Sunday, June 29, 2014

Reaching Readers - How to Sell Self-published Books on Twitter

I thought this was pretty interesting.  I usually don't give shout-outs unless I know they are really reputable, but the price was cheap enough to say, "what do you have to lose?" (49.00 US dollars)

Reaching Readers - How to Sell Self-published Books on Twitter

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Blog Hop Between Authors


As you watch yourself grow within the writing community, your circle of friends and authors you admire continue to grow as well.  In this post I'm going to answer four questions pertaining to my own writing, and then I'd like to give a shout-out to two wonderful authors you should know about.  Here we go:

What am I working on?

I'm working on The Mask of Midnight, the 3rd in the series.  Honestly, it's done, but thanks to my critique partners, I realized it was only halfway done.  See the 4th questions for a continuation on this particular point!  Also, I'm happy to announce that my publishing company, FYD Media, has signed its first two authors, Joy Ruth Mickelson and Daryl Glynn Tanner.  I've been after their manuscripts for a while now and love their work.  

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work is heavily psychological.  I guess you're asking, "What's the difference between that and a normal psycho-thriller.  Well, in the words of another writer I admire, William Knoedelseder, (author of the NYT bestseller Bitter Brew) he says, "In her debut effort, Laurie Stevens may have created a new sub-genre of mystery novel--the psychiatric thriller.

Why do I write what I do?

I'm a fan of this type of book, so I write what I like to read.  Plus, if I dare venture in the badlands of "delivering a message," (instant frown, huh?)  I feel that a lot of folks either don't recognize how their fear is dominating their lives or they are unwilling to face their fear.  I wanted to create a character who was challenged to do both. The theme behind the series is really about his journey.


How does my writing process work?

Okay, if you take where I'm at right now on this 3rd book...   When I turned the most recent draft into my group of editors (a small but effective group), the response was lukewarm.  Even I knew that the work was incomplete, but I was stuck and didn't know where to go with it.  I put down the work, wrote a novella for publisher Stark Raving Books, a short story for a contest, and then returned to The Mask of Midnight.  The break was worth it.  I saw that I had a very linear book on my hands.  Chunks of plot laid out in a row. I knew I had to weave everything together in a tapestry.  So, I took a literary hammer and broke all those chunks to pieces.  Now I'm like a weaver, threading all the pieces into each other.  I like it much better and hope you will too when it comes out this Fall (fingers crossed).  The best way to keep in the loop is to like my page on Facebook, which I update continually.  Here's the link: Laurie's Facebook Page

Now I would like to make you aware of a couple of other authors and how to get a hold of their work.  

Take care of your physical and mental self until we "meet" again,

Laurie

and now introducing...

Craig Faustus Buck

Anthony Award Nominated short story "Dead End"the prequel to Psycho Logica novella 
 
   
     
Psycho Logic, a noir romp about love, murder, 
porn, psychiatry and valet parking  

Find Craig and more about his books at http://craigfaustusbuck.com


Ray Daniel

Ray Daniel writes first-person, wise-cracking, Boston-based crime fiction including the Tucker mysteries. 

Ray was born in Boston and raised in Revere, MA, a city journalists tend to describe as "gritty." He graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Computer Engineering and a Minor in English. His work has been published in the Level Best Anthologies THIN ICE and BLOOD MOON.

His first novel-length work, TERMINATED, will be published by Midnight Ink this summer 2014.


Find Ray at 
www.raydanielmystery.com
Twitter: @raydanielmystry
Facebook: www.facebook.com/raydanielmystery





Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dreams to Reality: Unlocking Your Creativity

Dr. Bob Weathers and I are giving presentations geared to helping you get calm enough to let go and get creative.  I thought I would post our flyer online here:  "The 7 Keys to Unblocking Creative Flow"

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by Dr. Bob Weathers and Laurie Stevens   

# No Wasted Motion                                        
There is no wasted motion when it comes to navigating toward a creative outcome. Be confident that all your experiences in life and education are logged in your mind and will be used by you in some form. This is why you can go to conferences, take classes, and communicate with fellow writers. Nothing is ever wasted. Your brain will file and categorize everything you do and come across.

