Sunday, December 16, 2012

Call for Submissions: Anthology about Writers with Unsupportive Families

You see it all the time in the dedications and acknowledgements of books:  Words like: “To my dear husband, who has supported my writing all throughout the years in spite of the odds,” or “To my wife, who never stopped believing in me.”

But what happens when your ‘significant other’ doesn't support your writing, either because he thinks you’ll never make it or because she thinks you’re wasting your time and efforts for nothing?

Writers often talk about their supportive spouses/partners, but seldom do we hear about the unsupportive ones—mainly because it is a cause of great sadness and shame to the writer.

I’ve heard of cases where a husband told her writer wife flat out, “You’ll never make it.” I even once heard a story about a husband who was so jealous of his wife’s ‘writing world,’ that he burned her manuscript. 

Though I don’t have a working title yet, I’m looking for 2,500-3,000-word (or longer) honest, poignant first-person accounts in the style of Chicken Soup for the Soul series. That is, true stories that are ultimately inspirational and show a great deal of perseverance and determination from the part of the writer in spite of the odds—in short, essays that will offer hope and moral support to writers who are experiencing a similar situation. The essays will be compiled into an anthology.

  • Does your significant other totally ignore your ‘writing world’ or view it with contempt either because you’re not making enough money or because they feel jealous?
  • Does he/she refuse to consider your writing as anything other than a ‘mere hobby?’
  • Does he/she belittle or demean your ‘writer dreams?’
  • Does he/she believe you’re wasting your time and should be spending that time in something more ‘valuable?’
  • Does he/she make you feel guilty for those hours you spend writing?
  • Does he/she say they understand, but then they put demands on your writing time and don’t respect it?
  • Is he/she jealous of the time you spend writing at the computer?
  • How does their behavior make you feel as a person and as a writer?
  • To what extend do their criticism contribute to your insecurity, anxiety, and maybe even depression?
  • How do you cope with their behavior?
  • What keeps you writing and persevering in spite of all the odds?
  • What would you like he/she to understand about you as a writer?

Submissions will be treated in confidentiality and real names of people and places can be replaced with fictional ones.

Deadline:  March 1st 2013

If you’re interested in submitting or if you have questions, you can drop me an email at: mayra.calvani@gmail.com.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Interview with author Connie Corcoran Wilson



ABOUT CONNIE CORCORAN WILSON

Connie (Corcoran) Wilson (www.ConnieCWilson.com) graduated from the University of Iowa and Western Illinois University, with additional study at Northern Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Chicago. She taught writing at 6 IA/IL colleges and has written for 5 newspapers and 7 blogs, including, currently, as a Featured Contributor to Yahoo. (2008 Content Producer of the Year). Her stories and interviews with writers such as David Morrell, Joe Hill, Kurt Vonnegut, Frederik Pohl, William F. Nolan, r. Barri Flowers, Eric Bogosian and Anne Perry have appeared online and in numerous journals. Her work has won prizes from “Whim’s Place Flash Fiction,” “Writer’s Digest” (Screenplay), as well as numerous E-Lit Gold medals, Silver Feather awards (from IWPA/NWPA, Illinois & National Women’s Press Association) and NABE Pinnacle awards. She was the film and book critic for the Quad City Times (Davenport, IA) for 15 years and was named David R. Collins Midwest Writing Center Writer of the Year (March 20, 2010) and IWPA Silver Feather winner (June 6, 2012), as well as winning an ALMA (American Literary Merit Award) for a short story within “Hellfire & Damnation.” She was recently a presenter at the Spellbinders’ Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii (Labor Day, 2012).

To find out more, please visit http://www.ConnieCWilson.com
To purchase The Color of Evil, click here.
To purchase Hellfire and Damnation II, click here.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Connie.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I am a University of Iowa graduate with a Master's + 30 who has taught writing at 6 colleges and has been writing for pay for 57 years.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: I wrote THE COLOR OF EVIL based on my long teaching career at levels from age 12 on up. It is a classic story of good vs. evil, with a youth with paranormal abilities. "Carrie" meets "The Fury" meets television's "The Medium."

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: Making myself sit down and work to write "long" (80,000 words), since I usually write for newspapers and blogs.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: I have an online presence at www.ConnieCWilson.com and a blog at www.WeeklyWilson.com and many of my books have dedicated websites, such as www.TheColorOfEvil.com, www.HellfireAndDamnationTheBook.com, www.ItCamefromTheSeventies.com and www.GhostlyTalesofRoute66.com. I also do mailings of various informational pieces by request or during promotional periods.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A: I have spoken about my books on television and radio (most recently Cyrus A. Webb's radio show) and I was asked to share my experiences writing GHOSTLY TALES OF ROUTE 66 at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge gatherings on three occasions.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A: I do have an agent who is in Chicago. I would rather not share who she is. She has been my agent since 2003.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: I have done most of my own promotion of my recent books. At Halloween, when HELLFIRE & DAMNATION II (short stories) came out, the media blitz created enough interest to raise the book to #8 in genre downloads (and #232 overall) at 1 p.m. on October 28th.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: THE COLOR OF EVIL is a series of novels that currently is planned for at least 4 books. HELLFIRE & DAMNATION, the short story series, will continue, using Dante's "Inferno" as the framing device. I am at work on Book #3 ow.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Connie (Corcoran) Wilson.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: You can find me on the web at www.ConnieCWilson.com and my books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and from many of the dedicated websites.

