Help Feedback Please!

Well I have probably lost what is left of my mind. I’m thinking about buying a property and holding small writers’ workshops four times a year.

What I need from my author and writer friends is a little feedback.  So pretty please if you can comment you will help me immensely.

  • What environment would suit you? Four seasons by a lake with yoga classes, hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities available on downtime? lake photo
  • Beachfront with yoga classes, and water activities.beach scene 1
  • How many hours would you want to invest in the workshop in your genre? Would a guest author entice you to attend, or no talking  heads?
  • Would you want talking heads, or maybe just an editor, graphic designer and help with self-publishing?
  • What do you think is reasonable (sorry) for a 3-4 day retreat with lodging and meals.? What season would you personally prefer?

Thank you for commenting and letting me know what would make a successful writers’ workshop/retreat.

New Book Release by Ken La Salle

Update

Ken La Salle has just released

The Day We said Goodbye

Please enjoy the blurb from this emotional memoir. Visit Ken’s Promo page  My Fellow Authors Promo Page

What do you do when your father is losing his life just as you are losing your mind? Run like hell.

At the close of A Grand Canyon, Ken La Salle and his beloved Vicky drive off into the sunset. It’s a fairy tale ending, providing your idea of a fairy tale includes suicide attempts, hallucinations, and crippling self-doubt.

Now, in The Day We Said Goodbye, it’s time to live the dream. Vicky and Ken get married, travel the world, and embrace the warm light of love. Or so Ken wanted to believe. But he never really dealt with the impulses that drove him to the edge of the Grand Canyon, now manifesting in schizophrenic episodes, like when his ex-wife shows up at his wedding.

And it doesn’t help that his father is dying and Ken has to find a way to say Goodbye.

The Day We Said Goodbye is Ken La Salle’s third memoir, following A Grand Canyon and Climbing Maya. It combines razor-sharp observations with revealing wisdom and the story of how goodbyes are often all we’re left with when everything you know, and everything you think you know, fades away with time. It is a book for anyone who has lost someone, anyone losing themselves… and anyone who is lost.

The audiobook version, read by the author, is beautifully scored with the Josh Woodward song, History Repeats. (www.joshwoodward.com)

The ebook is currently a Kindle exclusive but look for it soon wherever ebooks are sold.

You can find the audiobook on Audible and wherever audiobooks are sold online.

Two trailers are available on YouTube.

You can view the first trailer here.

You can view the second trailer here.

Guest Author Laurie Boris

Today  I’d like to welcome Laurie Boris. Aside from Laurie’s many talents, she is one of those individuals who makes you comfortable right at the get go. Laurie is a true pleasure.

AuthorLaurieBoris_abnaKnowing is The First Step

A lot of writers talk about the moment they “knew” of their calling to the page. Not just the time they decided to refer to themselves as writers, perhaps a little shyly testing the waters at a gathering of friends and hoping nobody would laugh or start in with the maddening questions we are all asked: Are you published? Do you make any money at that? Do you know Oprah? No, I’m talking about that crystalline instant when it comes together in our little hearts that yes, this is what we are and this is what we do, and that we might as well give in or go crazy fighting it. Maybe for some it was winning a contest, getting a piece published, or catching the first glimpse of a debut novel in the carton that hopefully hadn’t been slashed with a boxcutter in a heated attempt to get it open.

Clues smacked me around for years before I finally admitted it to myself. Normally focused and detail-oriented, I’d missed a familiar turn on the road because I’d been daydreaming about characters and stories. Twice, I nearly burned the house down because I’d been so deep into writing that I hadn’t heard the smoke alarm. On several occasions, I’d lost sleep because the protagonist HAD to tell me something in the middle of the night. Some mornings, I’d wake up with the perfect chapter opening in my head and rush to an input device before I lost the words. And I turned into a sullen crank when I couldn’t get to the computer to play with my fictional people.

Really, I should have seen it coming.

My moment of truth came during an argument with my husband. I was sitting on the bed and he stood over me. A vein bulged in his forehead. I don’t even remember what the fight was about anymore. Just that words we would later regret spun out like Chinese throwing stars. At one point I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. Some piece of me had floated to the ceiling and was watching us argue, noting our gestures, the body language, counting the beats of that still-throbbing vein. Our speech crafted itself into word balloons complete with the proper punctuation. I wasn’t even in the argument anymore; I was an outsider, watching and listening to two characters having it out.

