Where are they are Mars?

Are you all reading the first two acts of The Three Hundred ?

With story structure, we have many different things to consider.  In a short story, you have limited words to work with, which translates to limited plot devices, characters as well as the structure itself.  If we write a novel of 60 to 100 thousand words, then what?

More characters, more twists, and turns, and the structure changes.

The Three Hundred currently is 10K words and, there are more in the pipeline.    Sitting on Mars, we have a small crew investigating the infamous face on Mars.

What is it?

Back in the dark ages…1976, Viking 1 snapped a picture of a fantastic sight.  There on the surface in an area of Mars known as Cydonia was proof positive that there was life on Mars! 

Maybe not.

Taking a picture of a rock formation that appeared to have two eyes, nose and mouth, NASA released the image to the public to drum up interests in NASA and Mars.  It worked.  It worked a little too well as the rags that live on the shelves by the checkouts in stores, showed the face and tantalizing teases.

Writers like yours truly, use it as fodder for stories, and why not?

If you were standing on mars close to the two-mile-long structure, dare I say it, you would not recognize it as anything other than rocks.

For the purpose of this story, there is a rectangular opening. What are the odds of a perfectly rectangular opening on and edifice that looks like a large human face?

If and when we ever do get to Mars, I am confident that someone will snap a picture of it from ground level. Until then we can enjoy The Three hundred and other sci-fi fantasies

One of the craziest scams I saw recently was someone selling an acre of Mars for $12.  Much like the star registry, someone came up with selling land on another planet.

Can you just imagine some rich Texas oil tycoon buys Mars in total, finds a way to go there to discover that life is on Mars, and they are all larger than life spiders?

I am giving away a much better product, a fantasy of Mars, and all you have to do is to hit that follow button and read on when the next act drops.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

As always, I welcome your feedback, comments, and a friendly Hello.  We are all in this COVID Pandemic together. Why not find something bad like this virus to bring us together as a people, instead of divide us like so many in the media want to do?

Much Love -TW

The Business of Writing

Is writing a story enough?

I spend more time on the mechanics of writing than I do the business.

“TW, I just want to write a book and let someone else do the business part, I am a ‘creative.'”

Can anyone of you tell me what is wrong with that statement?  I bet many of you can, especially if you have followed me for any length of time.

Children tell stories.  Have you ever listened to your kids having a sleepover under the guise of making toll house cookies? (Come on, we all want to know who are kids’ friends are.) I digress, storytelling is a small part of the equation.

Stories revolve around ideas.  We all have ideas; when we can put them on paper in a way where others want to read them is where the rubber meets the road.

  1. Writing the story
  2. Editing the story
  3. Creating the tagline and logline
  4. Selling the story

If those four parts are not daunting enough, there are dozens of other steps you must take.  The business of writing is not for the faint of heart.

The four generalized bullet points are the tip of the iceberg. Let’s say your strengths are story structure.  Maybe you and Robert McKee were roommates in college. One of the things I see writers do is offer up their unique talent as a service to other writers.

If they are Save the Cat, Blake Snyder Credible, that service will not be cheap.  If they are not, you might be wasting your money.  Be advised this ‘business’ is rife with predators.

One of the aphorisms I live by is, ‘don’t quit your day job.’

I own a company that has little to do with writing.  If it involved writing I would not have the passion for it that I do.  Writing would be a job and not a hobby.

The trick will be if I reach my destination, how will I keep the passion as it will turn into a job.

Where do you draw the line between the business of writing and keeping it as a hobby?

My background is probably not one that you would find familiar in a crowd of people.

Currently, I am a forensic data miner.  Those idiots that send out phishing scams and attempt to extort money from people, I go after them.  Since my own site has been attacked, I chuckle when they try it; and then I begin to do my thing.  Those people need to be held accountable.

So why write?

The business of writing is another puzzle.

What started as storytelling, was just the outside layer of the onion.

Like Metadata often leads me to my quarry, peeling the onion back, we find yet another layer.   Sometimes it is like those Babushka dolls, instead of representing fertility it is more like the next waypoint toward my goal or destination.

If you start out with a ‘story,’ and your end goal is re-occurring revenue from a best-seller, you had best have a damned good GPS.  The road is fraught with peril, thieves, misfortune and challenges.   I have taken it on as I take on everything in life, as a puzzle.

Many, including me, have tried to shortcut the path by doing that which has already been done.  When 50 shades hit the stores I ignored it.  Not my cup of tea.  I did the same with Vampire stories.  As ELJames and Stephenie Meyer were making the big bucks, I could no longer afford to ignore them.

Writing similar stories of the erotic variety, while fun to write, ‘tell a story,’ they were no longer unique.

So, here is the advice part of this blog post.

Write that which you are passionate about. Don’t try and write the next Harry Potter, it has been done to death.  Once you write your story, get into a writing group where they critique each other’s work.  Make the story the best it can be and then you self-publish it. 

Yes, save yourself the months of trying to capture an agent’s attention with your first story.  Self-publish it and learn the rest of the business.

Mark Corker of Smashwords tells new authors that most will make about $10 the first year.  Ouch!  There is a harsh reality.  I can craft a book a month; most people take years.  While my stories sell, they do not sell with the alacrity that I would like them to have.

Having written over 24 million words in different novels, I have learned a few things.

