Tuesday, July 31, 2012

There You Are

When I started this blog, I never expected to see hits from so many different countries. The internet really does make the world smaller. I often wonder who you are and how you came to land on my blog. If you're reading this, take a moment to introduce yourself. Tell me as much or as little about you and your part of the world as you'd like to share.

Most importantly, thank you for stopping by.

Friday, July 27, 2012

10 Questions: With Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy, Author

About Kat

Kat Kennedy is a Mobile, AL based poet/writer who is planning on self-publishing her novella, Flamingo Funeral, along with several short stories in late 2012. She has had both poetry and short stories and essays published in small press publications such as Cooper's Blade and on-line sites such as gcwriters.org. She has won awards for her poetry through the Alabama State Poetry Society Association and Gulf Coast Writers Organization.Kat has worked as an English teacher and instructor in middle and high school as well as on the college level. She served as Co-director for the South Georgia Writing Project for two years while working on her Masters of Arts in English at Valdosta State University before returning to Alabama.She currently is serving as the editor/moderator of the newly established Five Rivers Writers' Critique Group, an on-line critique group dedicated to seeking out and encouraging local writers.
Her hobbies include researching old bluegrass and blues music, which she uses as inspiration for her writing, and traveling.She is married to Randy Kennedy and has two children and three grand-children.
Her poem Morning Waltz placed 3rd in Gulf Coast Writers annual Let’s Write 2011 Competition. Her poem Henry County, Ala. 1937 was published in The Sampler.

#1:  Your novella, Flamingo Funeral, is set for release this year (2012). Tell us about that project and how it's progressing.
The novella is finished. It was so much fun to write. It’s the story of a con man’s bizarre funeral, but more than that it’s the story of how family loyalty will lead us to do the craziest things in the name of that loyalty and how, in Faulkner’s words, “the pull of blood” is stronger than common sense. That’s one of my favorite themes. The call of blood can transcend our morality, our sense of justice, even compromise our own well-being. The book, Flamingo Funeral, will include the novella as well as five short stories. Flamingo Funeral just placed as a short list finalist in the William Faulkner Wisdom Competition, so I’m pretty hyped about that.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Val-i-date To mark with an indication of official sanction.

I've been writing for years. For most of those years I kept it a a closely guarded secret to those outside my home. There's something intimidating, almost frightening, about declaring to the world that you are a writer. Suppose the world laughs? Or tells you you're being foolish? Or, worst of all, simply doesn't care?

It's no different than setting out to do anything else, I suppose. Declare your intention to succeed at something and you leave yourself no wiggle room for not succeeding. To not succeed is to fail.

When you tell your family and friends you intend to be a writer, they start expecting progress. They see you sitting in front of your keyboard day in and day out, month after month, sometimes for years, without anything to show for it.

Have you finished that book yet? No? You set it aside and started another one?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

10 Questions: Jonathan Winn

Jonathan Winn, a wearer of many hats

About Jonathan

I was born in Seattle, but grew up two hours south of there in a very small town.  Two weeks after graduating high school, I left for Los Angeles where I lived for a decade before moving to New York City.  But finally, after fifteen years of Manhattan (Greenwich Village, to be exact), I'm back in the Pacific Northwest.  My two dogs love it.  Grass?  Trees?  Sky?  No leash?  What the … ?  I'm also one of those irritating (interesting?) hyphenates --  actor-writer-producer-coffee drinker --  with my finger forever jammed in a lot of different pies.  For example, besides a movie currently in development, I also have a play hopefully, possibly looking at a 2015 Opening in a Tony Award-winning theatre -- still working that one out -- and I'm writing two new books, one a full-length sequel to Martuk … The Holy and the second a continuation of The Martuk Series , a collection of short fiction.  There's also a new play I'm buffing and shining and tweaking and an even newer screenplay I've just started mapping out.  Did I mention I drink coffee?  Lots of it? 

#1:  How many books have you written and where can readers find them?

I'm a fairly new writer with two books under my belt, Martuk ... The Holy and The Wounded King: The Martuk Series.  Both can be found in ebook format on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.

#2:  What are you working on now?

I'm doing so much right now I've stopped pretending I have a lot on my plate and have finally admitted it's more like an All You Can Eat Buffet with unlimited breadsticks. 
Let's see, I'm writing the sequel to Martuk ... The Holy -- titled Martuk ... The Holy: Proseuche -- as well as The Elder , the second book in The Martuk Series, a collection of Short Fiction inspired by characters in Martuk.  I'm also working on a new play, Shooting Avellino, and the 2nd Draft of a screenplay,  Cynda.  Oh, and I'm mapping out the sequel to Proseuche, planning The Magi, the third book in The Martuk Series, and somewhere in there, just for the heck of it, is a gem of a TV pilot I just love titled Rhumm & coke.  On a solid 3rd draft of that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

10 Questions: With Carol Wills

Carol Wills, Author

About Carol:
I am married with a grownup family and I live in Chesham with my husband amid the beautiful Chilton Hills in the UK. I guess I've written stories throughout my life, but I've only recently had the nerve to publish some of them so, I hope you like them. The genre I mostly write in is humour, but I do have a couple of powerful women stories on the back burner waiting for inspiration. I also have a blog and website that I try to keep updated. I have tried my hand at short stories, children's stories, flash fiction and poetry. Most of my stories are very short but I would love to write a long historical novel one day. I have a collection of short stories on Amazon called Five Minute Fiction, some children's story about a little bird called Titus who is always getting into trouble when he tries to help his friends. And a fun guide for parents' of stroppy teenagers called Parents' Rules. I also love to read (anything from Dickens to the cornflakes packet) in fact, if I don't have something to read I go into anaphylactic shock. 

