It’s the story I wanted to write

I published The Genealogist’s Guests! Currently at Amazon’s Best Sellers in Psychic Suspense top 100. It feels wonderful to be in Amazon’s top 100 anything! I must say, I am anxious to hear what readers think. The Genealogist’s Guests, is a paranormal, a mystery, an intense story about incest, rape, and a curse that keeps one family silent for decades. That is until Elizabeth Ward hand paints a family tree and opens a portal to the afterlife. One of the pros of self publishing is that I wrote the story I wanted to write. Maybe, just maybe t will get into the hands of many and people will break their silence.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Genealogists-Guests-ebook/dp/B00FO03UZ8/ref=zg_bs_7130640011_80

Baby steps toward publishing

I’ve sent the first ten pages  of The Genealogist’s Guest off for an initial manuscript critique. I felt this was the next step toward publishing. I should get some feedback soon. Meanwhile I’ve been working on the book blurb, and staying under 150 words, and not revealing too much is a challenge. I updated my profile on some social networks, yes I can’t help but visit. I learn about marketing, publishing, and writing book  blurbs. Here’s what  think will be the final draft.

It began decades ago …

A woman in fear of losing her family remains silent about her knowledge of sexual abuse unknowingly opens a portal to the underworld. Secrets must be told beginning with the real reason her fifth generation grandfather killed Wilbur Savage in1887, or the family will suffer.

Secrets haunted them all …

But vengeance is family strong when ancestors return to save one of their own. Genealogists Liz Taber is plunged into the underworld to face demons who rely on their victim’s shame and fear to conceal their immoral crimes against children, even in death.

She must destroy them … before they prey on the next generation.  

 

Edits

Editing is time consuming. Apparently I like the words “directly” and “suddenly.” Good news for me, punctuation is tight and my manuscript is more active than passive. Some changes, ok ok, many changes in the first four chapters. But it’s a task well worth the time. It’s what I’ve been up to lately. I needed a break so here I am to share an excerpt from one of my chapters. Since I’m in the process of editing it’s subject to change but here goes:

Liz got to her feet and steadied herself against the wall. Her dark blonde hair mangled, clothes twisted. Bill, Margaret, and George looked about the same, like they went through a twister.
“I can’t believe this,” Liz said as she looked around the room.
A second before a fierce fight between the serial killer and her ancestor abruptly ended, both apparitions disappeared, to where she had no idea.
George helped Margaret get to her feet, she more anxious than he to get to Liz. She dashed across the room excited.
“Liz, are you all right?”
She and Liz both looked around at what they expected to be a mess. Everything in the room, a war zone seconds before, was intact.
“We don’t need a séance now.” Margaret said with a wide grin.
“The clock, Margaret, did you hear the clock?” Liz asked.
“Hear it! My ears will ring for weeks!”
“Hey, everything… looks normal,” George said, scratching his head.
Bill laughed and said, “Everything except you three.”

Overall the story is dark. Some scenes aren’t meant for all readers. This is an example of me attempting to lighten things up to give the reader a break. The fight ended. The characters are excited but see how things are getting back to normal, from, “I can’t believe this,” to wide grins and laughs.
Yes I did notice the words like, twisted and twister. May change when I edit chapter six.
My manuscript needs work. I’ve decided not to rush the process. I’m concentrating on active vs passive, conciseness, word usage and well rounded characters. My goal, try not to drive the editor crazy. Not me. The real editor. I’m a self published author who has learned the hard way, editing matters.

