What’s in Tradition?

Traditional [fiction] publishing, that is.

Save for vanity publishing (something to avoid like picnic potato salad lying under a blazing summer sun all afternoon), at one time, the traditional publishing route was the only [viable] one to take.  It was tough—like hiking up Kilimanjaro when you’re a drive-to-the-corner kind of person.

Fortunately, the world of e-books arrived.  There’s a plethora (gotta love that word) of e-book publishers out there; Smashwords, Amazon’s KDP, Nook Press, and Kobo are to name a few.  You can format your work yourself, design the cover, and pretty much hold carte blanche, unlike in the traditional world where the publisher has creative control (never mind financial when you sign a binding contract).

Forgetting that [most] firms prefer to have agented writers contact them for potential representation—and that getting an agent is as difficult as getting a publisher—the odds of getting published are not in our favor.  Ever hear of the “slush pile”?

According to statistics, in 2013 only 50,000 novels were published; given the number written and submitted, the chances of being one of the “lucky ones” is slim.  As for agents, they tend to reject 99% of the projects received.  Not particularly encouraging, is it?  Rejection just plain sucks.

On a positive note, there’s tons of advice out there for both traditional and “e”, so read, read, read.  Determine what’s best for you.  You might even give the traditional route a try first—to get a feel for it and learn from the experience.

 E-books didn’t exist when I first started writing (I’m aging myself, alas).  For years, I tried acquiring an agent and publisher (whichever came first)—to no avail.  But I kept writing and gaining knowledge (and experience).  In retrospect, I see why I never got far: I had good ideas, but they weren’t executed well.  The great news?  I’ve improved—considerably so (pat on back to moi).

But this isn’t about me.  It’s about persevering, no matter which publishing route you take.  If you have a passion for writing, have at it!  Don’t second-guess yourself and don’t give up or in to fears and frustrations.

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What’s in a Post? Ya Got Me

Thanks (or not) to a full-time job, the boss is busy working through a smorgasbord of tasks.  Linda’s got blogging commitments and JJ’s off doing a favor for a friend.  Guess who’s in charge of posting today?  Yeah, good ol’ Rey.

Thanks (or not) to a full-time job, the boss is busy working through a smorgasbord of tasks.  Linda’s got blogging commitments and JJ’s off doing a favor for a friend.  Guess who’s in charge of posting today?  Yeah, good ol’ Rey.  Like I’m a P.I. and a sometimes actress, not a bleepin’ writer!

Mind you, when I was a kid, there was a spell when I wanted to be one.  I actually did do some writing, but the actress in me took over and acted out the characters’ stories.  <LMAO>  There was a short one, though, that was really kinda cool: Penelope the Pretty Pony.  Let’s see if I can remember some of it.

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Pretty Penelope the Highland Pony didn’t like walking in circles all day long, but she loved the children who sat on her back.  Even when her legs were smarting, their smiles and giggles warmed her heart. 

 And Auntie Melanie’s Menagerie wasn’t bad.  There was a large field to wander through when she wasn’t working, lots of grain and carrots, and the people that worked there were nice . . . everyone except Mean Old Marcus.  He didn’t seem to like anyone.

 Penelope had lots of friends, like Sassy and Simco, who were usually trailing around behind.  There was also Gerry the Goat and Larry Lamb.  A few days ago, though, Larry disappeared.  The farmyard animals talked about it and realized Marcus was the last one to see him.

Yeah, I remember that story now.  It got a bit sad there.  When my mom found it, she ordered a rewrite.  “Where’s your head at?  It has to have a happy ending, Reynalda.”  Mom and I’d always had a strange relationship.  Actually, I think JJ called it “estranged”.  Whatever.

If I’m stuck posting again this weekend, I’ll share stuff about my acting career.  That’ll brighten up your day.

Cheers!

Watt Fun

The merits of being a Wattpadder.

Is Wattpad a viable selling tool for an aspiring/established writer?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  Depends on who you talk to.  Some love it; some see it as no value add.

Currently, I have weekly installments of “Odd Woman Out” going.  Not sure anyone reads them.  But then, I’m not promoting them, either.  I guess I’m hoping a Wattpad fairy will sprinkle magic pixie dust.  Et voilà!  Tyler, you’re a hit!

The truth is that I’ve got an hour or so of actual “me” time per day, so it’s a toss of the coin.  Heads, I write; tails, I promote.  But if I promote, I need to decide what the best course of action is.  The abundance of self-promotion/marketing info out there is overwhelming.  It definitely takes (me) lots of time to digest all that requires doing.  And it seems easy enough initially . . . but three hours later, there I am, still trying to figure it out.

I digress.  For those not yet familiar with Wattpad, it’s a site with an informative blog and community (and labs) where—among many other things—writers can post works or persons can reach out with causes.  More notably, you can read Wattpad writers’—or Wattpadders’—opuses.  There’s lots of great stuff to be found.