thecolorofevil-199x300ABOUT THE COLOR OF EVIL

Tad McGreevy has a power that he has never revealed, not even to his life-long best friend, Stevie Scranton. When Tad looks at others, he sees colors. Thee auras tell Tad whether a person is good or evil. At night, Tad dreams about the evil-doers, reliving their crimes in horrifyingly vivid detail.
But Tad doesn’t know if the evil acts he witnesses in his nightmares are happening now, are already over, or are going to occur in the future. All Tad knows is that he wants to protect those he loves. And he wants the bad dreams to stop.
This is a terrifying, intense story of the dark people and places that lurk just beneath the surface of seemingly normal small-town life.

hellfire and damnationABOUT HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION II

Hellfire & Damnation II is another tour of the 9 Circles of Hell described in Dante’s Inferno. It picks up where the first collection of short stories (2011) left off and gives us a remarkable collection of somber, nourish, flat-out scary and altogether satisfying stories that seek to find peace in a dark world that defies it. Her subtle irony and penchant for finding terror in the least expected places will generate comparisons to Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, with just a hint of Philip K. Dick thrown in. But don’t be fooled: Wilson has a wondrous voice in her own right and her tight, twisty tales establish her as a force to be reckoned with.

The Challenges of Writing Paranormal Fiction by author Susan Berliner



Susan BerlinerABOUT SUSAN BERLINER

Susan Berliner, author of the supernatural thrillers, “DUST,” “Peachwood Lake,” and “The Disappearance,” has been a nonfiction writer for nearly her entire career. She had originally planned to be an elementary school teacher, but left after a year to become a newspaper reporter for Fairchild Publications. She covered men’s retailing for Daily New Record, a men’s wear/textile trade newspaper, which was the “brother” paper of Women’s Wear Daily.
After Susan’s children were born, she switched to freelance writing–mainly in education–publishing several book series dealing with editing skills, language arts, and standardized testing. She has also created teachers’ guides, student activity sheets, and test passages. During this time, Susan was the project editor for a national science magazine for elementary school students and edited subject-related manuscripts for children in grades 7 and 8. In addition, she freelanced as a local reporter, covering board meetings for the North County News, a weekly newspaper in Yorktown Heights, New York.
When she returned to work full-time, Susan became the promotion manager of the Yorktown PennySaver, a job she held for 20 years. She created many original weekly contests–Phony Ad, Rhyme Time, and PennySaver Prophet.
Susan lives with her husband, Larry, in Yorktown Heights, where she’s editing her fourth book (Corsonia), and writing her fifth novel (The Touchers).
To find out more, please visit her at www.susanberliner.com
  The Challenges of Writing Paranormal Fiction
by Susan Berliner, author of The Disappearance, Peachwood Lake, and DUST

I write supernatural thrillers. However, each book is a realistic fantasy, set firmly in the "real" world with just one paranormal element.

In DUST, my first novel, an evil swirl of colorful dust sneakily attacks random victims in Rock Haven, a quiet suburban condo community. Although there's no such thing as wicked dust, the story is based on an actual weather phenomenon called dust devils. The town of Rock Haven doesn't exist either, but it's still a typical northeastern suburb. The condo inhabitants are people we all know; their situations are recognizable too.

Peachwood Lake, my second paranormal book, is also based on reality: a jumping fish in Florida, the gulf sturgeon. Of course, my villainous fish is a much weirder, kind of mini-Jaws creature. This book also takes place in a realistic setting—the mythical town of Peachwood, a quiet Connecticut resort town with a serious problem: a killer fish in its normally tranquil lake.

My new novel, The Disappearance, isn't reality-based—unless there's proof that someone has traveled through time. But the story is set in another familiar place: the mythical northern Westchester suburb of Southvale, which is populated with recognizable characters.

Even though the people and settings in my books are true to life, all three novels are still fantasies, and, to enjoy any kind of paranormal fiction, the reader has to be willing to suspend disbelief. Some people have trouble doing that. Many are nonfiction readers while others prefer true-life novels. These pragmatists complain about my novels' impossible situations, making comments like, "People can't time travel," There's no such thing as an evil fish," and "Dust can't be red, green, and blue."

My answer to these non-believers goes something like this, "In my books, I can do anything I want. People can time travel, a fish can be wicked, and dust can be brightly colored." That's the beauty of imagination—and the power of the novelist.

