“Hey-I’m Back!”

I love the last scene in “The Color of Money.”

Vincent (Tom Cruise), the up-and-coming pool shark, asks Eddie (Paul Newman) why he thinks he can beat him. Eddie looks up from his pool cue, eyes Vincent, and says: “Hey-I’m back.” And then breaks.

I’m there. I can relate. I want back in the game. Not billiards, but in moving forward as an author.

I just handed Book III of my War of Whispers series to my publisher. Yeah, good feeling! LOVE the whole writing/editing stuff.

But now I’m faced with traversing the Himalayas of marketing, and I’ll be honest–“Hate it!”

Please don’t be offended; I’m just rethinking the “Ya’ Gotta Do THIS!” mumbo-jumbo that’s being sold like snake oil all over the place. If I really hate it, should I do it? After all, won’t you pick up on the fact that I’m not into it, that I’m pitching something that’s not genuine, that’s not me?

So instead, I’m looking for ways to meet people, whether online or at a cafe, that’s more in line with “me.” Organic is a buzz word, so maybe it’s that. I prefer authentic, real & meaningful to organic, which reminds me of a compost heap 🙂 But I digress…

So I’m rolling up my sleeves, grabbing my cue stick, and racking up the balls ala Eddie. And just like that last scene, if I get knocked down, beaten, and taken, I’m going to get back up, brush myself off and try again.

Only hopefully a wee bit smarter!

Three Rules To Writing

If life is a river, then I’m body surfing white rapids!

Work is SO busy that I hardly have time for anything else, but has that ever slowed me down? Of course not. I simply pick up the pace, sleep less and wonder why everyone is so irritable (after all, it ain’t me!)

Crammed into the work week is my training for a 100 mile bike ride to raise $$ for juvenile diabetes (JDRF) I log 150 miles a week which takes a ton-o-time and energy. And yeah, that was a plug to see if you’d consider donating or at least cheer me on.

That would be enough, right? BUT NO! I’m also working on Book III of my War of Whispers series. When? Well, that’s a silly question! Naturally this is done before sunrise. DUH!

So it’s little wonder that blog and Twitter posts have fallen by the wayside.

Nevertheless, I’m squeezing one out this morn and wanted to share a quest post I did for Jill Edmondson’s Blog.

I shared my experience with characterization and referenced Tears of Min Brock. Yeah, it’s a shameless plug for my book, but ‘ya gotta do whatcha gotta do! I hope you check it out and let me know what you think. Kinda bummed she posted the old cover for Tears and not the new one, but those things happen.

That’s it for now. After all, it’s 4AM and I’ve gotta pack my lunch before I bike @ 6 so I can run to work and get to Saturday in order to bike which leads to Monday when it starts all over again and…and…and…

When Crap is Crème Brûlée

Creme_BruleeWARNING!  I’m going to vent. In fact, you can file this under Marketing Sucks or Twitter Twitter Little Star! or I Like You, Will You Like Me?

I hate selling stuff. I just do. Oh, I’m passionate about my books and I know I’m the best person to sell them, but I’m an artist through and through and prefer being creative over sharing my elevator speech to another soccer mom.

I know I’m not alone in this quandary. Check out SC Harrison’s Blog  for her tongue-in-cheek insights.

Before you post witty, pithy comments to try and encourage me to sell or to remind me that it’s a necessary part of the job, let me say that I learned as much when I was a musician here in Nashville. More on that later.

So what has me shaking my fist at the Marketing Monster this morning?

Purchased Reviews!

I befriended a new Twitter author and checked out their book. 4 stars. Impressive. I scrolled through the gushing reviews to learn that many had given the book only 1 star. Curious, I read their comments.

Harsh! One even quipped that they purchased the book based upon the 4 stars but found the book to be poorly written with a weak storyline. They pressed through anyway in hope that it would get better.

It didn’t.

I know not everyone will like our books, but these reviews were polar opposite in comparison to the other comments. My gut tells me this author hired reviewers to get their 4 STARS so they could shoot to the top of Amazon.

As a retired music pro, I know what it’s like to swim with sharks, do business with squirrels and perform with snakes. Back in the day, I competed against musicians who were great at selling themselves and rocketed past me to better gigs. But as time unfolded, and they had to deliver the goods, they showed their true talent.

Amateurish.

As quickly as they were the top dog, they were dropped, forgotten and faded into oblivion. I continued to improve/persevere and found myself with better jobs and notoriety.

What’s my point?

Well, let’s get back to this author I have tied to the whipping post. It doesn’t matter how many blasted stars they have or how many Tweets they send or how AWESOME reviewers say their book about “Amish vampire finds true love with a gypsy-alien” really is (not the real title!) In fact, go ahead and label your crap as crème brûlée! Eventually readers will notice that foul taste is in their mouth and run for the toilet to heave.

But what has me really irked is that readers are the ones being bamboozled by the this shell game of “let’s hide the crap.” That is SO wrong!

As for me, I know I have a LONG way to go as a writer. I’ll continue to hone my craft and let my work (hopefully!) cut through the sword rattling that’s being done in cyber space.

Yes, I’ll continue to pound the pavement and keep my head above water in the social media frenzy, but I won’t succumb to paying for reviews.

EVER!

My readers deserve my best.

So do yours.

I’m NOT a Creeper! I’m an Author!

Whale RiderI tried not to stare at her, but I couldn’t help myself. She was stunning, perfect in every way. Her image burned into my psyche and her movements–fluid arcs of grace–made me smile.

The girl in question was the actress, Keisha Castle-Hughes, the star of Whale Rider.

Now before you report me to the police, let me explain.

Years ago, when I began to write Tears of Min Brock, I roamed about  like a casting director in search of faces to use for my characters. This meant staring at folks in the checkout line or in the mall, to which my kids would elbow me and call me a creeper.

I’m not! I’m an author, which in actuality is probably worse! 🙂

My search for Elabea was going nowhere until I watched Whale Rider with my kids. Keisha was superb as Kahu Paikea Apirana, the 12-year-old Maori girl who wanted to become the chief of the tribe.

She had a strong inner strength while her demeanor was tender and vulnerable yet not overly dramatic. Even her looks–a natural attractiveness that she carried in a nonchalant manner–were what I had pictured for Elabea as well.

I did not model Elabea after the movie’s heroine, but instead, used the performance to confirm what I had envisioned and created as the writer.

So next time you’re caught staring at someone, kindly tell them you’re not a pervert but an author looking for new characters. They’ll be flattered, and it just may keep you out of jail! 🙂

Still Alive

I blinked.  At least that’s what it feels like.

Life this summer has been crazy which is why I haven’t posted in some time now.

The primary reason is that I’m focused on the notes from my publisher per Tears of Min Brock.

Say good-bye adverbs.  Say hello “show don’t tell.”  Add some back story here.  Toss in character depth there.  New cover to ponder, proof, tweak…

I hope you’ll be patient as we remodel; it’s taking a wee bit longer than anticipated.  I’m biased, but I think it will be well worth the wait!

Gotta go…characters are calling!