Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Blog Hop and Interview with J. D. Stroube

This officially marks the end of the Halloween Blog Hop. It is Halloween after all. Today my special guest is J. D. Stroube. Please give her your warmest cackles and best chain rattling. 


As you know I'm going to ask you some questions, so here goes...
1)      Have you ever used a Ouji board or other device to contact the dead?
Yes! I tried it with my mother and sister once and they tried to convince me that it was really moving on it's own, but I didn't believe them.
2)      What’s the fastest way to kill a vampire or werewolf?
Hmmm... with a vampire... get the darn thing to chase you out into the sunlight and he will go poof.
Werewolf... Climb a tree with a sniper rifle and take aim with a silver bullet.
Although, I would probably be squeamish about killing either.  I don't even kill spiders and I am afraid of them!
3)      Out of all the undead creatures out there which one would you like to be and why?
I would want to be a vampire because I would be fast, strong, and immortal. I would love to see the world and how it changes throughout the centuries!
4)      What was your favorite Halloween prank?
I never had one, because I never pulled pranks. :(
5)      What three supplies would you store for the Apocalypse?
Are we talking the biblical kind? Something that is taking out humans?
I'm not sure that this would be considered a supply, but I would have myself a nice little underground bomb shelter. That way I could hang out in there and read until it's over with. Assuming that is included, I would have food and water. Although a weapon would be nice too.

Tell us about your novel

A witch raised in a cage of darkness...

Savannah Cross was born into a life of isolation and abuse. As a child, she witnessed her parents perform acts of malevolent evil, and now feels permanently tainted by their dark deeds.

When a coven discovers a tear stricken child, wounded on their elders lawn, they offer her a sanctuary she has never known. Savannah spends the next several years shattered, continuously looking over her shoulder, waiting for the darkness to claim her.

On her 16th birthday, Savannah’s life takes a drastic turn.She is consumed by overwhelming power that forever alters her emotionally and physically.

She must choose between two loves; the one who taught her to smile or the darkly seductive stranger who tempts her towards another path. Savannah must decide between the coven that was her haven and another one vying for her initiation. Just as Savannah begins to grasp what fate has in store for her, an evil looms over her loved ones; coming to claim an unbreakable debt.
How will she choose and survive the greatest evil she has ever witnessed... long enough to have a choice to make?

So what inspired you to write such a novel?
My whole life I have been a dreamer. I would stay awake at night and daydream about other worlds and what it would be like to live in them. When I am asleep, I tend to have lucid dreams, which are complete plots to a book. I often write these dreams down, as ideas for future book. I have a dream journal designated for this purpose. Sometimes I find my ideas, while watching a show or reading a book. The idea for “Caged in Darkness” came to me, while browsing the Goodreads website for a new book. I had a strong urge to read a book about witches, but most of the books I came across did not satisfy my craving. Instead, I wrote down a plot for the kind of book I wished I could find. I then incorporated some other unique aspects to it and created a recipe for what I believe is an amazing series! 

I understand you have some quoted passages from "Caged in Darkness?"
The day I first came to Meadow Falls is little more than a dream, though that little girl plagues me everyday. I still hear her crying out, and my skull fractures as pain is inflicted on her. She remained frozen in an eternal chamber of torture, and I did not know how to help her escape. Though, I would never escape her. She would follow me around for the rest of my life; a ghost waiting in the wings for me to acknowledge her. Her soft trailing fingers would continue to attempt a connection that I refused to allow; that I couldn’t allow if I wanted to survive. That ghostly girl was weak and insecure, while I needed to be strong and confident.

"What you are or where you came from is not important. It is who you are and the choices you make, that determine who you will become. If you can look inward and be satisfied, the opinions of others should melt away."

"All that is left to bring you pain, are the memories. If you face those, you’ll be free. You can’t spend the rest of your life hiding from yourself; always afraid that your memories will incapacitate you, and they will if you continue to bury them."

"No one has freewill until they are an adult, and by then the choices that were made for them, have already set them on a course that gives limited freedom in the choices to be made."

 So tell us a little bit more about J. D. Stroube.
J.D. Stroube is a debut author, who is coming out with her first novel on August 1st. Caged will be her first series. J.D. will be coming out with three more series and a stand alone novel within the next year and a half.
She is a psychology major, who attends Roosevelt University and intends to open her own practice in the future. She lives in Naperville with her husband and is extremely close to her family. She began telling people stories when she was three years old. Although, those stories mostly consisted of scribbles on the back of menus. She began writing short stories at age six and her first novel at 12, which was a horror story that was accidentally tossed with the trash.

 Where can my readers get a copy of this awesome novel?
My book is available in paperback through Amazon. It's also available in ebook format through B&N, Amazon, Smashwords, etc.

 If my readers wanted to stalk you in the Halloween spirit, how would they find you?
My website
Goodreads.com
Facebook

 Joy, thank you so much for stopping by the Murphey Saga. For my readers, as always...

Keep writing and loving the Lord.



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Props and Preps

I love all holidays. I decorate to the max for each and every one of them. It's all about friends, family, and who and how you spend it.

Halloween is no exception. I've draped the cobwebs, hung spiders, made gauze ghosties, and placed gravestones, practiced my make-up techniques, and shredded clothing.

Shredded clothing? Yep, well not good clothes, but hand-me-downs. T-shirt ripped, rolled in dirt and splattered with "blood," and holey blue jeans. I've got ten bags of sweets for the kiddies coming to my door. Last year, I bought six and had to run to the store for more. The extra bags are M&M's because I need food for creative thoughts.

Some of you may remember I'm performing a zombie wedding on Halloween. The whole reception is a monster motif. It should be a cool thing although most people's first reaction is shock and disgust, but if that's what the couple wants who am I to judge. Remember I make it a point not to judge others. Anyhow, I've spent hours perfecting the zombie make-up for my role as the zombie minister. No not just for the wedding, but for zombie walks later on with my book signings.

You may have noticed a few food type questions I asked visiting authors during their interviews.  So now it's time for... "Hey Ma! What's for Supper?"

In my previous life, I was a chef so the menu for this year looks something like this...severed hands on a grassy grave served on a tombstone, scattered with roasted root vegetables dug from the graveyard, brains in a petri dish with blood gravy, and for dessert...eyeballs in slime. I love playing with food. Sounds absolutely yummy, doesn't it?

Just like with writing, life is all about perception. It is what you perceive to be true in your mind and making others believe it. You knew I had to put a writing plug in here somewhere.<g>

Okay, I'll interpret to make it more appetizing. I know your stomachs are rolling at the thought of the above. How does fried chicken breasts sliced to look like hands with salsa on a bed of shredded lettuce, root vegetables (carrots, onions, parsnips, and beets) doused with olive oil and fresh Rosemary roasted until tender, mashed potatoes with reddish brown gravy (I used to do a red-eye gravy but am allergic to pork now so switched), and lime jello with Lychee nuts, maraschino cherries and a mini chocolate chips sound? It's all in fun.

