Let’s up the ante, shall we?

Yes, we shall.

First off, thank you very much to those of you who have responded to my last post and generously offered to read and review a digital pre-release copy of my latest novel THE GOOD KILL.

That includes the two of you who, in addition to the digital copy, also requested a free print copy of the book, as well, to which I happily agreed…
Continue reading “Let’s up the ante, shall we?”

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David Gaughran

So, as I near the completion of my new novel, I’ve been investing much time lately in that most unfortunate of necessities that every self-respecting self-publishing author must invest in – marketing research.

Yeah…

Marketing is something of which I detest greatly and something at which I fail miserably.

Fortunately for me, however, in my quotidian research for marketing excellence, I stumbled upon (whatever happened to StumbleUpon anyway?) a publishing and marketing guru named, you guessed it…

Continue reading “David Gaughran”

INSIDE THE SKIN

NOW AVAILABLE*

INSIDE THE SKIN BOOK COVER
[FORMERLY, THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR]

GET YOUR FREE COPY!
 

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
          #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Psychological
          #6 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
          #12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Psychological
 

*Only the ebook edition is available and, currently, only at Amazon. It will be several days before the ebook rolls out to other retailers and before the print edition is made available.

 
 

It is with a Heavy Heart that I Bid a Sad Adieu

I came up with the title of my novel, The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, early on in its development and I have grown to love it as I have any other part of my existence, such as my left pinkie finger, my crooked nose, my restless and weary soul. However, after seven years since the book’s publishing, and despite the fond things that have been said and written about the story (and a few not-so fond things), I’m afraid it’s time for me to admit that my beloved title and book cover have failed in their efforts to attract new and varied readers.

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor

Well, regardless whether it’s the fault of the title and cover or not, it had become glaringly evident to me a long while ago that some serious shaking up with the book was needed. It took me a while, but it has finally come time for the shaking to begin.

My rationale for changing the title – and the book cover, as well – is based upon a gut feeling I’ve had since not too long after the book was published: They were both too navy-centric in their words and imagery, which I suspect have turned off many readers who don’t prefer the military genre, a genre which I have never identified this book to be. I’ve always classified it as literary fiction and a psychological suspense novel.

While the story is certainly set within a military environment – a laid-up warship homeported out of Yokosuka, Japan – its story is not necessarily a military one. It, like most stories written from and of the soul, is a universal story. It is a story about our prejudices, our stereotypes, our identity. The stuff all humans struggle with frequently, regardless the setting they happen to be in.

As it is, the old title and the old book cover essentially scream to prospective readers that this is a military-centric book, and only that.

That being said, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the new title and the new cover for my old novel.

INSIDE THE SKIN BOOK COVER

The new title, Inside the Skin, which is also the title of the story’s second chapter, is derived from the saying inside the skin of the ship, which is navy-speak for simply being or going inside the ship. But seeing how the story’s focus is on one’s identity and sexual orientation, the saying also makes a good metaphor for those themes, as well. We are who we are on the inside, regardless how anyone else wants to label us. As many of us know, one of the main aspects, and sometimes the hardest, of our journey through life is trying to find comfort within our own skin.

As for the book cover, I chose the image firstly because I think it looks cool. I also like how the chain link imagery speaks to the theme of the book – we are trapped within who we are whether we like it or not. It also reminds me of how sometimes it felt like being in a prison when out to sea for long periods of time. The amazing image used for the book cover comes courtesy of Ricardo Gomez Angel of UNSPLASH.COM. If you’d like, you can see it in its original form here. The font, “GOOD TIMES REGULAR,” is courtesy of Raymond Larabie of 1001FONTS.COM and can be seen here.

There is still some work for me to do – new ISBNs, updating the front matter, et cetera – so it will take several days before I begin to initiate the updates to all the various distributors, so you still have some time to get you a copy of the print edition with the old cover.

Hey, never know. It may be worth some money some day…

Fingers crossed.