Chapter Update

Liz Taber, the lone occupant of the colonial revival on a five acre wooded lot sat at her desk in the quiet space. Through the door behind her the living room echoed endless space.
Why didn’t you turn the lights on in there? You always set yourself up for the creeps.
She did and now she thought something or someone was on the other side of the doorway watching her. This is not the first time her hair has stood on the nape of her neck.
It will pass.
Stacks of papers and books were scattered all around her, a lone lamp on the floor to her right. The sixty-watt bulb faced a wall illuminating the family tree painted on the canvas from floor to ceiling. She heard a thump outside the window, and then a slow drag.
The wind.
She had been there for hours at her computer searching for clues. Another crash against the house, sounded like the deck furniture. Liz shot a glance at the window and grabbed the desk but kept her grip on the familiar oval-shaped mouse. She slid her index finger across the round surface, wet from her clammy palms and clicked on the database. She hoped to find her fifth generation grandmother.
The list of passengers on the ship California appeared on the monitor. A short list, maybe fifty names. Light from the lone lamp flickered. She searched for the surname Hay, and found one, Isabella. The light flickered again.
Not now.
She wanted to save the website to her favorites tab, but the computer’s hum went silent.
“Fine, just fine,” she sighed. “I’ll find her later.”
She pulled her robe across her shoulders and stood for a moment staring at her hand-painted family tree. The room brightened with each flash of lightning, exposing Isabella’s name. All her ancestors seemed to draw her in as she stood before them each night, but none as hypnotic as Isabella. The feeling of someone watching her from the darkness passed.
She closed the office door leaving her family tree on the other side and faced the living room. Lifeless, she thought as she paused and stared. A fire dwindled on the other side of the room. The nights alone in the large house got scarier with time and losing electrical power didn’t make living alone any easier.
She kindled the fire, poured herself a brandy, and sipped as she lay back on the cream-colored sofa. A tear trickled from the corner of her eye, like every other night. The memory of her husband’s death, the silent rage.
I can’t go back.
The storm continued through the night, the house quiet aside the howling wind outside. Liz lay fast asleep in the large room lit by the generous fire. Adjacent to the room, the home office door slowly opened. The spirit of a woman wearing a white dress eased into the room and sat in the chair, her eyes rested on Liz as she lay covered with her favorite throw.
Liz turned to her side and peeped at the empty chair. She blinked and took in a deep breath.
Go back to sleep, no ones there.
She drifted back into her dream, humming an unfamiliar tune.
The spirit of the woman rose from the chair and hummed the same tune. Her ghostly orb hovered above the wood plank floor and moved delicately across the fire lit room. She entered the home office where she reached her name on the family tree and disappeared.
Liz woke up and lifted her head from her pillow and immediately looked to the empty chair.
“Goodness,” she said aloud. “Get a grip.”
Through the curtains specks of dust floated about in the strands of light that reached across the living room leading into the kitchen. She gazed toward the granite countertop where her coffee pot sat empty. “You should have purchased the generator,” she told herself. She rose from the sofa and headed for the staircase. She passed her home office and saw the door wide open. She was sure she closed it tight. Liz stood at the doorway of the office and stared inside, the room now darker than the main room, her desk covered with notes unorganized and scattered not only on top of her desk but on the floor as well.
She moved around the piles of paper and opened the drapes exposing the daylight and when she spun around to face her office, the family tree shimmered. Liz swept her hair away from her eyes and smiled at her masterpiece. It was as if her ancestors reached from their graves and shined through the branches of painted names representing their place in time, their lives.
“Nice work Lizzie,” she gloated.
The truck’s tires rolled on wet pavement, a splash of water, and an annoying screech, “It’s time to get out of here,” she said. She sprinted up the stairs leaving the office door open. Inside, the branches of life on the family tree glistened as the fall leaves of the red maple outside the window slowly lifted upward as droplets of rainwater fell to the ground. A peaceful moment, but on the other side of the tree, across the long and narrow yard the electricians prepared to fix the broken link between their massive electrical plant and Liz’s house.
