3 Ways to Get More Comfortable with Self-Promotion

You know you need to self-promote, but it feels so icky! Try these quick tips for getting comfortable with getting your work OUT there.

 

 

 

Cole Smith

 

by Cole Smith

 

Why does self-promotion feel so icky?

 

We’re much more likely to promote our friends and favorite authors than we are to promote our own work. So look at yourself from a distance. Treat yourself like someone you care about and promote the work you believe in.

 

 

Social Media

I get it. There are so many sales pitches in your news feed already: cosmetics, health products, monogrammed totes, kitchen supplies, etc. You don’t want to spam your followers with a constant stream of advertising. So post something about your work once a week. The rest of the time, be focused on others. Remember to give, give, give, ask. People are always interested in a behind-the-scenes glimpse at others’ jobs, so occasionally pull back the curtain on your own creative process, too.

 

 

Local Media

Calling up the newspaper or tv station can be terrifying. What really helped me phone up our newspaper last spring was an emotion that’s, in my opinion, undervalued: anger. I’ve wanted to publish a book since I was eleven years old. I got really angry I hadn’t done it yet, and so it was much easier to coast on the fumes of that motivation. During launch week, I had just enough sassiness left to fire off an email to the paper. It went something like, “Hey, I’m having a launch party for my novel, thought you guys might want to come.” Note: there was no wheedling or begging or apologizing. My tone was a little cheeky, but still respectful and (mostly) professional. In other words, I’m doing this because I love it and it’s what I do. Come be a part of it.

 

 

Your Own Website

You definitely need to flood your website with your products, appearances, and other opportunities for your fans to connect with you. Put share buttons in your footers and along the sidebar. Remind readers to share and to review. Put a call to action in every post, newsletter and menu. And use the Golden Rule. How would you, as a reader, want to be treated? You don’t mind polite reminders when you truly love someone’s content. But if an online marketer is pushy, and you can’t get to their content without jumping through six hoops each time you want to access it, you’ll eventually abandon them, right? Don’t be that guy. Instead, offer great value and clear, considerate calls-to-action.

 

 

Though many writers are introverts, and the thought of public promotion is daunting, we have to get over it. Self-promotion is like so many other skills—with practice, we improve and feel more confident. Don’t just hope others spread the word about your work. Get out there and promote it, too.

 

For you, what’s the most difficult aspect of self-promotion? What do you need to work on?

 

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Cole Smith is a writer, teacher, and mountain biker in West Virginia. She enjoys good coffee and great stories. She shares inspiration, encouragement, and tips for creative overwhelm at her blog, Cole Smith Writes. Her cozy mystery set in smallish-town West Virginia, Waiting for Jacob, is available here.

 

Let’s get social! Find me on Facebook and Pinterest .

 

 

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Halloween 1870s Style

Post by Doris McCraw

Doris

First, I’ll get my new story/promotion out of the way. I have a story in the anthology “One Yuletide Knight” that is now up for pre-order and will be available as an ebook on November 2, 2017 with the print version available shortly after. You can purchase it at: One Yuletide Knight

With October 31, Halloween, approaching, I thought it might be fun to look at how people perceived that date in the 1870s in what most would call the West. Below are some actual pieces from papers of that time.

Here we have almost an advertisement for the evening from the Atchison Globe from Friday October 31, 1879 issue in Atchison, Kansas

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And this warning from the Lawrence, Kansas, Lawrence Republican Daily Journal of October 24, 1878. Seems mischief has been around for longer than we may have thought.

