Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hook Us With Your First Page # 1


Are we ready to have some fun now?

It's the first installment of HOOK US WITH YOUR FIRST PAGE!

Our first entry is from Paul R. Miller who writes fantasy and fiction.

Now, it's your turn to let Paul know where he stands with this. Is it gripping? Does it hook you?

Help Paul out by commenting in the comment box.

Chapter One

1

It was the pizza that did him in.

Oh, he knew that the accident report – because there would be one, God knew why, it was so stupid, but there it was – would probably list “cell phone usage”as a contributing factor, and the cops were sure to give him a lecture about distracted driving on top of whatever tickets they were sure to issue, but Jason knew it wasn’t the phone. The only thing distracting about his driving had been his incredible craving for a pizza. Not just any old pie, either. No, it was to be a bacon cheddar cheeseburger pizza. Lightly browned, hand-tossed crust, big chunks of beef mixed in with bits of bacon and sprinkled with cheddar cheese. The stuff dreams were made of.

Jason didn’t think he was one of those people everyone hated, one of those idiots who just couldn’t seem to grasp the simple concept of multi-tasking. He had never understood what was so difficult about talking on the cell while driving, what made people forget about everything else and veer into other people’s lanes or sit for two minutes at a green light.

And it wasn’t just driving that seemed to screw those people up. No, the phone seemed to complicate even the simplest of activities. He could be sitting in a coffee shop, quietly reading a book, when some moron’s phone would ring. Jason could never figure out why people couldn’t make their phones silent while out in public. It also seemed to take most people three or four rings – disturbingly loud rings – before their stupid hands figured out how to answer the damn things.

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Please leave Paul a comment or two to let him know whether he's hooked YOU with his first page!

If you would like to have your first page appear on our blog, click here to find out how!

Monday, October 30, 2006

FREE HALLOWEEN EBOOK

Just in time for Halloween, The Writersville Gang, is pleased to announce the release of their second free eBook, HAUNTED HAPPENINGS!

If you would like a free copy, visit www.writersville.homestead.com/hauntedhappenings.html.

Enjoy your free eBook, and please sign the guestbook to let us know what you think about the eBook, or just to say hello!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Interview with Karen Magill, Author of LET US PLAY

I have always lived in a fantasy world and sometimes I manage to put pieces of that world down on paper for others to read. My latest work is the self-published book ‘Let Us Play, A Rock ‘n Roll Love Story’ and it can be purchased at www.lulu.com/karenmagill. My first book, ‘The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story’, can also be found there. My website is www.karenmagill.com and there is a link to my blog there where you find my unique views on the strange world of publishing and on life.

INTERVIEW WITH KAREN MAGILL

When did your passion for writing begin?

I come from a family of writers and creative people so I guess it is safe to safe that my passion for writing began at an early age. It was nurtured by the fact that I was a lonely child. I grew up in small towns and was not popular with the other children so my imagination was my escape and my best friend.

Can you tell us what your typical 'writing' day is like?

Typically I wake up in the later morning hours and check my email. I eat my cereal by the computer and take care of whatever business I have to. The day time is for doing errands and the business end. Evening, nighttime and late night is when I get creative. I tend to be undisciplined and some days I can write pages upon pages while others I won’t write at all. It is a bad habit, I know but I have never been able to focus properly.

Do you write full time?

Since I live on disability, I am able to write full time. Right now, I am promoting ‘Let Us Play’ but in a few weeks I hope to be writing a new novel.

Can you tell us a little bit about your book?

In an uncertain time in the future, rock and roll music has been banned. Kaya More uses second sight to lead a group of rebels to bring it back. Their quest leads them from the streets of New York City to the peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the beaches of California. The pursuit heats up as combatants switch sides and the world joins forces as the rebels find adventure, music and love.

Who published your book and how has your experience with them been?

My book was published with Lulu Press Inc. This is the second book I have published with them and I am happy with them. The quality is good and the staff is professional and helpful. I find the prices to be reasonable. Being that Lulu is a POD publisher, I am responsible for everything but I was aware of that to begin with.

Can you tell us the inspiration behind your book?

