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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Creativity and Research

Every writer is different and goes about getting to the elements of their story in a different fashion.  Being a fan of the late and great Patrick O'Brian, who was by trade a Naval Historian and consequently wrote a great series of books that I know as the Master and Commander Series.  Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Maturin were made up and fictional characters but the ships they sailed on, the exploits of what happened between this ship and that ship came right out of the history books.  More specifically they came out of Naval Journals, Captains Logs, and British Naval History.  There is a paragraph or so at the beginning of each of his books where he explains he couldn't come up with stuff that would overshadow the actual feats of true history.  He also explains elements of Naval technology from the sixteen and seventeen hundreds in bits and pieces littered through his work.  It is amazing the things you can learn while reading for pleasure, but an author had to put the stuff in there to begin with before you could benefit from the experience.
I enjoy the elements of making up wild stuff in order to take my readers some where they have never been before.  I also try not to pass up a chance to blend realism in with the fiction.  Let me explain.
In my second novel I needed to come up with an alien race of beings that would be scary, ferocious, and that would breed prolifically.  I tried to think of some animal on Earth that if it had become the dominate species and developed into a humanoid type form from its current Earthling cousin that might fit the characteristics I was looking for.  I decided upon Alligators!  Then I learned everything I could that I thought might be useful in the story to further develop aspects of my new alien race, the Gators.
At the beginning of the book the Gators are over running another alien race which is entirely peaceful.  The peaceful group's first option upon discovering this predator was to try and communicate with them.  All attempts at communication fail, because the Gators do communicate but at a level below the normal hearing range.  This is what I got from researching Gators.  Gators communicate with each other using Ultra Low Frequency vibrations.  Humans can't hear that range (neither can my peaceful aliens).  I was amazed at what I did read about Ultra Low Frequency and the affects it produces in about twenty-two percent of the human population.  The effects are most widely seen and experienced today with the proliferation of wind turbine farms going up all over the place.  These wind turbines produce Ultra Low Frequency vibrations also.
For those who are affected by these vibrations they get an un-natural, scary feeling, goose bumps, a haunted or evil feeling.  Some people have reported seeing hallucinations, seeing something in your peripheral vision that when you turn your head nothing is there.  These people are not making this stuff up.  Their bodies are picking up or feeling these vibrations, a sound just below our normal hearing range.  The hallucinations are caused by the vibrations causing distortions in the people's eyes and their brain interprets the vibrations as images or seeing something.  As you turn your head to see more clearly or change the position of your eyes to the vibrations the images just disappear.  Alligators can affect people in the same manner.  This may lend to why people view Alligators as being as scary as they do.  The fact that they will lay in wait for you motionless until they snap, bite and drag you under the water to eat you doesn't hurt their scary factor either.
My point with all this is to say, don't be afraid to do some good old fashioned research about aspects and elements of your stories and incorporate some truth into the fiction.  You not only learn something but get a chance to teach your readers something along the way.  I love reading because you never know what you might learn along the way.  Even in Fictional books!
One of my favorite Authors, James Rollins, in his Sigma Force Series, at the end of his books includes what is real and what is made up.  I always enjoy this part immediately after finishing the book.  One of his books totally blew me away because everything in the book was based on true stuff!
Mr. Rollins also adds the books he read as research for each particular book.  On two occasions I actually read each the books he used for research for that particular novel.  It was enlightening in the fact that he could take this piece from here and that piece from there and turn and twist it into the plot line and story that he did to come up with for the novel.  It was amazing seeing the raw material and the mental leaps and bounds he had to make to come up with the story that he did.  I haven't told my readers what is true and what isn't true in my books but I challenge them to take aspects of the story and look some stuff up on their own and see what's factual and what's fictional.  This is just something I enjoy doing behind the scenes and under the radar of the reader.  Hopefully it does make the reading more believable, or at least plausible.
Even my first novel "Whisper" the frigate that attacks them was a real ship and disappeared presumably in a storm in the same area and time as the ship disappears in the book.  Plausibility, it took me weeks of researching ships and their fates until I came up with just the right ship.  Thanks to Wikipedia they even included an artist's picture of the ship.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Would Be Assassination!

On January 30, in 1835, President Andrew Jackson narrowly escaped being the first President to be assassinated.  President Jackson was leaving a funeral at the Capital Building when Richard Lawrence attempted to murder him.  He pulled a pistol and fired, but the weapon misfired.  Jackson attacked his would be assassin with his walking stick.  Lawrence, who had brought a second pistol, pulled it and fired again, it also misfired!  The odds of two guns misfiring consecutively were figured at around one in 125,000.

The incident left Jackson a touch paranoid.  Lawrence was found to have no ties to Jackson’s political rivals, but Jackson was convinced that Lawrence had been hired by his Whig Party opponents to assassinate him.  His Vice President, Martin Van Buren, was worried also and from there on out carried two loaded pistols with him when he visited the Senate.

In the heat of a vicious political campaign with no stellar candidates in sight on either side of the fence I wonder what happened to men who would charge a would be attacker with his walking stick.  Can you just imagine Jackson’s surprise when the second pistol came out?  I’ll bet my ass Jackson hit him again with the walking stick profusely when the second gun misfired!  I’m not saying Jackson was a stellar candidate, but he had guts.

It is nice to know politics haven’t gotten any better through the years!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Art of Designing Book Covers

As promised L.K. Hunsaker, Author and Cover Artist has written today's post for us.
Thank you L.K., for the guest post and sharing your insights with us.

Books are indeed judged by their covers. Fair or not, it’s fact,whether we mean it as a metaphor for people or as actual books. You can’t get around this simple truth and no matter how often you scream that it’s unfair, it won’t change as long as we have eyes and unique personalities.

I’d like to thank Thomas for having me today to talk about cover design. A little about my background: I started my college career headed toward a commercial design major. It felt a little too stifling (no computers for it in those days – it was done by hand on paper sketching one symbol for a three hour class doing nothing but getting the lines exactly straight or exactly round), so I switched to an art major. Well and then I took a psychology class and fell in love, so I switched my major to psychology and my minor to art and English with plans to head into art therapy. So here I am: a novelist.

