City, eleven decades ago, having it’s head bitten off by it’s humiliated owner? The writer’s grandfather insisted that it did – and thereby opens the tale, of Salvador Ortiz, one-time rebel and bandit, and his fiercely proud and independent wife Olympia.”

Check out the complete review by Celia Hayes at PODBRAM or at Blogger News Network.

The book also recently became available on Amazon Kindle. I hope you’ll check it out!

UPDATE: Within 2 hours of this review being posted I was contacted by La Gaceta and Cigar Aficionado magazine, both requesting review copies of  The Cigar Maker. Amazing!

The Cigar Maker is available on Kindle!!

April 18, 2010

Check it out – The Cigar Maker is now available on Amazon Kindle!

Look below for a few blurbs to get you excited…

“Equal parts history and fiction The Cigar Maker captures the true spirit of Ybor City. You can practically hear the crowds, smell the tobacco and taste the café con leche.”

Rodney Kite-Powell, Curator, Tampa Bay History Center

The Cigar Maker is a saga, a buddy picture with escapes on horseback and union riots. Despite being set in a time and place you’ve never been before–Tampa’s Ybor City in 1899–you’ll recognize sweet notes of George Lucas and dusky Mario Puzo undertones. But one thing is certain: Mark C. McGinty rolls his own.”

-Emmy Award winning writer Steve Marsh

“McGinty’s story burns with the steady pace and smooth flavor of a Cohiba Siglo VI. His hand-rolled Cigar Maker bands an impressive blend of history and character in this unique window into America’s past.”

Judd Spicer, veteran Twin Cities writer and author of Seven Days

Download it here!

Or buy the printer version.

Dirty Hands

April 18, 2010

T.R. Braxton

Montebello Books, 2009

260 pages/Fiction

2 out of 5 stars

Dirty Hands, the debut by author T.R. Braxton, starts with a dead girl, killed by accident during a drunken night of sex and drugs by lowlife hood Damon Brock. Moments later both the girl’s friends are killed in an effort to cover up the first murder. Brock’s buddies Terrell and Shawntae take part dismembering the bodies and dumping them in a nearby river and we begin a dirty crime thriller with a 3-way hate triangle of guilt, fear and mistrust.

Braxton is a master of street-slang and inner-city vernacular. His three main characters speak with a gritty yet fluid street lingo that almost becomes its own dialect. We have three hoods, all bad guys, who have committed horrific crimes and now live with their cover up, wondering if they’ll all be able to keep the secret, knowing that murder and the possibility of life in prison (or worse) means that there are no true friends. It’s every man for himself. You don’t like these guys – you’re not supposed to like these guys. You hope they get what’s coming to them; that justice is served.

But what could be a thrilling psychological crime story suffers from one major flaw: Braxton gives us no character to identify with. The murderers are soulless lowlifes you cannot root for. They really have no redeeming qualities that make you sympathetic to their plight. When they suffer, you are happy. They deserve to be burdened by guilt, but guilt is hardly a satisfying punishment. The police detectives are stand, run-of-the-mill cops and we don’t learn enough about them to form any kind of bond. There is no Clarice Starling trying to overcome incredible odds. Even the bad guys, struggling to hide evidence and keep their stories straight, seem to coast along easily outwitting their predators.

The character Monet, one of the murderers’ innocent girlfriend, becomes sympathetic after her boyfriend cheats on her and admits it, but when Terrell then confesses the details of the triple-murder to her, she decides – amazingly! – to become an accessory to the homicides and help him cover it up. What kind of a girl would help her ex-boyfriend cover up three murders just minutes after he confessed to cheating on her, and to killing the three women? Monet is incredibly forgiving, and this is hard to believe, given the brutality of the crime and the status of her relationship with Terrell.

There are also some major formatting, spelling and grammatical errors that distract greatly from Braxton’s sound writing. The top margin is too small and the bottom margin is way too big. Paragraphs are indented inconsistently, and sometimes not at all. Different fonts are used seemingly by accident and the book feels like it has never been edited. This is a huge flaw that can easily be corrected and all authors should take time to make sure these significant errors are corrected.

In the end there is no redemption, no justice and the story is left unresolved with no sense of closure. I was hoping for a more dramatic ending but the story just sort of slows down and eventually dies. A good try for Braxton but his first effort suffers from lack of character development and story arc. The book felt like the last chapter was missing. It didn’t end the way it should have.

Dirty Hands is available from Amazon or the author’s website.

Reviewed by Mark McGinty, April 2010


April 16, 2010

Speaking of celebrity book covers….

How to be a Best Selling Author

April 6, 2010

Ever wonder what these authors did to win the moniker of “best-selling?” Some of them topped the NY Times Best Seller’s list. That’s one way to qualify, but it’s also the hard way. It’s actually much easier than you think and involves only a few simple steps.

1. Write a book about an obscure topic that few others have written about, or decide what makes you, as an author, unique.

2. Sell one copy of your book.

Case in point…this website has named my first book Elvis and the Blue Moon Conspiracy as one of their Moon Hoax Best Sellers. And they would be correct. Since very few books have been written about the moon hoax, mine would automatically qualify as one of the best sellers.

I wish I would have thought of that! I would have called myself a best-selling author long ago.

See how easy it is?

Are you the only author in your neighborhood? That makes you the neighborhood’s best-selling author. Forget “the neighborhood” and just go with “best-selling author.”

Did you write a book about the injuries you sustained in your car accident? I’ll bet no one else did. That makes it the best-selling book about your car accident.

Did you write a sci-fi novel that takes place on the figment-of-your-imagination planet of Zoobonk? That’s a best-seller about Zoobonk!

Are you the only author between the ages of 43 and 45 in your city? Hello best-selling author!

As you can see, being a best-selling author has nothing to do with how many copies you’ve sold, as long as you’ve sold at least one copy. It’s purely a matter of technicalities. Just think about what makes you or your book unique and then call yourself a best-selling author!