Tuesday, December 29, 2009

marketing newsletter, classes for 2010!

Is one of your resolutions to better market your books? If so, I have some programs to help. I offer easy but comprehensive online classes on fun but effective marketing tools and have a weekly newsletter that guides you through the marketing process.

Here are the classes I’m offering for January, and info about the newsletter. This is a terrific time to subscribe to the newsletter, as I’ve re-organized the entire 54 weeks into a comprehensive marketing schedule. To register for any of these, please go to http://www.karinafabian.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=24.

The 30-Minute Marketer Newsletter: Marketing can seem a daunting task, but you can make inroads with only 30 minutes a week. But where do you start? While other newsletters give you dozens of wonderful ideas but no direction, The 30-Minute Marketer has organized those ideas and the well-known standards of marketing into a scheduled plan for you to follow. It also tells you how to accomplish these tasks. Don’t get overwhelmed - get organized with The 30-Minute Marketer!

CLASSES: REGISTRATION ENDS JAN 4:

"Virtual Book Tours": Learn how to arrange and conduct your own on-line book tour! We'll cover finding blogs and podcasts, getting the gig, coordinating the stops. You'll come away with a tour for your book. REGISTRATION OPEN. CLASS RUNS JAN 4-FEB 5, 2010.

"Video Book Trailers": Creating your own book trailer video doesn't have to expensive or difficult. With free pictures, free music and Windows Movie Maker, you can make your own in a weekend. This class will take you through the basics. Must have Windows MovieMaker or some movie-making program you are familiar with. REGISTRATION OPEN. CLASS RUNS JAN 4-FEB 5, 2010.

Happy new year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Gots a Netbook!



My wonderful husband bought me a netbook for Christmas. It's small and super light, and just what I wanted.

This past year, I've been on the go a lot. I've gone to conferences and out-of-town signings, plus just running the kidlets around. I've been lugging my laptop everywhere, and despite the durability claims the salesman at Best Buy made, it's definitely shown the wear-and-tear. That's probably why the poor thing is in the shop right now. In addition, my shoulders are just sore from hauling it and a copy of each of my books around. (I never travel without copies to show off in airports, etc.)

So Rob got me an Eee PC Seashell for Christmas. The whole thing is almost as light as a paper notebook, and lighter than the 3-ring-binder I use as an organizer. In fact, I think this thing would fit in one of those big zippered organizers if I were so inclined. However, the keyboard is just right for my hands--in fact, I'm noticing fewer typos on it. The memory and processing is sufficient for my needs, which are writing, e-mail and word processing, with Yahoo IM in the background. It lacks a CD drive, which is weird, but I hardly need that, anyway, except to add programs, and I don't have a lot I want on it, anyway.

I'll be putting it through its paces until I get my laptop back, then taking it on the road. I'll let you know in a couple of months if it's living up to its promise, but right now, I just have to say...

EEEEEEEE! I gots a netbook PCEEEEEEE!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dead computer

My computer bit the dirt this week. The touch pad stopped working, among other things I was ignoring, so I took it to the Geek Squad (it's under warranty.) They said I should get it back in 3 weeks. In figured this is the best time to get it fixed, anyway, as I have the Catholic Writers Conference Online to get ready for in January and Feb.

In the meantime, I'm working off Rob's but also giving myself a break. You'd think this would be the ideal time, adn it is. I'm spending time with the kids, working on Amber's quincenera party stuff (dress and party favors), and reading and daydreaming. However, I'm also itching to write stories on my computer, and the newsletters I was working on are on hold unless I re-create (or get another laptop that I can then hook up to my back-up drive.)

So, My novel's journey and My editing journey are on hold. I'll blog a little about what I'm doing with all this computer-free time. It really is like a kind of technical detox: I have substitutes and withdrawal, find myself going to my empty desk, feel restless like I should be DOING something, and am leraning to focus elsewhere.

Rob's shopping with Amber, so I'm closing now to go check online e-mail and some groups. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Editing Journey: Dialogue in Discovery


I'd said one of the things I needed to do was change Ann's way of speaking. Let's explore that today.

Dialogue is a great way to show your character: their education, their interests, their thought processes. Sometimes, as the character develops in your mind, her way of speaking changes. That happened to Sister Ann. An orphan rescued and raised by the Sisters, she has an unusual background and a mind like a sponge. She can absorb and process technical manuals like a child's game. She does the same for other writings, but philosophy and psychology are harder for her to understand. Her experience with the outside world is limited to living at the convent and rescuing spacers. Her faith is strong and at times, visionary, but she's never thought much about it being unique.

As the ship and its crew get into deeper danger, she is receiving Divine Guidance through the help of prophets and saints. This was such fun to play with, but since I didn’t set her up as a mystic and a little odd, it looks like she's gone mad. Also, I needed her to be more odd to begin with to justify the crew's reaction to her, particularly Dr. Thoren's, who considers her a threat to their mission.

The best way to show this is in her speech (and later in her interior monologues). Here's one of the first conversations she has. She's just quoted Brother Jubal about his life as a hermit on the moon.

Original:

"Yet God called him to go minister to the Drake Lunar station. He left the life he loved and as a result, came to love life more. But could he have done it if he hadn't had that revelation of God's love? Then, there's St. Gillian: she loved the grandeur and beauty of Earth. She grew up on a ranch and used to go riding in the mountains--on an animal!"

"A horse. Lots of people ride horses on earth."

"A horse! Yes! But her husband got injured when the gravity generator he was developing blew up, and could never return to a heavy gravity world, and she came out into space to minister to him. For love, she could do it, but it was love for her husband."

Rita wondered if the change of subject was to ease her own fears; if so, she welcomed it. "But her faith in God and her hope that He would bring something good from her sacrifice gave her the strength to live on L5. And of course, with her help, R Charles perfected his gravity generator."

"Her nagging, you mean!" Ann laughed. "Have you ever read his dairies? They're very funny." Her voice deepened as she quoted, "'I finally just went to work so she wouldn't keep telling me about the martyrs. Martyrs! Torture! A shrew for a wife--that's torture!' She knew he needed to work to take his mind off his pain, and she loved him enough to risk his wrath and make him do what he wouldn't do for himself. Despite his grumbling, he understood that, and he loved her all the more. Human love is a powerful force, too, isn't it?"


See how she's very straightforward in her expression? It also feels too much like telling. I have to admit, the conversation bothered me from the beginning, but only until I knew Ann better did I understand why. Here's the second draft:


"Yet God called him to go minister to the Drake Lunar station. He left the life he loved and as a result, came to love life more. But could he have done it if he hadn't had that revelation of God's love? Then, there's St. Gillian: Nowhere do I feel closer to God than watching the sunrise across the mountains. God made this world to suit us; and us, uniquely suited for it. She rode animals."

"Horses. Lots of people ride horses."

"And shrews ride people."

"What?"

Ann's voice deepened as she mimicked a man's snarl. "'Research! Work! Give your pain to God!' Vaccing shrew rides me like one of her horses. R. Charles Hawkins was very cranky after his accident. He wanted to give up work on the gravity generator and die, and Gillian left earth to be with him full time at L5. I guess it's easier to ride someone in zero g."

Rita had long broken the habit of smacking her own forehead, but times like these brought back the urge. "I think he's speaking figuratively."


This is more "Ann": making some leaps of logic that no one else understands (R. Charles called his wife "shrew" + she rides him = shrews ride people), shows her literal thinking, and isn't as straightforward as the first conversation. It's also 100 words shorter, an advantage.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Catholic Writers Conference Online Provides Practical Help


This is a press release I invite you to share with others. Folks can contact me for more information.

Catholic Writers Conference Online Provides Practical Help

World Wide Web--This year's Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held February 26-March 5, 2010, will focus on the practical things the writer needs to succeed.

The conference is held via chats and forums at www.catholicwritersconference.com. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild, the online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels who register between October 1, 2009 and February 15, 2010.

"We've always concentrated on workshops and chats that teach the writer skills or provide information in the areas of crafting, publishing and marketing their works, but this year, we're adding critique workshops and some incredible opportunities to pitch to leading publishers," said organizer Karina Fabian.

This year, publishers hearing pitches include well known Catholic publishers like Pauline, large Christian publishers like Thomas Nelson, and smaller presses like White Rose. Thus far, eleven pitch sessions are scheduled, running the gamut from Christian romance to Catholic theology.

In a new program, at least fifty attendees will have the opportunity to have pieces of their work critiqued by successful editors and writers. In addition, there will be forum-based workshops and chat room presentations covering topics from dialogue to freelancing to how Catholic fiction differs from Christian fiction.

"Even in good economic times, it's hard for writers to attend live conferences," said Fabian, "but this year, we think it's even more important to help careers by utilizing an online format. We're so grateful that our presenters are willing to share their time and talent."

