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Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Apologize to Nicholas Sparks

Sometime back in previous posts I did one where I explained Why I hate Nicholas Sparks, and later (In another post) I explained how I was bitching about a particularly harsh review I had gotten on one of my books, when my wife and her friend both insisted I should toughen up and take it. They stated that I could dish it out but could not take when it was dished out to me. It was pointed out about my other post concerning Mr. Sparks, where I might have hurt his feelings by what I had posted. Since then I have been putting it off until a day when I couldn’t come up with something to post about.

Today is the day.

I am so caught up with working on the sequel to “Whisper” that I just couldn’t think of anything worthy of posting or writing about other than getting back to my work at hand. So for lack of anything better to post, I will finally and formally apologize to Mr. Nicholas Sparks.

Mr. Sparks,

As I have stated numerous times before, I personally feel you are a gifted and talented writer. I can only hope to aspire to your level of greatness at some point much later in my career. If at any point in my posting on my blog, any of the things I have said about you have in anyway hurt your feelings, I Apologize! I hope you will accept my apology and I would be sincerely grateful to someday make your acquaintance and maybe be friends in a professional manner as we both seem to share the same passion in regards to writing.

This doesn’t mean I have in anyway changed my opinion about the rat assed horrible way in which you end most all of your books by being as terribly mean and inhumane as to rip your readers’ hearts out. I understand in real life sad and depressing things happen to real people every day. I also understand one of the big reasons people read is to have an escape from this world in order to live vicariously through an author’s characters in a fictional story. There must be a market for people who enjoy having their hearts strings ripped and shredded, but it just isn’t my cup of tea or what I enjoy in a book.

It’s not the killing that gets to me, because James Rollins and James Patterson kill people by the truck load in their books and I love every second of reading them.

So I apologized, over, done, we can all move on. If anybody is interested, it didn’t make me feel better in anyway. I still get upset when I read the review of my book and I still hate reading Nicholas Sparks’ books! I do say he has to be a great writer to invoke so much emotion from his readers towards the characters of his otherwise excellent books.

Back to work everybody.
Somewhere this is somebody wondering what they should read next.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Covers for my Books

Recently both of my published books have gotten new covers!
No Rules Of Engagement
Which was published last August 2011, now looks like this.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other formats.













Whisper
Which was my first novel was published in January 2011, now looks like this.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other formats.

The old cover designs still show on Barnes & Noble site until their system updates with the next edition of Smashwords Premium Catalog!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Rant on Games

One of the things authors do is watch people. We pay attention to everything even if we seem to be not paying attention at all. We even eavesdrop on others conversations. Were the cats of the people world, curious about everything and always vigilant and hunting the next story or idea for a blog.

Today I over heard two people complaining about one of these new game systems where you don’t even need a controller. You only have to stand in front of your television and simulate performing an activity to control the character and action on the screen in a real time computer game. I heard them explain how this ‘sucked’ and how they have to do it this way for it to work right. I was shocked how one of them explained how he could simulate the movements laying on his couch so he wouldn’t actually have to stand up and move his body to play the game.

Seriously! I have the capacity to play the perfect straight man and not crack a smile, not even a smirk in the funniest of situations. I had to walk away before before I burst out laughing from their descriptions or broke down and commented on how monumentally lazy do you have to be to lay on a couch to play a game designed to be played standing still in front of your television. It is not like Wii golf you actually have to carry your own golf clubs for eighteen holes. Or even if you rented a golf cart there is tons of walking in golf. One of the guys was talking about an Archery Game where instead of releasing the arrow up by his shoulder he had to simulate an 80’s swinging arm motion and like playing an air guitar to get the arrow to release.

First off there was no such thing as computer games when I was a child. The first computer game we ever played was PONG! A dial, two moving dashes and a square that moved around the board. We spent hours playing it when it first came out. These guys were discussing this sucked and that is no good. Anybody remember those little paddles with the cheapest form of a rubber band stapled to the the paddle and a small bouncing ball? That game sucked!

I truly love the fact my two young boys like playing with toys and love going outside to play. One of them is nuts about dressing up and imagining he is different characters as he runs around the back yard having great adventures. My other son could play all afternoon with a ball, it doesn’t matter what kind. My twenty-one year daughter just recently bought a chess board and brought it over and left it here so we could play whenever she visits. Chess! She remembered from all the times we played when we were younger. She still wants to play chess.

I am amazed each time I see the newest technology and the games people are playing. For myself I will chase my boys playing the bad guy, throw and catch the ball for hours and sometimes while chasing my other son. Eventually I will teach them the wonders and majesty of the game of chess. We play the hand slap game. Not to inflict pain or be cruel, but to build up fast and accurate hands. My boys play with nerf pistols. It builds their muscles up cocking them each time they want to fire it. I also got them each a nerf sword as we are Scottish and sword play is in our blood. I should have thought that one out and bought the shields first, the swords later.

I can’t help but wonder how much better off our children would be if we unplugged the video games and gave them some balls, dolls, costumes,swords and guns. Of course I come from the old school where there was winners and losers, and if you didn’t like losing then learn to play better. When you lost it did build character! Some of the most influential people I remember were the better athletes who helped the other kids learn how to do the things in gym class, cheered them on and played with those that others didn’t want to. That taught me leadership skills.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Optimize your website!

Is your website optimized? The way to find out is to go to Google Maps and call up your website. If in the top right hand corner after the name of the website there are question marks, then this site has not been verified yet. Somewhere on this page is place to submit for authorization. Once you do that Google will call you with a recorded message. You have to follow the directions from the message. Once your site is verified Google will send you a pin number. With that pin number return to this site within Google Maps and you can optimize your website.

The first step in optimizing your website is to make sure your URL is correct in every spot on this page. You can set five or six different categories on this page for your website. You can insert photos and check your reviews here.

Unfortunately you cannot delete bad reviews, but you can try to contact whomever left the bad review and rectify the situation and the person who placed the bad review can remove it!
Otherwise you have to just deal with it. The more reviews you get it pushes the older ones down. Then again Google has tools where potential customers can input (Show me all the one star reviews.) Then Google will display those. Deal with the Bad reviews when they arise.

For authors of books just ignore them!

A particular political columnist wrote a historical book which was not connected with his political column in anyway. His political opponents organized and started blasting his book with horrible reviews from the first day it was published without even reading it. The organized approach back fired because with such mass exposure coming out of the gates moved it up on the lists and attracted attention. Real readers were not going to accept all these bad reviews and started buying the book to judge for themselves, figuring something was there to attract so much attention. Those who actually read the book fought back with their true opinions on the book.

