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Writing and Marketing Posted on March 16, 2013 Writing, Selling, Writing and Selling!

I don’t know about you, but when I started to write naturally I only thought of writing. Owning my own business or thinking about moving product was the last thing on my mind. What excited me was creating new worlds and characters. Wondering about the things these characters would do and then making it happen on the page is what kept my juices flowing. Then it happened, as I’m sure it happens for all writers. Your book’s completed. You’ve done all the editing and rewrites, you’ve sent it out to the editor, the cover art is done, you’ve taken the time to dedicate your book and now the big day, the day you send it out to the world. But now what? You’ve gone to Createspace and to Kindle Direct Publishing and hit the submit button dreaming of all the people who will read your work and then a day later the only person who has purchased your book is your mother. Not exactly the stuff that dreams are made of. (Sorry Mom)

It is at that moment that you realize that a writer in this world also has to be a master at marketing. (This is true whether you go traditional or independent.) How should you market? Should you go social media? Should you get print ads? Would spots on the radio work or how about a book tour? The answer to all of this is a resounding yes, what ever you can do. Okay then, but how do you do this and write and keep your regular job going? Before I go on about the other marketing ploys, I will tell you that the less sleep you can survive on, the better. Hey, did Edison sleep much or other notable people in history who created? No, I don’t think they did, but I would venture a guess that they felt darn good seeing their products successful. (I know that Edison was not an author, but a new book or an invention is the same thing really, a creation that comes out of the creator’s mind.)

Okay, so what have I done since my first book hit the market? I have done a combination of most of the things listed above. I have a Twitter account (@Scaryreads) as well as a my own website. (Scaryreads.com) Between the two I have gained a lot of exposure. My twitter account has over 1700 followers and I have had over 1400 visits to the website you are currently visiting. (Thank you for that by the way.) One would think that this was indeed enough, but unfortunately for the speed in which my new books get cranked out, it is not. I also maintain a Facebook page called; you guessed it, Scaryreads, which has recently gone over the 200 mark in likes. From there I advertise this website and my Facebook Scaryreads by using the ads manager. It is a cheap way of getting my books and my websites out to the public. Keeping an eye on all of these throughout the day can be a full time job, but it is rewarding and fun. Seeing my following grow and some books getting sold is definitely a good thing. Oh, did I mention the fact that my book, The Daguerreotypist is currently on tour and that requires a lot of interviews and other blog posts. I didn’t, well just add that to the heap of things done to advertise a few books, named The Beckoning and The Daguerreotypist. (See what I did there? One always has to be marketing and talking about the books he or she writes. If you don’t who will?)

So what is the end result? I have already mentioned that it takes time away from my other works in progress. What do I get out of it? Well for starters, I have had many downloads over Amazon since my first book came out in July of this year. I read some place that if you have a book that gets read about 500 times then that is well above average. I am not throwing these numbers out to impress people; I only want to show another author what can be achieved if they do the right things. Between free download promotions and sales I have seen my books downloaded about 4500 times and I have sold about 25 paperbacks. (In this day and age, the paperbacks don’t do as well for any author. That’s a good thing as it saves trees.) My books have appeared on Amazon’s top one hundred lists with The Beckoning reaching number 8 on the YA paranormal top 100 list and The Daguerreotypist breaking the top 40 on an Adult paranormal list. I have also been downloaded in 8 different countries. I am light years away from being able to retire early, but at least someone is reading my work. You see if you keep working it and you write and write and market and market and do it all over again the next day, someone will read your works. It’s like everything else in life it takes a lot of hard work. And maybe some say after years of dedication, you just may be the next overnight sensation that many will look and ask, “how did he get so lucky?”

