Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Mind of a Writer...

On top of my dresser in my bedroom sits a ceramic dish in the form of an upturned baseball glove.
It holds any manner of small items like keys, a couple of  plastic things (I have no idea what they're for, I think the yellow one is the firing pin safety plug for one of my guns....I think....) and other stuff.                                                    

     Occasionally I go through drawers, closets, file cabinets, and the lost world under my bed - looking to clean up(which usually means moving it somewhere else in the house) clutter and possibly locate things I forgot I had, which I almost always find. Why dear God why, do I have a 16 pound sledge hammer under my bed? Well, It must be there in case I need to pound my way out of the rubble.....ya never know.....
I didn't realize till the other night that I have 12 pairs of brand new, never worn, shoes, boots and athletic footwear in one end of my closet, as well as numerous shirts (15 - 20), and pricey sweaters which I'll probably never wear unless I strike it rich and buy a 100' sailboat. The expensive tan suede cowboy boots are a must for anyone who plans on maybe owning another horse someday.Which I do.
It could happen.........
At this point in my writing career I should be used to thinking like one, a writer that is.... It's a totally resident and highly invasive thought process for me now. 
In rummaging through the items in the ceramic glove on my dresser I found 2 or 3 old, really old keys and my reaction was - of course - that of a writer.
Now, any normal person would grab the items in said dish, on one's dresser, and ask another normal person, if available, such as a wife, or elderly relative(who knows more than she's telling) if they knew what these items might go to, what they are for or if they maybe recognize them, right?  But -  if you're a writer, an action adventure thriller mass market commerical fiction author, which I am thankyouverymuch, then the imagination goes wild with possibilities. It will ignore or in fact zoom right past a typical and or borderline rational thought process. (It's a gift.....the doctor says....)
After getting past a tidal wave of fear that I was suffering from early dimentia because I could recall no memory of what the keys opened or went to, my buzzing writers mind began to explore possible answers.
One of the keys looked a lot like the key to a safe deposit box and in fact probably is (I DON'T have a safe deposit box, so, right off the bat the plot thickens) but I imagined I did and had the clarity to structure it in a mental outline, that it did in fact belong to a safe deposit box in a bank  in another state or foreign country far away. And, that in said box were old black and white snapshots of people who looked like me, papers that a long lost relative left for me to find, and still more keys which were to an abandoned villa in the french alps that was waiting for me to arrive and discover who murdered my long lost relative, the patriarch of my bloodline and said villa, that also had a really big heated swimming pool with jacuzzi. Maybe they were my real mother or father and knew I would one day find the truth about who I really am, and my destiny as rightful heir and rebel leader of an oppressed people long held under the death grip of an evil dictator of this country. I needed to find that box, get into it, take the stacks of money, papers, maps (if any), cool Rolex diving watch, and begin a perilous journey into the unknown. I would need to locate and buy a weapon and bullets when I arrived, the cash would come in handy.
I casually wondered if there might be any good bbq joints in any of the quaint yet sinister surrounding villages.
But why an odd amount of $87,000 dollars, American? What if someone was watching for the arrival of a "deliverer"(which would be me or a mysterious interloper of dubious origin yet to be named) and had a plot in place to murder them too?
I might need a team of mercenaries which also means I would have to charter a private jet or yacht (aha! I knew the meaning of the pricey sweaters and boat shoes would make sense sooner or later!) to make a stealth entry through a friendly bordering country, one that would, for a price and through a contact named Calderone, be willing to supply us with weapons, night vision goggles and a helicopter, a fast one.
Hold on, $87,000 dollars wasn't looking like so much money all of a sudden. I needed to examine the old papers in that box to see if they held the clues to how or where I might find the funding my ancestor surely knew I would need.
Yes, BINGO, we have a winner! An account statement from this same bank, upon which I was named and had access to, held almost 3 million dollars. Ok, we're in business, I was good to go.
How stupid I was to have walked past this key sitting on my dresser all this time.
Maybe fate played a hand, not letting me come upon the truth until I was capable and had a willing heart. Interesting.....
Perhaps this was why I had unknowingly bought and stored clothes I would need for this perilous journey. The sledge hammer made sense now too.....sort of..
It all seemed to fit together somehow.
But who could I now trust? The answer - NO ONE!  Not even my dog, who seems to be eyeing me suspiciously lately.
As soon as "Wheel of Fortune" was over I would probe Granny for information on family history since any and all she could tell me might, just might, keep me and my team alive. 
It might require her potty chair, duct tape and an overhead hot lamp.We'll see if she cracks.

Trust no one, tell no one. Check. Passport. Check. Box of Twinkies. Check.
My thoughts are interrupted by stealthy, slow footsteps echoing down the long, cold tile hallway. An assasin? Maybe. Or, it could be my sexy seductress wife wondering if I was ready to go out for BBQ. I deftly slip the key into my pocket, or maybe I should place it back in the glove so no one would know I now knew, and of my pending mission.
I decide the key stays with me from now on, let the chips fall where they may. I imagine I hear the "Mission Impossible" theme song playing......                                                                                                                                                                                                  
     I think after dinner I'll take my significant other, who could be a planted agent, to the "SpyShop" to see if it rattles her calm exterior, and to get some cool stuff.
In the meantime I must collect my thoughts and potential best-seller ideas and commit them to paper, or a program in my computer. I pledge to myself to continue to monitor my surroundings at all times for good story ideas and at all costs to develop them.
The mind of a writer.
Some would say that were it not for the minds of  writers humanity might still be chasing food with clubs. I personally think we'd all be dead if it wasn't for Ian Fleming. 
Still - others might say - Thank God for patient editors, agents, artist communities, booze and pro-zac(as opposed to amateur-zac....).
Whatever your thoughts may be, I, for one, am blessed and pleased to have the mind of a writer.

Keep writing writers! 

...you know where to find me....


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Self Publishing?

