GENESIS: Bk1 of The Kingdom Come Series Reviews

GENESIS: Book One of The Kingdom Come Series (All Reviews)

 Ok, Now they're all in one place: Amazon, B&N and Goodreads :) Amazon Customer September 29, 2016 5/5 A great read wit...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Goodreads Review!

Read in February, 2015

Pretty good book. A lot to wade through initially as the explanations are abound for what the Areht does. Some parts of it seemed a little complex for the average reader to follow.

Once the action picks up, it us full throttle from there on. Then, you see how the characters interact and why.

I found a few if the scenes jumbled but for the most part I found this book ocerall enjoyable. 
—Thanks Brien. Love the "full throttle" bit. 
Appreciate it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

4 Lies Book Publicists Will Tell You, by Barb Ross

Hi. Barb here. At home in Somerville, MA, but venturing to Maine early next month.
My experience is that, if you write fiction, whether you are a new author, or a mid-career author adapting to the brave new world of publishing, there are people around who will give you incredibly terrible advice.
I don’t mean your mom. (“Why don’t you go on Oprah, dear?” “Gee, thanks. I never thought of that.”) I mean people who make their living publicizing books. Publicists you pay, “experts” in the field, even your assigned publicist at your publisher. And since these people have conversations with your editor who has conversations with your agent, there are many, many channels through which bad advice can reach you.
Of course, I don’t mean all publicists, experts, editors and agents give bad advice. Many will give you great advice. Others will give you honest advice–i.e. they will say, “I have no #$%^ing idea.”
Most of the people who give bad advice don’t mean you any harm. They believe what they are telling you. They give you poor information for the following reasons:
1) Nobody really knows the answer. There is not, nor has there ever been, a magic formula that turns books into bestsellers. If there were, every book would be a bestseller.
2) Nobody really understands the brave new world of publishing. It’s too new and changing too fast. To quote William Goldman, “The only thing anybody knows is that nobody knows anything.”
3) Marketing, in general, is an ill-understood activity. John Wanamaker (1838-1922) famously said, “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half.” When you generalize from advertising to all of marketing, and when you look at both dollars and effort, I think you’re talking more in the range of 90% wasted. Huge corporations that have millions to spend on focus groups and other semi-scientific ways of judging their marketing still make horrible missteps. And waste a whole lot of effort. But remember, 10% of it works.
So given these challenges, there’s a huge tendency for people to over-generalize. To desperately take whatever worked last time and apply to something new, even if the situation is different. Or to try to reverse engineer success. “Well, this book was a huge success, and the author did A, B & C, so therefore, everybody do A, B & C!”
I don’t have an issue with this. What I have an issue with is the advice that is damagingly bad, and that goes around and around and around. So herewith is my assessment of publicity advice you should absolutely ignore.
1) Don’t waste your time marketing to other writers. You should be focused entirely on readers.
Of all the stupid things people say, this is the stupidest. It’s true that as you come up through the writer ranks, you’ll get to know a lot of fellow authors, both established and aspiring. Sometimes it will feel like all your Facebook friends and other social media followers, all your blog readers and all the people you hang out at conventions with are fellow authors. But authors are incredibly important to you from a marketing perspective.
Most authors are voracious readers first and foremost. They read books and they talk to their friends about books. They hang out in places where people read books and talk about books. Leaving aside the psychological benefits of having a supportive network of friends, having a buzz about your book among writers is priceless. They will recommend you for speaking gigs. They will blurb you. One of the most common questions writers get when they do presentations is, “So who do you like to read?” There’s a reason almost all the reviews in the New York Times Book Review are written by writers.
Whatever you do, please, do not go wandering the earth looking for a lost herd of “readers,” and ignore the very readers it is easiest for you to find, your fellow writers.
2) Readers aren’t interested in writerly stuff.
I actually believed this one, which is sort of a corollary to the above. So when I did “Reader” events I talked about things I thought would interest readers, things about the setting, characters and mystery elements in my books.
But whenever Q&A time rolled around, someone always put up his hand and asked, “So do you write in the morning, or in the evening, or what?”
