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Miscellaneous

A New Year Tradition

I did my traditional New Year’s Day viewing of all three extended-version Lord of the Rings movies.  I really like what Peter Jackson did with them, though as a long time fan of the novels there are parts he left out that I wish could have been included.  Oh well, I suppose the movies are long enough.  The single, most heartfelt theme running through these movies is friendship.  The main set of friends is Frodo and Samwise for sure, and then there are so many others.  The characters go through tough times and the friendships survive it all.  The reason this is so near and dear to me is that my traditional movie viewing started about six years ago when my best friend and I did the Lord of the Rings marathon together.  We started in the morning and stayed with it until we finished.  It was the last New Year’s celebration I got with him.  Again this year, I watched the hobbits struggle through Mordor and thought of Bob and what a treasure he was in my life.  I hope he’s watching somewhere and knows how important his life was.  If you have a good friend who you’ve lost, take a minute to reflect on what that person meant to you and be thankful you had time with them.

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Miscellaneous

Holiday Thoughts

As this holiday season approaches I have been wondering if we’ve lost the real meaning of Christmas.  This is not to slight or detract from other religions or winter holidays or celebrations, it is just my personal perspective.  In my mind love, sacrifice and helping those less fortunate are the teachings of Christ.  We can debate Government programs at some other time as I know there are all manner of opinions on the subject pro, con and neutral, things such as welfare state, abuse of the system, people who are hurting through no fault of their own, lost jobs, health issues and no insurance, low paying jobs that don’t provide minimum needs, etc.  Instead of trying to decide what the government should or shouldn’t do, think instead about what you can do.  I bet each of us knows someone who is hurting right now through no fault of their own.  Someone who is doing everything they can to make ends meet and can’t get it done.  Maybe they are out of work or maybe they are working a job that doesn’t pay enough to meet essential needs, maybe they have health issues.  Regardless of why they are in their situation please, help them.  Pick one person or family you know that really needs help and do something for them.  Something personal.  Sending a check to a charity does not count.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

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Miscellaneous

A book you’ll want to read

From time to time I run across a real treasure.  Deep Naked by Riley Hill is one.  While the book is listed as YA, I think adults who enjoy this sort of story will find it a very good read.  There are places in this book that are so well written that it will bring lumps to your throat.  It has some of the best writing you’ll find anywhere.  Crystal, the main character, is a captivating young woman, one I rooted for at every turn, loved the way she grew as she learned more about herself, her family, and what might be possible.  She has powers that are undiscovered at the beginning of the book and while not mastered by the end, she certainly has learned a lot about herself and what she can do.  If you like time travel, mystic powers that come from somewhere outside the normal universe, aliens of a different kind, and lots of action with a touch of romance, you will really like this book.  I can’t wait for the sequel.  Here are links to buy either for Kindle or the print copy through Amazon.  Enjoy!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Naked-Worlds-Volume/dp/1490503056/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1385916391&sr=8-1

 

http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Naked-Worlds-Riley-Hill-ebook/dp/B00DKCCXIC/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1385916391

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Miscellaneous

Reviews count

Hello all.  I know everyone is busy, who isn’t, so I wouldn’t ask for something if it wasn’t important (at least to me).  I am in the midst of a marketing campaign for War Party.  I would like to see it get more attention in the general publishing world.  One thing holding it back is a lack of reviews.  I know some of you have submitted a review, thanks.  I also know some of you have loaned copies to others or have friends who’ve read the book and who haven’t put in a review.  Any review is helpful be it at Amazon or Goodreads or anywhere else.  So how about it?  Take a few minutes to enter a review if you haven’t already done so, or nudge someone you know who has read the book and hasn’t reviewed it yet. Thanks and have a great day.

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Miscellaneous

What genre are my books?

