Tuesday, November 20, 2007
My first order for Deadly Sins was for 100 books. Then, at Art in the Park, in Orange, the books were such a success I was left with 15 of the original hundred. (I'd mailed some out for reviews, etc.)
Then came my move (don't need to explain that difficult process!!) and I forgot, until a week away from my book launch in Orange, to order more books. Not to worry, the printer can print them in a week, right? Well, they can if their machines don't break!
The day before the launch Linda calls and says--yep, the machines are down, no books!
The folks at Bayou Trading, where the book launch was held, had advertised in the newspaper, sent out a mailing to over 200 customers, etc!
Well, I was about to cry in my beer when Linda emails with a plan--a plan she stayed up all night to put into place. She created bookplates, IOU's, and a decopage plaque of the Sabine Lighthouse featured on the book cover. Folks willing to prepay and wait a few days for their books received all of the above as a gift! A couple of folks who got books even bought the plaques!
The event went off without a hitch, folks had a great time, and everyone was patient with the circumstances--thanks to Linda's work!
I never felt so proud to have the L & L Dreamspell team as partners in my writing venture!! Can't get much better than that!
Hope Linda got a good nights sleep Saturday night! You gals are the best!
Friday, November 9, 2007
Mistake #1 - Sending promo unsolicited. I almost deleted it unread and am glad I didn't--though not for the reasons the author would want.
Mistake #2 - It had a lousy opening hook. The blurb talked about demises and other negative things, then in paragraph two mentions it is a comedy!
Mistake #3 - There is nothing in the blurb that engages or excites about the story. In fact, I'm still not sure what the story is even about. The author uses ten words (huge and pretentious words) where one or none would have been better. He also focuses on all the wrong things and ends the blurb in a self-congratulatory, arrogant way.
Mistake #4 - Though I can't prove it, it looks like the author "created" his own review quotes. The writing similarties are marked to the point of embarassing--and are as badly written as the blurb. (I could do a whole blog on how bad the review blurbs were, but won't go there right now.)
Mistake #5 - His bio was as badly and oddly written as all the other elements of the pitch.
It's amazingly easy to write bad promo material, though this particular pitch didn't look easy--it was very painful to read and looked painful to write, too. It's much harder to write your own promo well. As the author of the material, you're close to it and we tend to focus on all the wrong things.
Remember that you only have one chance and a few seconds to make a good impression, whether its in person, on your website or through an email. Always, always put your best foot forward. Don't tell your intended target how much they will like your book. SHOW them with a great opening hook that focuses on the ACTUAL STORY.
Most readers don't want to know the themes you explore in your book. They want to know that you have a great story and characters. Again, just telling isn't enough. SHOW them. A pitch is your first chance to show your potential audience that you can WRITE. They WILL judge your book by how you present your self and your material.
If you've written a comedy, show it in the first sentence. When you are trying to sell a screenplay, you have to start with a one or two sentence "log line" that distills your story down to its essential conflict and main characters. I use that for my opening sentence when I'm writing a query letter.
And if I get a slew of "nos" back, then I KNOW I need to retool and rewrite that opening. Don't be afraid to keep writing and rewriting your promo material until you start getting positive responses. It's also a good idea to practice your "elevator" pitch, so when someone asks you what your book is about, you can tell them in an interesting and intriguing way.
I try to structure my promo material into:
* Brief synopsis (a couple of paragraphs about the book)
* Longer synopsis (but still no more than a page)
NO WHERE in this material, do I talk about myself, how I felt about writing it or what a wonderful writer I am. These are only about MY BOOK. They are only about my CHARACTERS. And the CONFLICT.
If you can learn to get out of your own way and become adept at promoting your work, it WILL help you with your agent/editor/publisher and ultimately help you find readers.
But still don't spam. It's tacky and unprofessional. :-)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I'm also thrilled at a new review for The Key:
"There were many characters, good and bad, on all sides of the plot, with most of the characters filling important roles. Sara was a wonderful character, I could have seen her walk right out of the book...I loved the development of love between Sara and Fyn. Ms. Jones wrote a wonderful book. I will certainly put her on my to be read list." The Romance Studio
Hope you're having a fun day!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Thank you Linda and Lisa at L&L Dreamspell for making me realize my personal dream of being a published author.
If you don’t know by now, my first novel, “Vampires at the Opera” went on sale on Monday. If you are over 18 and would like to purchase it, it is available at the Dreamspell website. For someone who is a first time author, words cannot describe the wonderful and very emotional feeling of seeing one’s book listed on the various book selling websites.
Today, I received my author copies in the mail and loads of goodies from Dreamspell.
I loved the shirt and the tote bag but it felt incredible to finally physically hold the actual novel in my hands. I am extremely pleased with the overall look of the book as well as what is between the pages. Thanks Linda for doing a wonderful cover (I loved it from the first time that I saw it!). I want to thank Lisa who did a great job editing my manuscript for publication. It reads so smooth and sharp! Thanks also to Linda and Lisa for the beautifully framed memento commemorating the publication of my novel. It was a very touching gift and I have it in my office now, next to my computer.
I also want to say a special "thank you" to my fans who have followed me and my universe. I hope you will support my novel and stay around to see what happens next in my Dracula Phantom of the Opera series.
Which brings me to sharing with you all my next goal. As excited as I am to now have my novel set free for all to read, I have to confess, publishing it has made me eager to achieve my new ambition. The writing of my second novel in my Dracula-Phantom of the Opera series.