The overall result was a massive push of free publicity and pushing the book up on the SEO scales and making it top the good and bad lists. All the extra attention and resulting good sales caught the attention of Amazon who in turn offered the author a re-release book deal with their traditional publishing company.

Even with my books I’ve had several people miss construe that my second novel was a Young Adult book, and were shocked and stunned. Consequently they gave it horrible reviews. There is nothing I can do that is going to rectify their opinions of my book. I can’t contact them and say it was their own miss guided preconception of the book that gave them the wrong impression! Offering them a deal on another book from an author they feel is horrible is not going to smooth anything over. Let it go and forget it.

The other area I have had problems with is the people who are speed readers or skimmers trying to get through as many books as they can in the shortest amount of time as possible. They review the book and make statements about things that never even happened in the books! One person mentioned when so and so got their finger cut off it was excessive and horrible. Nobody in the book got their finger cut off! Somebody broke somebodies finger on purpose, which is bad and shocking, but they didn’t cut if off. The person who reviewed that book reviewed it within forty-eight hours of downloading the book. A book with one hundred and twenty-six thousand words roughly divided by forty-eight hours means you would have to read 2,625 words every hour for forty eight hours. I’m not saying it is impossible, but how does somebody enjoy and thoroughly comprehend a book when you read it that fast?

Long story short if you’re an author and get a bad review, let it go, move on, and keep writing. Somebody is going to get it, going to love it, and write a great review.

Back to SEO!

SEO software looks at how long your domain has been around, the volume of traffic, and the other domains connected with your site. Make sure your URL is the same on all of your domains.

The more places your URL is listed the more it moves it up in the Search Engine listings.

Make sure you put your URL on your signature for your e-mails. That way your putting you URL out there every time you send an E-mail.

Use Google alerts to notify you when your site is mentioned, or what might be being said on the web about you or your site. These can be filtered and notifications arranged to your preference.

Use Google tools to see who is searching for what.

Blogs

You can have a blog and connect it to your website! Google will look at the blog and website traffic together when they are connected which will contribute to it moving up in the ratings for Search Engine Optimization.

Mobile devices

Realize your site may be viewed on a computer or mobile device and the two will not look the same. Check and see what your site looks like on a mobile device. You may need to have a mobile Website Design made and when a person is on a mobile device have it directed to that site instead of the computer version.

This is the end of what I learned from the class on Website site design and SEO. It was focused to show the group the importance of a properly designed website, what you can do with a website, and to solicit business in designing peoples websites.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gimme Three Steps towards the Door

As in the Lynyrd Skynyrd Song, except you need three clicks within nine seconds.

From the time someone lands on your website how long do have to catch their attention?

Three minutes? Two? One? Or only seconds?

Research shows you have three to five seconds to catch that person’s interest before they click away to the next site. That means something has to catch or hook them in mere seconds of viewing your site or they are gone. You need to show them what they are looking for fast and efficiently. People are looking for something particular, a particular book, a savings, or a discount. Maybe they are looking for Author Information? Maybe they are interested in your book? Maybe they are looking to see if they would be interested in your book?

One of the things Wed Designers look at is where do people look when they land on a web site? Some of them have equipment that actually maps where people’s eyes move to one various sites as they view them to determine what works and what doesn’t. When you are having a person design a site for you, you might have people look at the sight for three seconds and then turn it off. Ask them what they saw? What do they remember from three seconds of viewing?

The newest area that web designers are moving into is sites being interactive with the web surfer. If in that three seconds you can entice the person to interact, click a button on your site that shows them something else, takes them to another page but still on your site, you can hold them there past that initial three to five seconds. The trick is to entice them to what they want and where you want them to go within three clicks and all on your site.

As an author that translates into I want a website that that is attractive and possibly reflects my personality or the theme of my books or a series of my books.

My first choice would be to entice the visitor to purchase one of my books!

My second choice would be to entice the visitor to download a sample of one of my books for FREE to see if they like it.

Then other options on the site would be to interact with the visitor, provide updates about upcoming projects or books, book signings, and maybe appearances at Writing Conferences. To share Bio information about myself as the author of the books and to show and display past books or other series the visitor may not be aware of. Create ways for the visitor to interact, make selections and move around within your site. Maybe a button to add your site to their favorites, links to other sites you may have, or to your blog, widgets to allow them to connect to you on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or Google +.

The middle section of your website is the prime real estate and where most people initially focus. If the text is too small and it looks like you just opened a page of a complicated text book you will lose the visitor. If it is too crowded, too loud, too flashy, and the first impression reminds of standing in front of an arcade game you may lose the visitor.

In this case LESS is really more. You need attractive and inviting colors of text and graphics, easy to make an initial choice very quickly, that’s your hook on the website. Keep them there and show them you have what they want. Three click or less and entice them to make that first click on your site within three seconds of viewing it!

This is part of an ongoing mini-series of posts on Web Design and SEO.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Website Design and SEO Class

Last night I attended a class on Website Design and SEO.

For the un initiated SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

I was under the impression the class was going to tell you about how to design a Website, but that goes right back to my not being very bright at times. It was geared to aspects of designing a website. How you want your website to look? What do you want it to do? What do you want it to do for you? Plus a lot of information about Search Engines, how you can optimize them to make sure it is doing what you want. If it is not then you have to adjust it, optimize it, change it, to get the results you want.

I think I am pretty confident that anybody who has a website, their goal is to turn web surfers into Internet Customers.

50% of mobile device searches turn into sales. 90% of mobile user’s searches will result in some sort of action within 24 hours.

A mobile device would be anything device you can search on the web with that isn’t a laptop or desk top computer. Pads, certain e-readers, and CELL PHONES!

I wish I would have written down the statistics of Internet Surfing that were presented for Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy. When they started the presentation off they said in a moment we will tell you why we are focusing on Asian and European Statistics. I should have been taking notes.

Research shows that the United States actually follows the trends of Japan and European countries. So those who are in the know about Search Engine Optimization study those countries to get a glimpse of what will be happening here in the near future.

The Class focused on Google as a search engine because currently Google holds 80% of the search engine traffic.

A search engine is any program that has a search bar for you to put input into so it can then go out on the web and bring back potential sites of interest based off the criteria you gave it.

The input you put in a search bar on a search engine is called Search Terms.
These are important!