In past years I've done bat wings (Terriyaki turkey wings) laying on bed of trash (Asian coleslaw), put potato salad in my brain mold, made boo-biscuits and done a blood pudding, no not real blood (red food coloring in chocolate pudding with marshmallows as clots. I've converted Shepherd's Pie into a ghostly delight with bat droppings (green peas with black food coloring), autopsy salad (just a chopped vegetable salad with a thickened red wine vinaigrette, and decomposed fingers (sugar cookies decorated like fingers).

Have a safe and horror filled Halloween. Tomorrow ends the Angel Haze Halloween blog hop and I have J. D. Stroube stopping by so stay tuned.
As always...

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sundays Videos About Writing

I'm taking some down time today so I'll just post a couple of video's I found on YouTube about writing and editing. Enjoy.


Can you guess the book?

Now a word or two from Dean Kontz about editing...


And now a video about social media just for fun...

 
And as always...
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reviews & the Indie Author

Today I'm decompressing after a very long week of terror, worry, and just running flat out at full tilt. I posted a little blurb about my husband earlier in the week. Nothing like making applesauce and lemonade as a career choice.My launch of "mr. Goodbar Goes to the Hospital" is delayed for a week while I do this. I've been catching up on blog reading, 600 plus emails, social marketing, and forgetting about tweets past. I just can't juggle that fast.

In my emails today, I found two-five star reviews on Smashwords for my nonfiction pamphlet, "The Author Business: a practical guide to the business of being a self-published author." I was thrilled. It really spurred me on to completing the full length book. This got me thinking about reviews we get as authors. What do they mean to us?

Just plain and simple... it is an affirmation of what you wrote is worthy of being read by others. While these reviews were great, I wondered about what the other 1,000+ people who downloaded this book thought. The same goes for all my books. "Escape from Second Eden" has received two reviews on Smashwords and one on Amazon, and that's out of several hundred copies sold! The others which have sold close to 1,000 copies combined...nothing.

Oh, I take that back...I did receive an awesome review from Thomas Wilson on "Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption."

All of these have had review copies sent out. I know I'm probably just impatient. None of these reviewers do this for a living. It's their time and their dime. I understand it can take months to even hear back from some. I know I'm not the only author in town touting their book.

This past week I broke down and bought a WiFi Kindle. Yes, another huge step for this old dinosaur being brought into the 21st century kicking and screaming. It was lighter to stick in my purse with a small reading light than a book at the hospital. As I was searching Amazon and Smashwords for possible downloads to pass the time, I was amazed at how I chose what I wanted to read. I've had tons of people ask me to buy their books or recommended books over the past year and my first thought was to look them up which I did. But I'm the educated shopper. I rarely buy on impulse, but after much thought and consideration. I tend to look at all the factors and know that I'm not alone.

The deciding factors on my purchases...

1) I already knew recommendations from others were the top of my list to look at. Word of mouth advertising is the best. The key is getting your book noticed so it can be a word of mouth thing.

 2) Reviews by others who had read the work.
I found myself reading all the reviews other readers had posted.  Now, I take EVERYTHING I read with grains of salt. Everyone has an opinion...good, bad, or indifferent. I remember the movie "Mystic River." It got rave reviews, a great cast, interesting plot line, but in my mind it wasn't worth the price of the admission ticket at the theater. I know others will argue this point with me until the cows come home, but that's beside the fact...it is my opinion. Isn't that what reviews basically are? Opinions?

3) How much it would cost.
 Money is a big issue with me these days as an semi-retired person and mounting medical bills.  Now, with that in mind, I'm not opposed to spending $7-15 for a actual physical book. I got a copy of the "Taste of Home Annual Cookbook" in the mail yesterday and contemplating the $30 cover price. But this is a nonfiction with value so probably not a great example. But a downloaded copy, I found myself biased by price which surprised me. As an author, I know how much work, time, creativity, and talent goes into producing a book for sale. Part of my mind focused on these items while my pocketbook screamed at paying $9.99 no matter how great the reviews were. I also know I'm not alone in the money crunch. There are millions of us out there.

I know I've said it before, but please if you've read one of my books, feedback is always welcomed. Even if it's a stinky review. I'd rather have a stinky review pointing out the bad points than none at all. That's one of the true downsides of this business of being an indie author...lack of feedback. If the book is truly stinky, it shouldn't be on the market...say seven out of ten say it's stinky. People read genres and they read authors.

I tend to look at things in ratios. It's the financial/marketing side of my brain working. Even if 1 out of 100 posted a review of my books, I'd have about twelve reviews so far not three. Maybe in my mind this ratio is overly optimistic at 1 out of 100. Maybe it should be 1 out of a 1,000? That's closer to the norm where this author is concerned. I guess in today's world where everyone is voicing their opinions about everything else...I figured I'd get a better response. I hold people up to the same standard I hold myself to...if I read it, I post a review. Am I wrong?


So how would you, as an author, react to a bad review? 

So in spite of it all, I...
keep writing and loving the Lord.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Blog Hop and Interview with Douglas Dorow

Y'all give your warmest cackles and best chain rattling for Douglas Dorow. Now you know I'm going to ask you some spooktacular Halloween questions to start.
1)      Do you want the twist was called in the song “The Monster Mash?”
Transylvania twist?
Yeah my bad, was thinking Transylvania and typed another song.
2)      What is your all-time favorite slasher weapons?
Scissor hands
Oooh yeah! Think of how many slices and dices you could do with those!
3)      What does Halloween mean to you?
Neighborhood time, time for kids to dress up and go out.
In today's society of internet everything, neighborhood time is sorely lacking.
4)      Tell me about your favorite Halloween.
In college my roommate and I put together costumes from items we got from the Salvation Army and dressed up like Chips characters Ponch and John.  We had a good time at all the parties we stopped at.
Gives a whole new meaning to recycling police, doesn't it.
5)      What’s your worst nightmare?
When I was little I afraid of monsters in the dark.
Makes me think of Monsters, Inc.


Tell me a little bit about your novel.
The Ninth District
The Federal Reserve has never been robbed.
FBI Special Agent Jack Miller, pulled into a high-profile case to mentor a new agent, finds himself in a clash with the toughest opponent of his career. The chase culminates in the bowels of the city, in the storm sewers and tunnels beneath The Ninth District Federal Reserve of Minneapolis.

Who wouldn't want to rob the Federal Reserve? Now tunnels and storm sewers sound cool.
 The Ninth District is available at:
Amazon
and Nook
Tell me about Douglas Dorow
Douglas Dorow is a thriller writer from Minneapolis Minnesota, the home of many thriller/suspense writers. Is it something in the water or the long, cold winters?

Been there done that. It's one of the main reasons I moved south.

If my readers wanted to stalk you in true Halloween fashion, how would they go about doing it?

