Happy Sunday Publisher’s Edition

Here it is! It was a long journey and a tough one. I am a published author !

It is amazing how many people want their book in print and in their hands!

This is why self publishers need to consider publishing both:  print and eBook versions.

The Demon Chronicles

The Print Book is right here.

The Kindle Book is right here.

I have written the second volume and it is now in editing mode. The series will carry on through seven volumes. In the process of doing this, I learned some things that can help other writers who plan to self publish.

The first tip:  Go ahead and Self Publish.

Not self publishing is the biggest roadblock to self publishing. This sounds stupid, but is  actually very wise.

When a person publishes even a small book of short stories, poems, inspirations or photographs, a huge and exaggerated emotional barrier comes down for good.

The lessons are learned, the self defeat evaporates and the road to more self publishing is wide open!

 

Now I have to work on summarizing my series. This has not been easy!

It begins with three fractured, damaged and reluctant heroes who are dragged deeper and deeper into a world of love, more love, demons, stealth and crimes.

The demons are people who started role playing as demons and then forgot that they were once human. They have gone around the bend and are starting to cause a lot of havoc.

The series begins with the most shocking  murder scene in fiction, makes the reader fall in love with the great characters and hooks the reader on the twisting plots.

What is the scary part? We can’t rationalize this  grown up horror tale away.

While the people in this story are not real demons, the fake demons in this story are  real people.

Those people may live and walk amongst us, and that is enough to keep us awake at night!

Doing a series of novellas is different than putting it all into one book!

The second volume was harder because I had to refresh the reader about Volume I while carrying on with the story and adding in new characters.

Why did my characters come to love each other so much and to love with such a twist? Who are all these new people and why are they together? Did I just read that this one loves that one…and that one too?

I had to keep up with the main themes of love, more love, stealth demons and crimes that started in the first book  and will carry all the way through to the seventh book.

It is important to wrap up or continue all events, developments and characters. It is very easy to start a side story or a new character, then forget all about them! Seven Basque imps? Fallen angels? Yep. If there are demons, then those creatures are likely to be part of the mix too.

It gets important to remember every number, quantity, relationship and action, because the writer can forget exactly how much money, how many crates, why, who did what to whom,  and when who did it!

The FBI agent illegally looted an extra 24 boxes or so of evidence? Another FBI agent runs errand for the mob? Of course it can happen. The delicious task is for the writer to create a good reason why or how it happens.

Readers will not forget those details and they will not miss the mistakes, so neither should the author!

How to build a very  easy website:  This was part of my amateur book marketing and writer’s benefit project, so Here is my example.

I did not want my site to be just for hawking my book, so visitors  will find a couple of great articles on how to do a book cover and how to find a web building site!

I needed a website and kept balking at getting bogged down in such a tough project.

I found out that websites are now  as easy as setting up this blog.  Amazing.

My website is built with jimdo, which is the highest rated, but there are many other website builders. Do shop around and find the best website builder for your needs.

As always, make sure that you are dealing with a reputable site and that you actually need a set of features before you pay for anything!

Happy Sunday! I hope I have inspired at least one person to go ahead, realize that dream and get something copyrighted and published.

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When I Flounce: Part Two

 

I have met my goal of publishing a blog per day for one year. I did this in order to get better as a writer, not to become the next blogging sensation. The world is too overpopulated with self described “writers” who will cut a throat in order to get ahead. The world is populated with those good people who have put their life’s efforts into writing as a career. The world is populated with newly empowered amateurs who have something to say. They are capable of  writing quite well, much to the dismay of the professionals.

Up to a year ago, I have had other things in life to achieve and overcome and I have achieved and overcome them.

I found a lovely site that allowed writing and that had a bit of a society going on. My first writing efforts are like my old paintings: full of weaknesses and technical sins that will make any college or high school teacher cringe. But I never wrote or painted for college or high school teachers. I wrote for people who got the point, who were encouraging and kind, and who insisted that they kept up with my writings and paintings.