Your first novel will probably suck; just like a vampire, it will suck big time.  Let your sales be your guide.

Feedback from people who spent $3 on your book is invaluable if they are convincing and objective.

Once you face the harsh realities of this world, figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are.

My strengths are I have many ideas, and I write very fast.  I love to solve puzzles, and am self-disciplined when it comes to sitting at the keyboard.

The puzzle aspect of this ‘business’ is I don’t have thin skin, and if someone tells me that something sucks, I can take the criticism and consider where the sucky part came from and fix it.

Currently, I am giving away a novel five thousand words at a time.   If you follow me, you know it is science fiction.  Why?

FEEDBACK!

Once the novel is finished and I have received feedback, I will re-write it and self-publish on Smashwords and Amazon.  Now, many I know would not do that.  They think that one novel will be their life’s work.

Friends, you cannot be a one-trick pony in this business.  I can write five thousand words with a glass of Merlot.

Short stories are a different story structure but an excellent way to improve your writing skills.

Currently, I am re-writing one of my novels‘ Voices from the Past.’

Not only can the story use some help but, the cover, like most of my covers, need help.  There is a science to cover design I recently just learned.  I am an artist so I designed them artistically.  Lots of Expletives later I now have to go back and redo just about every stinking cover.

While my GPS missed a waypoint, I will continue, and I hope that you do as well.

Use this time of few distractions to work on that which you love.  Turn off the news, limit Netflix, and find time with you and your keyboard.

I spend very little time on social media as it is pissing my life down the toilette, just like the noise from the mainstream media trashing the president or his opponent.  Follow the facts, not the noise. Turn off the sound and don’t let 2020 be a wasted year.

If writing is a passion, then dammit do it!

Seize the day!

Much love -TW

Greetings and Happy Monday

Writing is Cathartic, have you tried it?

I know many of you are like me.  The days are blending, and your routine is looking rather bleak. Following events from around the globe, you can see that we are not alone.

The aphorism ‘Keep calm and carry on’ is probably sage advice.  You and I have something in common that might keep our sanity intact longer than most.  We write.

Writing is cathartic.  When people grieve, they tend to hold it all in and go through all the stages of grief.

For those of you who have never heard of the stages of grief they are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

You might be telling yourself, nobody I know has died, TW what is this talk about grief and grieving?

The world as you and I knew it changed around March.  For many, it was before March.  Many of us saw our freedoms, livelihood and yes friends and family disappear.  I think part of the issues with the riots are; some people are in the ANGER stage.  The problem is, they are being lied to by the media. Misleading the public is what they do best.  Their motive is their bank account.  Leaving earth-shattering stories on the cutting room floor, to paint certain politicians as abhorrent is their daily tasks.

The past several months I have lost two close friends that I could not even attend their funerals. 

We have all lost our freedoms, and now we see what tyrannical governments look like.  Some of you, in other countries, already know this.    Of course, the media is blaming everything on the president as this is an election year. 

I am working on the rest of the second act of The Three Hundred.

When not dealing with customers, I write.

I also have been reading some of your blogs.  These weeks shout out goes to https://dirtyscifibuddha.com/

Does the donate button work?

If you have not checked out that site, I will encourage you to follow the link.

Stay safe, stay sane, and if you want to know how to do the primal scream, well, I have no idea.  Someone posted a video of a woodchuck standing by the Grand Canyon screaming, but I am confident it was all photoshop and PC magic.

We will get through this and be stronger for it.  Be wary if the media start selling you a song and dance about migrating bats from China carrying COVID 19.  Some politicians will sell their souls for a Klondike Bar.

China knows they screwed up, and most probably will be making deals with heads of state to let this die on the vine. As long as their bank account reflects your pain and misery, ie Hunter Biden walking away with a Billion from China for access to the VP, no telling who is going to get rich for your suffering.

I have already seen stories about bats.  Just wait.  Propaganda from outfits like Yahoo, Time, and even Amazon’s Alexa flashing up little stories to breed an ounce of doubt.

All I am saying is don’t buy the bullshit. 

Much Love -TW

World Building 101

Using more than vision is a must!

I am taking a break from the world of the virus to talk about our world.  No, not the one with the virus, the one that we have in our minds.

I critique a fair amount of writing for peers, friends, and yes, even some family members.  A CP or critique partner is a two-way street and is invaluable to a writer.

One of the things I see most often is a flat world.  What do I mean by that?

I think examples go far beyond talking about them, much like showing instead of telling.  I am going to world build for you.  The first example is flat….

David followed the carnage throughout his realm. It was easy to tell where they had been by the sacked villages in their wake.  From the burned out buildings to toppled statues, whoever was doing this had complete disdain for the locals.

In this paragraph, we are introduced to David.  Who he is or his relevance to the story is anyone’s guess.  We can assume he is after the people doing this to the locals, but again we don’t know.  I do give you a clue to the hate by the toppled statues.  Burning their villages is one thing, but toppling statues shows us that there was more than purpose to the destruction.

Ok, let’s try again; this time, let’s show a little bit more.

Sir David left the castle in response to news from his realm.  Invaders had moved in from the West, showing total contempt for him, his kingdom, and his kind.