In some ways, paranormal fiction writers like myself probably have it easier than authors of elaborate high fantasy. I bet writers whose stories take place in mythical worlds, populated by strange imaginary creatures, get even more flak than I do from pragmatic readers. But, on the other hand, writers who deal with vampires, witches, and werewolves may be in better shape: Those supernatural beings are "in" right now (Twilight anyone?). Since so many new novels are based on vampires and werewolves, there's obviously a large paranormal fan base. I hope some of these paranormal-lovers will read The Disappearance, Peachwood Lake, and DUST!

***


The DisappearanceABOUT THE DISAPPEARANCE

When Jillian Keating is arrested for the murder of her missing boyfriend, Ryan Cornell, she has two immediate questions: Why did he frame her—and where is he hiding?
Using her own ingenuity, plus the help of a resourceful lady lawyer and a dashing young private investigator, Jillian discovers the surprising—and disturbing—answers. Her boyfriend is not what he appears to be. The real Ryan, consumed with hate, has devised an ingenious scheme to destroy her while he escapes into the past via a hidden time travel portal. But even knowing all this, Jillian is left with a more difficult question: How can she capture Ryan and bring him back?
Filled with memorable characters, bizarre twists, and riveting suspense, The Disappearance culminates with an elaborate sting operation as Jillian and her friends travel through time to lure Ryan into their clever trap. If they succeed, she will go free. But if they fail, Jillian will surely face murder charges for the death of Ryan Cornell.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Interview with Stan Crader, author of 'The Bridge' and 'Paperboy'



Stan CraderABOUT STAN CRADER

Stan Crader’s first book, ‘The Bridge’ spent several days on the best seller list for Christian fiction at both BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. His articles about flying have been published in flying magazines and local newspapers. He won a Bronze Quill award from the International Association of Business Communications for articles written for his company’s quarterly newsletter.
Stan was born and raised in Bollinger County Missouri. Coming of age in rural Missouri provided him the material for many of the rich characters in his books. He credits the variety of jobs he had as a child and the people with which he worked for providing him his creative foundation.
Stan’s childhood jobs included grocery store carry out, a paper route, mowing lawns, farm equipment set-up, sawmills, and janitor. “You learn a great deal about people when you see what groceries they purchase,” Stan says.
After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Missouri, where he met his future wife, Debbie at a Missouri / Nebraska football game. It was Debbie who first made Stan realize that his childhood was unique.
They spent the early years of their marriage living in Bollinger County, Missouri. Stan joined the family business and Debbie worked as a community nurse. As a nurse, working with a caring country doctor, she began to collect stories of her own.
The two of them raised three boys and a golden retriever as the life experiences continued. Stan began writing Christmas letters. Friends and family began to look forward to the somewhat informative but largely humorous Christmas epistle.
Stan’s first novel was written after the encouragement of those on his Christmas letter mailing list and the recipients of the company’s quarterly newsletter. He’s flattered beyond measure each time someone who has read ‘The Bridge’ asks about a sequel.
Visit Stan’s site:  http://www.stancrader.com
Please note that all proceeds go to support Resurrecting Lives, a non-profit that supports veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Stan. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing? 

A: I’ve been writing for business for more than thirty years. In fact, I’ve won a few awards for business writing and that’s what fooled me into thinking I was an author, which is a little different than being a writer. My writing for pleasure began with a Christmas letter, which was intended to be an annual newsletter sans the gag-me list of children’s championship accomplishment. After a few years family members begin to suggest I write a book. Having grown up in a very small town, I’d collected a lot of material on which to pen a good humorous novel, so the hard work of writing a novel and becoming an author began. All of the proceeds from book sales has always been donated to charity. Over the years proceeds have been given to Mid America Teen Challenge, Young Life, and Melaina’s Playland. Going forward proceeds will be directed to www.resurrectinglives.org, an organization devoted to veterans suffering from TBI.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it? 

A: I began the book to fulfill a promise I’d made to my mother who had by then passed away. But the project soon took on a life of its own and I decided to make the book a tribute to rural America. My goal then became to weave story that would provoke the reader’s memory of their glorious childhood.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it? 

A: The first hurdle was to learn to write a 100,000 word novel verses a 2000 word news article. I compare the difference between a sprinter and a long distance runner. I had to learn a new writing skill; that was monumental. And then the time it takes to write a book. Writing and editing a book requires an enormous amount of time. It’s a commitment on the part of the author and their family.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it? 

A: www.stancrader.com promotes my writing and provides information about me as a person. And I’m one of a billion people with a facebook account http://www.facebook.com/ManofStihl where I post items which I hope are of interest to friends. I recently began posting to Twitter https://twitter.com/stancrader and have a small following there. My goal is to create on on-line presence to promote my brand as an interesting person and author.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so? 

A: I’ve spoken to countless civic groups, book clubs, and high school students about writing, my books, and other subject. I jump at the opportunity to be a guest speaker and have a list of subjects on which to speak. I been a guest on several radio stations and have been featured in newspapers to discuss my writing as well as flying adventures, such as flying the Lewis & Clark trial, or flying a small plane from Missouri to Athens, Greece.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one? 