Take care all,
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Well, I actually stirred up the courage to ask mine and her answers actually surprised the dickens out of me, leaving me in awe at her intelligence.
Am I sucking up to my editor? Not a chance! Not after the way she returned my manuscript sliced and diced and hashed up with enough red marks to shame a third grader's English exam in the mud. Then...I took a step back and re-read every single comment and put them in the proper perspective. She was correct--in every single case. That, my dears, is difficult for me to admit.
Recently, Lisa, my editor, gave me a few minutes of her time and let me get inside her head to see her work through her eyes. Very interesting. This is what she shared with me.
Once she gets her hands on a script that peaks her interest, she reads the story all the way through. Then she rolls up her sleeves, so to speak, and gets out her red pens, highlighters, and iced tea. Blocking out the rest of the world she starts at the beginning again, by looking for misspelled words, then run-away sentences, poor grammar, mis-used words, verb content, and over-used words, etc.
As I watched the fire in her eyes light up, her passion for her work is truly astounding and I have to say quite contagious. Lisa makes every writer she's working with feel they are the best and most important people alive. And before she's finished with you, you'll believe it as well...
This morning, as I wrap up my final changes and turn in my novel once again over to Lisa, I'm feeling pretty good about all my errors. Not because I made them... No, no, no. Because I know without any doubts, my work of art, my baby I tolled over for an entire year...is now in the most capable hands in the world.
Feel you have a book or two inside you? Look up L & L Dreamspell Publishers and let Linda Houle and Lisa Rene Smith get to know you.
Filling in the empty lines,
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Here's the buy link from amazon: http://tinyurl.com/yrlk45
Reviews are still coming in, but here's a couple:
“Great plot! Superb workmanship on the characters! So sit back and take the ride of your life. This was by far the best Sci Fi novel in a long time. Pauline Baird Jones, a marvelous creator of some remarkable characters, put a new twist on a great Sci Fi story, The Key." Simegen Reviews
"Action is the name of the game as a feisty and hard-hitting heroine rises to the challenge in this rousing space adventure. Not only is this a fast-paced tale, the rampaging deception and cultural clashes ensure this hero and heroine will need all their survival skills." Romantic Times-
Hope you have a great weekend!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Now, I am home full time, our two dogs have retired from service, and I no longer can complain about not having time to write...So why isn't my muse dancing on my eyelashes sprinkling me with writer's dust? She's busy searching out dust bunnies under my desk, looking for issues on the internet she can stick her two cents into, and listening to idle gossip while sipping coffee with the neighbors. She's become unorganized, unruly, and cranky because she isn't doing what she should be doing--keeping my thoughts flowing on paper (er-uh, on the screen).
Last night we had a little discussion and although I have no doubt that she's back to skipping on my eyelashes, she still enjoys fluttering off and playing with the dogs, the neighbors, friends, and chatting up a storm promoting my books.
This morning the phone has rang three times, I promised a friend of mine I would travel with her this afternoon to a small town near Houston to pick out some fresh veggies from the Farmer's Market and the clothes in the dryer won't fold themselves or hang themselves up, and I really need to make a quick dash to the store for some milk, eggs, butter, and chocolate syrup, and then the filters in the a/c vent needs changing, and, and, and, and...
And maybe the problem isn't with my muse at all--
And so my day begins.
Grinning from ear to ear,
Thursday, July 19, 2007
You can find out all about it on my website and/or by subscribing to my newsletter. You can subscribe to my newsletter at www.perilouspauline.com. :-)
Thursday, July 12, 2007
This past Friday, the publishers of LLDreamspell, Linda Houle and Lisa Rene Smith came over to our home to do the photo shoot for THE SCENT OF MONEY. Linda and Lisa both love animals and had on a previous meeting met all my dogs. Except last time they behaved. The dogs, not Linda and Lisa, although they behaved as well!
Our dogs are nosy rascals and could not take the laughter on the other side of the wall for a minute longer. Four German shepherds and a HUGE Great Pyrenees burst through the living room door like a plug being removed from a dam, rushing Linda and Lisa with gusto! Each one of the dogs vying for their affection and fondness. Yes, my dogs are loving creatures, very social. Maybe a little too social as they climbed on these women's laps, smothering them with kisses and squeals, the way our dogs behave when they really like someone.
After Linda and Lisa left, I knew I had been in the company of two very fine women. You see, I trust my dog's intuition of character.
Observing dog's behaviors and their antics thrills me. Writing about them in murder mysteries came easy as they provide strong characters. And having Search Dogs helped with plot and setting. Why write about them? Because these honorable dogs give to the community without expecting anything in return. They are my Cadaver Dogs.
Whistling and writing and waiting for the next step--
Monday, July 2, 2007
Simple enough after it's all done, but it really does take some thought. Especially when changing from one POV character to another. But, I think smooth transitions are an important tool to keeping the reader's interest. The reader begins with the familiar and then can be taken to the unfamiliar without being confused or having the story lose believability. Later, after Zack has explored parts of the ruins in Tikal then I could end one chapter with him in his room at the compound and begin the next with him in a different place - like The Lost World Complex, because, now, the reader is familiar with the layout of that particular structure and ready to go beyond the familiar and into the unfamiliar.
Another important thing. The end of the book reaches somewhat into the paranormal. For the end of the story to transition from the normal to the paranormal and still be believable I had to insert the same information over and over again. Every time I did it, I did it in different ways, but it was imperative that the reader never forget certain Maya myths and legends or the ending would so surprising that instead of giving the reader chills it would simply lose credibility. By the time Zack had his greatest experience, I needed the reader to be open to this possibility, although certainly not expecting it.