Randy Sullivan, a lifelong Rhode Islander, peered at the property. Not a large man, but his piercing eyes intimidated most people. He stood behind the truck and watched Liz leave the house.
“Perfect,” he sneered.
Liz powered her Honda CRV and gradually rolled out to the main road. Randy loathed her living alone just as his mother did when she left. He was twelve when he found his mother and begged her to let him come with her. “No,” she had said to him. “Your father will come searching for you, go away!” His rage over his mother festered until the day he killed her. Liz, he decided will be his next victim… of many. He had watched her for weeks after following her back from Norwich one Saturday. She was as she usually is alone and vulnerable.
He sucked on his teeth and hollered to Danny. “I’m going around back to check the lines.”
“Watch for dogs,” said Danny. Randy glimpsed back at him and snickered at the way he struggled to get the toolbox open.
“That ought to keep him busy,” he said.
He worked his way around the back of the house peeking into each window until he reached the open back door. “Ah, Ms. Taber, you’re slipping,” he whispered, and entered through the kitchen.
It was eerie, the silence. The refrigerator, clocks, the creaks in the flooring was void of sound. He told himself to turn around, go back.
Underneath the aroma of flowers from a vase nearby he caught the scent of paper, mounds of must and ink, and beyond that the familiar stench of death.
The office door moved with a vexing creak, without support or reason. The door continued to creak as it closed off the small room. The sound of each creak louder than the one before, creak, creak, creak, until the walls vibrated and suddenly the door stopped. Randy just stood still, legs shaking.
“This isn’t possible,” he said.
He finally turned to run like hell and as he did, the door swung wide open. He glanced back in enough time to notice the door didn’t recoil, as if someone or something held it against the wall. He begged his legs to move as he stood staring. The door slammed shut. He sped out the back door, turned the corner and saw Danny by the utility truck. Run, run, he repeated in his mind until he finally gained his voice back and screamed at Danny, “Let’s go!”
Danny had a big smile on his face as he watched Randy run toward him, he asked, “What’s wrong? Did you find the dog?”
“Get in the truck!” Randy screamed.
As he ran to the truck a man stood over in the tree line. He wore gray slacks pulled high up to his waist, and a jacket cut at the hip. Randy knew from his attire he wasn’t from this time or this world because he seemed… he’s a damn ghost!
He screamed again, “You dumbass get in the truck!” He rushed Danny, and in one swoop shoved him in the truck and pushed him over to the passenger seat. Randy looked back at the house and over to the tree line, he saw nothing but felt imminent danger as he spun the wheels of the truck leaving a ladder behind splattered with mud.
Back in the house, in the small office, Ed Taber’s hand painted name glowed until it faded next to his wife’s name, Isabella Hay, on Liz’s family tree. The whispers between the couple ensued, “Where were you Ed?” Isabella asked. “I was in the field Isabella.” The lights came on, the clock ticked, and the back door closed.
A few miles away Liz continued her drive until she reached the town of Norwich. She rolled the car window down and took a deep breath. The Thames River to her left reminded her of her research and the passages she read about the settlement of Norwich. She thought of the Church family, and having seen gravestones with the name Church on the same site as her ancestors, she wondered if there were connections. She would have to do the research she thought and grinned as she told herself, why not, it is possible she’s a descendant of someone who corresponded with the enemy. After all, she did have an ancestor who spied for the Confederates during the Civil War. She asked herself what compelled them to do such things.
She burst out with a nervous giggle, “Shoot Lizzie what compelled you to leave Virginia.”
As much as she tried to forget her husband’s awful crimes, his pedophile acts revealed to her closes friends and neighbors as he lay on his deathbed haunted her to this day.
The rushing water of the Thames River headed for the Long Island Sound. Liz headed for the coffee shop on Main Street. She parked and began her walk in the past. The town of Norwich never disappointed as it is rich with history. She bumped shoulders with a young lad and said, “Excuse me.” He mumbled something and scurried on disappearing into the distance. She didn’t notice as she continued to walk down the uneven pathway. That he faded away. Nor did she see the ghost of many integrated with the living in clothing from another period. Nevertheless, they were there.