On the front side Search Terms are input by regular people looking for something and in today’s society you want it now! So a search engine to be effective has to be able to search in an organized fashion and bring to you all the information which will be most pertinent to you. It obviously can’t search everywhere or else you’re stuck watching the hour glass thingy or the swirly thing on your phone cussing out your device, your service, the search engine or all three.

So the search engines have to devise ways of narrowing their search to get you the most pertinent information as quickly as possible based of the search terms you provided. Not all search engines are equally up to the task. They use parameters to narrow the search and find results as quickly as possible. Google which has the biggest share of the job than anyone for the moment restructures these parameters, optimizes them, focuses them, and updates the software about every quarter. So the process is ever changing, dynamic and extremely fast!

The factors used to weed through the multitude of possible sites are enormous. It uses these factors to pull and compile a list of possible sites for your search. Google actually pays attention to the things you look for, where you are at when you are looking, what you are currently looking for, sites you regularly visit, and then predicts the sites you may search for and want to see in the future. This means the searches are localized specialized to your interests, your regular trends, while also paying attention to what your search terms are for what you’re looking for.
This is all pretty amazing when you think about it. This is a hell of an improvement from running to the library, thumbing through a phonebook, and asking around to those people you know.

The class went over a lot more stuff which I will be sharing in subsequent posts, so be sure to stay tuned. Stay tuned – that really shows my age doesn’t it.

I could have done one really big post explaining everything I learned but I will get more mileage out of the information by doing it in pieces and I have to get back to writing. Deadlines you know. I find I work better under pressure and a deadline that makes you do a double take and wonder if you can make it is good starting pressure. Plus I may be getting some help with info and research related to this series of posts.

Get back to writing, have a great day. There is no TGIF for writers! Sharpen the pencil and get back to work. If it is still in your eye, pull it out, slap a bandage over the hole, sharpen the bloody pencil and get back to work. – That’s for those who have been following along for a while.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fiction and Questions

I love the point in a book when it steps over the point of reality. Something happened that isn’t right. Our wonderful brains except this new reality because it is a story, its fiction, it isn’t real. Immediately upon the step from what our brain understands as reality, we know it isn’t real, we accept that fact, but our brains kick into overdrive asking questions. We read more carefully now looking for clues to figure out what just happened.

The questions are the true key to the intrigue. The writer should anticipate the questions the reader is going to have. You don’t necessarily have to answer the questions immediately. In most situations it is best to keep giving the reader clues so they may endeavor to figure it out on their own. Then obviously you want to answer the questions before the book ends and hopefully surprise the reader with the way it all works out or doesn’t work out. If it is a sequel you may leave a few things hanging with the anticipation that the sequel will answer those questions. I know some writers that end their books abruptly with a major cliffhanger and leave you dangling for months waiting for the next book to come out in the series.

So today’s tidbit of writing advice is to make the step from reality very polished, slightly plausible, or way off the reservation entirely. This is the magic point that sets the hook into your reader. Anticipate the questions they may ask in trying to figure out what is going on. Your story should build around the step from reality skirting the questions.

Most people will have to lay a book down at some point before they finish it. We want to create vivid, probing questions that mess with the readers mind while they are away from the book, so they can’t wait until they get back and read some more. This is part of the craft of writing.

They say show, don’t tell, and in what you show the reader, many times it is what you’re not showing them that is the most intriguing part of the read. Don’t make it lappy. Don’t dumb it up. Write for intelligent readers. Those who read are usually more intelligent and knowledgeable than most other people who don’t read anything. Let the reader figure it out, or surprise them because it wasn’t what they thought it was going to be. These are the aspects of the books we really enjoy. Oh, and don’t be predictable, it will ruin a loyal following.

May God Bless You and Keep writing. Mr. Sparks, we may get there someday.

I have the Website design and SEO class tonight.

I hope it is good and provides me with good stuff to blog about for all next week. If not I hear they are going to have meatballs!! Goody!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Conniption Fit

I grew up hearing about these from my parents.

“Don’t throw a conniption fit!”

“You don’t want me having a conniption fit and whoppin your butt!”

I am of the age that my parents were Baby Boomers, that group of children born during World War II. The group that got the distinction of living their teenage years in the Golden Nostalgic 1950’s and early 60’s. The Golden Age of Rock and Roll.

Today’s Dictionary Word from Dictionary dot com, is conniption!

conniption \kuh-NIP-shuhn\, noun:
A fit of hysterical excitement or anger.

Conniption is actually an invented word. It first appeared in America in 1833 and may be related to the word corruption which was use in the sense of "anger" in the early 1800s.

What makes this word so special to do blog post on it?

I am glad you asked!

It ties together the concept I mentioned in an earlier post about asking questions about the things you run across in everyday life. It deals with English, the supply and tools we writers use to craft our stories together with, and even though I may spin a fair tale, I struggle with English. Let me rephrase that. I have trouble using English correctly through my ignorance of the rules accorded to what is considered proper usage.

Read the definition above again.

“IS ACTUALLY AN INVENTED WORD.” Seriously ????
Aren’t all words, invented words? Somebody somewhere in our past had to have made the word up and described it’s meaning to somebody else.
I’ve read the Bible and it doesn’t say anywhere in Genesis that God created the Dictionary. Man created, invented, made up every word of every language.

Somebody later who was more OCD than me decided we needed them written down into a book. A groups of people who were so full of it and themselves decided what was correct and proper and how to judge good from bad. Then this was assembled in other books and taught in school. While many people throughout history and even today get the benefit of a full spectrum well-rounded education, but most people of the world do not. Most of the people doing the writing and reading don’t have a college education. Through time we have adjusted the rules to include what is widely used and accepted into the rule system. So just after 1833 the use of conniption may have been considered slang, uncouth, and not proper English, it is in the dictionary today and most people have heard the word and know what it implies.

Frankly I don’t think before today I have ever used the word in writing.
It catches me as humorous, that many of the Great Writers were not considered Great at the time of their works being published but years later were read and accepted as Classic or Great Authors! Could it be that the authors were like myself and could tell a good tale but their English skills were not up to snuff for those that grade works on aspects of English at that time; but when enough bad English becomes good English over time the way the work is viewed changes as does our vocabulary. Hell, I may be a classic author someday when the language degrades to the point my writing is a shining example of literary work.

With the state of Education in Kansas City, which at the end of 2011, lost its accreditation as a public school system, my work may make Masterpiece Status in my lifetime!