The Beginning Posted on March 10, 2013

The Beginning

Perhaps the most important part of any book is the first chapter. A writer must make sure not to waste any words in the process of giving the reader some important information right of the bat. We don’t want an information dump like we don’t want one anywhere else in book, but the reader wants to get to know something about the situation or the main character. They want to be drawn into a newly created world and for a moment forget about their problems. In order to accomplish this, I firmly believe something has to happen. Remember, it is the very first glimpse a reader will get into our imaginations and into the worlds we have created. If the very first part of the book is boring and couldn’t draw in a draft, then perhaps only a family member will finish your book. If this is the case please make sure that you apologize to your family member and remember them on their birthday. They’ll deserve it. The rest of this post will be dedicated to excerpts from my first chapter. I am going to give some snippets of the important parts. Naturally I will be posting the first paragraph, some revelations my character discovers about the area he has stumbled into and later something that will change his life forever. Remember, if nothing happens in your introductory paragraph, what are we to believe is in store for us throughout the rest of your story? Keep in mind; reading is entertainment and an escape from our lives. Most anyone can experience boredom on a daily basis with no assistance from you. Take the reader away somewhere, give them some excitement and in turn they will give you some. They’ll buy your books. My First paragraph: Fresh from Silver City, but ragged from the ruin he’d made his life by the tender age of sixteen; Billy lay beside the campfire that struggled to stay alive. The embers spit out the last bit of heat they could muster and the gentle popping sounds awoke the young man, who’d learned to lay quiet and listen to his surroundings. Certain he was safe, Billy rubbed his face in an effort to wipe the sleep from his eyes. Dust and the early morning heat radiated into his lungs, as the sun struggled to make its way over the El Capitan Mountains. It spewed oranges and reds, the likes of which he’d never imagined. Sunrise had certainly never looked this glorious back in New York City or Kansas. Perhaps, the sunrise, this sunrise, was a harbinger of good things to come. That would certainly be against precedent, but even this weary young man on the run from the law, could hope. The late night ride across the high desert of New Mexico hadn’t been forgiving and his bones ached from the hard journey. He took in a deep breath and sat there looking around, taking in every bit of it. Perhaps to some this paragraph is simple and some may so what. Take a deeper look at it. I’ve introduced my main character, Billy the Kid, and given you some of his past and his hopes for the future. I’ve told you were he’s been an alluded to the fact that something is about to happen. In the next excerpt, my character has heard a whistle blow and the commotion of a good many people. He knows he is supposed to be out in the middle of nowhere and is confused by what he hears. This is what he sees and unbeknownst to him, is one of the things that will change his life forever. He silently walked to a stack of enormous tan boulders that clung with all their might onto the side of the steep cliff. This vantage point allowed him to peer into the valley below as it started to come into view at this early hour. In the distance he heard clanging and banging created by something he didn’t quite understand. Behind the hundreds if not thousands of people moving about not too far below him black smoke filled the air from enormous silver smoke stacks that emanated from colossal golden buildings. Billy rubbed his eyes as if he had yet to awaken from an incredible dream. He attempted to reconcile what this place could possibly be. Nothing like it existed anywhere he’d ever been. He’d never heard stories of such a place, yet the impossible looking city was there. It was just out in the distance. To where had he ventured off too last night? He’d ridden far and long over the last couple of days, with the night before being no exception. Along the way he’d encountered no one, nor had he come across anything having to do with civilization; something not altogether uncommon in late 19th century western America. There were towns aplenty, but he knew of no known city or anything of the sort that was supposed to be here. He was still a good day’s ride out of Lincoln. To his knowledge, this place existed on no map. The next excerpt is toward the end of the first chapter. I don’t want to give away all of my book and its twists and turns, but you will find out the major development of the first chapter. It will be something that sets up the conflict of the book and leave the reader knowing what’s in store for Billy and for them when they continue onward. “Quein es?” He asked. Billy often used the Spanish he’d learned from his stint in Silver City when provoked or scared. He only heard a hiss as the creature smiled, bearing grotesque fangs and teeth covered in reddish gore and greenish yellow rot. Slowly the creature continued to walk along one of the rocks that clung to the cliff, apparently defying gravity. Billy watched it use its feet to walk at angles no human could possibly manage. Eventually it leapt down to the ground and began to close the gap between them. As it got closer, he could see the beings goggles and grotesque skin. Its almost translucent skin, visible only around the face, displayed bluish black veins that radiated throughout like spider webs. It had the same