A bit stunned by this, I think, I zoomed back into my body, but my responses still had end quotes and dialogue tags. Even as they came out of my mouth, a piece of my imagination was thinking, How would she look when she said that? And how would he respond to…this? Another part of my mind was editing. No. Strike the dialogue tag. Furrow the brow, clench the jaw…show, don’t tell.

Eventually we wound down and he stalked off to recoup. “That’s it,” I muttered to myself. “I’m doomed. I might as well admit my problem and research twelve-step programs.”

At that point in my journey toward writerhood, I’d won a couple of contests and had published nothing but a personal essay in a newsletter, a short story on a website, and a passel of random blog entries. The big Kahuna, however, sat in my closet: manuscripts for five novels and the hundreds of rejection slips I’d received from literary agents and publishers. Part of me didn’t want to admit that they existed: it felt like a mountain of failure.

But following that argument, I felt a sea change in how I regarded myself. Writing wasn’t a hobby. It wasn’t a creative pursuit to fill my spare time. I knew the income potential for the average writer, so I wouldn’t let myself call it a career. No. This was a calling. Okay, it wasn’t like the priesthood or anything. Charlton Heston hadn’t descended from the mountain with tablets for me, bushes weren’t burning, and Oprah wasn’t returning my calls. It felt like a quieter calling. A purpose, let’s call it.

The rejections didn’t weigh as heavily then. Some were even amusing. I stopped looking at those sneering pieces of paper as barometers of my worth and called them out for what they were: a subjective evaluation of my ability to make money for whomever I’d sent the query to. If I could learn something from an individual note, I took note. Otherwise, I decided to move on and succumb to my fate, to admit that I was powerless to control this compulsion.

Hi. I’m Laurie, and I’m a writer.

Visit Laurie’s promo page for her current works, website, and links.

My Fellow Author’s Promo Page

Guest Author Dick Waters

Today I’d like to welcome Dick Waters, an author, and a man I admire. There is sage advice to be found in this post.

Thanks Aron for the opportunity to introduce myself to your followers.

DickMy name is Rich Waters, but I self-publish under the name Dick Waters. Self publishing is a chapter I will share later. I think you should know a little about me before I talk about my writing.

I was born many years ago in Boston. Fortunately my parents moved from the city to Wilmington, which is a small town about twenty miles north. It was a great town to grow up in and I still remain connected to many friends there and to my high school graduating class. I even dedicated one of my novels to Mr. Kelley who was a great teacher and had an even greater set of values. Looking back at those years I was shy and just an average student. English was not a subject I was fond of. I can still remember the teacher asking ‘what was Shakespeare saying in this segment?’ I often wondered why he made it so hard to interpret his words.

Maybe some of that is why I developed into an analyst. I made a living by looking at how the companies I worked for did their business processes. For some strange reason I was blessed with a way to come up with recommended improvements. This capability led to application and system design. In essence, I was considered creative. In the process my only writing involved specifications for system design and application procedures. After forty years working for other companies I started my own. However, after a costly business venture I decided to go back to work basically to secure health insurance.

A year into working for a major health industry they learned about my system background and wanted me to help with a system conversion. That was a very successful implementation, but it was followed by my having two cancers and surgery. During my recovery time I did a considerable amount of reading. I never liked to come home and crack a book as I did so much reading at work. There were three authors I migrated to – James Patterson’s Alex Cross mysteries, Robert B. Parker’s New England stories and Stuart Wood’s suspense novels.

After going back to work I realized the stress might be too much and my dad was suffering alone with Alzheimer’s disease. I decided to retire. My wife and I soon bought a house that needed considerable work and remodeling. When those projects were winding down my wife asked me to either find a job or do something to give her back her space. Well to tell the truth I didn’t want to go back to the stress connected with working and didn’t really know what to do.

After considerable thought I knew I needed to do something that utilized my former creativity. I thought about doing some ventures, but realized there was too much risk involved. Surprisingly, I thought about writing. Ten years earlier my wife and I drafted a novel, which we couldn’t get an agent to represent. That draft sat on the shelf gathering dust. I went through the rejection letters and one caught my interest. She said the novel we wrote wasn’t in the style of a mystery. Does a mystery have a style?

I wasn’t sure if writing was something I could do, but remembered the stories of the authors I liked. The one common denominator was that they all wrote short chapters and pulled at my analysis background to solve the mysteries. I read some books that addressed novel writing and in particular writing ‘Mystery’ novels. I was surprised to learn that there was indeed a cadence to a mystery novel, or the ‘style’ referred to by that agent.

Things happened fast in 2010 a year after retirement. I set out to write a new novel in the correct style. I finished the manuscript after a few revisions and an on-line search led me to an agent looking for new writers. I replied and soon sent my manuscript in reply to their interest. They said they had a publisher partner who was indeed interested in publishing it.