Funny things happen along life’s road. Still, I’ve loved art since I was a child and have continued with it, degree or no. I’ve done blog headers and signatures for other writers, graphics for friends and family just for fun, business cards with logo design for a big music industry name, and there are two CDs by a big name musician turned indie that I designed and did some interior writing for that ended up limited editions. I’ve also done cover designs.

I’ve done all of my own novel covers, both print version, including the full wraparound design, and ebook. I’ve also been commissioned for a couple of others and I’d love to show them off but I don’t believe they’re out yet. In my quest to create unique, standout, or simple but effective covers, there are a few rules I follow.

First, I never, never use clip art. Yes, it can be done well. But it can also be done by more than one author. There’s always the chance someone else will use the same photo. And often it’s not done well. Have you seen those covers that scream, “I cut out and pasted a few elements together to fit my story”? I’ve seen many. I have to say I’m pretty darn unlikely to buy a book that looks like the author stuck stuff together and called it a cover. It shows lack of quality, which is a shame because the actual book may be high quality. But, we do, indeed, judge a book by its cover. I might download one free. I won’t buy it. I was shocked to see one of the big six publishers putting out a title by a big author, last month I believe, that looked like clip art stuck on top of a photo. It’s horrendous. If I was that author, I’d be rather upset.

I use my own photos. With the quality of even inexpensive digital cameras, any author can take a nice scenic photo that will work as a background. Mixing elements from different photos can be tricky (so it won’t look like clip art), so I’m very careful with the way I combine them. There is artistic sense that goes into this part of it. If you have a chance to take a basic art and design class, you might consider doing so.

I also use my own artwork. Sometimes I start with photos of people in the correct poses and then turn them into art: computer drawn as with my first two Rehearsal books, sketched in conte crayon as with Finishing Touches, or done in watercolor as with Moondrops & Thistles.

Less is more. Don’t overcrowd your message. Sometimes something as symbolic as an ocean at sunset is enough to create the mood. (Please don’t use that heart drawn on the beach image that I’ve already seen on at least four book covers as well as on a plethora of websites. Careful not to overuse an image. Be aware of what’s out there already.) And be sure the mood created on the cover matches your story. Colors have meaning. Use them wisely. And use white space (white space doesn’t have to be white, it means empty space used as an artistic element).

Make sure your title font is easily legible. That doesn’t mean use only Arial. In fact, avoid the overdone Arial. Fancy fonts that match your story are nice if people can read them. They won’t try very hard. Unless you have a very strong simple cover that grabs them and a small title in contrast that leads them to NEED to know what the book is called. Careful with this, though. Most often, they won’t try that hard.

Other than that, be aware of your overall message. Is your book a hard-core thriller? Don’t make it look like a comic book or a poolside escape read. Be honest with your reader from the start, and that includes your cover art.

Take time to peruse covers of all genres, preferably in a bookstore but online will work. When one draws you in, study it to see why it did. If it makes you skim past, stop and go back and figure out why. For me, pastels, beautiful scenery, vacation vistas, water, and poetic art covers make me stop and look. While I may be halted by the photo of a bare-chested hunk, I won’t buy it, since it’s the story that matters to me, not the skin. Other readers won’t buy a book without that hunk. So know your intended audience and design to them.

Or find a designer who will do that for you. Local independent artists are a nice place to start and generally won’t charge a lot. If nothing else, ask your local high school art teacher for a recommendation.

Do be aware that if you contract an artist to do your cover design, unless the contract (or agreement) states otherwise, the amount you pay only covers the right to use it on your book, not on posters and T-shirts and bookmarks, and you can’t pull out an element of it to use on your book trailer without permission. Most hired artists want extra for that. Make sure your terms are clear.

Designing book covers is an art. Like any art, practice and study (or a well-chosen designer) will help make your book stand out on the storefront.

I’ve included a few of my own cover designs. Feel free to ask questions about them or about anything else I’ve mentioned here.

How to visit, see her book covers, and follow her blog.

Thank you again L.K., we wish you more success than you can imagine.
Indie Authors who need cover art help, here is a good place to start!!

