Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Author Marketing Club

I love to write, but I also love to when people read my work.  Writing is a peculiar art. It's done in isolation but has the potential to be shared world wide. True there is that inner need to be happy with what you are working on, but the joy comes when someone reads your work and they express excitement or gratitude. That's what makes it all worth while. The great advantage with ebooks is that there are a lot of them, and unless you have a way of differentiating yours from others, then your ebook is likely to settle at the bottom of some primordial, digital sea, never to be seen until someone digs it up. This is why I transferred my books over to Amazon Kindle and registered with Author Marketing Club. I need to learn how to market whether I want to or not.

I know the artistic refrain, 'maybe I'll be famous when I'm dead.' I never understood that. If I'm dead then it doesn't matter. It might matter to my children, but I'll have moved on. So, what I hope to do is document this journey with Author Marketing Club through this blog.

As a result of registering my digital books with KDP Select I can not longer offer them with via Smashwords.com.

Wish me luck.

Here's a link to the Author Marketing Club site:

Book Marketing Selling Tips for Authors

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Queen's Gift

I've just finished watching the movie production of Shakespeare's "Much ado about Nothing."  There is a scene where Benedict and Beatrice are having it out. Beatrice wants Benedict to challenge Claudio, and when Benedict refuses and says "not for the world," she transforms. What I mean by that is Beatrice transforms into a queen when she exclaims what she would do "if" she were a man. Here, she is manipulating Claudio. Oh, my! This sounds like Queen Elizabeth herself.  She kept the Count of Anjou, Catherine de medici's son on the hook for eleven years. Phillip II of Spain, Elizabeth's sister's husband was held off until 1588. She played with Robert Dudley, his step son, The Earl of Essex and Walter Raleigh, and flew into rages when they all married women who looked like her.

I'm sure there are many learned men and women out there who have asked the question: "Why is it that Shakespeare has some of the strongest female characters of the age, especially in an age where women did not act on stage? If there had been no Queen Elizabeth, I doubt there would be no strong female characters on stage at all.

I'll even go so far to say, no Elizabeth, no Shakespeare (or whoever wrote those marvelous plays).

There are great women who come along and not only make life interesting, they define it. Queen Elizabeth was one of these women. It was said she love a soldier, and wit, and intelligence, and women (who reminded her of herself). It is strange to note that many of her maids were like her in appearance, rays emanating from the sun. Marvelous, just marvelous.

Oh, just another thought. Before The Earl of Essex got carried away and tried to revolt they paid to watch a private stage production of Richard III, a production that promoted replacing the monarch. Her furious response to that was: "Know you not that I am Richard III!"

I don't doubt that Elizabeth was excellent at "shaking spears."

Thursday, November 1, 2012


In anticipation of the release of the third book in my "Colin," series: "Colin and The Revenant," I'm going to offer a coupon worth 25% off on the second book in the series. "Colin and The Little Black Box." The First book, "Colin and The Rise of The House of Horwood," is free.

When you go to Smashwords.com and purchase the book there will be a coupon box, just punch in KZK84J (it's not case sensitive.)

Colin and The Little Black Box

Cover for 'Colin and The Little Black Box'

Colin and The Rise of The House of Horwood

Cover for 'Colin and The Rise of The House of Horwood'

Monday, October 29, 2012


Why do I love Blake's work? Probably why I love Yeate's work. They both believed in inspiration of the writer tapping into the devine and being the conduit. Writing is hard work, but when it flows, it's marvelous. The one thing that I have noticed about my own writing, is that my characters are becoming more substantial. It's as though they are become as real as I am.

Now that's an idea, isn't it. A writer puts so much substance into their characters that their own substance is deminishes causing the paper creation to become real and the author to become the paper creation.

I thought I would include some pics that a marvelous artist, Natasha Lavigne drew up for "Memories of My Youth", by Bill Halkett.  Wonderful.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rhetoric and climax

I don't know about you, but climax is really important, and people love it. I'm not trying to make a Freudian slip here, I'm just trying to extol the virtues of climax.  People like reason, they like order. Just think about it, there's always order in music, no matter what type it is. All music has rules, all writing has rules. Now, let's apply some of those rules. Shakespeare, or whoever he/she was, tapped into it in Macbeth. Remember the scene at the beginning of 'the Scottish play,' when the witches are brewing away. Here we have the Weird Sisters singing their sinister song: "When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain?" Here we have pattern and we love it. We get all squirmy inside.  Try the same line with four: "In thunder, lightning, mist or in rain?" It just doesn't feel right does it?

Well, let's fit climax into the concept of threes: big, bigger, biggest, and watch the crowds go crazy. They love it.  Try this on for size. "After losing the love of his life sadness turned to grief which turned to inconsolable lamentation."

So, if you use Climax, do it in threes, because four is just a wee bit much.

There is also something for experimentation. Try working the climax backwards. "His terrible exhaustion took him from gasping for breath, to breathing harshly, to finally the realm of slow control breath where only defeat lived."