Hallelujah, forward progress was made. Not so fast! As we go through life we learn many things, some things are positive and some are learned the hard way by making mistakes. I learned the hard way on this one. If someone who looks like a publisher asks for money in return for services…RUN! This was a ‘Vanity Press.’ I was so new to the world of publishing that I didn’t know what to be watchful of. This one mistake cost thousands.

It took me over a year to get that first book published and finally put a halt to their more requested expenses. To end the chapter on that book – I finally retrieved my rights and self-published on Amazon. But wait…this is not the end of that horror story. Because the novel was still ‘available’ in the distribution channels, I couldn’t make it available on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) channel. After many requests to make it available it was finally clear of all the other channels and made available.

Serial Separation is available on Amazon KDP and is the second novel in the Scott Tucker series. Remember the earlier novel I tried to get an agent to represent? Well, I rewrote that Branded for Murder novel, which is really the first in the series. I did get something beneficial from the vanity press scenario. Kurt Bret has done four of my five novel covers, and does have a talent to capture my ideas in a design and is fortunately less expensive than I would have expected.

Cover design is now my only expense. I publish my novels first on Amazon KDP and then in print format using Amazon’s CreateSpace. In fact, the last two versions of my ‘2013 Flash Fiction Anthology’ I used Amazon’s tools to create my own covers. In hind sight I should have published in print format first and then eBook as I could not use the cover created in the eBook for the print version.

I hope some of the above is a help to other authors. So, what do I have for novels?

Branded for Murder involves Scott Tucker, who is a Harvard student, and needs to join a recently formed task force as the New England Strangler’s latest victim was his cousin.

Serial Separation sets Scott to joining another task force as the recently dismembered bodies washed up on the shores of New England were hockey players he played hockey with.

Scent of Gardenia pulls Scott into an investigation as to what is happening to rich-young men going missing on the island of Bermuda. When no ransom demands are being requested, authorities believe the men are being kept for sexual purposes.

Fragrance of Revenge once again gets Scott into an investigation where he doesn’t belong. He hasn’t learned to stay away from investigations and this one will become more than an investigation as he will become the target.

Foreplay for Murder is the same story line as Fragrance of Revenge, but is a hotter version for the adult reader.

2013 Flash Fiction Anthology is a collection of forty-one of my stories and those of Aron Joice and Brian Beam. This book reached #6 on Amazon’s Best Sellers Free list in the Short Story category.

So what can I say about the novel series? In early January I made four of the novels available for free for a four-day period and three of them made it into the top twelve on Amazon’s Best Sellers Free list in the Mystery Romance category. Branded for Murder peaked at #4 and even beat out James Patterson’s free novel. Not bad company to be in, and since I styled my novels after his Alex Cross mysteries consisting of short chapters, I guess it was a successful direction and promotion.

Following that promotional period actual sales were higher than any prior period. New, or recent authors, spend considerable time, and sometimes money, to have their product discovered by readers. I want to thank Aron for allowing me to include her short stories and samples of her novels in my anthology, and for this post.

Readers like you have a wide-choice of who you will read next. I thank those who read my novels and provide some feedback. Reviews help other readers make an informed purchasing decision. I also thank readers for any review and try to acknowledge all of them and realize I am not a great writer, but hope I tell a good story and can improve my writing skills. I enjoy writing good stories and I hope it shows.

Learn more about Dick Waters at  Amazon

My Fellow Author’s Promo page

 

Guest Author Ken La Salle

Each week I hope to share a guest post with you from an author. This will not be a Q & A, so the writer will have carte blanche.

I’d like to thank Ken La Salle for stopping by today. Ken, as each author, will have a standing page on my blog. This designated page will offer links to his sales pages, podcasts, upcoming signings and any other related matters. Check back often for updates and I anticipate my readers may find some wonderful work to add to their collections. So without further adieu…

ken-la-salle-website-icon2As a writer, I find myself doing these more than I thought I would, introducing myself to a new audience. Everyone wants it to be fresh; no one wants other people’s leftovers.

So, I thought I would introduce myself today by talking about what brought me to writing in the first place. You see, before I committed to being a writer I was, I had been, I had craved to become an actor.

And when I use the word “crave,” I ain’t kidding. I took every crappy part I could get at first and when some of that crappy part got cut I would fight for everything I could convince the director to leave in. Like every young actor, I counted my lines. I dreamed of the day when I would run a show, by which I mean when I would be on the stage at all times.