Early registration is recommended. Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences. Non-Catholics may attend, as long as they respect Catholic beliefs and the conference's Catholic focus.

To register or for more information, go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Editing Journey: Things to do to Discovery



Lots of slicing and dicing to do, some re-arranging, and a whole lot of re-write!

1. Cut down the first chapter. There's too much talk and it moves too slowly compared to the rest. I spend a lot of time explaining things I can show later, and have details that turned out to be unimportant when looking at the entire thing.

2. Cut out some characters. GenSup Hayden didn't prove to be important to the plot. I'll cut him and spread his tasks among other characters. Similarly, a new character showed up that I adored, but he could not accomplish his goals. Meanwhile, the ship's doctor was perfectly suited to accomplish his mission, but had no use until near the end. I can combine them into one character.

3. Make Sr. Ann speak in snatches of quotes, technical specs and insights. She started out as a sweet, straightforward girl, but in the last half started having visions and speaking in gibberish that makes a lot of sense to herself and to the readers (for the most part), but not to everyone else. I came to realize that she was always like this to some degree, but stress will make it more pronounced. So I need to re-write. Besides, she's much more fun when she's talking like River from Firefly!

4. Foreshadow events by developing other characters earlier on. Several characters end up playing a bigger role and having some major issues toward the end. I need to go back and give hints. Ian needs compulsive handwashing, for instance.

5. Cut the talk. I'm a dialogue person, so there is a lot of talk in the NaNo part of the book. I need to be brutal in chopping out the unneeded stuff, putting in some action or a couple of one-sentence summaries.

6. Give characters their names. Too many times, I wrote GUYNAME when I couldn't decide who would do what? Or I'd forget someone's last name or title.

7. Detail check. My rescue bags had air for 12 hours, then 30 minutes, then 2 hours. You'd think I'd remember how much air was in this piece of equipment.

8. When do I write tech that would have solved a problem? If so, I need to write it out or change the problem. Done that once already, and it made for a better ending.

9. Make sure characters are consistent. I'm pretty certain a few changed personalities mid-book.

10. Polish the timeline.

So, you know, not much to do...

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Novel's Journey: Found--One Supervillian Plot




As you know, I've been searching for a supervillian plot for Gapman, as my original idea didn't seem big enough for the book. Like so many things, I mull over stuff until I go nuts, give up, watch TV and get a perfect inspiration!

This time, it was the 2012 movie commercial that did it. What could be bigger than bringing about the end of the world?

Of course, I already did that during Live and Let Fly, so I needed a new twist. For a long time, I played with the Mayan calendar/2012 idea, but I've discarded it for a few reasons:

--I already did Ragnorak in Live and Let Fly, so a legendary end-of-the-world is redundant.

--I didn't want to get into the tangled research I'd feel obligated to do to get this right. I looked at a few websites, and was amazed at the depth of thought people have given this, along with tying in all kinds of other end-of-world prophesies. I wish I could say these people have too much time on their hands, but since the world will end in 2012, I don’t see how that's the case.

--It really doesn't tie into Faerie, and the other subplots I've been developing: the Mundane's re-emerging distrust of the Faerie, especially the Faerie Church; the fact that Satan is trying to bend the rules by establishing a beachhead of Faerie evil in Los Lagos; the mysterious murders of Gap scientists and mages (which I plan to develop fully in Damsels and Knights); the appearance of the unique magic/chemical drug, Puck.

--It ties my universe to a specific date, which I've been avoiding.

--I can do funnier than a defective Mayan calendar.


So, the current Supervillian plot is:

--Author predicted that the opening of the Gap would herald the end of our worlds.

--20 years later, this STILL HAS NOT HAPPENED

--Frustrated author (who is published by a vanity press posing as traditional and has sold a whopping 24 books) is trying again--this time asserting the weather experiment will destroy our ecosystem

--As the world's biggest publicity stunt, is drilling into the poles, where he will pour the frozen ice into the molten core of the earth, stopping the magnetic field, creating a steam cloud that will envelop the earth, yadda-yadda. That way, he gets to have big "I Told You So!" and sell his latest book, a guide to living in the ruined Earth. (need a cathy title).

--He's using magic in his factory to combine titanium with Faerimet. The byproduct happens to be Puck. Yes, people are snorting industrial waste. Is it really that different from real life?


As a side plot, someone's going to ambush Vern and do something nasty to him that won't really show itself until the next DragonEye, PI book. BWAHAHAHA! If you read carefully, you'll see Vern's changing just a bit. At least, if I write it well, you will.

I have to admit though: right now the changes to Discovery are taking up my imagination, so Gapman is moving much slower than expected. That's fine, though--no one's accepted Live and Let Fly yet, so I have time.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

My Editing Journey: Discovery--Five Steps for Editing


It seems appropriate that so soon after over a hundred thousand people participated in National Novel Writing Month, I should be hard at work editing the novel I started as NaNoWriMo in 2006. It had been put aside for several years, but played on my imagination, so this year, I finished it off.

I will never write a novel like that again, half-starting it, then setting it aside. I've lost too much of the original enthusiasm and the ideas had changed with my experiences. Driven as I felt to complete it, I found myself fighting tooth and nail for each scene. At one point, I was ready to scrap the whole thing and stick the plot on The Love Boat, when my insightful friend, Ann Lewis, remarked, "That's because you're not treating it like science fiction. You have this fabulous ship and you're not doing anything with it."

I realized then the fatal mistake of my NaNo work--because it was so fast and seat of the pants, it was limited in its scope. When I realized that, I started writing a much grander plot and a father-reaching theme. I also involved the other characters in ways I never expected. My mind was afire with ideas.

Of course, the end result is that the last third does not match the original two thirds. This will be the most extensive editing project I've ever done. I invite you to join me in the process and perhaps learn something from my mistakes and frustrations.

I expect the editing will take more than my usual five passes, but I'll share those with you now. Next week, I'll tell you my general plans for surgical editing of Discovery, and then each Thursday, I'll report my status.

Five Steps For Editing a Manuscript:

1. Spell and Grammar Check: I do this as a quick check, and I don't believe everything Microsoft says about grammar. There's a lot the word processor doesn't understand. However, it's a good start.

2. Use the Find function for spotting passive voice and other common problems I have. If you use the Find function for words like is, was, were, very, etc., you will discover the passive-voice sentences. I also use it for other common problems I have--words I tend to overuse; names I may have misspelled (I find the misspellings, or use the Replace to change them all.)

3. Print and read it. I always catch more stuff when it's on paper than when I have it on the computer.

4. Read it out loud. This lets me check for flow of narrative and hard to follow sentences. Also, by reading it to my kids, they will tell me what works and what doesn't.

5. Read it backward, one sentence at a time. By isolating each sentence from the narrative, I can better analyze it.


Usually after that, I will give it a final read, beginning to end, on the computer.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Congrats to new Catholic Writers Guild officers


Stepping Down, Not Stepping Out

Congratulations to our new officers!

President: Walt Staples (aka GK Fields)
Vice President: Ann Lewis
Secretary Margot Davidson
Treasurer: Laura Yarus (aka voxsum)
Committee Coordinator: David Law

I have served at President of the Guild for three years. I've seen it grow from some folks talking (and arguing) on the Yahoo group about what a the guild might do, to our becoming incorporated, internationally recognized and--most importantly--useful to Catholic writers who need practical help and support for their craft and their faith. I've made some terrific friends, not the least of which is Ann Lewis, who's been VP this whole time. One of the toughest parts of leaving is breaking this wonderful partnership, but even though our friendship formed discussing Guild business, it's transcended that. I've also had some wonderful opportunities to meet publishers, editors and writers, as well as members of the media interesting in telling others about the Guild. Overall, one of the greatest experiences of my life!

But it's also been a time-consuming and mentally taxing experience, and as my older kids have entered high school, I find I need to turn more of my energy to them.

Thus, this year, I'm passing on the office of Guild President to Walt Staples. Walt is a funny guy with a good head on his shoulders. He'll keep this Guild moving forward!

In the meantime, I'm retiring to the ranks, playing in the forums and crit groups, organizing the online conference and helping Ann with the live conference. It's been a great couple of years as president, but I'm looking forward to my adventure as member-at-large.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ten Things I'm Thankful For



#1 I live in a country that, despite its troubles, is one of the safest, free-est and most prosperous in the world.
#2 I married my best friend and after 19 years am as much in love with him as ever.
#3 I have four healthy, intelligent, fun-loving kids who think Mom and Dad are the coolest geeks ever!
#4 The Catholic Writers Guild has grown not only in membership size, but in the amount of service we provide writers and bookstore owners--from the Seal of Approval to the conferences.
#5 I am finally passing the CWG Presidential torch to Walt Staples! Now I can have fun for a couple of years!
#6 I have three books published and one to be published; I have several stories in anthologies and magazines.
#7 I have wonderful and supportive friends thanks to the wonder of the Internet.
#8 My imagination continues to amuse me, and I have the opportunity to let it amuse others as well through my writing.
#9 I am finally able to spend time with my sister as we have a year together in California.
#10 I have health, sanity, humor, and enough smarts to get by.

