Wade Glenn


my brother in his chair

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.

Shia LaBeouf


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.

A New Year, New Beginnings!


drowning in social media 2

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.

drowning in social media 1

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.

Transgender


I have a friend who is going through this and is having some difficulty, that from what I understand is fairly common. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first. I have worked in the public doing customer service in one form or another from retail, to phone support to selling books at fairs and events. I see women dressed entirely in men’s clothing, (throwback to the retail) I have helped men pick out clothing for them to wear that weren’t too feminine but would pass for male clothing. Did I fight it at first? heck yes! I didn’t like the idea of a man wanting to be a woman. I thought, how dare he? Women go through so much as it is and now he wants to walk in our shoes? Same with women, they wanted the easy way out and live in a man’s world.

Back to this friend of mine, I loved reading his stories when he was still known as “Chris”. I heard his voice throughout the story-line as if he were reading it out loud. Then a few years ago he started talking about this change he was going to go through. He later confessed his plan to become “Kris”. I was like, o.k. not sure what that meant. I had read his posts from time to time and saw the transformations he was going through until one day I saw her. But you know what? I still hear the same voice when I read her writings. It dawned on me right then, It’s not the outward appearance that we like or are drawn to, its the person inside. Do I still consider Kris a friend? heck yes and I love her even more now. I can’t pretend to know what she is going through or how she feels right now. But if she is becoming on the outside who she visualizes herself to be in the inside then I am so proud of her for doing what many fear to do.

Probably not the clearest yet, I write with my son, and we usually write male characters as the lead. I feel more comfortable writing in that voice than I do female character. I wouldn’t have a clue as to how to write a girly girl character. But I think that is the point. We write what we have experience with . male characters because I grew up around boys. Yes, I’m a tom boy. 🙂  I guess what I’m trying to say is in my own clumsy, inept way is that I support anyone who is going through the change. You are who you are on the inside and the outside is just a shell. I thank Kris for sharing her story and for blogging about her changes, challenges and some of the valleys she is walking through on her journey. No this isn’t about me but it is, She has helped me to understand better and to realize the person who chooses to go through these changes don’t do it lightly. They are still the same person they always were on the inside, they just want the outside to reflect it. Hell I don’t know if anyone will read this or not, but I just wanted to write this down to say thank you Kris for sharing your journey. I love you!

Jennifer Louiske’s blog tour!


Jennifer Loiske

How old were you when you finished your first book?

Twenty-ish. It was a children’s book but then life happened and I had to put my writing aside for a while. It took almost six years after that before I was able to start writing again.

(We know how it is when life happens! Glad when we can pick up the writing again!)

How long did it take you to write it?

About one year. Yeah, I know I’m a slow writer…and yeah, it only had thirty-ish pages…

(still working on some of ours, so we also know about slow processes)

What do you do to keep yourself going when you aren’t motivated?

I’m always motivated! I have so many things going on that if I get tired of one project I can jump on the next one and get back to the ‘boring’ one later.

(motivation is always good!)

Which comes first the chicken or the egg… I mean the plot or the characters?

It varies. Sometimes I get obsessed with one character and build the story around him/her, but sometimes the whole plot is ready before I start to write.

(Variety is the spice of life!)

When you set your characters do you use character bios/ sketches or do your characters just land on the page?

Character bios. I write series so it’s impossible to remember all the details about the characters without doing their bios. However, sometimes during the writing I add a ‘surprise’ character or two if the story requires so.

(we like surprises too)

Do you have any advice for the editing process?

First advice: edit, edit, edit and then edit some more. And the second: Know when to quit editing!

(yeah thats a tough one there)

If you could do everything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything?

Yes. I think I did every possible mistake with my first book. So definitely yes. I would re-write some parts of the story and change the plot line a bit…

(we all feel that way about our first one.  🙂  )

 

Describe yourself in one word –

Workaholic

What super power would you like to have –

Mind-reading

I live in Finland in Naantali, which is a small sunny town on the southwest coast (mostly known of the Moomin Valley). I’m a pre-school teacher by profession but I stayed home when my youngest daughter suffered brain fever, which developed severe epilepsy in 2004. I guess that’s when I first considered starting writing again as I had to stay awake and monitor her whilst she was sleeping and it can be really sleepy and boring when the house is quiet… I’m a workaholic and I always have a lot of projects going on at the same time. I write articles to the magazines and I’m a part of the team that makes Epilepsy Finland Magazine. I love chips, cheesy teen movies (and series too!), books, animals and I have a soft spot for the ones in need of a helping hand. A huge part of my royalties go to charity; mainly to help families with epileptic children but also to the epilepsy units in the hospitals.

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