The scents of the pines were quickly replaced by the acrid stench of burnt wood, animals, and people alike.  The skies turned dark, the closer he came to the first village.  Once the pride of his kingdom, not one structure was left.  Even the sculpture, honoring his mother the Queen, lay in ruins with the head, smashed into a fine powder.  Charred remains of his people smoldered in piles of ashes of what used to be their homes.  Viewing the ruins through angry prisms of tears, he pressed on.

You will notice that both paragraphs relay the same information about the scene.  Except now in the second one, we learn who David is, who that statue was of, why it was so meaningful, and we learn more of the hate of David’s mother.  We still don’t know who the enemy is or why they hate his mother, but, we would turn the page to find out.

When world-building, you are a god.  This is your world.  You have the divine power to create as you see fit and destroy as you will.  If you want readers to be interested in your writings, remember to use as many of the senses as you can.

In painting, if you look carefully, you will see that white is not white.  If I am painting a lady in a white blouse or dress, you will find multiple colors in the fabric.  If it is a warm shadow, there will be warm colors, and conversely, a cold shadow will have more violets blues and so on.  Not only will there be many different colors but many different values.

When I write, I try to grab the reader by the …yes that.  I want to draw the reader in so they can smell the burnt flesh, or perhaps the aroma of the rose.

Much like the art, I paint my paintings and scenes with the same passion, and that means I use composition.  In a painting, I seek to draw the eye of the beholder in toward the center and have their eyes go more or less in circles as they see all that is.  How do we do that with our words?

We paint with our words.  All of the values and colors must be represented by our words.

Here is a trick that you might wish to use.  In your mind, when you are writing, you have an idea of what the scene looks like.  Many, even some of the great authors, do not do this justice.  Here is the trick.  By the way, if you want more of these hints, tips or tricks, hit that follow button.

The trick is to go out on Pixabay or just google a scene like you are trying to write and post it where you can see it.  Now, as you world build, paint that scene with words. Don’t forget the temperature, time of day, and for God’s sake, add smell or scent or odor in the painting.

One of the most powerful senses we have is the power of smell.  Unlike a painting, with my words, I can incorporate smell.  The sense of smell is one hell of a kick in the memory department.  If I mention the scent of toll house cookies in the oven, the odds are good you will dredge up some memory, hopefully, a happy one involving toll house cookies.  You might even remember eating the raw dough when your mother told you no.

If I mention biting into a lemon with the bittersweet taste, your saliva glands will more than likely respond, just by the mere mention of it.

When we write erotica or racy things, yes, in both men and women, things respond not only anatomically, but in your brain, chemicals are released.  That is what we are going for in our art, whether it be words or oils.

When you world-build or tell your stories, trigger those reactions that you want in your reader, so they become part of the story.  We wish to have them feel empathy toward your David.  Have them ride along with him experiencing all the disgust and scorn that he does.    Just maybe your David is riding on a dragon.  Maybe your David can shoot fire from his fingertips.  It is your world.  You are the God of your universe.

One last bit of advice I would leave you with during this blog entry is this.

Enjoy what you are doing.  Live in this world that you are creating.  Feel the cold air on your cheeks as you take flight on your magical beast.  See the forest below you, and notice the smoke in the distance.  Plan your strategy for taking on the vermin that dare to come into your realm.

Yes, I just made all this stuff up in about ten minutes or so.  I write about one novel every three months, give or take, and that includes holding down a full-time job.

Currently, I am 36K words into my newest novel, which is about a young lady who discovers through a vision that not only is she blessed with magical powers, but she is about to be forced into a confrontation with a government skunkworks program.  It would seem that the government is using genetically modified food to promote a unique genetic change in the minds of children to encourage telekinesis. They are unaware that what they are doing will turn an army of people lose on the world with powers the likes of which they have never imagined.  Bethany, my main character, is a witch that will soon be pressed in to service against a human-made evil.

The audience for this novel is the Harry Potter, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and the Spirited Away crowd, with a bit of Stranger Things added for spice.    I think the book will be about 80K words give or take, with options for more if the story takes off.

Follow me here for updates, as I work every day on this novel.  Unlike my other thirty-odd books on Amazon and Smashwords; I am going to attempt the Query process once again.  I will not make a job out of it, however.  Each letter takes no less than four hours, and that is at least a chapter in a new novel for me.  If, by chance, you are in this industry, and like the concept, save me the query process for a leg up on representing this novel.

Much love to you, my faithful followers.  BTW, I have taken the time to visit many of your blogs, I have commented on a few of them.  Hang in there world; things will get better.  –TW

 

 

 

 

“If you’re going to get stuffed, get stuffed by your friends.”

How about we don’t stuff anyone?

 

Years ago, too many to mention, I had a ‘friend’ tell me that once.  In my current work in progress, one of my characters is supposed to play the part of a used car salesman.  He denotes his distaste for them as they are all mostly dishonest.

Why am I writing to you about this rather than working on my novel?

This novel is about a young lady who discovers that she is a witch.  While learning her ways in the world of magic, all hell breaks loose.  There is a dark force attempting to convince all witches to be in their coven.  An undercurrent of government conspiracy is in the heart of the novel.  The conspiracy is yet to find its way to the screen.

As I was writing about a car salesman, I thought back on the day when a friend of mine was a used car salesperson.  If you saw Matilda with Danny DeVito as the unscrupulous dealer, that is what my friend was.  We soon parted ways as I don’t associate with dishonest people.