Although ‘Let Us Play’ focuses on the loss of rock ‘n roll music, it is about losing the right to freedom of choice. Our society lately seems to be dictating the way we are all supposed to be thinking. I look at everyone and so many people seem to be copies of each other. I wonder where the individuality is going and I wonder if George Orwell’s 1984 was perhaps 100 years too soon? I think it is very possible for the powers to be to start taking things away from us. But then again, this is just a book.

Can you tell us ways you are promoting your book? Have they been successful?

I am just starting with promotion but right now. I have been requesting ebook reviews and looking for interviews. I am on myspace – www.myspace.com/thebondbykarenmagill - and I will be approaching everyone I know on there; I have notified everyone on my email list; I have a newsletter through my website where I also have the occasional draw; I intend on approaching Internet radio shows; I will be writing press releases which is my weakness; I have fridge magnets that I distribute and lots of other things. It is too early to know if anything is working, all I can do is hope.

Do you have a mentor?

I don’t really have a mentor but I do have heroes and I guess my biggest is Terry Fox. If you don’t know his story, at the age of 18 Terry got cancer of the bone and had to have his leg amputated. He decided to do something about this horrible disease so at 21 he started the Marathon of Hope. In 1980, he dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland, Canada and started to run back to British Columbia. His goal? He was going to run across Canada and collect a dollar from every Canadian for people with cancer. He was picky too. He would mark where he stopped every night and that’s where he would start the next day. He made it to Thunder Bay, Ontario when the cancer returned. This time it had spread to his lungs. He flew back to British Columbia for treatment but later died. Terry ran 3,339 miles and managed to raise a dollar for every Canadian. To this day people still run in his name and raise money for people dealing with cancer: he inspired a nation. In 2005, to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint created a loonie (a dollar coin) with an engraving of Terry running.

What future projects do you have in the works?

I was going to change genres and have been trying to write a thriller but I don’t think I am ready for that. So I am little lost right now and am going to be trying to get my mind around another paranormal romance.

Can you give aspiring authors words of advice towards getting published?

There are so many to be published now. A former NY executive did tell me recently that any form of self-publishing is vanity publishing BUT that isn’t bad because if you can make it sell that you can get the big boys interested. So for aspiring authors, decide how much work you want to put into your project because if you go the self-publishing route, none of the traditional methods of sale are likely to be open to you. So you are going to have to use your imagination and you will have to deal with those who don’t know what they are talking about telling you that you have ruined your career. Because you can always keep waiting for that big contract. Decide what you what you want to do and how you want to do it.

What’s one thing about your life that you think is important, but nobody asks?

What have I learned about life that I figure is really important but no one asks? That being a drama queen is a waste of time and energy. It is much more fun to be eccentric and wild.

Thank you for the interview, Karen, and many sales to you!

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If you are an author and would like to be interviewed, click here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hook Us With Your First Page

I've come up with a wild idea for The Writer's Life Blog. As you know, we host book excerpts and interviews for those authors who are published, but what about those writers who would just like a little exposure and/or feedback on works that just haven't found that publisher/agent yet?

Well, now you've got it.

If you would like feedback on a manuscript you are working on, send me the first manuscript page and the following information:

Tentative Title of Manuscript
Genre
Your Name
Your Email Address

First Page of Your Manuscript

Send this information in the body of an email (all attachments will be deleted) to thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com and please put "Post My First Page on Your Blog."

When your first page has been posted, it will be seen by almost 500 (and growing)of my subscribers, not to mention those that find the blog through search engines and other kind souls who have linked to us. My subscribers and the general public will be encouraged to give positive feedback on your work so that you can tell if this manuscript is going in the right direction.

Although you would think the first page isn't enough to get the real feel of your story, you'd be surprised at what it can do. It sets the hook. If you don't hook us within the first few paragraphs, why should we read more?

No names, email addresses or any other personal information except for the tentative title and genre of your book will be posted (unless you specify otherwise).

To all those that give feedback, tell us if this piece hooks you by commenting in the comment box. If you see typos, mention it. If the story doesn't pull you in by reading this first page, tell it like it is. Please, only constructive critisism, but be honest. These writers need to know how the general reading public feels about your work.

So, send me your first UNPUBLISHED manuscript page, and let the world judge YOUR next bestselling novel!