From a writer’s perspective (forgetting the fact an audience or fanbase is probably a very good thing), I do find it rather fun.  You can design your own cover if you wish (I did mine and it ain’t bad, if I do say so).  You can post as often as you like, but doing so regularly (frequently) would be best.  There’s something exciting about hitting “Create” and “Continue Writing”.  Maybe one day the commitment will pay off.  Maybe not.  It’s all good, whatever the outcome.

I hear Wattpad even has awards, though I confess I’ve not yet checked that out (I’ll add this to the 105 other must-dos).

Take a gander . . . and have some fun.

www.wattpad.com

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Burbling a Blurb – What’s in a Written Sales Pitch?

Remember: you want to create interest, if not excitement.  Suck in your reader.  Do that by revealing the dilemma or challenge facing your character(s) without disclosing how it’s resolved. 

Finding the right [amount of] words to sell your beloved work isn’t always easy.  No question, writing book blurbs—otherwise known as sales pitches or selling tools—can be challenging.  But, rest assured, it’s far from impossible.

Let’s consider what you shouldn’t do first:

  • go on incessantly, revealing all
  • reveal all (yeah, it’s a great story and you want to [enthusiastically] share every detail, but this really isn’t beneficial)
  • summarize all plot twists and/or characters
  • tell how the story ends
  • talk about how brilliant you and/or the story is
  • be overly effusive with descriptions (but not use effective descriptive words to entice us).

Now, let’s take into account what you should do:

  • tell us the genre of your book (we don’t want to have to guess, although mysteries do have their merit)
  • write a killer opening sentence; pull in your reader immediately
  • have us wanting to know/learn more
  • apply that old and familiar phrase: keep it short and sweet
  • introduce the protagonist and his/her quest, quandary, desire, journey (whatever the trial may be)
  • give a sense of setting.

My own process: write a synopsis (five to seven pages).  From that, whittle it to a one-page synopsis.  The blurb evolves from that.  Yeah, it can prove time-consuming.  But it helps capture the true essence of the book and, sometimes, it even reveals a snag.

Your process could be totally different.  Discover what works for you.  If you’re a first-time “blurber”, check out blurbs in your genre.  Get a feel for how they flow.  Adopt that rhythm.

Here’s a quick example (using my mystery series trio):

 The gals from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency stumble across a body in Ala Moana Park while waiting for a new client.  Could it be, this was he—Jake the Flake?  Why did someone of his notorious background want to hire them?  The assault he’d recently been arrested for?  Or the stalker he’d briefly mentioned on the phone?  As JJ, Rey and Linda search for clues across various Hawaiian Islands, it’s apparent a number of people hated the toady guy enough to want him dead.  And when their quest drags them into the dark and dangerous underground gambling world, they learn they’d better push out fast . . . before they add to the mounting body count.

Remember: you want to create interest, if not excitement.  Suck in your reader.  Do that by revealing the dilemma or challenge facing your character(s) without disclosing how it’s resolved.

It takes practice, like anything, but it does come—and when it does, your awesome blurbs will attract readers (and followers) and help you make sales.

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Writer’s Block can B a Bitch

For those easily offended, sorry for the “b” word . . . but, man, writer’s [and blogger’s] block can be just that.

Sometimes, it’s because ideas are bumping around in your brain like out-of-control bumper cars.  Other times, it’s because you’re experiencing a dry spell as arid as the Mojave Desert.  In both instances, focus is proving as clear as the Big Muddy.

Other excuses, uh, reasons include:

  • scheduling/timing, anxiety, dog walking, kitty litter changing, shopping, eating, vacuuming (pick one, any one).

There are several ways to defeat writer’s/blogger’s block and they’re painless, even enjoyable.

My fav: take a walk.  (Ideas come when I’m strolling with no destination in mind.)

Similarly, get out of the house/condo/apartment and enter a different space and head place, like a lounge or gym or park.

Do something creative or entertaining: play a game, color/draw, maybe watch a motivating or encouraging flick.  Music’s nice, too (Christian R&B works for me, but if Five Finger Death Punch does it for you, go for it).

Daydream—about the story and characters, your future, an ideal vacation, the upcoming long weekend, or that perfect world.  Engage the ol’ gray matter.

Jot down words, ideas, or character sketches.  Or record what you’re feeling and thinking (do some free-flow writing).

Talk to someone . . . or the dog, cat or parrot.  Chatting aloud, even with yourself, can take you places (and, no, they won’t be taking you away with a butterfly net).

Search for inspiration.  The folks I follow on Twitter tweet amazing sayings and stunning photos.  After viewing a few of those, I’m feelin’ uplifted and very fine.