All of this, of course, is thanks to the loving God who gifted me with so much; the many brave men and women who have fought to keep us free; my parents who raised me so well (and my mother-in-law who raised a fine son); and a good educational system that gave me the skills I use each day. Thank you!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Novel's Journey: Gapman! Seeking Supervilian Plot



I'm working a novel again. This one is Gapman, a super-hero spoof. Once again, I'm flying seat-of-the-pants, with some rough ideas and a whole lot of fun scenes to drive the way.

This time, I'm still in search of the perfect Supervillian plot. I know it needs to involve the designer drug called Puck. I have one idea: get the elves high on Puck so they'll agree to sign life insurance policies and make the villain a fortune in commissions. However, exactly how he plans on doing that, I'm not sure yet. And the more I think logically about it, the more holes I see. So if anyone has ideas, I'm glad to listen. I discarded the politician trying to get the elves high to sign a treaty with the US (mainly because they were taking so long.)

Friday, I thought about bringing the plot closer to home: a more personal attack on Vern and Grace, and Gapman will get to help them out. It would also have a very nice foreshadowing into the next book I want to write, Damsels and Knights, which is a spin-off trilogy involving Los Lagos Police Captain Santry and a griffin-turned human, Veronica Bates. I'm wondering if it's too heavy for the spoofing, though.
In the meantime, I'm having a great time developing the Gapman character, Ronnie Engleson. He's a real sweetie, but, as my friend Devon Ellington put it "reverts to being 11 at the slightest provocation." He lives with his mom so that they can afford a nice house up in the mountains, bikes and runs (though he has a bit of a pudge), and works as the entertainment reporter for the Los Lagos Gazette. Of course, getting superpowers was a childhood dream, so he's determined to use them for good--yet in his zeal, he's causing a lot of problems, too.

I'm playing with alternating between him and Vern--first, with them living their own lives and dealing with their own problems, then working together as Vern takes him as his Padawan (at Grace's behest.)

Here's a brief introduction to Ronnie.



My name is Ronald Engleson. I prefer to be called Ron, but people have called me Ronnie since Kindergarten. Mom's always called me Ronnie, of course, but that's her prerogative. I had a brief time in college when I was Ron, but that ended when I returned to Los Lagos and started working for the Gazzette. Guess that's the problem when your mom used to date the editor-in-chief; Richard Redfeathers still thinks I'm ten years old.

Otherwise, I like the job. I've done a little of everything. Started in the Classified, but now I'm the entertainment writer. You know, movie reviews, features on the local thespians. Bet you anything, my articles get stuck into scrapbooks more than any other writer's on the paper. Yet even though my byline reads "Ron Engleson," people still call me "Ronnie." I try not to let it bother me.


Word count: 5,719

Monday, November 16, 2009

Join me in writing Gapman! and editing Discovery

Welcome back to Fabianspace

As many folks know, I gave up blogging for awhile. I wasn't enjoying it and it wasn't drawing people to my site or writing, so I decided to play with Twitter and forget about the blogsphere.

Not sure why, but this month, I decided, "I'd like to try blogging again." One thing enjoyed in my blogging time was chronicling my adventures writing Live and Let Fly. I found it also motivated me to write, as I needed something to blog about. So I'm going to start again with regular writing and editing adventures. Hopefully, I can teach something as well.

I have two projects going right now:

Gapman! is my super-spy spoof in the DragonEye, PI universe. I've already got several scenes worked out, which are spit-out-your-soda funny. Los Lagos, Colorado, home of the Interdimensional Gap and the sleuthing duo of dragon Vern and Sister Grace, gets its first real superhero. Here's a teaser I made up for fun:


I'll be sharing the adventures of my seat-of-the-pants writing.

Discovery is the Catholic science fiction story I started as a 2006 (2007?) NaNoWriMo project. I'd put it away for a long time, but it kept calling to me, so this year, I made myself finish it. I fought tooth and nail, lead and byte for this one. It changed quite a bit mid-stream (for the waaaay better), so it is in need of a serious re-write and edit. I have a publisher in mind for it, and he's interested in seeing it, so I want it to sing! Join me as I conduct major surgery on a hard-won novel.

Discovery is my priority, since I'm still trying to sell Live and Let Fly, and Gapman comes after that, so I'm posting about it every Thursday. Gapman will be every-other Monday, and I'll intersperse news and other fun stuff in the opposite Mondays. So please, come on back, make comments and let me know if I'm interesting you at all.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Author's Christmas Wish List

It's time once again for my annual Author's Christmas Wish List. You can make any author in your life happy with these gifts--some of time, some of talent, and some of treasure.

Authors, feel free to copy and paste this to your own blogs, slip under your spouse's pillow, or e-mail to those who never know what to get you. Friends of authors, imagine your friend wrote this.


Gifts of Time:

Take my book to a store and ask the owner to stock it
* Mention to friends or user groups about my website, newsletter or blog
* Babysit the kids so I can have a few quiet hours for writing
* If I'm having a booksigning in your area, come visit and bring some friends
* Help me set up a book signing at your local bookstore or library (especially appreciated if we live far from each other and I'm coming for a visit)
* Contact your local newspaper or radio station about me and arrange an interview--also a great idea if I happen to be coming for a visit
* Offer to donate a couple of hours to some project I'm working on--like sending letters to bookstores, sending out PR releases, making a database of readers, etc.



Gifts of Talent:

* Create a website for me--or better yet, teach me how
* Make a template I can modify
* Give me ideas on how I can market myself or my books--and help me to put them into practice!
* Design a banner, book "sell sheet" (a one-page flyer about the book), or other marketing materials
* Make a book trailer video for my book and post it on YouTube, etc.
* Make a recording of a chapter of my book to put on my website


Gifts of Treasure:
Just like with clothing or jewelry, some of these items (from domain names to pens) may require you knowing your author's friend's taste. When in doubt, a gift certificate for the item is a good fall-back.

* A marketing class by The Marketing Mentor (I'm offering a Christmas special: gift certificates are $15 a class, half off! Contact me.)
* Music to write by
* Amazon gift certificates to get books
* Buy my book--order it from a bookstore
* Buy me a domain name for my website
* Bookmarks with my cover, name and website
* Subscription to Writers Market
* Subscription to The 30-Minute Marketer (Again, I'm offering 50 percent off the subscription--just $6 a year. Contact me.)
* Journals
* Book signing gear--poster with my photo and name on it, a roll-away carrier to put the books and materials, book stands
* Business cards
* Gift certificate to a printer/VistaPrint if they do that
* Reams of paper
* A mug warmer (or a good thermos)
* Pizza coupons for those days when the need to write overcomes the need to cook
* A really good pen!
* Stamps
* Business-sized envelopes

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bookstore Efforts Led to Book Signing Success


I had a lovely book signing at Godspace, the Catholic bookstore in Thousand Oaks. I sold more books than I had in a long time.

What did I do different? Not a single thing. In fact, I only had three days' notice. I have to credit the store owner, Claudia Satori.

First, it was her grand opening, so that was a draw. People attended who were loyal to the store, friends of hers, or who came in for the other deals and the free cider and cupcakes.

Second, another local author, Greg Stone, was there signing his new book, Taming the Wolf, which our local Franciscan priest, Father Joe, helped write. Thus, there was an additional draw of readers coming for his books. His is a nonfiction on conflict-resolution, but some folks did check out my table as well.

Third, she gave me a lovely little table outside the door. That way, I caught the foot traffic that might not otherwise have come into the store. Since my books have readership in the secular world as much or more than the non-Catholic, I was able to stop people and talk them up. Also outside was the Christmas caroler who was selling his kereoke CDs, so we did a lot of singing.

Fourth, she TOLD HER CUSTOMERS ABOUT MY BOOKS! I'd dropped off some copies for her a few weeks ago, and she'd read and loved them, and she let people know. I sold four in the first half hour because she told one reader, "You will not believe what Karina writes! Catholic sci-fi." Turned out her customer was a big SF fan.

Fifth, she asked Greg and me to give a presentation about our books. He gave an interesting presentation on the levels of conflict resolution, while I read from Infinite Space, Infinite God and Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. I got a couple of purchases and some nice compliments.

It goes to show that sometimes, the bookstore's efforts can make just as much an impact on the success of your sales as you can. What can you do to help that?
--Leave the owner a copy of your book.
--Give them materials and suggestions for advertising
--Suggest a location. If it's a small store in a mall, you might suggest begin put outside.
--Get some info about their event so you can draw people in, too. (I would let folks passing by know it was the grand opening and everything was on sale so it was a great time for early Christmas shopping.)
--Try to go in with other authors. Several authors doing a signing will draw more attendees.
--Offer to do a reading or small lecture.