Again, the address to send your first page with all the mandatory information mentioned above is thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com. First pages will be posted as they come in. Have fun!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Book Excerpt: FLY ME TO THE MOON by Alyson Noel

Author: Alyson Noel
Author's Website: www.alysonnoel.com
Title of Book: FLY ME TO THE MOON
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

FLY ME TO THE MOON

A novel by
Alyson Noël

Prepare for Ditching-when an airplane makes an unscheduled landing into the ocean, it is important to don a life vest.

Chapter One

So there I was, awkwardly reaching for the USA Today left outside my hotel room, determined to ignore the fact that my black, opaque, control-top pantyhose were seriously impairing my ability to breath, when I heard the muffled sound of the phone ringing from the other side of the door.

Now, on any other day, I would just grab the newspaper and make a mad dash for the elevator, since a ringing phone at three fifty five AM can only mean one thing: that some overbearing, micro managing, type A, Flight Attendant in Charge is trying to track me even though I still have 32 perfectly good seconds before I actually have to be in the hotel lobby.

But today was different. Not only was I a full five minutes ahead of schedule, not only was it my twenty-eighth birthday, but I also knew that by the end of the day I would be engaged to Michael, my boyfriend-slash-roommate of the last four years.

It all started the day before I left on this trip. I was cleaning the bedroom and singing along to the latest U2 CD, and just as Bono and I shouted Uno, Dos, Tres . . . Catorce! my right hip slammed into Michael’s flight bag, sending it soaring off the dresser and crashing to the ground.

Now I admit, up until that very moment his bag never held much interest. I’d always thought of it as like a briefcase, or a man purse- something completely benign but totally off limits. But as I stared at the wreckage spilled all around me, I instinctively dropped to my knees and examined each artifact as though it were the gateway to a secret world I never knew existed.

Oh sure, there were all the predictable items like well used navigational maps, half eaten protein bars, his company photo I.D., and a big yellow flash light to be used in case of emergency. But there were also a few surprises, like the brand new tube of Rogaine that landed next to the half empty bottle of Levitra that was covering the red plastic card from a video store that obviously didn’t cater to families.

And just as I lifted his bulky, FAA mandated, flight manual I discovered a small, Robin’s egg blue box with a crisp white ribbon tied snugly around it.

My breath grew shallow, my heart beat faster, and my hands were actually trembling as I lifted that tiny box to my ear, shaking it ever so slightly, as I imagined Michael kneeling before me, eyes misty with emotion, asking me to be his wife . . .

And I was almost positive I would say ‘yes.’

So, anticipating an early morning birthday greeting from my almost fiancé, I frantically slid the key card back into the lock, hurtled over the mound of soggy, white towels I’d left piled on the bathroom floor, grabbed the receiver conveniently located next to the toilet, and before I could even get to hello, a disembodied, southern accented, male voice said, “Hailey Lane? This is Bob in scheduling.” And the fourteen words that followed were the one’s that flight attendant’s around the globe live to hear: “The rest of your trip has been canceled. You are scheduled to deadhead home.”

Wow.

But even though I was expecting something great doesn’t mean I wasn’t skeptical. “Come on Clay, quit fucking around. I’m on my way down,” I said, peering in the mirror and smoothing my out of control auburn curls while checking my teeth for lipstick tracks.

“Ms. Lane, let me remind you that all scheduling calls are recorded,” said the unamused voice on the other end.

“This isn’t Clay?” I whispered, my breath caught in my throat.

“You are scheduled to deadhead on flight 001, nonstop from San Diego to Newark,” he continued, in a crisp, no nonsense tone. “You will arrive at fifteen hundred.”

“Are you serious? You mean I don’t have to fly to Salt Lake, Atlanta, and Cincinnati before I get there?” I asked, still not totally convinced I wasn’t dreaming.

“I still need to contact the rest of your crew,” he said, beginning to sound annoyed.

“Okay, Okay. Just one more question, can I deviate?” I asked, fingers frantically reaching for my flight schedule book, trying to spin this into an even better deal for me. “Lets see, there’s a non stop landing in La Guardia an hour earlier, can you put me on that instead?”

“Your employment date?” he sighed.

