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Thursday, May 21, 2015

IS KIRKUS REVIEWS WORTH IT?

Have you noticed an increase in ads on Twitter and on blogs for review services?


KINDLE SYSTEM
http://tyconreviews.com/

favorited and followed me on Twitter.  

I checked out who had done so and learned wearily it was just a way to get my business.

On their web page, they calmly explain why you should BUY REVIEWS.  Only $97 for 10 reviews.

Sigh.  Yeah, I want to get thrown off Amazon and PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE.

ANNE R. ALLEN wrote a detailed article on why this is a very, very, very bad thing to do.
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2015/05/paid-reviews-why-authors-should-never.html


KIRKUS REVIEWS:

I've also seen ads for KIRKUS REVIEWS popping up everywhere on the internet.

Now, when an established business starts avalanching the net with ads then I begin to think they are hurting.

 $425.00 for a review that might take 9 weeks. 

Or you can fork over the extra money and pay $575.00 for the 4-6 week review.

 Once the review is published, however, few, if anyone, will see it. 

It gets tucked away three or four layers deep into the Kirkus labyrinth of thousands of reviews.

And you wouldn’t find it unless you searched for it specifically.

 Only an extreme select few books get selected by their editors for a featured review, 

and even fewer (think Stephen King) actually get a star. 

REALLY NOT WORTH THE MONEY FOR MOST OF US.

If you want to buy a review from an objective service, you might want to look into these:

San Francisco Book Review: $125.00 (8-10 weeks)
 
Portland Book Review: $100.0
 
Readers Views: various review services (2-4 week turnaround)
 
Indie Reader: $150.00 (2-4 week turnaround)
 
Midwest Book Review: $50.00 (14-16 week turnaround)
 
Self Publishing Review: $119 (1 month turnaround)
 
ForeWord Book Review: Requires book submissions 2 months before release date

I hope this helps. 

Don't forget to go to D.G. Hudson's RAINFOREST WRITING  http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.com/

to read her review of my book: 
THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT   

D. G. HUDSON and the MYSTERIES OF ANCIENT EGYPT


 

“...as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, 

details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold

For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by - 

I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, 

'Can you see anything?' 

It was all I could do to get out the words, 'Yes, wonderful things."
- Howard Carter in Tomb of Tutankhamen 



 D.G. Hudson has written a lovely review of my book, THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT in the latest post on her blog, RAINFOREST WRITING.

Come visit, why don't you?  

I mean ... the Mummy's Curse couldn't travel over the internet ... could it?


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

BEST ADVICE FROM BEST-SELLING AUTHORS






"The writer has to have patience, the perseverance to just sit there alone and grind It out. And if it’s not worth doing that, then he doesn’t want to write." 

- Elmore Leonard

"It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style."
 — P. D. James

 "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
 - Elmore Leonard

"The bottom line is this: Write less, not more."  
- Jeff Goins

"Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something – anything – down on paper."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

 "Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up too." 
- Isabel Allende

 "Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water." 
- Kurt Vonnegut

 "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." 
- Anton Chekhov

"You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it." 
- Susan Orlean

" If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful."
- Ray Bradbury

 “Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.”
- Paula Danziger

 “Two questions form the foundation of all novels: ‘What if?’ and ‘What next?’"
- Tom Clancy

 "I do not rewrite unless I am absolutely sure that I can express the material better if I do rewrite it.”
- William Faulkner

 “In truth, I never consider the audience for whom I’m writing. I just write what I want to write.” 
- J K Rowling

 "Prose is architecture, not interior decoration." 
- Ernest Hemingway

 "If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you."
 - Madeleine L'Engle

 "Start telling the stories that only you can tell." 
- Neil Gaiman

 "Good novels are produced by people who voluntarily isolate themselves and go deep, and report from the depths on what they find." 
- Jonathan Franzen

 "Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish." 
- John Steinbeck

THE MOST IMPORTANT POST YOU WILL READ TODAY


You read my title and said,

"Get real."


Exactly.

Get real. Or never get picked up by an agent.

As a writer of urban fantasy,

I have to convince my readers that Samuel McCord


and his friends and enemies are real,

or they will never buy my fantastical setting and plot as "real."

