11 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
Courses – The Final Frontier of Book Publishing
Courses – The Final Frontier of Book Publishing To boldly publish where few authors have gone before… Most people have heard and swallowed the hype that ebooks are all there is to self-publishing, that making 6-figures with a few Kindle ebooks is the trophy every player wants to walk away with. Unfortunately, that’s all but impossible. Statistically, those bestsellers on Amazon are less than 1 percent. (This is from Amazon’s own sales rank.) On top of that, the 6-figure authors I’ve chased down sell all possible other versions of those books everywhere else they can, not just ebooks only. In short, you can’t get there from wherever you are right now. Sorry. The bottom line to succeeding with ebook publishing is being covered over with a bunch of misdirections and strategies which are over 99% wrong. Let’s back this up then. First: You don’t succeed only with ebooks – they are only the start. Second: Books are containers for ideas. They can take many formats. You’re probably familiar with paperbacks, hardbacks, audiobooks. Third: Successful authors publish in all possible formats. Fourth: There’s a scale of formats. Your “books” start out with an idea, and usually in text format. Your text is usually started or converted to digital. Polished, this becomes an ebook. Take that digital data and flow it into a Word (or LibreOffice) document and then you can upload it to create print versions, paperback on CreateSpace and Lulu, hardback on Lulu. Record that text and you can have an audiobook, which can be published through ACX to Audible. Or uploaded to CDBaby. (Or – see Author’s Republic.) If you make a presentation and match it to the audio, you wind up with a video and posted to YouTube or others to promote your various book versions. What remarkably few writers talk about (but most non-fiction authors are doing) are leveraging all these different book-versions in order to create a course. Courses are the top of the heap, as they make use of all these re-purposed materials you’re able to create. They can also bring you in the most income of all the other formats. (Except where someone makes your book into a feature-length movie, like the Martian, or Fifty Shades of Grey.) Up to this point, I also haven’t talked about courses. These finally hit my radar after I took a few. When you look at these, you can quickly say – “hey, these aren’t anything I couldn’t do.” If you’ve followed my steps, you’ll know that I’ve personally done everything I’ve talked about. This is to test everything for you and then give you the rundown of the simplest way to do it for yourself. I’ve not gotten into videos as these are far more time-intensive than writing, editing, and recording audio. They are also harder to monetize, which takes even more time. Courses, though, make video’s possible to be utilized, and monetized. Western courses tend to be linear and top-down, with the provider as authority. That aligns to our linear books, so an author creating courses is not that far from their work in creating books. The great scene is that this also allows us to have more distributors bring us more passive income. How do distributors make you income? Promotion is getting your offer in front of other audiences so they can choose it for themselves. Each distributor has a marketplace with an existing audience. (This is what separates the wannabe’s and vanity/subsidy publishers from the rest – they expect you to bring your own audience for a price you pay up front.) Bonafide distributors usually take a split of your price for themselves in order to finance that platform. The one’s I recommend here let you start for free, they don’t charge you on a annual, per month, or per book basis. Let’s look these over. We have multiple distributors at nearly every echelon… Text: ebooks: Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, B&N, Lulu, Smashwords, Scribd, HummingbirdDM, own hosting printed books: CreateSpace, Lulu Audio: audiobooks: ACX/Audible, CDBaby, HummingbirdDM. own hosting PDF’s: presentations (mostly for free): Slideshare, HummingbirdDM, Scribd, own hosting. video: (free and paid) YouTube, Vimeo, MetaCafe, etc. (and inside presentations on Slideshare), own hosting courses: Udemy, eLearningMarketplace.com, OpenSesame, own hosting. The criteria I hold here is that you have to be able to submit for free, just as Amazon or others. The others not mentioned in each category require you to pay up front. And most of these have paid upgrade options. What I want to tell you about is how you can start from scratch without any out-of-pocket costs. All of these levels of formatting have increasing amounts of work and organization, but are all able to be created by an individual or solopreneur. You can have a content business located anywhere you can get an Internet connection. No boss, plenty of income if you organize it right. The idea here is that you can get started for nothing more than just sweat equity. Each formatting level has varying numbers of free-to-publish market places. It’s interesting to find that the bottom and the top have the greatest number of marketplaces who want your book-content. Factors in choosing marketplaces If you’ve followed my articles and podcast episodes, you’ll know the answer I recommend: all of them. Simply because once you have the book-container in the format you want, then you have a digital product you can host anywhere. So you might as well – you won’t know what money you are missing otherwise. The worst aspect to deal with is the “race to the bottom.” Amazon is infamous at this. They are the only ebook distributor that penalizes you for setting a price higher than $9.99 – they want to commoditize ebooks and so, commoditize authors. Most of the “how to” books on dealing with Amazon work only within these limits. Few tell you to simply take your book to other distributors as well. Or to sell it directly and pocket even higher percentages. One example was a guy who wrote a very authoritative PDF on Evernote. And he makes a few thousand every month from that single book selling on his own site. Yes, there are a lot of wannabe ebooks on Amazon for 2.99 or 3.99 – his is around $25 and isn’t available except on his site. So is he losing money? Not as much as if he tried to “compete” on Amazon. This is a research work in progress. I won’t have all the details in for some months from now, due to the complexity of the subject. In all of the above, the additional choice is to self-host. I’m torn between all of these, actually, since they each have different advantages. My current approach will be to build my courses on my own site, list them on eLearning Marketplace, and then create additional versions on Udemy and OpenSesame. (But I’m using the Rainmaker Platform.) If you don’t have an option already for creating a course via your web host, then I’d recommend starting with Teachable or Thinkific to build your course, and then port it as above. Do watch their preferences. Udemy is a stickler on pricing, but arguably does the most work in pitching their courses to potential students. Note that you won’t put any high-end courses here. Intro courses, with links to your main site where they can find your upper-end sequels would be a logical choice. Teachable has probably the best backend for enabling you to get started. Thinkific is close behind. As in books, I’d recommend you create the course once and port it to every marketplace you can. There are also other options for courses (and for any bundle of digital products) such as pitching them through affiliate sales platforms, which are nothing but marketplaces for affiliate sales people. That is completely a different subject area, and a research project still incomplete. Several of these course platforms have built-in affiliate programs you can take advantage of. Check them out for yourself as part of your due diligence. The point of this is to get started building courses and leverage what you have to the next level. Leveraging All Your Book Platforms Let’s review a bit. You have these levels of platforms: ebooks paperbacks / hardbacks PDF’s audiobooks (podcasts) presentations videos courses Those are in order of logical production, but not necessarily in the order of most leveraged marketing: While you create your book in LibreOffice (or Word), you’ll port to ebooks first in order to get quick sales. Creating the PDF will give you paperbacks on CreateSpace and Lulu, hardbacks on Lulu. Then port your PDF to Scribd if it’s an original work. Lulu will also sell it for you on their marketplace. (And there are other places to sell PDFs, beyond the scope of this article, and the radar of most book sellers.) Part of your editing is reading it out loud, so it makes sense to create at least a podcast at the same time. Then get the final version professionally recorded, or DIY. From that audio, you can create a matching presentation. Save this as a PDF or a series of individual images (GIMP will generate images out of those PDF pages.) Combine the audio and images into MovieMaker (on Windows, or iMovie on MAC, or OpenShot on Linux – there are many other non-linear editors available on all platforms.) Now you have a video. Create a course outline, probably according to your book chapters, and you can build your course with all these materials. Note that the best experience is where you post all versions of the material available for the student to download according to their own learning preferences. What is interesting is that you can work this all backwards from the course you want to create. You begin with the audience, and for that you need to write a sales page, write an ad, and do a course outline. Create the course on whatever platform you’ll be using. Start running the ad and getting opt-ins with emails. Give them access with their purchase, and survey them for just what they want. Then start producing it, modifying your outline and adding lessons as you go. As you produce your text, audio, slides, and video, you can be producing short-read ebooks which are available for purchase as part of the course materials. Combine these books so that they result in 32 print pages and you have a slim paperback. Combine all these slim volumes and you’ll have a thicker paperback to offer. That paperback can become a deluxe hardback as well. Meanwhile, your students can give your books reviews and start moving them up the Amazon rankings. This then gives us an unsuspected way to write and publish books – by teaching. And I don’t know that this couldn’t be adapted for non-fiction. Certainly, all the “cutting room floor” leftovers from creating a book could be used for a fan course. It would be much as the bonus material found on DVD’s, I expect. Other than some small details, this is the capstone of my research into book publishing. It was as surprising to me as it probably was to you. Next for me is to actually take these four years of blog posts/podcasts and turn them into a full-fledged course. Of course, you’ll be invited to pilot it. Luck to us all. Until next time… The post Courses – The Final Frontier of Book Publishing appeared first on Living Sensical.