I was in the market for a car.  Instead of being honest with me as a friend, he tried to sell me an old Chevrolet that they had rolled the mileage back on.  When they invented reverse drills, it was an easy way to change the odometer.

From sawdust in the gearbox to super thick oil to keep it from smoking, they did it.

Taking my chances with a car from the paper; my friend was incensed with me for purchasing a car. In retrospect, the person that sold it to me had put super thin oil in the crankcase as the oil pump was going out.

He told me, and I quote, If you are going to get EFFED, you might as well get EFFED by a friend.

Is there truth in that?  What do you think?

I needed a roof after a terrible storm and elected to allow a person at my church to have their company put a roof on for me.  It cost more than those of the people around me, took over a year to get it right, and they put on cheap shingle instead of what I originally had. What’s worse is there were no drinks and no kiss afterward.  Not that I would want one, just saying, some pillow talk would have been sweet.

Speaking of shady, the same people that worked for the other fly by night companies are the ones that put my roof on too.  I got nothing for the extra thousands of dollars.

I used to travel a lot.  There is one state out of fifty that I have not been too, and that is Main.  In one state, I was talking with a person who was justifying effing his neighbor. He told me, and I quote, “I need to put cheerios on my table too.”

I shook my head and walked away from the deal.  If you cannot do business and treat your fellow person correctly, you should do something else.  There is no justification for effing your neighbor, and you certainly never do it with friends or family.

Arkansas, I swear you folks take the cake at times.  This one-man was talking to his friends at a local diner.  I listen to people as I get ideas for stories or characters.  This guy was bragging to his friends that his wife’s mother’s tractor needed a simple fix but, he convinced her it was not worth it to get a new one.  When pressed, he told them, she gave me the broken one, and when she dies, I will get the new one too and the land that goes with it.

Whenever I need an asshole in one of my novels, that guys face comes to mind.  I almost choked on my coffee when I heard that.

Life goes on.  How are you all doing?

Look for updates on my newest novel; I am going to try and find an agent with this one.  I have over 32 books out there published, so why not see if I can lure an agent into my lair.

This is a young adult, coming of age story of a witch.  What is cool about this story is I make a compelling case that anyone could do it.  We live in an escapist society, and with the current events, you can see why.  We escape through the TV, video games, and yes novels.

Why not write a fun novel that will engage the reader?  After taking hundreds of hours of writing courses instead of watching TV, I have pages of notes.  From Dan Brown to Judy Bloom…Wow, everyone had an opinion.

After I get this one polished and marketed, I will be going back to my published novels and making changes to the ones that are underperforming.  I love it when I get to a point, and you get that ‘ahaa’ moment.  You know the one where you say ‘shit, is that why?’

The original Ailani series I might go back and rewrite the whole trilogy and condense it into one novel.  It is a great story, but I think 350k words might be too much.

While I write and visit the cutting room floor, you all don’t forget to follow me here and, of course, on Twitter.

Much Love and Stay Safe -TW

 

Taking a break from Hell on Earth, and talking about writing.

Let’s control what we can and let the world take care of itself.

Hello fellow earthlings,   I know life has just sucked the last few weeks, and I feel that it is going to suck more before it is over.

Let’s break away from the news of the day and talk about writing.  I feel many of you that follow me are writers, want to be writers, or are authors who want to see how others do what they do.

With over 32 novels selling around the world, I have learned a thing or two.

Let me start by talking about the reasons to write.  I am sure I have addressed these before in a previous blog, but let me do it again for those who are new to this site.

The only reason for you to write is that you love writing.  Unless you work for a paper or some other institution that has hired you to write manuals or something, we writers write because we love to write.

If you decide to write a book because you want to live in a gated community on the ocean in California, or Kiawah Island or, perhaps, Martha’s Vineyard, let me just wake you the hell up.  Your first novel will most likely be horrible.  Sorry for the truth of it, those are the facts.  You can work and research your heart out, but your first work will suck.  …probably…

When I wrote my first few novels, I appealed to an audience that was not looking for literary genius.  My craft was not developed enough to appeal to a high brow audience.  What I was looking for is writing something that people would buy for a couple of dollars, and hopefully give me some feedback.

You see, the truth of it is, Beta Readers that are not your family are hard to come by, and you might have to pay someone to read your crap, and give you honest feedback.  Too Harsh?

We need to be honest with each other, and we must learn to accept rejection.  Rejection, no matter how hurtful, should be taken as part of the learning process.  Feedback is terrific, even if it sucks.  Only when we can step away from the forest of our writing, can we see the mistakes and missteps we have made.  Only then can we see the weeds.

My advice to you is to write your first novel, polish it as best you can and then self-publish it, and then beg for feedback.  Make it easy for them to go to an e-mail address and tell you how badly it sucked, and they want their $1.99 back.  If they tell you why and what is wrong, I would send them the $2.

Writing books is a labor of love.  Writing is hard.  As a writer, you must form a habit of writing, even if it means you climb your butt out of bed an hour earlier.   It is a lonely profession.  I work till three or four in the morning many nights.  Oh, and I have a day job.  ‘I love to write.’

There are times I don’t like it too much, but I love to write.