I joke about English, but I do take the errors in my books seriously and plan to have them re-edited at the earliest opportunity. I don’t have the skills myself at this point to determine what is correct and what is not. I am studying English and learning more every day, so that by the time I hit the million word mark my work will be Great. Not good, not just acceptable, but Great and will do the Great stories I have in store for my readers the justice they rightly deserve. As writers part of honing our skills and polishing our craft is providing the best work we can to our readers. Unfortunately for my readers and followers what you’re reading is my best, but I am getting professional help, and being schooled. I hope the stories make up for the English deficiencies.

In fifty years the way they are they will seem much better! I crack myself up sometimes!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

“What’s a Rounder?” Curiosity and Writing

The old saying says it killed the cat, but I believe besides being a voracious reader curiosity is part of what makes a great writer.

As a writer you not only have to be curious about the little things you see and don’t understand, but the myriad of things you don’t have the answers for. You must be curious about people. Why do they do the things they do? What extra ordinary things do people actually do? What things people do when they think nobody is watching or paying attention?

I find I am constantly asking questions about things. Mostly to myself, jotting them down on notes to investigate and find the answers when I have time. Sometimes asking other people if they know why this is that way? Why does that happen? I wonder how they built that? I wonder why they went to so much trouble to build that in that particular way? A lot of times I am very surprised by my answers.

I mentioned in previous blog posts about how I am signed up at Dictionary dot com and they e-mail me a new word every day for me to try and learn. I don’t commit them all to memory as I get busy like everybody else. I do copy and paste them into a list of vocabulary words to study at another time. I do read through the word and definition and know I have the word saved in case I remember the word and want to look it back up in my list. Even with that occasionally you here a term that is unfamiliar to you.

At my book club the term came up “A rounder.” I had never heard that term. Some of the ladies said it was used by their parents or Grandparents in reference to a woman who “gets around”, or “plays the field”, she would be known as a rounder in the not so distant past. I hadn’t heard that one before. Please understand the comment was made about a fictional character in a book we were reviewing and not in any form of gossip about real people. We are a very respectable book club that wouldn’t behave in such a fashion as to gossip.

I only mention it because I had to ask, “What’s a rounder?”

It’s that incessant curiosity and collecting the mass of what my wife refers to as a wealth of useless knowledge, that when sprinkled with a boring life, mixed with an overactive imagination and you have the makings of an aspiring author. Through the coming months I would like to be able to show and explain aspects and pieces of Story Telling, which is the taking of this useless knowledge from books, movies, television and the radio and spinning it into a plausible tale that is intriguing enough to draw you into and compel you to finish reading it even if you aren’t totaling enjoying the experience. I recently read a book that was solidly depressing. Not heart wrenching, tearing your heart out of your chest depressing like Nicholas Sparks incredibly talented and well written books are, just mildly depressing and sad. Yet the story had that slight strangeness, that something was just slightly off normal that you had to finish the book to find out what in the hell was going on. In turn inadvertently the book sticks with you, because you put it down and picked it back up again repeatedly to force yourself to finish it.

This book broke about every rule in the book, from proper English Style, to writing a book that was disturbing, depressing, sad and dysfunctional on such a level your natural reaction was to put it down, but if you don’t finish it you will not find out what happens. I thought it was an incredibly insightful and enlightened way to write a book. As an aspiring author who hasn’t built his following and is hoping to build a league of addicted adventure junkies, who like military themes, criminals running amuck and enjoy reading my work, I will try to continue writing the hang onto the edge of your seat adventures you can’t put down. It was a very brave book for an author on several accounts. I don’t think there was a single Quotation mark in the entire book! Seriously! Yes, there was dialogue, lots of it!

Leave a comment if you want to know what the book was, or if you think you know what it was!
Until next time. Have a great day, write bunches. Oh, Hell! Slammed Sparks again, and still no apology. If I do happen to run into him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t just punch me in the mouth.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cycles, Balance, and Time Changes

Men and woman both have cycles that affect us on different levels at different times. The problem with these cycles is they don’t always affect us the same way every time, or in the same predicable periods, and the owners manual was lost just around the time our ancestors were evicted from the Garden of Eden. From lunar, menstrual, seasonal, temperature, social, and the very essence of life cycles act upon us and ease and force changes on our system, perceptions, ability to function in our lives. It changes our lives whether we want it to or not. Sometimes these changes are subliminal, or so subtle we don’t even notice them adjusting bits and pieces of our lives. Sometimes it is the drip of water seeping through a crack in a dam that changes as the dam gives way.

Through the holiday’s and into the new year I was zooming along blogging, writing, working, living, all the things I normally do, totally unaware. Then I became aware of things shifting. I couldn’t put my finger on what was changing, what was different, of the pieces of the dam falling away. I noticed my writing slowing down. The ideas, the drive, still working, but just not getting the results I had been. My blogging was still going but I felt I was having to work at it, almost force it. I took a day off work to go to my doctor, just to get some thing checked out, nothing serious. I also scheduled a optometrist appointment to get a new prescription for new contacts. More of the dam falling away.

Then the time change. I understand the reason for daylight savings time, but after forty-five years I still haven’t gotten used to getting up an hour earlier in the spring time. My work schedule for writing requires I stay up until midnight or later writing and working on my stories for future books. My day job pays my bills and provides for my family and therefore has to be protected first and foremost. So to get up an hour earlier means going to bed earlier so I don’t over sleep and get to work late for my day job. This was also working to slow and change my routine, and re-adjust the cycles that act on my life that I am aware and unaware of. The Dam broke and the lake emptied.

My life’s pendulum has swung back to full balance, the cycles have reset aspects of my system, and the time change has forced me to get more rest.

All of a sudden I have a renewed energy, a flood of new ideas, reading more, writing more, and actually slowing down and smelling the roses along way. I can’t wait for the fruits of this year to ripen, the stories published, new stories started, new series begun, and great new vistas to spread out before my reading fans. The seeds are being sown now which will take weeks, months and years to come to fulfillment. I know this post seems very sketchy and flighty. Some will never understand what I am talking about, but for those who can read between the lines and make the connections, understand the subtle changes in their lives just may get it. If you’re making the right choices, the required steps to better yourself, refine your craft, as well as yourself the changes will be positive, will compound your interest in your talents, work, and efforts.

Focus your efforts on what you are doing at every moment of everyday, to be the best you can be at everything you are doing. Don’t do a half ass job at any part of your life. Plan ahead, be flexible, embrace change, trust your instincts, accept help, help others and be yourself. Be the best you that you can be, unique, individual, and true to yourself.

May God Bless you and all you do. Keep writing.
Internet Website Design and SEO Class is this Thursday. I am very excited about sharing what I learn with my followers and readers after this Thursday – Stay Tuned!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What defines EPIC!