Hopefully, one of these options will work.  If not, go looking for something that will . . . like I just did (writing about the writer’s/blogger’s block I was experiencing today).

Ending words: don’t give up.  Persevere.  You’ve got it within you.  Stick to it!  And, above all, keep the faith.

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The Nutty Case of Coco’s Nuts

There’s certainly no one nuttier than Coco Peterson, someone the Triple Threat Investigation Agency gals never have the [dis]pleasure of meeting.
Coco’s Nuts has our rookie private eyes attempting to prove socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer didn’t shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur (alleged mobster) Jimmy Picolo.   

There’s certainly no one nuttier than Coco Peterson, someone the Triple Threat Investigation Agency gals never have the [dis]pleasure of meeting.

Coco’s Nuts has our rookie private eyes attempting to prove socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer didn’t shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur (alleged mobster) Jimmy Picolo.

In a quest for answers, JJ, Rey and Linda contend with a slew of suspects.  Several persons certainly hated Picolo enough to kill him, but locating the one who actually pulled the trigger proves a challenge.

Detecting travels lead to the world of gambling and the “limb-breakers” that reside in it.  In fact, Picolo’s daughter owes thousands of dollars to collectors in Vegas and Oahu.  Might this have served as motivation to kill her father, so that she could collect on the will?

What about Picolo’s son?  Did Jimmy Junior yearn to take over the pater’s multiple businesses?  What of good ol’ nutty Coco?  The little pest, uh, fellow has been AWOL since his boss’ murder.

Lady Luck smiles their way and the Triple Threat trio discover “remnants” of Coco—his tattoo and jewelry—in Picolo’s million-dollar Haleiwa retreat.  It appears Coco’s another casualty.  Finding the rest of him, however, is as difficult as proving Buddy innocent.

Old friends and acquaintances reappear, but whether they have the trio’s best interests at heart remains to be seen.  And who can forget JJ’s dealer-agent “bad boy” boyfriend, Cash Layton Jones?  She certainly can’t—badly beaten, he arrives at her door one night.

Ever-enthusiastic Kent Winche is known as “The Source” because he has an ear (and mouth) for gossip.  As a Picolo employee, he has access to a sundry of potentially useful connections and eagerly offers to assist.

When the Triple Threat Investigation Agency gals get a case, it’s—in gumshoe vernacular—a humdinger of a lollapalooza.  When they’re not discovering another body, they’re dodging crazy characters or racing from a detonating bomb.

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If you’d like to read about the trio’s continuing mis-adventures, Coco’s Nuts, the ebook, can be found at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/656164

https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1370281080

https://www.amazon.com/Cocos-Nuts-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook

Hanging the Shingle on the Triple Threat Investigation Agency Door

The aspiring detectives of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency take on their first official paying assignment: discover an elderly millionaire’s
young wife’s secret. It seems straightforward enough—until the wife is found dead in the sapphire Hawaiian oceanside. As Jill (JJ), Rey and Linda strive to
uncover the killer amid a cast of curious, unconventional characters,
they stumble across several secrets . . . and trip over a few bodies.

Sleuthing proved so much fun in The Connecticut Corpse Caper that JJ, Rey, and Linda have set up shop as private eyes on the lovely island of Oahu.  They’re the proud and excited owners of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.

 Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie? is the first official [paying] case: discover the secret of WP Howell’s young pretty wife, Carmie.  Millions, and a much-desired divorce, rest on it.

What seems straightforward quickly becomes complicated when Carmie’s battered body is found in the Hawaiian Pacific.  It quickly becomes evident that she wasn’t the only one with a secret . . . nor the only one to die an untimely death.  Who among a cast of curious, unconventional characters is tenacious (or crazy) enough to eliminate all living liabilities?

In the quest for answers, JJ, Rey and Linda encounter a plethora of suspects on a winding road of many detours—where drug dealers and informants, treachery and blackmail, abound.

Brash young Benny Pohaku, working both sides of the drug-pushing fence, ticks off the wrong people.  Dealer Cash Layton Jones is as galling as he is attractive, and his habit of entering JJ’s condo uninvited results in a few heated encounters.

Carmie’s intriguing if not odd ‘tini friends serve as pieces to an expanding puzzle.  Down-and-out musician, Jon Jonson, had been blackballed by Carmie.  Being unceremoniously dumped could serve as a motive for murder for former lover and trainer Stacy Kapu.  And restaurant co-manager, Benoit Paillisson, had always had a hate-hate relationship with her.

There’s also Carmie’s twin, Gino Carpella, who’s been rumored to associate with questionable sorts.  Had the rift in the siblings’ once close-knit relationship played a part in Carmie’s death?  Or had one of Gino’s enemies retaliated by striking out at his closest family member?

No love is lost when it comes to hubby WP Howell.  Was Carmie’s “secret” damaging enough to prompt the man to kill?