It’s almost time

It’s almost time.  I will launch my newest novel into the saturated indie book market. It’s been a roller coaster ride for sure. I had originally planned to publish The Genealogist’s Guest many months ago. A paranormal minus the romance. It’s a dark fantasy, an intense, maybe disturbing  read. A fiction, after all how many ghosts do you see floating above the wood plank floor? Here’s an excerpt.

“Margaret can talk to the dead.” He sat back amused at the expression on Liz’s face. “It’s true,” he said. “In fact if I know Margaret well enough we have a spirit with us now.”

 

I started out with a simple plan, woman unknowingly opens a portal to her ancestors by painting a family tree. A little extra, they protect her from harm. Problem, her ancestors are not the guests she planned on, and she seeks help to rid them of her household. Easy, right? Another excerpt.

The sound of Isabella’s cries awakened all the others. “It’s happening again,” she whimpered. “Ed, he took my son.” Isabella’s pain, a pain only a mother could feel had nearly crippled her in 1885 when a stranger took her only son at age seven.

 

Ah, so the ancestors bring with them the knowledge of a curse on the family that all started with the rape and death of a seven year old boy decades ago. My simple plan just got complicated. Am I disappointed? No. The story took off, building layers of entertainment. I had no control. The subject of rape, incest and dark secrets that plagued this fictional family for years had to be told.

Dark Fantasy? I couldn’t pull off a romantic, endearing, lift your spirits up novel if I locked myself in solitude for years. Not even if I jumped into one of the many wonderfully written novels so pleasantly lifting any end to the story doesn’t make sense. Why end such bliss?

There you have it, my niche.

So, what’s taken me so long? Social websites. Yes, but with good motivation. I joined groups on Facebook and Goodreads, and followed other authors on Twitter. I briefly adventured into book review sites. I’ve spent hours reading about them, joining in on conversations, obtaining resources, learning about marketing. Shh, don’t read that word again!

As said, the bookshelves are saturated. I’ll narrow my niche down using keywords, such as paranormal, ghosts, underworld, ancestors and of course dark fantasy, and hopefully find readers interested in this genre I seemed destined to write.

I’ll post on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, etc., announcing the launch. I’ll keep talking about it, but (that bad word I don’t want you to read) isn’t my niche. I’m an introvert. I’m not going to be as outgoing, informative, web site savvy as others. Joanna Penn (http://www.thecreativepenn.com/ ) and Melissa Foster (http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/)  come to mind. In fact, during the time I spent on social websites my instinct screamed, get your ass back to your novel! Did I waste my time? No. I’m amazed at all the indie author support.

I said it somewhere about a year ago, now is the time for indie authors to get their works out. A year later, if you’re looking to write a novel and self publish now is the time to join social networks on writing and self publishing. Seriously, you’ll need to keep abreast of this fast growing market.   

What happened to my story, my dark fantasy? It became. Yes, it grew into the story it is today. I’m beside myself with joy. Here’s a blurb I’m working on:

The secret haunted her…

 A woman obsessed with fear remains silent about her knowledge of sexual abuse opens a portal to the underworld. They came through her hand-painted family tree. A horrid curse threatens to destroy the family if they fail to reveal their secrets beginning with the real reason her fifth generation grandfather killed Wilbur Savage in 1887.

The secrets haunted them all until….

I wanted to write this story, publish it fast and move on to the next novel.  If I had it would not be the same story. It wouldn’t have been as good. I know this now after a year of meddling in other author’s adventures and lessons learned, that I’m not that author who can write and publish novels in six months or less. Hence, my first novel, Compelled, I wrote it very fast, thirty days to be exact, and hastily published it, without tapping into the true writer I yearn to be. My lesson learned.

I’m finishing up The Genealogist’s Guest, reviewing, revising, resting on it a bit, preparing to launch it onto the masses. I wanted to do that yesterday, however, knowing it’s easy to publish, harder to get noticed. The success of my second novel will be determined by the readers and word of mouth. My task? Reach them. Yikes!

 

The Genealogist’s Guests A Peek at Chapter 1

 

Liz Taber’s wish for guests is about to come true, and she gets more than she hopes for when her dead ancestors use her art as a portal from the underworld. She discovers a family secret that began in 1885 after a brutal rape and the murder of a child.

An evil entity plagues the Taber family dating back to the fatal event which to this day returns from the depths of hell to seek revenge.

Liz’s journey begins with her obsession of ancestry research. When her dead ancestors visit from the other side they bring trouble with them, Wilbur Savage. Liz must choose, does she keep the secret that’s plagued her family across generations or expose the ugly truth to save the Taber children.