Climax rules!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Memories of My Youth

I just finished working with Bill on his Novel.  It's a great compelation of short biographical stories.  I remember him telling me about his project, and I said, "that's Mordecai Richler," and he said, "Yeah, we both grew up in the same area of Montreal. I even met him."

So, if you liked Mordecai's stories, you most likely will like Bill's.

Memories of My Youth: on Smashwords

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Smashwords/the new publishing matrix

The publishing industry is undergoing a vast and expansive change, and I believe it's for the better. It used to be that big publishers used to dictate who they would select with their divine finger for publication. A lot of good writers were left out of the equation. And those selected would end up supporting the publishing industry. The profit a writer received under the old model was tiny. In consideration that it was their genius that created the story in the first place, it didn't seem right.

Now, with Smashwords, everybody can publish. They can set their own price and receive up to half the profit in sales. The initial costs of printing and shipping are eliminated. So, why do big publishers insist on charging upwards of $20.00 for an ebook? I have no complaint if $10.00 is returning to the author, but I doubt it. It is my belief that no ebook should cost more than $5.00. That's why all the books published under Adam Books at Smashwords are $4.95.

I don't think we need to be greedy to earn a living. Because why do writers write? They write because somebody around the primordial fire responded to a tale told. Without a readership, we as writers, are nothing. Respect the reader and they will support you by reading your work: a simple truth.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Mississagi Lighthouse/memory ghosts

Just spent the last week up at the Lighthouse. Travel to the far end of the Manitoulin Island and you will have reached paradise. An alvar ecosystem that is so close to the time of the glaciers that you might as well be back 15,000 years. My mother was ran the place fore six years before she died, and now my sister operates the restaurant/campground. If you want solitude to write, go there. There are a lot of memory ghosts up there (memories that are so powerful that they have a form of life in themselves). You can also sense other people memory ghosts, but unfortunately you don't have access to them. Humm, interesting idea that. What if someone could access another person's memory ghosts?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Japanese translation

I've been thinking about this for awhile, and I think I'll follow this up. I want to have my novel, "A Thousand Kisses Deep," a fantasy translated into Japanese. The book was partially inspired by some Japanese elements. Now, the trick: I've got to find a person who is willing to translate the book. I've lost track of my friend Aki Heiro, so my options are not great. I talked to Bill, he worked in Japan, and asked him if he still had connections there. Well, here's hoping someone from the land of the rising sun will read this blog and have some feedback.

Happy writing!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Use of Commas

When I was young, I had the habit of writing something and then grabbing a handfull of commas and throwing them in. I'm still not a master of punctuation, but I am getting better at it. Here are a few rules to mesmerize:

1.) Remeber those co-ordinating conjunctions? (and, but are the most commonly used)I remember them by dressing them up in outfits and standing them at intersections (I'm a visual learner). Well, put a comma after them when they are directing two independant clauses.

2.) A comma can be used to set off a clause of a phrase that simply adds information.

The girl, red hat strategically placed on her head, rode her horse down the road.

It sure beats: The girl gode her horse down the road.

3.) Another method of comma use that's fun is when you want to mess with people's heads.   Everybody has used;  When, After, Before, Because, If, Although...in the second part of a sentence marked by a comma:

Example: The rescue crew launched their boats, after the monstrous waves calmed down.

Reversing this for effect.

Example: After the monstrous waves clamed down, the rescue crew launched their boats.

Use it at the begining or end of a paragraph, but don't use it too often or you'll just irritate people.

4.) This is a good one. It lets you take your character somewhere quickly. In this commas are used in a series.


John ran down the hill, onto the dock, and dove into the water in an clumsy attempt to drown himself.

By using commas in a series you can really move things along.

5.) The last one I'm going to mention is helpful in creating a disjointing feeling:

Sometimes people write: The calm and placid lake reflected a perfect image of the boat.

Commas inserted to ser off a phrase out of its natural order.

Example: The lake, calm and placid, reflected a perfect image of the boat.

I like the second one, it just feels artsy.

So, I hope you find the following rules helpful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plot v. History

I'm onto chapter two in my Elizabethan murder mystery, and I'm very excited about it. There was a while when I was doing research on everything Elizabethan that I was nearly overwhelmed by the detail, but then I had to remind myself of Diana Norman's book "The Mistress of the Art of Death." If there is an example of someone being able to weave a fictional character into the fabric of history, it's that. The secret, I am learning, is not to let the detail of history rise up and overwhelm the plot. The plot is centre stage.  Well, back to writing. Chapter Two will take place at St. Paul's Cathedral, known during Elizabethan times, as Paul's Walk.  It is there that Miao (my albino, female, Chinese heroine) will meet with her mysterious benefactor and discuss the murder of chapter one. The one problem with this is that everybody there knows everybody by the clothes they were wearing.  I'm thinking Miao is going to show up in something silk and purple, which is definitely a no-no, unless you are royalty, which of course, she it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Harry Potter (the magic of)

My first encounter with Harry Potter was when I was substitute teaching. At the end of the day the teacher was reading to the class: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I've never seen kids more enraptured or a book so quirky. I enjoyed both. This led me to the question: why?

