Friday, June 28, 2013

So Close I Can Taste It!

I just had a promising conversation with a lovely lady who is the contact person for the Toronto Book and Brunch Club!  Let's protect her identify and call her "Jane". They are currently reading a fairly lengthy book of 600+ pages, but she expressed considerable interest in selecting my book for the September or October reading.

Deep breath.

If selected, I'll join them for brunch in Toronto to answer questions and talk about the book.  Jane warned me this particular group of book-lovers is rather outspoken and opinionated.  She said the members have no problem telling an author what they don't like.  I can appreciate that, because, well, because I was raised by my Mom.  She's never had difficulty telling me what she likes and doesn't like about my hair, my clothing, my language, my men and the way I conduct my life.  I figure, it'll be like having brunch with my Mom.  Lots of her.  Bring it on!

I'm trying to contain the excitement, but it's not easy.  Perhaps all my efforts to break the book club barrier are about to payoff?  Are you feeling lucky today, punk?

Did I mention the Toronto Book and Brunch Club is 200+ members strong?!?!?!

Please join me in raising a glass to Jane and her book club members!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Something's Gotta Give

I continue to bang my head against the book club wall, trying to break its mysterious, allusive code.  I spend a portion of every day reaching out to clubs, recommending my book for a future reading, and every day I tell myself it's just a matter of time.  Eventually, one of those clubs will latch onto "Confessions" and then we're off!  Right?

I'm convinced this approach to marketing/sales is a damn good idea, but every few days those nasty boys Doubt and Frustration stop by and drip their unpleasant vibes all over my mood, threatening to make me give up.  But guess what?  That day is NOT today!

This evening, a little glimmer of hope hit my inbox.  The coordinator of a NYC-based book club asked me if I'd be willing to do an "author appearance and book signing" if they choose my book for an upcoming reading.

I need to take a moment to breath before I continue.  My heart is beating through my chest and my bladder is threatening to let go.  (By the way, when I hit the big time, one of the first things I'm buying is a new bladder because the one I'm using thinks we're 80 years old.)

Yes, I realize the club hasn't selected my book and yes, I realize it may amount to nothing, BUT!  the coordinator's interest was peaked sufficiently to make her ask the question.  That alone is enough to keep me keeping on.

Please keep your fingers, arms, legs and eyes crossed - as well as whatever other miscellaneous parts you have capable of following suit - that I may have finally made a break thorough!!!  Don't worry about how you look.  Vanity is one of the seven deadly sins.

Stop sinning and cross your parts!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blog Blitz

As promised....The author being featured on my blog today is Ross Harrison!

Going back to the start - how did you get involved in writing and then self-publishing?
I have no idea how I got interested in writing, but I presume it comes from being read to by my mother and grandmother. My dad also wrote a fantasy trilogy, but I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, because I didn’t learn that until years later.
At first, I just wrote short things for myself and my family. Somehow, I slipped from that into a proper novel, although I didn’t know it at the time. About halfway through that, my grandmother happened to ask me if I was thinking of trying to get it published when I was finished. I said no, since I hadn’t even considered that, but the idea stuck and grew.
I lost that novel thanks to a computer error of some kind but several years later, after I had finished my first novel, Shadow of the Wraith, the idea of trying for publication came back pretty strong. I was too hasty, though, and started sending it off to agents long before it was ready. That resulted in rejections. Probably fifteen or so. That’s when the idea of self-publishing emerged.
I hadn’t really considered it before, as at that time it was really more vanity publishing. But once I’d read about this new thing called Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, I decided I was going to go for that. I got to work re-editing the book, and it turned into more of a rewrite. The thought that real people were going to read the words I was thinking ‘that’ll do’ about made me start all over again and vastly improve the book.
At that point, part of the book was still up on the writer’s community, Authonomy. About four days from self-publication, an agent from a well respected agency contacted me. He’d seen my work on Authonomy and wanted to read the full manuscript. I said no. It was a hard decision, but I was already too far down the self-publication road (mentally) to put that on hold while he read the full 129,000 words. But it was certainly confidence-inspiring. He actually wanted to read the second book once I’d finished my edit on it, but once that was done, it didn’t feel right to not self-publish that too.
As I said, it was a hard decision, but I don’t regret it.

I notice that you have mainly focused on Science Fiction - why does that genre particularly interest you?
Specifically science fantasy. I think it’s mostly because I like the complete freedom. I’m not particularly limited by what’s possible or plausible. If I want to write something a little more realistic, then I can, and it can easily be set in the same universe as something a lot more fantastical.
Not only am I more free as the writer, but the freedom in the setting of space and multitudes of planets and space stations and so on is very appealing. Practically any genre can be written inside sci fi.