The Godfather turns 40.

Epic generally refers to a long poetic composition, centered upon a hero, a series of great achievements or events; Homer’s Iliad is an Epic poem.  In one dictionary it actually said of Great size or extent: a crime wave of epic proportions.

40 Years ago today March 15th, 1972, Francis Ford Coppola’s, “The Godfather” opened at theaters.  A three hour epic chronicling the lives of the Corleones, an Italian-American crime family, adapted from the bestselling book of the same name by Mario Puzo.

I feel when a piece is adapted from a book, and not only survives, but is so universally well-known after forty years; it becomes not only epic, but an Iconic Masterpiece.  I grew up with my Scottish father quoting things from the Godfather to me.  Meg Ryan pokes at “What is it about the Godfather, which everybody knows about its references?” in the movie, “You’ve got Mail.”  Tom Hank’s character sums it up in his explanation to her.

Going to the mattresses.

It’s not personal, It’s just business!

The modern day Ti Chi for life and business.  – Which honestly is very accurate but also has a sad undertone for the commentary of the character of our times.

This film after four decades still comes in as one of the best movies of all time, making top ten lists everywhere.  Is the Godfather so great because it was so brutally honest about peoples base intentions, beliefs and the existence of the Mafia, that thing that as a child we would only whisper about.  Every culture has their form of this subculture which has existed through time whether it is whispered about or not.

As an author I often wonder where will our work be in ten, twenty, thirty or forty years from now.  Many authors work didn’t become accepted and generally considered great until sometime after the author’s death.  Some authors spend the entire life in almost complete obscurity.  At what point are we famous, successful, and established authors?  When does a piece of work become Epic?

What I find astounding about the movie, “The Godfather” is that whatever piece you look at, the music, the cinematography, the actors, the writing, the sets, and every piece was a masterpiece, a work of exquisite art in its own right.  All put together it is a mosaic of the plight and rise of the American Gangster and the Mafia legends.

I end with Nicholas Sparks’ apology being postponed again.  I am going to feel really awful if I happen to run into him, and get to meet him face to face before I publicly apologize for my posts about Why I hate Nicholas Sparks.  I do honestly feel he is a gifted and talented writer and would be greatly humbled and star struck to a degree by meeting him or any of the other great authors whose work I admire.  I would love to meet Jack Higgins, James Patterson (with company, frankly some of his writing scares me), Naomi Novik, Conn Iggulden, and mostly James Rollins a personal favorite of mine.  I don’t think I have read a piece of his work I didn’t enjoy immensely.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day, Einstein’s Birthday and Britannica

First off, Happy Pi Day!  3.14.12   the value of Pi = 3.14.

Secondly, as near as anyone can tell today maybe Albert Einstein’s Birthday, because he might have been born on 3.14.1879. 

Did anybody hear about how the Encyclopedia Britannica is going to stop being available in the printed form?

I have a set of these fine books from the early 1990’s.  My wife is constantly on me to throw them out and I staunchly refuse.  I keep saying my children can throw them out when I am dead and gone.  I grew up with using partial used sets of two different series of encyclopedias.  We lived in the country and a trip to the library was over twenty miles.  If we went to town it was for more important things than to look something up or waste time in a library.  My folks did the best they could and bought and stocked our family library as well as they could.

Whether my boys ever actually use the encyclopedias or not, we will have the books for their use and reference in case they need them.  I take pride in just owning a set of these fine books, which is the relative collection of all of man’s knowledge up until the time they were printed.  Britannica has been printed for 244 years meaning it is older than the United States of America.

If God forbid, some tragic disaster happened which would interrupt the normal ebb and flow of our current specialized society and in turn through time the lights went out because the power grids went down, where would we be?  In the United States where most cities still rely on coal burning power plants to provide our electrical power at best they maintain a month to a month and a half of coal for the plants to produce power.  Which means if an event happens globally, some disaster, which upsets the natural order of activities for three to four months the lights will go out?

When the lights go out we will have no computers, once the batteries die the laptops will quit, our phones will die and then shit will go downhill fast.  Just like researching for this post, it is generally assumed that Einstein’s birthday is today.  How do we know for sure?  If we didn’t have computers, where would you go look for the information?  If we lost all the computer records, how would we know anything?  This is a problem mankind is creating for itself in the future.  As we stop teaching cursive writing, what happens in a few generations when somebody wants to actually read the original Declaration of Independence?  They will not be able to because it is written in cursive writing!  When there are no real books, no printing presses, no film for cameras, and the lights go out – We will be catapulted into the dark ages.

Those who can create power, to look up the records, recreate the technology from our past that we outgrew, will be those in power.  Those who know about the old ways of doing things will survive and those who don’t will be forced to deal, work or die.

I came from a generation before cell phones, computers, VCR’s, computer games, microwave ovens.  I can exist without any of these items, I know this, because we did.  My remember hearing about how my grandparents would sit around and listen to the radio for news and entertainment, homework and school studies meant books, pencils and sitting at a table actually working at learning something.  I am not so vain and naive to think nothing could ever happen that would destroy things and change things forever.  I have studied history and the countless times change has come to the world threw a single man or groups ambitious designs and power lusting to control the masses of the world.  Or the times that nature or mother Earth has shivered and coughed and destroyed continents as if mankind were just a flea on a dog.

I love my kindle and the fact that the books I have written are E-books and self-published.  I will never abandon my real books, albeit my library is already diminishing from what it would have been just over the past few years.  The trade off is I carry most of my library with me all the time now, and I read two to three times as much as I used to, using the better technology to its maximum potential.  I will never get rid of my set of Encyclopedia Britannica, EVER!  If and when I get a room dedicated to being my office/study and get to remain home and write full time those encyclopedias will join my collection of books on the book cases which will line the walls of the room.

In order to help me achieve this or just out of curiosity of what I might have written so far besides this collection of blog posts, please check out the following.

Whisper   a guy and a girl, a ship that accidentally travels through time, it’s a love story, so I have been told.






No Rules Of Engagement     NOT A YA BOOK!






Both books available for 99 cents.  Those of you from Europe checking out my blog be the first to purchase a book on Amazon DE, FR, ES, or IT, and leave me comment on this blog as to who you are and where you are from and I will dedicate a blog post to your honor.  Please only buy it if you intend to read it.  They are both Science Fiction and both have to do with time travel.

I am so pleased I figured out something to write a post about, I was so afraid instead of Happy Pi Day it was going to be Apology to Nicholas Sparks Day, but NOT!!!!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

HULK BUTT

I first have to say I am sorry for any and all whom this post may offend.