What do you know? Ignorance or Naivety

I have a history calendar on my desk which tells about some event in history that happened on this specific date.
Today for January 25th it tells about how Paul McCartney was released from a Tokyo jail and deported from Japan.
My first impression after reading this was Paul McCartney in Jail?  Really?  For What?
Reading the bit, apparently he was stopped coming into Japan with nearly half a pound of marijuana.  He had arrived on January 16, 1980, his first visit to Japan since the Beatles Tour of 1966.  The plan was for a concert tour of eleven cities by his band Wings.
Seriously, Sir Paul McCartney, in jail on drug charges?  This was the first I had ever heard of this.  Where the hell was I at in 1980?
My First impression of this shows my ignorance or naivety of the world.  That became the inspiration for this post.
Ignorance or Naivety?
Depending on where you are in the world, where you were brought up or raised, the environment you lived in largely determines the level of ignorance or naivety you are at or may have been at.
In 1979 my family came from Athol, Idaho, technically quite a few miles outside of Athol in the woods, and visited my mom's mom, my grandmother in Independence, Missouri.  After returning home the family packed up and we moved that summer of 79 to Missouri.  It was a culture shock to say the least.  At that time where I had come from their was only three television stations on TV, no cinemas, no escalators, elevators, automatic opening doors, and the local ice cream store had three flavors of ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.  The music, they played both types on the radio, country and western.  I had in effect missed everything that had happened in music up to 1979!  My music knowledge from my environment growing up was old country western music and a collection of 45's from the late 1950's up until the very early 1960's.  Apparently my mom quit buying 45's during high school before the British invasion.
Where we ended up in Independence, the Skagg's Drug store had an automatic opening door.  The Mall had and escalator and an elevator.  Baskin Robbins was a freaking miracle of ice cream with 31 flavors.  Radio!!  Oh My God!  I heard music and groups I had never heard before in my life.  I was learning all kinds of things everyday about the everyday world that I never knew existed.  The kids in eighth grade at William Bridger Jr. High thought I was from another country because I was such a backwards idiot and I talked funny in their opinion.
I was in the eighth grade on December 9th, 1980, when kids were wearing black arm bands because somebody had killed some guy known as John Lennon.  I had never heard of the Beatles!  I didn't know who John Lennon was but obviously somebody had shot him the night before in New York.  So obviously I had no idea who Paul McCartney was so in the following December as a freshman at Truman High School I would not have known or paid much attention to the news about him being locked up for a few days in Japan.
Thinking back to the calendar if the Beatles toured Japan in 1966, that was the year I was born.  I wasn't in the hole of Idaho at the time that would have been Castle Air Force Base, California which isn't even there anymore.
It makes me think of people and where they live, have lived, and what they missed or didn't miss because of their experiences and environment.  We all grow up in different places, went to different schools, and have different experiences.  Our lives and perceptions of the world we live in are shaped by the experiences we have had, what we have learned along the way, and the environment in which we were brought up in.  The people and places that influenced our lives as we lived helped shape our world and perceptions.
I think it is amazing that we don't all have the same back grounds, education and knowledge so consequently we all inhabit the same plane of existence with vastly different concepts, views, and perceptions of the world we live in.  When you understand this concept you can see why some people may seem narrow minded, or cling so defensively to wrong, misguided, or skewed perceptions of the world.  Because to them it is their world, what they believe to be true, what they know, and it is hard sometimes to back up and say "I might be mistaken."  "Maybe I'm wrong!"  "Maybe what I believe and was taught is not what really happened?"
Maybe my fascination with history is the result of years of finding out that other things existed that I was unaware of.  Maybe I got tired of being surprised and decided to ask questions and read books to determine my own truth and beliefs about this world we live in.  I also through the years have become a big proponent of knowing why do you believe what you believe?
Because somebody told you?  You saw it?  You where there?  You read about it in a book?  You saw a movie about it sometime somewhere?  That's how you were raised?
What do you believe?  Why do you believe it?
What do you truly know is real and concrete?  Beyond reproach?
What have you researched and discovered on your own?
I know the more I learn the more I find that I don't know.  The more questions I get.
The old adage goes: "Ignorance Is Bliss." 
When I was first leaning things I thought this meant that those that don't know and don't question things and don't get disappointed by the truths they discover are more blissful because they don't know and don't care.
I have learned a shit load of stuff since I came out of the woods in 1979.  I learned things growing up in the woods that city people don't have a clue about.  When I go camping or get to hike through the woods it brings back a plethora of memories from my childhood and hiking and riding horses through the woods as a boy.
As I have gotten older and wiser I realize the more I learn the more I don't know.  The more I don't know the more ignorant I am becoming.  The more I learn and become ignorant the more blissful it becomes.
Change the things you can and be wise enough to know the difference!  Amen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blogging for one year!

I can't believe I missed my own blogging anniversary!
Exactly one year ago, last week, January 17th I did my first blog post of this blog.
Wow, how the time flies.  I had just e-published my first novel on Smashwords.
I think back at how much I didn't know a year ago.  I barely knew what I was doing and I honestly thought by publishing on Smashwords that my book was going to be distributed on Amazon also.  I remember back to when it dawned on me that I could publish on both, and began the process of reformatting Whisper for Amazon.
I didn't have a clue about having an Inter-net Presence; I had never been on any social sites like My Space, Face Book or Twitter.  I was flying blindly with the blogging, and socializing, and trying to build a following of readers for my first book.  At the time I didn't even know if it was any good.  I did have a second book in the rough draft form, I had corrections back from my first Editor for that book, so I was feverishly trying to make corrections and get it finished so I wouldn't be a One Book Wonder.  I was excited that I had been editing, re-writing, or writing something new every day I could.  I was afraid I would lose my new found passion, get distracted, side tracked and not continue.  I knew I desperately wanted to get another book finished and published.
When I met Jo Murphey, who graciously, out of the kindness of her heart agreed to help me edit my second book further I was happy but reluctant!  I already had corrections for that book and was about a third of the way through making the corrections to the rough draft.  I started by sending Jo the first two chapters of NROE ("No Rules Of Engagement").  She sent back suggestions, corrections, and questions.  It became obvious very quickly that this entire book was going to need to be re-written.  I remember throwing a quiet but passionate temper tantrum about the situation.  The very last thing I wanted to do was take six months and re-write and edit this book.  I wanted it done, I wanted it published.  I wanted to write something else, something new!
Jo, bless her heart helped, coxed, instructed, and provided moral support through that tough time.  Eventually I settled into the inevitable and began rewriting and editing.  Two chapters at a time we went through the entire book, every chapter twice, until seven months later it was done.  In Jo's defense as my editor the book needed more polishing, and more editing, and more care and attention.  My inexperience, and mostly my impatience won out and I self-published NROE in late August 2011.
I am still impatient!  My list of Goals for 2012 is to finish and publish two more books, the sequels to Whisper and NROE!  I think that is grandiose and naive on my part to shoot so high, so fast!  Most importantly the so fast!
I am writing the sequels with full knowledge that the books will be re-written and edited before an editor ever sees them.  Then they will be edited, and parts re-written or tweaked again further.  With only putting four to five hours, five to six nights a week into this effort, there just aren't enough hours in the day.  That coupled with the fact that my efforts that are directed at this endeavor at the last part of my day when I am at my worst, already spent mentally at least from a full day of work and playing with two small boys and getting them to bed.
I realize begrudgingly that I may only get one more book finished and published.  That alone may take me until the end of the year!  If an author has a full time job, a family and other everyday responsibilities because they are alive and part of the community they live in, and they are writing and publishing one full sized novel a year they are working their butts off!
I end this post with the fact that I end one year of blogging, with two books published last year, that I do have some modicum of talent in this endeavor, and that the books are getting good reviews and selling.  My following of readers is growing with each person who dares to try my work.  I am getting better as a writer, at editing, proofing, and all other areas of my life.  My passion for writing is growing alongside my talent and skills as a writer.
I end the one year anniversary as a published author, where as I started the year as an aspiring writer.  I would lastly like to thank my twenty-five follows of this blog.  I never dreamed I would have twenty-five faithful followers of my blog in one year.  I shudder to think of what this number will be next year in 2013.  Oh, yeah I forgot!  This is the last year of the world!  There won't be any blogging or books next year.  My Bad!
May God Bless, Keep Writing, and Keep Reading.