Typical issue - but any advice for those of us who face the annoyance of 'writers block'?
Elmore Leonard says that there’s no writer’s block, just lazy writers. I agree to an extent, but I don’t think just because you get to a point where you can’t think how to proceed it makes you a lazy writer. I think perhaps what he means, or what I take from it, is that the way round writer’s block is to just write. If you can’t think what to write next in your story, write out what you’ve done that day, or describe the scene outside your window. Just write something, and keep writing until you’re not ‘blocked’ anymore.
 That said, I think it’s more of a personal thing. For some writers, I think it’s a sign that you need to give the writing a rest for a little while. Before you give your brain repetitive strain injury!

Making a living out of writing full time can be a tough nut to crack - what difficulties have you faced in selling your work and any tips you have picked up along the way?
I’m still learning the best ways, but what worked well with the first book was finding a few forums to announce the it in. Then follow that up with copying and pasting some reviews. Of course, simply engaging with people in the forums is good too – you don’t have to be plugging your work constantly.
That and approaching review bloggers were really the only two things I did for the first book. For the second I was very unwisely lazy about it, and did very little of the former and was unfortunately unable to find any new review bloggers (it’s nearly as hard to get those as it is to get an agent).
The payoff shows when I can match in a single month (more than once) of book 1 sales, my overall book 2 sales.
One of the worst things to do is sit back and hope that readers will give you plenty of reviews. After hundreds of sales, my reader reviews barely reach double figures. And that’s with two novels and a short story combined.

What's next for Ross Harrison! Any sneak peeks you can share with us on the subject of your next novel?
I took a short break from writing book 3 of the NEXUS series to do a brief experiment. A few months and 70,000 words later, I’ve finished that experiment and started my rewrite. It is that more realistic something I mentioned earlier.
A thriller with a touch of noir, Sixteen (working title) is set in the same universe as the NEXUS series, but pretty far from anything in those books. Harem is a city rotten to the core. Somehow Jack Mason finds its only straight cop after him for murder. To make things worse, Harem’s crime lord wants him dead. Only with the arrival of a government agent does Jack get the chance to prove his innocence and expose the human trafficking that sparked it all.

The point of this blog blitz is, of course, to promote one of your works. So tell us about Shadow of the Wraith.
Shadow of the Wraith is a science fantasy novel, and the first in the NEXUS series. It’s aimed vaguely at the New Adult audience and incorporates a fair amount of humour.
It sounds like a simple assignment: track down the mysterious Star Wraith and put an end to its rampage. But when Travis Archer and his team of inept soldiers find themselves the most wanted people in the galaxy – hounded by assassins, terrorists and their own military – they realise the Wraith is just a symptom of a much larger problem...
Finding war raging between one army intent on destroying an entire species, and another that will destroy the galaxy, Travis must put aside his fears and his past to uncover the truth behind it all. To become the hero he's always imagined.

Shadow of the Wraith is available in digital and paperback format from:

Follow Ross Harrison on Twitter (@AuthoRoss) and Facebook (, and keep up to date via

Monday, June 3, 2013

So This Is Writer's Block

I didn't think it was real, I thought people were being overly dramatic when they claimed to suffer from "writer's block".  I didn't believe in it.  But I'm beginning to wonder.  Is there a doctor in the house?  I need a diagnosis.

There are other things people claim to have that I don't believe in.  PMS for one.  Don't buy it.  You're just in a bitchy mood and drank too much last night.  It's not a medical condition.  Menopause for another.  Don't buy it.  These are the same women who used to suffer from PMS.  Lazy eye.  Don't buy it.  Snap out of it.

Writer's block sounds like another way of saying "boredom".  What I'm experiencing is simply that I don't like what I'm writing about.  It's not a block, it's just boring.  I've never had this happen, so I'm not sure how long it will last.  Until about four days ago, I enjoyed what I was writing about.  Then...well, now I don't.  It doesn't seem worthy of working on, let alone publishing.

I'll just put it aside on work on something else.  I return to the corporate world of finance tomorrow.  I decided I needed to do something that required the use of more than three brain cells.  The perpetual happy hour that is life in the Keys was threatening to turn my brain to mush.  I can't afford to let that happen; I have too many kick-ass things to do.  So back to the board room I go.  Hopefully, it doesn't become a bored room.

A full-time finance job won't leave a lot of time for writing, but I think that might be just the kick in the ass I need.  All those ideas will run around my brain while I'm analyzing numbers and performing audits eight hours a day, and when I get home, I'll have to plop down at my desk to let them out.  You know what happens to people who don't take the time to put ideas down on paper, right?  You don't?  Well, let me tell you.  They start to think they have PMS.  One eye starts to wander in a different direction from the other.  You see?  All of these "conditions" are easily remedied.  Writing cures all.

I'm convinced it's boredom rather than writer's block or else I wouldn't be writing, now would I?

You know what else I don't believe in?  White people who think they're black.  That people actually eat marshmallow Peeps.  Tea totalers.