Thursday, August 25, 2011


A while back I talked about the fantasy genre and how I was unfamiliar with it. I mentioned a blurb I read of Mysti Parker's A Ranger's Tale and how intriguing it sounded. I finally had the opportunity to read it and I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed. I found a lot to like in the story.
Caliphany, a head-strong young elf defies her domineering father and sets off to find her own destiny. Set in Tallenmere – a fantasy world – this intriguing tale is part Captain Blood, and part Gone With the Wind
I particularly enjoyed Parker’s method of storytelling. She uses one of three first person narrators for each chapter. To add to that, and what particular was clever, is that when she shifts p.o.v. it becomes a continuation of the story, not just the same scene retold through another person’s eyes.
            Enough of the technical side, what really made for a great read was the trouble, and Caliphany finds plenty of it quickly.  Besides physical tribulations, there’s also emotional hardship. Caliphany must endure not only her father’s harsh punishments but his rejection of her when she defies his wishes to find her own way in the outside world. Her journey leads to ferocious battles with ogres, traitors, and mages. It also leads to her soul mate, Gallidan. In Parker’s world, nothing comes easy, and Caliphany must deal with hard decisions. The pair’s relationship is crossed with bliss and misery.
This was my first fantasy novel. I wasn’t sure if I would be comfortable in that genre. After reading A Ranger’s Tale, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable anymore without visiting the genre.

Happy writing, everyone…and reading!

Monday, August 1, 2011


I know, I know, it’s been too long between this post and my previous one. Now that Die Laughing has moved from the aspirational to the concrete stage, it’s been a totally different, and time consuming experience for me. I’ve been pounding the pavement – virtually and physically – the last month or so trying to drum up interest in my book.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Lesson one: There are some incredibly nice authors out there, willing to help a first time novelist like myself.
I asked two well-respected authors if they’d read the book before it was published and write blurbs – both, very busy, agreed.
I asked an author for advice on how to start the promotion process. She put together a lengthy and detailed step-by-step procedure that I’ve adapted as my blueprint.
A local author shared his contact info on sources for book readings and signings.
Three more authors took it upon themselves to interview and/or post reviews of my book on their blogs. They did this without prompting, strictly as a gesture to help attract attention to the release.
To all of you, my deepest thanks, and a promise to pay it forward.

Lesson two: Wait until you have an ISBN number out for the book before approaching bookstores.
No matter how many times you tell a bookstore proprietor not to look for the book on Ingram, Baker/Taylor until the actual release date, the first thing they will do is look for it. Ingram, Baker/Taylor are the distribution sites for every publisher printed book in the universe as far as I can determine.
When they don’t find it listed there, they will determine that you are a self-published author no matter how much you repeat that it won’t be released until the beginning of the following month. They will then consent to a book reading only on a consignment basis, which basically reduces my profit to zilch, and in one case I actually lose money on the deal.

Lesson three: Sometimes you have to bite the bullet with bookstores and lose money for the sake of promotion.

Lesson four: Comic book stores are owned by, and employed with, some of the coolest people around.
Because Die Laughing is part sci-fi I approached comic book stores about carrying the book and doing readings. Nearly all were enthusiastic to help out. They agreed to carry the book and/or do book readings.
One place, who’s going to carry the book, but doesn’t do book readings invited me to participate in their indie creator weekend.
An employee at another comic store told me he’d make sure to personally insert one of bookmarkers in each bag of merchandise he sold.

Lesson five: There are wonderful people out there who devour books.
These bibliophiles are eager to read, discuss, and talk to you about your stories. They are friendly, generous in praise, and happy to help spread the word by writing reviews. I’ve gained much respect and admiration for them.

My lessons continue. I have to admit I’ve travelled some interesting and enlightening roads. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s around the bend and sharing them with you.

Next up: my first book reading (and yikes I’m nervous about that!)

Happy writing (and reading) everyone!