Monday, January 23, 2012

First of the Twenty-One

's review
Jan 23, 12

5 of 5 stars
bookshelves: currently-reading
I own a copy

This is an amazing book.
It has a fantastic plot line and I have to admit that I've never read anything like it.
Usually I am not one for heavy duty science fiction novels.
The plot peaked my interest and once I started to read, I could not manage to put it down.
Wilson is a wonderful author and I hope to read more of his work in the future.
It doesn't show up when viewing the book, but I am tickled beyond belief.
I am really excited on two counts in particular, one that she liked it so much while reading it so fast!  Secondly, that it is not her normal genre of reading and she still enjoyed it.
In the past those that have read it in what I would say is extremely fast or that it was not their genre, usually results in a middle of the road review!  Thank You Carolina!

Chinese New Year and Frisbees!

Happy New Year CHINA!!
Still wish I knew how to find a Chinese Book Forum and put an add or blurb about my books in Chinese!  It couldn't do any worse than Amazon DE, IT, FR, or ES.  I have yet to sell a single book anywhere besides the US and UK on Amazon.
Growing up in the back woods of Idaho, on a dirt farm against the edge of thousands of acres of National Forest, in the evenings when the work was done my Dad and Great Uncle Garth would throw the Frisbee after dinner until it was too dark.  As I got older the Frisbee bug bit me also.  Partly because of the nostalgia of my childhood watching my dad and uncle, and partly because when you play with another good player you can pretty much stand there and throw one for hours and never move more than a foot or two from your starting point.  It's a lazy man's sport for sure when you and your partner are both good enough throwers.  Catching one is the easy part unless you get hit on the tip of the finger which with a screaming 160 gram Wham-O Frisbee could do some real damage impacting your finger in that manner.
I caught the bug so bad my first year of college I majored in Frisbee.  I played Frisbee on the lawn of the college instead of studying and doing homework.  That's a bad joke that still upsets my parents.  Because I flunked out of my first year of college and I was pretty much cut off – financially – from going to school, I in my infinite wisdom of 20 years of age decided I would join the U.S. Army.  After my stint in the Army playing on tanks, when I got back to school I had perfect grades, primarily because this time I was paying for it, and because I had grown up and actually gotten much wiser during that time in the service.
Years and years later in what almost seems like a different lifetime I occasionally get to play Frisbee with my children after dinner.  At this point they have no idea how much that means to me.  The wisdom now of knowing that part of Freedom translates into being able to go into the backyard and throw a Frisbee if that's what you want to do.  How I remember watching my Dad and Great Uncle Garth throwing the Frisbee for hours in the twilight time of the evenings as a child.  The skill I have after years and years of throwing a Frisbee and chasing after the attempts of my children to throw it back to me, thinking this is how they will learn.  Thinking about how I won't tell them the story of myself flunking out of college until after they all have received their college diplomas.
In 1871, William Frisbie opened the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Students from nearby universities would throw the empty pie tins to each other, yelling "Frisbie!" as they let go.
In 1948 Walter Frederick Morrison and his partner, Warren Franscioni, invented a plastic version of the disc called the "Flying Saucer" that flew farther and more accurately than the tin pie dishes.  After splitting with Franscioni, Morrison made an improved model in 1955 and sold it to a new toy company called Wham-O.
On this date January 23rd, 1957, Wham-O produced the first Frisbees.  They didn't officially call it that until a year after its release when they changed the name to Frisbee, misspelling the name of the historic pie company.  Wham-O was also the company behind such mega toy wonders as the Hula Hoop and the Super Ball.  By their 50th Anniversary in 2007, the company had sold more than two hundred million Frisbees!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Life as a Publisher - Guest Blog Post

One Mountain At A Time - Guest Post by Thomas Wilson
on the website Life as a Publisher !

Inspirational Advice for the aspiring author!  Check it out!

Indie Authors and Cover Art

As Independent Authors we must wear all the hats and do all the work to make our books as professional as we possibly can before we publish them.  This includes writing, re-writing, editing, creating a cover for the book and promotional efforts.  If we have extra money we can pay for outside help.  But unless you have built up a following and have several books out there generating income you can not afford to pay for outside help.

Well I have run across a lady who does good quality covers very inexpensively!  So if you're writing a book and still have no clue as to what you're going to do for a cover this may be a possible option.  Loraine Hunsaker has a web site where you can check her out and see some samples of her work.

Loraine has agreed to do a guest post on this Blog on January 26, 2012, where she will share so Do's and Don'ts for Cover Art and provide some samples of her work.  Please mark your calendars so you can drop by and read the post!  Book mark her site if you may need cover art help in the future.

As Indie Authors we need to build lists of Editors and means of editing and proofing our work, Cover Artists, Trailer makers, book reviewers and those who do Author Interviews for our first work and future releases as means of getting affordable help.  If you're still in the writing phase and haven't self-published yet, this is the perfect time to start promoting your work, getting some on-line exposure before your books release.  Mark Your calendars to revisit this blog January 26th.  I am very excited about this because I have heard over and over again how this is one of the biggest challenges for writers who are not artistically blessed.

Thank You Loraine for offering to share your knowledge and experience with us, and for providing such inexpensive and high quality art work.  Looking forward to your guest post with us with much enthusiasm.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Reviewers For "No Rules Of Engagement"

As I posted last night Goodreads dot com has been knocking themselves out with challenges, promotions, games, discussions, and so much more for readers and authors alike.