When I set out to write novels I can’t say I really think about what genre or marketing category it will fit into.  I don’t sit down to type thinking “I’m going to write a thriller, or a suspense novel.”   I began with a plot premise, a few characters in mind who will be challenged by the circumstances they will encounter.  Mostly I begin with an idea for a story that I’m interested in.  Once the novel is complete and ready to put on the market, the various sellers want it put into a specific category.  Now comes the interesting part because each marketplace has their own list of book categories.  And you must choose at least one in order for the book to reach the “for sale” list. When I put my first book on the market at the first retailer I took a hard look at the specific categories they offered and tried to decide where Shepherds best fit.  Is it science fiction subset action/adventure?  Is it a suspense novel?  A thriller?  What?  And just exactly what is the difference between a thriller and a suspense novel?  Well Shepherds had elements that were science fiction, elements that could be considered fantasy, it was a suspense novel or maybe a thriller and it had a bit of romance.  So what was it?  I had to decide in order to have the book listed in the marketplace.  After some gnashing of teeth, I selected a category and moved on to the next retailer.  Guess what, they too demanded a category to pigeonhole the novel but they didn’t have the same categories as the first marketplace.  Crap!  What was I going to do?  Again I picked a category and went on.  This happened again with my second book, War Party, though to a lesser degree only because I didn’t have so many different elements within the story intertwined.  Now I’m nearing completion of my third novel and it is going to have to find a home too.  All this has forced me to look at what I write and “brand’ myself as someone who writes a specific type of fiction.  Since all my books could fit into the suspense category no matter what other elements may be included, I’ve decided that if I must be a “something” author, I’ll be a suspense author.  Still, all of my works have various elements that make each novel different and unique.  I think much like Michael Crichton I write stories that span several different genre.  Maybe the market gurus see that as a negative.  I hope readers will see it as something refreshing, an author who gives them a fun read every time but never boring or repetitive.

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Miscellaneous

A Guest Blog

Normally I don’t blog that is until today.  I was offered a chance to do a guest blog for someone who does.  Her blog is about how writers write (mostly, I think) so I did a short bit about how I write novels, in particular Shepherds.  If you are interested here is the link.  Feel free to share it with anyone you think might want to take time to read it.

Have a great day.
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Miscellaneous

Loganberry Books Open Mic

Last night, I ventured to Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights. It is a fabulous independent book seller with room after room of all kinds of books. It would be easy to spend hours wandering around in the store just looking and maybe dreaming of being able to read even a small fraction of what is there. However, last night, I didn’t get a chance to browse because I was there to participate in the Broadsides & Ephemera open mic for authors and performers. Being a first timer at this event, I wasn’t sure what to bring to read, so I took William Kent Krueger’s Northwest Angle and my own War Party. The group that showed up was lively and attentive to everyone who took a turn at the mic. When it was my turn, I introduced myself, told a little about the kinds of books I write and then read first from Northwest Angle (the same section I posted here a while back) and followed that with the opening from War Party. I think the readings went over well based on the fact that I had several questions about where the book was available and requests for a bookmark with my website on it. Thanks to the sponsor, Small Victories Press, a startup literary publisher. All in all it was a fun evening. I met some interesting people and talked briefly afterward with the people from Small Victories Press. I plan to do it again. The next session is Friday, September 27 beginning at 7 pm. Stop by and listen in or just browse through the bookstore.

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Miscellaneous

Meeting with an author

ot long ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with an author who helped get me going on a better path to my own writing. K. A. Jordan was in Ashtabula for a charity book signing. This was especially relevant as her novel “Swallow the Moon” is set in Ashtabula. We met her at the book signing at the Ramada Inn Ashtabula and went to dinner at the Bascule Bridge Grill. If you are ever in the Ashtabula area I highly recommend this restaurant. We grabbed a high-top table near the back of the bar area where we could talk without too much competing noise and proceeded to have a great meal and some great conversation about writing, marketing, and life in general. And then the best part, K.A. showed us around the Ashtabula Bridge Street area. Her tour was reminiscent of the times she spent living there, including the seamy side of things. Of equal interest were the spots she used as models for locations in “Swallow the Moon.” We even went into one of the bars to see how it had changed since she’d live there. Being able to mentally reference real places can contribute to the spicy details that make any story come alive. Maybe she has some of that background on her website. You can find out by visiting http://katjordan.wordpress.com/ and checking it out.

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Miscellaneous

Internet Breaks

It’s hard to believe but they are building a new house down at the corner of our street. Early on the construction crew dug up the cable that feeds our street with both internet and TV. The cable company came and installed a temporary fix. But they put it on the ground, right in the driveway of the new house. As you might guess, every time there is a material delivery to the worksite, or the construction crew pulls in to the driveway, the cable and internet goes out again. When we call the 800 number for the cable, they don’t get it. You have to wonder what it takes to figure out that you can’t have the main feed cable where it gets driven over all the time. So, sometimes I’m just off line. And I never know when. At least until the house gets finished and then I hope they fix things on a permanent basis.

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Miscellaneous

Really Good Writing

There are a lot of good books out there, and within them there is a lot of good writing, But, there are very few passages that stick in your mind as superior, as writing so good it transcends just about everything else, writing so good that it takes you somewhere else, makes you feel that you are there, not just reading about it. For me, such a piece of writing is William Kent Krueger’s telling of the derecho early in Northwest Angle. It is a piece of superb storytelling. If you haven’t read the book, you should.