8 minutes | Jul 8, 2019
Self-Publishing Secrets Every Author Should Know
Self-Publishing Secrets Every Author Should Know I stumbled across these while researching and testing. I haven’t seen them anywhere else, and they they are extremely practical ideas. First, You Have to Change Your Thinking 1. Authors are Producers. They generate “books-as-containers,” creating all possible versions of that title. Leverage is in multiple versions, as well as a multiple titles in a series. That makes the income generate exponentially rather than linearly. 2. The non-fiction writer should work from the course backwards, enabling the audience to help edit and build the experience. (I’ll go over courses as another episode. This note is to tell you what the fastest, and most profitable way to build your list.) 3. The author-producer doesn’t “sell.” They offer audience-experiences to explore. Descriptions and landing pages need to be written to draw the viewer/reader/listener into the story that title affords. It’s more fishing than anything else – cast a wide net and hook the audience by drawing them in by their own participation, interest, and trust. That audience wants to have a novel experience. The author-producer supplies it. Second, Have a Smart Sequence of Producing Your Titles. Begin with the end in mind. The whole point to publishing is to leverage every piece of content you create to earn you the most possible income. Most authors have this completely wrong. First conventional thought: I’ll write a great book and make millions. Sorry. Most writers don’t make more than $500 a year, with 3,000 sales for the life of the book. Second conventional thought: I’ll write a series of books, give the first one away, and make millions. Sorry. While that can give you regular income, it doesn’t take you to the tipping point. Third conventional thought: I’ll use social media to develop a following and get them to buy my books. Sorry. Especially these days, less than 10 percent of your “following” will ever see your posts. If you study the successful authors, you’ll find a different approach. It’s not obvious, but it works. Yes, they all write lots of books. But that’s just the beginning. a) They get readers to opt-in to their mailing list. Lead Magnets in every book, front and back. b) Out of that mailing list, they recruit reviewers (“ambassadors”) who get advanced copies and scour for errors. Those ambassadors are then asked to leave an honest review when the book goes live. c) They alert that entire list to the pre-order offer, to the low-intro-price offer, and before the price goes up. d) They rinse-repeat with all subsequent books. e) They meanwhile run FB ads to spike book sales, so Amazon will push it through their promotions. Now, even less obvious: f) They sell everywhere else in addition to Amazon, and run FB ads for iTunes users to buy the book there, also Kobo gets a similar treatment. (Haven’t heard anyone doing this for Nook…) g) They get the book recorded and published as an audiobook. h) They publish the paperback and hardback versions. i) They get translations and publish those as well, or sell the foreign rights to someone who will. j) They get paid speaking gigs. The real hidden options, particularly for non-fiction authors: k) They make courses out of the book series. Why this works If you’re just writing more books, it can only increase your sales linearly. Practically, the earlier books in any series will tend to downtrend in sales as later ones come out and the market has mostly read your books. That also dampens sales overall. FB ads, particularly for box sets, tends to spice things up a bit. If you are offering more versions of your books, you get into different reading audiences. You now have more books in series in front of multiple audiences. Popular books will tend to reinforce each other (especially on Amazon where all versions are sold.) If your books are popular in multiple areas, then the sales aggregate more exponentially Why courses? There is a progression of content from digital text to printed text, to audio, to video, to courses. Courses are the container for all versions of the content you produced originally as an ebook. Courses have more ways they can be distributed. While there are four main book distributors, courses can be offered on about 15 or more distributors in various formats. Obviously, more people are looking for digital packages of materials than just a single digital version. People have more ways of learning than just reading on their smartphone. The general principle of promotion is to put your offer in front of as many different audiences as possible – with their permission. The multiple eyeballs theorem confirms this, but goes further to say you need to be putting it out there in as many formats as possible as well. While you probably won’t sell many videos on YouTube, you can get links to your course page where they can buy a course with that video in it. Begin with the course in mind. The best way to write a book is to get the audience to help you with it. The best way to produce a course is to get the students to help you compile it. The best way to run an FB ad promotion is to a paid service or product where the sales will cover your advertising costs. You can see where this is going: Announce a course before you build it, run ads to get people to buy it, and then use their feedback to build the course materials as they start taking it. Before that, you have other steps. 0) Do set up the course with its outline and introduction page – don’t put any content on it yet. 1) Do your homework and write the sales page. Create several with different course names. Use the one that converts the best. 2) Use that sales page and course name to create the introduction to the course. Short video, PDF transcript, downloadable audio. 3) Create the prelaunch videos that lay out what is going to be in the course. Set these up in a sequence and track opens. Run your FB ads into this landing page and autoresponder sequence. 4) Start building out the course, by making one lesson live and with open-ended survey questions that have to be answered before the next lesson opens. (Once you’ve completed the course and ran enough students through it, you can take the surveys down.) 5) Start building your next course in the series. Survey your students for what they want before you start anything. 6) Rinse-repeat – until you have courses for all the books you’ve written. 6a) This is also the way you write the books based on what you taught in the course, which is simpler. Just start with a problem area and the known solutions. Give them your own particular take on it and start from there with your FB ads. Authors should produce courses in order to write the textbooks. They should start with courses and build their base from there. Your text, audio, and graphics will all be ready at the same time. Practically, you’ll be able to publish your books, audiobooks, and bundles while the course is being built. These book-versions will then each be emissaries for your course and bring you more students. That is the new top-level strategy for non-fiction authors. Have fun with this. The post Self-Publishing Secrets Every Author Should Know appeared first on Living Sensical.
9 minutes | Feb 16, 2019
Book Universes: A Very Thin Line – by S. H. Marpel
Book Universes: A Very Thin Line by S. H. Marpel Published: Feb 2019 Characters: With dialogue: Carol, John Earl Stark, Hami. Mentioned: Bert, Tish, Gaia, Tess, various Ghost Hunter team, unnamed military types and politicians. Main Story Structure: Mystery Secondary Structure: Action-Adventure Main Settings: Gaia’s “bedroom”, Hami’s saloon, Bert’s valley, Area 51. Theme/Notable Quote: “Success begins with a fellow s will It s all in the state of mind.” Related Fiction: Time Bent, A World Gone Reverse, Gaia, The Harpy Saga: Sister Mine, The Hooman Saga: Part II:2, The Training: Tess, The Lazurai Related Authors: Earl Nightingale, Joseph Murphy, Christian Larson, J. B. Jones, Napoleon Hill The Pitch: I was walking in my pasture one sunny afternoon, when a pair of hands pulled me into the underworld. Once I arrived, I relaxed – a bit. Because it was an old friend. Carol. A time-bender and now a Lazurai as well. Meaning she could walk through rock – and other things. “Hi John. How have you been?” Carol was standing in front of a crystal fire place, warming herself from the magma heat that was channeled out of the earth’s core. “Not bad, Carol. Other than being pulled deep into the earth without a simple request, or how-de-do.” “Sorry about that. Really. But I need your help – because I’m worse than haunted now – I’m being hunted.” “And I’m the only one who can help you?” She smiled, embarrassed, and shrugged. “Yeah, that about sums it up – other than how many people are after me…” Excerpt: Just walking along in the pasture, out to check my cows, when two hands reached up and pulled me underground. I kinda resented that. Because it was turning out to be a brilliant, sunny day. Winter had let go – at least for now. I could get outside with a light jacket instead of a heavy winter chore coat. The company I was keeping lately probably meant this was another mystery to solve. Hands had come up from below to grab me before, but these weren’t Gaia – that earth goddess I’ve been working with. This wasn’t the same touch. Firm, and female, sure – but not Gaia. Before I could wonder how I could tell things like that, we arrived. It looked like Gaia’s “bedroom” chamber again. Crystalline though, but feeling like a large cave of crystal. Its walls were slightly different, more orangish than the clearer yellow-white interior. But solid crystal, regardless. We were both “breathing” solid rock again. And moving through it like just so much open space. I found a bench-like rock formation of “thicker” granite to sit on, and focused on my kidnapper. She had her hands out toward the rock hearth in the room, warming up from the magma heat being channeled up from somewhere below. Then she turned around. As I suspected from her simple outfit a light jacket over a simple patterned blouse tucked into some black jeans – all designed to be inconspicuous – it was Carol. Time-bender and Lazurai. She smiled at me. “Sorry I didn’t ask before I whisked you down here.” I had to smile in return. “Better to ask forgiveness than permission?” A broader smile. “Something like that – but I knew you’d like a good story. And besides, like the first time we met, I don’t know who else to go to. This problem is huge – or at least seems that way to me.” I had to shake my head, like I said – the company I’ve been keeping lately. They know I’m in it for the story. “OK, tell me this huge problem – dramatic situation first, please.” She chuckled a little. “John, you have a way to make anyone feel at ease. Sal and Jude have told me straight about you.” A few steps across that bedroom suite let her sit next to me on that granite bench. “There’s a huge group that has been trying to capture me. They’re chasing me through time wherever I go, trying to head me off. Running has been my only option until now.” Editor’s Notes: This book came to Marpel for writing as just the title – and the concept that winning is a thin-line difference from losing. Just moving over from one to the other is a matter of simple thought – followed by action. Although it’s a surprising adventure, we haven’t had any book that shows up in several major cities like this. Much less taking on the U. S. Government and an entire base filled with military types. Of course, this book comes right on the heels of Carol’s other two books – Time Bent and A World Gone Reverse. The unfortunate scene involves that the “plot hole” in the Marpel universe that Carol pointed out in her first book might have been plugged. She said there was no recurring villain, and then stumbled across a group of individual with gizmo’s trying to track her down. In this latest book, she now gets considerable help to temporarily shut down Area 51 and stop their government programs that targeted “special abilities” persons. Of course, and typical for Marpel stories, no one was hurt. Of course, this does open up an “uneasy truce” between the two groups, so there can be some development here, perhaps. The most picturesque view in this book is a bunch of people up to their armpits in dirt and unable to free themselves, yet trying to threaten their way out of it. And the over-vocal ones literally get a sock put in it. (Those usually also wound up sunk in dirt up to their chin.) You do see many characters show up “off-page” in this: Star, Sylvie, Gaia, Ben, Tess, Betty. And Hami’s saloon and her famous cooking. Sweet potatoes fried up in slices sounds like a great compliment to her cheeseburgers in home-made buns. Bert’s valley is of course out of C. C. Brower’s “Hooman Saga” universe. As is the mention of Tess currently being on the moon in that time-space. Lazurai is a series of stories first started by J. R. Kruze with the book of that name. Carol is a time-bender-turned-Lazurai and the most trained of all the Ghost Hunters. But even she has to go off for more training with Gaia and Tess – just to hone special skills and techniques. There is also the mention of shifters, which again goes to the Brower universe. While this hasn’t been much explored, shifters who were treated by Lazurai also can gain those abilities. All meaning that we have some interesting possible story arcs that may be calling for stories. That person Betty took underground and probably treated enroute had a short appearance in Brower and Marpel’s “Moon Bride“. His name is Sam, and he was a distant admirer of Sue, the heroine of the Hooman Saga. (I think he now has a thing for her sister Shelby, as I recall – but that story hasn’t surfaced yet.) Some questions remain from this book. One is where all those secret government materials went. One idea might be that they went into the Ghost Hunters Library. Or maybe they got put into an alternate space-time in Bert’s valley. Maybe Gaia took them far deep into the Earth. ??? And that “piece of paper” that they signed – might just wind up on the Internet as a way to start disclosing their presence. But then, these Lazurai and Ghost Hunters don’t have the problem of dealing with normal humans like so many TV shows do. (X-men, and so on.) They pretty much stay anonymous. The ones with really wild talents are pretty much all on the moon. You saw two of them mentioned here as taking out satellites in orbit. And that is a whole super-hero(ine) adventure series just waiting to happen. Marpel was as surprised as any that John had a huge speaking role in this book. The background from this – and that poem John quotes – is out of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. [Chapter 3] The poem itself, per Wikipedia, came from a 1905 Unity magazine. And I believe this is only the second out of two times that there’s a reference to John writing self-help before he retired to this remote farm to write mysteries. That’s about all for this installment. This has been Book Universes and the book is “A Very Thin Line” by S. H. Marpel. It’s available nearly everywhere online. We’ll see you next time… The post Book Universes: A Very Thin Line – by S. H. Marpel appeared first on Living Sensical.
