What is the Funky Tulip you might ask? Well let me tell you! Continue reading
O.k before you get too upset, if you are religious, or not, atheist or what ever. If you don’t want to read this quandary turn back now. O.k You have been warned, read on at your own risk.
As many know, I have been struggling with a lot lately. One of them is how to pray. It says in the bible to do the Lords prayer and not the lengthy reading off a grocery list of praises and concerns. The lord knows what you want and need. But yet in the very same bible it also shows Jesus praying to his Father to take the cup from his hand the night before he is to be crucified. I have been saying the Lords Prayer trying to keep it short and sweet but sometimes I get to where I want to talk to him like a friend or a confidant. I don’t have a preacher to talk to about it and quite frankly I’m pretty sure they would really not care to talk to me. My past experience hasn’t been the most favorable. I don’t have a lot of money to leave a church so not much reason to minister to me personally. Not griping just saying it’s the way it is. I love the Lord, don’t get me wrong, I pray constantly and about everything from praying there is always enough food when cooking a meal, to getting us through our travels safe and sound. I pray for friends and family whether they express a need or not.
I also worry and pray about my brother. Some say he was a God fearing man but he just didn’t have time for church and stuff. He was so bitter towards the end about most people. I worry if he went to heaven. The thought of never seeing him again is unbearable, but the thought of not seeing him on the other side is, well, it makes me think twice about wanting to go to heaven myself. He was my brother and no it doesn’t make sense. I was his big sister and supposed to take care of him.
So my question is to you preacher types out there, all one or two of you who read this, lol, is it o.k to pray in other ways other than saying the Lord’s Prayer? Why or why not. Thank you for your time, patience and for actually reading this. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.
This year has been a tough year so far. I just haven’t figured out how to get over the death of my brother. We both had separate lives but he was my brother. We were only 18 months apart so very close growing up. I miss him more than I can say. I know life is supposed to go on. We are supposed to find our “normal” life again but I just don’t seem to be able to find it. Last year I was gung ho about getting our paperback books out for people to read. This year, since his passing, I have had a real struggle to find my footing again. I feel like a big part of me has been lost. He was so strong and hardly ever sick. He was the outgoing and easily made friends. I was the shy more reclusive sibling. I just wish he were still here.
On the writing front, I have the Kai’s Journey series done and finally put to bed. The box set, the adult version and all three of the books out as well. Now to move on to our next adventure of writing. I know we have Fallen Angel and The Gas Pipe Murders to do and get published. I just want to keep going and keep moving. Maybe my way out is through storytelling. I hope it helps get me out of the funk.
I worry about my mom, but at the same time I fear losing her, this causing me to distance myself from her. She hates taking her meds to help keep her from having another stroke. Which worries me. Charlie was her favorite kid. Trust me, after 40 plus years, I’m o.k with it. It is what it is. She still loves me too, but he was her baby boy. I know we all have to pass someday but I had hoped Charlie would be the last of us, he was the first.
I’m tired and scared that I may never get back to where I was. I keep trying but often wonder what is the point? No not offing myself, just don’t know how to continue with life, work, everything. I just wish I could find a way to move forward. Maybe the murder writings will help as well as the space exploration. I hope everyone has a wonderful evening.
Everyone has advice to follow of how to become the next successful writer. Stephen King obviously has ideas on what you should or shouldn’t do. A good friend of mine, Martin Crosbie has really good ideas of ways to go about getting your book out there and noticed. Go on amazon.com and just type in How to Publish and you will see hundreds if not thousands of books giving you advice, ideas and in some cases, lectures of what to do and what not to do. Everyone of these authors has found what works for them. Trust me, it works really well for them. The thing most fail to realize is that you have to find what combination of the “success formula” works best for you! Is it a bit of Stephen, a dash of Martin and a little Matthew Davenport for good measure.
All of the ideas and plans used by these folks are all good and work. The key is finding what works best for you. Stephen King says cut out tv and write in a room with no distractions. Terry Brooks, from my understanding writes in silence as well. Others, like to write with a cat on their lap, like the one that is on mine now, helping me type. Others want noise, tv going, kids playing, music playing, or any of the above and more.to help them get into the writing zone. Some say you have to get the whole thing written in no more than 3 months time otherwise you will lose your flow of the story. Some people crank out stories in several days, weeks, or like me, some of our stories have taken over a year to complete. Some people write daily, and they say you aren’t a true writer unless yo do write daily. That, again is not always true either. Sometimes life happens and doesn’t allow you to write daily.
Online marketing is another little nightmare that can be hard to figure out and many have an opinion on. The thing most need to know about, remember and just plain relax on is this. Experiment with things, facebook, twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, or the hundreds of other sites that you frequent. Test the waters there and see what kind of reaction you get. Avoid the “Buy my book” angle though. It can be hard, but it is doable. Are there going to be things that just don’t work for you? Heck yes! not very good with Twitter, that’s o.k. Don’t have a clue as to how to work Goodreads. That’s perfectly alright as well. There are plenty of people out there willing to help you out and teach you how to at least get a basic working knowledge of it.