Form your habit and stick to it.  Much like exercise or following a diet, it is all about practice.   There is an advantage to writing early in the morning.  Your brain produces certain types of waves, and one of them are theta waves.  When you get up in the morning, you have more theta waves going on than during the typical day.  Taking a shower, your brain produces theta waves.  Ever wake up with an epiphany or perhaps have one in the shower…?  That is why.

I think the hardest thing to swallow is this; nobody cares.  Your parents will lie to you and care because you wrote it, your spouse really doesn’t give a shit, and your friends will manage to distance themselves from you if you require them to love your book.  Nobody cares as you do.  It is your baby, and you are the one that needs to love it, nurture it, and then send it out into the world to see what happens.

I have said this before too.  You cannot be a one-trick pony.  I know writers who have been working on the same book for tens of years.  OMFG…self-publish it and get on with it.  Amazon will make a few dollars off you, the government in the place the person is in that buys it, will get some tax money from you, and if you are lucky, you might make a dollar for your labor of love.

Most new authors who self-publish make about $10 their first year.   Damn, I know that hurts if you have never heard that before, but I speak the truth.

I know too many authors who pour a fortune in their book, ‘that sucks’ to have it professionally edited, pay to have a cover designed, and then pay people to market it.  I have read their books, and they suck.

  • I make a point to purchase books from new authors, that manage to sit inside the local book store.  Why?
  • I want to be supportive of them.
  • I want to speak with them and learn from them.
  • I get their signature and put the book on the shelf after I read it.
  • I can tell you after the first few pages if the book will hit or not, never missed once yet.
  • I want to encourage these authors to keep writing.  Don’t stop.

Study the craft of writing, read books like you are disassembling a watch, that you must put back together.  Examine the structure, story, and character arcs and ask yourself if you had written it, how you would make it better.  Do that with terrible books as well.   Where did the author go wrong?

The craft of writing is not something you can just do.  Unless you are ‘somebody’ and can afford a ghostwriter to take your crap and make it better, you need to learn the entire craft yourself.

That is why I trumpet the idea of writing for the love of writing.

As an artist, I thought my first painting was pretty good.  Today when I see pictures of it, I wish I could find it, I would burn it.  The same is true for my writing.  I have been writing since I was a kid.  That was more than a few years ago.

The practice is crucial and doing it because you love it is the only reason to write.  Once you perfect it, publish it on Amazon, or Smashwords, and see what happens.

If you follow me here, and if you would like some feedback, I might consider giving it if you would be willing to reciprocate.

I pray that you are all staying safe and staying home during these times of uncertainty.  Live in your worlds that you create, or read some of my novels, and live in one of my worlds.

Much Love -TW

How do you handle bad reviews?

The problem with reviews like this as they add another obstacle to what we want to accomplish.

The problem with reviews like this as they add another obstacle to what we want to accomplish.

Below is the tease for one of my novels.  Sound boring to you?  Have I not identified my audience?

When a preacher’s daughter rooms with her childhood friend in college, things go way past her comfort zone, causing her to question everything.  After they graduate, the real drama begins when absence makes the heart grow fonder.  The love between two young ladies is not complicated enough, as her friend’s mother decides that she too has a thing for the young woman who should be a supermodel like she was.

As Melissa is transformed, Joan explores her own demons, which run askance of her lover’s career path.

Adult Erotic 18 plus.

This happens. I don’t pretend to understand why someone would take the time to buy one of my books and then write their own version of fiction.

If you read what they wrote, after reading the first few pages…I gave up.  Then what they didn’t say is they went online and flamed the novel as they were the first to review it and the first to sway public opinion.

If you were on the ‘shelf,’ would you plunk down $3.99 after a review like that?  Probably not.  This jerk and those like them make it harder to do what we do. 

If you cannot say anything nice then keep your damned mouth shut!  

Here is what to look for with reviews like this.  Firstly he or she uses a pseudonym which I automatically discount.  When I am reading reviews, if they are not real names, they are not counted.  If you are going to flame someone’s work, man up or woman up and tell us who you are.  Own your bullshit.

Better yet, go to their website which is published in the book, and go to the contact page and send them an e-mail.  Most authors would love to hear from you.  Why was it dull?  What would have made it better?  Did you read the first few pages online before buying it?  I love feedback and will genuinely consider it. 

“No not upset, I see this all the time with other authors.  I don’t understand this mentality.”

Secondly and more importantly you can read the first several pages of the book for free before you buy it.  When I go to the bookstore, I open the cover and read a little.  When I purchase novels on Amazon or another site, I look at the first few pages and see what I think.  It is, in fact, common sense.

One of my other novels, another person did this with Saga of the Starduster.  Still, my best seller to date.  You can tell by the review they never read the novel.  There is a machine that turns them into nymphomaniacs.  Not enough sex? pffft!

While Kitties Titties and Winks is a read for after-hours and could be a one-handed read for either gender if that is your goal. The novel also has a story with a plot, romance, and love.  The story is complete with taboo situations, rags to riches, preachers run amuck and young boys driving an expensive car.  If this person indeed found it dull, I would love to know what they find exciting.

Not only do the character’s arc, the story arcs nicely.

Now, look at this little gem…. Case in point …

starduster review

The Saga of the Starduster, on the other hand, has had two more reviews that I had nothing to do with. As you can see, they more accurately reflect the novel.  If I were that egocentric I would not have written blah blah blah…Just saying.