Now, here’s a secret. Ready? I can share this secret with you now because I’m no longer an actor. I couldn’t remain an actor because, and here’s the secret, I wasn’t that good. I say it’s a secret because I know plenty of actors who thought I was fairly good. A few people thought I had real talent and wondered why I left the stage. Not a lot. But a few.

You see the key to acting, what few people really acknowledge, is that real acting isn’t. The best acting is never acted. It’s real. And the best actors can make their moments on stage real or they can experience them as real, somehow. I wasn’t ever too good at that, really. Oh sure, I had my moments. For the most part, though, I never really surrendered to the moment.

I remained aloof to the moment, floating just above the moment, observing it, gauging it – and I would try to make all of my expectations about a scene fit just the way I wanted. The problem with this approach, of course, is that I never had control over the other actors on stage. Sure, I could persuade them now and again but, mostly, I would finish my shows feeling a twinge of disappointment. And sometimes that twinge was enough to snap my neck.

But that’s the wonderful thing about writing, isn’t it? Writers can take each moment apart and dissect it like an unfortunate frog. They can put things together in any order they wish until their frog is a transforming-meka-frog… or something.

Mind you, there’s a problem with that as well. And I bring this up because I’m beginning to understand that I am leaving that point in my career, the point where striving for control is revealed to be just as inauthentic as my mistakes on the stage.

True, writers can take apart every moment, dissect it, clean it, expunge it, chop, seal, and press it… but should they? It’s a question that has been haunting me of late.

Mind you, I don’t consider myself to be a slouch. Not at all. I have some work I know I can take a great deal of pride in. My trilogy of memoirs, for instance: A Grand CanyonClimbing Maya, and The Day We Said Goodbye. My novels, from Daughter of a One-Armed Man to Vampire Society to those books I am actively marketing today and even up into the books I am just finishing. I know I’ve represented myself well.

In addition to those books, there are also my books on following your dreams, collecting my essays from Recovering the Self. There’s my podcast,So Dream SomethingMy YouTube series: My Side, Radio de’Olde, and 5 Brief Minutes. I’ve seen my work released in ebook, audiobook, and paperback. I’ve seen my plays on stages around the country. And I see no end in sight.

And yet, I begin to feel as though I’ve been stopping myself from surrendering to the moment, from relishing in it, burying myself in it waist high. Because there are some similarities between acting and writing and one truth persists: There’s a magic in the moment. Dissecting is great but there is a magic in the moment.

And so, as I move forward, my goal has become to find outlets that put me in the moment, so that I might experience that magic with my readers. I have a few experiments lined up in the coming future that I hope will throw me into the moment and help me grow as an artist.

There are things I can do as a writer that I could never do as an actor. That’s why I walked away from acting and into writing, where I’ve committed myself. Some of these things are probably obvious to anyone who has heard a writer speak, things like making that connection with the reader, finding meaning, etc. etc. etc. But I’m talking about something very different.

One of the things I can do as a writer is to experience that moment, to reach out from this side of the page and maybe touch that side of the page, maybe touch the air above the page. That, you see, is the goal of being a writer. (This is aside from having a best-seller and making a million dollars, of course. Everyone knows that is the real goal of being a writer: Not starving and having a roof over our heads!) Our goal is not to fill a page, it is to leap from it.

And that, I suppose, is my introduction. I hope you take some time to look into my work and, if you do, I will consider myself a very lucky guy. You know, writers come about an actor a dozen – and if you do the conversion:

Actors = $.10/dozen

Writers = Actors/dozen

The numbers ain’t good. This is why I feel so very fortunate to have the chance to share my stories, my moments, with you.

All the best,

Ken La Salle

Visit Ken’s page on my blog for works, signings, updates and media.

My Fellow Authors Promo Page

Three Tips for Finding the Perfect Publishing Path

Kristen Lamb's Blog

We writers live in interesting times. The same digital tsunami that toppled Tower Records and collapsed Kodak has now consumed the world of publishing. The world we knew five years ago is gone. Traditional is reinventing, indie publishers are growing and self-publishing now can be a viable part of any author’s long-term career plan. This is one of the main reasons WANA has never taken sides and embraces publishing as a whole.

Granted, some authors may find a singular path that fits all their needs, but a majority of us will mix it up and venture on a hybrid path. Traditional houses are encouraging writers to self-publish prequels, short stories, or even stories involving supporting characters to keep the fan fires burning between books.

Indie houses are helping established authors breathe new life into backlists and new authors get a start under the care of professionals. Self-publishing is a fantastic…

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