pants and leather chaps as the others in the valley with a dark brown satin vest and matching coat covered in circular crimson stains. Polarized goggles thick as the bottoms of whiskey bottles covered the creature’s eyes to finish off the outfit. It was all too surreal for Billy. He had no idea what he’d stumbled across, and taking any chances he knew would be a big mistake. With lightning speed, Billy drew his Colt single action army revolver and fired instinctively. In the distance the echo of the small explosion that emanated from his gun rang across the mountainside. Seconds later when the sound reached the impossible looking metropolis, all work on the ground and in the airship came to a halt. Unfortunately for Billy, even though the Colt found its mark directly into the beings stomach, it didn’t flinch. Instead, the creature or whatever it was, giggled and descended upon Billy with blinding speed. Punching him so hard about his body, Billy was sure he’d seen his last sunrise. His horse whinnied and bucked before sprinting as far away as possible to ensure its own safety. The world beyond Billy’s eyes started to fade as the creature pushed his head to the left and lowered its fowl smelling mouth toward his neck. What had he ridden himself into were the words that ran through his mind at the last moment? The last moment before he heard another gun shot. Hopefully I have accomplished what I set out to do. I have introduced my protagonist and given you a glimpse into what he will be dealing with in the future. What is the city he has seen, why are there hundreds if not thousands of people trudging along before the city? What city is this? Will Billy survive the attack or better yet who saves him? Next time I will talking about marketing. Remember, I may not be done with this work even though I have it copyrighted, but I do have other books on the market. I would be wrong of me to forget about them. Please make sure to subscribe to my website by submitting your email in the top right hand side of my website. Then make sure to confirm it in the email you will receive. Until then, happy reading. Posted March 2nd 2013

Snowflake Method????

I recently had a friend ask me if I use the snowflake method for creating a novel. There are perhaps as many ways to create a novel, as there are novels out there. The key here is to pick the method that works for you. To me it is the same philosophy as working out or dieting. The one method that you must follow is the one that works for you. I guess the short answer to this is that I do not use the snowflake method to write a novel. Honestly I don’t even outline, I let the story speak to me as it unfolds in my head. Now, that may not sound very professional, but if one were to look at my reviews, one constant about them is that people say I have very interesting plots. Never once has someone said my books didn’t go anywhere or that they were confusing. How do I do that without an outline? The answer is of course graduate school. In college I majored in history. As anyone who has taken on history will tell you, there is a tremendous amount of writing involved. Through writing paper after paper my mind became very organized and after hundreds of pages under my belt, I found it a waste of time to even write an outline. As soon as I had all of my notes written down and had the reading completed, I knew exactly what I wanted to say. Being that I consistently earned A’s on my papers, I must say that this method worked very well for me. I must warn you though, not everyone can write with out an outline. There are those among us who find writing without an outline is like walking a tight rope without a net. Like I said, to each their own. Whatever works for you is fine; the key is to return to the keyboard everyday and keep moving forward. I must do this to keep my creative juices going and keep track of my story. If I walk away for an extended period of time, I mentally loose my place and must reread what I have before I can once again move forward. That being said, there are several factors one must keep in mind. One of these factors is that things must progress in the book in a timely and orderly progression. A writer must view his work as a play one would pay to see on Broadway. That’s right, there are acts in every story. (I must take some time to thank one of my high school English teachers, Mrs. Stern. In class she drilled in my head all of the different elements of each story and how they must fall into line. At the time I had no idea what I would ever use that information for in life. Little did I know the future. Thank you, Mrs. Stern.) Your stories must include the basics: exposition, conflict (rising action) climax and the ever important denouement or falling action. Of course one has to work the setting in throughout the book or else many readers will loose interest. How is this done one may ask? How is it possible to work all of these things into a story in an organized manner? One thing that I do to make sure that my memory doesn’t escape me is to take notes every time I get an idea for my story. As the story progresses, my characters talk to me and tell me what should come next or I sometimes get a good idea for the setting. Thank goodness for the notes app on my iphone. Like I said before the setting needs to be set throughout the story and does not have to follow the same rules as the other elements. As far as the exposition or the conflict is concerned, they need to come very early. In fact, as a general novel guideline both must be disclosed within the first fifty pages. (Something has to happen!) Anyone who has ever submitted a partial manuscript to an agent knows that they typically ask for the first fifty. They are checking to make sure