A group affectionately called Shut Up and Read, has been running this promotion Read It & Reap, where authors sign up to have their books reviewed.  Readers sign up to to review them and in turn get the books for FREE.
It's a WIN-WIN situation for all, absolutely Brilliant.

So today was my day, "No Rules Of Engagement" went up today with twenty books offered to give away to those who wanted to read it and review it.  I didn't think I would get twenty volunteers to read my book at the same time even with Goodreads having over six million members.  I told Tt the lady organizing and doing all the work to pull this promotion off that I would give away as many books as needed.

When I left work today at 5:00PM Central time nineteen had signed up, by the time I got home and settled hours later when I could sit down at my computer 21 had requested to get it and Bless Tt's heart she provided the FREE books to all 21.  One more than what I thought I wouldn't get to!

I am ecstatic, excited, and over joyed.  Twenty-one brave souls have agreed to read my novel at the same time.  Several have commented that they are excited to read the book.  I am excited for them because I know the journey intimately that they are about to undertake.  "No Rules Of Engagement" is only my second book, but it is far and away better in many respects to my first book.  The majority of the reviews I have gotten so far have been five out of five stars, very humbling for my second attempt as an author.

I am in a book club, followers of the blog have read about the Ladies of my Book Club numerous times.  Routinely when we read a book one or two of the eight of us will be ho hum about a book, one or two will love it.  Very seldom do we run across a book where everybody loves the same book.  That's with eight people.  Twenty-one readers, some of them will not like it, some will love it, some will be ho hum its an alright book.  If more than half to three quarters like to love it I will be overjoyed and humbled beyond belief.

The big trick for Indie Authors after everything involved with writing, re-writing, editing, cover art, and then self-publishing it is to get discovered.  With twenty-one people reading it and twenty-one reviews in two weeks, and if those that love it tell others about this great book they read, that will help get the word out.

Currently for those following along and interested I have been writing the sequels to both of my first two books.  I have done more work on the sequel to "No Rules Of Engagement" than I have on the sequel to "Whisper".  I am about half way through the rough draft of the sequel to NROE and according to Phillip Woody my biggest fan, Beta Reader, and the guy who came up with the name "No Rules Of Engagement" the sequel at halfway surpasses the first book.

I want to say thank you to the brave souls, the twenty-one who are venturing into the depths of my imagination and day dreams over the next two weeks.  Hang on you're in for one hell of a ride.

Shut Up And Read - Goodreads Dot Com

It's started!

On Goodreads dot com, Shut Up And Read - Read It & Reap
Is featuring "No Rules Of Engagement" Today
The first twenty to sign up will recieve a FREE Copy of the book to read over the next two weeks and Review on Goodreads.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Read It and Reap on Goodreads

Read It and Reap is a Book Reviewing Promotion that Goodreads dot com started this January!  The way it works is authors sign up on one thread and list their name, the title of their book, and their E-mail Address if they want to enter their book to be reviewed.  The Group Administrators contact you and find out how many copies of your book you would like to give away to be reviewed.  Then every Monday and Friday they offer a new book and the first to sign up get a free E-copy of the book to read for reviewing on Goodreads dot com.  So if an author says he is giving away five copies the first five who respond get the book!  Ten copies the first ten get them and so on.  Those who receive the copies have two weeks to read the book and post a review of the book on Goodreads to be eligible to continue participating and get more FREE books!
This is brilliant!  Readers Win because they potentially can have a NEW FREE book every two weeks for as long as this lasts!  Writers Win because they get reviews posted about their books which will hopefully entice other readers to purchase their book.  Goodreads Wins because more readers and authors are participating and working together for the mutual benefit of all parties concerned and their data base of books and reviews of said books grows every day.
Tomorrow, On Goodreads dot com my second novel, "No Rules Of Engagement", is the book being offered for FREE if somebody wishes to read and write a review of it.
If you are not a member of Goodreads dot com and you like to read books, are a aspiring author, or a new Indie Author immediately drop whatever you're doing and go sign up and become a member of Goodreads!  Seriously, Do it Now!  If you are a member and have looked at my books (there is only two of them), or even considered for a moment about purchasing my newest novel, here is your chance to get it for FREE!  For the multitude who have purchased 'Whisper' but were hesitant to drop a whole five dollars on a newbies second book, this is your chance to get it for free.  Look up the Group – Read It and Reap and tomorrow when they post my book is available for signing up to get a FREE copy to read for review, then seize the day and the BOOK!
Now don't just use this to get a FREE copy of the book!  Read it over the next two weeks and post a review of how awesome the book was and you will be eligible to sign up for another book Friday February 3rd or the following Monday February 6th.  Just wait until the next book comes along that flips your triggers and you can get it for FREE!
How flipp'in Cool is that?
Also I was invited sometime ago to do a guest post on the Blog of Karen L. Syed of Echelon Press.  It was a fun and eye opening experience, my second ever guest post on someone else's Blog, and I would love it if you would happen by and read the Post!