I know. I don’t get it, either. But I’ve observed this now at lots of writer events, including really famous writer’s events. Some of the questioners are aspiring writers, sure, but others are not. It’s just something the kind of dedicated readers who read writers’ blogs and websites and magazine interviews and who come out to events want to know. They also want to know, do you have a special place where you write? Do you plan a whole book first? All that stuff.
3) Fiction writers need to develop a platform of thousands of Twitter followers and blog readers before they get published.
So let’s talk about the platform thing. A platform is where you stand so people can see you. It helps people find you, and therefore find your book.
Obviously for certain kinds of non-fiction writers, the platform is huge. If you’re a business guru going around the world doing guru seminars, and you’ve written a book to sell at the back of the room, your platform is everything.
For other non-fiction authors, the platform proves their bona fides. If you’ve written a book about the Civil War and you have a university appointment in a history department where you are the resident expert on the Civil War, that’s important. If you are an award-winning journalist, that’s important, too.
In the modern world, the height of your platform often gets measured in social media followers and blog readers, but those are the results of the platform, not the platform itself. You don’t stand on the audience’s heads. You stand on your platform so the audience can see you.
If you are a fiction writer, your platform is your books. Your books are what cause you have an audience, not the other way around. The single greatest reason people purchase fiction is that they have read the author before and liked (loved) their work. And mystery and thriller writers are the most brand loyal and least adventurous of all. As Julia Spencer-Fleming says, “Your book sells your next book.”
So if you are focused on building a Twitter following instead of spending every moment making your book the best book it can be, stop it right now.
I’m not saying the modern mid-list writer should ignore social media or eschew other promotional activities. Once you have an audience, even a small one, it is your most precious asset. You should find as many ways to reach your readers and cultivate them and keep them interested and get them talking about and recommending your books as you can. If you have a new book out, and someone who love-loves you hasn’t heard about it, it’s a shame for them and shame on you.
But growing an audience without a platform–i.e. without a book, is difficult and inefficient.
And if you happen across a publisher who wants to know how many Twitter followers and Facebook friends and blog readers you have before he will commit to publishing your first novel, don’t walk, run.
4) You should do a blog and build a big social media following about something in the world of your book, but not writing.
This is the obvious off-shoot of all three of the above. 1) You should be cultivating readers, not writers. 2) Readers are not interested in writerly stuff. 3) You need a huge platform. Therefore, 4) you should be blogging about something else.
The main reason this is terrible advice is because building a successful blog is an actual skill. If you have the kind of mad enthusiasm for a topic, distinctive and compelling voice, high energy work ethic and productivity required to build a large and faithful blog following, you should consider becoming a blogger instead of a novelist. Because, believe me, it is equally hard, and the last thing you need is another poorly compensated, all-consuming activity to suck up all your time. You already have one. You’re a novelist.
It’s like telling someone to become a virtuoso rock guitarist so they can play in a symphony orchestra. They’re related skills, but not the same skill.
It’s also crazy inefficient. Say you are writing a mystery set in the world of windsurfing. Brilliantly, you build the world’s most popular windsurfing blog.
The theory is these readers will buy your mystery. Like this.
the theoryBut how it actually works will be more like this.
How It Actually WorksNot that I am casting aspersions on the general literacy of windsurfers. At all. And note that I’ve indicated you’ll get 90% of the overlap, except for the few dumb asses who will forget to buy your book, or the ones who steal it from their local surf shop. The reason the circle is so small is because of this:
Because of ThisThis is not at all drawn to scale. Because if it was, it would look way, way worse than this. But you get the idea.
Willie Sutton said he robbed banks because, “that’s where the money is.” When you’re starting out, you need to focus your marketing efforts on the highly limited number of people who will buy a mystery from an unknown author. Because that’s where the money is. (Actually, there’s no money to speak of anywhere, but that’s an entirely different topic.)
So why so negative, Barb. Why spend this endless blog telling people what not to do? What should we do?
Stay tuned for Part II.