Transitions can be rough or smooth depending on how much thought a writer puts into them. The key to having a fast paced novel is making the transitions so smooth that they don't interrupt the story.
Friday, June 1, 2007
This week has been an exceptional one. From feeling a HIGH typing in the words, "THE END" that I never knew existed to submitting my manuscript, to signing the contract with L & L Dreamspell. I am blown away at the intelligence, the tenacity, and the powerhouse of energy these two remarkable women exposed openly to me this week, and from what I have observed...there's plenty more a comin'!
I'm excited to be a part of L&L Dreamspell. Most of you I know, some I do not and look forward to getting to know you also.
And to a good friend; Yes, I'm still watching out for those planes, because I don't know when I'll ever come down out of the clouds!! lol
Monday, May 21, 2007
How many editors do you know who would drive two hours to attend the launch of your new book and stay overnight in order to takes pictures for your next book cover?
Okay, maybe a few might.
But let's complicate that.
Let's say the book launch is held in your small southeast Texas hometown and the room is filled with long-lost cousins, high school friends, and kith you didn't even know were kin. It's old home week and the room sounds more like that of a Scots-Irish wake instead of book-signing. Now, add to that, everyone is even more excited when they learn the mystery book is set in that area. The excitement (and the crescendo) builds!
Then, after a successful event, the next morning your editor arises before the sun and joins you in an aluminum motor boat, where you head across Sabine Lake. After the short trip, you dock on a pile of shell mounds (probably left behind by Paleo-Indians)and pull on rubber boots. You both plunge into marsh grass as high as your waist, keeping a close look-out for water moccasions and alligators, and finally arrive at a magnificent structure reaching to the sky. The Sabine Pass Lighthouse, erected before the Civil War.
All of this just to take a picture for the cover of my second book due out November 1st. DEADLY SINS-DEADLY SECRETS features the Sabine Pass Lighthouse, and nothing else would do for my editor, Linda, but to have the authentic survivor.
Now, back to my original question--how many editors would do that?
Not many would, I wager.
posted by Sylvia Dickey Smith | 8:50 AM | 0 Comments
Sunday, May 20, 2007
But, what I really get out of it is the ability to create stories in all different genres without worry. Afterwards, I feel recharged and able to negiotate the next scene in my current WIP.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
It's always a challenge finding the magic promo that works...where you actually get a return on your investment, whether it is time and/or money.
I'm so excited for people to start reading The Key (and nervous they won't like it as much as I do!), that I can hardly stand it. I feel like it is my first book all over again. (grin) Some books are just like that, though. I wouldn't say it was easy to write, but it was a fun ride from beginning to end.
The second book is not coming as easy and I'm having to really work to avoid having to do some actual science. Luckily I do have an expert standing by to help me. (grin)
I'll be heading to NY next week to see my daughter, so here's hoping the last of May is great for everyone!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
I think I'm going to make my tagline - "nothing's ever easy!" Seems like there's always something that needs to be done. Last week I set up my myspace page - which was supposed to be an easy thing, but it took me three days. I figured it was important, so I went ahead and got it done.
I had planned that this week I'd do nothing but write. What happens? I get an offer to write the scenerio and dialogue for a video game. I wasn't supposed to have to deal with the particulars until the end of the summer, but yesterday they sent me an email saying they were going into "preproduction mode" and that the company had setup an online account for me and I should start learning the software package. Yikes!!!! Not!!!
Also, yesterday I was discussing what topics I should cover when I sit in for one of the college's english teachers this summer. I thought it would be something about writing - ie something easy. Not a chance. She wants me to discuss the autobiographical aspects of my novel, Ninth Lord of the Night. Well...except for a few descriptions and incidents that actually happened - like the tarantula in the bathroom and the doll's head on the gear shift - there aren't any autobiographical elements. I've never been a teenage boy and I've never had sons. Some of Zack's reactions are (were) mine, but they'd be anyone's reactions. So, this is going to take some preparation on my part. That's for sure. And, preparation takes time.
Then there was the photo shoot for the American Library Association's READ poster. It was done in the college television studio with lots of lights and cameras - thank heavens, no action. All I had to do was sit there, hold my book and smile.
Today I've been asked to do another online interview. Of course, I said yes!!! I already have one waiting in the wings that I need to finish and submit.
And, my next book? Well...let's see...I have about three hours before I have to go to work maybe I can get a couple of pages done...but I really need to call my mom. My eldest daughter is engaged and we have a wedding to think about.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
You can find me:
e-Fiesta - Thursday - 10-11 - We'll have food, drinks, and a drawing for some cool e-readers!
Hunting Snarks and Whimsies - Writing Humor - Friday -11-Noon
Bookfair - Saturday - 11-2 pm. Open to the public. There is a fee, but local radio stations are giving out 500 free tickets.
Hope to see you!
Thursday, April 5, 2007
http://www.ferfelabat.com/?p=50 - My interview will post here sometime next week. I'm on a panel with these very funny ladies at the upcoming Romantic Times Convention here in Houston.
http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/ -- Got a kick out of his post on warning labels, which prompted me to come up with some warning labels of my own:
http://shannonstacey.com/2007/03/29/thursday-thirteen-8-2/ - Love her list of 13 things to do with printed reviews that you don't like.
And just to throw in another blog with lists: http://www.bigbadbookblog.com/
And back to the Paperback writer for some fun:
And when you get done, go smell some roses. Or something. :-)
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I was lucky to stumble onto EPIC and get a lot of help taking my baby steps into this business. Only way to thank them, is to pass on some of what I've learned (hopefully!) eight books later.