Being Bad

I did a blog post sometime ago about how when I get bored I plan out crimes.  It's something to do for a compulsive planner who gets extremely bored with the mundane aspects of everyday life in a civilized world.  Well, civilized world is stretching it a bit, but for the majority of people in the United States life can get pretty predictable and boring from time to time.  I have to admit I haven't planned out any crimes in the last two years since I have started writing every day, that seems to have cured my boredom.
As in my previous blog post, one of the reasons I started writing was to provide an outlet for my over active imagination and a means of doing the crimes I have planned in the past if only in a fictional sense through the characters in my books.  The problem with me becoming a super criminal is I am a terminally nice guy!
Among the mental hang-ups we all develop about different aspects of doing things, like the tendency to slow your reading down as you approach the end of a book because sub-consciously you don't want it to end because you have been enjoying it so much.  I know I can't be the only person who does that!  Well, something similar is happening with me when I approach a point in writing a particularly bad thing in one of my books.  I slow down, don't write as much, I him haw around because I don't want to have this character shoot that character, or in a upcoming battle scene where I know I need to work out the details of the battle and at some point soon actually decide which ships make it and which ships don't.  I have to decide who lives and dies and it is bothering me on a mental level!
Realistically it's a fictional book.  These people only exist in the context of my books and in my mind.  Yet, because I am inherently such a nice guy it bothers me and causes my work to slow down and I find I have to literally force myself to continue.  This is silly I know but I can't imagine I am the only person this has ever happened to.  I know I imagine my favorite authors bombing the coliseum, assassinating heads of state, or bad guys jumping out of bushes bashing kid's heads in with baseball bats as easy as ever.  Does this kind of fictional work cause them any stress or hinder their ability to get down to work.  I feel bad even typing the last bit about bashing kid's heads in but James Paterson did that in one of his books.  He has by far the scariest bad guys I think I have ever read.  I wonder if it bothers him on some level writing the gory details of these horrible crimes.
I just thought I would share as I try and pass on tidbits of what I learn about writing as I realize them.  Since our writing is an extension of ourselves even if it is fiction, the learning about ourselves and what makes us be more productive and a better writer in many cases is learning about ourselves, our reservations, and our hang-ups.  So tonight I need to stuff the nice guy in a box, get out my red pen and play the part of the Incarnation of Death and figure who isn't going to make it through this book.  I have to grow and get through this because one of my future series deals with a whole new criminal element never before seen in history.  "Stolen Gangs" will be the first book of that series and it will be brutal, and the means of bringing out folders of past crimes I have planned and bringing them to life through the series.
Maybe I should try writing wearing my sons Darth Vader helmet!
May God Bless You and Have a Great Day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book Review Of "The Best of Me" By Nicholas Sparks

Let me start with the fact that Nicholas Sparks is an extremely talented writer. I have stated before in my blog and publically that I hate Nicholas Sparks, not persoanlly, just his stories!

It is like being invited to watch a car wreck with your family members and not being able to do anything about it except witness and experience the carnage! Getting severely upset and emotional in a sad way is not what I consider entertainment. I think this guy owns stock in the Klennex company! Obvouisly some people like this type of tear gerking books because he keeps writing them and people keep buying them. I have to read at least one of his books a year for my book club and I read it under protest. You always know it it start out sweet and hopeful and the stuff fairy tales are made from and then he starts killing people. I believe he would kill his mother to sell a book. I wouldn't be suprised by the title of Mother Day where he does excactly that!!

He only achieves this because of the fact that he is an extremely talented writer and knows how to turn an epic tale. I truly loved one of his books where the guy and girl get together then I rushed out and got the sequel and the *&%^&*() killed her!! I have not been a fan since. As an author I would love to someday meet Mr. Sparks, and because of the ladies in book club I will keep reading his books if only to participate, but forever under protest.


Happy Birthday A.A. Milne

Many are probably going I know that name from somewhere.  Along with Dr. Suess, A.A. Milne was one of the best known childrens authors of all time, and with a thank you going out to the Disney companies, who hasn't ever heard of Winnie-the-Pooh!

A.A. Milne was born on January 18th, 1882.  In 1925 he bought Cotchford Farm in Sussex where a nearby forest inspired the Hundred Acre Wood.  His only child, a son, named Christopher Robin received a stuffed bear as a present when he was around one year old.  Milne began writing stories about his son and his stuffed animals and their adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. 

Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1925.

The House at Pooh Corner in 1928. 

A gentleman named Ernest Shepard illustrated the books, using Chistopher Robin and his animals as models.
Milne wrote numerous other books and plays but everybody remembers him primarily for Pooh Bear!
Milne died in 1956.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Author Interview NROE No Rules Of Engagement

Author Interview of Thomas D. Wilson
and his New novel   No Rules Of Engagement
















Thank You so ever much Kitty,

Kitty D. Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Literary Community - Public Relations Manager & Reviewer

Kitty Bullard
Great Minds Think Aloud
2206 Wingate Road
Fayetteville, NC 28304

Friday, January 13, 2012

Writers Block, Dead End, or Chance to Dazzle!

From time to time everybody who writes either gets stuck staring at the white page and considers slamming their head into the desk repeatedly or has been writing up a storm until you run into a wall.  You inadvertently wrote yourself into something that you didn't mean to.  The idea or line of thought was flowing and just dissipated like the morning's fog after the sun comes up.  Either way you're stuck.  Now part of me gets frustrated by my impatience because my time to write is so limited and to waste it by staring at a blank page or getting stalled midway through the next chapter of my book seems like a terrible waste of my time.
Sometimes the problem is you!  Maybe you have an emotional hang up with what you're writing.  For an example I was attacked from behind by a dog as a child.  I probably will not be writing lovey dovey dog scenes in any of my books.  If I attempted to write about dogs attacking people or being extra friendly with a dog, I might get conflicted and have trouble or feel stuck.  Search your feelings about what your piece is dealing with to see if you are just getting too close to home and that is what is hanging you up.  Some writers use their work and writing to write about true events that deeply affect them as a means of coping with the situation.
Whatever we write it is a part us, coming from our conscious and un-conscious minds, coming out of us based off our education and life experiences and background.  Hell if that doesn't trip you up once and while you may be too emotionally healthy to be writing.  That being said when you read disturbing pieces by some well known authors like Stephen King or James Patterson you have to wonder if these people shouldn't be allowed out in public!
I personally love Dead Ends because it gives me a chance to get crazy.  I remind myself that this is fiction and I can do whatever I want!  I can write this section of this piece twenty different ways from Sunday and choose the best one later.  I start asking questions about the situation.  I start examining the situation from different angles.  If it's a hard problem I think about it and verbalize the problem right before I go to sleep and in many cases I either wake up with the answer in the morning or it wakes me up in the middle of the night with the answer!  It's amazing what your subconscious can do with problems.
So the next time you get stuck try thinking your way out of the box.  If it is an emotional hang up, get over it, write about it, or just re-write the piece.
One final note is to do things you normally don't do.  Go places you haven't been to before.  We all need breaks and from time to time instead of getting down to business and working try hopping blogs, surfing the net, check out Pinterest, StumbleUpon, find something to feed your brain new information, raw material to use in future writing, brain storming, or just to flip your triggers.  All work will make us all dull boys and girls.  We want sharp as a tack, eyes wide open, hearts ready to be broke, live like it's your last day to live in our writing and everyday lives.
May God Bless You!  Keep Writing.  Have a Great Day on Friday the 13th!!  OHHHH!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Color and Creativity

