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!

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Reviews of IN HER NAME: EMPIRE and THE SAVANNAH PROJECT

It has been a very busy week, and it’s only Monday.  The more Carolynn and I learn about social media, the more time it takes.    This should change as the learning curve flattens and we start to really know what we’re doing.  Hopefully, we have put our time to good use.  We made several updates to the pages of my blog and updated the website, Village Drummer Fiction.  Navigating these sites should be easier.  We are open to feedback.  Let us know how we can improve our sites.

The author community on Twitter and in the world of blogging has been amazingly generous with their help.  I am gradually updating links to include the many wonderful people who are helping so many of us.  This list is not all inclusive and more will be added in upcoming blogs.

Blogging and Twittering has introduced me to a lot of talented authors.  My TBR (to be read) list has grown immensely.  Fortunately my wife also loves to read and is helping with reviews.   I recently read IN HER NAME: EMPIRE by Michael R. Hicks and Carolynn read THE SAVANNAH PROJECT by Chuck Garrett.  Following are the reviews we posted on Amazon.

* * *

5.0 out of 5 stars “In Her Name: Empire” is a Winner Read, February 12, 2012
By
Richard Alan “Village Drummer Fiction” (Seattle, USA)

Science fiction is not my favorite genre, but I read a few pages of “In Her Name: Empire” and decided to download Michael Hick’s first installment in his series. If all science fiction were as well written, I would read a lot more of it. The story of Reza Gard, a human who ends up being captured by Kreelan warriors, captured my attention from the first page and did not let go until the end. Mr. Hick’s writing provided such graphic and realistic descriptions and characters, I wanted to visit other worlds and know the characters. I could almost believe the Kreelans were real. The book transported me to the Kreelan empire and surrounded me with the spirit of the Way. Reza’s transformation to his belief in the Empress and the Way was developed with patience and thoughtfulness. Although adopting the Kreelans culture and beliefs, he never forgets his own humanity. While the story is violent at times, it is not gratuitous violence. All of the actions seemed real and appropriate for the scenes.

Michael Hicks has written an extraordinary novel that deserves to be a best-seller. I am looking forward to reading all of the books in the series.

* * *

5.0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Thriller, February 2, 2012
By
Carolynn

I enjoyed every minute of reading THE SAVANNAH PROJECT by Chuck Barrett. The prologue immediately sucked me in and I did not want to put it down. Jake Pendelton, an NTSB investigator gets pulled into an international conspiracy of assassinations, terrorism, IRA vendettas, and non-stop action. The story was fast passed, well crafted, and entertaining. During a lengthy cat and mouse chase scene in Savannah, GA, I found myself feeling winded. Barrett’s descriptions, characters, and plot kept me engaged throughout the 631 page thriller. I read it in two days. I can’t wait to read THE TOYMAKER, Barrett’s subsequent novel. Keep those thrillers coming.

***

I never realized how important book reviews are until I published my two books.  From now on Carolynn and I will be writing a review on every book we read.  I encourage all of you to do the same.

It is nearly 3am and I now have over 4000 tweets in queue.  When I wake up sometime later today I will scan what I can.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a happy Valentine’s Day; especially to my partner, my soul-mate, my wife, Carolynn.  I could not do this without her assistance, support and love.

Happy Reading!

Richard

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