I wish I'd known about the grand opening sooner--I had four day's notice; three, because I had to check with Rob on his schedule--because I could have added my advertising to hers. She runs a terrific store, with as many books as gifts, and a huge children's book section. If you live in the Thousand Oaks, CA, area, I'd suggest checking it out, or look at her website for more info.
Thanks, Claudia and the members of Godspace!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Reviving my Blog

I've been giving blogging a lot of thought and have decided to try once blog for awhile, concentrating on writing and sci-fi/fantasy. Mainly, I will be blogging about the writing and editing process in my latest books. I may also tour a few books here, but they will be titles of my choosing and in my time.

In the meantime, I'm thinking about monthly themes for Twitter. I had a lot of fun with 31 days of zombies. However, I'd like feedback. Is it too much? I'll try to stay away from popular themes this time.

Please give me some feedback.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


I'll be part of a virtual book tour for The Zombie Cookbook, edited by Kim Richards. I have two stories in it: "Wokking Dead," where zombies invade a Korean restaurant, and "My Big, Fat, Zombie wedding."

It's the Zombie Cookbook Virtual Book tour!


Check out the invasion schedule:


October 5 Virtual Book Tour de Net www.virtualbooktourdenet.blogspot.com  info + tour schedule

October 5 Midlist Writer http://www.midlistwriter.blogspot.com   review

October 5 It Came From Ryan's Brain; Goodreads http://theorangemonkey.livejournal.com/ review

October 5 Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1341280.Ryan_Harron  review

October 6 New Book News http://doylebooks.blogspot.com/  information

October  One Writer's Journey http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/  review

October 7 Unwriter http://unwriter1.wordpress.com/  review, interview

October 7 One Writer's Journey http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/  interviews

October 8 Virtual Book Tour de Net www.virtualbooktourdenet.blogspot.com  interviews

October 8 Joyce Anthony information http://joyce-anthony.blogspot.com/

October 9 The Writer Apprentice http://novaham.blogspot.com/  Interviews

October 9 Lily's News, Reviews and Interviews http://lilyauthor.blogspot.com/ interviews +

October 9, 10, 11 The Writer Apprentice http://novaham.blogspot.com/  interview of ZC authors

October 9, 10 Joyce Anthony interview http://joyce-anthony.blogspot.com/

October 11 Joyce Anthony  review http://joyce-anthony.blogspot.com/

October 12 Word of Fennatia http://www.worldofenantia.com/musesblock review

October 12 Virtual Book Tour de Net www.virtualbooktourdenet.blogspot.com  review

October 12 Yes We Can! http://kbaccellia.livejournal.com/ interview

October 1: If You Give a Girl a Pen http://giveagirlapen.com/ Guest blog

October14  Chelle Cordero's XANGA Blog http://cce613.xanga.com/  Interview with Kim Richards

October 14 The Writers Chat Room http://www.writerschatroom.com/blog.htm  guest blog

October 14, 8-11 pm Eastern: The Writers Chat Room http://www.writerschatroom.com/Enter.htm join the chat to talk about writing for anthologies

 October 15 Kim Richard's Blogs     http://kim-richards.livejournal.com/

http://www.myspace.com/kim_richards

http://kim-richards.blogspot.com/

October 17: If You Give a Girl a Pen http://giveagirlapen.com/  Review and Interview

October 17: Trent Kinsey http://www.trentkinsey.com/ Review

October 18  Rites of Romance Reviews http://rorreviews.wordpress.com/ information, reviews

October19 Chelle Cordero's XANGA blog http://cce613.xanga.com/  book promo  

October 20 Virtual Book Tour de Net www.virtualbooktourdenet.blogspot.com  wrap-up of reviews



Order From Amazon

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book sale at Twilight Times!

If you've been wanting to get Infinite Space, Infinite God, now is the time!

This year is the 10th anniversary of the founding of Twilight Times Books (1999) and
the 5th year since we went to print (2004). Those are significant milestones.

In celebration, Twilight Times Books will have a print book sale from Oct. 1st to
Nov. 15th. Most titles will be offered to the general public at a 10 - 30% discount.
http://twilighttimesbooks.com/print_books101509sale.html

For a limited time, and while quantities last, we are offering a 30% - 50% discount
on selected titles.
http://twilighttimesbooks.com/print_books101509special.html

Check out our newsletter for info on our latest releases.
http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ttb_nl19.html

Lida E. Quillen, Publisher
Twilight Times Books
http://twilighttimesbooks.com

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cell Phone/Anal Cavity Ring tone Winner!

"Possibly the most beautiful song ever written about a cell phone being shoved up an orifice." - Craig Marks. An ELO pastiche. Lyrics by Craig Marks. Music, production, acoustic guitars, electric bass, cello, synthesizer, vocoder and all vocals by Chris Mezzolesta. http://thefump.com/fump.php?id=1006

There are no new ideas....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ring tone?

Some days, you just have to love the brainstorming that does on between writers.

My friend wrote me: "Say a guy falls down, while naked, and somehow ends up with his cellphone stuck where the sun don't shine. give me your top 5 funniest ringtones ......"

My answers:

Any Way You Want It
Stuck On You
Ride of the Valkyries
Bolero
Intercom Whistle from the Starship Enterprise

What do you come up with?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

More Fallout From Disney Taking Over Marvel

Storm put in charge of weather control. Disneyworld now sunny 365 days a year.
Spiderman to star in the remake of It's Tough to be a Bug 3-D show.
Cinderella leaves Prince Charming to hook up with Iron Man.
Insurance rates for Disney theme parks and hotels have rocketed.
Magneto is only allowed to ride the wooden roller coasters.
Mr.Fantastic's robot and the Love Bug are fast friends. Folks call them, "the Herbies."
Hydroman tried to hijack the USS Tipton.
Earth Force forced to join Friends for Change: Project Green.
The mutants at Xavier Institute learn valuable lessons about diversity and breaking stereotypes in High School Musical II: Generation X.


Do you have some to share? Comment!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The results of Disney Buying Marvel

The results of Disney Buying Marvel

Pinocchio will never lie around the Torch.
Henry McCoy will have to be let go--there's only room for one beast.
Wolverine will have to stop smoking. Disney is "family friendly," after all.
Wolverine will have to cut down on his language. Disney needs to maintain its reputation, after all.
Wolverine will have to wear a helmet when riding his motorcycle. Disney promotes safety, after all.
Wolverine has just thrown the Disney Board of Directors out the window and is heading home. He has his pride, after all.
Mylie Cyrus is giving Mystique wardrobe hints.
Black cat! Spit that mouse out!
Doc Oc and Urusula (Little Mermaid) are dating.
Doctor Strange and the Genie got into a magical tiff and are MIA.
Goofy had levied to join the X Men.
Donald Duck bumped into the Hulk in the Disney cast cafeteria. It was not pretty.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

If we had a dollar a day...we'd never get out of debt

I just read that scientists estimate the universe to be 13.73 billion years old. (in a story about warp drive theory), and it got me wondering--is our national debt greater than the universe's age?

Some quick math shows that if we stopped spending and tried to pay back the debt at $1 a day, we would not be able to pay it back in the life of our universe. (The universe is 5,011,000,000,000 (five trillion, 11 billion, approx) days old. Our debt to date is 7,395,572,420,301† (seven trillion, 395 billion and growing). Check it out here.

I remember when the debt hit a trillion, and folks thought our economy would collapse. Twenty-five years later, we're still going strong--and have increaded the debt seven-fold. What's that say about our economy? Our government?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Peek Into the Realities of Small Press Publishing

An author for one of my publishers recently did an ad campaign on facebook, and he asked if he could see the sales to compare them with the ad campaign. The following is the reply from the publisher. It's a great eye-opener into the reality of being a small-press publisher: (This is printed with permission)

PRINT
We sell our print books through the following:
1. Ingrams
2. Website
3. Folletts
4. Brodart

Of the above, Brodart and Folletts sell directly to libraries and bookstores. They send us purchase orders and I fulfill the purchase orders and bill them. Brodarts pays very promptly. Folletts pays somewhat promptly. (Although they did send me a check for $0.00 last month. I’ll try not to spend it all in one place.) Generally the only books they buy are the ones that have been reviewed in PW or LJ.

If people order from our website, they generally pay in advance. I sometimes have libraries or stores order via email or phone and depending on the situation, I may or may not get payment in advance. If I do not get payment in advance, it can take FOREVER to get payment from some bookstores. Since I’ve been stiffed so many times in the last year on these invoices I am beginning to be more hard -nosed about demanding money in advance.