the first act is in order. This is why I usually start my stories off pretty quickly. I like to get people engaged by showing them the main conflict right up front while blending in the exposition. Personally, I lose interest in books that take forever in getting to the conflict or at least giving us a hint about it. I don’t have all day and neither do you. Writer’s, in my opinion, should get right to it and draw in the reader. After this I will make the novel more interesting by adding in sub plots and of course my love interest. I like to introduce the sub plots and love interests of my novels late in the first act. It is always a good idea to do this as early as possible so they can play into the main plot or conflict and be given their own time to mature in the story. Please don’t forget about the main plot and go off on a two hundred page sidebar that has nothing to do with the main theme or conflict. That can be very distracting and cause people put your book down and never comeback. If people need to put a trail of breadcrumbs out to find their way back to the main conflict in your story you will lose them. The two final acts of any novel must be the climax and the falling action. This is an area I believe that can happen in many different ways. Do you as the writer want to tidy everything up for the reader? Do you want to add a twist or have a cliffhanger? If you choose cliffhanger then you must put the falling action into the sequel. If you leave your protagonists hanging off a cliff on the last page, then it is hard to have any falling action. For me, I like to have a fully developed climax and leave the readers happy that the major conflict has been resolved and work into the falling action something clever that can easily be turned into another book. Read the last paragraphs of my first two books, The Beckoning and/or The Daguerreotypist for an example. Anyway one slices it, there are many different paths to get to the final product of your novel. Whatever works for me might not work for you or vice versa. As I have said before in this blog, the biggest key is to make sure you write everyday. Whether or not it is your best work or your worst, the key is to show up. After all, any Super Bowl team has had a few bad practices during the season. Whether or not they admit it, they did. The key is that they showed up and practiced and put in the effort. So after reading this, get tapping on your keyboard and keep going! In my next post I will give you an excerpt of my first chapter to show how I get my conflict and exposition started. Writer’s Blog Four: The love of Writing Posted on February 26, 2013 Writer’s Post Number Four Before I get going about my character’s bios or any other tidbits about writing, I thought I ‘d share with you what keeps me or any other author writing. I read a book called On Writing by one of my favorites, Stephen King. In it he addressed this question and I really liked his answer, so I figured that I would share it with you. He was asked, “Why do you do it? Did you do for it for the money?” To which (I paraphrase here) he says he does it for the love of writing. If one does it for the love of money, then the stories produced will reflect it. The reader will see right through and the writer more than likely will give up much too early. Don’t get me wrong; I’d love to make millions. In fact, I already have my San Diego mansion picked out. Don’t go buying it because it’s mine, all mine! Seriously though, what really keeps me going isn’t the promise of money. Mostly it is because I got hooked on writing and I can’t stop. If no one ever gave me another great review or I couldn’t give a book away, I’d still write. There are also other reasons I must confess and this is not meant to brag, only to convey the feelings that writing can give an author. My books have been downloaded in eight different countries and I have been as high as number eight on the top one hundred in paranormal romance on Amazon. No matter what may happen in the future, that is a great feeling. If I never sell another book, or a reviewer doesn’t show me the love, there are still readers around the world who may be reading my work at any given moment. Knowing that and thinking about that keeps me writing. So if you haven’t finished a book, or you worry that you won’t sell anything, fret not fledgling author. Keep going and keep writing and telling yourself good things. If I can have the modicum of success I’ve had from simple hard work and the love for what I do, then so can you. Keep your fingers tapping the keyboards and persevere. Now on to the other characters in the book. No book would be complete without an antagonist. After all, they do drive the story in a large way. Without the antagonist it would be a given that all will end well and the boy will always get the girl. What fun would it be if we all got what we want? My antagonist is none other than Pat Garrett, the very man who killed Billy the Kid in real life. Will history repeat itself? You’ll have to read to find out; the great thing about fiction is that the author can change things to suit his or her needs. So stay tuned. Pat Garrett in real life was born in Alabama in 1850 and moved to New Mexico some time in the 1870’s. He was a very tall man; some say an imposing figure for his day. He had a very thick mustache and thick black hair. What is important about him for the story is that he never picked a fair fight. Most of his killing was done in ambush and the night he did in Billy the Kid, he hid in a dark room and killed Billy who didn’t even know he was there. For the rest of his life he lived in fear of retribution for killing a popular figure. After killing the kid he had a hard time making a career out of anything unless