A: I don’t have an agent. I’d love to have an agent, but getting one is such an arduous process I’ve haven’t taken the time to do so.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it? 

A: I recently wised up and hired a publicist – LWS Literary Services to handle promoting of all books past and present. My business is marketing but I find the promotion of one’s self very close to detestable. Lynn at LWS has been a great help in preparing and guiding me through the process.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books? 

A: Of course there will be more books; once a writer always a writer. That’s like asking a photographer if there will be more photos. The questions is when and if the subject will be of interest to others.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Stan. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book? 

A: Thank you for the interview. www.stancrader.com features links to my utube, blog site, and information about the books. The books can be ordered directly from me or Amazon or Barnes & Noble. All books are available in paperback and eBook.


The Bridge-hires-ftcover (3)ABOUT THE BRIDGE

Tommy Thompson recalls with vivid detail the summer of 1967, when he was twelve years old and living in a small town in rural America. At that time in his life, all he wanted was a Honda motorbike, and he believed the smartest person in the world was his Uncle Cletus. The Bridge follows Tommy’s summer-long quest for the Honda and his love, Wendy, whom he pursues with the comical romanticism of a young boy.
During the course of the summer Tommy helps his best friend, Booger, cope with family tragedy. He is terrorized by Clyde Goodpasture, the biggest bully in the sixth grade, and the town of Colby is shaken by news that its hat factory will close. While he isn’t a religious child, Tommy faces these challenges armed with the few Bible verses that he knows and the support of his Christian family. Tommy has a knack for doing the right thing and ultimately makes a sacrifice that shows without a doubt that his heart is in the right place.

Paperboy-ftcover-hires (3)ABOUT PAPERBOY

Paperboy tells the story as only an afternoon paperboy in rural America in the sixties can. Thousands of readers identified with the unique characters of Colby while reading The Bridge. They grew to love Tommy and the band of boys, were entertained by their childish pranks, and touched by their generosity.
In Paperboy, change is coming to Colby. The shoe factory has sold and a hat factory is taking its place. A factory manager has been named and he’s definitely not from Colby. There’s an influx of interesting newcomers.
The high school principal is also new to Colby. He must deal with teenage pregnancy, the snooping high school office secretary, and the Colby Curls rumor mill. He, too, has a mysterious past and uses it to his advantage.
The pregnant teen and her auto-mechanic single mother aren’t Colby natives either. Rumors about both abound. The mother has a past which touches the present, and eventually involves the entire town. Tommy and Booger, while delivering the Colby Telegraph, discover that Colby’s patriarch, Mr. Koch, has a heroic but classified history. While raking leaves for Mrs. Whitener, they learn the origin of her accent and how she got to Colby. It’s not what most people think.
Jupiter Storm, the town’s primary purveyor of gossip, whose opinion always exceeds his knowledge, is perpetually annoying. But Tommy and Booger learn that Jupiter is a decorated World War II veteran. And when a threatening stranger appears on the scene, the entire town learns of Jupiter’s unique but redeeming skill. How will Colby be different, and how will it be the same?

Ingrid King's Purrs of Wisdom Book Blast + Win $25 Amazon Gift Certificate & Free Books!

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Purrs of Wisdom is a collection of essays featuring lessons in conscious living, inspired by the cats who have shared the author’s life. From help with every day challenges to inspiration on living a joyful life, this compilation provides encouragement, guidance, and enlightenment, feline style. Whether it’s creating balance, navigating turbulent times, or finding the magic in life’s ordinary moments, there’s something for everyone in this book. Chapters include: · The Healing Power of the Purr · Making Time for Contemplation · Routine as the Key to Happiness · Purging Can Make You Purr · Healthy Cats, Healthy Human The stories may remind readers of lessons their own cats have taught them, provide “aha” moments, or simply bring a smile. The book is best enjoyed with a cat curled up on your lap.

Purrs of Wisdom
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PRAISE FOR Purrs of Wisdom

“Purrs of Wisdom, by Ingrid King, is a treat for anyone who is enchanted by all things feline! The book is an exploration of lessons on living a joyful and inspired life, learned from the many magical cats who have shared the author’s journey. I found gifts on every page, but the section titled Lessons from a Maple Tree especially touched my heart. The author talks about taking time out of her busy day to soak up the tree’s magnificent colors when the leaves change in the fall. “Doing nothing without feeling guilty” is a lesson she learned from her cats. Ingrid’s words were a gentle reminder to this fast-paced former New Yorker to look to my own kitties for guidance when my world seems to be spinning a bit too quickly. Purrs of Wisdom is sure to be a treasured addition to any cat lover’s library!”