So here goes, and I hope it helps. :-)
When submitting to a publishing company:
ALWAYS make sure you know what they publish and that your book will actually fit into their publishing list. My daughter worked for a small press that did new age health books and regularly got novel submissions. You waste your time submitting to the wrong places.
NEVER beg in a query letter. Especially don't beg in capitals. Yeah, my daughter got some of those, too.
ALWAYS be PROFESSIONAL. Keep emotion for your books. When dealing with editors or agents, stay calm, don't be abusive, don't lash out if you don't like what they say and again, don't BEG. Publishing is a pretty small world. Even if you write a great book, if it becomes clear you're going to be difficult to work with, a publisher/editor/agent WILL move on. They don't have the time to deal difficult people. It's not fair that you have to be perfect and they don't, but LIFE'S NOT FAIR.
If you get accepted:
Learn about the process. Education is your friend and your protection. The process and order can vary a bit, but usually your manuscript will go through a first edit. This is the time to make changes. Some publishers will also give you a look post copy edit, but not all.
When you are given galleys, even electronic galleys, THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO MAKE SUBSTANTIAL EDITS. Some publishers will charge you for changes at this stage. One of my publishers allowed me to make THREE changes at this stage. If it was their mistake, then they will SOMETIMES make the change. Every change you make at this point takes time and money. Publishers, especially smaller presses don't have a lot of either. For a larger publisher, a galley is made from plates. To change anything requires the plates to be redone.
You WILL be blamed for all mistakes, even those that aren't your fault. Most readers don't understand how little input authors have in the final process. Again, not fair but LIFE'S NOT FAIR.
A lot of what a publisher will...and won't...do for you is spelled out in your contract. They are a pain to read, but you need to understand them. There are tons of articles on the internet about contracts, that explain the various clauses and how they can impact you as an author. If you're tapped into writers' groups, you'll also hear when new clauses pop up and again, you'll find out how they can impact you.
Because I publish with small presses, I consider my association with them to be a business partnership. Our success is intertwinned. I try not to do anything that will hurt my publisher because that will hurt the partnership. I had one publisher (not mine) tell me, he offered an author a contract and she seemed happy with it. Then he happened onto her blog, where she'd posted all sorts of complaints about the contract. Needless to say, he withdrew his offer to publish. The sad part, he would have been perfectly willing to discuss the contract with her, but she didn't ask.
So, DON'T POST ANYTHING ON A BLOG OR GROUP LIST YOU DON'T WANT YOUR PUBLISHER TO READ.
If you have questions about a contract, the time to ask them is BEFORE you sign. Once you've agreed to the terms, that ship has sailed. Again, this is a surprisingly tight knit community. Word gets around about who is hard to work with and who is not. It's not a blacklist, it's just a small world.
Publishers don't have to DO anything NOT in the contract. When they do more, it's great. It's better not to EXPECT a lot, because that leads to disappointment. It's like any relationship, if you expect something that can't happen, you get disappointed.
Recognize you aren't the only author a publisher is working with.
This doesn't mean you have to lay down and be a carpet to be walked on. I am NOT an advocate of abject fear or taking it on the chin. If a publisher does NOT fulfill their contractual obligations (like paying you), then you have every right to complain and seek redress.
Being angry or complaining about non-contractual perks is a waste of time. AND THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU AGREED TO.
If you have expectations that aren't spelled out in your contract, you should address them BEFORE you sign. You have no right to anything that isn't in writing. Again, that's why it is important for you to understand what the various clauses actually say, not what you think they say.
My last piece of advice and I'll shut up.
BE NICE. Be nice to reviewers, even the ones who slam you. Be nice to your editor/s. Be nice to other writers. Be nice to READERS. YOU are your business's biggest asset. Unless you're a one book wonder, the end game is to brand you, brand your name, as you continue to produce books and to build a reputation for delivering a great story. You can undo that with one rude comment. Trust me, I've seen it on lists.
Okay, I'll shut up now. Hope some of this helps someone!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Anyway, I blogged about it on All The World's a Page, too, because I thought it was interesting. :-)
Also, got interviewed on this blog today: Writer Thoughts.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
The storyline was intriguing, but what I found fascinating is how the screenwriter created a tapestry of past events with the present. The visual wasn't disruptive and that is so hard to do on paper. The characters are interwoven as well to challenge the viewer and my question now is, did anyone see the end coming? I must say I didn't and that includes Michael Caine's part in the finale.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I think this is a pretty good resource for the writer who wants to learn about web promotion. I've been at this long enough, that a lot of it was pretty basic, BUT, I like the fact that she started simple and free, then showed ways to build on simple to the more complex.
It is easy, readable and also includes suggestions for authors with money, who want to do more.
There probably wasn't anything in there I hadn't heard about, but she did explain how to do things, which shortens the learning curve a LOT.
For the newly published author, just starting to use the internet to promote, its a good road map to follow. For the author who has been around a while...I found it good refresher course.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I took my husbands forty-year-old .22 caliber Baretta. The hardest part of the task was inserting the bullets into the magazine clip, the shooting was easy! Did a number on that target--although I aimed for the heart, a shot to the head counted just as well.
But when my co-writer-friend loaned me his 35 caliber, I hit the center of that bullseye! Guess that means I'm a big-gun shooter. Thing about it is, the bad guy would have to stand still for an awfully long time while I took aim and squeezed that trigger.