“Three, twenty five, ninety-nine,” I told him, listening to the distant sound of his fingers tapping on the keyboard.

“Done.”

“Really? Oh my god, thanks Bob! I mean really, thanks. You have no idea how much this means to me! It’s my birthday you know, and, hello?” I said, staring at the receiver, listening to the steady hum of the dial tone.

Tucking the newspaper under my arm, I dragged my roll-a-board all the way down the hall to Clay’s room, where I knocked twice, paused, and then knocked twice more, which has been our secret code for the last six years, even though it’s kind of lame and all too easy to crack.

Clay and I met the very first day of flight attendant training and I give him full credit for getting me through it, because without him, I would have bolted two minutes into the creepy, overly peppy orientation. But every time I mentioned escape, he’d remind me of all the guaranteed fun and adventure that awaited us once we earned our wings: The long layovers, in chic, foreign cities; unlimited duty free shopping; and the hoards of handsome, successful, single men, all jockeying for a shot at the free, first class, standby travel enjoyed by airline employees and their significant others.

All we had to do in return, was get through six weeks of unmitigated, soul destroying, personality quashing hell that only someone who’s survived a brutal military boot camp can relate to.

The Flight Attendant training regime is something rarely discussed outside the industry. Too many soft-core stewardess movies have dwelled in the public’s consciousness for too long, making it impossible for us to get the respect we deserve. But truth be told, there is nothing sexy about a system of such carefully calculated, institutionalized paranoia, where forgetting to smile can result in an immediate charge of insubordination and a one-way ticket home.

Over a span of six long weeks, two trainer’s, eerily resembling Stepford Wives, taught us the art of surviving days adrift at sea with nothing more than a couple of flares, a bailing bucket, and a lone box of ancient, fruit flavored candy bearing a label never seen in stores. We learned how to deal with an in-flight death (never use the word “death”), how to handle an alleged in-flight sex act (offer a blanket, look the other way), how to secure an unruly, irate passenger to his seat using company logo, plastic ty-wraps, how to deal with head injuries, burns, profuse bleeding, childbirth, vomiting, urination, defecation, and how to clean it all up afterward by donning a one size fits most, plastic bio hazard suit and using club soda for stains, and coffee bags for foul odors.
We fought fires, crawled through dark, smoke filled cabins, and even evacuated a mock airplane by sliding down an authentic, double lane, inflatable slide, resulting in three pairs of torn pants, numerous rub burns, and one broken arm whose owner was simultaneously ‘dismissed’ for having weak bones.

They restyled our hair, re applied our makeup, vetoed our jewelry, fed us propaganda, and actively discouraged questions, jokes, comments, and any other signs of free thinking individuality.

And once our spirits were deemed suitably broken and our formerly vibrant selves sufficiently rehabbed into paranoid, automatons- they pushed us out into the world, onto an airplane, and reminded us to smile.

“Happy Birthday, doll (which came out duaawl in Clay’s lazy, southern accented impersonation of an old lady from Staten Island which isn’t very good, but always makes me laugh). You look great,” he said, opening the door and slipping into his navy blue blazer.

“Four AM and no under eye puffiness,” I said, pointing proudly at my face. “See, being a slam-clicker and not going out with you guys last night paid off.”

“Yeah, but you missed out.” He shook his perfectly tousled, blond highlighted head and closed the door behind him. “We met downstairs in the bar and when the check arrived the First Officer divided the number of chicken wings each of us ate and split the bill accordingly.”

“You’re making that up.” I walked alongside him and laughed.

“True story. He wears this calculator watch that does fractions. My share, including the glass of wine, was eight dollars and eighteen cents.”

“Did that include tip?”

“You think he tips?” Clay looked at me, one eyebrow raised. “I waited until he left, then I paid the tip. So, are we deviating?” he asked, following me into the elevator.

“I am,” I said, pushing the L button and watching the doors close.

“Good, because I told scheduling I was just gonna do whatever you do.”

“That sounds pretty codependent.” I raised an eyebrow at him.

“It’s way too early to make an important decision when I know you can do it for both of us. And, this way we can share a cab to the city.” He smiled.