I have two boys, Hayden who is almost four and Garth who has just turned two.  From time to time the universe conspires against us and no matter what you do; it is going to be wrong.

I have a tree in my front yard which produces countless millions of these little barbed hard balls and manages to spread them all over the yard.  They drive me crazy as I have to pick them up all the time, and as they have been accumulating in the yard over the past several weeks I have wanted to get them picked up.  Sunday it rained all the way through until Monday when I went to work it was wet and cold.  By the time I got off of work it was sunny and seventy-five degrees out, absolutely beautiful.  Driving home with the window down and enjoying the first of the nice weather I had seen all day.  It was approaching 5:30PM when my wife called and asked if I wanted to eat out with the boys.  I said that would be fine if I could just take a couple of minutes and pick up the front yard.  I have no idea what kind of tree it is or what the hard spiny balls are called but I call them “Dingle Berries” for lack of a better term.

So the boys played in the driveway while my wife and I picked up the Dingle Berries.  By the time we were off to dinner it was well past six and the boys had played a lot that day.  So much so they hadn’t gotten a nap which meant their attention span was short; they were border line unruly with the prospect of becoming defiant, intolerant, screaming and crying inconsolable young boys growing with every minute we were out.  We made it through dinner but we had to make one more stop at the grocery store before heading home.  I stayed in the minivan with the boys belted into their seats watching ‘Shrek’ for the millionth and a half time.

I knew the warning signs of their intolerance and bad attitudes which ultimately drives me to intolerance, bad attitude and screaming at them to stop crying, stop hitting, and to generally stop whatever they are doing they shouldn’t be doing.  They began bickering about the movie and the subjects and suggestions of stuff to try were switching as fast the second hand on my watch.  Now keep in mind I was desperate to keep things from escalating into total chaos and screaming, and the world looks completely different to a two and three year boys than it does to adults.

The car parked in front of us was approached by two people and they were loading their groceries into their car.  I normally wouldn’t have said anything or made a derogatory comment of any sort but I was desperate to redirect their attention from each other and forgo the coming storm at least until my wife got back to the van.  It was already their bed time and we were still out, they were done, and we were thirty minutes away from home, pajamas, and them going to bed.  I messed up by commenting on something I should have never even have mentioned.  Something under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even have noticed or paid attention to.

“Hayden, look at how big that woman is.”  It was out.  I knew as soon as the words left my mouth it was wrong, the wrong thing to say, and definitely not something to be pointed out to young impressionable boys.  In my defense she was huge, not that it helps my situation in the slightest.

Hayden looked past the front seats and declared, “Hulk Butt!”

I looked and blasted out laughing.  The way they always draw the Incredible Hulk in a crouch his butt looks enormous and sticking out.  That’s exactly what I saw in the headlights of the van when I looked out there as what he said registered in my mind.  He was absolutely right.  That’s what it looked like.  If my whole world was made up of things relating to Super Heroes, like his is that might have been the first thing I thought of also.  He was wearing a shirt which had Hulk, Green Lantern, Batman, and Ironman on it with shoes that had Hulk, Ironman, Spiderman, and Batman.

I regained control of myself and turned and explained that we shouldn’t say anything like that because if we said that we might hurt their feelings.  That’s when Garth chimed in with chanting “Hulk Butt”, “Hulk Butt” and I lost it again.  Then we were all laughing.  As our fit of hilarity subsided I heard the suggestion of, “Let’s throw the soccer ball in the car!”

I was in the middle of yelling “No!” and explaining why this was not a good idea when Mommy got back to the car.  The couple in the car before us had already left, none the wiser, thank God.

Mom, my wife, had no sooner deposited the groceries in the van and got in before the boys switched back to chanting “Hulk Butt” again.  I was in trouble and the explanation didn’t help the situation in the slightest, not to mention the continued chanting coming from the back seat.

“Hulk Butt”, “Hulk Butt.”  This is one of those instances which gets chocked up to definitely funny but very wrong!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Grotesque and Beautiful


Leonardo Di Vinci, one of the smartest and talented people who ever lived did a study of what he considered Grotesque and Ugly.  This has always fascinated and bothered me.
 
It has facinated me in the fact that such a great mind studied what was considered undesirabe from an asthetic stand point.  It makes sense because as an artist you want to understand what is pleasing to the eye and what is not.   By drawing and studying what is considered grotesque or ugly it may help destinguish what qualities we consider beautiful, gorgeous, and sexy.
 

With all the people on the planet certain people through time have been identified by many flattering comments which range from hot, sexy, beautiful, handsome, and gorgeous.  But what is it about these people that make them describable in these terms while other fall to lower levels to normal to the lowest levels of unattractive, ugly, and grotesque.  Also on how people view other peoples sizes and also label them plus sized, fat or obese, and consider them less attractive for what ever reasons.
 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is up to the person viewing a particular person or picture that makes their own judgments about them.  Not everybody agrees on the attributes of what is attractive and what is not.  So what makes some people so universally considered attractive and others not so much.

As an artist and author I find myself considering aspects of this question and trying to break it down to the elements of desirable and undesirable.
Is it the roles you have seen them play and associate with them in our minds?
If these people were not famous Actors and Actresses would we have the same feelings about them?
 Are their traits and aspects of their looks that actually make them more attractive than other people?

Did they get to be so famous primarily because of the good looks we associate with them? 

I have always found the mark of a great actor or actress is if they can play parts 
that make you love them and other parts which make you hate them.
 


If these people developed aspects of what Leonardo Da Vinci determined was unattractive would we still find them appealing?

I think about this because I have to describe characters that I have made up for my stories.  They need to be believable and have flaws just like real people do but you want your readers to form that connection with the character.  To love or hate them because of the things they do or don't do.
Can people hate attractive people?
Can your characters be bad guys and still drop dead gorgeous? 
I’ve also noticed this flows over to voices which are pleasing to the ears and people respond to listening to as others voices grate on our nerves as much as bad attitudes and personalities.  We know the great voices because they are hired for the voices of commercials because of their appeal to people listening to them.  The primary example of our current age would be Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, Sean Connery, Tom Skerrett, Martin Shean, Casey Kasem, and Regis Philbin.  It begs the question as to why all of these great voices belong to men.

What are your thoughts on what is attractive and what is not.  Does looks play a part in whether you like somebody or not?  Does it matter in a book?  Do very attractive bad guys get liked anyway because they have good looks?  Do the ugly people automatically get pushed down as underdogs because of their looks?
 