he was able to get political favors. In Teddy Roosevelt’s first term he gained favor and was appointed to a minor political office until Teddy turned against him. There seems to me to be the makings of a good character to be a head vampire. After all, how many blood-sucking leeches prefer a good fight or are well liked anyway. He even has the coloring and stature of a vampire. Sounds like a good antagonist to me with a little tweaking. Again, that’s one of the great things about creating fiction. Even if you base your character or story on a historical figure, one can always add or detract from real life until you get a good fit. So much better than writing non-fiction. Who wants to be correct all the time anyway? There are other characters in my book besides those that I have covered. In the last two posts I have given you examples of what I do to create the characters in my novels. It would be boring to go on with all of them. Of course, I will continue to tweak them until I have a good fit like I have said before. I will ad some things like how they walk or how I feel they would handle themselves in a situation. Their personalities will be based upon what I find through my research and then I will take it from there. All in all, this a great way to start character development. The next post I will discuss the outlining of the story. Future posts will have some preliminary samples of the book in progress. Until then, keep writing, reading and coming back. Please remember to subscribe to Scaryreads.com on the top right of this screen. Please remember Airship Down, its story line and characters are a © of Christopher Savio, all rights reserved. Writer’s Blog Number 3 Posted on February 23, 2013 I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but here in Jersey, it’s another gray, cold, and crappy day. Many say that it’s easier to write on a day like this, but for me, the lack of vitamin D or sunlight or both make it difficult. I much prefer sunny days for writing. Getting up and seeing a great day in front of you, getting the writing out of my system and going outside is always much more enjoyable. Of course after a day outside, what is better than to get back inside and do so more, you guessed it, writing. Before I get to my achievements toward my next project, I wanted to share some answers to some questions I have been asked and I know other writers have been asked, “How do you finish a book? Or “How long did it take to complete that?” Being a fan of movies, especially comedies, one of my favorite ones is the classic Caddy Shack. In that movie Chevy Chase says something that holds true no matter what it is you try to accomplish in life. When golfing with Danny Noonan toward the beginning of the movie he said, “See the ball, be the ball!” Even though Chevy was being goofy, there is a lot of truth to that statement. Picture yourself completing the book, or seeing your work on Amazon for the world to buy. Even if you don’t sell millions of them, it is still a great feeling to see your work up there. By seeing the book and being the book one can get the drive to finish the book. After you have completed the first one, the others just come to you and it becomes second nature. As far as the time involved to complete one, well my friend that is up to you. There is no answer to that question. After I have done the bio’s on all of my main characters and begin the book, I try to get one thousand words written per day. Whether or not I feel the work is my best or not, it is important to get the words on the paper. I can always edit, edit, edit, rewrite and edit later. After all, like Hemmingway once said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” One thousand words per day and everyday gives me a book of ninety thousand words and over three hundred pages in three months. After that it is the editing, editing and editing that take a while. If all goes correctly with the editor and my graphic artist, I can get a book to market from idea to actual hand held copy in about seven months. Then starts the marketing part of the job. Something not many authors like a whole lot, but that’s a topic for another post. Now, on to my accomplishments toward my new book, Airship Down, since my last post. Doing the bios on characters in your story should be very interesting. If they are not, then scrap your book now. Put in the trash and set it on fire immediately. I am not joking. I only implore you to be safe about it and not to burn down the house. If you are a minor, get your parents to supervise, but get rid of the book. If the bios are not interesting guess what your book will be? You guessed it, something insomniacs will be able to use to go to sleep. Being that New Jersey is already full of pharmaceutical companies let’s leave it to them to help those who can’t sleep. As an author it is much better to keep the reader awake and wanting to turn the next page. Before starting Airship down, I knew I wanted to do a few things with the story. I wanted to bring about some characters everyone could identify with and put them in a situation that although common, the vampire romance, would be different. That is where the Steampunk element comes into play. I also wanted to have a romance and I guess a bromance at the same time, to keep all readers interested. Luckily the characters in Lincoln County New Mexico during the 1870′s give me the perfect people to do this with. We all know about Billy the Kid, well at least we think that we do. He was born in New York City, dragged all around the country and was on his own by the time he was sixteen. To me this sounds like a guy who would be jaded and hardened by life, but also in dire need of acceptance and love. Hmm, think we can have any better of a