- Christine Davis, Author of For Every Cat An Angel and Forever Paws

 “Reading this collection of feline-inspired essays and life lessons gave me several AHA! moments. Purrs of Wisdom is a refreshing read that packs a deceptively powerful punch and provides helpful recipes for finding your bliss. Ingrid King writes with compassion for those who struggle along as “life happens.” The gifted writer offers nearly poetic insight how to manage the angst, as well as to recognize the “why” behind such things. You’ll want to savor each individual chapter and purr-haps bookmark and revisit those that strike a personal chord. And of course, read aloud to your favorite feline companion!”

- Amy Shojai, bestselling author of more than two-dozen pet books

“Purrs of Wisdom is the perfect book for anyone who loves cats – and has an interest in living life to the fullest, with a positive and peaceful outlook – just like a cat does! It spoke to me on several levels and is sure to become a well-thumbed volume as I continue on my life’s journey.”

 - Ann Brightman, Managing Editor, Animal Wellness Magazine 

“In this guide to living spiritually and creatively in a world that isn’t always quite comfortable with either quality, King, a keenly intuitive writer, draws upon the lessons she has learned from her beloved feline friends, weaving them deftly together with her own experiences. ”

- T.J. Banks, Author of Sketch People: Stories Along the Way and Catsong


Ingrid King
Meet the Author!  
Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager turned award winning writer. Her popular blog, The Conscious Cat, a comprehensive resource for conscious living, health, and happiness for cats and their humans, has won multiple awards, including DogTime Media’s 2012 Pettie for Best Cat Blog, 2011 Pettie for Best Overall Pet Blog, and About.com’s 2012 Readers Choice Award for Best Website About Cats. Ingrid is the publisher of the online magazine News for You and Your Pet, which goes out to subscribers around the world. Her articles have been published in Cat Fancy, Animal Wellness Magazine, Urban Animal, NOVADog, and on miscellaneous websites. Ingrid lives in Northern Virginia with her tortoiseshell cats Allegra and Ruby. 


Visit her website at www.ingridking.com.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published by Mike Faricy


A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Getting Published

By Mike Faricy

A funny thing happened on the way to getting published; I didn’t, at least not at first. Oh, I followed all the rules. I addressed my query letters to publisher’s dealing in my genre. I’m one of the half billion people who write crime fiction, I didn’t send query letters to places dealing in YA, erotica or romance. Not me, I behaved.

As for the letter itself, are you kidding? Who wants to risk offending a publisher? No way, Boy Scout that I am, I followed prescribed format to the max. Each and every query letter, four to five years worth, was never more than one page in length. The first two paragraphs served as a synopsis of my award winning tale. The third paragraph consisted of two, possibly three sentences about my wonderful self, just enough of a taste to entice an ever eager publisher desperate to discover the next best selling author.

I dutifully included a self addressed stamped envelope. A waste of paper and postage really since my phone number and email were in my address block. What publisher worth their salt would stew expectantly while the US Postal service took three days to place a generous offer in my expectant hands? Of course they’d email, no doubt followed by a phone call if I didn’t respond within fifteen minutes.

At least that was my hope, as it turns out not really based on a shred of reality. As I said, I dutifully wrote book after book. They all stand alone. Hey, I was sure I’d appear that much more attractive if I offered two works of genius rather than just one. That particular argument only grew in strength when I offered, three, four, then five and finally six books. No takers.

I received a lot of responses, all form notes, ‘letter’ is far too generous a term. The note was almost always on a four by five card, no signature, no personal jotting. Once in a great while I heard from a publisher who had the courtesy to begin their form rejection with something along the lines of “Thank you for your submission…” but that was a rare occasion. Usually it was one sentence, “This does not fit our needs at this time.” I did receive a handful of my query letters returned with the semblance of a personal note. The solitary word ‘No’ scrawled across the bottom of my letter as if it had been rejected by the school principle’s office.

I was out of the country when I was contacted by a friend. He could get me into an invitation only event at a local publishing house. Okay, it wasn’t New York but after the better part of a decade I was already jaded and getting desperate. The gala event just happened to be scheduled for the evening I returned to town. That gave me a good month and a half to conjure up the image of a crowded reception room with waiters in white coats carrying trays of drinks and hors ‘oeuvres. I’d be chatting with some publishing exec that would quickly wave an assistant over.

“Oh Margo, someone here we should be talking to,” he’d say wrapping his arm around me. They’d whisk me into an expansive office, probably bring along a tray of champagne flutes to celebrate their new best selling discovery, yours truly.

I pulled into the empty dark parking lot stylishly late. Did I have the right address? I drove around the building and there, down at the far end were maybe a half dozen vehicles, all worse than mine. A dim overhead light barely illuminated a door. It was my only option and I took it.

I was one of seven or eight attendees and the only one not covered in cat hair. There were three or four small bottles of warm water resting in a cardboard box on the floor next to the trash can. An empty crock pot that once contained cocktail weenies stood on the counter next to a sink filled with a weeks worth of half empty coffee mugs. As we gave a brief sentence or two about our writing it turned out I was the only one who wasn’t doing a ten book series featuring a cat who solved mysteries.