Looking over a few posts this morning from indie success stories like Joe Konrath and a few others - I have some thoughts. When Penguin came out with a self pub option on their critique site "Book Country" the other day the entire publishing world sat up and took notice. A major, one of the "Big Six", offering self publishing? You heard me right. Controversy immediately erupted as scrutiny of what you get for the $500+ fee proved it to be not-so-good-of-a-deal - according to some. I however have found that $549 isn't that high at all but you still need to do your own editing and cover and formatting too I think. (AND that's a grind and pain I think some techie needs to address and standardize). Also, many might think they're chances of getting noticed by the people behind this, from Penguin, might be a possibility since they own the site and you gotta think they're looking for talent, right?. After all they have the top echelon editors and publishing heavy hitters over there. Or maybe they're, Penguin, just jumping on the cash flow bandwagon and if they are maybe more major houses will do the same and elevate the self pub industry for us all. As for me, I don't see how their influence can hurt, in that, it's a very competitive marketplace, self publishing is and it was bound to go mainstream because of the success of some authors doing it. I can't say for sure but I can say this: Many authors who have been passed over and others who might have been accepted by a major house, that is to say - their books, both types are taking the indie route. I've heard of a few bestselling authors going indie (Barry Eisler) and of course as I mentioned, vice versa. There are success stories on either side of the fence and I know this for a fact since I have have several major author friends in both worlds and ALL agree on one thing: Good writing will find it's way to the readers out there. Period.
I do reviews of books too, mostly on Goodreads, although I've tapered my activity lately since I working full bore on my own novel, but, along with many other reviewers I was seeing many indie efforts, some good, some not-so-good. Many fear, including myself, that the indie revolution will have a lot of writers thinking they are authors ready for the big stage, when they're not, and this includes me as well. It's easy to think just because you can push a book out there that that makes one an author. But it doesn't.
Listen, I never tell anyone NOT to try, I haven't yet, but let's face it many of us have a ways to go before our work and sales will make headlines, and, clever marketing will only get you so far. Though, again, I've seen mediocre writers with pro level marketing skills sell lots of books too, so.....AND, I can totally see Joe and Amanda's perspective. They have opted for the marketing power of a major house and honestly: I would too. Both, good writers with superior marketing knowledge, at the least, and what they know preceded many in the industry of indie authors AND, with a decent back-list, well, we see what can happen..
It's inspiring and at the same time confusing, at least at first glance. Amanda made a good point back when she signed her pub deal, a major deal, last year. And though many were put off by her "defection" from the self pub ranks, me, I was cheering her on, knowing that underneath this breakthrough was hope for ALL indie authors both to remain indie or sign a deal. In either case both her and Joe broke new ground.
From a traditional publisher point of view I can understand their concern with the whole indie thing however as I reflect of the situation I'm thinking that maybe they wouldn't accept any more authors into their ranks then they ever did, indie stampede or not. The ones they did, and will, well, I'm pretty sure it was a matter of sales not so much a matter of love for their work.
The real revolution in my view isn't indie authors but eBooks and the publishers are jumping all over it, though, I think they were very slow on the draw. This was something that surprised me, how few major's saw the eBook thing coming and moreover, how slow they were to pick up on it. The fact of the matter boys and girls is that eBooks will be the biggest sales portion of the market in terms of books, soon. Now, does that mean a year or two or three? I don't know but the trend is there and all it really means to you as a author is that you damn well better make sure your book is formatted for the eReaders out there and you better learn the ropes of uploading it to the big sales sites in internet land.
Print? Yes, sure, why not. Just do your homework on that one, there's a lot of predatory companies out there. I say go with Create Space from Amazon and bag ALL the vanity presses.
As in any expanding wild west frontier, I'm seeing new companies spring up by the dozen, every day. From formatting, editing, and book promotion to just about everything, including some who will do the writing for you....and, like anything else you need to do your homework, read the latest in indie news AND major publishing news. Yes, BOTH. And, plug into the better writer blogs and book reviewers  and keep your critical consumer nose into the wind. Stash a little money for a book promo co. that has a lot going on and look for a great graphic artist for your cover. Stuff like that.
If you plan to self publish then you better learn how to network, study trends, discern BS from the real deal, plan on being VERY active in social media and integrate ALL of this stuff into your program, EVERY DAY.
Oh yeah....and write too....and find a good editor.....and a beta and critique group....or marry someone highly placed in the publishing world. I'm just saying, the indie thing is a lot to bite off and don't ever forget to become the best possible writer first, then become a marketer and social media guru second, or third, or whatever.....
Don't be confused by it all, and don't be overwhelmed by ANY of it. At the end of the day it's about getting a good story, YOUR story, into the hands of someone who will love it enough and tell others and buy your next few books too. The brave new world of publishing is simply a world of more opportunites.
My guess is that once the public adjusts to the market shifts, they will be just as discerning with their dollars and their time as they are in other areas of purchase.
Also, it looks like there's a lot more going on out there than there actually is. Technology is moving quickly and even with tech stuff it's ALWAYS about the money. People will still spend on entertainment (and that's what it is darling....) even in a bad economy. Less, yes. Maybe. I also believe that was and is a big help to the eBook market, since eBooks are generally cheaper. Hard cover sales would have dropped even without eBooks. No one wants to spend $30 on a book, in a tight economy, when it will come out in PPBK (80% of the market) soon and even though the publishers are all crying they are also grateful for the eBook thing too, it's saving their asses. And it's offering unknown writers out there a chance to get their work in front of people that would never have had the opportunity.
Me? I'm working very hard on mastering the art and craft of writing. I live it, eat it, drink it, sleep it and think about it every waking second of the day. I know a little about life in the online fast-lane and hopefully it will help me get my work in front of the right people both on the industry side and the reader side - those who I hope will love my characters. When I'm ready, that is.
The better I become as a writer the better my voice as an author is. Fact.
The rest of it? Man, I have no idea but like I said: Get yourself in the mix and keep your nose in the wind. Don't say NO to anything until you figure out if you need, or will need, to know it and use it.

I grew up an avid reader, mostly thriller, high action stuff and I am still a huge fan of this genre. I'm also a writer in this genre. My love for the classics, what I grew up reading too, sustained me when life was bleakest, in my darkest days. Great writers were the deepest and most intense source of wisdom and inspiration for me in those days and now as a writer I understand what they must have gone through to become the caliber of author they were and it humbles me to my knees. To ever be counted among them is a dream that lives beyond a thousand hills, but a journey to a home I've never been to is one I have undertaken nonetheless.
For me, to me, eBooks, indie this, traditional that, whatever, all of it, is just tinsel on a great and mighty tree I hope to one day be.
Love, passion, depth and integrity of character, fearless sincerity,clarity and pure motive are my aspirations and my inspiration. They will always rule and reign in my heart first and foremost and motivate my struggle to learn how to translate these profound elements of life to the written word.
How about you?

....you know where to find me...


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On a more positive note....

Just a quick note to let you all know that I'm working behind the scenes on my book, "To Hunt The Hunter" an action thriller with a techno twist. If you're a writer then you know how engrossing writing a book can be. I hang out on Twitter and FB occasionally, though even there my time has been less than what it normally is. I check in on my accounts in both places and the links to follow me are in the sidebar to the right of this post. I'll be blogging further about Victoria Mixon's book on writing, (the blog review is below this post). Victoria is, among other things, a thirty year veteran of the publishing industry and a highly respected editor. And, I will also be commenting on my progress as I complete the 1st draft of my book and begin the revision and editing process. Self publishing? I have a lot to say about that too so stay tuned because I'm not sure which route I will take yet, a lot depends on the reviews. See you soon, D

Friday, October 14, 2011

Victoria Mixon : editor, author.

The Art & Craft of Story: 2nd Practitioner's ManualThe Art & Craft of Story: 2nd Practitioner's Manual by Victoria Mixon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's a great day Goodreads fans!
Why? Because I just got a copy of The Art & Craft of Story: 2nd Practitioner's Manual by Editor, writer and publishing industry Blogger - Victoria Mixon.
It is my view, maybe you agree, that writers never really stop learning and growing and should read credible books on the craft by credible authors. Victoria, and this just isn't my opinion(read the reviews on this book), more than qualifies in the "all-of-the-above" category.
Plus, I highly recommend following VM's truly awesome site and check out the top notch interviews and guest blogs by notable authors and others in the publishing industry. I've been following her for some time and I hope you will too. From what I've seen in my flip through the book so far, this isn't just another book on writing, it's a legitimate handbook for the author, the SERIOUS author.
That's why, here, I'm posting this even though I've read numerous "how-to" writing books and never done a review, until now.
Stay tuned writers and writing fans, more on this book soon!

View all my reviews

Monday, October 3, 2011

Update from my little world...

 Just wanted to let you know what I'm up to lately, it's been awhile since my last post. I'm 76K or so into my novel and approaching the climax scenes and tying in all the subplots to it. Scene work is intensive when it's life and death action involving characters, both good and bad as the author tries to keep it from being a "dud" type conclusion and having NOT forgotten any of the aspects that readers will want to know "So, what happened to?"
And, not that I'm looking past my work here but I'm VERY mindful of the fact that I need a line-editor as the next step, then a good editor with exp. in thriller novels for structure and all the good stuff. Editing for writers is a major step, and for me a step that looks like Mount Everest at the moment. Why? Because it's expensive to get a good editor, both kinds and I'm a little short on cash right now. I know, also, that the majority of writers are too. This is one issue I hope to solve in the next few weeks.
I'm working on the tracks to a song I hope to release soon today. Several versions with different effects and vocal lines are needing to be distilled down to one track we can launch. I think you'll like this tune no matter wha type music you prefer because it's a universal dance tune with a theme and beat the whole world knows. In case you're wondering: Yes. I do have music biz exp. and have had a few tunes make it to country radio in the past. This song is not country but mainstream pop/dance and I believe the world will love it.
 Anyway, that's it for today, I hope to see you on Twitter or FB soon!

...you know where to find me....


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Two Deaths of Daniel HayesThe Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had never heard of this author until yesterday(I need to get out more...) when I noticed the slick, cool cover on the book and was intrigued by the title and the story-line blip on the inside flap. I decided to take a chance on Marcus Sakey's book and today 60 or so pages in I couldn't be more thrilled. Like I said, just because I had never read anything by this author doesn't mean he isn't well known.

The opening of the book is a stellar translation through the character's senses, in third POV, (which reads like 1st POV and almost caused my writer brain to melt) wherein we feel his confusion and literal pain, into vivid images of a desolate, near freezing beach.....somewhere.