Neat adventure, then we topped it off with coffee and doughnuts, just like the cops do.
By the way, the guy at the shooting range did suggest I use fresher bullets than tweny-year-old ones, so I did.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
This busy lady is the Vice President of the national EPIC group, and the President of The Final Twist mystery writers here in Houston. She's a previous Eppie finalist, and has won many other awards for her writing.
Lisa and I are excited to be working with Pauline on her next book, coming out soon--"The Key"--stay tuned for updates!
I read with great interest Diana's recent post re literary writing. I never had a professor who went along with this man's viewpoints and, believe me, if you messed with commas, off with your head--not that we don't do that from time to time.
My appreciation also goes to Linda for her artistry in photography. I don't take a good picture, but I'm happy with Linda's creation. We are so fortunate to have two women take us under their wings and lay out the road to success. THANKS, THANKS, AND THANKS.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Bear in mind that these are his views and nothing I came up with on my own. So, don't blast me later.
For instance this professor said that he considers literary fiction boring as the authors either don't know or don't care about creating a page turning novel. All the elements that genre fiction novelists strive so hard to attain in order to keep reader interest - i.e. plot, structure, action, etc. - the literary author doesn't care a whit about. Literary authors meander on and on and write as the muse dictates.
This literary editor also said that literary authors don't bother too much with proper punctuation, especially commas. Commas are meant to mean "pause" to the reader and therefore the literary author puts commas in at his/her discretion so that the words will "flow" as the author intends. Authors are more concerned with "flowable prose" than with grammar, punctuation, and storytelling skill!!!!
The last thing this professor said that made me gasp was that he never changes nor recommends changes to an author's work. The author is the AUTHOR OF THE WORK and as such, always knows best. LOL Makes me wonder just what this professor does to actually earn his pay as a literary editor??
So, the next time you read literary fiction and you find punctuation errors that make you cringe, remember that unlike genre fiction where, to everyone's chagrin, mistakes accidently slip through - mistakes in literary fiction are intentional!!! They really DID mean to do that!!
Her novel Murder in the Third Person, a mystery, will be available soon. Check back here for updates, or visit our website to sign up for our e-mail update newsletter.
Betty's experiences in law school and as a legal assistant served as inspiration for her writing. She's another Texas member of the L&L Dreamspell team, and we look forward to reading her posts on this blog and on our Google forum!
Monday, February 26, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
I feel so humbled.
It isn't on the website yet, but hopefully it will be soon! Can't wait for you all to see it!
Friday, February 9, 2007
I'm excited about this book and excited to be working with LL Dreamspell to get it published.
The Key is a bit of a departure from my usual books--and yet not really. It's filled with peril and there's a romance--it just all takes place in...space. I'm reluctant to call it a sci-fi book, though, since its very thin on the science. It is heavy on action and adventure and I hope readers will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :-)
If you want to know more about me, stop by the Perils of Pauline website. My readers page is loaded with links to articles, my Letters Home and even recipes (by friends and family. I'm not much of a cook!).
In the meantime, I'm....
We're going to publish her latest project--a sci-fi suspense novel titled "The Key"--we'll keep you posted on when to watch for it's publication date.
Pauline is currently the President of The Final Twist, the Houston chapter of Sisters in Crime, and she's also the Vice President of EPIC, the electronic publishing group.
Welcome to the author team blog--post when you have a chance!
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Linda also gave me a poster she made of my book cover. It's beautiful. It's 12" x 18" and is the perfect size for display. I put it on my wall this morning and I'm looking at it while I write. (And, no, it's not just stuck up there with pushpins!) That poster is the realization not only of dreams coming true, but also of hopes for the future.
Yesterday, my local Sisters in Crime chapter met in Waller, Texas. We had two really wonderful speakers, one an expert marksman and the other a police officer. "Police officer" doesn't really do this man justice as he, like John, has worn many different hats in the law enforcement field. Both speakers were excellent, but as the law enforcement officer continued speaking, I began getting very nervous. This man, this hero, who stood between me and the bad guy wasn't talking fiction - this was his world, my world, and he was describing real life.
At the shooting range, I wimped out and refused to fire a weapon. I was okay with the "dry firing" but when it came to shooting a live round, I just couldn't do it. Handguns weren't created for precision shooting, they were designed to kill . . . people. A very sobering thought. I abhor blood sports. And, to me firearms are symbolic of all the elements in our society that are cruel and disgusting.
Because we do live in the world we live in, I'm absolutely behind our right to own and carry firearms. This can be a bad world and we need to be able to protect ourselves. I've talked to my husband about my newly acquired phobia and he's promised to take me back to the firing range. After all, we DO live in Texas. And, I DO write about murderers and bad guys.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
(Wow!! Now that's a long address!!)
I administer tests - placement tests, makeup tests, tests being taken for online classes at another institution, and various other types of tests.
I give the tests and then keep an eye on the test taker to make sure he/she doesn't cheat. It's not a difficult job and I get to meet a lot of nice, although a bit nervous, people. And, for the record, I've never caught anyone cheating.
On first glance, people fall into stereotypes. I've seen the blonde Barbie Dolls, the jocks, the psuedo-intellectuals, and the goths - complete with tattoos, and all kinds of body piercings. But once you get to talking to them on a personal level, you get to know them a bit and they break out of that stereotype and become individuals. Most of them really are just big kids trying to find their way in an adult world that seems not only strange to them, but also hostile. I'm surprised at how many students expect to be treated rudely by the adults they have to deal with.