No matter what you write, you must do the same.


Or the readers will never become absorbed into your novel.

How do you do that?


By remembering ...

1) "God and Country" ain't what it used to be.

Duty and honor were once valid motivations. But Shakespeare is dead.

This is the "Me" generation.

Even if you're writing about women in the 1700's, you are not writing FOR them.

Abigail Adams sacrificed much for her husband and family.

But her letters showed a woman who insisted on owning her own property and money

(very much NOT the custom of the time.)


All of us have had to deal with a situation, not because it was honorable,
but because it was heaved into our laps.

Abigail comes across as real

because her letters showed

she resented her husband's ambition that took him from his children and her so often and for so long.

She fumed at his inability to get along with others.

Ambition, vanity, irritability -- she saw his warts.

But they were warts on a face she loved.

We can "buy" a woman who sees clearly but loves deeply.

2) Ah, Love ...

"Put the rat cage on her. On her!"

In 1984, Winston is tortured by the Thought Police until he finally breaks
and screams for his tormenter to put the rat cage on Julia, the woman he "loves."

Sex is a primal motivator not love.

Man will sacrifice much for love but generally there must be a good chance of success,
or your average reader will feel your novel is cliche not real.

Your hero may be different and sacrifice all for love,
but that extremism must apply to all facets of his life or your reader will not "buy" your hero.

3.) Curiosity killed the cat ... and the bad novel.

Without curiosity, fire and most of Man's discoveries would never have been made.
But as with love, there is a limit to how much we will sacrifice for curiosity.

When a mother's children are threatened by her curiosity, she will generally grudgingly back off.

Up the punishment enough, and all of us curious types will say, "I'm outta here!"

But by the time that moment comes, realistically, it is too late. And that leads us to the next point:

4) Self-preservation or
"I'll miss you terribly, but that last life preserver is mine!"

We like to think the world is a nice place.
But try being an ill, frail woman on a crowded bus and see how selfless most people are.

To continue when threats to his life are enormous, your main character must have more than self-preservation to keep on --

perhaps he/she cannot depend on the promises or threats of the adversary to keep his/her children and spouse safe.

Or as so often in life, the hero simply has no choice but to go on.
The bee hive has been toppled -- and it's simply run or be stung to death.

5) Greed or
"Excuse me. Is that my hand in your pocket?"


Greed is good -- as Michael Douglas once said.
But only up to a point.

For one thing, greed is not something which endears our hero to the reader.
Another, shoot at most greedy folks, and they will head for more hospitable hills.


6) Revenge consumes ... the individual and the reader's patience.


Revenge is understandable but not heroic.

In historical or Western novels, where justice was bought or simply non-existent, revenge is a valid motivation ...

often justified under the rationalization, justice.

Revenge in our civilized times must occur when lapses in order happen.

Say when civilization died with the power in New Orleans during and after Katrina.


Revenge on your adversary's part must be understandable, or your plot will become cliche.
Revenge must be supplemented with other aspects of the character.

Say a priest, defending his flock of homeless during Katrina, must choke off his desire for revenge for a raped little girl

to stay by his remaining flock to protect them.
Playing the desire for revenge against love for helpless family can lend depth to your novel --

making it real.


For who of us has not burned for revenge against a tresspass against us but had to bite back the darkness within?

7) We want to believe ...

Despite all the harsh things I've said of love (and by inference, friendship),
the reader wants to believe ...

A) that when the moment comes, we can reach within ourselves and find the hero hiding there.

B) that love can survive dark, hard times if we but simply refuse to let go of it.

C) that humor and wit can overcome the larger, stronger predator --
 that we can become Ulysses challenging the gods -- and winning.

8) Give your readers a semblance of reality
while still giving them the three things that they want to believe of themselves and of life --

and your novel will be a bestseller.

***
Just because I liked THE FLASH'S finale:

A CAST OF LOVERS, LIARS, KILLERS, AND CLOWNS ...