With no idea who he is or why he finds himself laying naked, near death, as icy waves wash over him, the discovery of an expensive sports car nearby is where his fight for life and remembrance will begin. As far fetched, on the surface, as this type scenario might sound Sakey pulls it off using both barrels. Skilled narration and description. Daniel Hayes, if that's who he really is, according to the paperwork in the BMW - is a little off the reservation. No wallet, only car type paperwork and a gun in the glove box, he slowly brings himself back to life, having crawled into the vehicle and turning on the heat.

From there the pace goes into hyper drive.

Bits and pieces float to the surface of "Daniel's" mind and soon he finds himself running from the police in a little Maine beach town. He decides to head back to LA not having any idea if he really is Daniel Hayes and why, if he is, he ended up on a beach in Maine dying of hypothermia.

I'm maybe 60 or so pages into this book and look forward to making time later today to read more of it. Sakey's literal, sometimes gritty and always direct "voice" is a refreshing blend of realism and good old fashioned thriller intrigue. His sentence word choices will impress you even if you're not a writer. If you ARE a writer, then keep a notepad handy you're in for a lesson.

If nothing else(and there's plenty...) Sakey's energy, with a polished grit all his own, is infused deeply in this story, and, no doubt all his work. He has a substantial back-list which I will proceed to work my way through but for now I'm going to enjoy a writer after my own heart.

More on my thoughts as I read through this cool book.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I remember...

Here's the rewrite of this post. I was very upset from watching the 9/11 replays on TV before I wrote this and upon reviewing it this morning I realized it was a bit choppy. Hopefully, the new and improved version isn't and my thoughts translate better.

     Sitting here today, sunday morning, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, as much as I wanted to write something in terms of an update on my novel's progress and blabber about my journey as I careen down the writers road, I just couldn't. At this moment they don't seem important.
Like you maybe, I remember exactly where I was and I also remember how, somewhere deep inside when I heard the first plane had struck the tower and saw the footage of what appeared to be a deliberate crash - I knew. When the second plane struck, by then, I was absolutely sure it was a terrorist attack. Other reports of at least two other planes, one hitting the Pentagon and the other, Flight 93, crashing in a field somewhere in Pennysylvania underscored my conviction and like everyone else I was wondering what would happen next. Sometime later in the day the phrase "Are you ready? okay, let's roll..." became a part of our memory because it seemed to characterize a spirit that runs deep within the hearts and souls of many Americans. Every day people took on the enemy and paid the ultimate price, perhaps saving thousands of lives in doing so.
We'll never know but I'm thinking it's probably a good guess Flight 93 was headed for a significant target. I believe the men and women on board Flight 93 knew that and sacrificed themselves to save others.
(Dear God, if I only had a fraction of that kind of character and courage.)
I can't imagine the horror of those on the planes and in the towers who knew or suspected that they might be talking to their loved ones for the last time.
Hearing some of the conversations replayed just absolutely tore my heart to shreds.
In NYC when many were running for their lives from the buildings engulfed in flames, others were running in. I recall fearing for their safety as they entered the buildings to help people get out.
Bodies of people jumping from the towers were hitting the roofs and porticos below with horrifyingly loud thuds and crashes. People on the ground were advised to stay inside so as not to be struck by them.
Of all the sights and sounds of that day, now ten years later, that is the one that still and will always haunt me the most.
I remember screaming at the TV for everyone to get out get out get out get out get out......
When the buildings collapsed I stood there in my living room, my mouth hanging open, knowing that as I watched thousands were being killed.
I heard and read in the following days, weeks, months and years since 9/11 of how we, as a nation, had lost our innocence that day, and, maybe in a sense we did but I also knew it wasn't the first time. I'm reminded of the film footage of the attack on Pearl Harbor too and I wonder what part of us was lost on that day. The day JFK was murdered. The day Martin Luther King was killed. When Vietnam vets returned to their country amid scorn and ridicule, in the 60's and 70's.
I think we lost our innocence a long long time ago.
Some days I'm not even sure we ever were, innocent.
Not to say that we're guilty but to say that we, as a nation and a people, have been down this road before for many of the same reasons and each time we have faced tragedy and loss together.
     We all, as a country, live and die by the same sword and if that sword is not the sword of truth and liberty then we are no better than our attackers. If we become complacent or smug about who we are, or, if we turn our eyes from the true condition of this world as we have clearly done in the past, then history is bound to repeat itself. If we forget.
Full body scans at the airports and phone and email screening will not stop it either. I'm not saying we shouldn't do it, I'm saying it won't be enough. We know a lot more than we did pre 9/11, about a lot of things. We've become a nation looking over our shoulder, even here at home.
It's discouraging to think that evil runs amok on this earth with victims aplenty.

We've given many sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers in the cause to rescue and protect each other and this country.Our ideals are worth fighting for.
Ideals we, myself included, all believe in. They are also the reasons we were attacked.
I really don't think we ever forgot, I just think we didn't remember.
I remember....

....you know where to find me...


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Steven Gore's new release "Act of Deceit"

Act of Deceit: A Harlan Donnally NovelAct of Deceit: A Harlan Donnally Novel by Steven Gore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Steven Gore has very quickly, with just 2 books, established himself in the coveted marquee line-up of top male thriller authors. This, his third book, out Sept. 1st. is the first edition of a new series with a new character - Harlan Donnally.
I finished this advance copy of Act of Deceit by Steven Gore on saturday.
The remarkable aspect, which gives our hero Harlan Donnally such legitimate depth and believe-ability lies in Steven Gore's professional background as an investigator. The high end kind who can find out anything about anyone, anywhere in the world and make things happen with what he uncovers.
Fictional reality based in experiential reality, the very best kind.
There is no mistaking Gore's skill level, (he's published by Harper....), and the result is a very engaging, introspective character on a mission to keep a promise and make things right, in memory of the dying man he made that promise to. A man with a past he hopes to keep hidden.
Harlan Donnally is not easy to figure out, in fact we may never figure him out. He doesn't fit the mold of action hero, whatever that is these days, yet the qualities we might look for are there, in spades. Like many of us Harlan is a work in progress but sure of the origins of his expanding convictions.

Really good sub plotting, killer dialogue, transitions and narration that draws zero attention to itself, this novel introduces us to a different kind of guy. It's a high speed thrill ride through the seamy darkside of a very controversial issue with a single minded goal that requires some very hard choices by our man. Choices which may cost him his life. Yet he persists and pursues, finding himself up against formidable odds and bad guys in Mexico. The stakes are raised again and again and where most people would walk, no run, away he stays, stands and delivers. Harlan's way of handling things range from pure determination to raw brutality to ultra shrewd thinking. A masterful portrait and character sketch by Gore.
No assumptions, presumptions or cookie cutter anything in the dynamic.
Flaws? Sure. In spite of them his single mindedness to get the job done is what will keep this character in your mind and cause you to look forward to the next installment in the series.

As a reader you'll need to bring your A game, it'll be worth it, trust me.
As a writer - bring your note pad and an ice pack.

I think readers and writers alike will love the twists and turns and at the end you'll throw your head back, wipe the sweat from your brow and laugh.

.....you know where to find me......

View all my reviews

Monday, August 29, 2011

Iron HouseIron House by John Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My first book by John Hart, "Iron House" makes me feel like I wish I had read his other books too. And I will.

Iron House (I'm maybe 250 pages into the story) is the most amazing blend of literary eloquence in writing and graphic narration/description I've ever read. The reviews say "riveting" and other terms reserved for the bestsellers of our day, and believe me, they're all true.

I honestly didn't know what to expect as I picked up this novel but the reviews spoke well of it and I liked the title. I'm glad I did.

Third person POV, complex and love/hate characters, including our hero who fits no mold I can think of, intrigue, classic thriller plotting and killer pacing make this an awesome read for both writers and seasoned readers alike. For writers it's a virtual clinic in POV shifts and story arcing. Not to mention the clearly advanced style Hart has already attained after this his fourth novel release. Amazing.

Readers are in for an e-ticket ride and nothing short of a burning page turner. I usually have a book figured out by now, the who-did-it thing and all that, but not so with this book. VERY CLEVERLY WRITTEN.