Twitter @DougDorow
Douglas Dorow Facebook author page
Blog: Thrillers R Us
Goodreads author page
Independent Author Network page


Douglas, thanks for stopping by the Murphey Saga

As always...
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Halloween Blog Hop and Interview with Jim Bronyaur

It's Halloween Blog Hop time with author Jim Bronyaur. Jim, thanks for stopping by today. You know I've got some spooktacular questions for you and then we'll talk more about your new horror novel.

1)      Would you invite a vampire into your home?
- Yup.  Wait, no, let me rephrase this... as long as the vampire doesn't sparkle, he/she is welcome in my home.
2)      What would a werewolf look like if it was shaved?
- Like one of those creepy bald cats... may be even scarier than an actual werewolf when you think about it!
3)      What is the most gruesome thing you’ve ever witnessed? - Hmm... oh, when I was in 10th grade, I wanted to be a forensics dude, or a coroner (thank you late night HBO) and my teacher at the time was thrilled about it... so she was able to get videotaped autopsies and let the class watch them... all but four people left the room.  The other three were grossed out, but I ate some chips while watching.  It was gruesome, but yet so cool.
4)      Do you have a favorite Halloween food you fix every year?
- Any and all chocolate.  My kids are too young to really eat all the candy, so I get to step in... can't let it go to waste! ;)
5)      What are you most afraid of?
- Giant animals.  And as sad as it may be, this includes cows, horses, etc.  Something that could run me over and I can't reason with it... makes me shiver.


Tell us a little bit about your novel.

Meet Oliver Ignis.
A man desperate for his mother's love with the constant urge to kill.
After years of killing, he's been give the name The Anything Killer. But now the police, led by detective Ralph Samuels, are closing in.

After a fresh body is discovered and the town swells with fear, The Devil comes to make Oliver a deal: in exchange for his soul, Oliver will have the weekend to kill without having to hide. It he's shot, bullets pass through with no wound. If he's stabbed, the blade comes out clean. And if he's cuffed, they slide right off.
It's a serial killers dream.
It's our nightmare.

When Ralph Samuels apprehends a teenager who claims to have shot Oliver multiple times, he begins to wonder what's happening to the small town of Damon, Pennsvylania.

It was everything Oliver ever wanted, but what happens when Oliver kills the wrong person?

With The Devil in the background and the police surrounding him, Oliver makes his last stand and gives The Devil everything he wants, and more.

So where can my readers pick up a copy of your novel?
Amazon.com
Smashwords.com 


If my readers wanted to stalk you in the true Halloween spirit, how would they find you?
My website
On Goodreads
Follow me onTwitter




Jim, I understand you are participating in Angel Haze's novel giveaway.
Yes to enter go here.


Jim, thanks for stopping by the Murphey Saga.


As always...
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Applesauce, Lemonade and Life Getting in the Way

If you've followed my blog daily, then you've noticed I haven't posted in a few days. Life has thrown me a speed bump. My husband was admitted to the hospital. His heart again. Hopefully by this weekend he'll be home again and it will be business as usual.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Turmoil & the Indie Author

Today is Thursday and I'm on the downhill slide to the weekend. Not that a weekend is a big deal for me as an author. But today I find myself in turmoil.

tur·moil
noun
1. a state of great commotion, confusion, or disturbance; tumult; agitation; disquiet



 It may just be the week I've experienced or the past few weeks catching up to me. I've had my ups and definite downs. I got to thinking last night about what has happened over the past year. A lot of good things and bad. I've been doing a retrospective. My tag line for this blog is...The ongoing insanity of my family, writing, and the world in general...I'd spend all my time writing if LIFE didn't get in the way.

This retrospect look came about when someone asked fellow authors about a bucket list. I don't have a bucket list. I do not have the time. Besides, I live everyday without regret. Life is too short for regrets. Forgive me if I lapse into a little melancholy here. My life is in a constant state of confusion, commotions, and disturbances.
  • I have four children and soon to be eight grandchildren.
  • I obtained a new granddaughter with my daughter's marriage.
  • Two of my children are handicapable.
  • 1 child was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor...given three months to live, but what do the doctors know, she's still with us.
  • Helped all four of my children and grands out with financial difficulties including foreclosures and evictions...not to mention babysitting, school and sports events, etc
  • I have a terminally ill husband who is on life support.
  • Had part of my house collapse in storms including my roof.
  • A water line leading to my house broken and then the well pump died.
  • I have now a total empty nest having been both minister and mother of the bride AT THE SAME TIME! Not tumultuous? Try it sometime.
  • My father-in-law passed away this summer.
  • I've written, edited and self-published 1 espionage suspense novel, 1 suspense southern fiction novel, 2 children's series novel of five, 1 horror novel, and 1 short nonfiction about the business aspects of being and author. 
  • I have marketed myself.
  • I've edited 26 novels for other authors
  • I've critiqued 115 chapters and/or novels for other authors
  • I'm currently working on the sequel to the horror novel, a new southern fiction suspense, another espionage suspense, the full length author business manual, and the final three books in children's series.
  • I also have two projects I'm ghost writing and another I'm co-authoring.
Have I boggled your mind yet? Just wait there's more.

Now on a psychological stress chart, I'm so far up in numbers it's a wonder I haven't splintered into a thousand pieces. I asked my doctor once what stress factor I could give up...he looked at my list and couldn't find one thing. I guess I could give up on writing and publishing, and the other authors I help, but for me it's a sanity issue. Without my writing each day, I'll go insane.

Have I boggled your mind yet? Just wait there's more.

Every morning I open my eyes and thank God I woke up. When you get to be my age just waking up in the morning is a blessing. I'll say my prayers which takes about an hour. Wake my husband for his morphine. He'll look up at me and smile. This makes the whole day just shine for me no matter what.

Now my days hinge on my husband. Nothing will throw a monkey wrench into plans than the power going off for me. It's a mad scramble to get my husband on his emergency oxygen, check his other systems and then call the power company to report the outage. Yes, we are on a priority restore list because of the life support, but still it can take about two hours. After three hours, I'm scrambling to call an ambulance to transport him to the hospital. How many times has the power gone of this year so far 24.

How many times has my husband had pneumonia this year so far...three times and it hasn't gotten cold yet. How many times has he been hospitalized in the past year, zero. There isn't anything that they can do for him there that I can't do at home and it is his ultimate wish to die at home surrounded by the things that matter to him in his life. It is also the greatest gift I can give him. Remember I'm a retired RN. This is a far cry from a few years ago when he had twenty hospital admissions lasting ten days of more within a year...over 200 days out of 365.

I know my sales would be better if I advertised "Buy my books" more, made more public appearances, and actually got out into community type activities, but the fact is I'm actually happy with my few hundred sales this year so far. With all that's going on in my life, I'm doing fabulous. Everyday I write a bit more of my nonfiction, "To Have and Let Go" which is about this journey my husband and I are currently on. Each day I think I need a break and thoughts of running away enter my mind. But still I stay in the turmoil and ride the waves of it on a giant surfboard...always on top of the wave and never swallowed up by it.