*Hopefully I come across Part 2 so I can post it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Amazon Giveaway! Ends 3/28

This is the first time I've done a giveaway through Amazon, hope it goes well.

Enjoy and Goodluck,


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Have you seen this????!!! The Leviathan teaser:

All I'm saying is, with creative people like this, stop giving money to do Indiana Jones and Ghostbuster reboots—not to mention other weak titles. There are some seriously bad ass and creative people out there doing awesome work. Show them some love.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New Amazon Review: Unprecedented World Building

Unprecedented World Building

"This is the kind of science fiction novel that you have to surrender yourself to completely. There is a ton of world building going on here, the author has clearly mapped out whole histories of a complex and fascinating world. When you don't know an author, it's difficult to commit fully to the task of learning everything that must be comprehended to enjoy a novel like this. In this case, however, it is worth it.

This isn't the type of novel for casual readers. The writing is very well done and the book is clearly professionally edited. That being said, the sentence structures are probably too complex for the average reader. If you're a fan of R.A. Salvatore, for example, you're going to be lost if you attempt this book.

Dune, I believe, is the best comparison. I felt that the plot was forwarded more by ambiance than traditional episodes. There's a lot of important action that takes place within the heart and mind of the characters. This is the kind of book you want with you for when you're snowed in to a rustic cabin somewhere in the middle of nowhere and you're allowed to completely engage with the material. Recommended."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Things I can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now that I No Longer Teach in One, by Ryan Boudinot

You’re going to need to spend a lot of time alone. James Yamasaki
Writers are born with talent.
Either you have a propensity for creative expression or you don't. Some people have more talent than others. That's not to say that someone with minimal talent can't work her ass off and maximize it and write something great, or that a writer born with great talent can't squander it. It's simply that writers are not all born equal. The MFA student who is the Real Deal is exceedingly rare, and nothing excites a faculty adviser more than discovering one. I can count my Real Deal students on one hand, with fingers to spare.
If you didn't decide to take writing seriously by the time you were a teenager, you're probably not going to make it.
There are notable exceptions to this rule, Haruki Murakami being one. But for most people, deciding to begin pursuing creative writing in one's 30s or 40s is probably too late. Being a writer means developing a lifelong intimacy with language. You have to be crazy about books as a kid to establish the neural architecture required to write one.
If you complain about not having time to write, please do us both a favor and drop out.
I went to a low-residency MFA program and, years later, taught at a low-residency MFA program. "Low-residency" basically means I met with my students two weeks out of the year and spent the rest of the semester critiquing their work by mail. My experience tells me this: Students who ask a lot of questions about time management, blow deadlines, and whine about how complicated their lives are should just give up and do something else. Their complaints are an insult to the writers who managed to produce great work under far more difficult conditions than the 21st-century MFA student. On a related note: Students who ask if they're "real writers," simply by asking that question, prove that they are not.
If you aren't a serious reader, don't expect anyone to read what you write.
Without exception, my best students were the ones who read the hardest books I could assign and asked for more. One student, having finished his assigned books early, asked me to assign him three big novels for the period between semesters. Infinite Jest, 2666, and Gravity's Rainbow, I told him, almost as a joke. He read all three and submitted an extra-credit essay, too. That guy was the Real Deal.
Conversely, I've had students ask if I could assign shorter books, or—without a trace of embarrassment—say they weren't into "the classics" as if "the classics" was some single, aesthetically consistent genre. Students who claimed to enjoy "all sorts" of books were invariably the ones with the most limited taste. One student, upon reading The Great Gatsby (for the first time! Yes, a graduate student!), told me she preferred to read books "that don't make me work so hard to understand the words." I almost quit my job on the spot.
No one cares about your problems if you're a shitty writer.
I worked with a number of students writing memoirs. One of my Real Deal students wrote a memoir that actually made me cry. He was a rare exception. For the most part, MFA students who choose to write memoirs are narcissists using the genre as therapy. They want someone to feel sorry for them, and they believe that the supposed candor of their reflective essay excuses its technical faults. Just because you were abused as a child does not make your inability to stick with the same verb tense for more than two sentences any more bearable. In fact, having to slog through 500 pages of your error-riddled student memoir makes me wish you had suffered more.
You don't need my help to get published.
When I was working on my MFA between 1997 and 1999, I understood that if I wanted any of the work I was doing to ever be published, I'd better listen to my faculty advisers. MFA programs of that era were useful from a professional development standpoint—I still think about a lecture the poet Jason Shinder gave at Bennington College that was full of tremendously helpful career advice I use to this day. But in today's Kindle/e-book/self-publishing environment, with New York publishing sliding into cultural irrelevance, I find questions about working with agents and editors increasingly old-fashioned. Anyone who claims to have useful information about the publishing industry is lying to you, because nobody knows what the hell is happening. My advice is for writers to reject the old models and take over the production of their own and each other's work as much as possible.
It's not important that people think you're smart.
After eight years of teaching at the graduate level, I grew increasingly intolerant of writing designed to make the writer look smart, clever, or edgy. I know this work when I see it; I've written a fair amount of it myself. But writing that's motivated by the desire to give the reader a pleasurable experience really is best. I told a few students over the years that their only job was to keep me entertained, and the ones who got it started to enjoy themselves, and the work got better. Those who didn't get it were stuck on the notion that their writing was a tool designed to procure my validation. The funny thing is, if you can put your ego on the back burner and focus on giving someone a wonderful reading experience, that's the cleverest writing.
It's important to woodshed.
Occasionally my students asked me about how I got published after I got my MFA, and the answer usually disappointed them. After I received my degree in 1999, I spent seven years writing work that no one has ever read—two novels and a book's worth of stories totaling about 1,500 final draft pages. These unread pages are my most important work because they're where I applied what I'd learned from my workshops and the books I read, one sentence at a time. Those seven years spent in obscurity, with no attempt to share my work with anyone, were my training, and they are what allowed me to eventually write books that got published.
We've been trained to turn to our phones to inform our followers of our somewhat witty observations. I think the instant validation of our apps is an enemy to producing the kind of writing that takes years to complete. That's why I advise anyone serious about writing books to spend at least a few years keeping it secret. If you're able to continue writing while embracing the assumption that no one will ever read your work, it will reward you in ways you never imagined. recommended
Ryan Boudinot is executive director of Seattle City of Literature.