I heard a voice in my head, my mother’s. “You are known by the company you keep.”

I did learn an interesting fact. If they accepted my manuscript that night it would be eighteen to twenty-four months before the book would be released. Really? In today’s world? It sounded at the very least unacceptable.

Shortly after that ‘invitation only’ evening I had one of my query letters returned. I’d sent this to one of the big six publishers in New York. The envelope came back to me stamped across the front in purple ink ‘Return to Sender’. On the back of my unopened envelope was a hand written note, ‘This does not fit out needs at this time’, finally my first real hand written correspondence from a publisher, let alone a big six publisher. Ironic they’d never taken the trouble to open my query letter.

A dim light flickered on in my thick skull. Mike Faricy, from St. Paul, Minnesota doesn’t have a snowball’s chance with these guys. The difference today is there’s a side gate into the publishing world its called self publishing. It’s not an easy route. You have to work hard, very hard. You have to promote, work to get the best possible product out there, but then wasn’t that always the case? It’s a shot, a chance and that’s all any writer wants. Would I sit down and talk to a traditional publisher if they contacted me? You bet I would. I’d crawl across a busy street on my hands and knees for the chance. But with electronic publishing I have another option and I’m taking it. You can click on the link to check out my latest self published book, Bombshell available on Amazon and determine for yourself. Enjoy the read and thanks for taking the time.  http://amzn.to/Q0Cgdc  
___________________________________

Mike Faricy is the award winning author of mystery suspense thrillers woven together with a rich strain of humor and even some romance. He and his wife live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and Dublin, Ireland.

His entertaining tales are populated with the sort of quirky, oddball characters we’d all like to know more about, but wisely prefer to keep at a distance. They serve not so much as examples as they do warnings to the rest of us. None of his characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to topple the government. Rather, they’re individuals inhabiting a world just below the surface of polite society. The difficulties they find themselves in are usually due to their own bad decisions, but then, bad decisions make for interesting tales.

All of his books are stand alone, read them in any order you wish. Russian Roulette introduces the bizarrely devilish Devlin Haskell as a PI with a foot on both sides of the law. Dev’s adventures continue in Mr. Softee and the soon to be released Bite Me. Mike is currently working on his latest top secret project. He graduated High School from St. Thomas Academy and earned a BA in history from St. Norbert College.

His latest book is the crime fiction, Bombshell.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Trailer Spotlight: Mr. Breeze by Morrie Richfield + Win a Kindle Fire HD!


Morrie Richfield 
Inspirational Fantasy 
Produced by Pump Up Your Book

Morrie Richfield 3ABOUT MORRIE RICHFIELD

Morrie Richfield lives in Pennsylvania with his two sons, his dogs and his cat. He is working on his next novel, and he still dreams that someday the world will be a better place for all of us to live. His latest book is the inspirational novel, Mr. Breeze. Visit his website at www.mrbreezethenovel.com.

Mr. BreezeABOUT MR. BREEZE

MR. BREEZE (the title is inspired by a song by the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd) follows the increasingly amazing experiences of freelance photojournalist Michael Ryan as he hears of stories about a man named Zack, who can seemingly perform inhuman feats that could be called miraculous. Ryan eventually meets Zack and becomes, at Zack’s insistence, Zack’s messenger. Along the way, a dog named Rover, who also possesses otherworldly powers, joins Zack and Ryan in their adventures, which include a remarkable visit to the Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, in search of a cure for AIDS. The secret of who Zack is and why he has chosen Ryan to tell his story to the world forms the surprising and moving climax to the book. And there is a MR. BREEZE sequel in the works, Richfield notes. The working title is REVELATION: THE RETURN OF MR. BREEZE. “The second book is about how we take that message (from the first book) and what we do with it.” In the meantime, Richfield hopes that readers of MR. BREEZE find the storytelling compelling. I also would like them to be entertained and to want to tell others about it. If they come away wanting to be a better human being, that would be a huge plus.”
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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Guest Blogger: Vicious Circle by Susan DiPlacido + Win a Kindle Fire HD!


Vicious Circle

By Susan DiPlacido

You are a writer.

No.  Not yet.  You want to be a writer.  You know you can be a writer.  So here’s your intricate, long-thought, grand plan to accomplish this.
         
Write.
         
So you do.  Put ass in chair, hit the keys, and turn that white page into a blur of intentioned, clever, and compelling words.  Words that string to sentences, sentences to characters, characters creating plot and problems, littered with jokes and allegory and metaphor and any other trick in your arsenal.
         
Write and keep writing and then when you’re tired, write some more.
         
Shuffle Up and Deal by Susan DiPlacido
When it’s almost done, when you’re scanning for spelling and removing redundancies and adding alliterations, it hits you.  There is no point to writing without having readers.  So that part begins.
         
