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Changes In Frequency

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Hey all who follow and read my blog. I will need to be changing things up a bit. I’ll still be posting to the blog but the frequency is about to change. There will be a weekly blog post but I cannot guarantee which day of the week at this point. Sorry about that.

I have been working more hours at my day job. Also I’m about to enter into a period of editing my next book(s) for publication as well as working on marketing and publicity campaigns for sixteen other authors. Yeah, I’ve become a plate juggler keeping sixteen plates spinning all that the same time, and sometimes one or two will wobble and I have to keep them from crashing to the floor and breaking.

We’ll see how things work out but I may post some random things at times, like updates and a few Throwback items. Some of you liked those enough to keep them going, however the latter takes a little research and continuing to do them on a weekly basis has become nearly impossible. I need to write sequels more so than blog posts about my favorite rock bands in the 70’s. Having said that, I like the subject of music in general. I might post some reviews of more recently produced music. We’ll see. There are several contemporary acts I enjoy. You might be surprised what I listen to…then, again, maybe not.

The focus on this blog is and has always been about my writing mores than my life but sometimes they two are inseparable. The more I strive to have my books become popular and my author’s brand recognized the less time I have to enjoy some of the things I like to blog about. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?

I’ve made a couple of strategic choices in the past week that may aid in my ability to keep up with blog posts. I have a portable computer that will be showing up later on today (Thursday). I decided to go with a Microsoft Windows based system, actually the Surface Pro 3. I got a good deal on a slightly used one. It will take a few hours to set it up properly to become the effective tool it needs to be. But this will allow me to take my writing with me to work at my day job so I can use my break time to post things to blogs, post promotional things for others and my myself and edit/revise my work – all on the go.

 

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I plan to use The Cloud more often  in the future as this “new” computer has a smaller SSD but it is a lot faster than the relatively larger drive I have on the computer I use at home. However I would like to have a couple of TB’s of space to store all the pictures, music and such I have. I haven’t decided whether to get a personal NAS drive that I can access via the Internet or upload everything to iCloud, One Drive, Google Drive or some comparable service. I may be doing a bit of the latter as a test of viability for what I need over the next few weeks as an alternative to purchasing a personal NAS device. However, I like the idea of being able to access things from a server drive on my home network regardless where I am in the world. As my portable computer will only have 256GB of on-device storage I cannot keep all of my files on the device. Still, I will need to access my stuff from time to time. I’m not so certain I want all my documents residing on someone else’s server 0f regardless of how secure.

 

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My publisher has a cloud drive I use for publicity an the work I have submitted for publication. In a pinch I could use some of that space, temporarily, I suppose, but I want to keep business separate from my personal things even if they are business related. Promotional stuff like this blog that is intended to increase awareness of my brand falls into the gray area between personal and professional stuff. That could be stored on my publisher’s drive.

A lot of my blog related stuff has used pictures I keep stored somewhere or the other on my local drives. I’d like to offload that to The Cloud but I don’t want that taking up space on my publisher’s server. Also I’d like to upload my personal music files but I would rather store all of that on a personal NAS that I can access from anywhere I am.

#NAS #PortableComputer #SurfacePro3 #Microsoft #PandamoonPublishing #Publicity #Blog

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A Pretty Cool Day In Florida

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For almost two years now I’ve been associated with Pandamoon Publishing, first as an author and more recently as a publicist. At times the latter role requires more effort and schedule juggling than the former but it is one of the few times since receiving a degree in marketing from the University of Texas in the early ’80’s that I have actually done something related to my studies. That’s kind of cool.

Aside from working on my next book(s), there are eleven more under contract now, I have had occasion to work with a diverse group of fellow writers. Personally I think all of them are more gifted than I am. A few of them have been fooled into thinking I’m as talented as they are. I’m good a creating illusions. Until yesterday, though, I had never actually met any of the other authors, other than chatting with them online. That isn’t to say I don’t know these people and over the past couple of years we haven’t become friends.

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The Pandamoon stable of authors is approaching two dozen and continues to grow. The publisher is expanding its editorial and marketing staffs to handle the bandwidth of all those new books. For a relatively small and fairly new kid on the publishing block we are making some waves and gaining attention. And a lot of that has to do with the effort and coordination between the marketing team and the authors. One of the success stories is Steph Post, author of A Tree Born Crooked.

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Steph and I both live in Florida. When I lived in Pinellas County, we were even on the same side of Tampa Bay, just a few miles apart. Close, but we never had an occasion to ever meet in person…until yesterday. This time there was no excuse. She was appearing as a panelist at the 6th Annual University of Central Florida Book Festival in Orlando. Currently I live a little over five miles from the venue. So, yesterday morning I pedaled my bike northward on Alafaya Trail and parked it in a bike rack in the midst of the festivities. I attended the panel discussion on mystery and crime writing. Responding to questions from a standing room only crowd Steph shined. I was proud of her not only because we are colleagues at Pandamoon but also because over the past couple of years she has become a dear friend of mine.

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Afterwards she signed my copy of her debut novel and we took a picture together as proof that we had actually been in the same place at the same time. I met her husband, Ryan, and a couple of her high school friends who came out to the event in support of her. Really, what was important, though, was I got to hang out with one of my favorite authors. How cool is that? I’m such a fan boy.

Seriously, though, I loved Steph’s book from the first read through of the manuscript and since  it’s publication I have found it to be one of the easiest things I have ever promoted. Even if I wasn’t closely associated with the marketing support for the book, she would still be one of my favorite authors. I’m pretty sure that very soon her fame is going to blow-up in a huge way and everyone will be talking about her books. She has genuine talent that she has honed through the discipline of scheduling her time. She is a professional writer in every sense of the word. Personally I have no idea how she juggles everything she does, because is is also a writing coach and educator as well as a wife and ‘mother’ of several rescue pooches. But once you meet her and talk to her you really get the vibe that you’re in the presence of a remarkable individual.

As I pedaled home after spending a few hours at the festival I was thinking about how great it would be to get all the Pandamoon authors together in the same place at the same time. We have talked about it and even have a name for the event all picked out: “Pandamoonium”. I’m sure that sooner or later it will happen. Likely as not we’ll assemble in some central location, probably Austin, Texas, which is close to where the publisher is based. Only then will the sensation of being in the presence of greatness that I felt yesterday be eclipsed. Despite our geographic barriers I work with some amazing people.

It is a testament to the technological advancements over the past dozen of so years that people from every time zone in the western hemisphere have meetings regularly to share information and ideas about such topics as establishing and promoting author’s brand. Pandamoon Publishing is cutting edge in a lot of ways.

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As for Steph Post, what she has done – pretty much on her own, albeit with some support from the Pandamoon marketing team – is nothing short of phenomenal. In the months since she signed with Pandamoon she has worked diligently on her brand, posting attention getting pictures that supported the theme and mood of her book, which is about crime in small town Florida. She contacted other authors in her genre, got to know them personally, read and reviewed their books, interviewed them, and her attention was reciprocated with reviews for her book. She arranged interviews on radio shows, with bloggers and scheduled personal appearances. Even before its release to the public, A Tree Born Crooked was receiving critical acclaim. Since its release it is being considered for some prestigious awards.

The reward for all her hard work was evidenced not only in the number of people who purchased Steph’s book yesterday but also the number of new friends she made as a result of her participating int he panel discussion. She signed a lot of autographs. In this age of Internet distribution and sales, one thing has not changed and it is ironic that, really, it is the same as it has been for the past couple hundred years. How a book is marketed always comes down to pitching it one reader at a time.

#UCFBookFestival #Orlando #Florida #Authors #StephPost #ATreeBornCrooked #PandamoonPublishing #ElgonWilliams #Publicity #Marketing #BookSigning #MysteryWriter #CrimeWriter

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This Week’s Agenda

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I have a couple of projects this week. First there is a book launch, the second edition of Eightysixed by Emily Belden. It’s underway, kind of, so I’m finalizing a press release for that. For those who don’t realize it, launching a book in both paperback and ebook formats on Amazon is nearly impossible to synch up so both formats appear at the same time on the same day. Usually they are a few days apart because of the time delays involved between uploading and the posting of the books on each platform. Even then, it takes as much as a week for Amazon to connect the two postings together so that a prospective reader can choose between the two formats. Often the publisher needs to contact Amazon to have them manually connect the books. For that reason, release dates with Amazon are carved in hot butter.

At any rate, book realize dates with publishers are moving targets at best. Spring, Summer or Fall of whatever year tends to be about as exact as can be mentioned until content editing has begun. Even then, it is impossible to get the release date any closer than a week until the cover design and editing is completed and For Review copies are sent out – usually 60 to 90 days prior to release. Having said that, an exact date depends not he format and the distributor. There are a number of reasons a book’s release could be delayed at the last minute.

The second thing I’ve committed to doing this week is reading a book and writing a review for a friend. That’s in progress. I may finish the book tomorrow, depending on how long it takes to finish the press release and whether or not my new bike comes in at the shop and is assembled and tweeted properly. Yes, I have upgraded my ride. It now takes less time for me to get to and from work and my backside is a lot more comfortable in the process. Also, my have brakes that actually work! Anyway, I’m hanging onto the old bike for a while as a backup in case I get a flat tire or something.  I’ll list it on Craig’s List and see if I can get anything for it. It has good tires.

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I’ve been working more hours lately which is a good things for as long as it lasts. I’ve been saving the money for things I need. The first priority was a new bike, because i use it everyday. I also need to buy some paperback version of Fried Windows in bulk so I can do some personal appearances and book signings around Orlando. Also, I need a new laptop at some point, though presently I am using a computer that has an issue with the screen but works fine when plugged into a monitor. Another thing on my wish list is getting an actual Kindle because using the Kindle Reader on my old iPad is not as pleasant an experience due to its relative weight, etc. Everything has a priority, though. Having a supply of books to sell is at the top for now.

News about The Wolfcat Chronicles: nothing major yet. I’m expecting sub-editing to begin shortly on the first book of the series. I’m not sure about the timeline for release dates. My publisher has a lot of other projects in the queue. So, I’ll be busy doing promotional stuff for other authors until it’s my turn at bat. I have read some of the new manuscripts from other authors and there are some great books coming out this year from Pandamoon Publishing!

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There is Jeff Messick’s novel Knights of the Shield which should be out any day now. Emily Belden’s memoir, Eightysixed second edition will be out by the end of the week in both digital and print. Alisse Lee-Goldeberg has a sequel of Sitnalta due out this spring and Christine Gabriel has a sequel to Crimson Forest coming out later this year. Add to those books like Ramadan Drummer by Randolph Splitter, 122 Rules by Deek Rhew and Love’s Misadventure by Cheri Champagne – new books from new authors – and you have the makings of a great reading list.

#Publishing #Publicity #NewBooks #JeffMessick #EmilyBelden #RandolphSplitter #DeekRhew #CheriChampagne #ChristineGabriel #AlisseLeeGoldenberg #PandamoonPublishing

 

 

 

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Projects for 2015

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Yesterday I completed a list of uncommonly spelled words and names for my editor’s use in preparing a stylesheet for the publication of The Wolfcat Chronicles. The list is complete through Book Six, which is as far as I have gotten with he current round of revisions. I figure as I go forward l’ll add anything that appears to the list, though I believe most things are on the list already. There are some new characters for Books Eight through Ten, though. Already the list is eight pages long. It will exceed ten pages before I reach the end of the series.

The first order of business for 2015 is completing the revision on Book Seven, a process I’ve already begun. Sunday is a day off from my nn-wiritng job, so I’ll knock out several chapters. I’m hoping to complete the effort before January 15. I don’t foresee a problem in doing that.

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Beyond Book Seven I expect books Eight and Nine will take until the end of February. I’m allocating March and April for the rewrite I envision for Book Ten. Factoring in the time I’ll need to devote to substantive and content edits on both Books One and Two of the series, if I finish the revisions sooner, all the better. At some point I’ll be going through sub-edits and content edits for Becoming Thuperman as well, as I expect to release three books this year, two of them are part of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Because the entire series will be completely revised by April, I suppose it is possible that more book of the series might appear in print before the end of 2015, provided my publisher has the bandwidth to process them. Depending on how many of The Wolfcat Chronicles books are slated for 2015 release, I might spend most of my time with edits.

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Six new authors were added recently to Pandamoon Publishing’s family. So their books will be in production concurrently as well as follow-up novels from authors who had books released in late 2013 and throughout 2014. Christine Gabriel, Chrissy Lessey and Steph Post have new manuscripts. Jason Beem plans another novel. Emily Belden is working on a new project as well. Alisse Lee-Goldenberg is rumored to have a sequel for her fantasy Sitnalta that is ready to enter the editing process – nothing officially announced on that one yet, but you can expect something soon. So, there could be as many as 24 books released in 2015 from my publisher.

Then there are other projects I need to work on as well, including the sequel to Fried Windows. I need to finish writing that one. There is also a sequel to Becoming Thuperman envisioned, though I haven’t begun writing it. And there are a couple of other novels in progress that I have yet to complete.

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Once I complete the revisions on The Wolfcat Chronicles I plan to begin revising some other manuscripts I haven’t yet published. I’m not sure whether my publisher will produce any of those, but at least I’ll submit them. For 2016 and beyond I may decide to pull my self-published work, revise those for new editions and submit them as well. At some point I want to complete the One Over X thread that covers Andy Hunter, Terry Harper and Lee Anders Johnston who appear in The Wolfcat Chronicles as minor characters. Then there are the Power of X books, which fill in the background for Ela’na and clarifies her connection to Earth and Brent Woods. Additionally I have a number of books about Brent Woods, pretty much from childhood through college and his military service upto entering The Program. I may also revise a new edition of The Attributes, which is sort of a capstone for all the science fiction threads from One Over X, The Wolfcat Chronicles and The Power of X. All told there are forty manuscripts in various stages of completion, with twenty written in draft (at least) and about half of those have been revised and submitted. So, even if I were able to push out five books a year, which is highly optimistic, I am looking at eight years’ work.

Publicity and building a fan based continue to be major background efforts. 2013 and 2014 were years of building from obscurity. There’s still a lot I need to do. Foremost is establishing a worldwide street team prior to the launch of The Wolfcat Chronicles Book 1. My social media presence has increased significantly in the past year, but I’ll need to leverage those contacts in some way. A major problem is that the majority of my friends and followers are fellow authors. Understandably they are working on their own books and promotions. So networking and dovetailing fan bases is the only strategy that will engage them for supporting my work.

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My urgent goal it to find more readers and get the word out about my writing. Fried Windows has not received the attention I think it deserves. Yes, I know I’m biased because I wrote it. But I truly believe int he book. People who have read it believe it is one of the best fantasy novels out there. It has remained relatively obscure with all the noise out there from competing titles. There is no lack of good books in the marketplace, but the problem for readers is finding them from amongst the utter crap, some of which has come from major publishing houses. Quality control is not exclusively a self-publishing issue, though, admittedly, the bulk of published work comes from independents. A lot of work being published every day that is not ready for prime time – if it will ever be.

It is far too easy to self-publish a book in the hubris and euphoria following the moment of relief typing The End on the final page. Many a writer has put work out there that needs considerable amounts of professional editing. In the past I’ve been guilty of that as well. But I have learned.

Despite overtures to the contrary, quality control in self-publishing remains virtually nonexistent. The measures some, like Amazon, have in place are too easily abused. A book troll can complain about a novel’s quality over some bogus issue and the book will be pulled and the author notified that a revision of the issues must be completed before the book can be resubmitted for further review. The problem with all that is that the validity of the reader’s complaint doesn’t seem to enter into the discussion. There have been several instances that best selling self-published books have been yanked due to a reader’s complaint about an alleged grammar problem that is not based in fact. Many indie authors pay a lot of money to have books professional edited using established industry standards by major publishing houses. I wonder if a reader complains about a book from a major house if it would be yanked from the site?

#revisions #writing #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #Publishing #StreetTeams #FanBase #Publicity #PandamoonPublishing

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Anybody Can Do It – Sort Of

 

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One of my past bosses was prone to saying things like, “If it was easy anybody could do it.” Then he’d immediately add, “And it wouldn’t be fun.” Eventually he contracted all of that down to “If it was easy it wouldn’t be fun.” I never thought much about the implications of what he was saying until I moved on to working for someone else, a guy who was more prone to saying hackneyed things about his aunt not being his uncle because she lacked the balls – or something like that. Clearly, though, my old boss saw merit in the difficulty of the struggle. To him that made the work fun.

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say work is fun but there are things that make the time seemed to pass by quickly. The effort involved in doing something makes it an adventure. It also defines us as individuals by the level of struggle we are willing to endure to succeed. To some extent it is true that the people who aren’t famous are the ones who were unwilling to put forth the effort required. Although in some instances it seems others become famous for no apparent reason, there is always a reason for it and if it didn’t take them effort to get there it certainly requires effort to remain there. Also, what is required for fame to endure will tend to piss off some people along the way. Family and some friends have the choice of being supportive or feeling neglected. At times they may believe that the famous person has changed. That’s not the usual case, though.  I’ll explain some o that later.

All this came to mind this morning while I was writing a book review. Yeah, that’s how my mind works: do one thing while thinking of several other things in the process. I’m weird like that. Anyway, last night a good friend and I were discussing fame and why it comes easy for some people and not others. I asserted that anyone can be famous, it’s just that most are not willing to follow through and take the necessary steps for whatever reason.

Why would someone set out to become famous then not complete the process? Well, there are several very good reasons. Foremost is that being famous is not what people think it is go ingot be like. I’ve never been famous but I know people who are or have been for a period. So I have some insight on how it changed them and how it did not – kind of a before and after. Let me start out by saying that when each one became famous for a while it was fun for them and their closest friends who enjoyed the moment vicariously or through close association. It didn’t really change who they were but it changed how others, particularly strangers and friends who, in truth, were hardly better than acquaintances, responded to them. True friend were still friends. There wasn’t as much time to spend together, perhaps but that was sort of understandable with all the demands of maintaining fame. Then, far more abruptly than the fame came, all of it went away.

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That’s pretty much how it happens, I guess. And from having witnessed the process a few times I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone has it in them to be famous. What is required it connecting with the moment and as many people as possible. You entertain them for however long you command attention and when it is over, if you don’t have something new to give, fickle human nature takes charge. The audience move on to the next greatest thing and unless you have something to bring their focus back, of have some slick marketing behind you with a publicity campaign to keep your name out there in public view at all times, you lose the spotlight.

Andy Warhol mentioned the 15 minutes of fame everyone supposedly has. It is pretty much the same thing, expect these days, with the Internet and everything else, it is more like five seconds. Yet never before has it been more possible to be famous. Writers don’t need publishers to share their writing, musicians don’t need record labels, and clearly you don’t need to be an actor or have any real talent or skills to be on TV. You just have to do something that provokes others to take interest. Then you, or rather what you do/did, goes viral. If you know how to hang on and adapt you might be famous for more than ten seconds.

So here’s a simple five step plan for fame:

1) grab attention.

2) hold attention.

3) gain more attention.

4) extend and maintain interest.

5) repeat steps one through four.

Yeah it is overly simplified, but that is also my point. We make it too hard when it’s really not. All you need to be famous is to get everyone’s attention and keep it for a while.

The first few moments of a song or the first few sentences of a book MUST gain attention of the target audience, otherwise what follows is irrelevant. That’s the nature of the world and I think that’s is why most people fail to become famous. They don’t have a firm grip on attention grabbing. The five seconds you have to convince anyone that should be famous expires while you are still thinking of the right way to begin.

#fame #attention #famous #publicity

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An Exercise In Publicity

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We are always defining and refining ourselves, even before graduation from high school. But maybe that’s the first time most of us really begin to think about the real world in terms of ‘now what?’

Some like me deferred answering that question completely, extending adolescence artificially, going away to college. But it was always there, int he background. I’m not sure I ever truly answered that question. Maybe fact we never do. There is always something else, isn’t there?

For publicity’s sake I need to define who I am in succinct sound bites that can be offered rapid fire during interviews. Why? Because most people in the media have the attention span of a gnat. But then, they are merely a reflection of their audience. Who wants to hear about my life when they could  get all the latest dirt on the Kardashians?

Here is what I know about me. I’m a storyteller. Always have been; always will be. It’s what I do now, though not yet for a living. But that is also why I’m doing this exercise in publicity.

My storytelling began long before high school but I think it was around the time I was in Mrs. Hibbett’s 9th grade English class that I first decided I wanted to be a writer. She told me that was a mistake. Her actual words were I’d never be a writer. By the time I was a senior she;d forgotten ever having said that.

In college I expanded the whole storyteller concept to encompass a broader range of expression. I suppose part of that came form dreaming of being a rock star. My single greatest achievement was writing a rock opera based on Beowulf. That fact you’ve never heard that composition indicates the effort skyrocketed my band and into obscurity. But throughout the beginning part of college I was marking time until I became famous. I was absolutely convinced I would be famous once day, After all with a name like mine, Elgon, one hardly anyone can pronounce correctly, I had to do something great. Yeah, I’m aware that’s not logical but that was how I thought in the mid ’70’s. I figured I could use my first name alone. After all, other than my dad who never went by it, no one else I knew was named Elgon.  There is a mountain in Kenya and a cosmetics company in Italy. As far as I know that’s it for namesakes and those are coincidences. I was named for neither. I think my grandmother couldn’t spell. Either that of the story about the traveling salesman who had a similar name was true. But we won’t go into that.

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So, in college I studied mass communication, which by definition is communicating to the masses, right? I was a DJ at a campus radio station. I produced an old school radio drama and a TV news show about music. I interned for a local TV station and at a local newspaper. At the end of all that I figured out I didn’t really like being a journalist. So I decided to focus more on public relations advertising and such. That’s how I got interested in marketing.

I studied Spanish in high school and college, not enough to be fluent, but I can read it to some extent and I generally get the gist of what someone is saying. Seeing how important Spanish has become as a second language,especially where live in Florida, perhaps I should have spent more time learning it. I should have learned a lot of things in college but didn’t. Despite my stubbornness I learned some things, though. One was that regardless of the level of education nothing guarantees you success, or a job for that matter. Eventually I stocked shelves in a grocery store by night and worked part time for a small advertising agency by day. Although I was good at doing both, neither position struck me s having great potential for advancement. So, on a whim and figuring I had a college education, I decided to follow in my sister’s footsteps and join the Air Force. I wanted to be an officer like her but they were being particularly picky about college majors and mine wasn’t what they were seeking. However, in the process of taking the tests for military service, someone figured out I had language ability. Imagine that!

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You see, after college I interviewed with a lot of companies for positions in management. The economy was limping along in recession so businesses were looking for excuses not to hire people  One of the companies I dealt with was a particular large international bank with an operations center in Miami. After a series of interviews they decided not to hire me. In the rejection letter that stated that based on my at my resume which largely consisted of college transcripts that I lacked sufficient ability to learn a foreign language. How ironic was it that merely a few years later the US military was going to pay for me to learn Chinese Mandarin because I tested very high in the ability to acquire a language over a short span opt training.

I ended up on the other side of the planet for a while, saw a lot of places and met a lot of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. On balance, despite all the bad aspects of being in the military, it was a valuable experience. One thing I learned was that people are people no matter where you are and we all figure out solutions to our problems in culturally distant ways. Another thing I learned was that people in other countries like Americans but don’t necessarily like our government and its policies. A third thing I figured out was that I didn’t always need to speak another person’s language to be able to communicate.

Upon returning home and leaving the military my role as a communicator shifted to training and leading others in retail management. As things evolved, I began to train customers about products as well. For someone who was painfully shy as a child, comfortably leading training seminars and giving presentations to hundreds of people at times was an extreme departure.

All along my journey I was only delaying what I set out to do, tell stories. During college I wrote in my spare time. In the military I wrote in my spare time. Even after marrying, having children and working seventy plus hours a week in retail management , I wrote in my spare time. When the hobby evolved into a vocation did not happen over night. I had been working on my first novel for years. The second one took less time. Then novels three through twelve came all at once. Over a twelve year span I produced forty stories of novel length, twenty of them in some semblance of a finished state as manuscripts. Still, even though I was a published author I didn’t think I was a professional writer. I wasn’t making a living at it, anyway.But I have always been a storyteller.

I guess as writer you are always seeking a story. Some of it comes from experience, a lot of it comes from inspiration but most of it comes from determination. Writing is an art. Like most artistic endeavors it is not particularly lucrative. Money isn’t why artists produce what we do. To be successful as an artist you need to market the art and that takes publicity, building a support base of fans and general exposure to the the public through some form of communication and networking.

One of the many lesson I learned from the study of communication was a rather basic one. You cannot NOT communicate. Even the decision not to talk to someone is communicative. As much as I’d love to be able to just write the only way to persuade anyone to read what I write – which is the entire point of writing professionally – is to promote it in some way. That requires communication whether through media or more directly, one on one.

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#writing #communication #language #culture #education #experience #publicity #newreleasebook

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Chasing Fame

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It’s a time when the definition of fame has been turned over and wedged sideways into our minds. What does it mean anymore when Realty TV stars (let’s not go into the inherent oxymoron due the obviously scripted and over-acted, self-indulgent performances) proliferate the airwaves for apparently no other reason that filling time in a programming schedule. Are they famous, yes. Why? Don’t ask me.

I guess being famous meant something back when the famous had some personal standards, codes of ethics, or restrain on public social behavior. Now it appears to be ‘cool’ to be caught in the act of being stupid drunk or stoned in public. It’s all publicity, isn’t it. And we have all heard that any publicity is good publicity. Well, that is until the public becomes disgusted and moved on to tracking the next big thing. And thanks to the PR machines there is always a a new and briefly exciting next big thing.

America has always a land of opportunity but also there are contrasts, extremes and excesses evident to anyone who cares to pay attention. We elect people to govern us because they look good not because they have the credentials to pass the job interview. But one thing has never changed. America has a good heart filled with average people who do their routine things to make everything work. The buy things, including the CDs of downloads of their favorites musicians, watch the shows on TV, and buy all the products advertised. The buy the latest book from their favorite authors whether they stand in line at a book store or download it from an online source. And, thanks to the condition of the world we live in, their attention spans last about as long as the smell of a popcorn fart.

Cousin Ricky Skaggs performing

Fame has always been fleeting but perhaps never so much as it is today, with everyone vying for the publics attention. A lot of people want to be more than a flash-in-a-pan, overnight sensation serving a role as he or she fills 15 minutes of air time. In the shuffling madness of the greatest all time losers, the endless parade of pretty people pushing and shove for a moment in the spotlight, there are people like me who prefer to watch from the background. I’m content on the sideline watching the game, close enough to feel the action and smell the sweat but not about to jump into the game and possibly get hurt. It’s that fear of being overly exposed or too greatly scrutinized that prevents us from being the stars that perhaps we were born to be.

Rick Lewis Drummer Thrush

There is a downside to fame. Unless you are made of stone it will burn you. Even then, it will blacken and scorch you. Still, you say you want to be famous. You think you can handle it? Recently I watched an interview with someone famous who probably said it just about right. All you can be is the best you can be at what you really want to do and if you’re good enough at it you won’t need a lot of the hype and nonsense because if you’re good at what you do people will know. But you have to get out there and let your star shine.