I'm as serious as I can be.

Like I said, I'm a little better than halfway through the book and I'll wait till I'm done and complete this review with an overall picture of the story and my final thoughts.

If you find yourself looking at this review at a point where you're looking for a good book, well, look no further.

Iron House is your next read.

*More soon.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Huh? Did you say something?

Hi kids,
 "You must be willing to do the work, grasshoppa..."
These words (I just made up...) have haunted me for a number of years. When I was younger, things, some world class, came easily and I became spoiled and entitled and when it got difficult I just jumped to another one. I never really realized just what "professional" meant because even though I had the goods and aptitude(sports, acting, design, etc.), I just didn't have the mindset, and, even more sickening: I didn't even realize it. We may cause our own failures and our own bitternesses and never know it. It wasn't until I got older and by some miracle of revelation that I understood and immediately panicked because I knew it was getting late in the game.
Writing is one of the trade-crafts here on earth that require work, hard work, and a learning curve that never really ends, even though you may be paying your bills with book sales. No amount of song and dance or fist pounding tantrums or schmoozing can replace the day to day grind of learning to write, and then writing. For me, mainstream commercial fiction, thriller genre, is where I hope to plant my flag and hopefully the hurricane force winds of fate will once again lift me to that mountain top in my soul and I can rest knowing I really was, finally, "willing to do the work."
I recently released a short story that I have lost all objectivity with, in terms of possibly editing it, which it still needs. I look back at it now a month or two later and I cringe. Someday soon I will rewrite and re-release it. I think essentially it's a good storyline and has a few decent sentences.
The book I'm working on at the moment is a high action thriller starring a guy who's life suddenly changes radically and people are ending up dead all around him and he finds himself on the run living on instinct from moment to moment. I can relate, and hopefully translate my own blood and guts, life and death experiences to this guy without him becoming the face of vengeance.
Sometimes our lives change in ways we do not welcome or want. But, when we travel down a road, let's say The Writers Road, we cannot expect the familiar faces and places and security of home to follow us or be set into the moving landscape hurtling past us continually, or where we might waylay for the night or a season. Time moving forward, or at least in a linear direction, keeps moving whether we like it or not. Moments savored, all too soon disappear like a mist. The one constant we are granted is the fruits of our labor, and it is to that end I now endeavor to persevere and in fact treasure the chance to do so.
Thanks to everyone who reads this and/or follows me in social media, I appreciate it and will try my best to be a friend back to you too.
I highly recommend reading Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, blog and perspectives for authors, especially new ones.    Mark's Blog
Look around at his other posts too. He has some really good ideas and many writers may not realize just how much of a techie he is.
I'm at just over 50 thousand words into my thriller and I'm writing some very high action scenes, that's why I haven't been around as much. Then it will be onto the finding the money to tap into editing process on a high level.

 ...you know where to find me...


Thursday, August 4, 2011

From the battlefield...

Hi All,
 I'm grinding my way through the 40's in my novel trying to create very high stress action scenes with both tension and....(I can't think of the other word) but I usually scan the social media world first before I get to writing. Today I happened upon an article and video of the Harper CEO Brian Murray talking about a number of things, including libraries and how they matter to Harper. He makes some really good points and expresses, what I think, are some great perspectives on book sales. Below the article you'll see a couple of comments that will make you wonder, though both contributors make good points.
DBW article with Harper CEO

The landscape of publishing may be changing in terms of delivery methods in the rapidly changing digital frontier, but like Murray says, it's still ultimately about getting books in peoples hands, whether that be via ereaders or whatever. I found it interesting when he expressed his thoughts on the publisher view(Harper) of authors and also, the struggle to find the most commercially viable books. I have a friend, a major author who is on Harper and I would die to be one of their authors, as would most writers of fiction.
I hear and see a lot of stuff written about the new world of self publishing and all that, but for me, if I could get a deal with a major pub house I would jump on it in a heart beat. At the end of the day, for a writer, it's about a lot more than just writing and self editing and trying to self pub and promote in the individual issue sense. I'm tech savvy too but that doesn't mean I want to spend a huge amount of time doing and learning what it takes to be a self promo pro, as an author. It's just too much. This is why you see major indie authors signing with major publishers. Read Amanda Hocking's post about why she did it, Joe Konrath too. Many writers start down that road and eventually realize that the self promotion part is the tough one, if nothing else but from a time standpoint. Not to mention cover art, editing on several levels, and formatting, and finding a good print co. if you want a hard copy version too, which I do.
This isn't to say that it can't be done. I see authors who have great book review sites and blogs with "how-to" instructions everywhere. Some even have books doing well on the digital charts. It can be done if you have enough tech savvy and/or money to have a good promo co. do it for you, and there are some good ones out there. But for the author/self promo types, behind the scenes, I know they struggle with the one element a writer treasures but has only so much control over and that's - TIME.
And believe me when I tell you, having a large blog or social media following is not a guarantee of anything.

     Take a look at this article and play the interview video. No modern author, in his or her right mind, would or should ever write off big publishing, no matter how defiant you are about them. They are out to sell books. They have the staff, the knowledge and money to do it and they WILL figure out how to ride the tiger into the future. I personally don't think the major houses are going anywhere.
True, the playing field, in some ways, is more level and that's great. I love the idea of being able to get my stuff in front of people with enough hard work and tech smarts, but if I had my way, I would recluse myself and write all day, every day and leave the rest of it to the pros. It may not work out that way, but I'm going to give it a good try and take my first novel effort as far as I can and hope it gets someone's attention.
Eventually I hope to be able to pay my electric bill too.

...you know where to find me.........

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Short Story is out....finally!

 Hi all, I know I've been missing in action lately.
This short story, now available on Smashwords for the various ereaders is one of the reasons why. I'm also 40K + into my 1st formal thriller novel and I work on it almost every day. Aside from the usual "life" stuff, some of it near crisis level, the book is moving along. I hope you'll take a look at this story, it's a classic example of self-publishing on 0 budget and I have a lot of friends to Thank including Jessica Riggles ( @Jesilea on Twitter) and Barbie (known as KeeperofDreams on FB and Twitter)
Here's the link to my Smashwords page where you can look over a sample of the 3400 word short story, (at .99 cents it's still a deal...) and I hope you decide to buy it and add it to your library.

The Train Whistle. A short story.

I hope to have the Kindle version up soon but there are one or two formats on my SW page that Kindle supports, you should see them there. I'll let you know when the official Kindle version is out. I'm a Nook fan so I have it in my Nook already.
 It was kind of a cool moment for me, this being my first actual fiction story published anywhere and even though I published it, it's still out there for sale and it gives me a feeling that I'm moving forward. In my present situation that in itself is a colossal thing..
For me it was the first of many such milestones, God willing.
I will be posting another blog edition right here very soon.
(We've been working on my dance tune too, I forgot to mention that, so far it sounds great.)
Alright well, that's it for now. I'll be online mostlikely on Twitter and looking in on FB every now and then. Again much heartfelt THANKS to Barbie and Jess for hookin' me up!

...you know where to find me...


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Less blogging - More writing...

      A few minutes ago I read a post, a link to a download actually, from Seth Godin's "The Domino Project" page and I hope you go over there and take a look at what Seth is doing. 
A marketer? No. THE marketer, along with Guy Kawasaki, I think these two guys are the best out there.
 The Domino Project - Seth Godin
Those of you who have followed me for any length of time know that I am not the biggest fan of the way marketing is done by many of the so-called marketers out there. Especially the ones online and in social media. I monitor my Twitter and Facebook accounts carefully to limit, as best I can, how many and what types I allow. Early on, in my Twitter and Facebook life I allowed almost any of them because I thought quantity was good. Wrong. It took me a lot of hours, and still does, to delete accounts from following me. I've probably deleted several times more followers than most people have. It's definitely over ten thousand but that includes the weirdos and porn people too. I don't take my end of social media too seriously but I take it serious enough and you should too if you're going to do it. Just don't invest you identity to the point that you flex you creative soul from the ups and downs or trends in social media. 
(I often wonder why more of the major authors don't engage fans in social media. I'm not saying hang out all day but I am saying I think they should connect. I'm convinced they could add a couple zeros on their sales figures and make a lot of people happy to be in direct contact with them too.)