I wrote at a place where anyone can write anything that they want to. The big glittering generalities were that “its freeeee!”; “Where else do you get to write?”; “You’re getting an opportunity, exposure and the company of the rest of us who can’t get paid!”

I wrote over 400 articles, or posts. The best of them are here at WordPress. The others were responses to breaking news, local interest, or just good, silly fun with others who needed to blow off some steam. Then I started to write serious articles about science and politics and sociology. I won a couple of contests at another site, which was a big boost. I had the decent views, nice ratings, and excellent support of readers. I read voraciously and supported many a struggling, but good writer who was not getting many views.

But something happened. The atmosphere of my first serious writing site became poisoned with the same internal and organizational dysfunction and corruption that goes on when lots of people congregate in order to meet goals: There were contributors who had multiple accounts, and therefore multiple chances to add to their own and to other’s presence. There were cliques of  writers who insisted that only they were worthy of being dubbed “the best” at the site. The stronger and more prominent “personalities” sucked up the oxygen, either with furious and mean expressions of discontent or with furious and mean spirited attacks aimed at the expressions of discontent. Finally, there was a completely astounding announcement that we could be published at a higher level, with more public exposure (and still without pay).

Wait a minute. We already contributed thousands of pages (and therefore advertising views) without pay of any merit, and now we are pleased to be allowed to contribute along with the paid staff for free? I look at it this way. After a year (or two or five in some cases), folks were going to get discovered or they weren’t. But let us lose the idea of being a stable of unpaid and easily manipulated drones. Somebody has to show up with at least a handful of  brass rings to toss into the roiling crowd.

As with any endeavor where there is competition to be the “best”, or the most popular, there were complaints about the unfairness of the selection process for those goodies. In the case of writing, the most popular or the hand picked got the exposure. These got the views. These helped to build the audience of readers. I had gotten more positive results than most and was happy. Others could not tolerate the situation and left, even though they were much higher on the ladder of success than most of us. They were sorely missed.

But the complaints generated either hostile disregard or hard core retaliation by the machine against the insurrectionists who ranted and raved against the machine. The machine, simply put, had to make enough money to maintain itself.  That is fair enough. Survival meant showcasing whatever it was that got the audience to show up. The “serious” writers were incensed at the shallow treatments of pop culture and cat stories. The “hopeful” writers were incensed at the lack of recognition. Many more of us started to leave just as new people started to arrive.

But suddenly, the insurrectionists who for the longest time could not shut up about the machine became part of the machine. They flipped themselves over into gods of correctness. They were back on the market as newly renovated positivity machines,  badgering and advising the rest of us to get with the program; to see the benefits of writing without pay and without paying. They barked at us to stop whining. They barked at us to go away if we did not like the system which, somehow, had magically managed to finally satisfy their individual needs and wants. But going away was not enough. Some were sneered at for simply leaving, others were jeered at for having to courtesy to say goodbye.

I had managed to miss or to avoid most of the drama and angst, contributing only a handful of rants during my year. Much of the drama and angst must have gone on behind the scenes as the private mail flew back and forth. Whatever it was that caused the flare up that resulted in the weeks of constant hectoring and griping, the atmosphere of the place was fatally poisoned for me.

I asked myself what any of this had to do with getting paid, and several months ago found a site that honestly pays a little per article, has incredibly high standards, and which has caused me to be even more determined and self critical. My writing has gotten better by leaps and bounds without the help of any self described “community of friends”. Instead, I have improved with the help of a community of writers.

Then, it became clear to me. My improvements during the past year did not result from posting at the holy grail of writing sites which had sucked up so much of my time and attention. My improvements certainly cannot be credited to the self appointed writing cops who arrive unannounced to attack the bad grammar and the misspellings of a post. It is not that I rejected the advice of the writing cops; it is that the best ones simply wrote advice columns, which I read. The rest were loudly and aggressively shut away by others, and they never bothered anyone again.