So what is your turmoil today?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Interview with...Angel Haze

It's that time again on the month long Halloween Blog Hop. Please give a warm cackle and your best chain rattling to Angel Haze. She is the author of two horror novels and our hostess with the mostess.


Now Angel with Halloween in mind I have some spooktacular questions for you.

1)      Are you prepared for the end of the world as we know it?  December 21st is right around the corner. How so?
I don't believe December 21st, 2012 will be the end of the world or that any of the catastrophic events that appeared in the movie, 2012, will happen. Maybe there will be some change, but I don't waste time fretting about the end. My motto is to live life to the fullest.
2)      If you opened a door and found zombies what would you do?
Run! If it's more than one, beating them with a baseball bat isn't going to help me. You want me? You're going to have to catch me first!
 3)      If Jason was chasing you would you look back to see how far  he was behind you?
 Of course I would! I'd have to sneak a peak.
 4)       Would you say “Candyman” three times in a mirror to see if he would appear?
Truth be told, after seeing that movie, I thought about it. I had a some classmates who claimed they said "Bloody Mary" into the mirror and she punched them. I never did call out to either of them.
 5)      Would you eat eyeballs in slime if you were given it as a dessert?
Hmm. Fear Factor style? Depends what I'm playing for... ;)


Tell us about your novels.

Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch

    Debonair, a witch from the Unspoken Lands, has meddled in the forbidden practice of magic and created an army of nightmarish proportions. When sixteen-year-old Astanyx and his two best friends return from a hunting trip to find their small town of Polca reduced to smoke and ash, they find themselves thrust into a battle for which they haven’t been trained.

    With the help of his comrades, including an esteemed warrior, one of the last great wizards and a princess they’ve sworn to protect, Astanyx must fight to unite the kingdoms of the humans, dwarves and elves. He must ask forbidden questions that no one wants to answer, questions about Talimura’s dark history. As Debonair’s brutal warriors lay siege to the kingdoms, Astanyx is driven to pursue a fateful quest for a blade powerful enough to defeat the malevolent witch before she destroys the three kingdoms and unleashes an unspeakable ancient evil.

It is available at:
Amazon
Smashwords

And your other novel?


Bloodletter

Thou shalt not kill.
A contradictory message written in blood at the scene of a young woman’s murder. Within days, another body surfaces with a similar calling card and, to Detective Ramon Faust and Criminalist Kelly Garret, it’s clear a deadly game is underfoot.

As the rash of horrific crimes continue, a phone call unearths a shocking revelation: Nakeita isn’t the first city the elusive killer has left his mark. The Bloodletter, as dubbed by the media, has played his deadly game before.
Delving deep into the most terrifying case of Kelly’s career, threatening phone calls and flashbacks of a forgotten near-death experience challenge her sanity and the lives of everyone she loves.


It is available here:
Amazon

Tell us a little bit more about Angel Haze.

Angel is a Canadian author who is an avid reader of fantasy, thriller, and mystery novels. She's a writer of thriller and YA fantasy novels, a fitness enthusiast, and a chocolate fiend. Her free time is devoted to books, dancing, fitness training with P90x, movies and Game of Thrones. Legacies of Talimura: War of the Witch is co-authored by her husband, Slade Sewell. Slade is a man who believes himself to have been born in the wrong century. A thousand years ago, he sees himself not as a conqueror, but a strategist. He is a gamer, a husband, a die-hard Leafs fan, and a brilliant storyboarder.

Now if my readers wanted to stalk you in true Halloween spirit how could they do this?
Connect with Angel:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/AngelHaze7
Facebook (Profile): http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002946127730
Facebook (Page): http://www.facebook.com/AngelHaze7
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4949334.Angel_Haze
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelhaze7
Website: http://www.angelhaze.com
http://angel-haze.blogspot.com

I understand you are participating in the novel giveaway in honor of this bloghop. How can my readers enter. Just go here and follow the instructions... http://angel-haze.blogspot.com/2011/09/halloween-blog-hop.html

Angel thank you so much for visiting us at The Murphey Saga. Who's next up here on the Halloween blog hop is none other than Jim Bronyar author of "The Devil's Weekend" on the 21st so stay tuned and as always

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Word Power Wednesday on Tuesday & the Indie Author

Yes, I know it's onlyTuesday, but tomorrow I have an interview with Angel Haze scheduled so stop back on by for that too.

Yes sir-e-bob, it's that time again. Time to play Word Power Wednesday.

The word for today is...

win·ner

noun
1. a person or thing that wins;  victor.


Now whether you are a multi-published author, or a best selling author, or a regular Jo like me who stumbles along with gaining infamy, or a wanna-be...you are a winner!

I know at times it is hard to realize this fact in most of our lives. We wake up this morning, do our regular Wednesday morning rituals, and go on with our day. But as an author it's doubly hard to feel like a winner...especially if you are an indie author.

Many indie authors look at their sales daily...a huge mistake. Nothing will defeat and depress you more than your sales numbers going nowhere. I know I've been there and still there from time to time. I no longer look at sales figures daily. It's once a month tops when I download my sales worksheet from Kindle. It's an accounting thing for me. I like to know where I stand on a monthly basis.

Some food for thought on how Indie authors and standard published ones are WINNERS...
  • You are writing!
  • You finished your novel or nonfiction!
  • You edited or had your novel or nonfiction edited!
  • You published your novel or nonfiction!
  • You may sell one copy or several thousands with an indefinite shelf life!
  • You may or may not be writing another one or two or three!
These are MAJOR accomplishments in themselves. That makes you a winner over everyone else who tried and failed or just dreams of being a writer.

Here's are some more things that makes you a winner...

  • You are creative.
  • You are being proactive. (this word is for another blog)
  • You are selling your masterpieces even if you do not feel that your first adventure into self-publishing is a success.
  • You write weekly if not everyday.
  • You have learned you are not alone.
  • You have conquered your fears and taken a step forward.
  • You have outlined, character sketched, plotted and written YOUR story to the best of your ability.
So how do you feel now?
This is for all those authors and wanna-be authors out there.We, including this one, will get there. We ARE WINNERS!

 
 Keep writing and loving the Lord.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday, Monday... What Happened to Sunday?

In case you were wondering what happened to me yesterday...I was writing. Yep that's right. Three chapters done in one book, two in another, and four in another for a total of 25K words typed by these little fingers.  No, I wasn't really typing 500 keystrokes per minute but it sure did feel like it.



It was probably the most I've done in one day since I started writing novels and nonfiction. The time flew by and before I knew it, it was 8PM and my blog was forgotten.

<sigh> This is why I blog at 6AM most mornings, before my brain gets going full tilt on my novels. Time just slips away from me.