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For the history of the day we can thank the Sedalia, Missouri, Sedalia Daily Democrat of Saturday, November 2, 1878. 

hallow1

hallow

Of course no Halloween would be without the special events that take place. Here from Alden, Iowa issue of the October 10, 1879 issue, we have the following 

halloween fest

And finally this clip from a piece called “The Fairy Quest” from the Saturday, October 4, 1879 issue of the Republic County Journal of Scandia, Kansas.

clip from story halloween

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of what folks back in the 1870s thought about October 31 and Halloween. There are so many stories, and I’m sure each of you have your own. However you celebrate of not, enjoy the fall season and don’t eat too much candy.  I know I won’t be bobbing for apples like I did when I was younger, but I might have a piece of…

Doris Gardner-McCraw -Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

Angela Raines – author: Where Love & History Meet

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

 

 

Getting Educated on Marketing

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

As a writer there are two things I truly suck at, punctuation and marketing.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to work on both.  So when an on line course I had been eyeing was offered for free for one week only I signed up.

sjbrown1butterfly 

This was my first experience with an on line class and how they work.  I knew each day of the Book Marketing Summit I would receive an email with links to the days segments.  On day one I learned there would be 4 or 5 segments each day.  Each link was accessible for 48 hours and then it disappeared.

  sjbrown2pony

The segments consisted of interviews with a knowledgeable professional about a specific aspect of marketing; most of them were an hour long.  That’s four or five hours a day, add in my part time job, laundry, meals, etc, etc.  I would not be spending any time with critters that week.

sjbrown6frog

At the end of the seven days I had worked 26 hours and traveled close to 400 miles to do it.  I had completed all 28 segments and had 40 pages of notes. 

I have now sorted my notes into categories and have a game plan.  The first order of business for me is to start building my list.  What list you ask, why my e mail list of course.  This list will consist of people who want to follow the progress of my publishing journey with my new book. 

On a bi-weekly, or possibly monthly basis I will e mail each of them an update on my progress, and offer a free look behind the scenes every now and then to keep them engaged.  Once the book is released they will get an e mail with a bonus if they purchase the book.   .  If this sounds like a journey you would like to take with me just E mail me sjbrown.pictures@gmail.com.   Feel free to share this blog with others that may also be interested.

sjbrown3emu 

The timing on this marketing summit couldn’t have been better. I am in the final stages of finishing a book my sister and I wrote together.  The working title of the book is simply “Sisters”.  It is a memoir that takes the reader through 12 years of our lives as we become adults.

sjbrown4sisters 

As I build my list I will also be putting together my launch team. What is a launch team?  It’s a group of people that are super interested in this process.  The launch team is my sounding board for decisions on things like the book description, the cover,  keywords, what freebees to offer (launch team members get all the freebies)   categories and more. The launch team members will have first access to the book and I am hoping most will write reviews. 

sjbrown5sisters

There is still a lot to do before we go to print, but I have learned a lot about on line marketing and I am hoping my new found education will serve me well in the future.  What are your marketing secrets? How will you apply them to your next project? 

Thanks for stopping by.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

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S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See CoverHow will you apply them to your next project.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Tell if Your Slip is Showing!

 

 

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

If you are a woman many of you have run into a problem with your slip showing below your hemline. Not only does it look unprofessional, when someone brings it to your attention

sundress-336590_640you are embarrassed. I’ve actually seen a woman standing near me whose half-slip fell right down to her feet. And then there’s the woman returning from the bathroom with her slip and skirt tucked into her pantyhose. Although it’s hard not to laugh you take pity on her and quickly tell her the problem (hey, it could have happened to you!).

Why am I writing a blog post about how to tell if your slip is showing? I am speaking of how it relates to writing. Your writing can slip if you are not careful. Slips of the tongue can make a sentence mean something entirely different than what you intended. Slips with characters names can throw your reader into confusion.

adult-18598_640Slips in the plot of the book can cause a reader to put the book down because he or she doesn’t like your writing style. If your location shifts and the reader has to make his way through the murky waters to find out what you mean, oops, another slip!

How to avoid your slip showing? Edit, edit, edit. Be sure you have read your book many times to catch problems. Have a group of proofreaders you trust give the book a read andtypewriter-801921_640 tell you of anything they catch and be open to changing it. It’ll only make the book better.

Since none of us want our slips to show, it’s only logical we pay very close attention to the plot, the protagonist, the location, and the overall feel of the book. Believe me, you’ll feel a lot better if your slip isn’t showing and you’ll gain readers because they like the professionalism and tune of the writing.

Make sure your slips fit!