     The article at the end of this link brings up some good points. I want you to click on the John Mayer link too, although I think Mayer thinks he's a bigger star than he actually is, he brings up some very good points and I'm happy to see him going back to what made him such a gifted song writer and performer in the first place. He lost his way and he knew it AND he did it in front of the whole world in social media - on Twitter.

Seth gets to the point I think, with this article and this is something I must say, dawned on me awhile back and this is essentially the point: Work the writing. Don't detract too much from the writing and the development of the writing. I myself have been guilty of this and it's a pitfall that many thousands of writers are falling into at this very moment. You are NOT you're Twitter or Facebook identity, it is you, and if you intend to be a respected(whatever that really means....) and bestselling author then you need to be about the writing not the 'telling' people you're a writer. I mean by this that don't give it too much credence. You'll get a lot more famous a lot faster if you crank out a book that creates buzz and money than you will developing a huge following or doing a serious amount of hustling and ass kissing in and on social media or in the blog-o-sphere. Besides, and keep this in mind; many people will only, if ever, give you any thought or tweets or whatever if you can help them. Others will see your sincerity, if you actually have any, and reciprocate any and all effort you make on their behalf. And almost no one does that, un-selfishly anyway. That is the key to what social media activity you engage in, in my view. That's the deal out here in the jungle.                                                     
     I have 2 Twitter accounts, 4 or 5 actually, but my two main ones started out as completely separate in terms of what I needed or wanted them for. Now the're pretty much close in content, I even use the same photo, which is a bad idea in some ways but I do have a lot of different friends on each. TWR will end up being the more technical or professional side of me and my writing while my DA Twitter page will be just me, Daniel. Yes, there is a difference. I help my friends and or people whose work I admire every single day. I've heard from a couple major author friends that my blogging, social media activity and reviews have actually influenced their sales noticeably. 
In case you're wondering, I started blogging over 3 years ago in an industry where there was a need for good writing on issues that needed attention. Then a couple of years into that I went on radio. I have some background so, going into social media I brought a lot of people with me and found even more. It's simple but not easy. Any way you want to look at promotion or self promotion or branding(I hate this term) or whatever it means to you I will strongly caution you to think carefully about using dis-associative terms and tactics in trying to endear yourself to the world. If you're a writer then BE a writer who drops in to give a little support to other writers and your industry as a whole. Marketing expertise is not going to impress anyone, at least not anyone looking for literary superstars to read and enjoy, or say Hi too. Most of the marketers, the big ones, are making their money from selling books on marketing. Books they release in stages. Very few of them do anything else, with the exception of sidebar money streams connected to the "brand" they've built. Clever if you like that sort of thing. For me, being a creative writer appeals a lot more and that's the route I've taken. This is why, though I could have been, I am not a marketer. I don't even like sitting here at the computer, believe it or not.
I'm a writer, an artist, working on my craft who makes time for friends and other writers. 

I recommend you read this article, click on all the outlinks and meet the people Seth hangs with. You'll get a really good insiders view of what makes the ENTIRE internet tick and as a writer you'll be able to determine the best route to take on "the writer's road."  OK?
YOU can do this....

...you know where to find me......


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Update: The Horror...

I'm working on uploading my little short story to Smashwords, in, hopefully, the premuim listing. After a few days of "WHAT?!?! type stuff I decided there was too much of a learning and sidebar issue curve to take the time to do it and I opted to enlist someone's help. Thanks God for social media, I found someone who works for, or is, a publisher and she says she'll format and upload it for me for $25.
Works for me.
I have enough tech skills and experience to learn this stuff, it's mostly figuring out Word,  then adjusting the way Word displays and then being able to adjust the "settings" for the appearance of the piece when it's splashed onto the Smashwords page. Otherwise known as formatting. I cannot imagine doing this with an 80K word story. No way.
Here's the thing, and this is something for YOU to think about too. We've all heard the phrase that speaks to, "picking our battles", right? For me it's the same thing and that reality has been graphically brought home to me having spent 3 days trying to master the process of upload and tweaking and photo adjustment and a bunch of other stuff my ego wouldn't let me let go of. If I told you how many hours a day I spend, already, on the computer, or netbook(on my nightstand in my room), or laptop or iPhone(if I'm outside or in the bathroom or at Target) you might not believe it. I don't mind, in fact I love learning, but some things just don't ring my bell. Like formatting and book covers.
Look, I don't give a damn, I'll do what I 'gotta' do to pull this off but again PICK YOUR BATTLES.
 My point is that I'm prioritizing my time, I have to and so do you. I was absent the day someone etched in stone the imperative to learn Word so I use Works and Notepad to tweak and layout my stuff, even when I was blogging to a million or more people. It irks me that Word becomes so invasive to my system and that it costs so much.

I focus on the two peak things I need to do, every day. Write and Network. I put in biz class high speed Wi-Fi in the house. Speed, capacity and access. And, YES I actually keep in touch with the people I follow, bloggers and writers, reviewers and readers and people I just want to follow(THIS is why SPEED is paramount, both download AND UPLOAD). Learning the craft of writing came behind my blogging and radio stuff because I could do those things on the fly. I traveled for almost 3 years nonstop. Almost a year later I'm still feeling the effects of 20 hour days for 3 years, with little time or energy to write during it all.
Writing on a high level is very serious business, I'm sure you know this but I'm just saying - I take it seriously and am working on it all the time and it takes a LOT of time. So, I'm sure you too make choices, every day about all kinds of things on a lot of levels. Self publishing means self promotion and that means WORK. Building a "platform"(I'm still not sure what that means and I don't think anyone else does either even though you see it used all the time) or network, is a major element and will take time to build and maintain.
Anyway I think you get the point.
Evaluate, re-evaluate and focus on the elements you need to, stay flexible, loose and know it's a blessing for anyone in the publishing industry to give you the time of day and a miracle for someone to take an interest in you.
Technology is the horse you rode in on, nothing more.

The HORROR of it all hits me when I look back and realize I should have spent my time more wisely on the things that matter most to me at this point in the struggle. It's about WRITING  and PEOPLE.



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's NOT as easy as it seems....

     What do I mean by "it's not as easy as it seems" ??? I mean, okay, let's say you've been writing (a really cool short story) day and night, editing as best you can and now you finally come up for air hoping a waiting world will crowd around to see what you've come up with. But wait, you think, I need feedback to see where this thing is.....After all there may be things here I just can't see (and, there will be.....). Crit groups are good, paying for high end editing is better in my opinion, though there is much to be said for the invaluable and multiple opinions a crit group will offer. Both work for me. I knew this beforehand however - the time it takes. And, well, it's kind of like networking: you can spend as much time as you have to spare, doing it. Genre specific reviewers who can put you on their roster, blogger writers with skill and patience for up and comers is something to explore and great avenues too, if you can find them. What you'll find is what I'm finding and that is this: It's work to get your stuff looked at, it's work getting the piece tightened up, it's work putting it into various formats to send out, it's work doing your homework to find people to help you. Sitting down to write, even to write well - isn't as easy as it seems when it comes to what you need to do before, during and after, writing a story.
I'm finding that the most difficult aspect is not networking, it's not finding other writers or reviewers or editors or figuring out what to do, it's figuring out when and how to do what you need to do. The world, you suddenly realize, is NOT your oyster....
Planning is simple in theory but it will need to be an ever evolving, flexible plan based on your writing schedule and resources as well as the present tense availability of others whom you will surely need. Every time you look at the big picture, it might have changed, and will keep changing.
Kind of like trying to pin the tail on a donkey on speed.

You know where to find me....


Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm editing.....

