February is for Lovers *Giveaway* Reminder

roses

*** ONLY ONE DAY LEFT TO ENTER ***

It is early February and everywhere we see hearts, flowers, candy, and valentine cards. This month raises our awareness of our boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, and life partners. As we  all share the love, my gift to you is the opportunity to win copies of my books.  (details below)

I write novels about relationships, love and life in my series called Meant to Be. They are about finding that person who we are meant to be with for the rest of our lives.  Our soul mate, our partner in all things. If I may pick my own classification, my novels’ category is >contemporary fiction/family saga/love/relationships.

GooglePlusCover copy

Meant to Be book 1, The Life of Meyer is told from Meyer’s  point of view. The reader is invited to follow the events that shaped Meyer’s, his family’s, and his friends’ lives. As Meyer tells us, “…no one’s life is just a single strand of thread. On the contrary, each of our lives are a tapestry, woven intricately with the lives of those with whom we share history and destiny. In these pages you will find the strands that  make up  my tapestry, my history, my life – and the  journey that led me to my soul mate.”

Scissors and Paper HeartsMeant to Be  book 2, The Couples is about people who may belong together and how the world around them helps them, or sometimes defeats them in their search for a life partner. It follows the lives of couples, their friends, and their support systems, as they explore their relationships. The Couples continues to follow the lives of people we met in The Life of Meyer in addition to new friends and families, although the book may be read as a stand alone.

Meant to Be book 3, Finding Each Other is a heartfelt continuation of the family saga that began with a young Meyer and his journey to find his  one true love. Mystery and miracles, sacrifice and soul-searching, the ties that bind this group of people to each other are strong. The bond of family is not about blood – it is about taking care of each other. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, cousins,  neighbors and friends – they will all have a part to play in each other’s lives and the lives of total strangers. These incredible families endure and thrive.

heart candyI hope I have whet your appetite for some heartwarming romantic stories. To enter to win copies of my novels CLICK HERE –>  Rafflecopter Giveaway.

Do you have any special plans for Valentine’s day? Does love inspire you to write?

Good luck and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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February is for Lovers *Giveaway*

roses

It is early February and everywhere we see hearts, flowers, candy, and valentine cards. This month raises our awareness of our boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, and life partners. As we  all share the love, my gift to you is the opportunity to win copies of my books.  (details below)

I write novels about relationships, love and life in my series called Meant to Be. They are about finding that person who we are meant to be with for the rest of our lives.  Our soul mate, our partner in all things. If I may pick my own classification, my novels’ category is >contemporary fiction/family saga/love/relationships.

GooglePlusCover copy

Meant to Be book 1, The Life of Meyer is told from Meyer’s  point of view. The reader is invited to follow the events that shaped Meyer’s, his family’s, and his friends’ lives. As Meyer tells us, “…no one’s life is just a single strand of thread. On the contrary, each of our lives are a tapestry, woven intricately with the lives of those with whom we share history and destiny. In these pages you will find the strands that  make up  my tapestry, my history, my life – and the  journey that led me to my soul mate.”

Scissors and Paper HeartsMeant to Be  book 2, The Couples is about people who may belong together and how the world around them helps them, or sometimes defeats them in their search for a life partner. It follows the lives of couples, their friends, and their support systems, as they explore their relationships. The Couples continues to follow the lives of people we met in The Life of Meyer in addition to new friends and families, although the book may be read as a stand alone.

Meant to Be book 3, Finding Each Other is a heartfelt continuation of the family saga that began with a young Meyer and his journey to find his  one true love. Mystery and miracles, sacrifice and soul-searching, the ties that bind this group of people to each other are strong. The bond of family is not about blood – it is about taking care of each other. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, cousins,  neighbors and friends – they will all have a part to play in each other’s lives and the lives of total strangers. These incredible families endure and thrive.

 

heart candyI hope I have whet your appetite for some heartwarming romantic stories. To enter to win copies of my novels CLICK HERE –>  Rafflecopter Giveaway.

Do you have any special plans for Valentine’s day? Does love inspire you to write?

Good luck and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Special Give-a-way

Avoid Last Minute Gift Panic

December 21 – 23, 2012

Did you just realize that since the world has not come to an end, there are gifts you need to buy?  Don’t panic.  Here is an easy solution – give the gift of reading.  You can gift all three eBooks for $6, or purchase them individually.  Not bad.

  1 The Life of Meyer, Book 1 in the Meant to Be Series is $0.99 from Kindle from December 21 -23.

2.  The CouplesBook 2 in the Meant to Be Series is FREE from Kindle December 21 – 23.

3.  Finding Each OtherBook 3 in the Meant to Be Series is $4.99 on Kindle.  

~~ Amazon Prime Members may borrow these books at no charge. ~~

Click to purchase Kindle eBooks

Your friends and family will thank you!!!

All of us from Village Drummer Fiction wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year.  We pray 2013 will be a happy, healthy, and prosperous year for all of us.