 

My Books can be found on Amazon.com

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzared, The Fortune Teller

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an E-book

13 Extreme Tips to Publishing an E-book

Videos for both of the Inzared books can be found on You Tube

You can also find me here:

Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Google

YouTube

Pinterest

Goodreads

Twitter

Linkedin

 

 

The Unexpected by SJ

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This Post by S. J. Brown

Recently I was reminded life rarely goes as planned. Sometimes you just have to go with it. Like the bride & groom that had an extra thousand or so people at their wedding reception. They waved to the crowd, toasted one another and smiled for the cameras. Like when Hubby and I bought a new house and couldn’t move in until six months after settlement. We did a little remodeling and relaxed on our new deck. Making plans are good, but you should always be prepared to tweak your plans just a bit when the unexpected happens and makes life a bit more interesting.

The unexpected is pure gold to a reader. The plot twist they didn’t see coming, the well laid path that leads them to a surprise destination, or the killer they never suspected.

As a wildlife photographer, I live for the unexpected when I am out in the field. A chance encounter with a surprise critter is always a plus.

Coyote

These meetings can have a variety of results. Those results are what drive the stories I write. The seemingly simple photograph that took hours to get, the friendly looking critter that wasn’t all that friendly. Being close enough to a wild animals to hear their breathing. These situations are all part of the life of a wildlife photographer.

Bighorn Sheep

Weather and terrain are also factors when I am in the field. A cloudy day often is more photo friendly than bright sunshine. Rainy days are always a challenge. But if I am there and the critters are there, I cover the camera, put on a poncho and keep shooting. Did you know cold weather kills the camera batteries? They need to be kept warm between shots. Time in the field teaches most wildlife photographers how to deal with this issue and many more.

Moose

Standing ankle deep in muck to get just a bit closer to the subject isn’t uncommon, neither is climbing trees, over rocks or laying on the ground.

Snake

For me the ultimate shot is achieved when a critter pauses, and looks right into the  lens. When viewing a photograph do you consider the angle it was taken from? When reading a murder mystery story do you consider the amount of time and effort that goes into that unexpected ending?

Goose

Fiction writers test the limits of their imagination, while wildlife photographers test their limits of observation.

On November 29th I will be joining a number of fellow authors at the Berkeley Springs WV Book Festival. If you are in the area stop by the Ice House on Mercer Street between 10 am & 4 pm. I will be giving a presentation about wildlife photography. Also I will be sharing photographs and autographing copies of my books. I always enjoy chatting with people about their favorite wild critter. What’s yours?

Cover 3-26-23

Close Ups & Close Encounters Available through CreateSpace, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, and Everywhere Fine Books are Sold

All the Birds I See CoverCover

S. J. Browns Children’s books are available exclusively through S. J. Brown.  at http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com.

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Follow s j brown on facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

Face Your Fears by Cher’ley

This Blog by Cher’ley Grogg

Facing my fears holds a Skyscraper meaning for me. Since I am terrified of heights. Maybe not so much now. Still, typing the word Skyscraper made my stomach flip-flop.

The 6 of us

Speaking of flip-flops, my recent beach vacation was a blast. Del and I enjoyed time with our daughter Brenda, her fiancé Will, Andrew—our middle grandson, and Ben our youngest grandson and his girlfriend Leesa. If we would have done nothing at all, it would have been a great time, but we did much more than nothing.

Riding the Stingray

 

We didn’t actually ride a Sting-Ray, but we did many other daring things:

 Hang-glid

Mid-air crash

A little crash

 

 

Airborne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Air

 

Para-sailing

Del & I going up  Parasailing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climbing a Light House

The Outer Banks Lighthouse

 

Top of the Lighthouse                                    Spiral Staircase

                             

Climbing the Nags Head Lighthouse with the spiral staircase and me scared to death. (Del insisted I smile)                                

When my youngest grandson was six years old, he’d already been making up and singing songs for a while, but when I’d asked him to sing for a group of my friends he said, “Mamaw, I could never sing in front of anyone. I’m too afraid.” About a week later, he came home from school all excited, he had sang in front of his class. I said, “Ben, I thought you were afraid to sing in front of anyone.” He said, “Mamaw, sometimes you just got to face your fears.