I'm lucky because I have two daughters the same age as the students and I know about their world - about gaming, manga, (Japanese comic books) and anime (Japanese cartoons).
I'm also lucky because I really like people. Every person has a story to tell, and I enjoy listening.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Anyway, Lufkin, Texas, the city I reside in now has a cultural center. In it, they display and help people sell things like their artwork, and all kinds of things, including books. Now, how in the world could an aspiring author not take advantage of that?
This morning they had what they call an open mike where the people with things in the center can talk about themselves and their work.
Naturally, I couldn't miss that. As it turned out, only two of us showed up to get on the mike. This program lasts an hour, and being the gentleman that I am, I offered to let the woman go first. I think she was a little shy in the beginning, so I got up.
Now, I have been called many things in my lifetime, most can't be repeated on here, and most of them were probably true, but no one has ever called me shy.
I started telling them about my novel, Journey of the Spirit, Crazy Horse, all his accomplishments, and about the ten years I researched the novel, how and where I went, and as time flew by, the woman saw all the time evaporating and she lost some of her shyness. About fifty-five minutes into it, and I had the audience on the edge of their seats, she finally wrestled the mike away from me.
I really believe everyone their will buy my novel, except her. I want tell you the things she mumbled about me, and they were probably true.
Crazy Horse was much like the lady, shy and didn't like to talk about himself. Therefore, today, everyone knows about Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, but few know about Tashunke Witco. That is Crazy Horse in Lakota.
Unlike Crazy Horse and the woman, the people there sure know about me, now.... :)
I just hope they let me come back!
TAKE THE JOURNEY
As you know, I got my blog going. (Diana, I'd like to list your blog on my list of favs, too, if you'd send me a link to it, please.) I finally had a friend on line help me get it set up the way I wanted it. I (and she) had big time problems with the new Blogger. We eventually went back to the old template of it.
In a discussion about business cards, and whether or not to include your phone number on it (which I've not done, for obvious reasons) I learned of a web site where you can set up a voice box where you can retrieve your messages, either on line or off, and all at no charge. So, this morning I got that set up, and will have new cards printed as soon as I get my art work book cover. BTW, do most people use their book cover art on their business cards? I assume so. Publicize with everything we have -- fingers, toes, signs on our vehicles (John!).
That reminds me, I read of one guy who had his WHOLE vehicle painted with the book cover art of his book, and had solds lots of books that way! Man, though, that paint job must have really set him back a pretty penny! Think I'll do like John, and have a magnetic sign made for my car door.
AND amidst all these marketing strategies I'm setting up, I'm doing a final tightening of the second book. I figure I'll need it ready to submit about the same time DANCE hits the bookstores. Hustle, hustle, hustle!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Lisa and I started L&L Dreamspell to make dreams come true--and our Dreamviews are another way to help authors get the word out about their books. I enjoy creating these mini movies--watch for more coming soon!
For anyone who happens to see this blog and doesn't have the link to John Foxjohn's Dreamview for his novel Journey of the Spirit here is the link:
And please visit our website to find out more about the book!
Thanks again, John--
Couldn't believe the incredible job Linda did on it. I spent all day e-mailing people all across the country telling them about it and inviting them to look at it. I have had some tremendous comments and it is no wonder.
When I first heard about this publishing company, I must admit I had some doubts. When I met them in person, most of those doubts left. I can assure you, they are all gone, now.
Lisa, I am ready to talk about that contract....:)
Monday, January 22, 2007
I'm not a mystery/suspense biggot, either! I've started reading Lisa's COLIN'S CONQUEST and having a great time with the bloody romance! Next, on to Diana's NINTH, and then John's JOURNEY when it comes out this Spring.
Friday, January 19, 2007
But, Linda pulled it all together and made it work!!!
She is an incredible artist.
A Big Hug and a Huge Thank You!!!
When I was ten and we came back from Japan we lived for a couple of years in New Waverly, Indiana. New Wavery was, and is still, a tiny place, but I absolutely loved living there. In the winter I'd get up before dawn and walk about four blocks to the catch the schoolbus. I don't remember ever being cold. What I do remember is how the snow sparkled in the moonlight and appeared light blue. It was indeed a winter wonderland.
Of course, being a kid, I didn't have to deal with the realities of snow. I didn't have to drive in it or shovel the sidewalk. I just enjoyed it.
Which is what I did with our recent ice storm. I didn't have to go out on the roads, so I stayed in where it was warm and toasty. I only wish everyone could have done the same.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
We're calling our version "Book Dreamviews" and they're a lot of fun!
Diana L Driver's upcoming novel Ninth Lord of the Night is showcased in this two minute "teaser" viewable now at YouTube. Here's the link:
Not only are we staying competitive in the book marketing field with this new technology, we're also filming longer interview style videos to use as promotional pieces.
It's interesting to "meet" authors, find out more about them, and learn why they wrote their books.
Stay tuned for even more "Dreamviews" from L&L Dreamspell...
Thursday, January 11, 2007
On January 1st it was announced that the largest speciality bookstore in the United States - Murder Ink. in New York - was closing its doors. What a shame. They cited a rent increase and falling sales, due to chain bookstores and the internet, as the reasons.
A sign of the times, I guess. Such a shame.
Thursday, January 4, 2007
The beginning of a new year, during the cold winter months, seems perfect for writers. We're often eager to begin new projects, or else "resolve" to finish one or more of our "works in progress"--and when it's cold outside I know I'm happy to cozy up to the notebook computer--it makes a great lap warmer!