“Fine, but no detours this time.” I gave him a stern look. Clay was well known for running all of his errands on the way from La Guardia airport to whichever apartment he was staying in that week. “No ATM’s, no Starbuck’s, no wine stores, no video rental drop offs, and no gay bars,” I said, dropping my key card at the front desk. “I have a big night ahead, and now that I’m gonna get home even earlier I want to take a bubble bath, and maybe even get a pedicure.”

“So, is tonight the night?” he asked, handing our bags to the van driver.

“Definitely,” I said, smiling brightly in spite of the nervous ping I just felt in my stomach.

“Are you gonna say yes?” he asked, eyeing me carefully.

“Probably,” I nodded, avoiding his eyes and biting down on my lower lip.

“Probably?” He raised his recently waxed brows at me.

“Well, yeah, I mean. It makes sense right?” I said, suddenly wondering which one of us I was trying to convince “I mean, we live together, he’s good to me, he’s normal. . .” I shrugged, unable to come up with more good reasons, though I was sure they existed- didn’t they?

“Perfect. So, what’s the problem?” he asked, peering at me closely.

“I guess . . . I don’t know. I guess I just thought it would be more exciting.” I shrugged.

“Hailey, he’s a pilot. How much excitement, do you think you’re gonna get?”

“But he’s not like the others!” I insisted. “He lives in Manhattan, not some tax free zone in Florida! He doesn’t starch his jeans, doesn’t wear white tennis shoes with dress pants. And he’s taking me to Babbo tonight for my birthday, where I know he’ll leave a very generous tip, thank you very much.” I climbed into the van.

“Okay, so he’s a metrosexual pilot.” Clay shrugged. “But let me just say, you’d be a lot more sure of your answer if you’d just looked inside that Tiffany’s box.”

Monday, October 02, 2006

WriteLit.com

I have found the neatest place to not only place your articles, post your press releases, and make blog posts; but also is the home of Blog Your Novel Month (or BlogYoNoMo), for those who are interested in blogging their book in a month.

The website is owned by Dino Manrique, and he has done a terrific job of setting this up (his astounding website hits are proof!).

In doing research for my book "A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published eBook," I was looking for ways to promote eBooks to add to my book, and what a gold mine I found in WriteLit. I was not only able to post an article, a press release AND blog about my book, but the information there is just downright wonderful.

They kicked off BlogYoNoMo yesterday, but if you'd like to get in on it, here are the rules:

1. The event will start on October 1, 12 AM(MN) US New York/Eastern time, that would be October 1, 12 PM(NN) in the Philippines, and will end on October 31, 12 AM(MN) US New York/Eastern, or October 31, 12 PM(NN) in the Philippines. (Check the World Time Server's time converter for your respective local times.)

2. You may blog your novel here at WriteLit.com, or on your own blog, be it a free blog or a blog set up on a paid host. You may or may not enable posting of comments. It's all up to you depending on whether you feel comfortable others saying something about your work while you are writing it. For this purpose, I’m creating a new content type here at WriteLit.com called blogyonomo-no-comment and blogyonomo-with-comment. You may also choose your default blog, of course, with its default “comments enabled” setting.

3. Before the start of the event, you will announce at WriteLit.com the URL or web address of where you are going to blog your BlogYoNoMo novel, e.g. mynovel.blogspot.com or mysite.com/myblog/mynovel, etc. If you are going to use the blogyonomo content types, just indicate your account page, e.g. writelit.com/user/myusername.

4. You may write in any language: English, Tagalog, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic, Chinese, Cebuano, Bikol, etc.

5. At the end of the event, on October 31, you will post the URL or web address of your final blog entry at WriteLit.com. You have the option of not publishing the last chapter or final two chapters of your novel, so as not to spoil it for your readers when your great novel finally sees print, especially if you are employing a surprise ending.

6. You will display your work for at least a month. After that, you may or may not delete your "blogged novel."

I won't be participating as it's a busy month for me with the release of my promotion eBook, plus the release of my paranormal I co-authored titled "The Search for the Million Dollar Ghost" (hint...check out the ghostie website...if you dare), but it sure does sound like fun.

If you have any articles or press releases you'd like to send out, WriteLit is a really good place to do that. You can check them out at www.writelit.com.