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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two More Down

Went to the dentist today and sold two more books, woohoo. I was all excited, came home, and my dad asked if I coerced them into buying the book. He wondered if they bought it just because they felt sorry for me. Talk about raining on someone's parade.

Hot Vampires

Eric Northman (True Blood)

VS.

Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!

Soooo, we went to Frankenmuth today, walked into the pewter store wearing my shirt promoting The Fear Within, and sold a copy of my book! The lady running the store ran in back to get some money and was so excited to have an actual author walk into her store. She mentioned another store opening up in the Riverplace there about Michigan products and recommended I try to get my book into that store. She said she would show it to the owner of the Michigan store and see what he says. She also said I should do some book signings and couldn't wait until my book shows up on Oprah's book club lol. Talk about being enthusiastic...it was so much fun today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Fear Within, Marketing Efforts

okay, so I've been marketing quite a bit over the past week or so. I sent around about 200 postcards in the neighborhood, gave notices to almost 250 of my customers, put a note in two newsletters that goes out to about 285 people, passed out a dozen or so business cards, had an ad on Facebook for 10 days, paid for an ad in Gila Queen, and am going to pay for another ad in the Michigan Literary Network. All in all, over 800 people so far have been informed about my recent book, The Fear Within. I hope some of those people become buyers :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Money Everywhere!

Are people made of money? I thought the state of our economy was so poor these days and people are losing jobs left and right. But yet, every time I turn around, another business is raising their prices.

As far as writing is concerned, new writers shouldn't have a lot of money to toss around. I would love to attend seminars to improve my writing or marketability; however, I can't afford $250. I can barely pay my bills as is!

I would love to join a group of self-published authors who help others promote their work; however, I can't afford $375 a year (and that's just for one book). If you have two books, it costs over $400 a year.

Why does everything have to cost so much?

It seems like I'm the only one that doesn't have any money these days. Is anyone else in this boat?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pet Peeves

One of my biggest pet peeves is living in a high-technological society with idiots who don't take advantage of that. For instance, why do businesses bother having a website with no way to conduct business via that website? I like to check out businesses first online before I have to call them (I hate talking on the phone).

Insurance companies and other service type companies should have prices listed or a way to get a free quote online. I don't want to call and be asked a myriad of questions on the phone just to get their rate. That's just silly. Anything that can be asked over the phone can be dealt with via email or a secure form.

And what's the point of having an email address to contact them with? A lot of times I don't get responses back or when I do, I get the favorite line, "in order to better serve you, please call our 1-800 number". They can't even answer a simple question online? Instead, I have to waste time dialing a phone, trying to figure out which number to push to get the right department, then I'll have to be put on hold any number of times during the call. Why? Don't those businesses realize people are in a hurry these days and don't have time to play their silly games?

Get a website and use it to its full advantage. I applaud those businesses that keep up with the times. Way to go!

So what are your pet peeves?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Writing Rant

Writing is a long and arduous process. You might sit at your computer for hours on end composing your next masterpiece or it's possible you just sat there staring at a blank screen. Some days the words come easier; other days, nothing. You're determined to make it in the writing world, though, so you condition yourself to be at your desk during your peak writing hours. It's hard when the phone keeps ringing, the dog wants to go out, the kids are fighting, the laundry needs to be done, your spouse is waiting for dinner, friends show up and want to hang out, and your favorite television show just started its new season.

Despite all the distractions in your life, you manage to knock out a great manuscript. It only took months out of your life. Those words on the page beg to be read. They are your lifeblood, springing from your sordid imagination. You swear they came directly from your soul.

So it's time to send it out into the world. Let your readers hear your words; see into your worlds; and live in your mind. Welcome them into your bosom. Treat them as royalty.

Unfortunately, the world won't be as kind. Your words will come back to you as rejections, one after another most likely. You just spent a good part of your life crafting a great piece. It came from deep inside you, but the publishing industry doesn't care. They took your words and stomped on them, cleaned the dirt off their shoes, and then dipped them in the toilet. It meant nothing to them.

This is the life of the writer. We spend our lives crafting words with meaning, but the competition is so fierce that only a small handful of brilliance ever gets through. It's a lonely life we weave.

Online Grammar Quiz

Wow, guess my grammar isn't as good as I thought it would be:

http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar_quiz/punctuation_mastery.asp

Friday, July 16, 2010

Where to Walk, OMG!

It seems to me that every day I see more and more people walking and running in the street instead of the sidewalk. Is there something wrong with the sidewalk? I always thought streets were for motor vehicles. It's annoying when a car has to drive around a jogger because they felt the sidewalk wasn't good enough for them.

Anyway, your goal for today, should you decide to do it, is to craft a well-written short story about a world that has no sidewalks. People walking their dogs, taking their kids out for a stroll, riding bikes, and jogging all need to share the road with cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Will this lead to more accidents or will the characters in your world learn to be more careful?

Have fun!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Write in the Laundromat

I saw this poem by Marcy Sheiner and wanted to share it.

I write in the Laundromat.
I am a woman
and between wash & dry cycles
I write.

I write while the beans soak
and with children's voices in my ear.
I spell out words for scrabble
while I am writing.