 

Chapter 1

Liz Taber, the only occupant of the colonial revival standing on a five acre wooded lot, sat at her desk in the quiet space. Through the door behind her a larger room loomed. She shifted her eyes and peeked over her own shoulder. “Why didn’t you turn the lights on?” she asked herself. “You always set yourself up for the creeps.”

Stacks of papers and books were scattered all around her. A lone lamp on the floor to her right. The sixty-watt bulb faced a wall illuminating the family tree painted on the canvas from floor to ceiling. She heard a thump, just outside the window, and then a slow drag. “It’s just the wind,” she told herself. She had been there for hours amid the hum of her computer searching for clues.

Another crash against the house, sounded like the deck furniture. She shot a glance at the window and grabbed the desk but kept her shaky grip on the familiar oval-shaped mouse. Then slid her index finger across its round surface, wet from her clammy palms, and clicked on the database.

 A list of passengers on the ship California appeared on the screen. The lights flickered. It was a short list, maybe fifty names. She searched for the surname, Hay, and found one. It was Isabella. The lights flickered again. “Not now,” she begged, but the tower’s hum went silent. “Fine, just fine,” she sighed. “I’ll find it later.”

Liz pulled her robe across her shoulders and stood for a moment staring at her family tree. Flashes of light brightened the room repeatedly exposing Isabella’s name and each time it reached out to Liz. She whispered, “Why did you travel alone Isabella?”  

She closed the office door leaving her family tree on the other side and faced the living room. It was lifeless she thought as she paused and stared at the space. A fire dwindled across the room adding to the dense feel of the room. The nights alone in the large house got spookier with time and losing the lights didn’t make it any easier. 

She kindled the fire and poured herself a brandy and sipped as she lay back on the cream-colored sofa. A tear trickled from the corner of her eye as it did every night. The memory of her husband’s death, the sorrow, loneliness, and the way her friends avoided her. They cut ties with her after his death, and it hurt her more than she ever admitted. She began studying her family history, burying herself in search of the past. It was several months before she learned her husband left her a small fortune, enough to buy a home and live a modest but comfortable life. She dropped her married name reverting to her maiden and started fresh.  “I can’t go back,” she told herself.  

     The storm continued through the night and the house was silent aside the howling wind outside. Liz lay fast asleep in the large room lit by the generous fire. Adjacent to the room, the home office door slowly opened. Covered with her favorite throw and dreaming of a house filled with people laughing and sharing Liz was unaware that next to her a woman wearing a black dress sat in the chair. She had her hair pulled back in a neat bun. Her face was aged but revealed the beauty that once was, and her eyes rested on Liz.

     Liz turned to her side and looked at the empty chair.  She blinked and took in a deep breath. “Nothing is there,” she said. “Go back to sleep,” she told herself.  As she drifted back into her dream, she hummed an unfamiliar tune. The spirit of the woman rose from the chair and hummed the same tune until her translucent stature reached her name on the family tree and disappeared.

     The storm passed while Liz slept and when she woke she raised her head from her pillow and immediately looked to the empty chair. “Goodness,” she said aloud. “Get a grip.” The electricity had not resumed and the fire returned to smolder. She gazed toward the kitchen and on her granite countertop her coffee pot sat empty. “You should have purchased the generator,” she told herself. She rose from the sofa, folded her throw and placed it over the arm of the empty chair, and headed for the staircase.  

As she passed her home office, she saw the door was open, wide open. She was sure she closed it tight. Standing at the doorway of the office looking inside, the room now darker than the main room, her desk covered with notes, unorganized and scattered not only on top of her desk but on the floor as well. “Now Lizzie,” she ridiculed herself. “You get yourself a journal and organize this mess.” She moved around the piles of paper and opened the drapes allowing the daylight in and when she spun around facing her office, the family tree shimmered. Liz swept her hair away from her eyes and smiled at her masterpiece. She felt as if her kin somehow reached from their graves with open arms and shined through the branches of painted names representing their place in time, their lives, “Nice work Lizzie,” she gloated.