So everyone make yourself another pot of hot coffee, tea or cocoa and get busy writing. If you need some ideas L&L Dreamspell has some fun anthologies in the works that are open for submissions right now. Here's the link: Anthologies
If anyone has an idea for a group anthology, in any of the genres we publish, Lisa and I are interested in your suggestions! Write to us here: Publishing
Now get busy writing!
For those who might not be familiar with Mr. Fitchner's work, he was Sulley in Perfect Storm and his latest part was as the sheriff in the television show Invasion. Recently he was in Dallas filming a new television show called Prison Break. I don't know when that show is set to air, but I read that they've shot two seasons and might be back to shoot another.
I've seen all his movies, including Black Hawk Down and he's an incredibly gifted actor.
Anyway, if wishes were to come true, I'd get to meet Mr. Fitchner who'd smile at me and agree to at least look at the novel and screen play to see if it interested him.
LOL - well, I CAN dream, can't I?
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
A few miles later, another jet flew over - this time the huge plane was coming in for a landing. I thought about those people who would soon be getting off the plane and how their journey was almost at an end. I imagined how excited their family members must be knowing their loved ones would soon be arriving.
Thinking of those happy families meeting and greeting each other put a smile on my face. I had Christmas music playing on the car radio and all was right with the world.
Until I pulled up and stopped at a red light. Stopped beside me was a large white bus with the words DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. I couldn't tell if there were any people on the bus or not as the windows were darkly tinted. The light changed to green and as the bus made its turnoff towards the airport entrance, I thought about the people who might be on that bus, whether or not they were being deported and if so, the reality they were experiencing.
That's what we do as writers. We consider all points of view, various realities, and different perceptions. The good and the bad. The happy and the sad. And, we give our characters experiences that bring those types of realities to the reader. In the end, real human emotion is what suspends disbelief.
My thoughts about perceptions.
I have high hopes for this book, especially now that Linda and Lisa are in charge of the publication and will have a hand in the marketing and promotion. Also, the book has been optioned for film and already the screenwriter has had some interest in her script from people in the movie business. We'll see what happens - Hollywood is a different kind of business than anything I've ever known.
I am grateful to Linda and Lisa for all the support they have given me. This is the beginning of a great relationship - one that will last for years and years.
Happy New Year to everyone at L&L Dreamspell!!!
Happy New Year to all of our readers. You are what make this life GREAT!
Anyone who'd like to find out more about the book should follow this link to the L&L Dreamspell website page for Journey of the Spirit -- http://www.lldreamspell.com/JourneyoftheSpirit.html
Once again, welcome aboard!
Linndah aka Linda Houle
Years after reading the first Crazy Horse book, I read a novel by Ester Forbes titled, Johnny Tremain. I loved the book and it introduced me to two things: the term historical fiction, and a way I could write my story of Crazy Horse.
Again, I had a problem. I liked him, but sure didn't know enough about him or his people to write a book. I used my skills as a historian and investigator from a previous life...:) and began researching Crazy Horse and the Lakota.
This research took me many, exciting places. Ten years later, I still conducted research and hadn't written one single page on the book. I visited every single battlefield a couple of times--every museum, reservation, and talked to thousands of Lakota. I browsed dusty archives, talked to the curators, and walked the places I knew Crazy Horse had. Oh yeah, in the process, I also learned to speak the language.
When I started my journey to learn, I sought people who I thought were in the know. I am now in a position when people need information about Crazy Horse, the Lakota, the battles, I am the one they contact. I still hadn't written a page.
That was soon to stop. I sat down and wrote the book. I can't explain to you how it felt to finally finish that darn book. Bestseller and movie deals swam in my dreams. Riches beyond my wildest dreams clogged my thoughts.
Of course, when I was twelve, none of this mattered. I just wanted to write the book.
I started submitting my masterpiece and the rejections rolled in. This, I couldn't understand. Why didn't these people want a book that would rival Gone with the Wind?
I didn't know why. All I knew is, they didn't want it. I sat my book up and didn't touch it for a year, then got it out. In that time, I began to learn how to write. When I picked my manuscript up, I found out something. That had to be the worst book ever written in history. Hey, a normal book like this is between 80-100,000 words. Mine was only 190,000 spots of dribble.
I re-wrote and re-wrote it, and sat it aside another year, and got it out and re-wrote it again, and then I edited.
When I last edited it, I knew then, that the book was ready. Before I didn't know enough to know if it was ready.
They say that all things have a purpose. Now, just think, if someone had taken the book the first time, things would not have been in place. Those things I talk about are Lisa and Linda at L&L Dreamspell. Yes, my publishers.
Now, the book isn't perfect, but I can't tell you how excited I am about it, but I do think I found the perfect publisher for it.
Is it the next Gone with the Wind? Probably not. It is a book someone's teenager can pick up and enjoy, pass it to their dad. He reads it, and likes it so much, he passes it on to mom. She is so excited about it, she tells her friends, and the cycle continues.
Now, you might ask, is this book that good? I have a simple answer, yes.
Think the Maya Gods are Dead and Buried? Think again...
L&L Dreamspell is excited to announce the upcoming Action -- Suspense novel Ninth Lord of the Night by Diana L Driver -- due for publication in early 2007.
Diana has officially joined the "Dream Team" of talented authors at L&L Dreamspell -- this book is the first of her many projects due out this year.
L&L Dreamspell is set to publish several anthologies in the first half of 2007, including Mystery of the Green Mist -- a mainstream mystery story collection -- which will include one of Diana's stories.