I guess I should add that I’ve made the ebook version permanently free everywhere (at least for the indefinite future). You can find links to all the various retailers on its About page.

Anyway, regardless whether or not you think the new title intriguing or the new book cover snazzy, I hope you find the story enjoyable because that is what matters most to me.

GET YOUR FREE COPY!
 
 

NEW RELEASE

LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter

I’m happy to announce the release of my fifth book, a short story collection entitled: LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter.

Within the collection, there are 30 stories new and old. Some are short in length as are traditional short stories, and some are shorter in length, as are the more contemporary flash fiction stories. Some were written as recently as this past winter; others, as long ago as the early ’90s. Many have been published previously on my website and other places, but there are several new stories that have not yet been released until now.

Continue reading “NEW RELEASE”

Fans of Albert Camus are so absurd

Yeah, so call me absurd…

Anyway, as happens with my other such favorite influential authors — Kafka, Vonnegut, Melville, Hemingway, London, Conrad… (I know, I know. This list is very male and very white… I’m working on that. I promise.) — I, like clockwork, begin jonesin’ for a Camus fix at least once a year.

Right now I’m in the midst of satisfying my most recent Camus craving by plowing through several of my perennial favorites of his — The Stranger, The Plague, and The Fall.

However, yesterday I began reading for the first time a short story collection of his called Exile and the Kingdom, and I’m saddened and a bit embarrassed to report to you that, after three stories in, I really don’t have a clue what’s going on in any of them. They, after the first read, just don’t make any sense to me. Hopefully they will after subsequent reads.

But I gotta tell ya…
Continue reading “Fans of Albert Camus are so absurd”

Transformation of a G

Transformation of a G

He kicks off the covers and reveals the body of a mid-sized, thin but muscularly defined, mid-twenties, African-American male. He does some cat-like stretching and then concludes his ritual with some aggressive eye-rubbing underneath the pillow. While doing so, he seems to notice something strange about his hands.

He holds them over his head and looks up at them from under the pillow. He flips them over and inspects both sides of them as if he’s never seen them before. He sits up on his elbows and looks down at his bare upper torso. He sees the scars of five bullet holes and an assortment of tattoos littered across his brown abdomen. The most prominent tattoo, “Thug Life,” arches across the muscle-ripped gut…

Continue reading→

Is Writing Hard for Everyone or Just Me?

IMAGE COURTESY OF 99DESIGNS.COM

Hey! What’s up?! Long time no speak. Everyone surviving these bizarre times okay?

I must admit that I have grown accustomed to not blogging or socializing on the internet these past several months. Not that I haven’t missed you, it’s just nice to be engaged so heavily in the really real as opposed to the virtually real.

Well, I guess not all my time has been spent in the real real. Much of it has been spent in the imagined real as I’ve been chugging along on a new book.

Yes, I think I’ve finally found a novel-length story with lasting appeal, at least to me, that I may be able to bring to an end instead of just starting and sputtering out like so many others.

Which is why I’ve come to you today…

Continue reading “Is Writing Hard for Everyone or Just Me?”

A First-Rate Fish Tale of a Thriller: USA, Inc. – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | THRILLER
USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1)
by Larry Kahaner

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
 

When acclaimed and prolific author, investigative journalist, and private investigator Larry Kahaner reached out to me to see if I would be interested in receiving a copy of his latest thriller, USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1), I was at first skeptical, for the last two books that I read that were pitched to me as “thrillers” – one which I reviewed here and, the other, because I won’t review here any book that I cannot honestly give at least a Three-Star rating, I wouldn’t review – turned out to be less like thrillers and more like romance novels.

However, I was intrigued by Larry’s proposal after checking out his impressive bio; and then, after reading the book’s synopsis and preview, I was hooked, completely, and quickly wrote back to him to accept his kind offer.