As a youngster, I was afraid of neither man, nor beast, lot a long a lofty tree, the very highest point of the biggest bridges around, or the top of a house. Amusement rides were simply amusing. Now even though I have concurred some fears, I still have plenty left for another adventure.

Fear plays a big part in our writing. It especially played an important part in many of the chapters of Stamp Out Murder. The story centered around “A Ghost Walk”. It aslo featured a Ghost. The fear of a murderer running wild in this little town, made everyone leery, especially of strangers. James Freeman, was a stranger in Wanton WV.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 19 in Stamp Out Murder

             I caution you to be very careful. In addition, there has been some poltergeist activity along the pathway. So if a log rolls in front of you or you hear strange noises, do not fear. The poltergeist makes many noises but it will not hurt you. The danger would be if you got caught up in one of its pranks and fell. It would be so easy to fall into the river and who knows what could happen from there.”       

             The docent paused. The heavy evening air howled through the valley. Leaves rustled. The fog rose from the river. All eyes were on Richard Brown. He held a finger to his lip. 

               The rustling rapidly moved just above the walkway. People gasped.             

               “Shh. Shh.” The guide held his hands flat out in front of him and pushed down towards the ground as if to say, “keep it down”. Everyone obeyed.

               The rustling became louder. 

 

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My latest Story “Wild Injuns, Wicked Trains, and Cerulean Blue” is in the Anthology “Cowboys, Creatures, and Callico”. If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think.

***How does Fear or Face Your Fears, play a part in your work?”

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. And she has a new one that is freshly published with 11 other authors. 

Stamp Out Murder”.

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey BackThe JourneyBack 3

 

Boys Will Be Boys   

The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology

 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

To Promote or To Not Promote-That is the Question by Cher’ley

This Blog by Cher’ley Grogg

A few more tips about promoting.

The Business of Being an Author

Even if you’re an accomplished writer, it takes more than a few hundred brilliant manuscript pages to become a successful book author. From writing an attention-getting query letter or book proposal, to understanding the clauses of a book contract, to marketing and publicity in the digital age, the business of being a book author is hard work and can be as complex as it is rewarding.

New Author FAQs: Book Publicity

Here are some common answers to questions about book PR

There are lots of articles about book publicity on this site, but many new authors have the same basic questions about getting their books in front of the media.

How will reviewers hear about my book?
You need to figure this out. It’s very important.

Book Daily 

I am going to try the free section this month on Book Daily to see how the promotions turn out. I will keep you posted.

Don’t for get to use the ones that we normally use like posts to Hootsuite, Facebook, Twitter, Your Book Blogs and your Fan Page.

 

Another powerful tool, I believe is your Amazon Author Page. You need to get your book out there and your face too. 

 

Image of Cher'ley Grogg

Cer’ley Grogg first wants to greet you, “Howdy”.Cher’ley writes different genres. “The Journey Back–One Joy at a Time” is a devotional book she just finished. “Stamp Out Murder” is a cozy mystery and “The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk is a YA novel. Cher’ley co-authored “Small Town America” and “West Virginia Memories”. She is featured in and she has many poems, short stories and articles published online and in print books. Some of her hobbies are photography, and painting fine art. She has received awards in both mediums and she has art is in collections throughout the United States and foreign countries. She enjoys fishing, reading, walking, dancing, and long, long baths. She loves the Lord, her husband, children and grandchildren, and loves spending time with each of them. Tootsie, her Cairn Terrier is a true joy. Cher’ley and her husband, Del, have seen the country through the… Read more

 

     

     

     

    ***What are you doing for Promotion? If you are a reader, what gets your attention? ***

     

    Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. And she has a new one that is freshly published with 11 other authors. Stamp Out Murder”.