character to have a tried but strained romance that gets in the way of his new found loyalty to his friends? (This is where the bromance comes into play. Don’t get nervous guys, we’ve all had them. Think of your best friends. Now you can breathe out, it’s okay.) Sally Chisum is a character that even people who have seen Young Guns may never have heard of before. At least I don’t remember the character in the movie. The movie as I remember it focused on the bromance and centered upon the revenge Billy sought after Tunstall was killed. As luck would have it, Sally Chisum seems to have yearned for much the same things in real life that Billy did. She lost her parents from one thing or another and went to live with her uncle John Chisum as a teenager in New Mexico. Sounds like a girl who may be looking, consciously or unconsciously for a place where she fits in, just like Billy. She was also great at riding a horse and very competitive about racing them. The two sound perfect for each other in real life and for my upcoming book. “Doc” Scurlock is a character in real life who gives a writer much to work with. He attended medical school, so we know he is smart. He ran off to Mexico because he thought he was a “lunger” (term for someone with TB back in the day) so we know he was a bit of hypochondriac. He got shot in the mouth and through the back of the head in Mexico and survived by killing the person who shot him. We now know that he was tough and must have talked with a speech impediment for the rest of his life. To any writer with an imagination, “Doc” Scurlock is a great character to develop and add interest to the story. Possibly a best friend to Billy? Chavez y Chavez was half Navajo and half Mexican and quite possibly was rejected by many in the area due to his lineage. He was also a cold killer in real life without a very good upbringing. Again, not too different from Billy. (As I teach in my Native class, the Spanish and later the Mexicans raided the Navajos and other Native tribes in the area. This caused much hatred on each side of the cultural divide.) Chavez y Chavez is another type of person who would naturally be looking for acceptance. The character bios so far are interesting and with a little imagination, they can be put into a great story that would make one care about them. With a little more imagination they can be put into a story that will keep one’s interest, keep them turning the page, and introduce a bit of scariness. After all, this website is Scaryreads.com. Next time I will intro my antagonist. If you are enjoying what you have read please subscribe to Scaryreads.com at the top of the page. Enter your email address and then please activate the subscription in your email. You will then be notified automatically each time I post to the blog. Please remember Airship Down, its story line and characters are a © of Christopher Savio, all rights reserved. Post Two for Writer’s blog Posted on February 19, 2013 by Chris Savio Post Number Two The Beginning It’s been a very busy day today. I have the week off from work, but I haven’t had any time to relax as of yet. My day actually started yesterday late last night. Being the email addict that I am, I made the mistake to check right before bed. Low and behold, I had a few emails from the person who is doing a great job of promoting my newest work, The Daguerreotypist, one from a blogger who is hosting me on the 25th and one from a fellow author who owns The Underground Book Review. They were all great emails and welcome ones. All of them however asked me do something that was due today. I can’t complain about any of them being they were all in the name of promoting my book, but it did take a good portion of my day. All in the life of a writer, either indie or traditional. Once you publish your first book, gone are the days were you could simply concentrate on writing. Being an author is no different from being the owner of a small business. If you want to be successful, you have to get the customer and keeping producing a good product. Well, right after this blog entry, I will start of my second part of the job, starting the new book. The first thing an author should always do, even before thinking about the plot, is to write the biography of all of his or her new characters. This helps immensely when writing the book. Books are either going to be plot driven or character driven, one cannot get away from that. Even the plot driven ones however need to have good characters. The characters need to be different from each other and have their own voices. This would be incredibly difficult if not for prewritten biographies. It is through these bios that the author can get to know his or her characters intimately. It also prevents the characters from sounding all alike or like the author. Trust me, I may have a great imagination, but you don’t want all the characters sounding like me. My next book involves Billy the Kid, The Regulators and a number of steampunk vampires. I can see all the characters in my head and Billy talks to me and is very interesting. If I don’t write his biography and use it throughout the work then he will simply come out sounding like the author, me, and that won’t read very well. So without further ado, I bid you farewell until next time. It has finally come, the moment I start to put my characters bio’s together and get the ball rolling on my next project. On the next post I will tell you what interesting things I have found about my characters. I trust I will find a few surprises in my research. Welcome everyone to my inaugural Post. I think it is necessary to start off with an essential question on my maiden voyage into blogging. It is a question many have asked, whether they write or not,

Why Write?