As a writer, what can you take away from this?

For someone to write that kind of review, maybe they were having a bad day. Perhaps they are tough to please. Perhaps they are an author and don’t want the competition.  Maybe they are just assholes.

Here is what I would like you to consider.  Follow the link and go check out the first few pages of the novel.  You can do it for free.  Comment here, and tell me if you think it is ‘very dull.’   Kitties Link  It is an adult read, which I have a tendency to create every now and then. 

Honestly, if you do think it is dull by all means, see if you can articulate why.  This is not  ‘literary genius,’ but it is an excellent 99K words of a racy story.

Here is a breakdown of the novel.

We introduce College graduates to the world of modeling.  We take them on a tour of the seedy underbelly of the industry, and we take them to a clothing-optional beach.  From there, we introduce more characters who become sexual partners.

Untangling one of their lives, we get her friend out of the way by hooking her up to a company in the UK. This company specializes in BDSM movies and magazines.  This happens to feed the demon inside her friend.

The story takes on some interesting twist as emotions come in to play as her lover tries to manage things awkwardly.

Meanwhile, the mother is a bit a significant twist as she also loves the girl in her own lesbian way.

Of course, it is fiction and way out of the norm, but that is what people like to read.  We want to escape our world for a roll in the proverbial hay.

Anyway, if you should choose to read it from cover to cover, I would appreciate a ‘real’ review rather than this hit piece.

‘How did I handle this?”

I opened the novel and re-read it, asking myself is there any truth to what this person alleges.  That is what I would encourage you to do.  My beta readers loved this novel, and this is not really their genre.

If you get a hit piece like this on something you write, do what I did, and if you need assistance, let me know.  I can look at your first few pages, and I will be honest with you.  As someone with over thirty published novels, I don’t claim to know it all but, I know this person would probably enjoy stepping on baby chickens.

Follow the link and tell me what you think.  As always, I appreciate you and look forward to another day when Writing and becoming a published author is our central theme.

Tell us what you are working on if you are a writer.

Much love -TW

Marketing your Novel

Greetings, and welcome to yet another week. I know; it is Monday! I know you all are thrilled to be doing your thing whether it be in a cubical or on a plane. Some of us are sitting in a converted bedroom office on the phone, or tied to the keyboard manipulating spreadsheets to make sense of things.
When you are writing, you must first consider who your audience is. This is paramount as you are crafting a story to tell them. Who are the ‘them?’
When I was a kid and we did the sleepovers, I knew if I tried and made it spooky enough, I could make them scream. We all did it as we knew who the audience was. We knew they were impressionable.
As an adult writer, nothing has changed. I write different genres for different audiences. Scifi is my favorite, and I am pretty sure I can depict the audience. Thrillers are the same way, I know who you are. Naughty Nighties, one of my wicked favorites, is a little gray, several shades of gray, pardon the play on EL James stuff.
Adult erotica is just fun to write. It takes little research and a good imagination. I know who you are too and not only do I not judge you but, here is a cyber hug, just for you. And you…and you…yes you too.
One of my fans asked me why I write that kind of stuff. Because I can. Here is the real reason, and I won’t blow smoke up your…rear. E.L.James is worth over 80million for 50 shades. Guess what, that stuff is easy to write, and many of you know it because the market is full of it.
People like to travel a road less traveled. They might want to read about an illicit love affair that takes place on some island where the couple is stranded. That trope is so done to death but, add a twist to it. What if they are two men or women and they fall in love. What if the two are from wildly different cultures where the one might want to kill the other, but realizing he or she would be alone, they have to grow as a human.
Amazon tells me little in analytics, but it does tell me where the person was who bought the book or books. When I say ‘was;’ I am talking country. That is still nebulous information at best.
With Tweets, which I use vociferously, I can tailor them to the audience. Social media is free and easy to use if you put some thought into it. From hashtags to keeping your brand out there in front of them is essential.
Some programs will render analytics on your tweets. Which worked and which ones didn’t. Now take it the next step and ask why.
Your website is vital and you need to have one. Whether you have one novel or three hundred, you need a website. Because they want to sell that service, as it is reoccurring revenue, they have made sites simpler to create.
There was a day you needed an experienced programmer to make an excellent looking site. Not so much today. If you can use Word you can make a website.

That brings us to money.
When times are good, you spend your money on advertising, when times are lean, you spend your money on advertising. Budget some money for programs and things to make your job as an author easier.

No, I am sorry, you cannot only write a lovely story that will scare the snot out of kiddoes. You have to sell that story, and make me, or others like me, want to pay money to read it.
One thing I do which you might try is; make good ole Jeff Bezos more money by putting a good story on KU. No, you won’t get anything for it. It is like working as an intern to get your foot into the door. While Amazon will say it has millions on the pool and you get something for each page read trust me on this grasshopper, don’t count on it.
What you want to do is write a story that makes them want to turn the page and…makes readers want to know who you are and if you have written anything else.
That is the only benefit you will get out of giving your work away for free. If your story is forgettable than you are.
Now that I have dashed your plan of financial success on the rocks as you feel yourself sliding into the abyss of despair take heart. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Get Better!
When I started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to tell a story and write something that I would enjoy reading. I did. I love what I write but here is the kicker, as I have written over thirty novels I have improved my craft of writing by leaps and bounds.