The Enterprise

Launched and Christened on September 24, 1960, she was designed to last for 25 years, which would have put her out of service in 1985.  A major overhaul and refit in 1979 and another major overhaul in 1990 significantly extended her service life.  She was in the movie “Top Gun” where she acquired a set of fuzzy dice which I hear she still proudly displays.

Today March 11th 2012 she embarks on her final deployment which will keep her out until December of this year when she will be decommissioned.  Her Motto: “We are Legend; Ready on Arrival; The First, the Finest; Eight Reactors, None Faster.  Her nickname is the Big E.

She has been a Legend, Still is and always will be! 

Sharing the name of the legendary Starship Enterprise which has inspired Science Fiction fans and lovers of Star Trek, The Enterprise in all her forms will always be Legendary.  The Aircraft carrier that has actively survived twice her life span after 51 years will finally be retired and deactivated.  She will never be forgotten and always missed.

So today as you go about your duties say a prayer for the final voyage of a valiant ship which has done so much to represent America, the Navy and defend freedom, and liberty around the planet!
To the crews, past and present, who have served on this fine warship, I salute you!  May Freedom Ring! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Remembering Nathan Birnbaum

Nathan was born in 1896, one of twelve children.  As a child, he sang for pennies on street corners and in saloons.  He dropped out of school to entertain people and make money entertaining anyway he could.  He later changed his name to George Burns.

In 1922 George teamed up with Gracie Allen and performed what was known at the time as a Dumb Dora Show, where George played the straight man to Gracie getting the laughs with her illogical logic.  They both started in Vaudeville, and ended up performing in various radio shows from 1932 to 1950.  They also played themselves in a number of movies before the radio show moved to television.

Gracie Allen died in 1964, at the age of fifty-eight.

Later in 1975, at the age of seventy-nine, George Burn’s career took off again as he won an Oscar for his role in “The Sunshine Boys.”  He went on play God in three movies and won an life time achievement award in 1988.  He wrote two bestselling autobiographical books, “Gracie: A Love Story” and “All My Best Friends.”

On this day in 1996, weeks after celebrating his 100th Birthday, George Burns died.

To live 100 years, and spending so much of that time entertaining people and making them laugh is so unique and special.  To have lived such a grand life and marry your partner in the truest sense, a real true honest love.  Here’s to your memory Nathan Birnbaum, George Burns, and your charming, lovely wife of so many years, Gracie Allen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Read It Again, Daddy.

When I started computer programming in 1980 and home computers were in their infancy, if you wanted graphics you had to use codes to define the pixels that would make up the space of a cursor on the screen.  For Music you had to input all the variables such as frequency, loudness, and how long you wanted each sound to play in decimal equivalents to fractions of a second.  It dawned on me then that essentially music is mathematics.  The sound spectrum runs up and down beyond our range of hearing.  Anywhere along the spectrum it can be expressed as a frequency of the vibration.

Atoms vibrate and have frequencies they resonate at, which means that matter has frequencies it resonates at.  The energy of the atom can go up or down depending up the energy or frequency of that atom.  When the electrons jump from one level to the next they can emit a photon which is light energy.  Light itself is particle and wave energy at the same time and is also made up of frequencies and amplitudes.  So essentially sound, light and matter can all change, move and change frequencies as they interact with other aspects of the same.

Mathematics is the language of science, machines, and measurements and is used to describe and predict the laws that govern the universe and how all the pieces interact with each other in the linear time model we exist in and call life.  I have read lots of books on science both real non-fiction and some that were very fictional.  I understand that the goal of physics is to eventually come up with the grand unification theory that fits together all the known laws and theorems to accurately describe and predict the interaction of all parts of the universe, from the smallest imaginable pieces to the movement and interaction of galaxies and their complimentary parts of the universe as a whole.

I somehow get this feeling that this grand unification theory of everything will be expressed in mathematics, be able to played like music, and displayed with variations of temperature, color, light, matter and antimatter, and multitudes of different forms of energy.  I can’t describe it because I can’t even imagine its shape, images and forms and yet from time to time it feels like the thought or perfect word that your brain has and understands but it is stuck between your brain and your tongue.  Your mouth opens in preparation to utter the word that can’t be spoken.  Your mind dances around the image it knows that all mankind has known since our creation and the spark of life entered our soul and fused with the physical world as we gasped for the first breathe of air in physical lungs.

I imagine it is like the Bible describes the image of God and why Moses couldn’t face it directly and see it all at once because it is just too much, too primal, too all encompassing, it would burst our little underdeveloped minds.  We get glimpse, shadows, and can recognize the resonances of its perfect frequencies, colors, and forms.

The moments we are one with our mates, the perfect love of a child, the sprout that breaks the soil searching for the sun are but glimmers of this greatness.  The crescendo of the perfectly played orchestra, the sound of rain on water, the smell of the sea, the first ray of sunlight to fly across the horizon and touch your eyes are but a shade of its form.  The sheer number of the grains of sand in a desert, leaves that fall, snowflakes that drift down, stars in the universe and the thoughts of people who have lived before us are but aspects of its magnitude.

Sometimes I see these phantoms of God as they flit through my mind and for a brief fraction of a second I see and understand and then it gets lost again so it can save me from seeing, understanding, and knowing.  This grand theory is actually at work controlling everything already as we strive to accurately observe, record it, describe it and understand the very world we inhabit, our bodies, our minds, and our universe.  We still haven’t even identified all the pieces of the puzzle we are attempting to solve, yet we know enough to live our lives within its realms.  Deep inside us all lays the knowledge of all that was, that is and that which will be only we can’t comprehend the vastness, facets and scope within our limited perspective.

I imagine it is like when I finish reading my two year old son a book which he particularly loves and he wants me to read it again.  I can try with all my might to describe the multitude of other books which are on his book shelf, the other books on other shelves in the world, of the books that have been written through all time.  I can explain that I could make up a story and relate it to him as I make it up.  He can’t understand what I am trying to explain to him.

“Read it again, Daddy!”

Frankly that makes me want to pray for a multitude of reasons.

May God Bless and keep on writing!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Interview of J.R. Barker


Thank you for joining us today on my blog and allowing me to interview you.




Tell us about "The adventures of the frog prince."


The adventures of the frog prince is about a young prince who has found himself transformed into a small slimy creature and left to fend for himself in the wilds of a moat.  As he struggles to get to grips with his new form he has to find his way back into the castle and track down the culprit.  The only problem is that he’s annoyed so many people as a human that he struggles to narrow down the list of suspects.  Along the way he makes some unlikely friends and discovers a new side to himself and the people around him.