     She heard the tires roll on wet pavement, a splash of water, and an annoying screech, “It’s time to get out of here,” she said. She sprinted up the stairs leaving the office door open. Inside, the branches of life, her family tree glistened as the fall leaves of the red maple just outside the window slowly lifted upward as droplets of rainwater fell to the ground. A peaceful moment, but on the other side of the tree, across the long and narrow yard the electricians prepared to fix the broken link between their massive plant and Liz’s house.

Randy Sullivan, a lifelong Rhode Islander, peered at the property. Not a large man, but his piercing eyes intimidated most people. He stood behind the truck and watched Liz leave the house, “Perfect,” he sneered. Liz powered her Honda CRV and gradually rolled out onto the main road.

Randy loathed her living alone just as his mother did when she left. He was twelve when he found his mother and begged her to let him come with her. “No,” she had said to him. “Your father will come looking for you, go away!”  His rage over his mother festered until the day he killed her. Liz, he decided will be his next victim. He had watched her for weeks after following her back from Norwich one Saturday. She was as she usually is alone and vulnerable.

He sucked on his teeth and hollered to Danny. “I’m going around back to check the lines.”

“Watch for dogs,” said Danny. Randy looked back at him and snickered at the way he struggled to get the toolbox open.

“That ought to keep him busy,” Randy said. He worked his way around the back of the house peeking into each window until he reached the opened back door. “Ah, Ms. Taber, you’re slipping,” he whispered, and then entered through the kitchen.

     It was eerie, the silence. The refrigerator, clocks, the creaks in the flooring was void of sound.  “Turn around, go back,” he told himself. Underneath the aroma of flowers from a vase nearby he caught the scent of paper, mounds of it, and beyond that the stench of death.

The office door moved, just a little, and without reason. There was no breeze or movement from anyone in the house to support its ability to move. The door continued to creak as it closed off the small room. The sounds of each creak louder than the one before, and then suddenly it stopped. Randy just stood there, “This isn’t possible,” he said. He finally turned to run like hell and as he did, the door swung wide open. He looked back in enough time to see the door did not recoil, as if someone or something held it against the wall. He begged his legs to move as he stood staring at the door, and then it slammed shut! He dashed out the back door where he saw Danny by the utility truck.  Run, run, he repeated in his mind until he finally gained his voice back and screamed at Danny, “Let’s go!”

Danny had a big smile on his face as he watched Randy run toward him, he asked, “What’s wrong? Did you find the dog?”

 “Get in the truck!” Randy screamed.

As he swiftly made his way to the truck, he saw a man inside the tree line.  He wore gray slacks pulled high up to his waist, and a jacket cut at the hip, with a vest and white shirt. Randy knew from his attire he wasn’t from this time or this world because he seemed… He’s a damn ghost!

He screamed again, “You dumbass get in the truck!” He rushed Danny, and in one swoop shoved him in the truck and pushed him over to the passenger seat. Randy looked back at the house and over to the tree line, he saw nothing but felt imminent danger as he spun the wheels of the truck leaving a ladder behind splattered with mud.

Back in the house, in the small office, Ed Taber’s hand painted name glowed and then faded next to his wife’s name, Isabella Hay, on Liz’s family tree. The whispers between the couple ensued, “Where were you Ed?” Isabella asked. “I was in the field Isabella.” The lights came on, the clock ticked, and the back door closed.

A few miles away Liz continued her drive until she reached the town of Norwich. She rolled the car window down and took a deep breath. The Thames River to her left reminded her of her research and the passages she read about the settlement of Norwich. She thought of the Church family she had read about, and having seen gravestones with the name Church on the same site as her ancestors, she wondered if there were connections. She would have to do the research she thought and grinned as she told herself, why not, it is possible she is a descendant of someone who corresponded with the enemy. After all, she did have an ancestor who spied for the Confederates during the Civil War. She asked what compelled them to do such things. She burst out with a giggle, “Shoot Lizzie what compelled you to leave Virginia.” The rushing water of the Thames River headed for the Long Island Sound. Liz headed for Dunken Doughnut.

She parked and began her walk in the past. The town of Norwich never disappointed as it is rich with history. She bumped shoulders with a young lad and said, “Excuse me.” He mumbled something and scurried on disappearing into the distance. She didn’t notice as she continued to walk down the uneven pathway. That he faded away. Nor did she see the ghost of many integrated with the living in clothing from another period. Nevertheless, they were there.