     A short note, I didn't realize it's been a few weeks since my last post. Hard to imagine being on the computer and not having the time to blog, but it's true. Editing is a process that requires a lot of time and focus, especially when you might have a lot of eyes on you watching for your first effort, even if it's a short story. I'm learning a lot about self editing, that is, taking your little baby as far up the writer's road as you can on your own, as tight as possible. For me, this piece is about redoing a lot of sentences and trimming it a little, and looking at my arc, etc. There's also symbolism and showing, not telling, in a piece like this - in 3rd. (POV)
     Like you maybe, I read a lot. It's deceiving how the great writers today make it look so easy. Lean, evenly paced, well blended high end work that looks so simple it makes you think you can do it....like....today...then you write a few chapters, look it over and alarms go off somewhere in your writer brain and you can't figure out why till you go over the work in a elemental breakdown way. This is also part of the process....and for those of you further up the writer's road than me, you already know this....(it's okay to laugh now....) I don't want to sound too much like a beginner here because in some ways I'm not, I know this stuff from writing a blog that had readers all over the world and some in journalism on a major league level, friends, who let me know stuff.
Fiction is a horse of a different color, when it comes to writing. Mastery of this craft is a long road...one that I've been on for awhile, and I've discovered that only in our work can we tell where we're at. No amount of talking, thinking, hoping, dreaming, or self delusion can replace the mechanics and practice of writing, and it's all practice till you get to a commercially viable level, at least for me and in my view. I wish I had the desire and capacity to be a true literary type and writer, but I don't...Maybe it's the mutt in me....(now I'm laughing...).
As you know, I'm on Twitter and I hope you'll head over and look me up and zing a few tweets back and forth. All my social media links are in the sidebar here, even my Goodreads page. I'm not so much trying to plug my stuff as I am hoping you'll get involved for your own sake and on your own terms. Every author needs to take some responsibility for their own promotion.

Daniel on Twitter

The Writers Road on Twitter

...you know where to find me...


Saturday, April 16, 2011

When the Thrill is Gone....

    You're excited about the book rolling around in your brain. (For me it's more like a bag of rocks in a dryer on HIGH) Notes everywhere, an outline maybe fills the pages of a spiral notebook. Compelling images of characters and their plight, or, hero escapades  play and replay in your mind. [You've done your research so some expert doesn't call you an idiot when the book comes out.] Finally, the moment comes when you sit down to begin composing your breakout novel, the book that will make you a household name and put an Escalade in the driveway.
You are inspired and thrilled to be a writer.
You wonder if it will be good enough as you slog through the sentences, paragraphs and pages, but you press on. The family, in the next room, is listening to Wheel of Fortune. They have no idea what the agony of artistic endeavor does to a future bestselling author such as yourself. But, in their ignorance, you love them anyway.
Your drifting. Back to the writing Einstein.....
Are you adding the elements the writing books and blogs and author vids you've read and watched tell you to? Have you practiced enough? Is this book practice? WHAT?
Commas. Dear God, watch the commas, and SHOW Don't Tell!
Make sure you ratchet up the tension like Donald Maass says in his great books on writing fire and creating breakout novels.
Right. Got it.
Modifiers, verbs and adverbs. Ok, I was absent that day.....
AND you don't want the story to appear too amateurish so you read aloud and look for rhythm, or rather LISTEN for rhythm. Gotta have rhythm....Side margins, double spacing, oh yeah.
Do I need cover art with some good looking young guy with killer abs and a haircut like the singer from Def Leopard, on the cover? Sure. Even if it's a story about redoing the driveway? Absolutely.

Bio. ( for the back cover)
 Can I use a photo of myself just after I woke up or do I need one that makes me look like an accountant with a "edge"? How about the one I took awhile back, you know, with a hip three day growth and pissed off look? Works for me....

Moving right along.

Occasionally, as you labor at the really noisy keyboard you peek through the grungy blinds to see if the news crews are stationing themselves in your yard yet, in anticipation of the book of the decade. Nope. Not yet. But they will.....
Hour after hour, day after day you write, and write, and write. You try not to go back and revise the previous chapters, but you do sometimes. Some mornings you dread sitting down at the computer, you just don't feel the "mojo" and no one will notice anyway, right? Yes, right.
Sometimes you wonder if you'll pull this off, if you have what it takes, then you read a runaway bestseller and think to yourself: Yeah, HELL NO..... 
Not knowing what else to do you plow forward through rain and sleet and hail and snow. (cue the soundtrack from the film Exodus please....someone...)
As the words and chapters pile up, you sneak a look by reading what you've written thus far and realize this novel is taking form, shape. A story, a really good one is unfolding from your finger tips.
Suddenly one day you understand. You get it. Yes, it's work, maybe even hard labor. But something now pulls you forward. Something else.
Someone from the living room yells; "Watermelon Festival in Iowa!" in answer to a "phrase" puzzle on WOF. Pat Sajak, in the background, almost sounds as if he's even interested in his own show.
You smile and refocus.
Forged in the furnace of fire you are.
When your daughters psychotic kitten leaps onto the keyboard erasing 3 hours of work in an instant and then you twist your knee trying to catch the little sh....darling...to rationally discuss the matter.
Yes grasshoppa......Forged like iron you will be.

True, the initial thrill is gone....but it has been replaced by a steel will and confidence borne of determination, a new and better kind of thrill. The willingness to do the "work" is something you now are a partaker of.
For love of the game....or craft....or art....is why you do it.  Not the thrill. Not the thrills that you once did it for, anyway. They are now gone. You don't even look in the rear-view anymore. Your lazer gaze is now fixed on the writers road, ahead to the horizon. You grit your teeth and smash the gas pedal.
The awareness that you may be way to theatrical crosses the mental field of vision like a rabbit darting across the interstate, but you dismiss it, allowing yourself a little useless drama and paying no attention to the puffs of fur coming from under the back end of the car as you zoom onward.
Amused, you sculpt the novel of your dreams, word by word and page by page.
The thrill isn't gone....you smile knowingly.....

You know where to find me....


Thursday, March 24, 2011

My REAL life...

Hi Folks,
I wanted to blog out a little update and mention a couple things.
Same as you maybe, as I careen down The Writer's Road like a pin ball on speed I'm finding that it's only when I truly slow down and give more, deeper thought to the "side-bar"(they're NOT sidebar) issues that come up when it comes to the actual fruit of my brain and inspiration, as it appears on paper.
THAT'S when it hits me. (Thank God for these moments...)
What hits me?
Let me explain: Recently I submitted a short piece I've been working on for a couple months, to someone in publishing whose name you might recognize, for her evaluation on my ability since we may be working on some other things together. (She's an industry expert, an author with 2 red hot titles and a mega force with a LOT going on.)
I realized, to my horror, that many fundamental elements of writing - WHICH I KNOW - had been left out of the flow and structure of the piece, a feel good story. It was overly descriptive, WAY too many modifiers, verbs and adjectives, the struggle came and went more as character building and NOT the axis of the "pay-off"(don't ask me what that means....) as I intended, wrongly thinking it would be perceived the way I wrote it(or not). Then, of course falling prey myself, in a couple spots, to what I call "presumed assumption" - where the author in an amateur moment omits key elements, knowing he knows them and then stupidly leaving them out thinking everyone else does too. And if that wasn't bad enough I told a little too much in the way of detail here and there, thus robbing the reader of the joy of imagination and thrill of marveling at my literary classic.
Most people stop at "trying to hard", but me? OH NO......I try too hard to try too hard. (I'm an extreme adventurer....it's a gift....the doctor says.)
For a few moments there I felt like a rank amateur until I read the first and last and a few in between comments she made regarding my ability, which was there....somewhere. I had to go back a few times to the ones mentioning that my mistakes could be fixed and that she felt I really could write.
THIS is what I mean by "side-bar" issues. We know they are not, and, in fact are the foundational elements of writing. So,what hit me in one sledge hammer moment was that the residual influence of my other writing endeavors and complete lack of regular writing sessions may have left gaps in my second nature tool box and the result was what she read and commented on.
Sometimes I piss myself off, and this moment was the mother of all piss-offs. Not at her, at myself, for not sitting back, examining the piece for just such boo-boos and correcting them.( I think, I, have comma issues, too, just, sayin',)
 Having been a blogger for a long time I'm well into 7 figures in overall readers of the various industry blogs I've written over a period of 3+ years and that's not supposed to impress anyone however it does mean that I've learned a few things. Blogging is NOT writing, fiction writing I mean. It has little to do with it other than the elements of punctuation, spelling and all that. Better writers write better blogs but better bloggers may not, or ever, be better writers.... and I was reminded of that the other day, even though I've wanted to be a writer for much longer than I've been a blogger.
Writers in the 21st Century are faced with the serious dilemma of dividing their time in the right amounts in the right directions and there really is no model for it yet other than the trial and error phase some of us are going through. For me, it's a huge shift both time-wise and mentally to get into writer mode from blogger and techie/networker mode but I'm getting better at it. We all struggle for the time and clarity to write, too.
Just a thought.....
Also, and this has nothing to do with what I'm saying here but bears mentioning - this is why I have such profound respect for journalists who are also great fiction writers, like Alex Berenson.