The Triple Threat trio finds the case as clear as the contaminated waters of the Ala Wai Canal.  Fortunately, they have patience and perseverance . . . and occasional assistance from Detective Gerald Ives.

As the body count increases and the suspect list decreases, the women discover the murderer’s identity.  And while major incidents are explained, a few loose ends (and cannons) remain.  These will be addressed, but not necessarily [yet] tied up in the third novel, Coco’s Nuts.  JJ, Rey and Linda are budding detectives, after all, and they still have lessons to learn and skills to hone.

The ebook Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie! can be found at:

https://www.smashwords.com/book/view/598066

https://books.google.ca/books/about/Can_You_Hula_Like_Hilo_Hattie.html?id=i7c8DQAAQBAJ

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook

Aloha!

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The Connecticut Corpse Caper: A Precursor to the Triple Threat Investigation Agency

For those not familiar with the antics, uh, cases of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio, The Connecticut Corpse Caper won’t provide any.  What Caper will do is enlighten you re the gals’ pre-detective adventures.

It all begins when seven inheritance recipients gather for a week-long stay at the vast, creepy Connecticut mansion of Mathilda Moone.  As is befitting Aunt Mat’s “unique” (some claim dotty) character, her will stipulates that if one recipient leaves early, his or her share will be divided among those remaining.  As it happens, one does depart—not by choice.

Every character has a secret, as Jill Jocasta (JJ) and her two associates, Reynalda (Rey) and Linda, discover when they slip on amateur P.I. shoes.  Others soon join in the sleuthing, and the bumbling and stumbling—murder and mayhem—begin.

Enter dead bodies and legal sorts.  Enter Fred, the resident ghost, singing a favorite song.  Enter potential inheritance recipients through hidden passageways and corridors.  . . . Enter not-so-dead Aunt Mat.

Fingers point and tongues wag.  It appears any one of the visitors could be a diabolical murderer.  Even those six fatal Moone accidents that occurred during the last decade suddenly seem as if they may not have happened by chance.

Through trial and error, and just good old plain luck, the three women discover who is responsible for the killings.  Questions are asked and answered until a partner arrives on the scene and silences the killer’s voice.

Excitement reigns.  Paramedics and officers dash into the chaos.  Soon, all is explained and there are no loose ends.  . . . Well, maybe not quite.  Those Moone accidents?  They truly weren’t by chance.

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If you’re interested in reading Caper, the ebook can be found at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/555494

https://books.google.ca/books/about/The_Connecticut_Corpse_Caper

Both ebook and hardcover of Caper are also available here:

https://www.amazon.ca/the+connecticut+corpse+caper

The Tumultuously Delightful Triple Threat Investigation Agency Trio

The gals—JJ, Rey, and Linda—are excitedly immersed in a new case, “Forever Poi”.  The torching of two highbrow Chinatown art galleries is how it begins.

     Ald adjusted the volume.  “Two galleries are about to end up as cinders, specifically the ones belonging to Carlos Kawena and James-Henri Ossature.  Weren’t you supposed to be here for Carlos’ six-to-eight do?”

     “I had to be somewhere at five.  But I had drinks with Carlos last night to celebrate his forty-sixth and he provided a sneak-peak of the exhibit.”  Xavier’s voice took on on a serious, business-like tone.  “What happened?  Is he okay?”

     “We just found a barely recognizable body.  All that’s certain at this stage is that the fire was no accident.  And the only thing I can confirm at this time is that the little intimate soirée ended at eight on the nose.  Carlos had planned to leave the gallery no later than 8:15 to be at a snooty function at nine.  The fire, as an FYI, was called in at 8:35 p.m.”

     “Did he show up at the affair?”

     “He didn’t tell anyone where it was, so it’s proving a challenge to follow up on.  And I’ve not been able to reach James-Henri.”

They look forward to sharing their mis-adventure(s) late summer / early fall of 2017.  Until then—aloha!

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Rolling Along the Blogging Trail

This is exactly what I’m doing, rolling along the blogging trail . . . like a honey-coated golf ball . . . and progressing like a keen Monachoides vicinus (otherwise known as land snail).

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“Forever Poi”, the fourth in The Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery series, is taking forever to complete, but it’s all good.  Sometimes you just need to invest [more] time in a project than you’d initially anticipated.

Never rush.  Errors and sloppiness abound as a result (to this I can and will attest).  Take those baby steps I always [ad nauseam perhaps] refer to.  Some say have a plan or an outline; others say take it as it comes.  I’m a have-a-plan kinda gal (coz I am so not spontaneous), but do whatever works best for you.

Straightforward and simple advice for today (I’m counseling myself as much as you):

  • stay focused
  • be proactive
  • suck up as much information as you can, and above all,
  • believe in yourself.

Never give up or in.  It will come.