When I read this blog post this morning it got me thinking about Creativity and Color.
Posted: 11 Jan 2012 08:01 PM PST
Guest Blogger: Billy Coffey
It was my wife—God bless her—who said I was insane. And not only was I insane, but probably all the people in the world who called themselves writers were too. Certifiable. In need of round the clock psychological care and Thorazine milkshakes.

It was the pens, you see. She was going to the store, and I asked her to pick me up some pens. In my wife’s defense, I didn’t specify what sort of pens. And in my defense, I didn’t think I had to. We’ve been married for fifteen years. She’s seen me write before.
But she brought home black pens. I thought it was a joke at first. I even laughed. My wife didn’t call me insane then, but I bet the thought had crossed her mind.

Blue pens, I told her. I needed blue pens. Because blue ink produced the best words and black ink undermined creativity and the flow of artistic expression. How could anyone not know that? That’s when the insane comment was voiced. Jokingly, of course. Maybe half-jokingly. Which was followed by this:
“The problem isn’t black pens, it’s that you can’t tell the difference between what you want and what you need.
Of course I disagreed. It’s a pride thing. But as the day wore on and I kept staring at my pack of black pens, I began to see she was right. As a writer, I don’t really have needs and wants. I just have needs.

As I said this got me thinking about the color of ink, colored pens, and possibly using colored fonts when I write.
I discovered in college years ago that if I take notes using different colors that when it came time for the test I could actually see my notes in my head.  I could view the details as if the notes were sitting there in front of me.  This made a huge difference in future test scores and made me always have a collection of colored gel pens beside me to use at my discretion depending on how important it was to remember the details of what I am working on.  You don't want to or need to remember every detail of everything you do all day every day.  I imagine there is a limit to the amount of stuff you cram into your head and I don't want to experiment with process to find out what happens when your mind hits terminal overload!  Heavens knows I have enough trouble with every day challenges.
Because of my OCD I also have a collection of Zebra F-402 fine point black pens which I guard and prize highly.  I like writing with them.  They will write horizontally in case your writing on a wall, and don't ask me how I know this, but you can punch one through a hollow core wood door and they still write very nicely.  I like having one on my person almost always because it can be used as a weapon.  I am not above stabbing someone repeatedly with a ball point pen.
I wonder if color, writing in colored fonts would help writers be more creative?  Would it help us retain the myriad of facts that we need to retain and use through our work?  How does color effect our work?  How many writers use colored pens to write with?  Does the predominate use of black on white inhibit our creativity?  Does it hinder peoples mental abilities in all areas?
I understand as an artist the complete change in feelings, warmth, and attitude the difference between color pictures and black and white pictures has on people and their relation to the pictures.  Does this go deeper and cover more areas than photography and art?  Would the use of colors in our everyday life change our attitudes, feelings and enhance our natural abilities?
This is something I will have to re-visit after experimenting and getting some feedback from other authors.  What do you think about color and creativity?  Leave a comment . . .

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Author Interview / Part of Chapter One

Awesome Author Interview of ME!!

Also an excerpt from my newest novel!  I sincerely hope Science Fiction fans give this book a try, the reviews have been great!

Thank You Jo Murphey, once again you knocked one out of the ball park!!  Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

Hope over and check it out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Author Interview : Thomas Wilson

Author of “No Rules Of Engagement”

On December 26, My blog posted an Interview of a very dear friend and fellow writer, Jo Murphey.  Jo is extremely more talented than I am and wears many more hats throughout the normal course of a week than I do.  With all that she has on her plate she has graciously interviewed me for a post on her blog, ‘The Murphey Saga.’

It is scheduled to be on her blog on January 11, 2012, tomorrow.

I implore my followers and all those who happen by this blog to pop over to Jo’s Blog sometime today, read her interview of me, and possibly an excerpt from my latest novel.  While you’re there click to follow her blog, it is great reading, wonderful insights, from a wise woman with a surprising view of the world.

May God Bless and have a great day!

Doctor Oz and Breakfast

Part of my newfound passion in life besides writing is to take better care of myself in order to try and live longer thus being able to write more books before I croak.  I know it is just past the start of the new year and lots of people are joining gyms and trying to get into better shape.  My plan is not that extensive, yet.
Right before the end of 2011, I tore something in my right knee.  From all I have managed to gather from the symptoms it is probably a ligament are cartilage tear.  I managed to borrow a knee brace, because what I read on line is that taking it easy and letting nature take its course in six weeks I should be good as new.  So joining the gym, running on the treadmill, and especially deep knee bends are out of bounds for the time being.
No what I am talking about is more basic than just that.  When I sit down to write in the evening I generally do it sitting in the living room with my laptop on my lap.  Once and a while my wife comes in and joins me and watches television while write.  Usually this has never been a problem because I can drone out what senseless crap concerning completely fake over dramatic rich bitch wan-ta-be's, or girls getting married with extreme attitudes.  I generally refer to her selections of shows to watch that fall into this category as 'Bitch TV'.
Lately my wife has been watching this guy called Doctor OZ who has a show that deals with all sorts of common problems people have.  Some of the stuff is fade treatments, cosmetic treatments, weight loss, none of which I have a problem with or really care about.  The other stuff where he goes into what vitamins you should take, how much, what foods you should eat, and the big one that blew me away was when you should eat.  I have skipped breakfast for years!  He convinced me because I got drawn into one of the shows that I should eat something for breakfast every day.  I dawned on me that every other Saturday and every Sunday I get up and fix breakfast for the boys.  I generally feel better on those days partly because my body isn't waiting until two in the afternoon to eat.
So I am starting to eat breakfast, something every day.  My wife has a list of vitamins to get for me to add to the small arsenal of vitamins I all ready take, because I know I don't and have never eaten the proper foods.  The next move will be adding fruits and vegetables to my diet, and lastly forcing myself to eat salads until I don't mind eating them.  This will be hard, but it will ultimately become necessary and if I get myself used to it now, I might be healthy longer.  For some reason in spite of the terrible pain in the ass that I am, my wife wants to keep me around for as long as she can.  That's one of the many reasons I love her so.  That and that she helps me transition through these life changes and goes beyond the call of duty to make it easy for me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Ender's Game" might make it to the Big Screen