Also forthcoming is a group anthology from The Final Twist -- the Houston, Texas chapter of the national organization Sisters in Crime. Diana L Driver, founder of The Final Twist will also have a story in this yet to be titled mystery anthology.
Back to Ninth Lord of the Night -- here is the L&L Dreamspell weblink for the book, and from there you can visit Diana's "Dream Team" web page to read more about this talented writer!
Here's the book's back cover material:
Think the Maya gods are dead and buried? Think again... What if they're only sleeping?
Spine tingling action combines with breathtaking suspense in Ninth Lord of the Night. In less than eight hours, seventeen-year-old Zack goes from California, the land of fun and sun, to the third world nation of Guatemala, where his life is changed forever. He expects to be bored, not tangle with murderers and artifact smugglers. He wants to go home, instead he's swept into the world of Mayan myths and legends -- a world that is his to claim if he only has the courage.
Hated by his brother, distrusted by his uncle, and seen as a troublemaker by other members of the archaeological study group, the only person Zack can turn to is the beautiful Maria, a girl fighting the demons of her own heritage.
Driven by unseen forces, Zack must choose to fulfill his destiny -- a destiny he neither wants nor desires -- and go against the vicious smuggler, or resist change and leave things as they are, allowing others to reinvent his character.
Then, he must make the larger decision. Let go of the precious Mayan artifact? Or use it to redeem himself in the eys of his family?
In the steamy jungles of Guatemala, Zack will learn that every choice has consequences, and he won't always get what he wants, but that what he does get is better than anything he ever imagined.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
I decided to look up "resolution"--it has several meanings. In this case we are talking about a formal statement expressing will or intent. Yet the word also means the process of resolving and "resolve" means to break up into parts: analyze.
If you are a writer, and you intend to make 2007 a productive year, then perhaps taking your writing tasks and breaking them into smaller parts, then analyzing what you need to do in smaller steps along the way might actually work!
Now I don't mean going totally anal and filling up notebook after notebook with plots and plans and notes. I've been there/done that and trust me, it didn't work--I had a dozen notebooks full of notes and never wrote that particular book...
However, I've been working on some short stories for several upcoming anthology books, and I noticed something interesting about my writing process. For the first story I jotted down one page of notes to myself--about my main characters and their traits, and some of the situations I wanted to use within the story. I wrote that story in less than a week!
The second story, well, I confess--I got lazy and didn't make my scribbled page of notes. Guess what? I've been working on it for several weeks, I'm only at the half-way point, and I'm not sure where the characters are supposed to go or how it's going to end.
The next sound you hear will be me opening up my spiral notebook and scribbling away with my trusty pencil... Check back in a week or two--I'm resolving right now to get that story finished!
Good luck with your resolutions--Linndah
Monday, January 1, 2007
Synchronicity—a Dangerous Love Connection
Sexy celebrity author Andrew Augustine’s book promotional tour was almost over. His last stop—Houston, Texas—the Gladstone Hotel’s Mind and Body Conference. No ordinary man—Andrew was an immortal vampire—constantly on the prowl, always seeking a replacement for his long lost soul mate Samantha.
Devastated from yet another break-up, Valerie Stevenson thought she’d never find her ‘Mr. Right.’ Hopping into her blue sports car with her award winning Selkirk Rex cat, she headed for the Fall Frolic cat show at Houston’s Gladstone Hotel. No idea she was driving into her future—with danger around every curve.
In the middle of everything, Chester the cat took center stage—at the cat show, a jewel heist—even in Valerie’s secret relationship with a tall dark handsome mystery man. Playing around with a vampire was like playing with fire. Would Valerie’s reckless desire lead to her own destruction?
Joanna didn’t know why she felt called into the wilderness. Packing a few things, she headed to her favorite destination, her remote cabin in the east Texas piney woods to enjoy an impromptu vacation, relaxing by the lake. Nearby, a mysterious stranger watched...waited...and planned his ultimate conquest...
Colin, the handsome centenarian vampire knew from the moment he first laid eyes on the lithe young beauty he’d found the perfect mate. The time had come to claim his chosen one...but he didn’t anticipate her feisty nature, and the dangers he’d face in his pursuit. Stubborn and strong, Joanna refused to be taken against her will, yet once bitten, Colin’s hypnotic power permeated her being, causing a love/hate bond that brought about near disaster for both of them.
In the book Colin’s Conquest, Joanna’s struggle to escape her destiny delivers her moments of amazing passion, yet also brings terrifying punishment. The world of the undead is full of surprises, and even the powerful Colin doesn’t realize until almost too late that he isn’t the only member of the ancient blood seeker society who plans to take her as his bride...
A warm August night.
Ghost hunter Amy Thompson prowled dark and mysterious Stonebridge Cemetery, armed with an infrared video camera. Spirits trapped between death and the afterlife waited amongst the tombstones, their chilling presence teased and taunted the blonde beauty—daring the girl to explore her hidden fantasies.
Would the infrared videotape capture a full apparition?
The young woman didn’t remember to ‘be careful what you wish for’ when she invited Robert Marshall’s ghost to rise up from his grave and appear for the camera. Watching Amy and Jeff’s spontaneous erotic fun and games unleashed the restless soul’s carnal cravings—the ghost hunter soon became the hunted.
Spirit communication comes in many strange forms.
Robert’s unending desire haunted Amy, trapping the girl on a sexual roller coaster ride. Dark obsession spun her around dangerous curves and propelled the girl to new heights of pleasure. Would Amy and Jeff’s relationship survive the ordeal of passion and betrayal?