THE BEST REVIEW YOU'LL NEVER READ ON AMAZON

Sandra Thrasher, ill though she is, sent me a review of my book that she doesn't feel right putting on Amazon

since she is my best friend, but I just had to share:

"Heady, sardonic, yet compassionate -- with an unpredictable cast of lovers, liars, killers, and clowns, THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT entertains even as it reflects upon the instability of identities.  

It is a thoroughly entertaining book by a classic talent."


But enough about me ... on to a real talent I talked about 2 days ago: Patricia Briggs:



Her latest: SHIFTING SHADOWS is a volume of short stories centering on her secondary characters in her world of MERCY THOMPSON.

The intros to those stories are mini-lessons on how to write.  

If you buy only one book this month:

Buy mine, but buy hers next month!  :-)

SECONDARY CHARACTERS

Her book got me to reflecting upon them.  Could yours support a short story centering on them?  They should.


ARCS
Each of your supporting characters should have one.  Not in your novel.  That would give you mental hernias.

No, but in your mind.  They should be real not CARDBOARD CUT-OUTS of personalities.

Your protagonist is defined by his interactions with those around him. 

And if those around him are shallow, he or she will only be able to have shallow relationships.  The reader will become bored.


PERCOLATE

How do you do that you ask.  Percolate. 

You let the different characters and the rough image of your novel's actions 

slowly work through your conscious and unconscious mind.

Too many writers rush into their novels in the heat of a great opening scene or bit of dazzling dialogue.

By all means put it down on paper or in Word, but pause and reflect for a few days maybe even .... shudder ... a week.

But if the fire is hot within you, ignore me completely.  I am used to that treatment from beautiful women.

After all, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde in SIX DAYS!


TAKE KINDERGARTEN

You enter one person, meet those irritating mysteries, other human beings, and emerge a drastically different kind of person.

This happens again and again and again in the lives of us all.

A fact which irritates me when an author says she cannot write a sequel since the arc of her heroine is finished. 

I want to say: "Is she still breathing?  Then, another arc is just beginning!"


THE WORLD YOU WANT VS THE WORLD THAT IS

Most of you know the term "Mary Sue"
   
The term "Mary Sue" comes from the name of a character created by Paula Smith in 1973 for her parody story "A Trekkie's Tale"


It was published in her fanzine Menagerie #2. 

The story starred Lieutenant Mary Sue

("the youngest Lieutenant in the fleet — only fifteen and a half years old"), and satirized unrealistic Star Trek fan fiction.

You can write a MARY SUE novel, too. 

Twilight is basically one and spawned a depressingly large number of copy-cats!

The wallflower or outcast who, up until now has been ignored or ridiculed. 

Then comes the new kid: dark, handsome, mysterious ... and madly in love with the wallflower.

You can write a novel whose world is what you would have it to be. 

And if enough readers want the same kind of world, it will be popular.

But it will not resonate with truth.  It will be mental cotton candy.  And if you write enough of it, it will make you and your ability to create ill.

ANTI-MARY SUE NOVELS

Then, there are novels where every part of the universe sucks,

the heroine is the doormat of her world, incapable of not making mistakes.  She IS a mistake.

I know we often feel that way,

but if we look down and our shoes are on the proper feet, then we have done at least one thing right.

All of us write of the world as we believe it to be. 

But we must work hard to NOT write of the world that our fears believe it to be.

Like Mrs. Briggs' title to her short story collection, SHIFTING SHADOWS, 

the world is a shifting dance of shadow and light.  

If we find our novel all light or all dark,

we are making it unrealistic and without the music of life that will sing to our readers of the truths we must find for ourselves in the darkness.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE OF DENISE COVEY



One of my oldest blogger friends has been gracious enough to have me on her blog 

in her delightful series: FROM THE COUCH WITH ...

The ever-more interesting and worthy Ann Carbine Best was so honored last week.  

Check it out here:
http://dencovey.blogspot.com/2015/05/from-couch-bloggers-share-intimate-peek.html

I had the crafty Apache diyi, Elu, whisk poor Denise to Meilori's so I would be on home ground!



So don't waste a moment more here, go visit's Denise's blog 

and see what the poor woman had to put up with from me!
http://dencovey.blogspot.com/2015/05/from-couch-with-roland-yeomans.html

D.G. Hudson talks of THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT that I wrote for her and Inger Wiltz.

