Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | By: Lynny Prince

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — RICHARD STOOKER — GUEST AUTHOR


Trying to pinpoint the precise beginning of a novel is like remembering a dream from start to finish -- some important part always remains buried in your subconscious mind.

I'm glad I wrote Virgin Blood when I did, because I doubt I could now.

I had been working for years as a Social Security Administration Claims Representative -- specializing in Supplemental Security Income -- for years, and feeling frustrated.

I'd seen and heard too many horror stories -- the kind that are merely gruesome, sad and sickening, not supernatural.

Maybe I dreamed up Janie Braxton because I wanted somebody on SSI who was a winner, for a change.

I'd already discovered for myself (it's not in any writing books I can recall reading) a technique to increase dramatic, emotional impact: make the hero as weak and powerless as possible. It's the David and Goliath Effect, or just plain leverage. The weaker your hero, the more thrilling their ultimate victory.

I'd been interested in the Cahokia mounds, and so writing Virgin Blood gave me the excuse to visit the mounds. They're a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but probably not one person in ten in the St Louis area knows much about them. I also got to read Robert Silverberg's book on the mound builders. Because the Cahokians lacked writing, not much is really known about their beliefs, but some opened mounds contain remains that appear to have been sacrifices.

The writing process was a constant revelation. I plotted out the main events, but some things couldn't be foreseen. When I finished the writing, I thought it was perfect, but I decided to make sure. I sent it to the original "book doctor" firm, and they decided to accept it.

For months, Dave King and I sent the manuscript pages back and forth (before email). I noticed a curious pattern. Whenever he tried to use his own words or thoughts, I hated what he tried to insert into the novel.

But that forced me to look at what he saw as a problem, and then come up with my own solution.

Thanks to Dave, Virgin Blood is coherent, polished and unified.


That did cost money, more than I could really afford, and so I wouldn't recommend it for any novel you're not convinced is already close to being good enough. But it was certainly a terrific education.

So then I tried to get it published. By that time, I was burned out on sending unsolicited novels to publishers, even though the science fiction/fantasy/horror field was still friendlier than most other genres. I'd simply had it with having publishers hold the manuscript for a year or two, then return it with a form rejection slip.

I knew Virgin Blood deserved better.

So I started sending it out to agents.

But publishing was still in a recession, and none of them wanted to touch it.

In the late 1990s I used a now forgotten publishing software to produce a digital version of Virgin Blood, but that went nowhere.

Thank goodness for Amazon's CreateSpace and Kindle.

Virgin Blood is not breaking any sales records, but at least it's available.


Richard Stooker has retired from the Social Security Administration and is a freelance writer. You can check out Virgin Blood at:
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | By: Lynny Prince

IN THE SPOTLIGHT - Author Miriam Pia, guest blogger

How did I get published? Well, in reality, Alethia Publishing of India is bringing out my first novel within the upcoming 12 months. They are a real and small publisher. It is taking about 5 years for this novel to find a publisher. I had an agent for one year. That helped me put the novel out to Kindle owners at Amazon.com. Thanks to email, the Writer’s Market and the PDF, I was able to have my novel’s manuscript treated like so many others: it was politely rejected 30 times and rudely rejected a few times before being accepted by a real publisher. The other successful authors report that this is pretty normal, and nothing to get upset over. In that respect, its like American men trying to get laid. Even though women like that sort of thing, most of the women are going to say No, either politely or rudely MOST OF THE TIME.

In the very first place, I was published in small newsletters - including one put together by Edie Zsuzsics who worked as the Philosophy Dept secretary where and when I helped out as a sort of ‘work study intern’ for the professors who were around 50 years old at the time. Her Write Way Newsletter published one of my poems and short stories.

Time Between Times and Pagan Dawn published me a few times back in the 1990s and at the turn of the Millenia. In 2003 I had a breakthrough and actually got paid. Its 2011 and I’m still working on getting enough to = earning a middle class living, but was upgraded to ‘paid writer’ for a while now.