My Book Blurb Challenge

(The hook)

Liz Taber’s wish for guests is about to come true, and she gets more than she hopes for when her dead ancestors use her art as a portal from the underworld. She discovers a family secret that began in 1885 after a brutal rape and the murder of a child.

(The problem)

An evil entity plagues the Taber family dating back to the fatal event which to this day returns from the depths of hell to seek revenge.

(Resolution)

Liz’s journey begins with her obsession of ancestry research, and unveils the bond, an inherited duty to the family. She is faced with a choice of fulfilling the secrecy or expose the truth to end the curse. 

Her choice will affect the living and the dead.

There it is, my first draft of my book’s blurb.

I find it more difficult to write the blurb than to create an entire novel.  I focused on key words to set the tone of the book, secret, revenge and curse to name a few. Left some questions for the reader who may want to seek an answer. What family secret? Who killed the child in 1885? Is that the person who returns from the depths of hell? If so, who is the revenge on? Why?

 

 

Lately I’ve been

I had been writing for years, sounds like an opening sentence to a novel, but true I had stopped writing for a while and returned after my successful participation in the NanaWriMo 2011. The piece I wrote during the November challenge was published in June 2012. It is a crime novel with lots of action and a character driven by his love for his first sweetheart. Currently I’m writing a ghost story, sounds ordinary doesn’t it? A ghost story. But, it’s also about family and crime and two very strong women. One alive and the other dead, both lively though.

I read alot on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, WordPress, and several other social websites. In fact it takes up most of my time. However, the information on self publishing I find at these sites, you know the how to’s and what works for others, is beneficial, especially for new authors. I love creating stories. Let me say that again, I love it.

Publishing is a bit of a challenge but doable and Marketing sucks. I recently read a blog on the subject and the author suggested that authors stop tweeting a hundred tweets, and all the other marketing tactics and write. Huh? Yes, he suggested authors need many titles, especially more than one book to get noticed. You know what, I tend to agree. After reading the blog I did ease off the tweets, mostly the ones promoting my works. I still tweets stories I find about self publishing on the web. Why? I want to spread the word to new and established authors on what’s current in the self publishing world. I still catch up on FaceBook and GoodReads. I read what’s being posted or reviewed.

I learned about betas through these sites and thought instead of putting much of my free time into promoting and marketing why not focus more on my writing and since I obviously cannot stay away from social sites why not read the works of other authors, give reviews and maybe get one or two of my own work. So here I am. Instead of seeking reviews for an already published book. I seek opinions of my unpublished work before it goes live at Amazon or Smashwords. I found FictionPress on a Bing search. I’m three days old now. I’ve read and gave reviews, and though I’m no pro, I try to both encourage authors and alert them to typos or errors. I am a firm believer that authors cannot edit their own stories. Beta readers like those found at FictionPress can help authors polish their works to publishing quality. Does this take away from hiring a professional editor…maybe not. The more eyes on the story the better.

I recieve email updates on posts /authors I like from WordPress to keep up, but haven’t added much content myself, well actually none since late September. My time flies when ones busy marketing.

New Authors, Fresh Voices

I’ve been working on my next novel The Genealogist’s Guests! You may ask yourself if you were researching your family history and your ancestors start appearing, in spirit form of course, what would it take to realize it’s not your imagination. When you hear the whispers, see movement, maybe a shadow, or a door opening on its own. Maybe your coffee has already brewed when you go to make a pot, or your computer is already turned own when you enter your office. Rationally, you may think to yourself there’s a perfect explanation, you left the computer on, made the coffee and don’t remember doing it, and the whispers are all in your head, but then what happens when your fireplace has a fierce fire built, your lawn in manicured, your evil ghosts, the menacing ex-serial killer ghost tries to kill you.  What happens when your neighbors find out your place is haunted, or worse it’s you that’s haunted. Here’s a little scene from the book:

George climbed back into his white Ford pickup truck. He looked back at Liz as he rolled along the driveway and as he faced forward he thought he saw a man in the tree line. He slammed on his breaks causing the gravel to stir. He captured Liz’s attention and she stood by her flower bed watching the peculiar way George moved around in his seat. George searched the tree line but didn’t see anything unusual. He saw Liz watching him through his rearview mirror. He threw the truck in gear and got on out of there. Liz searched the tree line herself and saw nothing unusual, except that it was a beautiful scene. In fact her acres looked as if someone had meticulously manicured it to a perfect setting. “How splendid,” she said. “My guest will approve.”