Hell, I may even understand the comma.

I attend many writers’ workshops, and I pay attention to what they are saying. I have read more books in my life than I care to admit and when I began to write, I learned differently. Today I read like I am taking a bomb apart and I have to diffuse it and put it back together to be ‘my bomb.’ If that makes sense.
I also give back to the other writers out there, and that might include you. Instead of working on my latest thriller, I am casting pearls into the wind for you to grasp.
Everyone with a pen or keyboard thinks they can write. Truth told they cannot. I got stuck in front of a live TV not long ago where the mother on some sitcom was reading her own novel into a Dictaphone. Now I did not stay in front of the screen long enough to know the show or care but I did stay there long enough to know it was horrible writing.
When you go to the movies or sit in front of the TV, disassemble what is going on.

Analyze what the writers are doing with the characters.
• How are they building tension?
• What promises are they making the viewer or reader?
• How are they keeping the audience engaged so they will stay there through the commercial breaks?
All of this is terrific information to have in your quiver. When you pull out that arrow and want to target a plot point or snag your audience, you will know how to do it.
There is good news for you indie writers out there. There are actually agents who are brighter than most. They will look at the novels on Amazon, and seek out new voices to represent.
Jeff, you are making a killing on independent writers. How about you give them some free advertising for each novel that you host? I realize you want to make money on each and everything Amazon does including sending the file to the customer. Don’t you think giving some marketing assistance to your suppliers would help your bottom line?

Ok, that was my pitch to the richest man around. Doubt he will ever see it but, that is the way we do things in our world.

To my friends and readers, take heart. 2020 is off to a roaring start, and good things are happening.

In my next blog, we will play a what-if game.  I am making notes so I don’t forget.

Hit that follow button on Twitter and by all means here on WordPress.
Much Love -TW

 

What Role do we as Writers play?

Are writers bound by some unspoken rule regarding what we write about?

Did you know Susie was fooling around with Tom at work?

What a juicy bit of gossip that is.  Truth told we love a good bit of gossip.  The reasons are evident to most anyone with a brain.

  • We want to feel better than that person.
  • We are better than that person.
  • We love the titillation that goes along with gossip.
  • Their behavior might justify ours.

We have this duality within us of who we are.  We attend church or work, and we wear this face that we allow the world to see.  While sitting there listening to the pastor drone on about Paul or David or JESUSsssss, we are thinking about what has to be done when we get home from church.

Some of us are thinking about last night and how wonderful it was to be in his or her arms.

A few of us are actually writing in our bibles or making notes to stay awake, and not snore like the fellow in the pew behind us.

I am no better than you.  If the pastor hits a dull moment, my mind is elsewhere.  Much like reading a book where you hit that middle of the road slump.  Your eyes pass over the words but they don’t register because we are looking for the ‘juicy stuff.’

As a writer, we must keep this in mind when we are crafting our stories.  Pacing is essential and so is the ‘juice.’

Who is your audience?

In Church on Sunday, the preacher, who most probably doesn’t want to be there either, is addressing his or her flock.  The flock is us, the sinners.  As a preacher, he must keep us engaged throughout the sermon or we are all wasting our time.  There are no time clocks to punch.  God will not be looking at some history to see how many hours you ‘sat’ in church.

We may all wear this mask of how effing great we are, (yes I wanted to use the F-bomb to get your attention) but inside, we are just us.  If you happen to go to a Calvinist denomination of Christianity, you know ‘because you have been told repeatedly’ just what a lowly piece of shit you are.  That definition does not even underscore how truly rotten Calvinism makes you feel.  I left one of those churches as Calvin was a crazy man, as was Martin Luther.  Both were horrible Anti-Semites who, if they had self-flagellate themselves, I would be grateful.  Too harsh?

I should note that God can use the worst of the worst to do his bidding.  From David to Trump, God can use even you, to do his bidding, turning evil to good.   ‘Like how I put you in there so you keep in mind that you are no better than any of them?  I did too.’

That is where we get into trouble when we think we are better than thou.  You might love or hate Trump but, I can tell you with all certainty, he will use him to do his bidding.

We as writers can use what we know and who we know as fodder for stories.  We can use every experience that we ever have to weave them into the tapestry of your dystopian adventure through Never Land.

The issues with being a writer as I see them, we think outside the box, and we take nothing for granted.  We might sit in church and listen as the preacher prattles on about demons or how the streets of heaven are made of gold.  Ok, they are streets, gold is a soft metal; wouldn’t it make more sense to make them with something more ‘concrete?’

‘Did you like that?  Concrete…” C’mon at least smile.

If I took a notion, I could dismantle the Bible in its entirety from what I know about physics and science.

That is a powerful statement, and it is true.  Here is something else I know.  I can absolutely prove to you that there is a God or Creator of all things.  Again, I can use Science and physics to determine that.

Where does that leave us as a people?  If there is a God as I am sure there is, what is it? Where is it?  Who is it?  Does he or she watch over us like Santa Jesus, making notes when we mess up?

No, I mean no disrespect, I am making a point.  Don’t send me ugly e-mails, I don’t have time for them.

