Friday, November 26, 2010

NANO- Am I Pathetic or What?

I'm going to make one last ditch, "Hail Mary pass" at getting a good chunk of stuff done for NANO wri mo this month. We'll see.

But this is about a journey. Not about a destination.
Honestly, if I get to 25K words, I'll be happy. Even though far below the goal, that's nothing to sneeze at.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sent out queries for Big Tom

One of my goals for this year was to send out 10 queries for my Big Tom book: Man to Match the Mountain. A quick 4-1-1: Big Tom Wilson was my great-great-grandfather. He was a mountain man who was instrumental in helping a search party find the body of university professor Dr. Elisha Mitchell on the top of Mt. Mitchell (the peak was named after the professor).

As the media interest around this event grew, so did the legend of Big Tom---particularly when a writer for The Atlantic Monthly compared him to a "real life Leather-Stocking," referring to Nattie Bumppo, the main character in Last of the Mohicans.

Below is a picture of Big Tom from our family collection:

I finished my non-fiction book proposal and sample chapter (I think the book proposal is harder to write than the actual book).

Today I sent out the proposal, query letter and sample chapter to 4 presses and 1 agent. Five more to go!

Also, I'm going to start launching updates of my Kindle effort in December. I'm hoping to have the second edition of Saint Jude uploaded then.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NPR three minute fiction winner "Roost"

Okay, so I'm at a writing retreat right now ---and I'm trying to remember that every word I write on my blog is a word I'm NOT writing in my novel, so I want to keep it short and sweet.

NPR / Michael Cunningham selected their three-minute fiction winner [obviously, it was not me], but I confess, I really did like the different approach that the winner, "Roost" took. I really liked the imagery, the concept, and particularly the peacock. I'm not sure if the ending worked, or if I just didn't quite get it, but still, it's hard to spin a well-written yarn in three-minutes, and I really did like the fresh approach this piece offered, so kudos. Cool imagery and congrats.

In another matter, please note:

Also, I'm not one of those writers to suck on sour grapes or heavily criticize other stories, unless it's done as a part of a critique group, and even then I think it should be done tactfully. So I really make a point to not talk about writers here unless I LIKE what they do.

I know of writers from all walks of life, professors, genre writers, reporters, etc. who like to crack on authors who are popular that they feel are not deserved. Well, whatevs. Are there writers out there less talented that get published? Sure. But the door swings both ways---as published writers we must also recognize that there are also MORE talented writers than ourselves who have NOT gotten published.

I don't know---I'm always up for a good critique to help me learn and grow as an artist, but I think so many times these critiques end up being a kind of "sheep and goats" separation, where we try to confer some as "hacks" and some as "literary geniuses" and at best, these titles are subjective, and at worst, hurtful.

...or maybe I'm just writing this while my blood sugar is a bit low...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Forum postings

I'm trying to do some more promos with the Shangri-La collection and see how it works out.

Tonight I posted on 10 forums on Amazon / Kindle. Some of these were blatant promotional forums, the others were readers looking for book suggestions, and still others were questions about what constitutes magical realism, what are some favorite first / last lines of novels, and I posted to them.

And no, I did not say my novels had my favorite first/ last lines. Even I'm not that tacky :)

But I was tacky enough in each section to give a product link at the bottom of my signature.

In addition, while we all know that "indie" or "self-published" doesn't necessarily have the "stigma" that "vanity presses" has to it, I think vanity presses have given the self-publishing industry a black eye in that many people assume that all self-published books are crap, and that's simply not true. I do think that a lot of crappy books were printed out of something that was basically a glorified printing press, and that kind of had a negative trickle down effect.

In short, Kindle=strange new world for publishing. Not sure what will happen, but want to be on board when everything shakes out.

I'll post whatever results come about the end of this week. I'm going to go on a writing sabbatical, so that will be most likely when I can post the most to these forums. I'm interested to see if I can get an increase in sales as a result.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Saint Jude Cover Called to Me

As per the earlier post, because my first publisher (Tudor Publishers, Greensboro) has reverted the marketing rights of my first novel back to me, I will be re-releasing Saint Jude, my first novel, on Kindle electronic format in December. Now, because the first edition's cover was paid for by the publisher and falls under that copyright, I have to have another cover for the book.

JA Konrath's blog "A Newbie's Guide to Publishing" indicates that a cover is a very, very,important part of this process, and it is worth it to get something done professionally.

While I told the designer---a very innovative and talented guy --- to do something similar to the first cover, he went in his own direction, and I have to admit, I LOVE what he created.
When he showed me the photo of the girl [who is actually a niece of his], it was so wild because it called to me --it looked JUST LIKE what I imagined Taylor, the main character to be.
PK, the designer (I never mention anyone's name in my blog without their permission) told me out of several photos he had, this one just kind of screamed "pick me!"

I'm thrilled with it.

First, here's the OLD COVER---a very nice cover, btw--done by artist Scott Sturdy:

And now the NEW COVER, which focuses more on the girl's face and leaves out the swirl. What I love is the look on her face. Something so artsy and happy / sad / mischievous, hard to read:

This same designer also did the logo for Carraway Bay Press -- which is below. I love it.

PK--I won't mention your name on my blog without your permission, but if you want to make yourself known, just post a comment with an e-mail addy or website where folks can contact you.

Here is the Carraway Bay logo---any guesses as to what the light symbolizes? I'll tell you in the next posting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I felt the clear winter and thought of England.

There's something about the end of the year that I find, well, strangely joyous and sad at the same time. Maybe it's the winter, which I do like better than summer. (Anyone who has spent a summer in Eastern North Carolina can attest that the winters are far more manageable).

As I left work today, I felt just that crisp bite in the air, with a scent that was almost as if you could smell the twilight clouds. It reminded me of when I was lost in Warwick, England with two good friends. We were coming home from the castle and took a wrong turn. As we walked through the dark, empty, cold streets (dark at 5 p.m.), we didn't feel fearful or frightened, but I remember looking at the glowing windows of the pubs and alleys.

I wondered who was in there? Who was meeting someone? Who was getting "chatted up" at the local tavern? I felt as if I had walked into a story that was not mine, but a tale that I so desperately wanted to become a part of. I heard the peals of the Warwick Cathedral bells, and felt at the same time, so alone, so peaceful, and yet at the same time as if I were walking down the streets that have been treaded upon by thousands of years of unbridled humanity....

...not sure what this post was about...but it was just on my mind.

I felt the crisp, cold, dark winter air and thought of England.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'm interviewed by David Wisehart

Special thanks to David for interviewing me. He asked some wonderfully thoughtful questions.

Here's a link to the interview:

Kindle Author Interviews by David Wisehart

And National Novel Writing Month? It's going slowly, but I'm usually slow right out of the gate. Here's hoping for a stronger finish. First week and I'm only hovering at 3k. All in good fun, though.