#1:  How much did the publishing opportunities offered by Amazon influence your decision to publish your writing?

Can I be honest here? Amazon was free and I was just going to get some Kindle and print copies for the family. However, as I looked at the opportunities on Amazon I got excited and thought, if others can do it why not me. The promotional bug is very powerful.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

You plan, God laughs. This is the story of my life.

Guest Post by author Marissa Carmel

There are ideals and expectations I assume everyone has; whom you will marry, what your career will be like, where you will raise your kids. And yes, I had all those ideologies in my head, except mine were more like, have a career, don't get married and absolutely no kids.  Boy was I wrong. Today I am married with two kids, and living in a state I only passed through on occasion. And my career? Well let’s just say, I have more than one, and I never saw that coming.  Who needs more than one career? Apparently me. To make a long story short, I started my first career as a logistician, yawn, I won’t bore you with the details. The second career came shortly after.

Monday, July 16, 2012

10 Questions: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, Author

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion. Her work has been published in AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, and Qatar Explorer. She has been a guest on Expat Radio, and was the host for two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio. She was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine. She has also published five e-books including a mom-ior for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace . Most recently, From Dunes to Dior, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Since she joined the e-book revolution, she dreams in plotlines.
Mohana has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. Her dissertation project was published as Haram in the Harem (Peter Lang, 2009) a literary analysis of the works of three Muslim women authors in India, Algeria, and Pakistan. She is the creator and co-editor of five books in the Qatar Narratives series, as well as the Qatari Voices anthology which features essays by Qataris on modern life in Doha (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2010). Her research has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. She was a winner of the She Writes We Love New Novelists competition.
Currently Mohana is working on a novel set in Qatar which explores how this generation if this generation of people believe that Love Comes Later. She writes because words can help us understand ourselves and others. Catch up on her latest via her blog or follow her on Twitter @moha_doha.

Let the interview begin ....

#1: You describe yourself as a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. How does the opportunity available to an aspiring writer differ in Qatar versus the United States?
There were two things in Qatar that were different to the fifteen years I spent while growing up in the US. First, and perhaps most importantly for writing, I had an abundance of time on my hands. I don’t mean from work, since all of the start-ups I’ve worked for demanding 80+ hours a week, but longer vacation periods (average of three weeks or even more a year if you include religious holidays) and nights and weekends when people don’t expect you to be accessible. This helped me clear my head from a lot of the media noise that buffers you in ordinary society. I could even say for some time I was bored. Boredom is good for writing because there are no distractions.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Writing Space

A writer needs a place to write. While that may sound obvious, many of us try to get by with whatever peace and quiet we can grab between family and favorite television shows. I wrote my first novel, The Night Train, mostly in our family living room, either sitting in my recliner or in front of a portable laptop table.

I often got up early on weekends, before anyone else stirred, and got in a couple of quiet hours. Even then, I had to suppress the urge to turn on the television.

Television is a distraction.

There were times when I went outside, but the glare on my laptop screen made it next to unbearable, so I always ended up coming back inside. I tried headphones, with music turned up loud enough to drown out the television, my wife, and my kids. But how do you ignore a 9-year old who is tapping you on the shoulder wanting to tell you how he just beat the next level in whatever video game he is playing? How do you not glance at the television and become engrossed in the movie or (for me) reality show about pawn shops or antique picking or swamp loggers?

Somehow I finished my first novel, but I NEEDED my own private writing space.

An idea struck me to clean out a corner of an outside storage shed. I could throw up a wall and put in a small air conditioner and write. My wife suggested we buy my own storage shed and install walls and insulation and flooring. I thought that would be too much money. My novel, after all, wasn't breaking any sales records and might never sell enough to pay for the paperbacks we had already given away.

She convinced me (I was an easy sale). We ordered a 12 x 16 storage building from a local company. It had 2x4 walls, a plywood floor, and tin exterior. I installed a small electrical panel with three circuits -- enough for electrical outlets, an air conditioner / heater receptacle, a light, and a mini-fridge. Next I put in insulation and interior walls. I'm not a great carpenter but it turned out pretty well, I think.

I put down vinyl tiles on the floor. My son picked out the paint and my stepson painted it while I was away on a business trip.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

KDP Select : Round 2

Shortly after releasing my debut novel, The Night Train, I took advantage of the KDP Select free promotional option and gave my book away for two days. Downloads soared. People read it and gave me great feedback. But I'm not sure it helped my sales afterwards.

Last week I decided to try again. I planned in advance, prepared myself to tweet the daylights out of it. Notified some of the sites that promote such things, and sent out Facebook event invitations.

My promotion is three days: July 2, 3, and 4. An Independence sale, if you will.

Life happened, and by life, I mean my day job. I'm a programmer during the day. Industrial automation. PLCs, HMIs, PCs, you name it and we do it. As luck would have it, I missed the first day of my promotion because I was stuck in a factory staring at two robots. My cell signal came and went, and made it impossible to do more than a tweet or two. Then, when I got home, ready to play catchup, I had a honey-do list waiting. My wife had bought a pool, so I spent the evening hauling dirt with my tractor.

This morning, day two of my promotion, I spent the morning in the factory again, staring at the same two robots.

Finally, I'm back at the office and have all my tools at my disposal. But I have a ton of things to do before taking off for the 4th (and the rest of the week). I have dial-up at home, which is almost as restrictive as typing with my thumbs on a cell phone, so the final day of my promotion will slip away pretty much without promotion.

So it appears my second attempt at utilizing KDP Select will be a bust. I haven't even check my download stats. Don't have the heart to at the moment.

Maybe tomorrow ... or the day after that.