The problem with the bible is every part of it is tied to every other part of it.  If you pull on one, lose string, the house of cards falls apart.  They, in fact, become stories.  Allegorical tales meant to put some modicum of understanding of how the world and God worked 2000 years ago.

Have we outgrown God?

With church attendance falling, we see the beginnings of a dystopian world.  How do we as writers, play into this part of the world?  We are part of this world, not merely observers.  Are we responsible for shaping the world with our words?

These are just a few thoughts I have when I witness the violence from Hollywood or the Graphic video games that are nothing more than simulators for death.  What role do we as writers play?

One of my favorite lines from any movie was from Contact.

(Paraphrased) ‘You people have such wonderful imaginations and thoughts, and you have such horrible nightmares.’

This line captures the duality of which I speak.

In my novels, I attempt to speak to both.  We are that Jekyll and Hyde but hopefully not to that extreme.

In Nudists of Shangri-La, I speak to Judy’s Demons.  If you read it, you will recognize her demon as we all have it.  Possibly it is not to that extreme but it is there never-the-less.

As we head into the weekend, I wish you a safe and happy one.  Thanks for following me here and on twitter.

-Best TW

Nude In The Woods!

Tonight I want to tell you about a novella I wrote a year or so ago and recently

re-released it but first….

I bought a book I want to talk about.  Writers, you will want to pay attention to this as it involves marketing.

If you follow me, you know that I write what sells.  I can churn out a story on damn near any topic.  Writing prompts are a favorite pass time.  What sells and why?

I go to book stores and I shop online like most of you do.  So here is this book with all kinds of pants on the cover, including undies of different sorts.  The title is Take off Your Pants.

What the hell, it made me look!

That is what I was talking about in a previous blog, when you want to charm some intern who is going through some agents ‘her mothers,’ slush pile.

You want a title that grabs the reader.

The truth is, I bought the book, but have not even looked at it.  The book is about modifying the way you write, if you are a pantster, as I am.  Hello, what I do works, why change what is not busted?

Why did you buy it then?

I bought it because the title and cover were captivating and amusing.

Now, if you don’t know if you are a plotter or pantster, you might get some mileage out of her book.  It is an e-book that went to my mac instead of my tablet for some reason.

“TW, what is this nude in the woods about?”

So here is the deal. I have been nude in the woods.  I know the honesty just drips out of me at times.  I actually love nature, and I love to be in it as God made me. Yes, it can be intimidating at times and yes, you do feel vulnerable, at times.

When I wrote Land of my People, I captured the first time I did it.  I re-lived that moment, including the ‘thinking tree,’ and much of the other parts of the novel are actually from real life.

I cannot say this enough, if you want to write compelling stories, you have to be willing to pull off your undies, or said another way, live your damned life like you mean it!

The Bucket list spoke to me, not so much for the reasons they had in the movie but, for fodder for gripping tales.  How the hell can you write stories if you only watch TV or read what others write?

Go out and skin your knees, get your skin scraped up with briars, and stand on sticky things with your bare feet.  Or better yet, feel the sun kiss you in places reserved for shadows.  Allow the wind to whistle through your nether regions and live in the moment.  Do it by yourself, so you can listen to the whispering trees.  Learn to pee without getting yourself wet, and if you do, so what.

In this novella, which I hope you will read, you will see some of what I went through to write this story.  Guess what, I would do it again.  I would sit on that hot rock or pick those yellow flowers.  I would dive into that lake with only that old deer as my witness.  When your heart is pounding in your chest, as you pull off that last stitch of clothing, only then can you write about it convincingly.   As you leave your clothes behind on that ‘thinking tree,’ turning your back on civilization, only then can you honestly know what it is like to be exposed, to be truly naked. When you walk through a spider web, and the ‘huntress’ leaves your chest while slowly making its way down your belly toward your…yeah, you are alive!  You think and act without the safety of the remote control.  While respecting all life, could you do what she did?

In Perpetual Palpitation, I write about the antics of two lovebirds who find places on a cruise ship where he takes a picture of her while she performs lewd poses.  Care to guess how many ships I have been on?

You have to live my friends.  You cannot write good stuff if you only do it by reading the works of others.  You have to use all of your senses, and you must remember what it was like when you are at Hippy Hollow, as I write about in Nudist of Shangri-La.   Yes, I know about it, because I was there.

There is a beach in Florida that you will get ticketed if you are wearing clothing on it.  How do I know?

Not from the internet, I assure you.

Tan lines should be a sin.  Until you rip the Band-Aid off, you cannot honestly write about it.

Now I have not written about sky diving because I will not jump out of a perfectly good plane.  I can write about flying because I have spent my fair share of time behind the yoke.  Until the ground disappears beneath you, and you are in control, you cannot write convincingly about it, like I did in Presidential Assassins.

No, I have not killed anyone, so you do have to use your imagination but, and I say this with all due candor, you have to live.  I have killed, hunted, stalked, been stalked, been in the woods nude or naked, and done much, tried much, and would do more if I needed, to experience it, to write about it.

You can get a small sampling of that in Land of my People.  I did spend about a week in the woods, as my main character did.  I describe my first time as his daughter did.  I think you will love it.

I hope that this blog, like most, will inspire you to write convincingly.  I also hope you will assist me by spreading the word about this blog, and my books.

Much Love -TW