And I’m truly grateful that I did because I found in Larry’s book a Five-Star Story that is fresh, fast, topical, and, yes, quite thrilling to read.

Literary fiction is my natural space for my literary endeavors; mostly, because I find they instruct me about life in ways foreign or less apparent to my way of living and thinking, often while set in surreal, nightmarish environments completely alien to my own. And the literature I like best (Kafka) instructs without the pedantry (Dickens) and overbearing, lifelike details (Balzac) that I look to literature to escape from in the first place…and which I too often find in genre fiction.
Continue reading “A First-Rate Fish Tale of a Thriller: USA, Inc. – A Review”

Any Fans?

House of Leaves

 

Been wanting to read this for a long time but now that I finally have it…

I find its presence rather… intimidating.
 

#prayforthetimidreaders

 

 

RISE OF THE CHOSEN by Guest Author Anna Kopp

In Sam’s world there are two rules. Rule #1: Nobody dies. Protect the living at all costs. Rule #2: Everybody dies. At least once.

The Waking was a global event in which a force called the Lifeblood invaded all humans who died. The few strong enough to control it came back as powerful immortals. The rest let the bloodlust take over and awoke with one goal – to kill.

Newly appointed Watch Guard Samantha Shields has a legacy to uphold. Her father died a hero defending their city and now she wants to follow in his footsteps. Except for the dying part, of course. Unfortunately, fate has other plans as she discovers deep dark secrets that make her choose between her loyalties and the lives of everyone in her city. Both rules are in play as Sam is forced to make hard decisions that could cost her everything – including the person she cares about most.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RISE OF THE CHOSEN


  • This is not another zombie book
  • Action-packed
  • LGBT MC (#ownvoices)
  • Unpredictable page-turner

Advanced reviewers are calling it ‘intense’, ‘gripping’, and a ‘fresh take on the zombie theme’. Fans of The Walking Dead and Divergent will love this book. But don’t just take their word for it – order on Amazon today and see for yourself!

EXCERPT

“Do you eat? I mean, I know you don’t need to, but do you?” Sam
asked curiously. David gave her a blank stare.
“Eating is inconvenient,” he finally answered, eliciting a confused
look.
“Because it takes time? Or effort?”
“Because it produces unneeded side effects from the body that
could cause an interruption in our duties.”
She mulled over the answer for a moment. Finally understanding
what he was talking about, she turned red as a beet and continued to
eat in silence.
Julian laughed at her reaction.
“That’s our Sarge, always worrying someone’s gonna have to take a
piss in the middle of a call.”
David turned to him. “With you and Mexican food, that’s not the
one I’m worried about.”
Sam almost choked on her burrito.
“Holy shit, did Sarge just make a joke? Well, well, maybe there’s
hope for you after all!”
The death glare from David was interrupted by a loud warning ring
from the computer, followed by the distant wail of a siren. He whirled
around to get the location and was immediately out the door, yelling
back at his scrambling teammates.
“Two at the gate.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Kopp was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States when she was 11. She joined the US Army and lived in Georgia during her military career before settling down in the Cleveland, Ohio area. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in business but her true passion is writing. She is a wife and business partner to a software developer, and a mom to two rambunctious boys obsessed with Minecraft. Anna’s hobbies include reading, writing, and playing World of Warcraft. She is a true geek at heart and would love nothing more than to see her imagination become a part of something greater.

Contact Information

WEBSITE: www.annakoppauthor.com
BLOG: annakoppwrites.wordpress.com
GOODREADS: Author Profile
AMAZON: Author Page
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/annakoppwrites
TWITTER: @AnnaKoppAuthor



I would like to thank Anna for her donation to my Website Campaign to raise funds for my movie. I ask that you please take the time to visit Anna’s site, check out her work, and follow along with her on her literary journey. It definitely looks like it is going to be an adventurous and rewarding one.