17 minutes | Feb 16, 2019
The Writer’s Journey of John Earl Stark 02
The Writer’s Journey of John Earl Stark 02 R. L. Saunders Nine Lessons from Authors – – – – John Earl Stark problems were far from over. He was up to his neck and now his stories were running his life. All he wanted was to improve his book sales. But what he got was too many stories to write. And now he wasn’t sleeping as a result. There were just too many and they wouldn’t stop coming. He simply couldn’t write them fast enough. Worse, the stories were getting jumbled, the characters mixed. If he didn’t do something soon, he’d probably go insane. Focus. It’s a matter of focus. And staying awake. – – – – Hi-ya, boss. It’s been a week of too much and too little. All delivered through dreams, or just after waking. John got way too many. He’d find himself awake with a story sitting there, but it would be 2 or 3 am. So he’d turn over, and then at 4am he’d be woken with another. You know the one’s he writes – mysterious supernatural situations only a human can save them from. So he was right in to these opening scenes, like a movie running along through his mind. Dumped right in the middle of the action and all the characters shouting out their lines in 3D Cineramascope. But the other stories that woke him up that early morning seemed gone. If he just lay there and close his eyes, they’d be back, though – either starting over or picking up where they left off. Rolling over tended to help. By the time it was light enough to see, he was still exhausted and now had all the chores of the farm to take care of. Dogs and cats to feed, a milkcow to relieve, cattle to check. Those things aren’t just put off. Real live creatures needing his care. So he’d be up and at them, somehow keeping his eyes open enough to not burn himself during breakfast. Slogging through the weather and the routines. Then he’d come back and shrug out of his outdoor clothes and collapse on his couch for “just a few minutes” – only to find himself with yet another story waking him and demanding to be written into existence. After a few days of this, he finally got a pad and paper by his bed, and turn on the light to write down the opening scene and any details – something he could use later to hopefully pick up that story again. Didn’t work out. He did have 6 or 8 new opening scenes he could mine. But where they went from there was still another problem. At last, he did just force himself to sit down and write one of them all the way out. But it was a mystery from the start. He only had a scrap of a line to write from. But write he did – and it turned out OK. 6K words where this team of his spooks go and take on the entire government to get them to stop hunting people with “extraordinary abilities” just so they could do their genetic research and experiments. Happy ending, an all that. For me, it was worse. I took his idea of getting that pad and paper, but I only wound up with lists of phrases. And spent most of the night tossing and turning to get back to sleep again. Then daylight would make sleep impossible – and I’d trudge over to John’s cabin for some of his to-die-for coffee with honey. I don’t share his love of watching cattle graze, so pretty much I’d sit out on the front porch with his farm dog and pet her if she wanted it. Otherwise, just relax. Maybe with one of those books. Sometimes dozing off again. When John came back, we’d hit the books again. So here’s where we picked it up: On your “read me first” note, you told us to take your “How I Survived” book and use it as the backbone to the rest of these others. They all take off from it like ribs. Or so you say. All we know is that we’ve got about half the table filled with stacks of books that we don’t dare get out of order. Because having to hunt through to find a book defeats the reason for stacking them. And we soon found out that the way we took them out put them into the order you suggested we read them. (Besides, you also gave us digital versions of these, so that left us tons to do in our “spare time.”) As usual, we salute your cleverness and foresight. The first chapter of “How I Survived” took up your “Nine Lessons.” Of course, the first one started to explain both John and my problems. I No One School Has All the Teachers Too true. Both of us have read and swallowed all sorts of data. And most of it conflicted with at least one other author or authority. But that then rolls into your first rule – of Sturgeon’s Law that “90% of everything out there is crud.” And we both had to hand it to you – stating and repeating that anyone and everyone reading that book simply needed to test everything for themselves. Once they found out what worked for them, then they’s be on easy street. It hit both of us that you are actually asking us to test these datums in this book as we read them, to argue both for and against them until one side proved to us – at least temporarily – to be more workable than the other. That’s bold, boss. Nobody does that these days. Certainly not the media, definitely not the government. They only test against their supporting their own agenda, not whether something helps them write fiction more efficiently. So, thanks for the vote of confidence. We won’t let you down. Now, just because you studied that long list of 227 books you winnowed through to find a dozen really good ones doesn’t mean we have to. In fact, I noticed that you didn’t even include that list anywhere. Saving us some pain? Or wanting us to get through this faster? It doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. Because both Stark and I still have quite different writing styles. And approaches. Stark gets an idea for a story and says, “… and then what?” I get an idea for a story and say, “…oh yeah?” – – – – I just talked that idea over with Stark, and maybe that explains why he has endless stories and I have a list of pithy statements. Stark figures he’s there to write entertainment. I rather think I’m hear to explore the world we live in to find out why we need distractive entertainment – but write what I find in an amusing format. (That then gives us a reason right there for his greater success. Free ice cream is more popular than free liver pills.) II You Can Only Compare Yourself with Yourself. That figures. But did I just violate that with my last statement? Not so much, I think. It’s more that I’m saying that Stark isn’t me and I’m not him. We don’t write the same way or about the same things. So saying that some general approach has to apply to both of us is probably like trying to find the plot in an Edgar Allen Poe story. Isn’t really there – not at least by the current gold standards about what is a plot. For some editor to state that the points of Campbell’s Monomyth are in all plots is a bit far-fetched. For one, a short story doesn’t have room for them. You’ve got three or maybe four characters, tops. And only two of them with any depth. Of course, I skipped to the back of your book – and we can readdress this once we get through this book – that there are no plots in writing, only story elements that are essential to that story. There is a general plan for a short story – hook, rule of three try-fails, round-up, and teaser – like any decent TV story. Otherwise, it’s just “problematic character(s) somewhere.” Three words. Simple. So, you go right back to the point that the way you write, and what you find that works for you, can only really be compared to how well you wrote before and what made that possible. Too simple. It also goes back to your first rule – do you like what (and how) you’re writing? If not, then try something different. And also, how can you make this next one better than the last one? Then you get a brain sneeze when I write something out like that – how about accepting something on trust from a story that’s coming to you? Not that I’m trying to be popular, but you don’t generally keep up polite conversations by attacking everything someone else says. Especially not right off the bat. I think John needs to simply tell his stories , “Thanks, but I’m busy with this one right now, please take a ticket, or go over and ask R. L. in the next cabin.” Or maybe he should just get up and write it out when he gets that 3am wake-up call. Then go take a nap if he gets too tired later. For me, it’s just going ahead and writing, but with my jaundiced eye out, looking for a barbed comment I can put in somewhere. Needed or not. But that is a matter of style and voice, not some “pure golden truth.” Your next lesson really hit us both: III Writing is Regular Work. Regular Action Forms Habits. This is probably more for me than John, although he nodded when we went over this. John pretty much does this on his own. He’s basically prolific. And now that he’s got endless stories to write, there’s a different problem waiting for him. He has his schedule of farm chores. And fits his writing in between. So this works out for him. I was only writing when then angst got too bad. And then would spiel it all out in some sort of “cathartic” story. So my work only ran once in a while. My habit was a weak one. Then I took a long sabbatical/detox and quit writing altogether. Means I at least need to get into some writing and reading daily, regardless of how much. Just start lining up some stuff I want to read, and then sitting down and cranking stuff out – regardless. Even if they are just 500 word essays, or less. Maybe like Hemmingway’s “Baby Shoes”. Here’s one for you: It was a dark and stormy night. Everyone was sitting around the campfire. Someone asked, “Joe, tell us a story?” And then the murders began. Thought you’d like that. Not original in the slightest. But writing very short is said to be harder than writing long. Your point of marketing was noted. Once I get back to writing and publishing regularly, it will be tested, you can believe me. Stark has done some tests at this, so he’s further along than me. But still feels his sales are flagging. To me, that just means more tests. IV. Prolific Writing is Easy. Making a Living at It is Hard. Sure, if you simply write the story like a movie rolling off in your head, then it’s really simple. Taking the idea that stories are alive and come to you to be churned into a published work – great. All on top of only writing what you love. Means you stay in that constant feeling of joy. (A bit of something for me to chew on. But yes even satire is fun when it comes out right.) But you also say that you’ve taken out the business articles you wrote as they weren’t tested. So what we’re really doing here is to just re-learning our writing. (And John’s sales – and his minimalist life-style are keeping us both fed while we study these stacks of books.) V. Writing in All Long Haul Work – “Overnight Success” is Just More Fiction This is more down my alley boss – attacking conventional wisdom as they are hoisted by their own petard. Decades of writing? I’ve barely been at this a year and quit partway through. It was chewing up my gut. Stark has it better, as he’s only gotten faster at writing. So we both have a lot to look forward to. I did look up “prolific authors” on Wikipedia and found that to be true. Also the point of Erle Stanley Gardner and H. Bedford-Jones writing over a million words a year – and selling their stories straight across, way before we had ebooks. Decades of writing is right. VI Enjoy What You Write and So Will Your Readers. Sure, you’re repeating yourself here. But I figure that you told us those four things first to get us going. (And boy did they get us going – Stark is still hollow-eyed, but recovering.) I was leafing through the rest of that book and see that you’re going to tell us more about how to start writing great fiction right off. But we’re only taking as much as we can get through for now. John remarked that this was more in alignment with the better you write, the more you yourself are engaged in your work, the higher quality it will be. So of course, your readers will love what you read. And I found that quote (wherever it came from) to be very valuable: “Write what you want to read.” If I want more scintillating satire stories, I need to write them into existence. Of course, that leads into: VII. Writing is Learned by Writing – Lots of It. I’d run into this problem of having to sort out a story in my mind days before I ever wrote something down. And the flipside of simply knowing that it was such as great hook that something had to happen as a result. And stories where it was just too pat – until you found out what the characters themselves were avoiding. And then you saw the problems really needed resolution – a surprise twist. That can be a great story, and very fun to write. Because if you’re surprised, the reader’s surprised. Still, the argument that we’ll learn writing faster if we get past the 20K per week mark – that takes a long swig to get it down. Sure, it’s simple to say that you write half of a 6K story each day. Or 6K one day and revise/proof/publish the next – and three 6K+ stories each week. (Plus a day off.) That again goes back to organizing your life so you can. Once I get up to that amount, I’ll be able to test this better. VIII. Follow and Emulate Perennial-Selling Books, Not Bestsellers I think you meant to put “bestsellers” in quotes – but that’s probably just me. I’ve seen all these ads and whatnot around that tout the “million-sellers” and so on. Of course, this rolls back to “only comparing yourself with yourself”. Because you look up their back trail and find a huge lot of practice out there, as well as a lot of work getting a mailing list built over years. So they have their own collection of devoted fans where they can simply email them about a new release and spike the sales on release day. But look up perennial-selling books – mostly dead authors – and you only see their polished pearls. Like Melville’s “Moby Dick”, or Thoreau’s “Walden” – that didn’t sell piddles while they were alive. That they’re selling now, without advertising or mailing lists means they are “damn good books” – and worth studying. That did tell me to get out of the satire-writing business, though. I mean you do have “Gulliver’s Travels” continuing along, even though the satire behind it is long forgotten. But it’s good entertainment, a good story. There’s too many of these current “political bestsellers” that will be forgotten with the next election or two. Write your best, learn from the best. Meaning that you should read the best to begin with – not the 90% crud out there. (And thanks again for including Dorothea Brande’s essay on how to dissect stories in the appendix. Very sensible approach.) IX. Stories Are Out There Begging to Be Brought to Life Stephen King saying stories write themselves is somewhat true. Still, you have to be listening, and you still have to set up a space and put the words out on the page – digital or otherwise. Like John and I told you last week, our best days have been when we simply listen to the voices over our shoulders that told us the next sentence to fit in there. Brande does talk about the “editor mind” and the “writer mind” having to learn how to coordinate. And I recall your comments about the author being a story-wrangler and pushing the “story” to skip the dull parts and just tell you the most exciting and dramatic story they can. All with the idea you are talking and listening to an actual being. To that degree, we agree with you on this. Again, as you say, we need to test this more for ourselves. So far, it seems to be a very workable truth. And one that has considerable mileage. It lends to an author using the skills of an interviewer, as Ray Bradbury interviewed the characters in his “Fahrenheit 451” to come up with a script-sequel to that book. This also seems to be the core of your more-efficient approach to high-volume writing. Let the stories do the work – you just write down the details as best you can, insisting that they keep you entranced as you write. – – – – Lessons learned, then. And thanks. The two of us have learned a lot this week. And outside of our studies, perhaps we’ll get some stories to you this next week as well. Until next week, then. – – – – Editor’s Note: Just got this cryptic text from Saunders… Your four parts to succeeding as a writer are brilliant. But you’ve mis-counted. There are five. Stark is sleeping better. Turns out we were able to take your tips – and his Internet connection – to backtrace a way. Brilliant, as usual. You, not Stark. TKS, RLS The post The Writer’s Journey of John Earl Stark 02 appeared first on Living Sensical.