This paragraph edited by request of the publisher: We have a contract with one distributor who is very large, but is notorious in the business for being slow to pay. I have no way of tracking our sales through them. It just has to be a pleasant surprise when and if I receive a statement from them.

All other print copies are sold through Ingrams. This includes the books sold on Amazon.com. I do not sell print copies directly to Amazon.com. Our printer is a subsidiary of Ingrams so I can check my compensation report and see how many copies they have sold but I don’t know who they sold them to. I have no way of knowing how many of those sales are to Amazon.com. Bookstores and libraries also order through Ingrams, as well as other online book retailers. I can sometimes tell when some of you are doing signings because I will see an order in a multiple of 5. This is generally updated on a weekly basis. There is a three month delay on these payments to me. If we’ve had returns, then there may not actually be anything left for them to pay me by the time they get done taking out the money for the returns. Sometimes we end up OWING them money because the cost of the returns in a single month exceeds the amount they owe us for sales.

Electronic
We sell our electronic books through the following:
1. Fictionwise
2. Mobi
3. Kindle
4. Our website
5. Reader’s Eden

We sell most of our ebooks through Fictionwise. I can track our sales from their website. They update it weekly. They pay quarterly.

There are a gazillion other EBook vendors out there who are Mobi retailers and who sell our books through their agreement with Mobi. If you see your ebook on a site other than one of the ones above, don’t worry about it. They have a license with Mobi to sell the book and we get the same amount from them that we do from Mobi. I can track our sales on the Mobi website. We used to sell a lot on Mobi but since we have gone to Fictionwise and since the introduction of Kindle, we sell very little on Mobi. Amazon.com owns Mobi. Mobi pays annually provided the amount hits a minimum level. We haven’t hit their minimum for the last two years (It’s a VERY high minimum.) That’s why some of you have very old Mobi sales on your royalty statements that are still in the payment pending table.

Our Kindle contract is rather convoluted because it is an addendum to our Mobi contract. We don’t actually have a contract with Amazon.com to sell on Kindle—our contract is with Mobi to sell in Kindle format on Amazon.com. There is a 3 month delay on receiving sales figures from Kindle. They send me the statement just before they send payment.

So, I will not be able to tell for 3 months if your ad on Facebook is resulting in sales on Kindle. I can, however, tell you that I have not seen much activity on Fictionwise. I’ve seen 3 copies sell on Ingrams. FWIW, that’s the data I have.
I can also tell all of you that I have google alerts out for every single one of you and the people whose names show up on google alerts the most often have the highest number of sales.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Link for Finding out if a Website is safe

Thanks to my wonderful husband, Rob, for finding this link. You can go to it and put in the address and it will tell you if a site has malware on it: http://safeweb.norton.com/

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It happened again!

Yesterday, I blogged about an red flag I'm recognizing for infected links through Google. Today, I got another one. This one came from a Google alert:

The Fifteen Mysteries And Virgin Of Rosary
So when you get a book like Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem, that of rosary ... Check out the rest of the stops on Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem's Virtual Book Tour. ...


Notice that that the sentence doesn't really make sense, but the words I put in bold are the same ones in all the other links I mentioned yesterday.

I'm wondering if the person who originally used those words in her/his review has contracted a virus and that's how it's spreading. I'm going to look back over my reviews and see if I can figure out who it is. In the meantime, if you do Google searches or Google alerts, make sure the summaries make sense before clicking on a link!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Clue to Protecting Yourself from Infected Websites

Today, I was doing a standard Google on "Magic, Mensa and Mayhem," clicking on links I'd not seen before and my computer was attacked by a virus. Fortunately, I recognized the signs and stopped it in time. However, when I went back to try to find what site was going to infect me, I discovered the following. Notice how similar the partial summaries are:

• King Stephen Hung Fitzalan Army

So when you get a book like Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem, that really DOES ... Check out the rest of the stops on Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem's Virtual Book Tour. ...
jamisonjimpson.unraiiqwy.cc/king_stephen_hung_fitzalan_army.html - 13 hours ago - Similar -
• Sky Bus, Flight Information
So when sky bus, you get a book like Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem, that really DOES make you laugh out loud, how do you express that without it sounding cliché? ...
ashlynnhucquart.btigryxi.com/sky_bus_flight_information.html - Cached - Similar -
• Pose De Puce Wii Toulouse
So when you get a book like Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem, that wii toulouse really ... Check out the pose de rest of the stops on Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem's ...
katelynnfennell.mklqjkme.cc/pose_de_puce_wii_toulouse.html - 23 hours ago - Similar -
• Invalid Partition Fix Disk
So when fix disk you get a book like Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem, ... Check out the rest of the stops on Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem's Virtual Book Tour. ...
mckenziedelbergue.bxpfxiu.com/invalid_partition_fix_disk.html - Cached - Similar -
• Barry Citizens Advice Bureau Volunteer
So when you get a book like Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem, that really DOES make you laugh out loud, how do you express that without it sounding cliché? ...
juliannewintour.mxwvwhc.cc/barry_citizens_advice_bureau_volunteer.html - 11 hours ago - Similar -

Lesson here: Be wary of the links you click on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My stories in the Zombie Cookbook!


I just got the contract for The Zombie Cookbook for my two stories:

"Wokking Dead" It's war and love when zombies attack a Korean restaurant.

"My Big Fat Zombie Wedding" So he's undead--doesn't mean he's not the perfect man for a romance that will last 'till death and beyond.

It comes out in September. I'm looking forward to it. I know a lot of the writers through the Writers Chatroom, so I'm expecting some fun and quirky stories, poems and, yes, recipes in this anthology coming from the appropriately named Damnation Books.

(I have a recipe for Intel on Ice. Not for the living. Trust me on this.)

More details as I learn them!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Catholic Writers Conference Aug 5-7

Catholic Writers Guild, Catholic Marketing Network Hold Writers’ Conference

Somerset, NJ--The Catholic Writers' Guild, in conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network, will host its first-ever Catholic Writers’ Conference LIVE! at the Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center, Somerset, NJ, from Aug 5-7, 2009. The conference will host publishers, editors and authors from all aspects of the Catholic writing world, including magazines and devotionals, novels and educational materials. The panel discussions, presentations and workshops will cover all aspects of writing including generating query letters, crafting a good story, worldbuilding, marketing finished works and more. In addition, editors from several Catholic publishers will be on-hand to share their wisdom and hear authors propose their works.

The Catholic Marketing Network's International Trade Show, held at the neighboring Garden State Exhibition Center (http://www.gsec.com), will serve as the exhibition floor for the writers’ conference, giving writers a chance to browse the booths, meet with publishing companies, pitch their books to publishers, have their work critiqued at a private critique session and chat with the published authors at book signings at the Catholic Writers’ Guild booth. CMN will also be hosting daily Masses and rosaries at the Doubletree Hotel, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at the exhibition center. Other CMN events including the seminars and inspirational talks scheduled for Tuesday, August 4 will be held at the Doubletree.
Presenters for the writers’ conference include: author/Sophia Press submissions editor Regina Doman (Angel in the Waters); Pauline Books and Media Editor Sister Maria Grace, CEO of Ignatius Press Mark Brumley (How Not to Share Your Faith), Susan Brinkmann editor of Canticle Magazine, Lisa Wheeler, Executive Vice President of the Maximus Group (PR and marketing firm for The Passion of the Christ), author/Ascension Press publisher Matt Pinto (Do Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?), Claudia Volkman, General Manager of Circle Press, Tom Hoopes, Executive Editor of the National Catholic Register, and mystery author John Desjarlais (Bleeder) among others.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for both writers and publishers to connect," said science fiction writer and Catholic Writer's Guild President, Karina Fabian. "The CMN has been especially generous in offering to share it facilities and programs with us, which really enhances the quality of the conference for attendee and presenter.”

Conference Coordinator and CWG Vice President Ann Lewis adds “There will be a lot of good information, encouragement and learning opportunities for Catholic authors at our live conference. Our goal is to help good Catholic writers to get published. The world needs their words.”

The Catholic Writers’ Guild has hosted two highly successful on-line conferences.
To register or for more information, go to www.catholicwritersconference.com. Registration is $80 through June 1st, $99 through July 31st and $110 at the door.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Animoto--simple but limited video creation software

I'm working on my book trailer course, and ran across this video creation software. You put in some captions and some pictures, pick music they provide and it mixes it for you. It's kind of neat.

This took me about 2 hours because I first made it too long. (Even though it said use 14 pictures, it would only take 9.) Still it's cute. What do you think?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Video Book Trailer Class Available

The next class at The Marketing Mentor will be on making your own video book trailer. This is a fun and useful marketing tool, and can take as little as a weekend to put together once you know how. We'll discuss:
--basics of an effective trailer
--where to get free photos and music
--the nuts-and-bolts of working with Windows Movie Maker
--what to do with it when it's done


You must have a computer that can handle Windows Movie Maker or be familiar with your own movie-making program. (The only program I know is Movie Maker, so I won't be able to answer questions on others.)