The only problem with those who appoint themselves to attack bad writing or to attack amateur writers, lies in their inability to adjust their tone and their references. Some of them fail to understand that there is a teacher’s tone and attitude that is not well received at all when the teacher is outside of the classroom and is operating in the real world.

This is a shame, because someone who shares their great understanding of spelling, punctuation and grammar is a priceless advisor to those who simply want to improve their writing. I just like to have it without the emotional drama or remembrances of past teacher trauma. I’ve always said that no one can kill an artist faster than a teacher, and people who get over it in later years in order to try again will be aggressive in rejecting those who are arrogant, discourteous, unfair, discouraging or resentful.

My improvements had been made by me, alone, as I adapted, did more editing, read the advice posts, did enormous amounts of reading, went to another site that has higher standards (and which pays, by the way) and by simply refusing to write without developing into a better writer.

Now I have my two contest wins and my first published (but not paid) article. Officially, it is published at a small site that is just beginning to do something with itself. Personally, it fills the square called being “published” by someone who is not I, and I could not be happier!

As for my flounce, leaving is still up in the air. When the affection, trust and respect is sucked out of a relationship, there is no longer a bond. This is a painful and disturbing process, but it is a necessary part of moving on to more rewarding and productive endeavors in life.  Difficult processes often lead to enlightenment.

There is still a very strong personal and emotional investment in the place. But I realize that when a place is not meeting my personal standards, then it is just fine to let it be. As far as gratitude, there is none. I have contributed several paid subscriptions worth of content that drew plenty of advertising views. We are even, as far as I am concerned.

Who knows? It’s the internet! We don’t have to carry baggage when we move along here. In fact, we do not even have to move on. I will keep checking in to support my favorites. Perhaps the poisonous atmosphere will improve and things will return to better days. But my writing will be done in other places, with a fresh start and with a far more positive viewpoint that is not dragged down by group, individual, or any other problematic behavior.

After my year of writing dangerously, I am glad to have retained a passion for writing the best content that I can do. I am glad to read other writers who grab my mind and my heart and give them both a great shake. I am glad to have never bought into reading miserable stuff simply because I am told that it is the greatest writing of our times.

Some art is merely the greatest hype of our times. I hope not to write to the hype and I have no time to read the hype.  I am well on my way to a second year of writing and reading dangerously.  And if I encourage myself and others to perservere, but to set some healthy personal standards as to their environment, then that is good enough.

The Tatzelwurm: A Summer Spooky Story

I was a lost piece of corporate dreck. My current assignment was to clean up an inventory disaster in Germany, and I had just been told that my company was about to set me adrift.  That’s right, some overweight schlub at headquarters in Chicago was going to cut the ropes while my balloon was floating over a foreign country an ocean away!

My work had been a resounding success, with improvements across the board, and I was already pondering a job offer from a firm which supplied mercenaries to support various adventures in countries where  small, private armies were hired to protect corporate, scientific, and philanthropic expeditions.

I had my passport, a lovely little two story rental house, my car, and a natty little German man who’s only fault was a lifelong affinity for peppermint schnapps that was going to kill him soon.

I was told that the schlub had been taking credit for the improvements that I’d worked so hard to implement, while whining that I was so difficult that he had to work overtime to put out the brush fires that I was setting. The problem with that? I didn’t report to him. He didn’t work anywhere near my department.

This is the insanity of corporations.  My home office detractor was the individual who had caused the inventory disaster in the first place! I had been sent to clean it up after he was recalled to the home offices. I suspected that he must be the illegitimate grandchild of the company founder, because during the three months that I had spent breaking my back and brain to correct things, he had been restored to an even higher position than he’d been in before.  His new position allowed him access to the very people who would determine my fate within the company, and apparently they were listening to him.