My youngest when she was living at home used to tell her friends who would come home with her after school..."Don't mind her she's lost in Sri Lanka, Belize, Greece, Russia or whatever location the book I was working on was set in. She would knock on the door to my office, and leave sandwiches outside knowing eventually I would have nature call and would have to come up for air. This is the thing about being a writer. You can get lost in your own little world and everything else melts away.

So if you missed me, I apologize.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Okay, So I LIED

It wasn't my intention on blogging today since I have a few weddings to perform and it is my twentieth wedding anniversary, but this place is addictive. Since the SHINEonline started, I've blogged every day. It has become a habit. All that being said I thought I'd share a funny, but so true video I ran across about editing.



Have a great day.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday's Finale-The Wannabe & Standard Publishing

We all have a copy of this book, don't we?
I've been working with several authors who are working on their first novel. The inevitable question came up when we were discussing standard publishing versus idie publishing with one of these wannabes. See I'm actually quite altruistic in nature. I'll share my experiences with anyone who listens...like this blog.

She asked me, so why do I want to try and go with a standard publisher. Now, I've got experience with both...the great, good, bad and the ugly.

I know standard publishing is a benchmark most authors strive for. The Big 6 of standard publishing has made a mint of doing things their way for a hundred years or more. So it has become the norm. Why go with standard publishing as a wannabe breakout novelist....I had to pause and think, because I chose not to, but here's my answer.

1) There is a recognizable stature that comes with being a published author with standard publishing. No, more than likely you will not have a PR team who will be working hard to promote your book. Now see if this makes sense to you on the standard publisher's thinking...you have to be famous to get famous. In other words, their money too precious to spend on new authors who may not make them serious money. It's called Return on Investment (ROI). By being published by the big houses, you have bragging rights and creditability. You will be reviewed by the cream of the crop, have blurbs by these famous established authors on your cover, you will be in chain book seller catalogs, which the brick and mortars may or may not buy for their stores. Standard publishers are a BUSINESS and the goal of all businesses is limit expenses and make a profit.

2) You get almost instant money when the contract is signed. Yes, you will get advanced royalties. It's paid in thirds. One third at signing, one third on finishing the manuscript to their standards, and the last third when published about 18 months or more later on. Mostly when wanna-be authors read about royalties, it's the big bucks they hear of and see $$$ signs. So-and-so signed a contract for $1 million. The press really doesn't advertise how many authors get advanced royalties between $1,000 to $5,000 which is pretty much standard...it just isn't newsworthy. It's less glamorous, isn't it?

Another reality check...How long did it take you to write your book? How long did it take you to find an agent? How long did it take for that agent to sell the book? When you divide the time over the advanced royalty...it looks a whole lot less glamorous from a money standpoint.  So don't quit your day job. But still there is the stature of being traditionally published.

3) As far as I know, The New York Times does not have a Best-Selling Indie section on their best seller list, although they do have e-books now. But with being standard published, you do have your shot. It is honestly better to play the lottery even if you write a dynamite book as a first time author. On average most best sellers have five to ten books to their credit before being "known." So keep writing!

Becoming known is the hardest part of being a published author whether it's in standard publishing or indie. Readers have to find you, like your writing, and buy you. Yes, I'm talking about your book not the sleazy stuff. Your book is the product you are selling, but YOU, as the wannabe, are the brand name associated with the product.And there is the stature of being a traditionally published author.

4) Several standard published authors of late have jumped on the indie author bandwagon. I read their blogs and realize...the money their are making is BECAUSE they made it as standard published authors prior to becoming indie authors. There are also a few cases, you may have seen it in the news,  of indie authors signing contracts with the Big 6 standard publishing houses.Why the switch if they have worked hard establishing their brand and product? They are hedging their bets. It is honestly easier with the standard publishing route. Yes, you still wear some hats, but many get taken over by the house. It allows you more time to write AND build a bigger brand. With standard publishing your manuscript will pass through a dozen hands or more to make it beautiful, the words exactly how they should be (sometimes typos do happen), and you lose over all control over your manuscript. It becomes the property of the publisher, but you have the bragging rights and stature of being a traditionally published author.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of standard publishing.
Now that being said, I won't be writing a blog tomorrow. My 20th wedding anniversary. :)

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Interview and Halloween Fun with ...Nicholas Olivio

I would like all my readers to give a warm cackle and their best chain rattling (in the Halloween Spirit) to Nicholas Olivio. Nick, thank you for joining me today.

Now for some Halloween fun. Muahhhhh! Q &A... 
      1. What's your favorite haunted place?
           Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA
      2. What's you favorite scary movie?
           I liked the TV adaptation of The Shining they did back in '97.
      3. What was your favorite Halloween costume and why?
           I have a Clark Kent outfit-shirt, slacks, glasses and a Superman T-shirt underneath. It always gets a laugh and it lets you go from business casual to fully costumed by undoing three buttons.
      4. What weapon does your character kill with?
The raw power of his mind. But he's got a switchblade as a backup.
5. Do you have a Freddy or Jason type character in your novel?
    No, but I've got a bunch of golems and genetically modified gremlins that raise some hell.

Now, that does sound exciting! Tell us about your novel.


Vincent Corinthos leads a triple life. As a secret agent, he handles paranormal threats; as a god, he protects his followers from evil forces; as a stock clerk, he keeps the back room of an antique store tidy.

When one of his fellow agents goes missing, Vincent begins with the usual suspects. His investigation reveals that Boston’s latest supernatural threat is also waging war on his followers, and has diabolic intentions for the city’s paranormal citizens.

Now, with the aid of a new partner and a gremlin, Vincent must locate the missing agent, defend his followers and learn the identity of his adversaries before they can revive a malevolent force that’s been dormant since World War II.

Do you have an excerpt you can share?
Excerpt of “Imperium” by Nicholas Olivio
Begin Coded Transmission

I trust you are enjoying your new-found freedom, Mr. Singravel. I have arranged for your release to go unnoticed by certain individuals, and I now expect you to fulfill your end of the bargain. I require you to procure several manuals on golem crafting. Additionally, you will provide me with any and all information about the various groups that monitor paranormal activity in Boston, including details on any persons of particular note. Send these updates via this secure channel, but do not expect further contact from me. I will be incommunicado while I attend to some pressing matters.

I should not need to remind you that failing to perform adequately will lead to punishments much worse than imprisonment in Ashgate. However, should you prove unsuccessful, I am confident I can find other ways for you to serve me. Your predecessor’s soul was used to fuel the ritual that ensured your release.

-RM

End Coded Transmission

Sunrises were beautiful here on the Bright Side, the realm of fae. And today’s sunrise would’ve been gorgeous if it weren’t for the advancing enemy army, the erupting volcano and the earthquakes. Instead of a cool dawn with sparkling dew and a gentle breeze, a heat haze shimmered in the air. When the winds gusted, it was like a sandstorm of ash. The tremors, which were coming more frequently, toppled people and structures to the ground.