If you do the homework, you should have your own trailer by the end of class! (Not promising Oscar quality, but fun!)

The class costs $30 and runs 4-5 weeks. Register at http://www.karinafabian.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=24. Payment is via PayPal.

I'd also like to remind folks of my newsletter "The 30-Minute Marketer." Too often we get advice on what marketers should do, but not a lot of direction. IE—we need that coach to tell us "Do this—here's how!" Each week, I give you tasks. You will learn as you do. The newsletter is just $12 for 52 issues. You can sign up at http://www.karinafabian.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=24 (scroll down)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going to Ground for the Summer

I've been blessed the past two years with some fantastic writing opportunities and some great online groups. However, the two are coming to a clash this summer. In the next three months, I need to:

1. Finish a school planner, write two supplements, a teacher's guide and a family newsletter--for actual, very nice pay!
2. Edit two books that are in the publishing process. Live and Let Fly will be out late 09 from Swimming Kangaroo; Infinite Space, Infinite God II around April 2010.
3. Write two more books: Discovery needs to be ready to pitch at the Catholic Writers Conference Live! in August. Gapman, the next DragonEye, PI novel, for October at the latest (depending on who's taking pitches at the MuseOnline Conference. We're trying to move DragonEye to the bog publishers who will get them on the shelves!)
4. Help plan and participate in the Catholic Writers Conference Live! Aug 5-8.



This is in addition to the classes I'm teaching as The Marketing Mentor, the three newsletters I publish ("A Dragon's Eye View," "Faith-Filled Fiction" and "The 30-minute Marketer"), my monthly column for Montana Catholic, and the business of being President of the Catholic Writers Guild.

Now, to top that off, we are moving to California in June/July. And we may homeschool. We'll decide that next week.

As a result, I'm going into lurk mode on groups, and am cutting down my blogging. However, since Twitter is so easy, I will keep activity there. You can subscribe to me at http://twitter.com/karinafabian if you'd like to keep up on my happenings. I will keep blogging on VirtualBookTourdeNet.blogspot.com because I want to keep supporting authors.
If you need to contact me for any reason, e-mail me or go to my contact page at www.fabianspace.com

Have a great summer! We will!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Magic, Mensa and Mayhem: Interview with Copy Editor, Jennifer Walker

Jennifer Walker was the copy editor for Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. She not only did a terrific job of catching the silly errors that I missed even after many revisions and critiques. In addition, she noticed a few bad habits that I'm now watching. She's made me a better writer. More about Jen at: www.authorjennwalker.com

How did you get to be a copy editor?

After editing my own work and that of my coworkers, friends and family for several years, doing a lot of studying to remind myself of grammar rules and working with my mentor, who has been an editor at several different levels for several years, someone passed along an ad from Swimming Kangaroo Books saying they were hiring copy editors. I applied and took their test, and was informed a short time later that I was one of the top two scorers on the test. I was offered the job, and I have been working there ever since.

What's the difference between copy editing and content editing?

The content editor examines the manuscript for errors or areas of development related to plot, dialogue, characterization, continuity and style. This is a more high-level approach than what the copy editor does.

The copy editor is one of the last people to look at the manuscript before it goes to print (there are still proofers who come after). The copy editor is primarily responsible for correcting any mechanical errors, such as grammar, punctuation, spacing and spelling. The copy editor is also another set of eyes to catch continuity errors or point of view shifts previous editors did not catch--after all, we're all human and things slip by us!

What do you enjoy about it?

My name is Jennifer, and I'm a grammar nerd. I like gaining a better understanding of grammar through my work, and it improves my own writing as well. I am in the process of editing my first book for the third time after several months' break from it, and I'm finding a lot of things I did not before. By contrast, its sequel, which I wrote this year during National Novel Writing Month, is much cleaner.

What are your editing pet peeves?

Authors who argue with me! Just kidding... I would have to say my pet peeves are sentences that are so long I can't follow them and a point of view that shifts back and forth so fast I feel like I'm reading a tennis match.

Tell us about editing Magic, Mensa and Mayhem—any funny stories you want to share?


I have to say, MM&M, as I resorted to calling it because I could never remember what the Ms were or what order they were in, was the most enjoyable manuscript I've ever edited. It had remarkably few errors, was well written and hilarious. My husband kept demanding to know what had me laughing out loud, so I would have to read him passages. I swear...I didn't say that to kiss up. It was actually that good, and I'm picky!

Vern wants you to feed his ego, so tell us what you thought of him and the book in general.

I think Vern and Grace are wonderful, rich characters. I love the relationship they have--respect and affection in their purest forms. Fun interactions between characters are what draw me into books, and that's one of the things I loved about MM&M. By the time you finish, you feel like you know these "people" and want to live next door to them. Well, not all of them--just Vern and Grace.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Re-evaluating My Blogging

I've been thinking a lot about my blogs lately. I figure I spend 4-6 hours a week on them--writing, posting, cross-posting--but I don't get a lot of commentary or hits. I also don't feel like I add a lot of unique or useful information to the readership, which is probably why I don't get a lot of hits. Do you really need me to repost a YouTube video or give lessons about writing? Really, the only unique thing about what I have to say is what I say about me or my books. And constantly writing about my own writing is kind of obnoxious. (Though, yes, I do it.)

Lately, I'm wondering if I wouldn't be better off putting that time into articles I can sell, guest blogs I can give to others who do have a readership, press releases or updates on my social networks. Six hours is a LOT of time; used well, it can do phenomenal things for others and myself. Is blogging really the best use of that time?

I know: I'm tipping the sacred cow of writing and marketing on the Internet. But maybe it's time. The Blogsphere is bloated, and so much of it is intellectual junk food. Do I really want to add my fries to that?

This week, I'm asking all the folks in my groups to take this survey and give me their opinion. I'll take it all under advisement, then give everyone the results and announce my decision.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Interview with a Content Editor

Great books are often the result of more than just the writer's efforts. I was very impressed with the thorough editing job done on Magic, Mensa and Mayhem by the editors at Swimming Kangaroo. The book went through a couple of edits--one for content and one for copyediting. These editors not only found errors I'd missed after a half-dozen edits and an equal number of critiques, but also alerted me to some writing habits I had and didn't realize. They created a better writer as well as a better book.

Today, we meet Linda Anderson, who was the content editor.


What does a content editor do?

The main job of a content editor is to read manuscripts for plot--Does it makes sense? Does it have any holes?--and character development--Are these people believable? This means we get to read books before anybody else does, which is a wonderful privilege, let me tell you. We also make sure sentence structure is correct and do a little grammatical tweaking if necessary. We are supposed to leave spelling and punctuation and such to the copy editor, but I think most editors of any variety would not be willing to let a typo escape if they could help it.

What do you enjoy about it?

Just about everything. I love to read ... I read to unwind the way a lot of people watch television to unwind. I have a hard time getting through a day if I can't read at least a little bit for pleasure sometime in my waking hours. (Because as we all know, reading while sleeping is hard!) I also get a major thrill out of being able to help polish someone else's creativity. That makes me a kind of coach. Or to put it another way: I am not the one who makes the cake, but I get to put the icing roses on.

How did you get started in the job?

Take one daily reader with a preference for fiction in general and science fiction in specific, give her a several-decades' long career in writing and editing news stories, add one friend who is a budding science fiction writer with the need for a little nagging to finish his book, stir in the opportunity to volunteer to be his editor and you've got my recipe for becoming a content editor. My friend sold his book to Swimming Kangaroo and mentioned to Dindy how much he liked my editing. She agreed to give me a chance as an editor. And here I am.

Are you a writer as well? If so, how does this help your writing?

I am a writer in the sense that I've got more than 25 years' experience writing news stories, but I'm not a writer in the book-writing sense, unless you count those 54 pages of a young adult novel that I started back in the mid-1990s and never finished. Yet. So yes, content editing could help my writing enormously by exposing me to new writers and different styles, showing me different possibilities and different concepts. But of course that means I'd have to dust off that manuscript ...

What impressions did you have about Magic, Mensa & Mayhem?

MM&M was my first experience with Vern and a terrific experience it was. (I hope it was good for him too.) I loved the puns, I loved the alternate universe setting, I loved the way all the different beings were just part of everyday life, I loved the crime solving part and I loved with Vern. I also appreciated how gently the religious message was conveyed. In these days when so many Christians seem to think the only way to spread the word is to smack people over the head with it, I loved how Vern and Sister Grace did the same thing in a much more gentle fashion. Believe me, those of us with sore heads appreciate it.

Any funny stories to share about editing it?


Not really funny stories about editing it. Parts of it made me laugh while I was editing, does that count?