Now that the IndieGoGo Campaign to raise funds to produce my movie has kicked off, my Website Campaign has ended. I ask that you please check out our stellar cast and crew, see what the flick is about, and, if you feel so compelled, donate to show your support of Independent Filmmakers. And whether you are or are not able to donate, please share the news about the campaign to your network of family and friends.

Thank you!

 
 

Birth of Loglines & Beyond | A Guest Post by Author Ann Kimbrough

Our private Facebook writers and readers group recently held its second WRITE EDIT WRITE Challenge (see the results of the first challenge here). Because my focus is on producing a short film based upon an adaptation of my short story LEAVE, I figured we might as well have a challenge focused on screenwriting. Ergo, we asked the group to submit a 25-word, or less, logline describing a WIP or produced work from a genre of their choosing.

It’s no surprise that the author who submitted the chosen response is a working screenwriter who has some serious writing chops. Author Ann Kimbrough shares her screenwriting expertise in several places on the web, all of which you can reach via her namesake website annkimbrough.com. My favorite medium of Ann’s is her youtube channel where she and other working screenwriters get together to share their knowledge of the industry. Fantastic stuff. We are very fortunate to have Ann as part of our WRITE EDIT WRITE group, and, if I may say, you are very lucky that she has written for us here an excellent post about the mystery and intrigue of writing a logline. You’re welcome. :)

Ann’s logline submission for WEW #2:

In a secret facility, a rookie female FBI analyst struggles to contain a serial killer, but her only hope is trusting a devious bombing suspect.


Birth of Loglines & Beyond
Ann Kimbrough

annkimbrough.com

Loglines are creeping into your life!

Once only used by screenwriters, all kinds of writers find the little buggers useful. The first one I ever saw was in a TV Guide. Remember those? I barely remember newspapers, even though I’ve heard they still exist. For Millennials who can’t write cursive, read clocks or relate to newspapers: a TV Guide was a paper booklet that came with the Sunday paper. It contained a schedule of all the TV shows for a week.

Psst: we’re talkin’ back in ancient times when there were only three major TV stations. I know… it’s Epically Stone Age.

The guides also contained a little blurb about each show. Those blurbs were the birth of loglines.

I imagine TV Guides still exist today, somewhere without Wi-Fi, but they must be the size of phone books. Remember those? Err… we’ll save that lesson for another time.

TV Guide blurbs looked something like this:

Kidnapped in Tasmania, MacGyver uses a banana, a piece of gum and a washing machine to make a robot and save the world.

I doubt that episode of MacGyver ever aired, but maybe it will in the re-vamped show that’s on CBS this season.

Loglines actually do two things:

1. Get your concept across ASAP.

2. Sell your story.

Screenwriters pitch their scripts all the time. In turn, if a producer likes the idea, they have to turn around and pitch it to the principals in their company before an offer to option can be made. When a script is optioned, the production company pitches it to the moneymen for funding – financiers or studios. The better the logline, the better the pitch is all the way up the line.

For novelists, loglines can be used in several ways:

  • Start a query letter
  • On a book’s Amazon page
  • On a book’s back cover
  • On any sales material to build an audience

In an age when our watches are digital instead of sundials and shoes have Velcro instead of laces, no one has time to read a whole marketing pitch. When writers can get their message across fast, they have a better chance of success.

Plenty of rules exist about what makes a logline a good logline, but I’ll keep it simple.

1. Keep it to one sentence, like my MacGuyer example. Some pundits say to make it under 25 words, but don’t go crazy if you’re at 30.

2. Tell the whole story. Protagonist fights what odds to win what battle?

3. Don’t use proper names. Use occupations with a descriptive adjective. Ex.: a wily candy creator, could be used in a logline for Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Or a deformed recluse for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

4. Write it in present tense.

5. Don’t include sub-plots. Stick to the main storyline of protagonist vs. antagonist.

6. Match the tone of your story. When Stephen King writes a logline, I’m sure it sounds scary.

7. Test the logline on friends. If they ask a bunch of questions and sound confused, then keep working. If they ooh and aah, appearing to get the story, then you may celebrate.