You’re still combing the pages you’ve typed but in between you start the research.  It’s all a new blur.  Queries and critique groups and agents and publishers.  Meanwhile, you’re still punching the clock every day because even though you’re going to be a writer and work on your own time, for now, you still have to work on their time to pay for the electric to run your laptop which will be an instrumental tool to bring you this new glorious life where you’ll be able to eat caviar and have champagne wishes or whatever that Brit pudge used to say, but for now you still have to do the grind and won’t be celebrating with Cristal on the first go-round but just a decent bottle of vodka you splurged for when you knew you were getting close to finishing your masterwork.
         
But, for now, still, though the pages are polished, the vodka sits in the cupboard, unopened.  Because for now, still, you’re sending out the queries and having others read your pristine opus and give you advice.  Some it, the advice, it’s good.  Some of it, the advice, it just pisses you off.  Some of it, it’s really rough.  In those instances, you have a choice to make.  Choice one is to pansy out.  Obviously, this wasn’t for you.  Stop now while you’re not out anything but some time and rethink this whole plan.  That’s choice one. 

Here’s choice two.

Suck it up and be a writer, baby.

Suck it up, drink it down, take it all in, and keep going. 

That’s the choice you make.

The rejections pile up.  When they come in, that is. More often, you send out the carefully worded letter that you’ve gone over at least 300 times.  You spend hours, days, weeks researching who handles the genre you’ve written.  Who would be interested.  Mostly, who would help bring you success.   Still, you keep going to work because you have to pay for the ink and the paper and the copies and the postage for all these mailings you send out and rarely ever even get a form rejection about.

Still, the rejections that do come, they pile up.

Change your aim.  It’s like a bullseye, see.  You were going for dead center, but it’s time to work out in concentric circles.  One ring, the slightly smaller fish.  Two rings, more rejections.  Three rings, more queries sent out into the void with no response.  Meanwhile the critiques keep coming back.  Change this character.  Delete this paragraph.  Eviscerate your soul!  Okay.  That wasn’t a real one.  It just feels that way.  Okay, it doesn’t feel that way.  It stings a bit, but now you’re becoming a writer and so you’re prone to hyperbole, particularly when it comes to your own experiences and emotions tied to this manuscript. 

One more ring out from the center of the bullseye and nothing good happens.  You hit the outer perimeter and finally, mercifully, a positive response.

Consider the celebratory vodka.

No, wait.

First, there are revisions.  These aren’t the same revisions your critique group suggested.  Most revert things back to the original.  You could scream, but instead you just sigh because you didn’t keep the original masterwork, you incorporated changes directly into the original file so now you’ve got to type it all back in.

But that’s okay.  In fact, it’s great.  You’re almost there. 

For now, soon at least -- vodka, but, someday, champagne.

Make the revisions, submit the book and then, just as you’re thinking of cracking that vodka, in comes the note.  Don’t relax yet.  First, there’s cover design, and then checking the typesetting.  Those are fun.  Then there’s promotion.  You have to do all this promotion.

What does this entail, exactly?  You don’t know?  You should know.  You need to do it.  Do it all.  Line up blog tours, book readings, contact local media, make press kits, set up a website, a blog, facebook.  Tweet.

Tweet what exactly?

Just tweet!

Okay!  This is what you have to do.

You have to keep getting up in the mornings and punching the clock and making the money so you can afford the website and electricity so that you can run your laptop and your cell so you can tweet and poke people because this is promotion.  

Meanwhile, the vodka waits.  Patiently.

You are a writer now.  You have a book being published.  You can get away with assigning emotions to inanimate objects.  For real.  It’s in the rules.  Look it up.  But there’s always some douche in your critique group who’s not abreast of the full writers’ repertoire and who calls you on it.  Him saying, vodka can’t be patient, blah blah.  Ignore him.

Finally, the day comes and you hold a copy of your book in your hands.  This should make it real.  

But still, tomorrow, you have to punch in and so the vodka must wait because after you punch out for the day, you have to get on your laptop and blog and then check for reviews and then tweet something. 

Did I mention this yet?

You’re shy.

You do not like to tweet.  You do not like to blog.  You do not like to poke people.  You do not like some of the reviews you get back.  Some are good, yes.  But some, not so much.

But you have a choice.  Here’s option one.  Don’t do it.  Don’t do it and no one will ever know about your book and it won’t sell and then you’ll be a writer but not one with champagne and caviar, and most important, not one with readers.

Therefore, choose option two.

Choke it down, suck it up, take what you can use from the crap reviews and spin them into tweets and poke people about the really good ones and then make up silly responses for interviews and update your website and hope people will be enticed to read your book. 

That’s when you decide on something else.  This big blur, all this typing and mailing and social connecting, the payoff will be, literally, the payoff.  That first royalty check.  That’s when it’s all going to be time to sit down, finally, take a breath, and drink that vodka.

Meantime, you’ve got a new idea.  A better idea than the one for your first book.  It’s got a strong hook.  So here’s the plan:

Sit down and start writing.  Again.