 

When the Writing Bug Bit

Many people ask me why I started on this new career as an author.  They wonder if I’ve always had the writing bug.  When my boys were young, I used to write short stories for them.  They were always the heroes.  I’m sorry I did not keep those stories as they grew older.  That, however, had not put the writing bug in me.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, Writing Bug, blog
Writing Bug

It all started when I was asked to write an article for a blog (http://memoirsfromnam.blogspot.com/) about my experiences in Vietnam.  I submitted the article and it was published.  The blog owner, a published author, asked how long I had been writing.  I replied that I hadn’t ever been and she replied that I should.  That was about a year and three months ago.  My wife has often told me that I am a great storyteller.  (We’re talking about family history kinds of stories.)  She encouraged me to take some time to try writing a novel.   Since then I have written and published Meant to Be and The Couples.  My third novel in the Meant to Be series, Finding Each Other, is currently being edited and I have over 20,000 words written for my fourth book in the series.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, Writing Bug, blog

There is NO cure!

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, Writing Bug, blog

The only relief is writing!

I may not have always had the writing bug, but now that it has bitten me, I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing.  I love writing.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a fully formed story in my head and spend the next four hours writing it down.  Other times, I will be doing something completely unrelated to my writing and a new character or plotline will fill my imagination.  I then have to stop what I’m doing, open my laptop, and start writing.   I don’t do outlines.  My process includes first developing the characters and then they tell me their stories.  The stories they tell me always provide twists and turns.  I follow them wherever they take me.  Sometimes I am as surprised at the outcome of a relationship as I’m sure my readers will be.  Occasionally a subplot will be very interesting but not fit the main thrust of the book.  I save those for subsequent novels.

Meant to Be introduces the reader to Meyer and Joan, the main characters.   They meet in the library when they are 4 and 5 years old, respectively.   At the time, they had no idea the two of them would be spending a lifetime together.  Their friendship took off slowly due to their age difference.  Joan did not want to bother with someone who was not old enough to be entering kindergarten. They reconnected a few years later when Meyer’s family moved from Iowa to the Seattle area, where Joan’s family had moved the year before.

Joan and Meyer remain friends throughout their high school years until Meyer leaves for Viet Nam and Joan’s family experiences a tragedy that impacts Joan’s view of friends and family.  The interactions of three generations of friends and family help them reconnect so that they can celebrate the good times and get through the difficult and tragic times as loving partners.

I had so many ideas for future characters and storylines, I realized Meant to Be would never come to an end.  It was then I decided to break the book into a series.  The Couples continues the theme of people who may belong together and how the world around them helps, or sometimes defeats them, in their search for a life partner.  It follows the lives of couples, their friends, and their support systems, as they explore their relationships.

Meyer and Joan return in The Couples, along with several other characters from Meant to Be.  New people are introduced who also interact with Meyer, Joan, and others.  Anna and Michael, both of whom are techies, are the main characters.  Michael is emotionally hurting due to the sudden death of his fiancée a few weeks before their wedding.  Anna has to get over her poor self-image and learn to trust her feelings.  The book centers on their ability to help each other and to grow to become a couple.

Richard Alan, Village Drummer Fiction, Writing Bug, blog

Couples

There are several supporting characters.  One of them is suddenly confronted with the opportunity to become the mother of the daughter she gave up for adoption ten years earlier.  Another is a rape victim who is trying to rejoin society as a whole person.  Also there is a teenage boy musician who is trying to get past his unrequited love and finds happiness with a ranch girl. These and several others come together as a community to support each other in finding their life partner.

My hope is that the characters in these books are people that readers will want to know.  You will laugh, cry, and love with them as they seek the partner they are meant to be with for the rest of their lives.

What motivated you to become an author?  When did that writing bug bite?  This is my third major career, but I’m sure it is the last.  I will write for the rest of my life.  How many careers have you had?  Do you expect writing to be the last?

Happy Reading and Writing!

Richard Alan

Write Campaign 11 Question Tag! I’m It!

I am participating in Rachel Harrie’s Fourth Write Platform-Building Campaign.  Fellow campaigner Diane D. Gillette tagged me in an amazingly fun game of 11 Question Tag, so without further delay, here’s my answers to her excellent questions!

The 11 questions Diane had for me:  

1.  Where is your favorite writing spot and why? My home office because it is quiet and I am surrounded by the math and science books I love.

2.  What author/book first made you want to write?  It was not a specific author or book that got me started.   I wrote an article for http://memoirsfromnam.blogspot.com/. The blog owner, @CJHeck60, asked me how long I had been a writer.  I told her I hadn’t and she said I should.   With CJ’s and my wife’s encouragement, I decided to give it a try.  I found I really love writing.
3.  If you could no longer write, what would your creative outlet be?  First I would perform research in mathematical analysis.  Second I would drum.  I am a second generation percussionist and two of my sons were state HS drum line champions.  When our last son moved out we converted his room into a drum room.

4.  Music or silence when you write?  Absolute, positive, and complete silence.

5.  What is your writing goal for 2012?  Publish at least 4 new bestselling novels.

6.  What pushes you out of your writing comfort zone?  I’m always comfortable writing.  Occasionally I might feel the pain one of the characters feels, but I also get to feel their love.