One caveat: a common logline error is writing a logline that you think fits your story, but makes people see a different story. Such an error will turn any reader sour when your book (or script) takes a turn they didn’t expect.

Ex. 1: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince.

Do you sense a Rapunzel story?

What if the logline should have really been:

Ex. 2: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince to sacrifice for her freedom.

Whoa! That’s a completely different story. An agent, producer or reader might want one version of that story, but not the other. Misleading them, even by accident, will hurt in the long run. Loglines that pitch the whole story lead to more success once the manuscript is read.

Avoid this mistake by testing your logline on your Beta Readers. Or on complete strangers, who know nothing about your writing. (I’ve been told grocery and bank lines are great places to do this.) You pitch them your logline, then ask what kind of story they’d expect to read. If it’s close to the story your wrote, you’re good to go.

Like all kinds of writing, creating loglines gets better with practice. So, get going!

###

Ann Kimbrough’s imagination comes from growing up as an Air Force brat, which entertained her childhood with foreign lands and amazing characters. They tend to pop-up in all her writing, whether screenplay or novel. The magic continued after college, when she worked in Hollywood and became a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Ann hosts YouTube show Screenwriters Beat, and spends the rest of her time writing contained, thrilling screenplays and cozy mystery novels under pen name Ann Audree, as well as romance under pen names Pippa Minx and Ann McGinnis. Ann is an optioned and produced screenwriter.

annkimbrough.com

 
 

WRITE EDIT WRITE: Flash Fiction by Author Pam Schloesser-Canepa

WEW Facebook Ad-1200x299
Last week I announced that we were starting a private Facebook group for Writers and Readers called WRITE EDIT WRITE. Well I am happy to say that we have had a great response to the announcement and our group includes a growing host of active and creative members. And while we’re still getting situated and figuring things out, we have held our very first WEW CHALLENGE, a challenge where members were asked to post a 250-word or less flash fiction or flash essay. I am again happy to say we had a fantastic response, with the following selection being representative of the fine writing being exhibited by all.

To read all the submissions, visit here.
To learn more about the private group, visit here.

Please check out the writing and stop by the authors’ websites to show them your support.

Write on!



THE POST OFFICE BOX
by Pam Schloesser-Canepa
pamelascanepa.wordpress.com

Tussling with the dog. That was Jasmine’s story, this time. The scar would dissipate in a week, she knew. It did hurt. This was so unfair, yet, all too familiar.

Driving to work, Jasmine noticed she’d inadvertently put on one navy blue shoe and one black. An understandable mistake; they were almost identical, and those colors were close. I wonder if anyone will notice? She realized the light had turned. I sure don’t need a ticket.

To her left was the post office. Darn, I forgot that electric bill. Rick will lose it. Do I go back? She worried it might make her late, yet she didn’t need one more fight about the mail.

Her thoughts drifted to the invitation that had arrived the week before, for her ten year high school reunion. Of course, with a four month old baby and a full-time job, she hadn’t seriously considered. Still, she had thought of going.

“You just want to see all your old boyfriends! You wench!” Rick had screamed, holding the baby in his arms.

“No, Rick, don’t worry, I don’t need to go.” That’s how it always went. Keeping the peace. When she never received any in return.

Abruptly, she pulled into the post office. “I need a post office box,” she announced to the clerk. JUST for me.

With receipt of the key, she found the assigned box. It was cool inside. She imagined fitting inside of it, this doorway to distant places.


Write Edit Write: A Private Facebook Group for Writers and Readers

WRITE EDIT WRITE SUPPORTER LOGO
 
So, I’m creating a private Facebook group for writers and readers who are interested in the discussion of all things related to the process and business of writing.

This will be somewhat an extension of what I do with the Newsletter Love subscribers, but on a much more intimate and informal level. The newsletter process is a bit too formal and segmented and involving to really achieve what I would like to achieve, which is: to network, make connections, and improve our abilities and chances for success as writers.