George wasted no time getting home to Margaret and when he charged through the door screaming, “It’s just what you said Margaret! She’s got some spirits over there. Saw it with my own eyes!” Margaret wasn’t surprised.

“Calm down George,” Margaret said. “We’ll help Liz. Now tell me what you saw.”

 

The novel is due for release in the fall 2012. Lot’s of work to do, next step get that book cover in the works. I’ve learned the hard way to hire someone to design the cover, along with editing. I self publish, not that I gave traditional publishing a good chance, I didn’t. The allure of self publishing and getting my works out to readers quickly excited me. I truly believe in the indies and have habitually scanned books on Amazon, reading those first chapters, searching for that fresh voice, that compelling story by the next best selling author-indie author. A huge variety of indie author’s works are now published through Amazon, Smashwords, CreateSpace to name a few, and more publishing companies are joining in on the fun. We, the indie’s are appearing on the New York Times best seller list and web blogs all over the internet. There’s real talent in the self publishing and I am excited to be a part of it.

What’s your take on ‘Paid for Book Reviews’

If you haven’t been over to the World Literary Café’s Facebook page you’ve been missing out on some good conversations.  The latest’s being a post about “Paid for Reviews.”  A FB friend found this New York Times’ Article (Look over to the right under my Tweets), The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy,  from the Business Day section and started a conversation at WLC’s FB page. Here’s my opinion of the news.

Here we are the self publishing, indie authors, who have either been shunned by or haven’t tried the traditional publishing route. We go at it alone, without the backing of major advertisers. In this piece it discusses five star reviews, the paid kind, and how there are  paid reviewers out there giving five stars reviews and they haven’t read the books.

Wait did I just write that right. It was the part of the article that stuck out for me. You mean I’d be paying someone to give  false reviews of my baby. Wow what does that do for customers? I’ll tell you what it does, it harms the reputation of all indies. They won’t come back and buy another, possibly from any indie author if the review falsely gives it five stars. This is not fiction.

Just imagine that you’re the one with the most fascinating, well written novel capable of being the number one best seller of all time and you can’t get the attention because some self serving person(s) out there saw a way to make a buck and thought it was a good idea to post bogus reviews, not seeing the bigger picture, that eventually led to the abomination of all indies. Our credibility. It feels very close.

I’ve been a part of writers groups and have read some extraordinary works, stories I had to finish reading right then and there. Seriously could not get off my laptop pieces that I would, without second guessing,  give a five star rating. Novels of such should not be overlooked because the author took the self publishing route.  We’ve come to a new age in publishing.

In self publishing infancy, where we are now, we need a program or a plan that assure indie’s are getting recognition without destroying the overall reputation.  False reviews isn’t going to do.  Ask yourself seriously is this the route you want? Wouldn’t it be better, more satisfying to have an honest review and then if need be, improve on your skills, perhaps take some writing courses, become a master of fiction with great reviews and recognition a hundred years from now?

We have fan pages, FB pages, author websites, and so on that reach, for the most part, us. We need to reach the everyday consumers out there, readers who by word of mouth can recommend our novels.  We need well written, edited works, with  great book covers, that knock the consumers off their butts, stories they can’t resist or stop talking about—and we need to advertise. I encourage authors out there to start looking into this avenue. Me, I’m going to take my local library up on offers of giving them a copy of my book, and if they love it…

Yes they will take and review indie books! They’ll know if its suitable for their shelves.

Once accepted I can then start my own little advertising campaign.  What’s your thought? There’s more to the article than what I picked up on, where should indies go from here? How do we assure our spot as an equal to the traditionals?

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