A good friend of mine, Cassidy Frazee writes like a machine! She blocks everything out, is organized and knows how she wants the story to go. Me? I am a fly by the seat of my pants writer. I have a general idea of the story but when I’m writing it, I often get surprised by a turn of events I didn’t plan or see coming. Others jump around in their stories writing this part, then going back to that part. That would drive me nuts!
A good friend gave me a bit of advice a long time ago that I still use to this day. “Everyone has advice on life, raising babies, how to publish, etc. Take the advice you want or works for you, use it and throw the rest away. It’s the same with publishing. When you aren’t selling millions like Stephen King, “But I followed his advice to the letter! but I did notice that part worked some for us” Or you aren’t selling thousands like Martin Crosbie, “Again, I followed his book and did all the homework! but that bit on the facebooking and the places to get advertising worked pretty well.” That’s o.k! you just need to find what works for you and your book.
You aren’t Stephen King or Martin Crosbie or even Cassidy Frazee. Take what is working for you, make it better and keep exploring and trying new things. One day you will notice that you are doing exactly what you are meant to do and what works best for you. Just as you have to keep your voice in the story, you have to write and market in a way that works best for you and your book.
Keep learning, keep growing, find new ways and ideas. If it doesn’t work, that’s o.k just move on to the next thing and take note of the things that do work for you. The thing to remember is to keep going, keep writing and don’t stop learning.
My brother passed away on January 24th of this year. It was very unexpected and from what I hear, he was dead before he even hit the floor. We always called him Charlie. Every since I can remember that’s what we all called him. I am his older sister by 18 months. Growing up we fought like cats and dogs but we also were very close. I have had to be detached to keep my head about me and be there for our mom. You see, growing up, it was always just my mom my brother and me. I have cried some at home and with my husband, but not around my mom.
The pain of missing my brother is at times more than I can bear. But seeing my mom’s face when she was going to call my brother to help her with something only to realize she can’t breaks my heart. I won’t lie, it’s been very tough trying to get my own life back on track of sorts. This is the one and only time I will write about my brother. I had thought to do a book about his life, but I fear at this point it will be too painful a project.
Growing up we shared fun, laughter, and inside jokes that only we got. We did childish things and dreamed childish things. We would talk about having our own sunshine walking to school on cold winter mornings, warm enough to melt the snow around us so we could go to school in shorts and t shirts. Yeah, we were dreamers! We played in the creek and chased minnows, craw-daddies and other bugs while there. Charlie liked snakes. Me, not so much. There wasn’t a spot in the town we grew up in we hadn’t covered at one point or another. That included any old building that most people didn’t even realize was still up! yes, we climbed on the roof, yes we could have fallen to our deaths, but you know, we just never thought about that stuff. We could climb trees, bridges, pretty much anything that didn’t scare us. Old buildings, didn’t scare us. I did not climb over a stopped train, he did, once. Mom found out and about tanned his hide for it too. That dratted blue bird snitched on us.
The railroad tracks at that time was safer to walk on to go to the next town than walking on the road. Yes, we watched for trains and were careful.
My brother joined the military and served from 1986 to 1993. He had been to Germany and traveled all over while there. Did he do crazy stuff? yeah, he did. but He always came home. My brother learned how to fight very well and most people didn’t mess with him, even as a kid and before he learned all that military training. And if someone did hurt my brother, I was ready to go. Even though he could take me. Go figure, brains weren’t my strong suit when it came to him being hurt. I found out later, he was the same about me. When he heard a couple of guys had hit me, yeah, he took care of it. We didn’t always get along, But we were family.
Every day I miss him. Most of the time, I just think of him at work or he is home sleeping. I don’t think about where he is now. I know, not dealing with it isn’t a good thing. But for now, I have to.
What I want to do and what I get to do are two completely different things. I just want to curl up and cry, scream, yell, throw things, and not do a damned thing. Just shut the world out. He is my younger brother and he was supposed to outlive me and mom. I guess life doesn’t follow our thinking on that. College courses still need to be finished, book publishing still needs to go on, vendoring dates still need to be filled. Life still goes on and every day it’s a real struggle to keep going. I have to though, I have family depending on me and I won’t hurt my mom any more than she has already had to endure. I can’t understand why he passed, why he didn’t take better care of himself, why he didn’t say anything to us. He drank heavily and knew he had health issues. But in the end, I suppose he went the way he would have wished, here one minute and gone the next. Not suffering.
I have almost given up on socializing on Facebook and stuff, I just don’t see the point any more. I find it hard to see the point in a lot of things any more. I know it will get better but for now. It’s just a lot of pain and a lot of hidden tears. I don’t have answers, I don’t have any golden gems of advice, just pain.
We just watched the movie last night called Fury. I really liked the actors who were in it and loved how well everyone of them did. Brad Pitt, did a fantastic job as well as Logan Lerman who played Norman and Shia LeBeouf who proved he can do other characters very well. Michael Pena as well as Jon Bernthal were all great actors who did fantastic. I know it wasn’t received all that well but we really liked it and it’s realism. War is not now nor has it ever been pretty and they showed that very well for the movie.