Update: I think I'm moving. I stumbled onto a property(that I've been stalking) the other day and may be buying. Though smaller, it has the unbelievable qualities of being closer to the beach, we would own it AND it would be 1/3 of the cost of the half acre we are on now. I guess what I'm saying is that maybe over the next couple weeks I may be MIA part of the time, doing My REAL Life....

You know where to find me....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Indie Bookstores, eBooks and Google Books

I've been looking into, (since Indie Book Stores will always have a place in my heart and upper billing on my activist list,) into the idea and upcoming trend of IBS's having an eBook list for readers who may still want to read and buy their books via the various "reader" formats. Here's an example: Book Hampton You can find them on Twitter too: Book Hampton on Twitter
The folks at this venerable store in one of America's most beautiful spots tell me they are on the "list" for Google Books and hope to be "live" by summer. As, I'm sure the book sellers in your area might, or at least should be. You may want to inquire as to when!
I feel strongly about this because maybe like you I do not want to see the brick and mortar bookstores get plowed under by the digital wave sweeping through the publishing industry and this may be the way to help keep them alive, while being genuinely price competitive. And, the real fact of the matter is that they don't have to be. Online it's a matter of buying from your book seller and of course, pricing. Right - we all get that, but if we have a choice the let's make the choice to support indie book stores too!
Google, believe me when I tell you, from what I've researched, plans to give their vendors the ability to give Amazon a run for their money in every index. If anyone can do it, it's Google Books. The major publishing houses are no doubt planning their new market models as we speak and will plot their continued 80% market dominance. Count on it. Amazon, well, Amazon will always be Amazon but so is Barnes and Noble, legitimate competitors in the eBook marketplace and having the vision and foresight to launch their own wildly successful reader, the "Nook", which is doing very well. You can also get these readers for your PC or Laptop if you don't have a reader yet. Google Books already has the downloads on their page for ALL the readers in the upper toolbar, including PC, as choices for the book buyer.
Many top selling authors are already publishing in ebook formats, including the traditionally published ones, including updating their backlists to re-enter the sales march. A good example is JA Konrath JA 's website make sure you click on "blog" in the upper left sidebar and scroll down to his wed. March 2nd posting. VERY GOOD INFO! He's also on Twitter: JA Konrath on Twitter  He is an "indie author", as is Amanda Hocking Amanda Hocking , another indie superstar, in terms of sales and trail blazing for ALL authors.
Here's the link for Google eBookstore : Google eBookstore Most of the authors I searched for are there with either direct links to a sales checkout on Google or a link to a list of sales sites like B & N, Amazon, etc. The list is growing on Google eBooks for store fronts that offer all the books and authors you like, hopefully soon your fav brick and mortar bookstore will be there too so you can buy and read books how and when you want to and still support indie book stores.
I also love the idea that in your Google account, it will store all your books so you can access them on any device anytime anywhere. Like I said, I think Google has a good plan and I expect them to grab more market share very soon but the thing is, for me, this vision also includes ALL the ways we can buy books. Since in my area there is no indie book store I have been using B & N online and at the store in the mall and may still till I find a small book store to support around here or maybe online like the one I mentioned up top, but YOU can get involved, if you're of a mind to, and, who knows you may see your own book on the shelf and in an online store you helped support too.
More on Google Books and Google eBookstore and what Indie Authors are and will be listed on it, also IF and HOW, in an upcoming blog post. I have contacted a few indie authors and Google so I can put this all together for you and as an author, for myself.
Keep up with Indie Author trends here too: The Indie Book Collective You can follow the books and careers of several indie author stars there and the means they are using to promote indie books and authors, just follow the link to their site and go from there. One of the founders, Carolyn, has a #1 Kindle eBook called "30 Pieces of Silver" so trust me these ladies know what they're doing.
More soon on all this stuff and the latest updates as I break new ground as an author and make my way down "The Writers Road"

You know where to find me....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

About this letter.....

I'm still working on my next official blog post about  my thoughts as I view the changing landscape of the publishing world and how it pertains to writers. Also a post on eBooks and how your deal with agents and publishers might change, and, what the money breakdown will be, or should be Trying NOT to rehash the zillions of other informational opinions on the countless writer and publishing industry blogs, I will as always, apply my views as I see them playing out in my own journey down "The Writers Road".

This piece below is something that appeared recently on Angie's Diary, a cool writer site you may be familiar with. This new and improved version still has not been proofed or edited by a professional.
I will be discussing it in my writers group soon but I wanted to put it up here on my blog in the meantime as a sample of an exercise in translation. The hard part was to write it in such a way as to sound like a regular guy not a writer writing it, yet still have a polished flow.
Maybe you'll take a moment to look it over and, if anything, let me know what you think.

It's a "letter", a story within a story from a dying man to his wife who passed away tragically when they were young parents. Years later, terminally ill, he writes this letter to her asking her to wait for him at this spot, their spot, a place on the shoreline, yet again. I hope you like it. I will be coming back to it every now and then to rework it. There are some things about it I do not like, others that I do and I think it's worth fine tuning. What do you think? I also want to say that this piece is total fiction other than the fact that I did turn to someone and speak those words on the backstairs of our apartment on a sunny summer afternoon by the beach many years ago when we were young. I am, to this day, happy that I took my own advice and hold forever in my heart of hearts those beautiful golden exciting days of my youth because they in fact never did come again. Sometimes, in the storms of life we cling to memories of days that once were, we treasure moments that 'may never come again'....
You know where to find me.



Letter to a Friend

Hi ,
Life here on earth hasn't changed much  since last we spoke. How stupid of me I thought, to write a letter to someone who would never receive it. I can almost hear you laugh even now as  I scribble on this paper.
Do you remember that summer afternoon when we were young and sitting on the back stairs where we lived by the beach? I turned to you and said, "Treasure these moments, they may never come again." Never in a million years did we think that they wouldn't and we kept on living till one of us didn't.
To this day I don’t know what made me say that. I've agonized with guilt over the years thinking I somehow caused what happened by speaking such a thing. You would have told me that I didn't, that such things will happen and we should go on as best we can. How desperately over the years have I needed to hear you say that.
You loved this spot by the water. I'm here now, writing this letter sitting on the coral rock we sat on where I first kissed you and where I asked you to marry me. It destroys and renews me at the same time to come but I still do. Our babies are so much like you and have grown up to have babies of their own. I see so much of you in all of them. I'm not sure if I've done a good job with our girls but they're beautiful and happy. I tried my best to raise them the way you would have. I brought pictures, if only you could see them. Maybe you can.
Sometimes laying in bed at night in the stillness I swear I feel you breathing on my neck and your heart beating against my back. I’ve dreamed of slow dancing with you in the moonlight till the sun came up like we did on our honeymoon. I never told you this but I needed you far more than you needed me but you probably already knew that.
The moments have seemed to slow in their passing, accompanied only by the thunder of silence but it's alright because there is no sound I want to hear now other than your voice.
It feels like I'm slipping away from this life and if I am then it means I'm getting closer to you and I‘m okay with that.
The doctor says I don't have long so I wanted to let you know and to ask you to wait here for me like you did the night I asked you to marry me and I was two hours late. When I finally got here you were waiting for me on this rock. Friends always wait for friends, you said smiling.
I never told you the truth about that because I was worried you would come to your senses and never want to marry me. I was so nervous I lost the ring and it took me and half the city to find it. Actually it was old Mrs. Murphy's poodle who found it on the side of the road in front of her house. Classic. I left it on the roof of the car when I took my jacket off. I was always in a hurry to get to you. I still am.
You told me once that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all and if you truly love then you can never lose. You were right. You were always right. I still consider myself the luckiest man in the world to have been so loved.