I’m sure the enemy leaders felt smug. After all, it was their mages who were tampering with the environment. Their army, one hundred thousand strong, was three times larger than the entire population of the Urisk city they were advancing on. And the Urisk themselves rarely caused any trouble. They were known for their hospitality, their friendliness and their desire for harmony. To a group of warmongers, that’s like holding up a sign that says, “Please Conquer Us.”

I wondered what the enemy generals thought as they surveyed the battlefield. The Urisk didn’t have an army. Instead, about five thousand of them knelt on the ground, their feather-topped heads bowed, flecks of ash settling on their dull gray skin. Perhaps they thought the Urisk planned to beg for mercy. Perhaps the generals thought the Urisk were praying for some imaginary god to swoop in and save them.

In either case, the generals would be wrong. The Urisk aren’t begging for mercy and they aren’t praying to an imaginary god.

They’re praying to me.

Now pardon me for a moment, I have some swooping and saving to do.

I stepped out among my followers and focused. Their heads turned toward me, expressions of hope on their faces. Their almond eyes, whether orange or green, glowed with an inner light that flickered with anticipation. I could feel their faith in me, and the power that faith gave me swelled. I felt like I could do anything and everything. Save the people, drive off the army and repair the land. I grinned, cracked my knuckles and concentrated on the lava that was rolling in a great red river toward the city.

When I’d prepared for today, the Commander told me I had two goals. One, bolster my followers’ faith by letting them see me protect them. I pointed at the lava and, in a power-amplified voice, commanded, “Stop!” The lava obeyed. I threw my arm out to the side and the lava steamed, cooled, and turned to solid rock.

A gust of ash and grit blasted across the gathering of my followers. I threw my other arm out to the side and shouted, “Enough!” The wind died immediately and the ash vanished from the air. The Urisks’ faith in me increased, and that gave me more power. Having faith in your god is one thing. Personally witnessing that god controlling the weather and landscape tends to make even the most skeptical individual a believer, and it turns a believer into a zealot. My power increased accordingly.

With the Urisk out of danger from the elements, I concentrated on the army. My senses were amplified so that even at this distance of three miles, I could clearly hear the murmurings and confusion of the mages. They’d never seen anything like what I’d just done. Then again, I’d bet they’d never fought a god before.

And that brought me to my second goal for today: spank the enemy and spank them hard.

I had no desire to get up close and personal with the army. The soldiers were hobgoblins and trolls, and even from this distance they smelled awful. So instead, I conjured a giant avatar of myself. There was panic among the ranks as a hundred-foot-tall human appeared at the head of the army. I concentrated, willing the avatar to raise its giant foot and crush a cluster of soldiers beneath a size three hundred Reebok high-top.

Disciplined as they were, the soldiers scattered. I made the avatar laugh, and the sound rumbled the land and threw the soldiers to the ground. I played Godzilla for another few minutes, enjoying the squishing of the hobgoblin and troll soldiers. My avatar opened his palms and waves of flame bowled forth, turning half a mile of the landscape to black ash.

I smirked when I realized there were no survivors. I suppose should’ve left a few of the enemies alive so that they’d carry word of what happened back to their superiors. Then again, when a hundred thousand soldiers disappear, that sends a message, too.

I dismissed my avatar and focused on repairing the land. I opened my hands and spread my arms as wide as I could, sending power forth. Tremors rippled along the ground as I smoothed the ragged land flat again. The world shook as I crushed the volcanoes back into the ground and converted the magma to healthy soil. Blue grass sprang from the earth and silvery trees stretched toward the sky. I made months’ worth of growth happen in minutes. I made the ground sink in some places and filled the depressions with fresh water.

With the land healed, my next task was to ensure my people’s safety. I raised my arms and brought a thirty-foot wall of stone up around the city. I turned to the mass of short gray forms behind me and basked in their faith. Their eyes, glowing orbs of orange and green, flickered like strobe lights. This was the equivalent of joyous laughter. Their faith struck me again, so strong it staggered me. I took an involuntary step back as I ran a hand through my hair. It was slick with sweat. Channeling that much power was taxing for anyone, even a god.

Lotholio, my high priest, came forward and knelt before me. “Lord Corinthos,” he said. His words were telepathically communicated in his native tongue, but I understood him clearly. “You have truly performed miracles today. Our people owe you everything.”

I placed my hand on his thin shoulder and bade him rise. I looked out at the crowd of Urisk, all kneeling before me. Okay, playtime was over. I had to put my formal god-face on now. I spoke then, using the power so they could hear me as if I were standing in front of them. “You are safe now. Let no Urisk feel fear.”

We walked into the city, my followers telepathically cheering. Their eyes flickered with joy and relief. I resisted breaking into a celebratory dance; a god needs to command respect, and I doubted my lousy rendition of the Macarena would loan itself to that. We came to my cathedral, a massive stone structure that the Urisk had fashioned for me with the raw power of their minds. I turned back to the crowd. They immediately fell silent.

“I must leave you for a time, but I will watch over this realm and its people. While I am gone, Lotholio speaks for me. Heed his words as you would mine. You have my blessing.” I sent a wave of health and warmth into them. Any who had injuries, mental afflictions or physical illnesses would be healed. I could feel their faith building again. It was getting too powerful. I needed to leave.

I turned back to Lotholio. “Be safe, my friend,” I said with a smile.

“Lord.” He caught me by my shirtsleeve, then seemed abashed that he’d touched me. “Lord, are you sure you cannot stay? Your presence will be reassuring as the people rebuild.”

I put my hands on his shoulders and stared into glowing green eyes. “The people need to stand on their own, Lotholio. You know that. Do not be afraid, I will always hear your prayers when you need me.” He seemed uncertain, and I knew it was because of the high priest role he’d found himself in. “Loth, you found me, remember? You risked traveling through another dimension, made contact with outsiders, and found the help your people needed. You are the best person to lead while I am gone.” He set his narrow jaw and tried to look strong. “Loth, do you believe in me?”

His eyes dimmed and brightened from top to bottom, a sign of shock. “Of course, Lord.”

“Good. Because I believe in you.” I grinned and turned away from him. I moved to a pylon just in front of my cathedral. “Aviorla, open to home.” A portal opened in the pylon before me, tall enough to step through. Smells and sounds that were totally alien to the Bright Side drifted in from the other side. I grabbed my leather bomber up off the ground and turned back to the people. “Today we have won a great victory. Now it is time to celebrate. Let the festivities last for a week and a day.” I made fireworks and a rainbow appear in the sky.

As my people’s eyes flicked with amazement and joy, I stepped through the portal. It led to a world that only Lotholio had seen, to a city that served as a hub of paranormal activity. The city I call home.

It’s called Boston.

And where can readers get a copy of your novel?
You can purchase IMPERIUM from the following locations:
Nick, if my readers wanted to stalk you, how could they find you?
Twitter = @NicholasOlivo
Blog/Website = www.nicholasolivo.com
Goodreads = http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5018856.Nicholas_Olivo

I understand you are participating in this blog hop giveaway with a copy of your novel.
Yes, if readers will go to http://angel-haze.blogspot.com/2011/09/halloween-blog-hop.html there are instruction on how to enter.

