FREE KINDLE FOR PC

FREE KINDLE FOR PC
So you can read my books

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

LOVE is a good place to BEGIN and a tragic place to END


{Image in Public Domain}

Khalil Gibran actually appears at the end of my soon-to-be released audiobook,  The Not-So-Innocents Abroad


 In my horror anthology,
Silhouettes in the Key of Scream,
 I use a quote of his to lead off one of the stories.  


I recently realized with a start that Khalil Gibran's thoughts 

on the uncertainties of love run through three of those tales of horror.


Think not you can direct 
the course of love, for love, 
if it finds you worthy, 
directs your course.”

{Self-Portrait in Public Domain}

He wrote of the precarious balance between intimacy and independence in healthy relationships.

(And how many of those have 
you seen in your own life?)

“Love one another but make not a bond of love: 
let it rather be a moving sea 
between the shores of your souls.”

HOW DO YOU DELINEATE 
LOVE AND INDEPENDENCE
IN YOUR STORIES?

Monday, July 16, 2018

The NUMBING DOWN of America

'He was so terrible that he was no longer terrible, only dehumanized.'
- F. Scott Fitzgerald


Have the woes of others merely become our own private reality show,
our modern gladiator games?





Take American Idol or
any of the amateur talent shows.

It seems the audiences revel in the humiliation
of the less talented contestants.




I waited for what seemed an eternity at the DMV.

A mother with her 10 year old boy sat down beside me.

She busied herself with FB on her phone while her son pulled out an Ipad

and promptly started playing the latest CALL OF DUTY.

For an hour, he rocked back and forth as intently shot and maimed silicon enemies.


Was he becoming numb to the realities of violence and the finality of death?



Is Technology
numbing down America?

We view the world and one another through the filter of a smartphone screen ...

distancing us from directly experiencing emotions and ugly realities.

The Internet desensitizes us to shocking images and diminishes our empathic skills.


Videos of gruesome events that we view online for the figures are so tiny that the humans do not appear real.


The shock value of the loss of human life and the cries of misery have lessened.


Desensitization has become
the new normal.

Do we give up on tragedies and the people in them...

because the lack of action by politicians,

and little or no long-term coverage

by main media sources

gives a tacit message that

we are not like those suffering the tragedies.



There has been a shift in the way we communicate; rather than face-to-face ...

 Changes in the style and type of

interpersonal communication.


Young people use smartphones rather 

than interacting with the people around them,

to the detriment of being able even to make eye contact for more than a few seconds.

The Twitter and text bytes sent back and forth have reduced our ability to focus for any length of time

and have made it easier to be insensitive with impunity.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Friday, July 13, 2018

HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK NOTICED


Not like this -- 
I think the SPCA might object.

But it could work!  
Don't look at me that way.
Just saying.

You can write the most beautiful novel ever crafted ...
     but it will die if you cannot draw internet attention to it.

Most self-published books sell fewer than 100 or 150 copies.

GETTING YOUR eBOOK NOTICED IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT SELLING YOUR BOOK.

I. HOW DO YOU GET THAT ATTENTION?

1.) Book cover

You can choose a proper image for the book cover that will draw attention to your eBook.
     a.) You need to choose the proper thumbnail with a theme that reflects the contents of your
           eBook.

     b.) Many readers will be drawn to the book cover long before
          reading the description and the reviews.

     c.) It helps if you have a book cover that instantly draws attention.

     d.) Look at the image of THE NATIONAL LAMPOON memoir.


2.) Pricing

      a.)  it should neither be too cheap or too expensive
      b.) People value what costs them and hold to be inferior what they got cheaply.

3.) TITLE

      a.) Pick your title BEFORE you begin (you'll be with your novel for weeks so have a title that inspires you!

      b.) It's a marriage - LOVE YOUR TITLE

      C.) What a great title does:
            1.) Captures your audience’s attention
            2.) It communicates what your e-book is about
            3,) If it’s your style, it should include a little bit of a “What the Heck?” factor:
                      
Titles tell your audience a little something about you.
Look at these three sets of words:
  • Epic; Awesome.
  • Remarkable; Brilliant.
  • Elegant; Erudite
Each pair of words has a unique flavor. You can almost begin to see the people that would use them in a title or a headline.

Which means that the words in your e-book title need to reflect your style.

       D.) WHO'S AN OXYMORON?~!

           i.) EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE was a great title to an older book because it linked two
                opposites.

           ii.) Startle your reader and snare his attention.