It’s available as an ebook and is suitable for ages 5+,
you're never to old to read a children’s book.




Where can we get your book?


You can get it from Amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005NWRJ4A


What part of the United Kingdom are you from?


South West England.  Home of sea, sun and rain (usually on the same day.)


Your website says you have other writing projects planned.  Please share some insights into what we might expect in the coming years from you?


I have a few works in the pipeline at the moment.  One is another children’s book, the other is a fantasy novel.  I won’t say too much just yet as I haven’t got all the fine details hammered out in my head and I don’t want to lie to you.


I have many other ideas that skip across genres, (I’m genre greedy) so you can expect an eclectic array of books.


What kinds of videos do you and your partner make?


We make documentaries, corporate videos and YouTube videos.  We film, edit and script it all in house.  My talented other half also does some of the music for us (although the humming at the end of your natural history museum experience is all my musical genius)


YouTube is a recent thing for us, we started doing it to hone our camera skills by experimenting.  It also helps to get a taste of what it’s like in front of the camera so we can learn what can be reasonably expected from what is termed as “the talent”. 

By some happy coincidence this also allows me to write.


There seems to be a huge untapped market for those who know the in's and out's of making videos for creating videos trailers for the multitude of Indie Authors who are entering the market of published books.  Have you considered making video trailers for author's books?


That is an excellent question.  No we hadn’t thought about it is the simple answer.  We were talking about doing a video promo for my book at some stage, but strangely have never thought of branching out to other authors.  We’d be delighted to hear from anyone that wanted a promo of their book.

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

There is no simple answer for this.  The only plausible explanation is the craziness my own head. 
inside
I have been known to borrow from my own dreams hey have given me some wonderful material in the past so I sleep with a pencil and paper by my bed. Of course a lamp helps in these situations too, ion an understanding partner. 
not to ment
I’m also particularly drawn to local legends they can easily light literary furnace in my head.

Sometimes it’s merely a turn of phrase that a whole story can be wrapped around.
There have been moments when I have no idea what I’m about to write, yet my fingers seem to know all the words.
I guess, like many authors, I get inspiration from the world around me, and the things that interest me most.

What is your favorite genre to read?

It used to be sci-fi/fantasy.  I still love to read books about crazy inventors and steampunk, although I haven’t come across very many.
I don’t think I’m genre specific.  I love a good tale no matter what category it’s stuck in.  However, I’m not a romance reader and I have never read a book about vampires or werewolves etc.  That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be interested in it if someone were to insist that a particular tome was worth a go.  It’s just I’ve never found one that appealed to me… yet.  (other than Bram Stoker.)


What are your favorite subjects to write about?

I love to make stuff up.  That to me is the definition of being an author.  But I wasn’t sure that I had a favourite subject until fairly recently.  It turns out that I’m rather partial to writing strong, level headed female characters can handle themselves.  I don’t know what that says about me, but there you go. 
that

How much of you will we find in your writing? 

There is always something of an author in their writing.  However I think the person least likely to see it is the author.  That’s one of the scariest things I found about being an author. 
“What would people make of my work and what does it say about me?”
I’m a very private person by nature, so what am I doing splashing my personal thoughts everywhere?  I’m still not entirely sure that about.
I think the thing is not to worry about it too much and enjoy what you write not what it says about you.  The closer the subject matter is to you the better your work is likely to be, so just let it be and try not to let it worry you about how nuts people might think you are.
What fictional character would be the most like the real you? (What are you really like?)

If I were a fictional character, I would like to be either a Victorian lady and secret steam punk inventor.  Or some mad warrior lady who was handy with a bow and arrow.
I seem to be a bit at odds with myself on that one.
But a character that’s like me… I’m not quite sure if I’ve come across one of those yet, quiet author types don’t tend to get written about very often.

Which fictional character wouldlike to be like if you could?  (Who would you like to be like?)

Granny Weatherwax, one of Terry Pratchett’s creations. She is a no-nonsense witch, with a strong grounding in headology and surprisingly good feet.

Tell us about you, the person behind the author, video maker, and website?

Well I’m a 22 year old female who has the brain of a 30 year old.  I love to read, write, walk and relax. Clubbing is something that other people do.  I prefer the countryside to the city and I have eclectic tastes in most things. I also dabble in drawing, the front cover of my book was designed by yours truly, although I’m generally better at copying things than I am at making them up.
Other than the above I double as a water baby I love to swim and have recently taken up rowing. I have since discovered that rowing is the most unnatural thing you can do on water.
hobbies,

Who has inspired you, teachers, family, friends, other authors, or books that you have read?

There have been particular authors who have inspired me over the years, Terry Pratchett for his humour, Roald Dahl for his imagination and Azimov for his Azimovness.

My other half has helped me a great deal, in fact he’s the reason I published in the first place.  He told me that I was good enough to be published.  Since then he’s been my proof reader, my sounding board and a great help with some of the more technical things, such as dealing with converting files into epubs, converting the art work into the right format, making sure that the book is compatible for all the reading devices available to mankind. *rain aches here*. 
The best part is that he’s not afraid to tell me if something’s not quite right or isn’t working and this is invaluable information for any writer.

Is there anything you would like to share with the world wide web that maybe I didn't touch upon but that you feel passionate about or would just like to share?

Just remember to not be afraid to show someone your work.  If it’s criticised be glad that someone has taken the time to point out things you need to change.  Don’t take it to heart.  They won’t.  Yes it’s very nice to hear that someone likes your work but don’t completely ignore the bad press.  Treat it as what it’s intended to be, an aid to improvement. Your critiques are an extra editor in a way.  There’s always something to improve upon for the next time.
Then there’s the biggie.  Know when to release your work, don’t overwork it or you’ll never let it go.


If we wanted to follow you and your work as you have become a person of interest in our lives, maybe even one of our new favorite authors, how might we keep up with your work and antics?

My website is www.jrbarker.info/  ere you can view my book(s) and link to them on amazon, read interviews with other authors or read my blog.  I also have a page where you can read diary excerpts from the pages of some of the characters in my book.

I also have a goodreads and a facebook page. 

You can see mine and my partners videos on YouTube at the Ian and Jo show.  If you would like a video for you, you can contact us through jo@theianandjoshow.com or at our website
us to make
http://www.theianandjoshow.com/

Where do we follow you at?

You can follow me on twitter: @JRBarker101





 
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