Nicholas Olivio, thank you for popping in to the Murphey Saga for this spooktacular event!

My readers can help support this author by visiting his sites and buying his novel. And as always...

Keep writing and loving the Lord.
 
    

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Word Power Wednesday & the Indie Author

in·de·pend·ent

adjective
1. not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinker.
2. not subject to another's authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free: an independent businessman.
3. not influenced by the thought or action of others: independent research.
4. not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc.
5. not relying on another or others for aid or support.

Rosie the Riveter has to be my most favorite poster from WWII. It shows a woman doing what is necessary to get the job done. Independent of the male influences for the most part. At least that's what I think when I see this. I figure if she can do it so can I.

In the beginning of 2010, I made the decision to self-publish. Good or bad, it was one of the few choices I have at this time in my life. No, that's not exactly true. While I have standard publishers and agents wanting to represent me, I chose a different path because of my current home life. That's the part that doesn't allow me to travel, do a lot of book signing and promotion tours for any of my books. I HAVE to be home. This is unlike quite a few other indie (independent) authors out there.

I had planned to self-publish for this year to see how it went. Yes, I actually had a plan. This time around it was fiction rather than nonfiction. Fiction in standard publishing has a short shelf life...about three months. I wanted more. I guess that's my major problem. It's not really greed as much as wanting more. More time, more experience, more whatever.

I look at the definition for independent and find the only definition which fits the indie author is #1. As indie authors when, what, how, and why we publish is our own decision. It doesn't really matter what others think. Of course we would all life everyone to buy our books, but in reality the market is so segmented in genres...do we really have a choice?

I write suspense. As a suspense writer you are expected to fall within certain guidelines to keep in that genre. The ticking clock, the espionage, the thrill. It has to be there. In suspense horror, you have to know what the standard is for zombies, vampires, or other creatures that go bump in the night. You can slightly bend the rules, but it may come back and bite you in the rear. There are some pretty die hard fans out there who expect certain truths for these creatures to be maintained. So the question comes to mind, how independent are we really as indie authors?

Yes, we can decide what we write and can even break the rule of one genre per author like I do. Of course writing multiple genres does mean multiple market segments to sell to. But like above, there are limitations to what we write.

Yes, we determine how we write within the guidelines. We have nobody actually standing behind us going "You HAVE to write this way." Unless you have an editor like me, who will catch you on all your little trip ups like comma splices, typos, tense, POV shifts, grammar and assorted other things. But that's different, those type things make your book better on the whole.

As indie authors, our writing schedules are ours to command, sort of. We write when we have time to sit at the computer. Like most standard published authors, we have day jobs, families and assorted other distractions like life getting in our way because we really can't afford to give any of them up. Once you self-publish, then comes the marketing you have to do to sell your books...books DO NOT sell themselves. It's the blurbs, the reviews, the cover art, the promotion you do that sells your books...so do you really have control over your writing schedule? The luxury point of self-publishing is that you don't have any deadlines except those you put on yourself. You can write, edit, and publish a book at your choosing.

That brings us to the why of independent publishing. Why would you want to wear all the hats and juggle like a crazy person to get it all done to make the sales? Why put yourself through the torture of writing for the sales of a few hundred copies sold? Is it to be rich? You're in the wrong business about 1% of all published authors can quit their day jobs. Is it a legacy thing? Something that shows "Killroy was here?" Yes, but if no one buys it will anybody know you were here? If I write it they will come? They have to find you first.

Probably the best answer I've heard is because it's me. I have to write. Not because of sales, but for the love of writing a good story. The thrill of putting words on a page that will move another person, transport them from wherever they are to some place else, to make someone think "Hey at least I'm not this poor schmuck." If it lightens the burdens of every day life. High ideals, yes, but truly isn't this what being a writer is all about?

So how independent are we as independent authors?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday's Trash & the Idie Author

Picking up the Pieces


Quote of the Day"If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again."– Flavia Weedn

I read this quote of the day in one of my emails today and it got me thinking about how many times we make lemonade and applesauce in our lives. Not sure of what I'm talking about? When I was a child, when something bad happened my grandmother always said that you take the rotten apples and make applesauce with it. The premise was taking something broken, rotten or bad, and making it into something useful or good out of it.

I've lived by this principle my whole life. Writing is another way for me to make applesauce out of what life dishes out. On my other site, I used to use the heading, "Where Murphy's Law and the Luck of the Irish Combine in Writing." Now, I'm only Irish by marriage, but Murphy's Law reads...whatever can go wrong; will go wrong. Luck of the Irish is self-explanatory. When you combine the two you reach a status quo between bad and good. Sort of. It takes a little extra effort to look for the blessing or good stuff in everything bad that happens. I look at it as grist for the writing mill. Everything that has or will happen to me gives me first hand experiences to incorporate into my writing.

For example, I was in a head-on collision a couple of years ago. That is a very bad thing, I'm sure everyone can agree. Both automobiles were totaled. Here's my view on the situation. All the vehicles were totaled, but everyone walked away from the accident with a few broken bones and bruises. Cars can be replaced; people can not. Sure broken bones are a royal pain as they heal, but you can not heal from death.

The hospital did a CT scan because the x-rays showed something strange and they wanted a better view. The CT showed tumors in my abdomen. I've had some pretty major surgery in the past few years. Now, everyone hears tumor and thinks cancer. I was one of those also. I cried. I pitched a fit big-time. I prayed. Then I chose action and a proactive stance over self-pity. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with sitting on the pity-pot, but just don't make it a life long ambition. It's just not what I'm about.

I finally reached a point of peace with the whole issue. I figured if I didn't wake up from surgery then my job here on Earth was complete and I could go on to a place where Murphy's Law didn't existed. Not a bad thing considering my life. If I woke up from surgery then my job here on Earth was not complete. Something was left undone. Either way it was out of my hands. So many people scramble to pick up all the pieces of the problem or their lives to keep control. An example of the shattered glass or shattered dreams. Inner peace is more important than control.

I had surgery, complications, and the healing took months instead of weeks. It was a growing experience. If I had not had my accident, the tumors would still be in my body...growing and making me ill. Considering my heart stopped twice during surgery, I'm still here writing. The shattered dreams and glass of the accident are past. There it will remain until forgotten. What is important is that I am here, doing what has to be done. Writing, learning, advocating, teaching, and loving everything around me. So my pretty car is gone. It was replaced. The other people involved are living their lives to the fullest. Let's be honest here, not too many people walk away from a head-on collision without permanent damage. The three of us had a wake up call. Look at the shattered pieces of your dreams, stop trying to pick up ALL the pieces, pick one and create something wonderful.


Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monetary Monday & the Indie Author

What Writer's Risk


"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."– T.S. Eliot

Every writer risks something when writing anything. Time is the biggest since writing a book either nonfiction or fiction is a publishing gamble. A writer can spend hours, days, weeks, months and some even years writing. The gamble is whether an agent or publisher will accept it or not and whether or not the reader will buy it. It's like jumping off a cliff with an air foil. You will either catch the upward flow of air or spin down to a horrible death.

I've never met a good writer who didn't believe in what he was doing and put his whole heart into it. Notice I said good writer. Bad writers are in it for the money and rarely see any. Who wants to read a bad writer...come on now, raise you hands. Ah ha, just what I thought. Nobody. I have critiqued quite a few budding writers whose project needed serious work and thought, but that's not necessarily bad, if they are willing to risk the hard work it takes to make it better. There is a wide gulf between good and bad. There are some writers who straddle the chasm.

This is the second risk...hard work. Writing never comes easily. It takes a concentrated effort of the part of the writer. You take a seed of an idea, expand it, make it creditable...you make it creditable because readers are not naive, they question everything. Don't believe for a second that a writer can make something up to fill in the gaps with erroneous information. I guarantee there is at least one reader out there who will call him on it. It's a difficult task to make sure continuity remains throughout the 100-400 pages of a novel or nonfiction. Just make one slip up by saying your character's eyes are blue when you previously said they were brown and watch the emails and letters fly in. Nitpicking you say, but the reader is particular and can make or break a budding novelist. No sales, high returns and the writer becomes a possible one-hit-wonder.

Another risk, I do quite frequently is change genres. As a novelist or nonfiction writer you decide you want to write about something else and watch your sales drop. I remember when Tony Hillerman changed from writing his Indian-detective type novels to one about Vietnam a few years ago and kept the same name on both genres. It was a disaster...sales plummeted and the book ended up on the sales table at a highly reduced price. Although I take the risk and write several genres, I use pseudonyms for each change. Although I run the risk of being a "new author," readers and lovers of my espionage stories are not disappointed when I change to nonfiction in a totally different area, or southern fiction. The copyright is still listed under my real name, but not too many people read copyright information in the front of the book. All they really care about is reading a good story and that's what I give them. It's a tightrope at best.

Still for other writers there is a financial risk involved. The simple fact is the chances of becoming traditionally published are small. Too many authors and too few printed books. It's a buyers marketplace. Investments in writing can be as small as the purchase of some writing books, paper, envelopes and stamps, and some investments are quite higher. Unpublished writers spend their days creating text in the hopes of being published forsaking standard paying jobs to fulfill their dreams. Others invest hard earned greenbacks in book doctors and scams to still seek their vision of seeing their work in print. With the advent of Print on Demand (POD) publishers, many writers who have received enough rejections letters to wall paper a living room, find their dreams realized at a cost.With e-publishing there is little up front cash, but the hours spent drawing attention to your work is costly.

Times have changed in the publishing world. An old dinosaur like me remembers a time when editors really edited books. Books were written on typewriter with carbon paper. Publishing houses were small and plentiful instead of the huge conglomerates they are now with all the mergers. You could even approach publishers without an agent and if you felt you needed one, the publisher would pick up the telephone and recommend one to you. Now, the writer is stymied by "don't call us, we'll call you." Even literary agents want referrals from other published writers, and a long list of credential. They want to reduce their risks which is understandable...but difficult for the writer who waits and wades through the mire of rejection and indecision. So the current trend of e-publishing has blossomed. While there is a lot of trash out there to be had, there are some really precious gems out there in cyberspace.

So is it ultimately worth the risks to become a writer?  To me, yes. There is no greater fulfillment for a writer than to see what you wrote in print. What's even better is to hear from a reader they enjoyed your novel. Whether you start out small with letters to the editor of your local paper. Catch an updraft into blog writing and soar into being published. There is no greater thrill than seeing what you can accomplish in writing. The sky is the limit and although there may be a downdraft or two, continue to take the risk to achieve new heights. A risk not taking is filed away and sometime in the future can become a regret. Me, I want no regrets so I stretch farther across the abyss. Soar high, my friends and ...
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Silly Sunday & A Stamp on your Butt

Getting Noticed~Being Silly, Insane or Otherwise Normal


"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."– Sidonie Gabrielle Colette aka Colette

It's one of those crazy, insane moments for me. I just heard from an agent who liked one of my children's stories and wants to see more.

This wasn't necessarily brought on by a foolish thing, I was desperate to get off the slush pile with one of my new novel ideas. As I may have mentioned in other posts, I'm the Queen on Abby Normal...long live the queen. When life is serious most of the time, you need a release or permission to be crazy, impulsive, silly and just not normal. This particular time since one of the main underlying themes was chocolate...I sent two pounds of assortment of mini chocolates along to illustrate my book. I'm NOT recommending this tactic to anyone. It was an insanely stupid thing to do.
I know queries and first chapters can lie in THE PILE for weeks or months. Non monetary type "bribes" would become stale, draw insects, or worse yet smell to high heaven with time. I'm not recommending monetary bribes either. Any ethical agent or publisher (the only ones to work with) would probably reject your work on principle alone. I was hoping the irregular bumpiness might draw some attention. I was extremely lucky Homeland Security didn't pay me a call.

Well, it worked sort of. It was almost two months before I received the call so I'm pretty sure, the chocolate was a bitter mess. All publishers and agents say, "Don't bribe me. Impress me with your writing." I know how to do that. My credentials speak for themselves. It was just a silly, fun thing to do. But it's given me some thoughts on how to market my books...like dressing like a zombie for my horror novel book signings.(a previous post see-book signing 101)

Authors use everything at their disposal to market their books with to the reading public. I have a romance writer friend who passed out match books along with the standard bookmarks for her new book. Saying her book was hot stuff! Another romance writer friend passed out little net baggies with her bookmark, a tea candle, and a trial size bottle of bubble bath, and still another hands out red eraser lips. A juvenile writer passed out bookmarks with a small magnifying glass so children could look for the bugs that are in her book.

Getting noticed and remembered is the key. You may wear a funny hat to all your book signings and events that publicize your book. Giving out little freebies, or even the standard bookmark with a little something extra like a tassel on top. I'm a member of Southeastern Writers Association. I've been a member since their 25th anniversary. At the first conference, I was a budding novelist and it was the first writers conference I'd ever attended.  I was only printed in nonfiction at the time. On the first afternoon, it was meet-and-greet, each person in the auditorium was asked to stand up, say their name, and then attach something memorable to it. I thought about it long and hard. Then I decided to play on my heritage. My turn came, I stood up, announced my name, and followed it with, "I have 'made in Japan' stamped on my butt."

It worked. Now when I travel and run into one of those original two hundred authors, they'll point, start laughing and say, "made in Japan, right?" After a few minutes, they will remember my name. This is after a decade or more! I keep hoping that as we all age they will forget, although I did get noticed and remembered. The challenge for the day is do something full tilt outrageous in your writing and in your life. And above all...
Keep writing and loving the Lord.