Punch the clock, come home, plug in the laptop, keep typing as long as you can, send out a tweet, or on a good day a blog post, and then get up in the morning and do it all again.

Days, weeks, months go by.  Finally, it arrives.  The royalty check from your first masterwork has arrived.  Tear open the envelope, look inside.  Then look again. 

Swallow hard. Blink rapidly.

The total on this first royalty check?  It’s not enough to cover a single shot from your supposed celebratory bottle.

So here’s what you do.  Put ass in chair and keep on writing.  Send a tweet, post new chapters to be critiqued.

Quietly, forlorn, your celebratory bottle of vodka sighs.

You know what happens next. 

That’s right.

The bullseye, the concentric circles going out, farther and farther. More mailings, more rejections, all while punching in every day.  Douche in critique nails you for inconsistencies in the plot but he’s wrong, he’d misread a section.  You could scream.  But you don’t.  Just sigh to yourself, just like your lonesome vodka bottle and then thank him for his time.  Then find a publisher and prove the douche wrong and then tweet about it and your new cover and start blogging about the new book after you update your website.

This time, when the royalty check comes, it stings less but somehow disappoints more.

You know what happens next.  Except this time, there’s a change. New idea, typing, that stays the same.  Bullseye, circles out, that’s all the same.  What stops is punching in every day.  Economy’s bad and you are no longer required to punch in.  Ever. Good thing you’ve got those fat royalty checks that’ll be rolling in any day now.

You are not thinking that sarcastically, by the way.  You see this as an opportunity.  Just keep typing.  Just keep tweeting.  Keep mailing.  Keep critiquing.

And, repeat.

Repeat for a total of ten years.  Seven books. 

Still, no readers.

Sometimes, people ask, what do you do?  And you say, shyly, that you write.

There are three responses you routinely get.

Response one:  I could be a writer, too!  I know I could.  Just think to yourself, then put your ass in the chair and do it, bitch.  But say to them, I know you could, so you should.  Encourage, kindly.  Nod as they go on.

Response two:  Have I got a story for you!  Just nod and listen to their wild story that is nothing like The Hangover even though they think it’s box office gold.

Response three:  Have you written anything I’ve heard of.  Reply sheepishly but honestly – probably not.  They’ll lose interest immediately and you’ll question whether or not you really are a writer.

That’s when it happens. 

The whole country, suddenly, it’s reading a book.  Not one of your books.  Oh no.  But a book like yours.  The genre is the same.  The content is similar. 

Critique douche, again with the snark, he smirks with the news and slyly insinuates that yours is actually better.

You could punch him.  You could scream. 

But you don’t. 

Instead, you chose another option. 

Go home, and finally, finally, take that break, enjoy the moment and crack open that bottle of vodka.

Pour the shot, drink it down, and soak it in.  Enjoy it.

Because you now realize that the champagne won’t ever come.  Maybe, sadly, the readers won’t either.  The vodka is slightly bitter.  Not because you’ve waited so long to drink it. It’s just a bottle, it doesn’t have complex emotions like that.  It just tastes slightly bitter. 

It’s bitter because you know critique douche is right.  Even if he takes deranged glee in it, you take some satisfaction.  Yours is better than the bestseller.  You worked just as hard.  It’s just not happening for you.  You don’t care about the lack of champagne. But you do miss the readers.

All these words, all these ideas, all these stories, all these books you’ve written.  It’s like you’re underwater and screaming but no one can hear you.  Like you’re screaming for your life.

Again, with the writer’s hyperbole there. 

Seriously, get a grip.  This is not your life at stake.

But it is supposed to be your living.

Now, these are your options.

You could just stop.  Stop now.  It’s not going to happen.  No matter how much you type or blog or tweet or query.  Finish this bottle of vodka that’s tasting smoother by the sip and then go to bed and get up and find somewhere new to punch in and make a decent wage again.

That is exactly what you could do.  Should do.  What a normal person would do.

But you do not.

You chose the second option.

You put ass in chair and start to type.

Because you are a writer.

But you do finish that bottle of vodka first. 

_______________________________

Susan DiPlacido is the author of 24/7, Trattoria, Mutual Holdings, House Money, Lady Luck, Shuffle Up and Deal, and American Cool. Trattoria was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Small Press Romance 2005, and her short story, "I, Candy," won the Spirit Award at the 2005 Moondance International Film Festival. American Cool won the bronze medal in the 2008 IPPY awards and was a finalist in the 2008 Indie Book Awards. Shuffle Up and Deal was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Small Press Erotic Fiction 2010. Her fiction has appeared in Susie Bright's Best American Erotica 2007, Maxim Jakubowski's Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica vol. 6 and 7, Zane's Caramel Flava, and Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction.
Please visit her online at www.susandiplacido.com or www.susandiplacido.blogspot.com.
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/susan.diplacido
Become her friend her on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/susandiplacido

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