    The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

    The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey BackThe JourneyBack 3

     

    Boys Will Be Boys   

    The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology

    Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

    Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

     

    This is a guest blog from Linda’s site and Alan’s site

     

     

     

    Richard Sherman vs. William Faulkner – What Matters More the Product or the Personality? by Travis

    Travis RichardsonThis blog by Travis Richardson

    File:Seattle Seahawks 2000.jpgSo one of the most lopsided Superbowls in NFL history is over, and, while this post might seem stale since any cultural event is only fresh enough to comment on for the first couple of hours before becoming passé, I want to go waaaaay back in time to the NFC championship in January of this year. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman set the internet on fire (at least in the US) for trash talking San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree after the ‘hawks won the game. The majority of the public opinion thrashed Sherman mercilessly, some of which he deserved and some of which was out of hand and just straight-up racist. Without a question, he displayed unsportsmanlike conduct (you won, dude – no need to keep intimidating your defeated opponent). But, as many of his defenders have said, calling him a thug was out of line. A braggart displaying inappropriate WWE behavior, yes. Thug, no. Sherman’s response to the entire situation is here

    Anyhow, a few days after the NFC championship, I read an interview with William Faulkner from 1956 that the Paris Review put online. (Read it here.) 

    This highly esteemed writer, winner of the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, dispensed sage advice for up and coming writers. He encouraged constant writing to improve skills: “There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error.” He believed a writer didn’t need grant money to write: “The writer doesn’t need economic freedom. All he needs is a pencil and some paper.” He proposed a writer needed only three things to write: “experience, observation, and imagination—any two of which, at times any one of which—can supply the lack of the others.” All of this is solid advice from an undisputed master of prose.

    Oh yeah, and he said this about writers getting distracted by success and wealth: “Success is feminine and like a woman; if you cringe before her, she will override you. So the way to treat her is to show her the back of your hand. Then maybe she will do the crawling.”

    	Horror author Stephen King scared up a social media controversy after tweeting about Dylan Farrow’s open letter accusing her father, Woody Allen, of sexual abuse.Whoa, that’s some 1950s whiskey-fueled misogyny disguised as wisdom. Definitely nobody could say this today without enduring the raging wrath of the internet. (Stephen King made a long apology for a tweet a couple of days ago.) Yet the article’s interviewer continued with questions about Hollywood, seemingly unfazed by Faulkner’s previous comment. When I read the quote, I was shocked. Did he really say that?

    The question then arises: after reading the interview, what do I now think of one of the 20th century’s greatest writers? What do you think of him? Should we condemn the memory of Faulkner, shouting our outrage from the rooftops much like the attacks Sherman received, or does he get a free pass because he was a product of his environment and the southern gentleman just didn’t know any better?

    While Faulkner wrote great prose with groundbreaking innovation, he was apparently a first class a-hole too.

    So this leads me to the following point about artists and athletes, should we separate the art from the artist? Athletic performance from the athlete’s personality? Is that even possible in the age of the internet and instant opinion?

    I like Woody Allen movies, but I don’t think I could spend time with the man (even ignoring the child predator allegations, the Allen documentary Wild Man Blues felt like nails screeching across a blackboard). Beethoven was an egocentric genius who reportedly abused his nephew and others, yet he composed amazing music. Sometimes it feels like ignorance is the best strategy, just like sausage making and politics at work: it’s less complicated if we only see the end product. In the cases of Sherman and Faulkner, if we only focus on the game or the books themselves and nothing more, oh what a wonderful world. We wouldn’t have to deal with our own ethical inconsistencies and prejudices.

    The funny thing is that if Richard Sherman had not said what he did, I would have just remembered some defensive back made a great, game-ending play in the 49ers end zone. Now I know his name and his entire biography.

    What are your thoughts about art and the artist? Performance and personality? Are they inseparable? Let me know.

    My novella Keeping The Record just came out yesterday. Only $2.99 for the story of a disgraced, steroid era home run traveling across the country to stop a second baseman from breaking his record. Keeping_The_Record-final_1024x1024

    Also my first novella Lost in Clover. 

     Here is my website and Facebook page.

    I am also reviewing Chekhov short stories with a friend at Chekhov Shorts.