Vern wants to know what you loved most about him in this story.

To paraphrase the gang at Cheers: VERRRRRNNN! I have a weakness for dragons. I've been a big fan since about 1979, but when I met Vern -- who can talk, make puns AND solve crimes-- I knew I had found my dragon. I think he's just about perfect. I mean, a wisecracking detective who is also a dragon -- what's not to love? Do you think I could ever sweet-talk him into giving me a ride? Just a short one, not too high ... I tend to get motion sick but I promise to be careful.

(Vern said if she's take some Dramamine, he'd consider it.)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Promo Day coming May 9

I'll be presenting a workshop on that day and hanging out to chat.

MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate release

Contact info:
Jo Linsdell - Founder and Organiser
Email: promoday@ymail.com
URL: http://jolinsdell.tripod.com/promoday
Blog: http://promoday.blogspot.com

THE PROMOTIONAL EVENT FOR THE WRITING INDUSTRY IS BACK!

PROMO DAY makes its return in 2009 and promises to be the best yet. Mark your calendars for Saturday 9th May 2009!

An all day, online, international event for people in the writing industry packed full of tips and advice along with a variety of opportunities for writers, publishers, editors etc to promote their work and services. Readers are also welcome to drop in and get to know the authors better in the online chatroom, view the video trailers or read the sample chapters on site.

Founder and Organiser of the event, Jo Linsdell, had this to say “PROMO DAY came about because I was looking for opportunities to promote my books using the internet at little or no cost. After attending the Muse Online Writers Conference back in 2006, I searched the internet for similar events aimed at what to do after you’ve written the book and found none. I decided to fill the void and so PROMO DAY was born. PROMO DAY is a great opportunity to network with other members of the industry, take part in online workshops and promote and best of all it’s FREE”.

New features for this year is the Official Blog for the event, http://promoday.blogspot.com, where everyone can keep up to date with new announcements and information regarding the event and the official PROMO DAY book, packed full of information and resources, which will be available to buy during and after the event.
Visit the website http://jolinsdell.tripod.com/promoday for more details of how you can be involved.

BE PART OF THE ACTION, BE PART OF PROMO DAY!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Why I love my publisher at Swimming Kangaroo



Note for the record: I am published with three terrific publishers so far: Twilight Times (Infinite Space, Infinite God) and The Writers Cafe Press (Leaps of Faith), and Swimming Kangaroo (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem). I recommend them all. However, since this is the Magic, Mensa and Mayhem tour, I'm bragging about Swimming Kangaroo.

The author is only part of a team involved in putting together a book--and, just like with any team, the better the members, the better the results. I am blessed to have a terrific team at Swimming Kangaroo. I've blogged before about my wonderful cover artist, Roe Mesquita. Today, I want to go to the top and tell you about publisher Dindy Robinson.

I met Dindy at the Muse Online Conference. She was hosting a workshop where you sent in your stories and she critiqued them. Since "Amateurs" did not make it into the Ten Plagues anthology, I was concerned I'd missed something in it, and so sent it for her critical eye. She not only found nothing wrong with the story, but asked me if I had enough to make a story collection for her to publish. (Lesson: Sometimes, it's not the writing that leads to a rejection.) At that time, I didn't have a lot of stories, but I did have this funny serial I was writing for The Prairie Dawg...

We signed the contract for Magic, Mensa and Mayhem shortly thereafter.

Swimming Kangaroo is a small press, named for a family joke and run by Dindy with the help of her husband and children. It's a second job for her, and one that is still struggling to keep its head above water. However, I found it not only very professionally run but also deeply concerned for its authors. Let's hit the professionalism first:

Dindy has done her homework on the publishing industry. She's working all the tricks--from getting books the right reviewers to playing all the games at Amazon. She's hired a very talented group of editors, who I'll feature later this month, as well as illustrators. The only thing she lacks is an aggressive marketing force, and that's an economic constraint she's working to overcome by providing instruction in marketing to her authors. As a result, Swimming Kangaroo books are winning awards and several of her authors are making headway in the publishing world.

In fact, she told me one of her authors was so successful, she was not able to handle his load, and they worked to get him another publisher. That's the second terrific thing about Swimming Kangaroo--we're a caring team, rooting for each other, helping each other as we can, and when one is ready to swim out into deeper waters (and Kangaroos CAN swim), we're there cheering.

Dindy also involves her authors in the entire process: editing is done via e-mail with tracked comments so the author understands the editor's thoughts and makes her own replies. I was so impressed with the process that I asked was glad to sign a contract for the next book with them. Similarly, the cover art is a cooperative process. In my case, that caused a little delay in the book getting out (Sorry, Dindy!) but wow! What a result!

Dindy set up a Yahoo group for authors to chat with each other. It's one of the more active groups I belong to, and people not only post their brags, but also tips they've found online--places to get reviews, ideas on marketing, suggestions for sales... Swimming Kangaroo has a lot of first-time authors, and several do not know how to market or don't fully understand its importance or their role. Rather than let it slide, or make some kind of marketing requirement for publication, she's putting a portion of her budget into helping these authors learn the tricks of the trade. I'm a part of that with my Marketing Mentor program (which is open to anyone, btw), and she has asked another good marketer in our group to put together an instruction booklet. Granted, this helps her business as well, but she's also genuinely interested that authors learn these skills so they can succeed no matter where they publish.

One of the advantages to working with a small press is when you find one that's family. I've found that in Swimming Kangaroo. I think the experience has made me a better writer, and regardless of where I publish in the future, whether with SK or the big NYC publishers, I'll treasure the fact that the first DragonEye, PI novel has a kangaroo wearing an inner tube.

Monday, March 30, 2009

An Interview with Vern of DragonEye, PI

I had a terrific time last night at The Writers Chat Room. I didn't count how many people were there, but the list ran down the page! Vern made a special appearance as well and his 15-minute stay lasted an hour. Here's the transcript for those who missed:

Vern: Hey, everyone.
Lisa-mod: welcome to TWC, Vern
Lisa-mod: it's nice to have you here
Vern: Thanks. Nice place
Vern: Glad to see all the people. Grace wants me to tell you not to feed my ego. Ignore her
Lisa-mod: Vern, how are you today?
Kim Richards: I think we're more afraid of you then her.
larriane: I can't think of a thing to ask a dragon
Vern: chilly. be glad when the winter is over. Our warehouse doesn't hold heat well. however, Grace has a warming spell for me. advantages to living with a mage
skip miller: Do you have wings?
Vern: Kim--good thinking, though she can be pretty fierce
Vern: absolutely--gorgeous ones, love to snap them!
Tony Lavoie: Vern, how did you, a dragon, manage to get yourself bamboozled into working for the good guys? If I understand that aright?
Vern: hey! I was one of the good guys!
Tony Lavoie: okay...the other side, then.
Vern: as far as getting dragooned into service for the FCC (which isn't the other side), I have George to thank. God bless St George, the magically overpowered pain-in-the-tail.
Linda::?Do dragons really breathe fire?
Vern: By the time we were done sparring, I'd lost my height, weight, flight, fire magic and most of my knowledge. He then offered me the deal: earn it all back through faithful service God and Man...
Tony Lavoie: So he was just stronger than you...?
Vern: and his creatures through the Faerie Catholic Church. I've been everything from Pope's pet to plow dragon to scribe to warrior of Christ...
skip miller: What kind of magic do you do?
Vern: He had God on his side, Tony, it was kind of an unfair fight. I held my own.
: Right now, my magic is more in the area of heightened senses, ability to hover, a few low-key spells, some healing. Dragons don't have a lot of natural magic as it is. Done
Vern: Linda asked if we breathe fire. Yes, but not like your legends, all clumsy and out of control....
Linda: Do dragons have emotions?
Vern: I can light a cigarette as easily as I can set a barn afire--and do it with panache. absolutely, we have emotions. Vices, too
Kate: Vern, how do you manage to interact with mortals without losing your dragon magnificence ~ and your connection with faeries and other magical beings
Vern: oh, Kate, it aint' easy, especially in the Mundane world. Do you know how many times I've had to...
Vern: put up with folks wondering if I'm HOUSEBROKEN, for pity's sake? No respect!
Vern: I try to be patient, and remind myself that just as for every good deed, I get some kind of reward, bad deeds will set me back. Sometimes, though, it's worth taking the chance. Done.
Lisa-mod: What’s it like hanging out with Mensans?
Vern: They're a good crew, usually more able to accept me for what I am and less inclined to think I was an animatronics joke by Leno. Still had some....personalities, like the guy who followed me around like ...
Vern: he was a National Geographic writer and I was a new species of predator (well, I'll give him the species part), or Melchior Rawlings. Talk about uptight artist! whew!
Vern: even with all the craziness, we did have a good time. Mensans are like anyone else--some are truck drivers, some are multiple PHDs, some are both. All just people. And all only human (except me) done
Vern: and...ugh...Coyote
Tony Lavoie: Vern, how do you get your stories to Karina? Do you dictate them to her directly, or write 'em down first and deliver them? Do you meet regularly with her to give updates and such?
Vern: She feeds me; I tell her stories. It's a good relationship. I blogged about it earlier this month, BTW. You can read it on my website DONE
AnnLewis: Speaking of websites, how do you like yours....do you find it user-friendly for dragons?
Vern: I love it--you did a great job designing it.
Kim Richards: lol...the mental image of Vern hunched over a keyboard
AnnLewis: just wondering if the type was too small
Vern: No, no. Manny Costa made a great set-up for me...
Vern: it's on a rolling platform set to my height when I'm reclining. I have a virtual keyboard that shines onto the floor, which saves a lot on keyboards. (Claws are hard on them) done
Kate: Vern, any advice for a mortal who would really like to meet a dragon and get to know him/her
Vern: My eyesight is better than humans. done
Vern: You're not going to find any here except me. the rest tend to keep to themselves, but if you want to visit one, bring something unique..and if you want to feed them, fat cow beats skinny virgin any day of the week done
Lisa-mod: So you aren't a vegetarian?
Vern: ROFL
Lisa-mod: Talk to us a little bit about Grace...you seem to like her...a lot
Vern: Grae is the best friend I've ever had--and being immortal, that says a lot...
Vern: She's smart and strong in the spiritual sense, has great common sense...
Vern: isn't afraid to put me in my place (rare among humans, frankly)...
Vern: she has an incredible singing voice--it's how she channels her magical power and how the Power of God works through her...
Vern: She likes my jokes and knows how to scratch behind my ears just right.
Lisa-mod: That scratching behind the ears sounds very important :)
Allen the serial: how does a dragon turn detective?
Vern: I just happened into it. I was living in the garage of the Little Flowers Parish when the priest Fr Rich was called to administer last rites to a dead man (Yeah, a little late)...
Vern: turned out the field had been possessed by magic and killed him. I figured it out. And after that, people started coming to me with their problems. It's a living, and since I don't have a green card....
Vern: it's something I can do under the table as it were.
Kim Richards: Now that you've been on this side (in our world) for a while. will it be hard to leave should you ever get all your powers back? I mean [i]earn[/i] your powers back.
Vern: NO. I can always visit, and the Mundane world is no place for a full-sized dragon. done
larriane: how big are you now?
Vern: 12 feet from snout to tail; 5 feet at the shoulder when sitting (cat like)
Vern: not quite a ton, but magic and weight distribution keeps me from falling through the floors done
Allen the serial: How does your dragon talk, what is there language?
Allen the serial: Is he only one?
Vern: you mean how do I talk when not speaking Human? It's growls and purrs, snaps and snarls.. body language. You might consider it more animal than "human," but it's more complex than humans can understand....
Vern: I knew at one point thousands of languages. Now a couple dozen human ones and a handful of Faerie. And why do you keep referring to me in third person? I'm right there. Done
Vern: no, I'm not the only one
larriane: like a whale? language that is
] Vern: since I don't speak whale, I wouldn't know. If it's anything like on ST IV, then no, not as squeaky or grunty. done
larriane: they sing. do you?
Kim Richards: Has anyone ever confused you with a dinosaur?
Vern: larraine--no, I don't sing. I purr, though
Vern: Kim--yes. no-brained idiot human who also though he was the avatar of an Egyptian God. Even had the poor taste to yell "Die Barney!" while spraying me with insecticide. Long story.
KarinaFabian: "Amateurs" which is available for free to those who join the DragonEye PI website done
Lisa-mod: too funny
Vern: you didn't get a snoot full of insecticide
Kate: Vern, As big as you are, how are you able to uncover clues and solve them without a perps' knowledge or giving yourself and Grace away
Vern: well, in general they aren't hanging around the scene of the crime when I'm looking for clues...
Vern: but I also have a stealth charm Grace created after watching a documentary on the B2
Vern: I'm also very stealthy naturally--comes from being a predator. done
Linda: Are you afraid of anything?
Vern: Tough question. Everyone's afraid of something. Still, being immortal gives you a long-term perspective. I can be hurt. but I survive eventually.
Vern: zombies. zombies weird me out. not fear so much as loathing. Imagine that casserole you stuck in the fridge coming back to life wanting to eat you.
larriane: already answered my question. how long do you think before you earn all your powers back
Vern: No idea. "God's ineffable plan" is beyond me even at the height of my wisdom. done
AnnLewis: Vern, can you explain the relationship between the Faerie Catholic Church and the Church of Rome here in our world? Does going to Mass at the RCC count for the same in the FCC, and do you go?
Vern: We're close enough that we recognize each other, yes.
Vern: we each have our own popes, of course and our own histories. The FCC is far more powerful and involved politically, It has to be. with magic, Evil is less subtle in our world
Vern: I do attend Mass at Little Flowers Parish. Even receive Communion, Wasn't baptized though. Dragon souls are different from human souls. done
Sally Franklin Christie: Do you have dewclaws, or thumbs and do you ever wish for humanish abilities? Done
Vern: kind of between dewclaws and thumbs. Not easy to handle a pencil. What human abilities would I want? done
Tony Lavoie: Vern, You say you're not afraid of much...do you not fear for your soul should you fail in your task(s)? Or is that not a player in your case?
Vern: I've been human btw. Weird experience. Kind of fun in its own way
Vern: My soul is not in danger if I fail in my tasks. If I were to give into temptation and foresake my tasks...that's another story. And yes, that would be scary, and take some kind of extreme circumstances. Dragons in general are very...
Vern: God-loving creatures. After all, we were made form the greatest of His imaginings. Why wouldn't we be?
witzkedm: Does the use of magic every get you in trouble?
Vern: My use? depends on what you mean by getting into trouble. I don't misuse my magic, but that doesn't mean trouble doesn't find its way to me. However, the mix of magic and tech causes no end of trouble....
Vern: (shrug) keeps me employed. done
larriane: have you got any feedback from the church here on how they feel about MM&M
AnnLewis: (This Catholic likes it!:)
KarinaFabian: Guess that one's for me. I've not brought it to any Church authority, if that's what you're asking.
KarinaFabian: I've had lots of positive feedback from Catholics in general. My daughter and son have a godfather who is a priest and I'll be sending it to him. It's his style.
KarinaFabian: so far the only "negative" feedback I've gotten was from a lady (non-Catholic) who thought all dragons were Satan
Vern: please! I'm not the dragon in Revelation. I only have one head!
KarinaFabian: yeah. I mentioned that. She looked at me a little blankly. done
larriane: we love ya Vern
Vern: Of course you do
AnnLewis: Vern, when you say you can be hurt but can't die, does that mean you really cannot be destroyed at all, that you'll always live until the end of time? What if you were blown up into itty bitty pieces or disintegrated?
Vern: Of course you do
Vern: Even if I am disintegrated (ouch ouch) some part of me, whatever was the most whole, would eventually come back. Might take a millennia. I do try to avoid that. done
Allen the serial: what is your favorite meal
Vern: I like so many things! Large is nice....
Vern: depends on my mood. Sometimes, I really appreciate fine cuisine or very spicy chili...
Vern: sometimes I'm in the mood for something I hunt down and kill myself, fur flies and all.
Vern: (it's an acquired taste) done
Walt: What's the ETA on [i]Live and Let Fly?[/i]
KarinaFabian: late 2009. I just did the content edits and it's off to the copy editor. We start on the cover art in June/July, Dindy said.
KarinaFabian: I have a fun idea, but we'll see if Roe can do it. Don't you love the cover Roe did?
Sally Franklin Christie: What advice does a Dragon like yourself have for new worldbuilders and their inhabitants? Done
Vern: Grace says, "God endowed each of us with a creative spirit. Use it well."
Vern: Guess I'd say have fun with it? I'm not much of a writer, myself.
PaulaL: Vern, any comments about the Nag Hammadi manuscripts?
Vern: No. You a reporter?
Tony Lavoie: I'd be interested to hear what Karina has to say about Nag Hammadi, tho.
KarinaFabian: Someone would have to tell me what they are first :)
Lisa-mod: Karina or Vern, anything else you’d like to say before we close up for today?
Vern: Feed the dragon. Buy the book.
(Grace swats Vern on the nose)
Vern: Ow! actually. thanks to everyone for coming. i was not pleased that the first DEPI story was one of our most embarrassing cases...
Vern: but I'm glad so many people are enjoying it.
Vern: Check out the website--I love to blog about stupid criminals, so if you ever come across a YouTube video, send it to me and I'll blog it.
Vern: Otherwise, just remember: magic and tech do not mix. Good night!