7.  Where do you go when you need to escape for a while?  I start writing mathematical proofs or work on learning a foreign language with Rosetta Stone.

8.  Which series are you eagerly anticipating the newest release for? (If you aren’t addicted to any series right now, then what new book by a favorite author are you waiting for?)  Book 3 in the Meant to Be series, Finding Each Other, is due out early summer.  Full disclosure:  I’m prejudiced.  I’m the author.

9.  What’s your favorite online resource for writers?  There are several great ones.  I can’t narrow it down to one.  I frequently visit:  John Kremer The Book Marketing Network, The Book Designer Practical Advice to Help Self-Publishers Build Better Books, World Lit Cafe Where Readers and Authors Unite, and Jane Friedman’s Writing Advice  Free Advice for Writers

10.  Do you read any literary magazines? If so, which ones?  No.

11.  What’s something that made you smile today?  Seeing my wife and knowing she is my soul-mate.

Now it’s my turn to tag people.  I choose http://thegoldeneaglesblog.blogspot.com/http://caitlin-lane.blogspot.com/,http://www.christinetyler.net/http://nickwilford.blogspot.com/http://sallys-scribbles.blogspot.com/http://cjparmenter.wordpress.com/http://bornbookish.blogspot.com/http://www.donasdays.blogspot.com/http://writer-steps.blogspot.com/http://raeann28.blogspot.com/

My 11 Questions for You:

  1. If you write about characters who love each other, does their love reflect the love you have in your own life?
  2. Would you be able to write in a genre you really dislike?
  3. You are having a dinner party.  What 4 authors (dead or alive) would you invite and what would you serve them?
  4. What about writing do you enjoy that non-authors don’t realize is fun?
  5. If you listen to music, while you write, does the music influence the mood of your story?
  6. Is your writing better in the early morning, afternoon, late evening, or is it always the same?
  7. After someone tells you they enjoyed reading your book, what positive comment would you like to hear about your book?
  8. If you consider writing your passion, and assuming you have the time, how long would your days be and how many days per week would you write?
  9. How many characters in your writing mirror characters in your real life?
  10. When you meet fellow authors, do you inspire them?  If yes, in what way?
  11. Do you find it difficult to end a story or would you prefer to continue writing the current story?

Have fun!  Happy Reading and Writing!

My Three Newbie Mistakes and the Blogs that Helped Me Past Them

I think many of you will relate to my story.  I’m sure I’m not the only new author who has committed the mistakes that I did.  When I decided to write a novel, I only thought about what I needed to do to write a manuscript.  I asked my wife to look into how we could self-publish.  I set a goal of writing four books in one year.  I’ve always been a good story-teller and many people encouraged me to write a book.  Naively I thought:

  1. My great story would translate into a great book on the first draft.  (It took a few drafts to become the great novel it is.)
  2. My wife would only have to fix the typos and spelling errors.
  3. We would be good to go for uploading it to be published.
  4. Our friends and family would buy the book for themselves and for gifts.
  5. Word of mouth would create frenzied buying; soaring my first book onto the bestseller lists.

I did say we were naive.  My first book, Meant to Be, was published by CreateSpace, Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP), and Smashwords in June, 2011.  (Carolynn will tell you how all that went in a future blog.)  I immediately began work on the second book in the “Meant to Be” series, The Couples (published Dec, 2011).  I also was making notes for book three as ideas came to me.  This activity was taking place during the weeks that Carolynn was trying to manipulate Meant to Be into the multiple different formats each publisher required.  By the time the first book was published, the second was completed.  Carolynn went into editing and publishing mode while I wrote book three (Finding Each Other, which will be available late Spring 2012).

Meant to Be and The Couples are beautiful novels about people who are striving to find their soul-mate; their life-partner; the person they are meant to be with the rest of their lives.  We are getting great feedback on both books.  People have told us that the characters are like family; they like them and want to know what is going to happen next.   Although the books are selling, they are not selling as well as we think they should.  We needed to figure out why.

I’m sure most of you have already spotted what our near fatal mistakes were.

  • Error #1 –  We had no marketing plan in place.
  • Error #2 –  Carolynn was the only one who read and edited the first book.
  • Error #3 – We did not sign up for a Twitter account.

I’m not sure which mistake was more egregious.  I can tell you the second error was easiest to correct.  The Couples was read by multiple people who made suggestions and corrections, in addition to Carolynn’s editing.  This will continue to be our standard operating procedure until we are able to afford a professional editor.

Neither of us had any experience  with marketing.  We did create a website and a Facebook page.   After that our search for knowledge began.  Carolynn and I began to read everything we could find online, and in print, about book marketing.  There is a wealth of excellent sources available.  We were amazed at how much helpful information this community shares.  Following are some of our favorites.  I will also update the blog roll with the various blogs we enjoy following.   These are not complete lists.  They are just the ones we seem to reference the most.  I’m sure I have missed a few and will update the blog roll as I find them.  By the way, we now have a marketing plan, a blog, and a Twitter account.

The helpful blog list:

I hope you find these sites helpful.  What other blogs and websites do you like?  Please share in the comments.

Richard Alan

 

Village Drummer Fiction