    Seahawks photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/2649837565/in/set-72157606051708780/ This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

    Reading Challenge by Travis

    Travis RichardsonThis blog by Travis Richardson

    So 2014 is here, and I’m already feeling behind. I accomplished a lot in 2013, but at the same time there was a lot more I wanted to do. As a writer I try to read as much as possible, but as a reader I am insufferably slow. The advantage had been that I usually retain a lot of what I’ve read (although as my age advances I’m seeing a little slippage). However  there is so much more out there that I want to consume. So I’ve set a reading goal of 29 books. That’s two a month, plus an additional five. It is also a prime number, but that is neither here nor there.

    I looked for a reading challenge, but didn’t find many (or didn’t use proper search criteria). And honestly I don’t want every book that I’m going to read to be defined ahead of time. So I came up with the following list that will keep my mostly crime reading diverse this year. Feel free to use this list too.

    2014 Reading Challenge  – 29 books

    1. Mistress of Fortune CoverDebut author. There is nothing better than supporting an author who has just been published for the first time. I’ve already started reading Holly West’s Mistress of Fortune.

    2. Bestseller. So many to choose from and you can’t miss them at the stores, airports, or Amazon. I haven’t read Gone Girl yet, so that’s going on the list.
    3. Next book in a series. If you’ve already read a book in series, follow up with the next one. I think I’ll finish out Duane Swierczynki’s Charlie Hardie/Accident People series with Point and Shoot.

    4. Tales serial.jpgClassics. These are the pillars of literature that have influenced generations of writers and readers.  I’ve got my eye on Charles Dickens’  A Tale of Two Cities for quite a while. You can find many classics for free at Gutenberg Project.

    5. Biography of a writer. Since you’re reading stories by authors, why not read about how one of them lived (or eked out an existence). I’m going to look at Jim Thompson’s first biography, Sleep with the Devil. Maybe later I’ll take on the National Book Award winning Thompson bio, Savage Art.

    6. Anthology of short stories by various authors. There many to choose from, and I have no doubt I’ll read several this year. So let me suggest three anthologies that I managed to get into: All Due Respect Vol #1 (99 cent sale going on right now!), Girl Trouble, and Scoundrels: Tales of Greed, Murder and Financial Crimes. 

    7. Anthology of short stories by one author. I’m thinking of Steve Weedle’s Country Hardball.  I’ve been blown away by brutal tales in Frank Bill’s Crimes of Southern Indiana and Jordan Harper’s American Death Songs.

    8. A twentieth century book. We’re talking the Nineteen-oughts to the 90s — a hundred years to choose from. I’m thinking something mid-century from the likes of Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, or Patricia Highsmith.

    9. Book from a small press. There are so many great small presses out there today needing new customers.  A few examples are Down and Out, Untreed Reads, Henery Press. My book Lost in Clover is published through Untreed Reads, and they currently have a reading challenge with free books! If can, go help out an indie out.

    10. A novella. Novellas are often tightly crafted stories that pack a punch. Two publishers that come to mind who are making great modern pulp are Stark Raving Group and Snubnose Press. Stark Raving has a subscription service. You can get a year’s worth of novellas for less than the price of a hardcover and a paperback.

    11. A 500+ page book. A thriller or something literary, probably. Haven’t made up my mind yet what that book will be. It will be interesting to compare the differences between a novella and a large novel if you read one after the other.

    12. An author you’ve never heard of. Go for a complete unknown. Obviously I don’t know who this is, but I’ll pick up something by someone I know nothing about.

    13. A book that is different from anything else on the list. I work with an epidemiologist who told me that he gets some of his best inspiration by going to lectures in areas he knows little about, like engineering. Most of my reading is going to be crime fiction dominant, so I might go for a sci-fi or fantasy tale or maybe a western or a historical novel.

    14. Look at the first 13 books and see if there is a dominant sex of the authors. If there are more men than ladies on the list, then the next book should be written by a woman. If there are more xx’s, then it’s time to read something from the xy side of the genetic code.

    15- 29. – Free-for-all. With 14 books hopefully read, there will be a pile of books that either didn’t fit the list or that you’ll want to read several more of.