There’s much more to tell you but it can wait till we're together again. Joni's husband Mikey is here to help me to the car so I'll close this letter. He's a nice boy, you'd like him. He reminds me a lot of me when I was young, maybe a little smarter.
Wait for me here, I’ll see you soon.

                                      All my love always ,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Inspiration and other phantom mysteries...

Here's the link to a guest post I recently had come out on Rich Evans Writes
His latest book is "Asylum Lake", click around on his site you'll see other authors posts and good articles.
He's on Twitter and Facebook too. The links are there.

In a day  or two I will be posting here again, I'm working on a piece for struggling writers to try to make sense of "the writers road" to publication. For many, it will be the "indie" road, maybe for me too, we'll see. Still, traditional or indie published we, as 21st Century authors, need to be aware of our responsibilities and options when it comes to promoting ourselves and our work, and there's a LOT you can do.
Let me be clear about ONE thing first though, it's this: I am NOT one who advocates blitzkrieg type self promotion on any level, online or off. First of all 99% of the world doesn't give a damn who you are and the 1% who may, well, be aware - you're putting yourself out there fighting for their time attention and money alongside thousands of others who will be too. Your mother and aunt lucy might think the world of you but the "world" doesn't even know you - YET. A big fish in a small pond is a small fish in an open ocean but you still need to survive and eat and learning to do that is what this blog is all about.
There is NO turn-key "marketing" plan out there either, I don't care what you've heard or read or ANYONE tells you although if you follow successful authors you WILL see a pattern. YOU are YOU and only you can be you. The main thing to understand is this is an industry unique in the fact that, yes, it's about money, Thank GOD, but at the same time one of the very very few in a modern world where emphasis is placed and respect is given with genuine sensitivity to craftsmanship, substance and creativity. Not to mention the fact that authors enjoy the role of relating the worlds values and image to itself in a way as old as humans have been on the earth. There is NO other industry like it, and make no mistake it IS an industry, and all this term implies.
For me, attaining a high level of skill in the art of story-telling and the craft of writing is something I am deadly serious about, not overly serious but still focused in the right things and directions.
This is our lives we're talking about here, not just our professional aspirations but our donation of precious time, sweat and tears - without measure.
Next month I have a couple radio appearances and a few guest blog sessions I hope you'll take the time to read and listen to. I've been very blessed to have made friends in this industry with writers and great human beings I would have respect for even if they weren't writers, and if I end up selling a lot of books it will be directly due to the extension of their gracious hands.
My history and background may not matter in the big scheme of things but the sum of my experiences here on earth  have given me an edge and perspective I hope to infuse into my work, my writing, and give depth and dimension to my characters and plots. I hope the same for you. Don't ever try to be anyone else, be who you are and find your own way, keeping in mind the outlines of this business. Good is good and great is great when it comes to writing, as it is in other pursuits in life and your aspirations are simply the beginning of a marathon you better train for and be willing to endure, but be joyful always if and when you are counted as one of the many in the venerable trade. I do and always will.
The ditches on the roadside of life are filled with the wreckage of broken dreams. Look if you must at the tragedy but don't look too long.
We all have dreams and no one knows for sure why some achieve them and others don't and my hope is for anyone reading this to see yours fulfilled in due time. And this, the most precious of all of life's gifts - time - is the very thing no one is guaranteed, so make the most of it and - treasure these moments for they may never come again.
You know where to find me.....


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

An E-Publisher's Manifesto: E-Publishing Does Have It's Downsides

An E-Publisher's Manifesto: E-Publishing Does Have It's Downsides: "With all my recent grandstanding about how great, how awesome, how AMAZING e-publishing is (and it is), I think it only fair to balance this..."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

...ground control to Major Tom.....

I'm kind of a hybrid techie/writer, as many of you know. For me, and maybe for you too, I  accept and see  the changes in the publishing industry as a positive thing, for the most part. And, it really just isn't the industry itself that is changing but more like the industry reacting to the advance of technology and economic variables, then adapting. For writers too, in fact, as technology opens new and strikingly vast opportunities we must react and adapt. eBooks, social media, blog platforms, indie author and book trends, new industry business models and legalities, high tech promotional companies and even internet radio are new frontiers that must be understood, used and mastered. (More on internet radio in a later blog post)
It amazes me(not in a good way) when I see established writers just now coming online and even fewer who may already be online actually interacting with fans and readers. Yes, I understand the reluctance of many, it seems mind boggling and dizzying to try to gain perspective on the "big picture" of change, let alone break it down to the compositional elements, then learn and apply them. You probably don't want to hear this either - but guess what - it will require more of your precious time to do it too. A LOT more. Welcome to the future skippy... You may already be falling behind the curve. At least it's about control, and more of it. Others may even be unaware of the massive movement online of the average ordinary person or society's buying habits and how they are changing along with the delivery methods of information and product. Are you? 
The real shift in effort for the next 5 years, for writers, will be time management and mastery of multi tasking - technologically.  I don't think it'll be a "cookie cutter" road map for everyone, though the marketers would have you believe that. But it will be what it is, more and faster avenues of revenue. It'll get down to: How much can you stay on top of? How many different ways can you get your work, or book, into people's hands? How much time do you have, or are you willing to give to master as many avenues as possible? Are you aware of how many promotional platforms there are? What "they" are? (pssssst...scan the top writer, editor and publ. industry blogger sites.)  
It still, and always will be about the writing, (if you're a writer that is, and even if you're not). Let's not lose focus on that fact. What time and energy you have left you will be using for promotion. Period. That term includes networking. This is something I hope you can accept as a 21st century writer because it will be an every day part of you and your literary creations - from now on. Don't worry about the who, what, where, when and why's of it all, just think, and I've said this before, think about it all from the inside out not the outside in. What? Think about the reader, (you remember them, your fans?) Where and how will they, can they, find your work? More importantly: How many ways will you make it available to them and how many ways will you, can you, let them KNOW about you and your work? 
That's what it gets down to, doesn't it? 

eReaders, ok, cool, PC reader programs(most are free), all the readers mean is: you convert and promote the eBook version of  your book AND the audio and CD version, (I'm thinking too of future "flash drive" versions, kind of like a modern cd or dvd)  also there's online book blog and review sites, cyber blog book tour and book signing sites, ok cool, social media groups and individuals, book groups, reader groups(love these folks!), book stores of all types,(I LOVE LOVE LOVE small indie book stores - and - Barnes and Noble because I think they are visionaries in the promotion, distribution and sales of books in ALL formats, and they have their own reader), and Google Books(a brilliant idea, really) editors, (did I mention how much I LOVE editors?), publishers, online and off line literary mags, journals and groups, writer sites, writer group sites, public library sites and locations, (librarians will always have a special place deep in my heart, I'll tell you the story sometime). I'm sure many of you reading this could add to this list but I think you get the point. 
My advice? Please take this advice seriously, others do. Get a really good laptop or netbook or pad. Get a really good, or upgrade at least, (the) ram and video card on your old model pc at work or at home. If you can, upgrade your internet connection to the highest speed download AND UPLOAD you can afford, (psssst, or find a really good secure wifi connection at a McDonald's or Starbucks near you). Speed and flash capability are paramount for what you need to do. Ditch your Fred Flinstone pc and laptop and move into the future as soon as you can. Watch and micro-manage your budget for a coupla months, you can swing a 300 or 400 $ netbook or laptop with 4 or more gigs of ram! I use flash drives to save my work on too, they're cheap....so I can easily move it to any pc I want to. More on this stuff in another blog post too. Look - it's like this: You wouldn't enter the Daytona 500 on a skateboard would you? well.....you're fighting for attention AND dollars against people who have come to play with serious intentions and your equipment better be rockin'. Again, it's about speed, both in your web connection and in the pc.

Start with Twitter and Facebook. Take a few months to get into the rhythm of interacting every day with people, getting on lists, finding and following new people, clicking on links in bio's and in Tweets and FB posts. Look at other peoples sites, leave comments after you've actually READ something they wrote....
it's called: MAKING FRIENDS
......you've been doing it since you were a kid, use the same instincts. 
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads, all the links are in the right sidebar of this blog. 
And don't forget: BUY A BOOK!
That's it for now.
You know where to find me.