As much as I hate to admit it, Facebook provides a much better environment to achieve this objective.

Like we’ve done with the newsletter, we can do poetry and flash fiction challenges there as well, with the goal of getting the best of the group’s writing onto my blog and out via the newsletter (is there irony to be found there?)

I am willing to moderate this members only group, provided the members are willing to receive free copies of all my published work and are willing to consider writing reviews for them. In addition to my present work, I would provide all future work for free to these members and ask for them to be both beta readers and to post early reviews of the work once published to help with future sales.

As some of you may know, I am producing a short film called LEAVE that is based upon a screenplay adapted from my short story of the same name. I will provide first and sometimes exclusive insight to the movie making process to this group as I learn it. I will also post photos and videos there that I’ll take when on set. We currently are scheduled to shoot the film in LA in mid-October of this year. If you become of member of this group, you will hear any news about the film first.

Who knows how this group will evolve but the early members will be the ones who help me build the foundation for its future.

Some current projects I’m working on that I hope to finish soon with the group’s help are:
– a short story collection, which includes the short story LEAVE.
– part two of Hercules Gone Mad (I’ve been hoping to finish the story collection and part two for a long time now, which is why I will look to this group to help motivate me to bring them to completion)
– a feature film length script for LEAVE (we already have distributors interested in the movie but they need to see a completed full-length script first)

But the group wouldn’t be just about me. My hope is that all within the group could forge relationships where each could seek similar help from others for her or his own writing efforts.

So, there is a lot we can discuss and accomplish there. If you are interested, you can either let me know publicly in the comment section and I will email you the link; or, you can email me through the contact page and I will reply to you with the link.

I used to call this blog WRITE EDIT WRITE a while back so that’s what I will call the group for now. We’ll see how things evolve and change its name if needed. Let me know when you’re a member if you have a better name. :)

But I can’t create the group until I have at least one member so please let me know if you’re in.

Right on?

Oh yeah… let’s do this, my friends.

Write on!


NOTE: When requesting an invite, please include the email address your facebook account is associated with either in a comment request or via a request through the contact page.


 
 

A Mid-Term Thank You To All Who Support #IndieFilms

Seeing that we will begin filming sometime in early July, I would say we are about half-way through our campaign to raise the seed funds, so to speak, for the larger Indiegogo campaign that will raise the major funds needed to produce LEAVE, a short film based upon a screenplay I wrote.

So, to celebrate our mid-term point, I would like to thank everyone who has donated thus far in the campaign. You can see the list of all donors here.

I would especially like to thank the following for both donating and choosing a Reward Package that has allowed and will allow me to share and promote their work here at RELATING TO HUMANS, via my newsletter, and throughout my social networks.

“REWARD PACKAGE” PROMOTIONS
IN SUPPORT OF MY MOVIE


PROMOTIONS COMING SOON

PLEASANT STREET
geletilari.wordpress.com
HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD
$25 REWARD PACKAGE

TIMOTHY G. HUGUENIN
tghuguenin.com
$25 REWARD PACKAGE


PAST PROMOTIONS

SHERRIE CRONIN
46ascending.org
INSPIRATION IN THE WORST OF PLACES
$25 REWARD PACKAGE

PAMELA SCHLOESSER CANEPA
pamelascanepa.wordpress.com
ENTERTAINING THE WHAT-IFS
$10 REWARD PACKAGE

VIVIAN BIRO
vivianbiro.com
MY APRIL FOOLS’ DAY JOKE
$25 REWARD PACKAGE



I Encourage You to Please Support Those Who Support My Efforts to Make Independent Films by Visiting Their Websites and Buying and Reviewing Their Books or other Promoted Products. Thank You for Helping Me to Thank Them.

DONOR LIST
DONATE

 
LEAVE: A Short Film