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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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My Crazy, Busy Life – Lately

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The sequel for Fried Windows is progressing slowly between my increased hours at my day job and doing some promotional things for others. I’m beginning the new story in the middle and working my way out to the beginning and the conclusion. That’s how I write sometimes, starting in the middle, usually with a conversation. In this one, Brent is talking to Strawb who is chiding him for having done something incredibly stupid – in her estimation, of course.

There are actually multiple beginnings for the story just because of the nature of the tale and what happened to Brent Woods at the conclusion of Fried Windows. That’s the hard part, connecting the stories together. I’ve done the easy part, writing the rest of the story – pretty much.

Yesterday my youngest daughter asked me about Becoming Thuperman’s release date. I told her it had been pushed back a bit in the queue to allow for the first two installments of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Throwing a Fried Windows sequel into that mix right now would only further confuse things and create a bigger bottleneck in my publisher’s editing and production bandwidth. There are other projects from other authors, after all. As publicist, I’m reading those books now so I know what we will be promoting. There are some very good books coming from Pandamoon, folks.

Anyway, my daughter has a draft of the the BT manuscript now and hopefully she’ll give me some feedback on it after she reads it. I know it needs a haircut in editing. So, in an effort to fix some things I’ve started a new revision and will be working on that in the background as I’m doing the FW sequel…and everything else. I need to do a revision anyway before BT goes into substantive editing, which is the first stage of the process of transforming a raw manuscript into a novel.

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I’ve been thinking about drafting the sequel to Becoming Thuperman, titled Being Thuperman. I figure I’ll be in the mood and fully up to date with the plot issues and such at the conclusion of a new revision session. I haven’t worked on the manuscript since submitting it back in October 2014. The contract for it was signed in December. And I have revised all ten books of The Wolfcat Chronicles since the last time I worked on Becoming Thuperman.

In other news about my crazy life, it’s been raining a good bit lately. I’ve been fortunate not needing to navigate the 4.5 miles to and from work on my bike in a downpour. I have a 20 to 25 minute window of riding time (including wait times at traffic lights). So far I’ve been very lucky. Sooner or later I will be soaked though. Getting drenched on my way home isn’t as bad as having it happen not he way to work, though. Walking around for a whole shift in wet underwear is a drag.

I have a rain poncho but it is mainly a thin excuse for a garbage bag. I’ll have to get something better, I guess. When the wind catches the plastic of what I have it flaps in the breeze and exposes my backside, It was sprinkling a good bit on my ride home last night. The only thing good about it was that it wasn’t raining harder.

In Florida we have periods of rain when it is coming down so hard that people can’t see to drive – regardless how fast their windshield wipers are running. Imagine that on a bike at 20 miles per hour – which means at least 20 miles per hour wind in the face constantly.

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Tomorrow morning (4/18/15) I’ll be heading up to the University of Central Florida Book Festival on campus (about 5 miles north of where I live). Hopefully it won’t be raining as I’ll be riding my bike there My friend and fellow Pandamoon Publishing author, Steph Post, will be appearing there as a panelist. She needs to autograph my copy of her book. After all, I am one of her publicists. I think I should have a signed copy, right?

In the wacky world of Internet based operations, I have never personally met Steph. I have conversed with her a few times over the Internet both in text and via a program that allows sharing audio. We have spoken over the phone a time or two as well. She is an interesting young lady with a remarkable writing talent. Her debut novel, A Tree Born Crooked is one of the best novels I’ve read in the past year.

The Book Festival is from 10 AM to 3:30AM and it is being held in the School of Education portion of the UCF campus that is just so North Alafaya Trail in eastern Orlando.

#StephPost #ATreeBornCrooked #FriedWindows #UCFBookFestival #BecomingThuperman #Writing #Sequels #PandamoonPublishing