That is a great question. Why would anyone in their right mind ever choose to do the one thing that most students groan about in schools all across the country? I don’t think that question has an answer. Most people say “hell no, I hate to write. Who cares if the verb matches the tense of the sentence?” Or, a person may want to write, but be afraid of the criticism that is certain to come their way. Whatever the case there are many reasons not to write, but there also could many reasons why a person says they can’t stop writing even if they tried. The rest of this blog will be dedicated to why I write and the process involved. (I can’t very well give a first hand account as to why someone else does it.) You will learn what drives me, the process of putting together a story, writing it, editing it, marketing it and of course my successes and downfalls along the way. Hope you like the journey; if not, I don’t care! I’ll keep writing this blog and my books anyway. All I ask is that you don’t, as the kids would say, “be a hater.” If you don’t like what’s here, go away and do something else that gives you pleasure other than tearing me down. It’s all good. If you do find it interesting to follow me on this journey then by all means please stick around, I know it will be worth it. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always made up stuff in my head. Maybe it comes from my dyslexia? Being that I really couldn’t read and enjoy books until well into the third grade, I had to make up my own stories, unless my mother read one too me (which she often did). Because of that, even after learning to read I guess it just became a habit to make up things. Perhaps being an only child and often playing by myself, my imagination had to be good? No matter the reason, I have always had a great imagination. Later on in life, my father owned a diner and of course I had to work in it. Peeling potatoes, washing pots, scrubbing floors or slinging hash, as exciting as that could be, just didn’t do it for me. Therefore, my Dad and I would joke around about just about everything. Many liked our jokes some didn’t’. (Those who didn’t, to hell with you, they were funny. Too bad you couldn’t get them. A great attitude by the way for anyone who wants to write, remember even Shakespeare and Twain have their critics) Well, as time went on and people got to know us, more than once someone would tell me that I had a great imagination and should do something with it. Perhaps they were only trying to get me to shut up? Maybe it was a sincere compliment? No matter, that always stuck with me, even though I hadn’t yet put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. In college, I majored in history. A great major if one loves stories. What is history if not a collection of some really awesome stories? This is where my ideas for The Beckoning were born. Studying slave plantations and the religion of the slaves intrigued me to no end. I loved the idea of voodoo conjuring and the people who did it. Often I wondered about voodoo and what it could really do. Could it conjure forth some evil demons? Could these demons entrap the souls of generations of people in the town? I thought of the plot of The Beckoning and most of their characters for years, yet my fingers still did not hit the keyboard in earnest. Later on in the 90’s I moved back to San Diego and I started a book, got about fifteen pages or so into it and stopped. It would be more than a decade before I picked it up again. Not too long after starting my current job, as a teacher in North Jersey, my principal asked if anyone would like to start a new class the following year. I came up with the idea of teaching Native American History, something I have always studied and wanted to teach. Thinking it was a great idea; he put the proposal before the school board and before long it was a real class offered to the students. Only one problem however, I had no textbook. I searched for one and low and behold, a textbook on the topic at the HS level did not exist. Going to my principal, I asked him about this and his answer was priceless. “Great, we have no money for your new class.” I processed this for a moment and then looked over and said, “What I have to write my own book?” To which he responded, “I guess you do.” Needless to say a writer was finally born. I had the book ready to go, in its initial stage at least, by the first day of the school year. I haven’t been able to stop writing since. So why do I write? I think I can say that it all began with an overactive imagination that after years of being put off was finally forced out of me by a principal who really did not want to help solve an issue. I hold no resentment whatsoever. If not for his telling me, “I guess you do” I still might never have put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. Since then, many other stories haunt my imagination and the characters ask me everyday, when? The only thing I can say to the voices that reside in my mind is “soon my friends, soon.”

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