4.) YOUR BOOK DESCRIPTION

     a.)  Most people skim the content.

          1.) You’re also one of them (okay, including me)
          2.) This is where you need to write creatively
          3.) Use short paragraphs
          4.) Use short sentences like this.

     b.) Divide your content into three blocks

          1.)  Introduction (first two to three lines or really important. Tell them a story,
                make them scary, make them laugh, do anything but don’t make them bored.
               They must read your first two lines.

          2.) Middle of the content (this is where your actual MEAT of the content comes in)
          3.) Ending (end with either a surprise twist or question.)

II. HERE BE MONSTERS

   A.) It is the Old West once again.

   B.) Remember the Klondike Gold Madness (well not from actual memory, of course -- unless you're Sam McCord!)

   C.) Wild-eyed dreamers would race to Alaska where they would fall victim to prospectors
          selling fake maps to sure gold mines.

   D.) There are no GUARANTEED WAYS TO SUCCEED or 
 CERTAIN STEPS TO
          RICHES WITH YOUR EBOOK.

   E.) Once again, just write what you love, what fills your imagination with magic and delight.


Happy Friday the 13th from Midnight! 


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Art of the BOOK COVER



The first page of your book
is not your first page ...

   It's your cover



The Last Shaman remains one of my
best selling books,
and I think the cover has a lot to do with it.



Victor Standish is not far behind.

My Stetson is off to Leonora Roy
for her artistry.

And off to
Heather McCorkle
for her cover skills.




It is with the cover that the book can communicate
 a little of the style and mood of the tale inside.


Here is a bit of history of the fascinating art
of the Sci Fi Cover

IF SELF-PUBLISHED,
HOW DO YOU CRAFT
YOUR COVERS?


FOR A MOMENT OF BITTERSWEET PEACE


Here is a melody that brings to mind 
our search for dream's distant shore.



It also evokes the spirit of my short story,  
The Town That Hated God


soon to be found in my next book
Silhouettes in the Key of Scream 

 
WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS
YET TO BE GRASPED?

Monday, July 9, 2018

WHY WRITE SHORT STORIES?


A short story is a love affair; 
a novel is a marriage." 
- Lorrie Moore


In this modern, fast-paced culture ...

An intense love affair is often preferred over an all-consuming marriage.

You would think then that the short story would be more popular than it is ...


Which brings us to 
What I hope will be
my next book

 



Stephen King, at the start of his career, thought of a short story as a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.

And like with kisses, some short stories are better than others!


In the beginning of his writing struggles, Mr. King thought of his short stories as a series of pinatas he banged on --

not with a stick but with his imagination. 

Sometimes they broke and showered down a few hundred dollars.  Other times they did not.

It was an easier market to sell short stories then.  Now, not so much. 

SO WHY SHOULD WE BANG 
ON THE PINATAS 
OF SHORT STORIES 
IN THIS HARSH MARKET?


1.)  IT HELPS YOU WRITE LEAN

Each scene in your novel should be spare and lean so that the drama stands out like stirring chords in a soundtrack.

The limited space in a short story forces you to keep only what is absolutely needed 

to paint the scene and leave the rest behind.

Like Elmore Leonard advised -- Leave out the boring stuff.


2.) SHORT STORIES APPEAL TO OUR MICROWAVE CULTURE

Many readers feel that they do not have the free time to commit to a whole novel.  

They want entertainment in bite sizes.

Why do you think James Patterson writes mini-chapters?

Short stories can be read in a doctor's office or before you drift off to sleep.


3.) WRITING SHORT STORIES SAVES THOSE NEAT IDEAS THAT ARE NOT UP TO FILLING OUT A NOVEL.

How many times have you come with intriguing ideas 

that you know do not have the essence of an entire novel with its many character arcs?

You have this riveting scene with sizzling dialogue that seems to exist all on its own

 with no future beyond that moment.

A short story is perfect for that idea.


4.) SHORT STORIES PROVIDE THE PERFECT BRIDGES TO MAINTAIN INTEREST IN YOUR NOVEL SERIES 

A book can take anywhere from one to two years to complete.

Publishing short stories with the same characters can keep the interest high in your world or with your prose.


5.)  SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES INTRODUCE YOU TO A WHOLE NEW AUDIENCE

Also be careful in submitting your story to anthologies whose cause or company of authors mesh well with your voice and personality.

Getting your "prose voice" out there may well draw you additional fans. 

Do You Write Short Stories?

Do You Read Anthologies of Short Stories?

Why?  Why Not?