I remember over the holiday season a couple of weeks ago hearing about the woes of the cinemas because less people are going to the movies.  I remember thinking when I heard the radio broadcast that if anybody in Hollywood ever learned to pick up a book and started getting some original stories to turn into movies you would see a flood of people going to see them.  Also during the month of December there has been a group thread on Goodreads discussing Ender's Game being made into a movie.  I didn't get too excited at first because I have heard this rumor before twice for sure that I can remember where myself and fans I know of the book got all excited only to find out the project fizzled out because of one reason or another.
Well it has come to my attention that there is actually a release date set for March 2013.  Actors are being announced to have been signed to play the parts from the book and it appears to be a top notch all star cast.
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about.  Orson Scott Card, an American author, wrote "Ender's Game" and it was first published in 1985.  It grew out of a short story of the same name which was first published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, in the August 1977 Issue.  Card's book won the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
For years it has been one of my favorite books and I have purchased and given away more copies of "Ender's Game" than I have of my own books.  I find they are good books for younger troubled children to give them an escape, and a main character that generally always has much bigger problems than most troubled kids.  I have had more people tell me over the years that by me giving them that book were what started them reading books in general.  My daughter and her young friends have all read it and it is a favorite of theirs also.
Personally "Ender's Game" was a big motivation for my second novel.  Those who have read "Ender's Game" will definitely notice the similarities between the two in the opening part of my book.  If you enjoyed "Ender's Game" you will definitely like reading "No Rules Of Engagement" my second novel.  It is the first of three novels planned for this short series.
Those who have enjoyed one or both of these books will be standing in line for the opening night of "Ender's Game" if Hollywood manages to pull it off.  As with all book to movie adaptations, we all pray they stick close to the original books story and script and don't screw it up.  "Ender's Game" is a science fiction classic without any help from Hollywood.  I believe I read that Mr. Card himself has either done the screen play or worked with the producers to develop a screen play.  This lends one to believe it ought to be fantastic!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cage Fighting

Sometime ago I went to my first cage fight event.  One of the salesman where I work, Mr. Scott Cutbirth, is a manager of a number of guys who are into this extreme sport.  I consider any event you compete in where it is a standard practice to have an ambulance standing by and a qualified Doctor readily standing by just incase as an extreme sport.  The first event I went to was seeing Scott fight because it was something he said he always wanted to do.  As a manger of fighters he wanted to have the experience and reference of actually climbing into a cage with another person who would be intent on causing severe bodily damage as quickly as possible.

Last night I attended my second cage fighting event.  One of the guys who works for me was entered in an event at area bar where they hold unsanctioned barely legal fights with little or no concerns for the rules of engagement for fights of this sort.  It was brought to my attention that many of those who would be interested in competing in events such as this start off in this kind of venue.  Depending on how it turns out and if they still have such inclinations to continue with such a hazardous career choice or hobby they may move up into more tightly controlled and regulated fighting venues.

First off, it totally amazed me how many young men were willing to get into a caged fighting apparatus with an opponent and a referee with the sole intent of trying to kill each other.  I just don’t get the appeal.  Who willing wants to get beat up?  Two guys going in and only one will be declared the winner.

Secondly, I have trouble wrapping my mind around what these guys are thinking before they get into the ring.  The writer part of me is insanely curious about all aspects of human behavior, especially the more outlandish and extreme behavior such as what motivates you to want to do something like Cage Fighting.

So besides the guy who I watched fight last night, I also employ another young man who is fighting in a much higher venue of the sport and has a title fight coming up at the end of this month.  If he wins this bout he will move into the Professional Arena as far as Cage Fighting goes.

So I asked this gentleman today, “What are you thinking before you step into the ring?”

“That I am going to knock this guy out as quickly as I can.  Generally if it goes more than one round we both will survive and it will go to a decision decided fight.  I used to get really nervous before my fights for the first three or four.  Now days I just care.  If I get knocked out I’ll find out when I wake up.  I stay calm, cool and relaxed just like I usually am.”

I remembered when I first met Dustin, when I interviewed him.  He seemed so calm, cool and collected.  Not your usual not so bright hulk who thinks he is a Barney bad ass.  I asked him about fighting, if he had anger issues.  He laughed and said no.  He said he only fights in the cage.  I asked what his future goals were and he replied that he wanted to make it to the professional level and make enough money to buy his own place to train fighters.  He has studied multiple fighting disciplines and trains hard.  He likes working at Community Tire because basically I pay him to work out all day long.

Dustin trained the other warehouse worker of mine, Mony, who I watched fight last night.  Mony was really worried about what if he got hit here or there during the fight.  Dustin calmed Mony down by explaining that the guy he was prepared to fight was not going to hurt him anywhere as much as Dustin had hitting him over the last few weeks in training.  Mony beat his opponent, 19 seconds into the first round.

Training tip:  Train with somebody a lot better than yourself and get used to being hit by somebody who is much more dangerous than you are.  If you live you should be prepared for the fight.

I still don't understand the reasoning behind this phenomenon.  As a writer I am intrigued by the draw of the sport, the reasoning and thinking or lack of thinking involved with getting people to volunteer for activities such as this.

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