 In Chapter 14 MASQUE OF THE BLACK LAND

A State Ball is being given in the Cairo of 1895.  

Upon the dance floor, Samuel and Meilori must contend with fellow dancers fresh from the grave.  

This waltz is being played:

           “Every moment of the night
            Forever changing places



      And they put out the star-light
            With the breath from their pale 

          faces”
          Edgar Allan Poe

Sunday, May 17, 2015

BLOOD, BOOBS, CARNAGE, AND MERCY THOMPSON


Alex Cavanaugh & Heather Gardner have a blogfest:


{SHIFTING SHADOWS cover by Dan dos Santos}


SHIFTING SHADOWS is a collection of short stories in the Mercy Thompson universe:

the modern world as if the beings of the Brothers Grimm existed unknown to civilized Man.

Mercy is a Volkswagon mechanic, the daughter of a Blackfeet Indian and a white teenage mother.

 She is a "Walker" (a Native American shapeshifter not linked to the moon) who turns into a coyote, a gift she inherited from her father.

A rodeo man, he died a few days after consummating his relationship with her mother.

One day, not too long after Mercy was born, her mother went to her crib only to find a small coyote pup in her place.

Afraid and unsure how to raise her, her mother took her to the only place she knew was capable—

friends of an uncle, who had been a werewolf.

This is how Mercy came to be raised with the pack of Bran, the Marrok of the werewolves.


Now, she is on her own in the Pacific Northwest. 

The local vampire seethe collects protection money from the non-humans in their city. 

Mercy has no money, so she repairs the car of one of the vampires, Stefan ( the Soldier, born in Renaissance Italy) --

whose van is painted like Scooby-Doo's Mystery Machine.

She falls in love with the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, whose members detest her as a coyote. 

She is paying monthly payments to the Dark Smith of Fae legend whose shop is now hers.

Her keen sense of smell allows her to pierce Fae glamour -- an act punishable by death from the fae should they learn of it.

After a life of staying to herself,
Mercy finds herself coming to the aid of supernatural outcasts,
though her strength is but that of a human's.

But be you Uber-Vampire, Faerie Queen, River Demon, rogue government agent, or volcanic elemental,

you hurt those she loves at your peril. 

Mercy will keep on coming as long as there is breath in her body and gambits in her sharp mind.

MOON-CALLED is her first book.




Oh, and to make her life complete ...
Mercy's just learned her rodeo rider father was actually ...
Coyote, the Trickster.

***

"Mine," growled Adam from the open door of my mechanic shop.

"Mine," rasped Mac, his eyes the yellow of the change, his arms wrapped tight around my waist.

It would have been flattering, but at least one of them was talking about lunch.
 
***
 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

ANTI-WEEKEND





You've heard of anti-matter?

Well, my weekends are anti-weekends!

No rest and relaxation for my weekends.  I am on solo first call every weekend.  Take today.  I wish someone had!

I worked 11 hours straight, and I stopped counting the miles after 400. 

 And I am still on call, taking a chance that a hospital will call me while I am writing this.

So this will be short.  

I just wanted to let you guys know I am not ignoring you, I am just being battered by the anti-weekend!!

Imagine driving exhausted at 3 A.M. after having worked 11 hours straight 

to deliver rare blood to a rural hospital patient desperately needing a transfusion. 

 No fun, but necessary to that poor patient.

I once wrote a Sci Fi/Stephen King version of my job in BLOOD WILL TELL 

(Only 99 cents!)  Check it or the audio of it out.  :-)

Friday, May 15, 2015

UNTIL OPRAH NOTICES YOUR BOOK, HERE'S WHAT YOU DO




1.) WE HAVE THE WORLD BACKWARDS

   People will buy your book for your WHY not your WHAT.

      All those "girl saviors plucking the world from disaster" books are a dime a dozen and sell like stale ideas will.
     
      Their authors have their WHAT shouting from their subject matter.  They want to jump on the bandwagon to fame and money.

      They are in pursuit of the results not the thrill of  the journey for their WHY

And they get meager results.



2.) THE WHY OF YOUR BOOK WILL DRAW READERS TO YOU.