Shia LaBeouf has been praised and criticized by the same people for a while now. When he was a kid and doing the good guy stuff everyone praised and loved him but I don’t think they really took him seriously. They kept type casting him in the goofball hero stereotype. Lately he has been getting into more gritty and raw roles of the not so good guy and doing a fantastic job. I sometimes think that is why he has gotten himself into some of the trouble he has been into to show he can do more and show he is a serious actor. When I watched him in Fury I felt his character to my bones. The way he worked with Brad Pitt in keeping his character grounded when he was losing it. The way he played off of Michael and Jon was brilliant. All the actors added to each other in ways that really had you feeling their bond at having been through so much together that only war can do.
I know my view point don’t mean diddly squat in the large scheme of things, I’m no great reviewer or critic but just a regular person who happens to see beyond some people’s antics to see who they truly are. This doesn’t mean I know Shia in any way shape or form, but still think he is a good guy. I just wanted to give props to Shia for a wonderful performance on Fury and many other shows and thank him for his participation in his music videos to show a different artistic side to him. Thank you for growing and exploring the arts.
We are into the new year of 2015 and I have been doing some serious thinking and soul searching. I have noticed a few things over the last year and made some observations that taught me a lot. We write and publish books. Since we didn’t know a single solitary thing about it when we started we tried everything. And when I say that, I literally mean exactly that. There were a few things I refused to do because I didn’t feel it was a good fit for us or what most call our brand. We write young adult fantasy books and the last few years have been a great learning experience that as of yet, there are no college courses to teach you. What works for one doesn’t work for all so I have had to learn what works and doesn’t work for us. Here are a few things we have learned.
1. The social media of sharing each others twitters, Facebook places to post about your books, or blogs to share to blog hop with, plain do not work for us. I have seen it work for quite a few, but for the vast majority, it doesn’t. All you are doing is blasting out the same things over and over again, basically spamming everyone. Soon people stop paying attention to your posts, this makes your efforts useless and devoid of any chance of reaching any readers period. The ones that do well in book sales, you will never find in tweet groups, or blog hops, or even on facebook groups tooting everyone else’s horn. They just go about their business of writing their books, making meaningful conversations every now and then on a few social media sites and do their job. They don’t spend hours and hours tweeting, sharing, blogging in hopes of boosting their book rankings.
2. Thinking that the online social media place is the ONLY place to sell your books is totally wrong. We have been going to fairs, art’s and craft events and other gatherings and selling paperback books to people. We get to talk to people face to face. We get to find out what they do like and what they don’t. It gives us a chance to interact with others and network with other vendors who are also out there trying to sell their wares as well. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to start doing it, nor do you have to travel hundreds of miles to do it either. Find a mileage you are comfortable driving and find fairs, craft shows, county fairs and other venues to set up a booth and sell your books. This puts a face and a real person to the books you are trying to get others to know about.
3. Am I saying do exactly as I am doing? No, I say find what does and doesn’t work for you. Cast a wide net and hone it down to what works. Remember why you are doing this in the first place, to write your stories. Will there be times you get discouraged and feel like quitting? Yes, but keep going and keep track of the ways you have tried and keep track of what does work and what doesn’t. In this way you will eliminate what isn’t working and focus on what does. Check out the sites people talk about, find a few authors who you see are doing well with their sale and just watch to see what they do and notice what they don’t do. The two that I mainly follow and have seen do well over the long haul is Madison Johns and Martin Crosbie. Those two have done consistently well ever the few years we have been in this venture we started in November of 2011.
4. You will run into sites that tell you they can promote your book to the masses and raise your book rankings by leaps and bounds. Keep track of the places you go to, the free ones and the ones that cost a fee. There are some really good ones out there and some not so good ones as well. The main thing is, you have to find what works best for you and your book. Ask around for good sites to place your books ads in. There are good ones and bad ones just like any other place.
I don’t have all the answers for everyone, I’m only able to find answers for what does and doesn’t work for a mother and son writing team who write young adult fantasy books for kids ages 10 and up. Our friend Dan Peyton said it best, “going from group to group to let people know about your book is like going from hair salon to hair salon in hopes of finding a job in a room full of hair stylists already there looking for a job. You aren’t finding people who need a hair cut, just people willing to cut it.” How do you stand out in a sea of writers both indie and traditionally published? I am beginning to think the key to that is finding your own way. Stop following the masses and just find your own way to get noticed.
Are there thousands of books out there to help you figure out how to sell your books? Yes, are they all right? Yes and no. They found what works best for them. Take their information and use what works best for you. They found what worked best for them. Just as one pair of pants don’t fit all people, one way of getting published and selling a ton of books won’t work for everyone.
So what is this year going to mean for us? We are going to cut down where we have accounts on so many sites. There are places, I don’t even remember any more! I’m going to cut it down to what does work for us and just go with that. I am going to clean up our social media footprint. I am going to continue to watch for new places and sites to either place an ad on or just to explore. Never stop learning and never stop growing. Just as social media is always changing so is how the publishing industry works. So go out there, make mistakes, learn from them and find out what works for YOU best.