My source of information was my very own mole in the home offices. I had saved my mole’s bacon when she had engineered a completely unrelated disaster of her own. I cleaned that mess up before even the rumor mill got wind of it, and she was ever grateful.  As a result, she was instrumental in getting me this golden opportunity to fix a major problem, live in glamorous Europe, and return home a hero.

Yeah, right.

No way was I going to trust any of those lizards at home base to send me overseas without a plan and a bailout. Before I left,  I made the corporation pay me a bonus of three months salary, plus expense money for my move back to the US of A. I paid off my debts, and  put the extra money into a savings account that I could access anywhere. I also put a thousand dollars into advance California lottery tickets, because I never missed my lottos.

My transit to Germany was routine. I was quickly set up with a house, and my car shipped over without incident.  Soon, I was a regular little lady, living in a house and stepping out with a dapper little fellow. When he was still able to step out, that is.

So the news was not as devastating for me as people at home were assuming. I had some good backup plans, enough money to make it home and survive, and the lucrative job offer with the mercenary mart. If I took the mercenary mart job, I would be able to stay in Germany.

But all of this came before my friend, Adelhard, set me up with a unique and unbelievable solution to my, and everyone else’s problems.

German land is insanely well managed. In the region where I lived, there are large areas of forest, punctuated with farmland and dotted with villages and larger towns.  My neighborhood consisted of a village with about 3,000 residents, an adjoining forest, and a riverbed.  As a consequence, some windows of my house overlooked the village, and others looked into a huge, dense forest.  I could merely walk down the street and be in a completely different world within 5 minutes.  Walking for 10 minutes more could result in becoming hopelessly lost, if it weren’t for the well preserved roads and signage which easily directed a wanderer home.

The German forests do double duty as sources of timber and as places for exercise and recreation. They are not places for just walking into and setting up casual camping. There are campgrounds for that. The forests are for regular fresh air walking exercise.  From large, organized events, to simple family and friends strolling, Volksmarching is a big deal in Germany.

So, almost three months into my fascination with everything German, I went for a volksmarch with some co-workers.  I had arrived in mid-March, when the weather was frightful. Now, it was a clear, slightly warm Saturday in early in June. The day was so beautiful that no one could resist a chance to walk indefinitely in the fresh air.

Ten of us headed down a paved road into the vast forest, yakking our outrage at the terrible politics that the company had saddled us with. No one knew about my situation yet, or the outrage would be even worse, and the walk would be ruined.

We turned and proceeded down a logging road which ran past the ruins of an ancient castle.  Soon we were marvelling at the beautiful world that had completely replaced our normal and familiar settings. There was no shortage of commentary about Hansel and Gretel and just about everything we could dredge up about forest based nonsense.

One clown, a recent arrival named Randy, who hailed from some red state started babbling about Robin Hood.

Tarrant told him to “Shut up! Robin Hood was English, for crikey’s sakes.”

Tarrant was an Australian fellow who had been present for the entire inventory debacle and recovery. He had zero patience with idiots.

One of our German co-workers, Adalhard, was a village boy. He was full of information about fairies and demons and gnomes. He cracked us up with long-legged stride, his enthusiam, and his dramatic descriptions of his adventures in the very forest that we were enjoying.

But something told me that Adalhard’s stories had more meaning than he was letting on with his humorous retellings of ancient myths and childhood pranks.

Adalhard is only in his twenties, and has that incredible, clear skinned beauty that young German men and women have, but which fade so quickly.  No way would he have personal memories of the bad times that his parents may have lived on the edges of.  Even his parents would have been children when the Nazis ruled. We avoided going there.

No, his stories were full of meanings which we were supposed to figure out.  And we were supposed to figure them out quickly, judging from his frequent glances at us to see if we were getting some kind of point.

Suddenly, I heard a faint scrabbling noise coming from a dense patch of ferns.  No one else heard the noise, and only I turned to look for the source.  I looked closely and stepped back in shock.

From beneath a huge mass of ferns, a pair of eyes was staring back at me.

They were baleful, malignant eyes.

To be continued…