     The best writers write for the thrill of telling an entertaining story with characters you can relate to.

      DC VERTIGO comics has some of the worst art, but readers are loyal to them.  BECAUSE THE STORY IS NOVEL AND RIVETING.

      APPLE begins with their WHY

      "Everything we do stems from our belief in challenging the Status Quo.  We believe in thinking differently.

      The way we challenge the Status Quo is by making the most user-friendly computers in unique formats.  

      We just happen to make great computers.  Want to buy one?"



3.) HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR NEW BOOK.

      The world must be coming to an end, for I am writing:  

JOHN LOCKE HAD SOMETHING RIGHT.

      When starting out his blog, he wrote -- not on writing -- his target audience were READERS not writers.

      He wrote heart-tugging, funny, original posts on topics relevant to the moment.

      In his side-bar, he had his books spotlighted with links to purchase them

 in the belief that if the readers found him amusing in his post, then they might be tempted to take a chance on his 99 cents books.



4.) OUR BLOGS ARE OUR MARRIAGE PROPOSAL TO THE READER.

      Reading a book is like a relationship between author and reader.  

The divorce rate is high here.  

You have to court and continually reinforce the attraction the reader has for you as an author.

      If we are boring, pedantic, or drone on about the same thing to the point of vomiting, 

we will not tempt the reader to try our books.

      If you are saying the same thing in the same way all the other author blogs are, you will be lost in the sea of those screaming, BUY ME!



5.) GIVE THEM A REASON TO CARE, TO BUY.

      Make them laugh or nod their head in sudden agreement: 

"Damn, she's right about that.  I never thought about it that way before."

     We make decisions with our limbic brain that does not think in words but in feelings like trust and loyalty.  

      Most choices are made based on feelings which we rationalize later.

     Most people will wait until the horde agree on a book.  

You want to attract those readers who BELIEVE in YOU enough to talk about you to their friends.

     And they will believe in YOUR WHY more than in your particular book.



6.) PLACE THE EMPHASIS ON THEM NOT ON YOU.

      Don't give them WHAT

"Matilda is torn between the merman who saved her and the hunky fisherman who netted her out of the water."

     Place the emphasis on the reader with the WHY

"Do you want more than lust?  Do you want lust AND love?  Boy, do I have a book for you!"

      People went to hear Rev. King not for him but for themselves 

because HE VOICED THEIR DREAMS.  

It was not I HAVE A PLAN speech, but I HAVE A DREAM.



7.) DON'T FISH IN THE TOILET BOWL.

     FB, Twitter -- these are NOT the hunting areas for readers.

      Go to Amazon.  

It is the NUMBER ONE SEARCH ENGINE FOR READERS!

But do it right.



 
{The latest Hubble view of the PILLARS OF CREATION}


THREE HINTS:

      1.) PUT YOUR KEYWORDS IN YOUR TITLE.

Amazon’s algorithms look FIRST for the most popular KEYWORDS in your TITLE.  

Why do you think you are suddenly seeing titles like THIRST: A DARK FANTASY?

    
       2.) PUT KEYWORDS IN YOUR PRODUCT DESCRIPTION.

Amazon’s algorithms are drawn to critical KEYWORDS in your product description.  

Take those hard-thought out keywords in your keyword section and place them in the description of your novel.

It will help to pad the description of your book.  

Short descriptions get skipped over entirely by those pesky Amazon’s algorithms.


Amazon’s algorithms look at keywords 

in each book’s title, series title, subtitle, product description, editorial reviews, and customer reviews, 

to match it to what customers are looking for. 

More relevant equals higher placement.

       
      3.) DON'T ENTER A SPITTING CONTEST WITH A CAMEL!

When choosing keywords go to the Amazon Search box and type a keyword that has popularity but not overwhelming lookers.


You want to be on the first page if possible of a search.

URBAN FANTASY will have you lost in a tide of books.

DARK FANTASY is a bit better.

NEW ORLEANS DARK FANTASY or NEW ORLEANS HORROR are the best of the three. 

 Popular but you will find yourself on the first or second page of a reader's search.


BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST:
HAVE FUN WITH YOUR DREAM!