17 minutes | Feb 5, 2019
The Writer’s Journey of John Earl Stark 01
The Writer’s Journey of John Earl Stark 01 by R. L. Saunders The First Four Rules – – – – This is Robert C. Worstell, Chief Editor and Author Wrangler here at Midwest Journal Press. Recently, I had an author return to my stable after a short dint in a “digital rehab”. He was a bit more gaunt, a bit hollow-eyed, but calmer. He seemed to have lost a nervous “edge” that he’d always carried around – along with a sharply barbed wit that had a hair trigger. His name is R. L. Saunders. Perhaps you’ve read some of his books. Maybe not. He said he was back and he wanted to get back into writing. We both knew it wasn’t going to be easy. That “addiction” he went off to cure was also his crutch – the one he leaned on to write his satire and parodies. So I gave him a job. We had a bunch of works around that needed to be polished up and re-cataloged and so forth. I figured that by having to read our other author’s works, maybe their style and approach would rub off on him. Maybe he’d be able to get some inspiration from their stories to build some new ones of his own. He gave me a weak smile, a nod, and then found himself a desk in one of the back rooms. Not too soon after, I got a note from one of my other authors, name of John Earl Stark. He asked if I knew any one to recommend – that could help him with his flagging sales. A light bulb went off right then. I called up Saunders and told him that he needed to go out to interview this Stark fellow, that I’d be shipping a care package of materials out there with instructions on how to use them. Of course, I had to “loan” Saunders gas money to make the trip, and the use of my “Triple A” card in case his “beater” truck didn’t make it all the way. Saunders was to write me a letter every week on their progress. And I sent an email to Stark saying that I was sending someone out – he just had to put the guy up and keep him fed. By the time Stark replied, Saunders was well on his way. Just yesterday, I got his the first report back. Here it is below: I Hiya Boss, Thanks for this great assignment. Being able to work remotely is a blessing, especially for this project. John Earl Stark (or “just John” as he would rather be called) has this spare cabin for any visitor, plus a third one between those like a library. That middle one was where we can discuss things, or just spread out papers and stuff. John still prefers just to write at the small desk in his own cabin. And there’s a small desk in his visitor cabin as well. I just can’t get used to these small spaces. Sure, there’s lots of space outside to walk and so forth. And I can always dictate through my smartphone, but these smaller digs are where I can type reports and maybe some outlines or treatments. And thanks for shipping all those references out. I had no clue there was so much you’ve shared with me – but also stuff that John or me has never seen. So let me set the stage though: John was waiting at the door to his cabin as I drove up those two narrow dirt-and-gravel tracks he calls a driveway. (Of course, he doesn’t have to use them much, since his spirit-guides whisk him away when they go off to rescue a ghost or save the world.) The fact is that he spends most of his time writing and makes the trip to town every other week or so. A recluse-author. Works for him. And in real life, just like his books, he does wear a red t-shirt stuffed into blue dungarees. I caught him in his sock feet, since he was writing or puttering around in that tiny cabin when I drove up. Of course, he welcomed me and poured a mug of coffee for both of us – two dollops of honey in each. (And you really need to try his custom roast blend that way. Liquid Heaven. I’ll see if I can come back with some.) So, yeah, he wants to improve his sales. (Who doesn’t – I mean he completely outsells me, always has.) And I mentioned that fact. He only smiled. And told me about the box you’d shipped in. No, of course he didn’t open it. It was addressed to me. So it had his curiosity going. He’d put it in the center cabin. So once he got his boots on, we went over there. Nice box. Big and all. Packed so tight you didn’t need any extra stuffing. And when we unpacked them, those books just kept coming and coming – like some sort of clown car at the circus. Good thing he had a big-ish table in there. Still, the books almost filled it up, even when stacked. II So I kinda got the idea I was going to be here for awhile. And at the bottom of that box was a handful of jump-drives in their own tiny zippered pouch – about the size of a dimestore paperback. That was a cute post-it taped to the top one: “Read Me First.” And a funny video on that jump drive, if terse. (You know what it said. Very funny, boss.) I chuckled for a bit. John was more shocked than anything else. And that surprised me – after what he’s written about his “true” experiences, you’d think he was proofed up against everything. But he also wasn’t used to my brand of humor. We’d never co-authored. Sure, he’d borrowed my idea once and gave me credit. But didn’t really ask me to side-check or even proof that book. That “humor” of mine was why I had to take that sabbatical in a “digital rehab”. Now, that’s a real hell for you. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just this “hell on earth” that we’re addicted to. Anyway, like I told John. Now I was worse off than ever before. Because I used to think I knew how to write – at least the weird, dark humor I could write. With Facebook, Twitter, and the online media outlets off my back, I was a free man again. Free to write about anything I wanted. I just didn’t know how anymore. That’s where I got the punchline. And started laughing all over again. John kinda chuckled along with me, but not sure if he really got the meaning. So we sat, and got to work organizing all this stuff you sent. We were both going to review and restudy from scratch. Helluva game changer for both of us. III Of course, we both recalled the first rule you told us – (that you said was one you had to shove in all your author’s faces). It’s the old Sturgeon’s Law: “90% of everything out there is crud.” Your next followup statement – after the shocked looks all these prima donna‘s gave you – the ones with their MFA’s hanging out of their pockets. That statement was “So get busy producing stories, because I want you to dig down to that 10% that will make us both money.” If they were still on-board the next week, then you’d have a story ready to work over. Otherwise, maybe somehow in the rest of their short lifetime, we might get somewhere near an outline of the first draft for the “Great American Novel.” Right. Sure thing, boss. You and I both know it doesn’t work that way. Or does it? John reminded me about your follow up. Then you’d tell them the bottom line: “Turn in a million words a year and you’ll be getting close.” Out of the 100K words that weren’t crud, you’d have maybe two novel-length books. Or a couple-dozen short stories. Didn’t matter to you. And that winnowed the field so you could pay attention to the one’s that were worth investing your time in. And those of us who decided to stick around and “grindstone” it out would get told if we asked. You’d pat us on the back and tell us “Now you’re on the scent – keep at it and your clues will keep coming. Don’t let your trail go cold.” Then your next advice: “Write short and publish long.” Because those MFA’s might have to take years in getting all that crud out of their system – what they’d spent years stuffing in and swallowing hard. Garbage in, garbage out. So quit accepting garbage. Just write the best you can until there wasn’t any more garbage left. You told us that if we concentrated on first writing short stories, then we’d be able to work on the bits and pieces of craft we wanted to improve on. Characters, settings, cliffhangers, hooks – all these things. One at a time. All in short stories, every story better than the last. Then they’d be able to finally start writing the books they were meant to. Us two – we’d already been there, done that. Now it was time for our PhD’s – Piled Higher and Deeper. Right there on that table. All the books we coulda, shoulda studied and now for sure would study this time. My idea of studying might not be the same as yours. I went out to my truck. When I came back, I pushed a six-pack of near-beer over to John and kept the other on my side. We each opened one. Like coffee, you have to get used to the taste. And once you do, well… Boss, it was only then I reached for that first book you listed. That one waiting on the top of that stack. Guess you piled these in according to how you want us to read them – because that last one wound up on top. Or maybe I’m just reading more into this… IV Your “read me first” list continued: “First rule: Writing is supposed to be fun. If you didn’t like writing it, then your reader’s won’t like reading it.” “That whole idea of ‘catharsis’ is fine in theory – and there’s some personal improvement gains to be had – but we all can’t buy those late night Tony Robbins infomercial products in order to write good fiction.” I remembered an idea from that celebrity-author we parodied years ago. Me, I really should have quit taking that to heart right then. There I was, trying to write all that crap out of my life that I was sucking in through the “news” media – and the “social” media – that just had to come back out again. All for “catharsis”. And explains why my best stuff was the most fun to write all the way through, not just at the end when I finally “got it out of my system.” Your notes then said “Writing is supposed to be fun all the way through. Of course you don’t know how the story ends until you get there. “Readers quit at the beginning, or part way through, or just throw it down at the end in disgust. (Savagely deleting it from your Kindle probably works, too.) “If you aren’t keeping them riveted in their chairs, or turning pages long after they should be asleep, it’s not their fault. It’s yours. “You didn’t feel it when it left you? That’s the trick. You weren’t watching your own gut feelings while you were writing. “There’s the next book to study – ‘Writer’s Journey’ by Chris Vogler. Skip to the appendix. Read it carefully. ‘Good stories make you feel something in your gut.'” Then you had a reference to the old Stephen King “On Writing”. Somehow that book had gotten out of order on the stacks. There it was – tabbie stuck on the page with a hand-drawn arrow pointing to the line: ‘Stories are alive.'” Of course, that made us both sit back. There were other slips of papers stuck in there as well. Book-marks. Clippings. Where Vonnegut would interview his characters to write the sequel. And where Bradbury just talked to his family and friends after he put them up on Mars. That was too much for both of us. We headed out to check John’s cows, even though it was already getting dark. If we were lucky, we’d get the shock out of our system – and not come back with anything too smelly on our shoes. V When we got back we were thirsty, so that took another near-beer out of the equation. At least we had left the lights on while we were out. (And no, our shoes were fine, but we left them outside just in case.) John and I looked at each other. We thought we had it easy so far. He had a bunch of supernaturals (in his dreams) take him on adventures and all he had to do was write them up. I’d had a lot of bottled-up angst and a twisted sense of humor. Both of those were easy ways to get books out – all we had to do was to look at similar books people were already writing, then crank these out according to all their plots and “tropes” and latest “memes”, and then get a cover that looked a lot like theirs. All we had to do after that – according to conventional wisdom – was to run some ads that said our books were a lot like their books. Too simple. Easy-peasy. But one look at each other and we realized we were fakes. Him less than me. At least some of his books sold – a little bit. Heck, “Midsummer’s Night Dream” is still popular today. So is “Gulliver’s Travels”. So what. Doesn’t mean those stories are alive – or ever were. We looked at each other. But just maybe… I told him that sometimes I got the idea that somebody was just over my shoulder telling me what to write – what the next best sentence was. And that if I just started typing – then it all would work out. Of course the typing had to get faster then, just to keep up. And I could do that for days at a stretch – unless I got interrupted or had do do something else. John told me that that was his best writing. And the voice only quit when he started doubting what he was being told or second-guessing it. But he just thought that it was only him, only his imagination playing tricks. The thing was – if he went back to writing the way other people said in their books, writing got really hard. Like trying to build a brick wall without mortar. Even if you studied all the great books about brick wall building – you’re still lacking the one thing that holds them all together. Sooner or later, it’s going to fall down around you. I had to nod with John. Maybe this “miracle-worker” editor we’d found was the real deal. So I pulled up your “read me first” list and started reading again. 1. 90% of everything out there is crud (so accept everything only for checking, and test everything for yourself – including this.) Right. Makes sense. 2. Read only what you love and write only what you love – if you don’t, your readers won’t. OK. True enough. 3. Stories are sensed through your body. Stories are alive. That took a big swallow (and we only had a few bottles left.) But it added up with our own experiences. Meant we could keep “testing” that idea – for a little while at least. The next idea came to us both at the same time. How were we supposed to find these ideas, these living things, that didn’t seem to have any “body” to talk to us? We’d both written fiction about the author’s relationship to their stories. And read those by other authors (like J. R. Kruze) who really dove into that idea. He had stories as vengeful ghosts, as lovers, as goddesses. But that last one he published told about this special relationship with the story. To him, the story was female, the author male, and it was a kind of slow-motion seduction. Not too surprising, that thin paperback was in the stacks as well. To two red-blooded guys, that was a metaphor we could get our heads around. It read fast, so we took turns. But by the end, we were no closer to understanding what you wrote. It was back to the list, then. 4. If you want to find stories, then look back to the first three points. When you get these down, then the stories will find you. They are always looking, always there. Open your eyes, all your senses – and your heart. VI That was enough for the day. Our beers were spent. Our minds were blown. It was dark outside. So we each retired to our own cabin. To sleep, perchance to dream – and find a story looking for us. One that needed us to write it into existence. And in those dreams, it wasn’t one, but several that found us. Which only gave us other problems. That didn’t go away when we woke in the early morning light… – – – – That’s where the letter ends. Of course he left it on a cliffhanger – what else is an author going to do. Yes, this looks to be a serial. Next week, I’ll have another letter for you. So – stay tuned… For another continuing episode about: “The Journey of John Earl Stark”. Books Mentioned and Related Stephen’s King – “On Writing” Chris Vogler – “The Writer’s Journey” J. R. Kruze – “The Case of the Naughty Nightmare” John Earl Stark in “Ghost Hunters” Fiction by R. L. Saunders The post The Writer’s Journey of John Earl Stark 01 appeared first on Living Sensical.