As a species we love order, we love to make sense of things and when literature, or art, or anything creative  accomplishes this, we call it divine. Was J.K. Rowling touched by the Gods? Maybe, and I'm happy it happened in my lifetime. Just as Dickens was able to play the lyre of our hearts, so to did Rowling.

But what is it that entranced us so?  Was it the story of an orphan boy? That's been done, many times before. Was it the battle between good and evil? Or of love and sacrifice? Done, many times over.

You've heard of Quantum mechanics? Well, I don't know much about it, but what I do know is that you can't observe it, because the moment you do, you effect its behaviour.  The feeling inspired by the Harry Potter series is like that, you can't explain it. It was, is, and will continue to be magnificent.

It created within me the desire to write something in that milieu, not because I wanted to write like Rowling, or create a world like she did, but because I wanted to extend that 'quirky', enjoyable experience I had when I read her books. So I wrote the 'Colin' series: Colin and the Rise of The House of Horwood, Colin and the Little Black Box and (I've just finished it: and will release it on Smashwords.com) Colin and The Revenant.

I would be so brave as to say that Rowling has affected a generation of readers and writers (I should say generations, because 'The boy who lived' will be around for a long time.

Thanks J.K.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Francis Bacon and Robert Cecil

I know that history is a very subjective thing, however, Margaret Irwin in her biography "That Great Lucifer: a portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh," makes some pretty good points.  It seemed that Raleigh was a person who preferred to trust, and it seemed that Bacon and Cecil were the type to betray trust.  I mean, just think of this. Robert Cecil sends his sickly son to the Raleigh's to be taken care of. They raise Will with their own Wat until he's healthy.  Then, later, when James takes the throne, Robert Cecil sells Raleigh to James as a traitor.

Bacon was no better. After Raleigh is released after thirteen years of imprisonment in the Tower, the King (James) gives him permission to go find gold (some mine located of the Orinoco), but he won't rescind the death sentence on his head.  Raleigh is concern about this, so he talks to his friend, Francis Bacon, who says 'don't worry, the King made you an Admiral!'  Well, James betrays Raleigh to the Spanish by sending them the expedition's plans, Wat (Raleigh's son is killed), and the expedition ruined.  When Raleigh returns home, Jame's wants his head. So, to make the king happy Francis Bacon informs the King he can kill Raleigh any time, since the decade old death sentence was never removed. Result, Raleigh is killed, and the Elizabethan age is at an end.

So, do you think this double dealing, two-bit snake wrote as Shakespeare?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Elizabethan Murder Mystery

I've been doing a lot of reading about what we call the Elizabethan era.  Seems to be a very smelly time, and that includes the judicial and the political system.  I've also, much to my delight, found out that there were a lot of colourful characters: Dr. Dee, the queen's astrologer, Thomas Harriot (who was mapping the moon before Galileo), Christopher Marlowe (Anthony Burgess believes he was gay), I'm not so convinced.  A couple lines in a poem, or play doesn't mean a person is homosexual. Then, there's the 'School of Night,' or the 'School of Atheism,' ran by Walter Raleigh. Both terms are inaccurate, and were coined by his enemies, set at bringing him down.  It was more like a group of men who wanted to talk about anything interesting and new and intelligent. No doubt Raleigh and Lord Strange and the gang listen to Marlowe discussing atheism, but that didn't mean they were all atheists. Anything I've read about Raleigh seems to indicate the man had a love of knowledge. He once said "He'd rather kill a man than a good book."  And that charge of Atheism that the Privy Council had hit Marlowe with...The Baine's report hangs on a lot of hear say, and some document they managed to take from Thomas Kyd. Listen, if a bunch of scary dudes break into my place, find a piece of paper that could get me drawn and quartered, I might be tempted to say Marlowe wrote it.  Even after that they still tortured Kyd, and they weren't kidding. So, fertile ground to write a murder mystery, very fertile.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shake or Bacon?

I've been reading this great book "The Shakespeare Conspiracy."  Nice work. This is why I don't think Bacon wrote the Shakespeare plays.

1.Bacon was a very active politician and lawyer, and none of the materials about him links him with the theatre scene in London.

2.In his work De Augmentis Scientarium, published the same year as Shakespeare's First Folio, he even attacks Drama.

3. In 1614 the King's Men (Shakespeare's company) appeal to King James to establish a theatre in an area object to by the local tradesmen.  The appeal is refered to the Commisioners for Suits. Bacon is one of the Commisioners and the proposal for a theatre is rejected. Why would Bacon, if he was Shakespeare, reject his own company?

4. Part of the argument is that in Shakespeare's plays there is reference to legal material which indicates a legal mind, like Bacon.  Yet other playwrites have legal material in their plays and weren't playwrites. Enter Robert Green, Thomas Nashe and Philip Massinger.

5. This leads me to the conclusion that Bacon is no more responsible for the Shakespeare plays than his brother Ham. 

Interesting stuff, eh?