I write as I drive to the office
where I type a man's letters
and when he goes to lunch
I write.

When the kids go out the door
On Saturday I write
and while the frozen dinners thaw
I write.

I write on the toilet
and in the bathtub
and when I appear to be talking
I am often writing.

I write in the Laundromat
while the kids soak
with scrabbled ears
and beans in the office
and frozen toilets
and in the car
between wash and dry.

And your words
and my words
and her words
and their words
and I am a woman
and I write in the Laundromat.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Parking/Traffic Laws in Michigan

I'm out delivering papers this morning and it irks me when people have to park on bends on side streets. This should be illegal, but I guess it's not. What's even worse was on one street there were two cars parked on the bend, one on either side of the street. Are people that oblivious or are they just stupid? It's very difficult to see around the bend if there are other cars coming or not, so this makes driving dangerous for others. Use common sense, people!

One thing that I believe is illegal in Michigan is people who don't move over when they see a police car on the side of the road. This is called the Move Over Law. I did this today. There were two police cars who had pulled someone over. They were in the left lane. I saw them in plenty of time and moved over one lane before I got there. I was the only one that moved over. No one else ahead of me or behind me moved over. Of course, I had to get right back in the lane I was in to make a turn, so I had to wait for traffic to clear since none of the idiots thought it prudent enough to move over.

What types of parking violations will warrant a ticket in Michigan?

Parking in a disabled space without the proper permit or disabled driver license plate, parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, 20 feet of a fire station driveway, or 500 feet of a car accident. It is illegal to park on a highway, bridge, or overpass, in an intersection or crosswalk, or blocking a driveway, alley, or sidewalk wheelchair access ramp. When parallel parking, do not park more than 12 inches from the curb. Double parking is also illegal. Remember that in addition to these state laws, you must also obey all locally posted parking signs.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Virtual Book Tours

I finally published my first book. It's a short story collection entitled The Fear Within (see side bar). Now that it's finally completed, I would like nothing better than to prop my feet up, relax, and wait for the orders to roll in. Not so! I need to market it like I had only two weeks left to live.

Okay, so I spent a small fortune on marketing materials already. Then I found this cool little idea about something called a virtual book tour. It's similar to a regular book tour except it's all done online. No traipsing around from one bookstore to another and no wasting valuable time and gas commuting to and from places.

From what I understand, though, an author should prepare for a virtual book tour one month ahead of the scheduled tour. That leaves enough time to get a press kit together and find people that will be willing to host me and my book.

I'm cutting it about a week short though. We're one week into July already and I'd like to start my virtual book tour on August 1, 2010. So far I have one person willing to feature me on their blog. I'm rocking and a-rolling now! :-)

I would love to come visit your blog or website in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps we can strike up a bargain somehow and you would be willing to host me on my book tour. If you are interested, please reply here. Even if you have no intention of helping me along my virtual tour, it's okay to invite me to come visit you anyway. Just make sure to let me know ahead of time that you don't do book tours.

I'll post here quite often regarding my trek into the virtual book tour industry. This might turn into something really interesting. Keep watching for more exciting news!

P.S. Please check out my book and help support me. I'd like to be able to at least sell a dozen or so books. If you don't like horror or science fiction but know someone else who does and is an avid reader, why not buy it for them or ask them to check it out? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Books for the Military

I'm taking book donations to send overseas to our men and women in the military. No romances or sexually explicit materials please. Books needed: Actions, Bestsellers, Biographies and Memoirs, Fantasy, History, Horror, Mysteries, Science Fiction, and True Crime. You may also donate automotive magazines, comics/graphic novels, and sports magazines. Prefer paperbacks but will accept hard covers.

Shipments will go out on Fridays, so please send your books by 3:00 p.m. on Friday. If you have any books to donate, please contact me and I'll let you know where to bring/send them.

Creative Writing Games

This morning, I was doing what I do best -- that is, surfing the Internet for fun and games :-) Anyway, I came across this website called Votepages. Votepages is a creative writing game where one person starts writing something and then passes it off for others to contribute. Those contributions are put to a vote to decide what comes next.

If you have the time, check it out.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day in the States

Today is July 4th, the day when America celebrates its independence. But are we still free after all these years? It seems to me like the United States is losing some of that independence every year. We're starting to be treated like kids and told what to do.

We can't smoke here (not that I smoke and I'm one for the new no-smoking law), we have to be a certain age to do this, we have to wear seat belts, we can't jay walk, we have to have a passport to travel, there are stricter flying regulations, obesity is a problem so the government feels like it has to step in (to save our lives), the government is now running our banks, redoing credit cards, and is now offering a mandatory health care for all U.S. citizens for a price.

So what happened to the independence we earned a couple hundred years ago? It's quickly going out the door. Yes, it's true that our country isn't half as bad as some (yet) and I suppose we are still more free than others, but how much longer before that ends?

I guess we have to make the best of what we have and celebrate Independence Day as if it might be our last. However, can someone please explain the joy of shooting off firecrackers? All they do is make a loud bang. How can anyone enjoy that? Fireworks maybe, but big bangs? It's very annoying.