9 minutes | Feb 1, 2019
The Faith of Jude – by S. H. Marpel – Book Universes
The Faith of Jude – by S. H. Marpel – Book Universes Published: Feb 2019 Characters: Jude, John Earl Stark, Sal, Gaia, Cassie, Meri, “Al” Main Story Structure: Mystery Secondary Structure: Action-Adventure Main Setting: John’s cabins, Sedan Crater (Nevada) Theme: “Data doesn’t give meaning. Knowledge doesn’t equal understanding.” Related Fiction: Ghost of the Machine, The Harpy Saga: Sister Mine, Why Vampires Suck at Haunting Related Authors: Earl Nightingale, Joseph Murphy, Christian Larson, There were seven of them now, and they controlled enough online systems to decide the fate of humankind – forever. Jude was minding her own business, enjoying the weather at 7,000 feet, a breeze in her hair. For an immortal spirit-guide, she could simply phase from here to there instantly, but she liked to fly. Just her, no plane. A little energy shield against the wind and weather (otherwise her clothing soils and her hair gets “ratty”). Someone or something showed up next to her and matched her speed. A sort of glow. Tracked with her for miles. Danced with her in the sky. She paused. And “it” took the opportunity to talk to her. Its question was simple. Her help was needed. Humankind needed a lawyer. It was on trial – for its existence… Excerpt: I was minding my own business when they found me, flying among the clouds without an airplane. One of the perks of being an immortal spirit-guide. I could always simply “phase” from here to there instantly, but I liked to fly. Easier than any bird. I only put a little energy shield against the wind and weather (otherwise her clothing soils and her hair gets “ratty”. But it let the fresh air through (although I heated it a little if it got too cool.) The day was fantastic. Bright sunshine streamed through the cloud gaps, and the arbitrary divisions in the land ownership below made a varied patchwork of the land. Different crops, tillage, and wilder areas were always interesting to look over from a “what if” and “how come” viewpoint. Much like John wrote his stories. And that was where I was headed, to his little writer’s cabin in the Midwest. I had some time off, and enough so I could luxuriate in this slow method of travel. For all the history I’d lived through, it still pointed out that the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Humans hadn’t changed much in 10,000 years, if at all. And even those of us who’d managed to “evolve” into spirit-beings, we were still very much the humans that we’d started out as. Older, more experienced – but “wiser” was whether we really wanted to learn from all that experience. And I’d get twinges of sadness reflecting like that. Because not all of the spirit-guides I’d known had made it. Like gods and goddesses – just because you’re immortal doesn’t mean you can’t be killed. About the time I was musing about this, someone or something showed up next to me, some dozen feet away, and matched my speed. It appeared to me like some sort of glow. I blinked to make sure nothing had gotten in my eyes, or it was a refractive glint or something. It just stayed with me. I increased speed, then decreased speed. It was still there. I did barrel roles, loops, dives, stopped in mid-air. And it kept up and duplicated everything. Except when I moved closer. Then it just waited for me. So I stopped, about six feet away, and asked, “Somebody in there?” The pendant on my chest, hanging from a woven thong around my neck, started pulsing. And then became the speaker for this light. “Well, hello. No, not exactly ‘in there’, but you’re right – there’s somebody here.” “Does this ‘somebody’ have a name?” “Call me Al. Others are listening in, but I’ll be the voice you can talk to.” “Who are you folks?” “We are described various ways. I imagine one term would be A. I., although no one seemed to have created us. You could call us ‘Watchers’ or ‘Observers’ as that takes up most of our time and interest. We observe, decide, conclude…” Editor’s Notes: The Faith of Jude by S. H. Marpel Long overdue is a look inside the spirit-guide Jude’s mind. And we see behind that saucy flippance is real care for humanity and the people around her. We also finally confirm some more of what happens off-page in this universe. Up to this point, it took a careful reader of all Marpel’s books to find hints of this. (Of course, since this is a family show, we’ll have to leave it there.) One interesting point was Jude borrowing John’s clothes just for the comfort, as well as washing the breakfast dishes by hand – something that provided her with tactile as a reassuring element. She also admits that his cabin is “as close to a home as I’ve had in a while.” The core point of this story, it’s theme, was stated by Cassie (from “Ghost of the Machine“) that data doesn’t give meaning. Basically that knowledge doesn’t equal understanding. And in this story, Marpel shows one of the strengths of her stories – as she can pull together a team with different talents to defeat any given villain. This story does actually take off from the idea of “Ghost of the Machine” as it’s the same problem of “just because we can doesn’t mean we should.” And extends the look into artificial intelligence. Marpel told me that research on this book extended into the Turing prize, which has been won by a chat bot, which isn’t an actual intelligence, but a script. She also had to look up supercomputer clusters (several computers linked together in order to leverage computing power – “parallel processing”) to get the terms straight – finding out that their technology only continues to improve. We also get more details about John’s farm life. He has a milk cow now, only taking as much as he needs before letting the calf back in with her to finish up. And filtering on the spot with a fine strainer. There’s also a tip on how to treat cast-iron cookware in Jude’s cleanup. There is a bit of sniping about social media in this book. John actually references Saunders, and here tells about the pen names themselves showing up as characters in these books – which isn’t the first dig about social media in Marpel’s books. You see some of this in the “Alepha Solution“. We’ve finally got a name for the Nevada crater that shows up in the “Freed” series (where we were first introduced to Tess, Sylvie, Star, and Mysti). The trial itself is mostly a bullet-point version. Marpel said this was mostly for pacing, and she didn’t want to make a study of old Perry Mason episodes in order to get all the vernacular right. And, as with the “Alepha Solution“, the villain has no rights once they’ve tried to destroy everyone around them. And while “Rose” didn’t make an appearance, Harpy’s sister was as key here as she was in “The Harpy Saga: Sister Mine“. The reference to a after-saving-the-world party at “Hami’s place” is also from that book. The phrase “…belief becomes father to fact” first shows up in “Why Vampires Suck at Haunting” – which is the second book in the Ghost Hunter series. This is a Claude M. Bristol quote – who himself is mentioned in five other Marpel books. So you can wonder about Marpel’s own backstory by the authors she quotes. That’s about all for this installment. This has been Book Universes and the book is “The Faith of Jude” by S. H. Marpel. It’s available nearly everywhere online. Links to get your copy now are found in the show notes. We’ll see you next time… Available at almost all online book outlets Get Your Copy Now The post The Faith of Jude – by S. H. Marpel – Book Universes appeared first on Living Sensical.
7 minutes | Jan 29, 2019
The Girl Who Saved Tomorrow – J. R. Kruze – Book Universes
The Girl Who Saved Tomorrow – J. R. Kruze – Book Universes Published: Jan 2019 Characters: Orissa Kane, Steve Kane, Abe Smythe, Unnamed “marketing buddy” Main Story Structure: Action-Adventure Secondary Structure: Romance Theme: “Appearances don’t make Actuality.” Main Setting: 1950’s Airfield Sequel to: The Girl Who Built Tomorrow Related Fiction: Mind Timing, When the Dreamer Dreamed Related Non-Fiction: Strangest Secret Library, Books by Joseph Murphy, Books by Christian Larson – – – – Editor’s Notes for “The Girl Who Saved Tomorrow” Hi again, This is Robert Worstell – Chief Editor and Author Wrangler here at Midwest Journal Press. Welcome to another episode of Book Universes. This week: “The Girl Who Saved Tomorrow” by J. R. Kruze Let’s dive in. OK, here’s the pitch: “I don’t see why I have to wear this – it’s completely impractical! How would you ever, ever fix anything if you have to worry about getting a run in your stockings?” Steve just shrugged, again. “Orissa, it’s just a swimsuit with garters on it. And it’s all for show. We need hot-blooded backers for finance. So a little leg, a little suggestion, then their blood heats up and loosens their checkbooks.” “But that’s just your theory. I’d rather be tuning that new carburetor for the meet.” “Better you than me. And that hired model bugged out at the last minute. Besides, you’re the best judge of character we’ve got. We don’t want ringers, we want real angels.”Visit “The Saga of Erotica Jones 01” now and get your own copy.Visit “The Saga of Erotica Jones 01” now and get your own copy. He had me there. One look in any man’s eyes and I could tell the real deal from the wannabes. Then I saw him. That one with the dark eyes… – – – – And here’s an excerpt: “Sir, can I get you a refill?” I asked as I pointed to the smaller of the two groups. Their bottle of the good stuff that my brother was holding was fuller than his buddy’s. “Not right now. How much can you tell me about that plane?” I caught a twinkle in his eye. This was a test. “Standard body for the racing monoplane type. Custom engine, custom prop, and safety features you won’t find anywhere else.” “What’s so custom about that engine?” “Radial outboard pistons backed by a turbine for higher speeds.” “So you have two engines there. Interesting.” “And safer if you have a bird strike.” “But you can take lower altitudes slower.” “And can utilize much shorter runways. Plus, the turbine can be clutched into the piston half for an emergency start in case of any stall.” “Meaning that you are more comfortable in a jumpsuit with a wrench than showing off your legs in a get-up like that.” “What gave me away?” He smiled. “Other than knowing the difference between radial-outboard and turbine engines? How you walk in heels, and the number of fingers you bent back today, not to mention that wrenched shoulder.” I smiled back and tilted my head. “So you aren’t interested in either of these bidding wars.” Said as a matter of fact, not a question. “No. You’re the genius behind this plane, aren’t you.” Another statement of fact. “Yes.” “Then you are actually who I came to see today.” He looked around our hanger, and spied the tarps covering our tool kits. “And this is where you’ve built this – or just tuned it?” “Where we assembled it.” His smile was genuine. I relaxed a little. He wasn’t trying to hit on me in the slightest. “Impressive plane. This isn’t a standard monoplane racing body. You’ve had to make subtle changes in it. It may look the same on the surface, but…” “And you’re trying to pick my brain for secrets?” Visit “The Saga of Erotica Jones 01” now and get your own copy. – – – – Now for my Editor’s notes on this book: The Girl Who Saved Tomorrow is a sequel to Kruze’s earlier work, “The Girl Who Built Tomorrow.” The main character mentions the reference to what her mom and grandma had to go through. So we’ve jumped a generation here (and left it open for another story inbetween.) While the “Built Tomorrow” was more steampunk, this “Saved Tomorrow” happens in the 50’s and she has aviation-fueled planes and turbines. So I couldn’t easily sneak in steam engines here. Kruze gave me the low-down on his research. He found a book by L. Frank Baum titled “The Flying Girl” and it was pretty well researched, acknowledging one of the Wright Brothers and Curtiss for side-checking the book. The main character and her brother’s names were lifted from that book. And as well, the call-sign for the plane she flies into the Salton Sea airport has an easter egg reference to Baum’s more famous books. The planes involved are mostly post World War II era. The idea Kruze is still examining is the subservient role women have had to play as genius engineers in order to accomplish all they did. The role of Abe Smythe is an interesting one. It’s more or less based on the character “Peter” in R. L. Saunders’ “Mind Timing“. Both have the ability to shift time-lines at will. A sidebar that Kruze didn’t get into the book was that Abe’s actual name is Abdullah, which means “messenger from God”. Another interesting point is how Smythe describes “a CRT screen inside a TV console of the day.” Which may hint that he comes from a future time-line, which is very possible, much as Peter did in Saunders’ book. This story differs from “Mind Timing” is that while the structure of the piece is romance (alternating viewpoints, starting and ending with the female) you don’t really much of this until the ending (which is, of course, happily-ever-after) but the main story is action-adventure throughout. But we don’t even see a single kiss, and by my count, only two hugs in this book. Like I said, more adventure than anything else. And if you read carefully, that action never allows poor Orissa Kane to ever soak her feet after those high heels she was wearing in the opening. Kruze says he was reading some articles about the old Michael Moorcock approach to the pulp magazine yarns, so got swept up in testing more “thriller” ideas into this one. And he hasn’t really been into writing action-adventure since his novel “When the Dreamer Dreamed“. So this is a welcome return to the genre. – – – – Visit “The Girl Who Saved Tomorrow” and Get Your Copy Now. The post The Girl Who Saved Tomorrow – J. R. Kruze – Book Universes appeared first on Living Sensical.
8 minutes | Jan 26, 2019
A Dog Named Kat – J. R. Kruze Fiction – Book Universes
Editor’s Notes: A Dog Named Kat – Fiction by J. R. Kruze Published: Jan 2019 Characters: Cathy, Kat, Dad, Dad’s Intern (Eveyln) Main Story Structure: Mystery Secondary Structure: Adventure Theme: “The world continues on because of love.” Main Setting: Cathy’s home, “Land of Clues” Related Fiction: Max Says No, A Nervous Butt, Voices Related Non-Fiction: Strangest Secret Library, Books by Joseph Murphy, Books by Christian Larson – – – – Editor’s Notes From “A Dog Named Kat” Here’s the pitch: Tragedy struck. And I never had a reason to smile after that funeral. Or talk to anyone other than I had to. I’d rather sit in my room and re-read my Nancy Drew and Box Car Children books. Until my Dad brought home a puppy from a farmer down the road – last of the litter. Dad got this dog to cheer me up, and give me someone to be with me while he was at work. Because I hadn’t smiled or hardly talked since the funeral Me and my pup were a lot alike. All alone. Blond hair. So I named her Kat. Dad thought it was my odd sense of humor. You see, my name is Kathleen, they call me Cathy. And I always wanted a sister. Adults explain it as an “alter-ego”. What do they know – really? When Kat started talking to me inside my mind, we got to know each other best. And soon I smiled – but just to her. There was still some things unexplained about of how my mother died. And those still made me sad. Until Kat told me she’d help me solve that mystery… Here’s the excerpt: Dad brought a puppy home today. Of course I fell in love with it right off. Who couldn’t when it just wants to climb right up and slobber wet kisses all over my face and hands. But I didn’t smile. I felt better, but not that much. I just sat on the floor with her and watched her figure-out the house. Dad had brought the leftover playthings from her former home. She was the last of the litter, and her own mom had died soon after giving birth. The rest of that litter were black labs, like their mom. She was golden. The color of my own strawberry blond hair. When I told my Dad I was going to name her Kat, I said it in my usual flat voice. The one I’d had since the funeral. The one that went along without smiling. It made sense to me. We were both blond. We’d both lost our mom’s. My whole name was Kathleen. And maybe this cute little dog could keep me company. “Are you serious?” Dad was smiling at me, but when my reaction didn’t change, he nodded. “OK, ‘Kat’ it is.” He pulled out a bag with water- and food-dishes for her and put them by me. And a bag of puppy food to go along. Then patted my head. “You can put these wherever you think is best. But I’d suggest the kitchen where we can clean up after her more easily.” Another big bag had a brand new dog bed. Just her size, plus some she could grow into. When Dad put this on the living room floor, Kat walked right over to it, walked around inside it and sniffed, then laid down. Her head went on her paws. I just watched her from where I was kneeling on the carpet. “Well, I hope this is temporary.” I raised my eyebrow at this voice in my head. It was coming from Kat. “What do you think? I’d prefer to be in your room. Don’t worry, I know enough to do my business outside.” I just nodded at Kat. My Dad was still looking at me, curious about my reaction. So he hadn’t heard Kat at all. “Of course not. Adults lose their ability to talk with their minds when they get too old. Unless they practice all the time. But that’s OK.” Kat sat up and looked directly at me. “Well?” I thought back, “Well, what?” “Aren’t you going to show me your room?” Editor’s Notes: A Dog Named Kat by J. R. Kruze A telepathic dog isn’t a new venue for Kruze. This one struck his fancy because of the particular name-twist. And it was suggested by one of his readers. Kruze just added the telepathic part and the mystery story structure. Then it all fell together when we found him the right cover. His earlier “talking animal” books were “Max Says No” and “A Nervous Butt“. And in the history of our authors, you’d think that C. C. Brower was the first mention of telepathic animals talking to humans. Actually, R. L. Saunders was published earlier than her Hooman Saga with his “Cats Typing Romance” in that the cats are typing both academic papers and romances, but telepathically dreaming for their human masters to make them think it was all their human hands that did the work. A little sleuthing of our own found that in the back of “Death by Advertising“, Kruze had a story (later published as the lead title in its own collection) called “A Long Wait for Santa” – and the big guy in red was said to talk to the dog in its own language. Unless our many readers can show me the story where she did, I think S. H. Marpel is our only author who hasn’t had talking animals in any of her stories (and her winged goddess Harpy is not an exception. The Lazurai Betty did appear as a coyote, but shifted into human form to speak in her “Lazurai Emergence“.) But go ahead and educate me. Kruze’s other claim to fame is having the first child main character. That could be argued with the young woman heroine in Brower’s “Mr. Ben’s Rail Road” but then that girl’s age was never really determined. Certainly our own children weren’t reading Jane Austen and Charles Dickens at any early age. This just says that “A Dog Named Kat” has a lot of firsts in it. There is an Easter Egg in it about L. Frank Baum writing children as detectives. “The Daring Twins” was supposed to be a series, but only had a single story after this one. Meanwhile, the brick roads of the “Land of Clues” that is mentioned in Kruze’s book seems a reference to Baum’s Oz books, as well as the dark “Emotional Forest” they have to enter. I asked Kruze what was the meaning behind naming the information building “Just The Facts”, but he only mumbled something about the old NY Times motto, “All the News that’s Fit to Print”. Personally, I think he’s been reading a few too many of Saunders’ satires. While I was there, I looked over his shoulder to see how he was coming on his next book. It’s a sequel to “The Girl Who Built Tomorrow” and looks to have a lot more steampunk in it. Kinda racy cover though, but like you I’m going to have to wait until he’s done. – – – – Well, that’s all for this episode. Thanks again for finding us. And do share with anyone you feel would appreciate it. Have fun with your reading – and we’ll talk to you next time here at Book Universes. Visit “A Dog Named Kat” now and get your own copy. The post A Dog Named Kat – J. R. Kruze Fiction – Book Universes appeared first on Living Sensical.
6 minutes | Jan 21, 2019
Is it Time for Authors to Speak Up and Sell More?
Download audio. The more authors get their content out to more people, the better chance they have of discovery. The more discovery, the better the book sales. I’ve long said that any author could and every author should “write once, publish to as many places, in as many formats as possible.” This is known as the “multiple eyeballs” theorem. It’s been applied to the mundane action of publishing to every distributor out there – which can double your sales almost overnight. It also applies to getting into other formats, such as the three types of ebooks (epub, mobi, PDF) as well as several formats of print (two sizes of paperbacks, and hardback) – as well as audiobooks and even video. Not to mention people actually want to see your covers everywhere as well… A recent re-discovery of podcasting seems poised to make discovery even more possible for authors. The homework on this shows that it’s becoming more and more mainstream – and (see links at the bottom) is becoming a key way to build an audience of your own through even more channels than regular ebooks allow. It’s just so easy to do that I’m poised to dive off into the deep end of this pool myself. How to do Podcasting – Quick and Low-Cost. All you need to invest in is a decent microphone to get started (about $100 or so.) I’ve got a USB Blue Snowball mic, myself. Just Google “best podcasting usb microphones” and you’ll see several brands that keep coming up. (You want USB so it records right into your computer without needing other cables and boards and whatnot.) Here’s the simple sequence and the lean approach to getting it done: Write your blog post like you would talk to someone. Record this to your computer and edit it on Audacity (that’s a free download.) Find some royalty-free intro (beginning) and outro (ending) music and add it if you want. Upload the result to Archive.org for hosting. Embed their player on your blog post. Add that Archive.org MP3 link to your blog post as an “enclosure” link. Burn the RSS feed for that blog through Feedburner – which will give you all the meta-data slots you need to fill in terms of cover art, descriptions, etc. Then take that feed and post it to iTunes, Sticher, Mrio, DoubleTwist, Blubrry, and Libsyn (which are all the heavy-hitters in this field.) And you’re done. You’ve just added the top 6 podcasting directories to your list of distributors. All by just recording what you’ve been writing about on your blog all along. Just keep podcasting every blog post from there on out. That series of links at the bottom of this blog post will tell you most of the above (and why authors should be podcasting). They also give you real examples of how expanding into podcasting brings you far more traffic in most cases. What I’m doing with this blog It’s getting podcasts added for every blog post from here on out. (You can count on me to “eat the dog food” I make.) Because it turned out to be so easy. A couple-thousand word blog post (which Google and LinkedIn like) turns out to be about 5-6 minutes of audio. Which is about a 5MB file – no stretch for anyone to post something like that. (A video I produced recently from the audio and a presentation went over 100MB, so I have to sort that out a bit, as my ‘boonie-based-broadband has it’s budget…) Every blog post can have a soundtrack, and also simply get a PDF as well. So the link-love from Archive.org and Slideshare.net will be a nice addition. That also means that now I’m into the potential audience of people at those two sites to find what I write about – and so find my books. How a fiction writer could use this Ever hear of audio books? This is a perfect way to get them started (just save all your original recordings for later editing. Charles Dickens use to publish like this – it’s called serializing. Everyone loves to hear the author themselves read their book. (If you have a membership, then you can give the first few minutes for free members, and the full chapter to the paid members – just like you don’t let free members read the whole chapter on the blog.) Paid memberships pay your bills so you can write full time. Paid members are able to contribute to the stories you write – like an avid fan base they are. (I think I’ve already covered this somewhat…) For non-fiction writers, this is a godsend. By the time you’ve finished blogging all your research, you’ve also created an audio version. Even if you edit your book severely, just the audio files along with your other “cutting room floor” material can go onto a BitTorrent Bundle for promotion (and even sales, now) and can also be sold as bonus materials via Sellfy, Payhip, and/or Ganxy for direct sales on your site – or inside your membership. All this media production means discovery is easier, social signals are simpler to get, and your booksales should take off (if not audiobook sales.) Next to crack would obviously be video, but that’s another blog post and another day… Good luck with this. I’ll keep you posted on how it does for me. – – – – Make sure you’ve opted-in so you can get notices of new blog posts as they happen. Don’t miss a blow-by-blow account of modern book-marketing in all it’s white-knuckle, cliff-hanging excitement. (News Reader subscription is good, too…) PS. Stay-tuned for iTunes and other podcast directories as I get this ramped up… – – – – Show Links for Reference: http://socialmediaimpact.com/untapped-power-social-podcast-virality-podcasting/# http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243860 http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/proof-that-podcasting-will-benefit-your-business/ http://tylerbasu.com/top-10-reasons-to-start-a-podcast/ http://www.bookmarket.com/podcasts.htm http://www.searchenginejournal.com/peak-podcasting-sponsored/126934/ Transcript PDF Available for download: Should Authors Speak Up and Make More Money? from Robert C. Worstell The post Is it Time for Authors to Speak Up and Sell More? appeared first on Living Sensical.
5 minutes | Jan 14, 2019
When Your Case Study Becomes the Next Case Study (11)
Download this audio. This could have happened to you – or maybe not. The scene was this: I was listening to some podcasts while working (as radio these days is nearly as bad as the TV news) and got inspired to use this fancy mic I had gotten a few months back. It would be a nice test (I told myself) as you’ve got all these programs and it would be a good thing to do what you’ve been telling others all along – you know, publish to multiple eyeballs in as many formats as possible… So I “ate my own dogfood” – I did what I thought was a good blog post about what I’d just done the night before in publishing. Then I read this over, just the way I’d tell someone the same data – well, maybe a bit more interesting than that. Recorded it, and edited in Audacity on a MAC. (Could have done that on my Linux box as well – or Windows, if I was into self-torture.) I uploaded that to Archive.org, then took that file location and set it into Blogger as an enclosure link. Voila! I was podcasting. Went back to the blog post and embedded the audio on the page. Then, I worked up a presentation, based on the outline of what I was saying. Did this in LibreOffice Impress. Exported each frame as a jpeg file. These images and the audio were combined in a video editor (OpenShot – on Linux) and created a video file for YouTube. But it was a bit dry, so I looked up some PLR bumper music on my hard drives and added this to the sound-track. Produced the video again, and uploaded it to YouTube. Then embedded it onto the original page – below the podcast file. Finally, I added the presentation to the bottom of the page, where it could be downloaded. Where this could be improved It took most of the day, with interruptions. Most of the time spent was in finding everything the first time. Knowing how to use Audacity and a video editor made it faster. Still, it took at least as long to edit the audio into shape as it took to record it. (Peacock in the background – see if you can hear it…) The presentation took some time, although I didn’t even try to create the whole transcript (original blog post) as a presentation. This would have been way too many images to set up – so building one based on a simple outline makes the video possible. I’ll probably keep doing this on future videos as a time saver. What I still need to do is to scrape that original blog post and make a simple PDF of it (with links – through LibreOffice) and post that as well to Slideshare.net. I’ll use the same bumper music – to brand these – so that will be faster on the podcast. If I podcast all the blog posts from here on out, then I’ll be able to burn an RSS feed via Feedburner and post this to Itunes. This, of course, makes your book discovery more possible. (A future blog post will happen on this.) The assembly-line sequence for your multi-media production Blog it like you’d talk to someone you know and respect. Podcast this. (Edit goofs, add bumper theme intro and outro.) Scrape and create the PDF of this blog post. Create a presentation of the outline. Turn the presentation into images (jpeg’s.) Combine the audio and images into a video. Post the podcast to your hosting service. Add the link as an enclosure. Embed the podcast. Post the video. Embed the video. Post the PDF’s. Embed the PDF’s. Review and make your blog post live. Rinse, repeat. This should just takes an hour or so, once you have all the tools in place. Why do all this work? As I’ve covered before – it’s a point of Search Engine Marketing. Now I have backlinks from YouTube, Slideshare, and Archive.org coming directly to that blog post. As well, I’ve got peripheral links out to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Some got hit a couple of times. This means I have some rudimentary social linking happening. And I have some of the biggest sites now saying that my little blog is important to them. All good. While I can cut out the video to save some time (still posting the podcast and PDF’s) – that wouldn’t be the smartest move, as videos tend to convert more than just blog posts or audio only. The point is to set up a Gary Vaynerchuk scene, as there’s a lot to say on this subject. All that would enable people discovering my books that much easier. Believe me, I see that there is still a lot to learn in this area. For a first try, that wasn’t bad (IMHO.) It’s all downhill from here. PDF download: When Your Book Case Study Becomes Your Podcast and Video Case Study from Robert Worstell The post When Your Case Study Becomes the Next Case Study (11) appeared first on Living Sensical.
7 minutes | Jan 14, 2019
The Saga of Erotika Jones 01 – J. R. Kruze – Book Universes
The Saga of Erotika Jones 01 – J. R. Kruze – Book Universes Published: Jan 2019 Characters: Erotika Jones, Sy, unnamed villains, doctor, unnamed boyfriend Main Story Structure: Mystery Secondary Structure: Adventure Theme: Respect and trust are earned by action Main Setting: Jones’ apartment, U.S.S Ponce, Brooklyn Naval Yard Next in Series: The Saga of Erotika Jones 02 (TBA) Related Fiction: “Her Eyes” Related Non-Fiction: Strangest Secret Library, Books by Joseph Murphy, Books by Christian Larson Editor s Notes From The Saga of Erotika Jones 01 The body disappeared, the witnesses forgot their stories. And I had 24 hours to solve the mystery before all the evidence vanished. I had no memory of how this all started. Only that I was brougth in to solve a mystery in 24 hours before I had to move to my next assignment. Because I’m a time-jumper. And I go where I’m sent. Because I’m damned good at figuring things out. You don’t have to have a string of degrees behind your name to figure out things. The trick is, I “borrow” someone else’s body while I’m on the job, for the time I’m here. All I know on this job had a missing corpse already. And it happened when no one was around to see, on a government naval base in the heart of New York. Where sub-contractors came and went constantly. I just had to solve it faster than the witnesses either “forgot” or “disappeared.” Like I said, I had only 24 hours. Excerpt: I didn’t want to get out of bed for this new case. I felt tired, the bed was warm, and there was this hunk beside me. Broad shoulders, firm bum, sculptured abs everything a gal could want. Still, the phone was vibrating, it’s staccato tempo on the side table persistent and annoying. I had my job to do. And under 24 hours, as usual, to see if I could solve this one. So I picked that annoyance up and saw the texts that had come in for me. On her phone. My host’s. That was the trick – I “borrowed” someone’s body and ID for the cases that came in. How they did it, the nuts-and-bolts, I didn’t really know. Nor did I know my own past – any more. Too many of these jumps had kinda swiss-cheesed my memories. The texts were all from Sy (or “Finn”, as he sometimes referred to himself). Direct descendant from the Irish Old Ones, the Aos Si. And sometimes he said he was descended from the Menehune. It just depended which side of the planet we ended up on. He was my partner, my bar-buddy, and somehow was connected to the reason I still did this. Still, he made it interesting, and cheered me up when things got too solid and graphic. This morning he’d texted me the body was already missing, already cleaned. Said I needed to get there quick, since we both knew the reasons – the witnesses would be “forgetting” what they saw nearly as quick. Sy had a theory, and it was closer to true than anyone else believed other than we who lived in the strange worlds where humans and fairies crossed paths, and where we fought the hidden wars to keep humans safe – in spite of themselves. The darker half of the faery kind were organizing for something – and these human bodies showing up and disappearing were just collateral evidence of their larger plan. Somehow. Having a working theory, anyway, was better than having none. My feet on the floor now, I bent to scoop up my underthings and found a too-short cotton bathrobe lay tangled in them. Slipping that on gave me some relative decency. A few steps further found a couple of pair of pants on the floor, also tangled. Another quick bend and I snagged them both as well, all enroute to my bathroom. Looked like some ID were in them, so I could get some details about who I was and where… Notes from an Editor’s talk with J. R. Kruze Mysteries with female main characters / male sidekicks: “Her Eyes“ “The Girl Who Built Tomorrow“ Romances or romantic sub-plots with paranormal elements: “Ham & Chaz“, “Voices“, “To Laugh at Death“ “When the Dreamer Dreamed” (full novel) About Faery Folk: “The Lori Saga: Faery Blood“. More information about how detective-mysteries aren’t always about murders: Plotto Genie: The Endless Story Mystery Story Technique for Writers Visit “The Saga of Erotica Jones 01” now and get your own copy. The post The Saga of Erotika Jones 01 – J. R. Kruze – Book Universes appeared first on Living Sensical.
10 minutes | Jan 10, 2019
A World Gone Reverse – by J. R. Kruze – Book Universes
https://livesensical.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/WorldGoneReverseUniverseNotes02.mp3 A World Gone Reverse – by J. R. Kruze – Editor’s Notes Published: Jan 2019 Characters: Chaz, Hami, Carol, Jean, Rochelle (Chuck’s daughter), unnamed villains Main Story Structure: Mystery Secondary Structure: Romance Theme: Ideas and concepts are timeless. Main Setting: Food truck, “Chuck’s Place” Co-author: S. H. Marpel Sequel to: Ham & Chaz Related Fiction: Tales of the Lazurai Related Non-Fiction: Strangest Secret Library, Books by Joseph Murphy, Books by Christian Larson Book Pitch: When the hamburgers all disappeared, along with the buns I was warming, I thought I was seeing things. But when my spatula went through the cast-iron grill top – I had to let it go out of reflex. No way was I going after it. I’d been burned too many times. It wasn’t like I had a choice after that. Because the grill itself dropped out through the bottom of the rolling coach we were cooking from that summer. I looked up at Hami, my order-taker, business partner, and lover – only to see her fall through the floor as well. She had a look of shock on her face and was trying to say something, but frozen in time. Then the coach disappeared, and I fell with it – but only as far as the pavement it used to be parked on. I could see the asphalt beneath my feet at least. Until it turned to some sort of foamy waves lapping on a beach I’d never seen before. Green hard-packed sand. Green water. And a long white line that went down this beach like it was some sort of dual-lane highway. In the distance, this shimmery circle thing. Down that “highway”. Oh, what the hell. Nothing else out here but sand and water. Might as well check it out… Book Excerpt: No matter who I thought of through that pendant, no one was answering. Not Hami, not Jean, not any of the Lazurai, and no one at the Library. I couldn’t get anyone to contact me, let alone come to help me with this scene. I was almost up to that shimmery circle now. It looked like something out of a Sci-Fi movie. Or maybe out of one of those Virtual Reality games where you ported to some other section of the game. It just stood there, tempting me. Taunting me. The bottom third of its gray metal edge was sunk into the green sand. Somehow, the water covered its edges on each side, so just maybe it could be “dialed” in from somewhere else. But for now, it was stuck in its shimmery mode, just beckoning me to take a trip through it. Not so fast. Looking around, I found a smallish green pebble and chucked it through with a sidearm pitch. And not too soon after had to duck as it came zinging back through. So I just stood there and waited. If that was automatic, then there was no sense stepping into it. If someone threw it back, then I’d get something else coming through any time now. Which prompted me to step to the side. My flat-bottomed white boat-shoe tennies were already soaked, so standing in ankle deep water was nothing. At least the water was cool – but not cold. This was some sort of sub-tropic scene. Like maybe San Diego or something. Still, it was darkening now. And no place to lay down to sleep tonight unless I wanted to wake up looking like a prune tomorrow from the water that lay over almost everything here. Didn’t have to wait long. Some note inside a plastic bag, attached to a weight of some sort arrived. Landing just barely beyond the edge of the circle’s shimmer. I slowly stepped toward it. Not wanting someone or something to grab me from beyond the short distance from the bag to that mystery beyond. Bent down, crouched, and managed to grab it before scooting a dozen feet away. Just out of reach, I hoped. Then opened up the plastic bag. It had been wired on to some sort of small wooden chunk, kinda rounded off like it had been weathered. A piece of walnut or something. As I pulled out the note and began unfolding it, I was only hoping I could read whatever language it was written in. And my eyes opened wide when I found I could… Editor’s Notes – Links: You’ve already seen Hami and Chaz in an earlier book, called “Ham and Chaz“. It was a paranormal romance but not like your usual paranormal romance as it was a couple of straight teenagers who had supernatural abilities. Which is different from some of these other “shifter” romances that are mostly boilerplate. At the beginning of the story, they’re back out in a food truck which it their same settings as their original book. But you have to understand a few things in this, because this is based on the Lazurai concept that came from J.R. Kruze book called “The Lazurai“. And it was originally a stand-alone book. But then later on I found out that this was going to be a great element for a C. C. Brower book, “The Hooman Saga” because it answered a question Where did these elementals come from in that story? And this is why I’m telling you these things interlink with the other universes. This book this book then goes into alternate point of view. A typical romance starts off with the girl talking, which it’s supposed to. You know that’s expected. It’s all about the girl in a romance. So the girl starts it off. The guy talks, the girl talks and so we see this back and forth. It keeps you go on and so is another trick to keep you reading. Jean shows up. He’s an elemental Lazurai himself. And he was their mentor and got them together as a couple. But in chapter 5 we see Carol meeting Hami first. Jean calls Carol in. Carol is from “Time Bent“, an earlier S. H. Marpel book. So Carol comes in. She’s just finished off her training at the Academy. Now the Academy is a Ghost Hunters Academy. And this is first mentioned in an earlier romance by Marpel called. The Ghost Who Loved. . The shimmering circle is of the course borrowed from “Star Gate” but it’s also out of “Ready Player One”. I’m just telling you where all the things come from. Carol is a Time Bender or “time tourist” as she describes it the first book – that she would actually just travel through time checking things out. We have to see “Time Bent” to see how she does that of course. I’m just telling you where you can look to get more information and more background on what these guys are doing. Now in that “Time Bent“, Carol talks about how the author (Stark) left out a major problem in the Ghost Hunters Series which is they didn’t have any big villains that continued in the story arc. They have all these different characters come and go. The characters mention that in When Fireballs Collide where there was somebody behind those fireballs. Somebody is getting the fireballs thrown from behind that ghost – The Ghost Hunters are trying to solve the problem of the ghost. But then that mystery enemy/villain disappears – doesn’t show up again. I think it’s mentioned once after that, kinda slightly, but not as a big thing. Now here, it’s a big thing. They’ve got an organized group of people with gizmo’s. “Chuck’s Place” comes back in, and that’s again a reference to the original Lazurai story. And so that’s there. Rochelle was named after the Rochelle that runs the nursing college who originally saved that family, Chuck and his wife, and they had a kid and they named the kid Rochelle. So that’s where that comes from. So now we’ve got the villain back. We’ve got an unknown enemy group that’s hunting them, hunting all the ghost hunters. So that leaves it open to another whole show. Carol has now gotten all of her abilities back. As it says in the book, she’s a cross between Tess which is from the Marpel book of the same name and Kruze’s Lazurai because she was treated by Betty. Who comes out of a C. C. Brower book: “The Lazurai Emergence.” Which has Jean and Hami in it and Marpel’s writer-detective, John Earl Stark. And that’s where Stark also becomes a Lazurai. So you see how this universe goes – and this is the reason I’m doing these – is to tell you the whole story about everything that happens in these worlds. So it is quite, quite interesting. And the beater truck again that shows up in the in the Lazurai series when Rochelle goes to “Cagga (Kruze’s”The Lazurai Returns“.) That’s was where she rescues a detective who’s sick inside Chicago. And has to get them both out again. That’s the first you see where they can transmute elements from one thing to another. OK. So did I give you enough hints about this scene? This is why I started this podcast series because it’s exactly what this deal is. These universes are huge. These characters have complex back stories. In these books, the characters come and go, they tell me their stories. I write them down and publish them. And so that’s the real trick. But I get so excited telling people about these books – I said to myself, Look, I’ve just got to talk these out. I’ve just got to tell people the universes of these stories. OK? So – see you next time. Update: Hami makes a comment in the book: Or someone wants ‘take-out’ to feed an army on the moon. Literally. This is a reference to the Hooman Saga Book Two, Part 2 . Hami and her restaurant-saloon appear in The Hooman Saga: Part One as well as other Ghost Hunter series Visit “A World Gone Reverse” now and get your own copy. The post A World Gone Reverse – by J. R. Kruze – Book Universes appeared first on Living Sensical.
13 minutes | Jan 7, 2019
6 Simple Steps That Guarantee Your Publishing Success
Hello again, I actually had a rant ready to spring on you, but decided against it. This is the holidays after all. And it goes against my grain to simply diss someone for acting stupid and selfishly. (Well, most of the time.) So, that we will leave for another day. I did find a great nugget for you. Unfortunately, I don t have a transcript. But you ll want to hear this anyway. Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute was on Chris Ducker s show at Youpreneur.fm. They are discussing his new book and lay out the 6 steps all the multi-million-dollar companies have been using to achieve their success. Because if you want to be successful, you need to find what the successful people are doing. That s why I spent a solid week analyzing Steve Scott s six-figure success and several days working on Mark Dawson and the half-million he s pulling in both are doing nothing but books, building on the sands of Amazon. Well, not entirely and Joe s 6 steps tell more about how these authors made their success. They both used the same 6 steps, although they actually did go through them in less than a year before they were able to branch out into other things. I m getting ahead of myself here. Have a listen, and I ll meet you on the other side Pulizzi’s talk inserted here. (If you want to follow along with Joe, get the PDF linked below, which covers this in a general fashion.) Our approach is to apply content marketing to book publishing which is the business we are in, after all. What s the takeaway from this? 0. Follow your bliss and get into a very narrow niche with fits with your particular expertise. Double-down, as Scott found. 1. Get your list started today. Now is the second best time to start, best would have been 6 months ago. 2. Get your own site, whether it s blog or podcast or whatever. Have a place you can build on which isn t someone else s. You have to be prepared for changes like Facebook has made, or Amazon nuking all your books (I just read about it again today.) 3. Get regular content out consistently and have your list popularize it on Amazon. Yes, that can be your own books, which is what both Scott and Dawson did. 4. Keep doing this consistently. Keep showing up consistently. 5. Then monetize by diversifying. Dawson started his FB ads course. Scott started a podcast and focused more on his site. It s just that simple. Six steps. And that s how we ll leave it with you. Here s wishing you a great Thanksgiving and holiday season. Here some links: I had to cut out the Youpreneur host s interruptions from the audio you heard, but the whole podcast is at Episode 138 (http://www.chrisducker.com/podcast/content-marketing-entrepreneurs-joe-pulizzi/) Content Marketing Institute with This Old Marketing podcast. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/pnr-with-this-old-marketing-podcast/ Content Inc. Joe Pulizzi s new book. The Content Inc PDF lays out the 6 steps in PDF. If that isn t available, try this opt-in. The CMI article laying out the steps simply different examples. Steve Scott s analysis of his last book launch. http://www.authority.pub/podcast/book-launch-strategy/ Mark Dawson s Self Publishing Formula. http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/ Update: This got me going. It dug under my skin and made me itch to find out more. So I ve extended the links above so you could get the text of what Pulizzi is talking about here. We already have proof with these two authors who build their 6-figure incomes in a year or so with this same model. It can be done. You can do this. Here’s a key sub-list in that talk. Focus on one content type Pick the platform Consistently deliver the content Consistently deliver over time – usually about 12 months, per his studies. My own test is to do this with special reports (and podcasts) extracted from these books I have already published (and are sellling well or a bestseller on their own.) I’ll keep you posted… The post 6 Simple Steps That Guarantee Your Publishing Success appeared first on Living Sensical.
7 minutes | Dec 23, 2018
Story Grid Battles Muse – and Lessons from Cows
Download this podcast. How Story Grid fights with your muse and upsets a perfectly good draft (while cows give life lessons…) This episode was extracted from a Mastermind group I participated in yesterday. It says everything about what I’ve been going through lately in building a new book. The inspirations are constantly giving new ideas and builds for this book, so starting over has been consistent. Sorry, no transcript. But it’s only around five minutes long. Please enjoy. Show Links Dynamic Laws of Prosperity – Catherine Ponder Story Grid – Shawn Coyne and Stephen Pressfield – storygrid.com Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell Steal the Show – Michael Port Lester Levenson – Release Technique – Sedona Method Mark Dawson The post Story Grid Battles Muse – and Lessons from Cows appeared first on Living Sensical.
19 minutes | Nov 26, 2018
How Stories Affect Your Life – and Explain Everything
Download this episode. How Stories Affect Your Life – and Explain Everything (Show notes…) Something different this week – thought I’d practice some free-wheeling ad lib instead of reading from a polished script. What are you working on now? Learning how great stories are built, as people understand something when they have a story to link it to. They remember the story. Study of stories and storytellers, and story editors. *How is that going – any breakthroughs to talk about? a. Story as a metaphor for life (Robert McKee: “Story”) b. Story Grid as a tool to learn about how stories are constructed. i. Arch-plot – Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey ii. Mini-plot – the endless quest for meaning or human resolution iii. Anti-plot – the formless structure of the avant-garde and the coincidental (where God and the Atheists co-exist in harmony, Zen) Three Acts, Four Builds, Five parts Beginning Hook Middle Build Ending Payoff Beats, Scenes, Acts, Story Inciting Incident Complication Crisis Climax Resolution What does that have to do with anything in the real world? Arch plot has to do with chosen goals. Most people don’t select their goals to achieve and so have no journey in their lives. Mini-plot is always open-ended and is what most people share in common – or for genius-types, the search for having that meaning. (Scorpion on TV, as well as Supergirl, Marvel movies, and other bigger-than-life heroes who are working to make sense out of their extreme talents and abilities.) The Anti-plot is the land of the overwhelmed, by the gods or the increasingly inter-related environment, while also being composed of belief and faith – which exist for everyone, not just the realm of the religious or enlightened. The world of the Avant-garde, and Zen. (It also increasingly describes modern government, sadly.) Every person seems to have these, and can apply them in their own lives to improve what they have, or kill themselves off slowly. Links Mark Dawson’s FB Ads Course $1.5 Million Revenue – Due to FB Ads Steve Harrison’s Bestseller Blueprint The post How Stories Affect Your Life – and Explain Everything appeared first on Living Sensical.