The books: Be Diversity Competent! By Jermaine Davis, The Complete Guide to Investing in Mutual Funds by Alan Northcott, Moving to the USA by Expatriot Focus are books that I ghostwrote 30%+ of. Their idea. My favorite was the one for Jermaine but my favorite for pay was one I can’t even mention due to confidentiality agreements.

That's it. Most of my contracts I found at Guru.com

Miriam Pia
Larrison, Okrongli & Smith


To find out more about Miriam, please visit:
http://www.uranianfiction.webs.com/



Wednesday, September 07, 2011 | By: Lynny Prince

IN THE SPOTLIGHT - AUTHOR CORAL RUSSELL- guest blogger

The DIY Indie Publisher by Coral Russell

I know I should consider myself a self-publisher because Indie is usually associated with Small Presses, but I think the new wave of authors taking the reins and publishing their own books via the Internet and specifically eBooks are Independents in the true sense of the word.

As a life-long reader, I was a die-hard paperback fan and thought I'd never switch to reading eBooks. All that changed last year and I haven't looked back. I love my Kindle and a survey revealed that once readers switch to using eReaders, they don't go back to pBooks. I fall in that category.
So when the fiction-writing bug bit after winning a contest (I've been writing non-fiction for a long time), it was natural for me to look into publishing eBooks instead of pBooks. That look lasted seven months and is still ongoing. Here's what I've learned so far:

Write a darn good story or at least a story that you would want to read or at least a story that you are extremely happy with.

Write a short story that compliments the genre you're writing your novel in, then give it away – feedbooks, wattpad, BookRix, and others sites are great for this. Include it in an anthology-you have writing friends, don't you? Collaborate. Include it in an anthology for charity-everyone likes contributing to a good cause and there are a ton out there (i.e. No Trees Harmed for First Book).

It's good to be a control freak. If you enjoy every aspect of the process of creating an eBook, then the only thing you may have to pay for is a book cover and for sure, editing. Editing is a must. Editing separates the writer from the hobbyist. Also if you enjoy the process, then you will be happy no matter what the outcome.

Adopt the motto – I don't know any strangers. That is fairly easy and painless with the Internet and social media. Don't know the first thing about building a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Lunch, Blogcritics, etc.? The Indie Book Collective has great seminars to get you on your feet. My daughter announced one day she wanted to build a homework robot. I told her, that's called the Internet, honey. If you have any problem or are unsure of how to do something, Google it. Someone, somewhere in the world has had the same problem and probably offered a solution.

Get to know your reviewers. You need good, honest, objective reviews and you can get them on shelfari, goodreads (eBook Giveaways group), LibraryThing (Member Giveaways), Reads, Reviews, Recommends blog, and more. Cozy up with blog tours – Novel Publicity, Nurture Your Books, Author Blog Tours, Indie Book Collective, BLB Book Tours – some are higher priced than others, so pick what you can afford. OR, you can go it alone. I add book review sites to my blog roll all the time and these three sites make it easy to find blogs that may be interested in reviewing your masterpiece – BookConnector, Step-by-Step Self Publishing, The Indie Book Blog Database.

Want to pay for reviews? If it's good enough for the first self-published million eBook seller, John Locke, it's good enough for you. He used 15 Dollar Reviews (I'm going undercover there to give you the low-down on that soon), and BookRooster (already went undercover there and blogged about it).

Support your fellow Indie authors. Tons of ways to do this through networking, collaboration, book reviews, exchanging forewards, linking to your books, sharing, retweeting, guest posts, etc.

And this is just the tip of the ice burg. Sound like a full-time job? It is. I have a calendar set up with the times to do the different activities I need to do so I won't spend too much time on any one project. But it is working, I sell every month and those sales are increasing every month. Good luck and feel free to connect with me, I'm always interested in meeting new Indie authors!


Coral Russell reads/reviews Indie authors on alchemyofscrawl.wordpress.com, Check out her Stalker Package to connect. She has written The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing, Playing with Fire, Twelve Worlds, and the upcoming Amador Lockdown.