    Again, feel free to use this list or make your own. This is a sort of roadmap that I’ll be using. 

    Also, to keep myself busier than I should, a friend and I will be launching a website to challenge ourselves and others to try to read all 200+ English translated stories of Anton Chekhov in a year. The launch date is set for January 29, Chekhov’s birthday. We’ll be using the Constance Garnett translations that can be found in the public domain. The name of the yet to be launched site is chekhovshorts.com.

    Happy reading to you in the New Year!

    What’s on you TBR (to be read) list? If you’re an author, how’s it going on your readership? If you are an artist or artisan, please share your goals for 2014. 

    To find out more about Travis Richardson see his website: http://tsrichardson.com

    Find my Novel here:

     Lost in Clover

    CU, C-ME, C3 by Cher’ley

    That’s what I do at Conferences–CU and other people. I arrived on Friday before noon (in case they needed extra help).

    This Blog by Cher’ley Grogg

    After years of following and becoming online friends (way before Facebook) with Austin Camacho, I finally met him and hisAustin and Denise lovely wife Denise. The C3 conference was their idea and it was designed for readers and writers to meet and exchange ideas, and to enjoy each other’s company in an informal atmosphere. Austin was a member of our blog group for a while, but he didn’t have the time to keep up with it. He has remained a friend of mine and of Writing Wranglers and Warriors and often shares the blog. Maybe he will join us again some day.

    IJeffrey Deavers met Jeffery Deaver (another writer who greatly influenced me) and he was interested in my stories about life on the truck (Life in the Fast Lane). He is an international best seller. He wrote “The Bone Collector” among many others. He’s been writing for 30 years.

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    He gave five points for new writers to follow:

    1.  Know your audience and give them what they want.
    2.  Write in the genre that you read because you’ve already learned a lot about it.
    3.   Take the authors you admire and who have written successful books in your opinion and you tear those books apart. Outline them. Learn what they did and when they did it.
    4.  You need to outline your books. You need to structure you books. It doesn’t have to be as extensive as I do, but you need to structure the books so you know where it’s going to go.
    5. Finally, remember that a rejection is a speed bump. It’s not a brick wall. And just keep at it.

    I’ve already shared ideas from the two panels I was on. “Writing Sex in Novels” and “Where Do Ideas Come From?”

    They also talked my husband, Del into being on a panel.

    “What it’s like to Live with a Professional Liar”.

    I think he enjoyed it too much.

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    The Saturday luncheon featured bestselling author Brian Keene whose 2003 debut novel The Rising–considered one of the best-selling zombie novels of all-time.–and translated into over a dozen languages. It inspired the works of other authors and filmmakers, and has become a cultural touchstone for an entire generation of horror fans. His book the Ghoul was made into a TV movie and debuted on the Chiller Network in April 2012.

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    John Gilstrap was also there and he is also a best seller. I was surrounded by famous people who acted just like the rest of John Gilstrapus. We had a good time and really got to know each of them, as well as many fans and other authors. There were people there from the very first stages of writing to the very prolific and profitable stages. The one thing you heard in each class was laughter and you know what my favorite thing to do is. LOL.

    An Interview with John Gilstrap, Author of Scott Free Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been fascinated by survival stories. There’s something very compelling about the notion of one person stranded in the wilderness, pitted against impossible odds, somehow triumphing over it all.

    John was fascinating and I’ll be reading his books soon, after I finish the more famous, in my eyes, books by our own Writing Wranglers and Warriors.

    At one of the conference sessions, I was in the same group with Brian Keene, sitting by John Gilstrap, listening to Jeffery Deaver, who was on a panel being monitored by Austin Camacho.

    It was almost as much fun as sitting (Quietly-Grinning here), listening to Del telling secrets about me.

    So if you get a chance to go to a conference-GO! I have been to several and I’ve never been disappointed. If you get a chance to go to C3-definately go.

    ***How about you, what is your conference experience?***

    Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. 

    Stamp Out Murder”.

    The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

    The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time   and the B&W Edition of The Journey BackThe JourneyBack 3

    Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

    Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE