August 8, 2014

LIVE ON AMAZON! LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE: THE COMPASS KEY!

Gwen Bristol:

All fantasy readers should try books by Charles Yallowitz. Here’s the newest in his series.

Originally posted on Legends of Windemere:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Available on Amazon for $2.99!
Listed on Goodreads!
Dive back into a world of fantasy adventure with Legends of Windemere: The Compass Key!

 Book Blurb:

Swords will clash and spells will fly in the newest adventure of young warrior Luke Callindor, Nyx the magic-flinging caster, and their friends.

With Sari captured by their enemies, the champions of Windemere are determined to get her back and destroy the Lich’s castle. Little do they realize, their battles in the Caster Swamp are only the beginning of this adventure. Trinity and her Chaos Elves have invaded the city of Gaia in search of a relic called the Compass Key. Rumored to be the key to rescuing Sari from a magical island, our heroes are in a race to find the mysterious artifact.

Which side will claim the Compass Key? And, what will our heroes…

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August 8, 2014

#fridayphotopoetry The fires we dance around

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If all those things we choose to do

are bundled up, piled into one,

the love of life might spark anew,

light fires that spread and get things done.

 

And when the heat of our own games

becomes a blaze of day-by-day,

the things we do go up in flames,

become the music that we play.

 

It’s not the things we choose to do

that keep our feet upon the ground–

It’s just our dreams, when they come true,

are flames we choose to dance around.

 

 

August 1, 2014

#fridayphotopoetry Shared Dreams

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SHARED DREAMS

I waited with my dreams in hand

(and some folded beneath my hat,

some in my shoes–but understand,

my heart still carried more than that).

 

And then you came with dreams to share

(and some seemed like my very own,

like garden scents too sweet to bear–

and some of them seemed overgrown).

 

We pasted, plotted and devised

(all collages built this way

have to contain the things we’ve prized,

or they won’t stand in Light of Day).

 

In future years, we’ll seek our dreams

(their colors faded, edges frayed)

and gasp to see Creation gleams

on dreams come true. (Look what we made.)

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August 1, 2014

Book Trailers – Why You Need One

Gwen Bristol:

This sounds like a great deal.

Originally posted on Seán Cooke:

Do you have a self published book? Would you like to get more people to notice it AND to entice your current readers to stick with the series? Then book trailers could be exactly what you’re looking for!

How many times have you gone to a movie and seen a trailer for a movie that you didn’t know existed? Quite a few times, I bet. And how many times have you gone to that movie when it came out? Again, I guess it’s quite a few times. Book trailers work the exact same way.

The thing is, most authors find it tricky to get one that works for them in every way they need. If you go full out professional, you end up paying over $1,000 for a video of maximum five minutes. (And if it’s above 2.5 minutes it’s not going to work well.) Your other option is to…

View original 372 more words

July 31, 2014

Return of #fridayphotopoetry

One of the photos I might use, courtesy of my sweetheart...

One of the photos I might use, courtesy of my sweetheart…

Just wanted to announce–Friday Photo Poetry will be returning to gwenbristol.com.

I just think I need it. That’s all. :)

#fridayphotopoetry

July 30, 2014

Marketing From a Village

Hinterstein Germany Village Buildings Mountains (from pixabay.com)

This past month the local writer’s group I’m a member of held its own book-fair at one of the local parks.

For the first hour, I went, mingled with my fellow writers and watched the band and food vendors set up for the weekly Fridays on Vine concert. Everyone seemed excited, hopeful that the concert and the sign welcoming the public to come meet local authors would bring a stream of locals through the pavilion.

No one said it aloud, but we all watched people gathering on the grass and at the picnic tables as if we might know some of them. As if they might see us, come running in (with their friends, of course) and buy books.

Only a handful of visitors trickled through while I was there, and I don’t think more than a few books got sold, but I still consider the night a success.

Here’s why:

As a united entity, we authors vivaciously reached out to the public.

To my knowledge, this is the first time our little group has ever done this.

It takes guts to welcome new people to come see what we’re up to. It takes courage to put on a professional image, especially when, for most of us, our fledgling works have been self-published and all the marketing efforts are up to us.

For some of us, it takes everything we have to overcome Imposter Syndrome enough that our neighbors, relatives and other people we meet in settings like this will take us seriously. We hope they will at least notice that we take ourselves seriously. (That in itself is a great leap forward.)

I overheard one author say to another, “I don’t know. Sometimes I think we’re all just buying books from each other.”

That may be true. I came home with stacks of bookmarks and two books from my fellow authors, but here’s the deal:

To succeed, self-published authors and traditionally-published authors with little or no marketing budget must be united.

We need to sell the works of other authors as well as our own writings. We need to pass out those bookmarks to every potential reader we meet.

In a world where Talkers and Sneezers make ideas like great books go viral, we need to form tweet teams and street teams that will actually pound the pavement occasionally.

We need a village, and we need to sell to the villages we live in.

That means creating our own wave of enthusiasm, relying on each other to help spread the word, and forming our own movement that can eventually pick up momentum in our own towns and cities and spread to the larger world.

We create online villages by blogging, commenting on each other’s blogs, participating in blog hopping and blog tours, attending virtual book launches and creating author pages on Amazon and Facebook. These are helpful (and so fun they’re sometimes addicting). Wherever we go, we try to seek out our target audiences, hoping they’ll become part of our online villages.

I wonder, though, if they’ll ever really replace people we can get to know.

It takes a lot more courage to reach out to people you can see and touch than it does to reach out to people you might never meet in person. This is one reason why I admire writers who sell their books at trade fairs and arrange for book signings in libraries and bookstores.

Perhaps this is also why I value my writer’s group so much. This last month, at least, these other authors were my village. Even though I didn’t bring any bookmarks to pass out or books to sell, I felt their combined energy swelling up and spilling over into the concert at the park. Since then, two books from one local author have made the bestsellers list on Amazon.

I can’t help but see a connection here.

Her village is thriving.

 

 

July 29, 2014

Jacob Holo’s Dragons

Jacob Holo's The Dragons of Jupiter...see his Amazon sales page!

Jacob Holo’s The Dragons of Jupiter…see his Amazon sales page!

About a year ago, I read Jacob Holo’s The Dragons of Jupiter and was more than pleasantly surprised. This is by far one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read in a long time. I’ve been meaning to get back to my blog to review this, and it hasn’t happened, and hasn’t happened…and tonight, that’s going to change.

The battle scenes in The Dragons of Jupiter are very, very well done, although maybe a little bit graphic for my taste. I loved how innovative Holo was with his weaponry, though, and that made it really hard to put down even the most descriptive scenes.

I loved the body makeup the dragons wear when they’re not on duty.

I love how they work as a team.

I love the interactions between the team members, between brothers Ryu and Kaneda, between everyone and the Matriarch.  I tried to pick apart the character development and couldn’t do it. It was just that seamless, and I’ll be studying this book in the future, trying to see how Holo managed to weave his character development into the story so well that I didn’t even notice it was happening.

What a way to make readers care about the story!

Holo has a couple of great web sites, too. Read more about The Dragons of Jupiter at dragonsofjupiter.com (I am now a proud follower), or visit holowriting.com for information on Jacob Holo’s other books and writing activities. He has a lot going on.

Also, his book covers are terrific. See a sneak peak for the book cover of Humanity Machine at holowriting.com. I am looking forward to reading that one, both because of the book cover and because, if Holo always writes like he did in The Dragons of Jupiter, I’ll never be able to set his books asides for things like doing laundry and dishes.

 

June 13, 2014

Grateful for a momentary balance in writing

My writing routine is a bridge to personal balance.

My writing routine is a bridge to personal balance.

One week ago today, my eldest walked across a stage and received her high school diploma.

Since then, I’ve been pleasantly busy with such fun things as backyard barbecues, shopping trips with in-laws and quiet moments pulling weeds in my back yard.

I’ve been surprised to discover I still have time to write. I started and complete a 1,000 word article and finished a content edit for a friend this week. Today, I start on a copy edit for this same friend–one step closer to seeing her work in print!

It seems like my writing really picked up steam earlier this year. During the last week of May, I finally finished the first draft of a second novel. Now I’m in a routine–and it feels good to be in a writing routine. Even moving slowly, if I stick to this routine I think I can get two more book-length rough drafts finished this year and possibly get one of the three ready for publication.

Most of my days involve some personal writing and personal editing. I’m still editing for other authors (we trade work) and I’ve picked up some fun nonfiction articles again–I can never set them aside for longer than a few months at a time. Journaling my successes is just a part of my life now.

Although I’ve terribly neglected this blog, it seems like everything else in my life is in a quiet balance, rotating silently around each other, giving me the space and time I need to focus on one thing at a time for short bursts every day.

I can’t say how much I enjoy that.

I feel like I’ve finally reached a graduation moment of my own, a moment when I’ve achieved something momentous. I’ve sought balance all my life.

Who’s to say this peaceful lull will continue? My daughter’s life is already changing. She’s preparing for college, and I know my life will change along with hers.

I’m just really grateful to have things the way they are today.

 

April 24, 2014

A social story for writers

He's just so much fun. :)

He’s just so much fun. :)

Nearly six months ago I contacted an early intervention team, concerned that my toddler son showed too many signs of Asperger’s Syndrome. Turns out he’s fine, but the experience held great value for me. As I visited with professionals about how to help him better understand social situations,  I learned a little bit about social stories.

According to The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding:

A Social Story™ describes a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format…

…Although the goal of a Story™ should never be to change the individual’s behavior, that individual’s improved understanding of events and expectations may lead to more effective responses.

I was  already a believer in brain retraining. I’ve enjoyed learning about and using several different techniques to retrain my own brain in the quest to create a better Gwen. The idea of using social stories to help my son understand social situations better made sense to me.

Social stories work best with my little guy when we read them aloud together at least three times each week. Reading them together every day is even better, and it dovetails nicely with ordinary story time. He’s always enjoyed being read to.

Although I’m still learning about social stories and the proper way to write and use them, I thought they slightly resembled the techniques described by Ford Robbins Blair in his Instant Self Hypnosis (which I already use and have a lot of fun with).

I wondered: could writers benefit from writing and reading their own social stories?

I haven’t had a chance to experiment with this myself yet, but just for the fun of it, here’s a very short social story for writers trying to develop the habit of writing every day, written with my limited understanding and ability. Enjoy!

I love to write, and I’m good at writing. I smile when I write. I feel happy and proud of myself when I write something every day.

Because I love writing so much, I try to write something every day. It is important for me to write every day if I want to be a good writer.

Writing something every day is a great habit to develop. I am very happy when I write something every day, and being happy is good.  

 

 

April 18, 2014

Intimidation is nine-tenths of the writer’s law

Gwen Bristol:

So very true.

Originally posted on readful things blog:

What do I mean by this? I don’t mean that writers are the intimidating type–actually just the opposite. What I mean to say, is that writers tend to be their own worst enemies.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while. It used to be that when I started a writing project, the first thoughts in my head were always about the project itself: title, chapter length, beginning, middle and end. In recent years my initial thoughts (after the story idea itself) become more about audience, marketing, price, platform, etc. So what happened?

I became obsessed with the ideas of successes and failures. I had an epiphany yesterday, whilst buried up to my elbows in topsoil:

If you write–you are a writer.

Well, duh.

When we become authors we spend a lot of time worrying over how our work will be received. Will people like it? Will…

View original 270 more words

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