#2 Right and Left Brain                                       
UCLA psychiatrist Dan Siegel, articulates the left brain hemisphere’s specialties of logic, linear, A-Leads- to-B thought. Contrasted with that is the right brain hemisphere with its gifts of intuition, grasp of a big picture, and creative imagination. Understand that you possess both hemispheres. If one day you are more left-brain oriented, then use it to construct specific details in chapters such as dialogue.                                                         
#3 The Creative Process       
In regards to that right brain process, seeing the bigger picture (such as organizing a plot), know that original thinking includes letting go.  This letting-go process connotes “incubating”, the technical term researchers use in creativity. Here we allow mental space for unique synthesis or drawing together of the non-obvious.
In other words, each of us does indeed have the capacity, even the birthright to create anew. One way to do this is not by doing, but by doing nothing. Be still, receptive, and open to receive creative inspiration.
But how do we do this?

#4  The Beginner’s Mind
Along with relentlessly utilizing our best intellect when it comes to mastering the skills required in creative writing, there also exists the imperative to find our way back to what the East calls “beginner mind.”
This perspective requires our seeing things through the eyes of a child.
Take time away from the day-to-day grind by breathing, relaxing, and shifting gears. Nature can be a good coach. A walk down the street or a workout in the gym can help you unplug and rediscover your beginner’s mind.

#5  Teach to Learn
The best way to learn is to teach. Few things sharpen the mind more quickly than explaining your work to someone else. Putting yourself out there for all to see can do this. By entering contests or teaching skills to another writer, you open yourself up to feedback and constructive criticism.
The poet Rumi noted: “Those who insult (critique or challenge) me are simply polishing the mirror.” So, get your mirror polished! Read books. Edit books. Whether you are correcting someone’s mistakes or admiring his unique approach to a subject matter, you are honing your own craft.       
#6 Less is More
One really good practice in writing, speaking, in life, is to subtract. Pare back your content. The temptation in human discourse is to generate always more. More pages written, more plot complications more developments, ever- increasing details about the characters we have created... Always more. We are suggesting you learn the subtle, sometimes even painful art of expressing more by saying less.           
An ancient Chinese saying puts it this way: “In the pursuit of knowledge every day something is added. In the practice of wisdom, every day something is dropped.

#7  Think Globally (Act Locally)
Deliver your message. Are you being true to your initial inspiration?
There is a moral component to all we do, including in the process of creative writing. If you have uncovered through your own creative process that which is potentially transformative, healing, or inspiring to others, then it is absolutely incumbent upon you to seek the most skillful means for communicating the knowledge widely. That is why your work has importance. This concept should be enough to clear your mental path. How can your idea be judged negatively if it was an organic thought that you conceived for a purpose? Reread this if you find yourself forgetting the fact that you matter. Above all, a writer is a messenger                                                   
Dr. Bob Weathers holds a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s of Arts in Religious Studies. As Curriculum Developer at California Southern University in Irvine, he recently developed their Addiction Studies Certificate and mindfulness-based training. An expert in therapeutic counseling and recovery coaching, Dr. Weathers lectures widely on the connection between creativity, spiritual development, and emotional well-being. He drums avidly, a testament to his lifelong involvement with music. Dr. Weathers can be reached at bob@drbobweathers.com.                                   
Laurie Stevens is a screenwriter, playwright, and bestselling novelist. Her novel The Dark Before Dawn is the first in a psychological suspense series. Deep into Dusk is the second. The series has garnered multiple awards including being named to Kirkus Reviews “Best of 2011,” receiving top honors at the London and Hollywood Book festivals, and winning both the Southern California and Los Angeles Book Festivals. Psychology and forensics interest Laurie and she enjoys researching and writing about both. She lives in the city she writes about: Los Angeles. To learn more visit her website at http://www.lauriestevensbooks.com.      Follow on Facebook at Laurie Stevens, Author      

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Walking Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams

Here's one of my favorite quotes from Thoreau: "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,  he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

I think we can all agree as to what that means.  Walk with purpose, walk with definition, walk confidently and there is nothing, no obstacle that will stand between you and your goal.  Okay. Now that we've got that one figured out, props to us.

For me, while I loved that quote, I could never figure out how to advance confidently. And I'm not talking about the blowhards of the universe who know how to fake confidence and swagger around like testosterone-fuled peacocks.  I'm talking about truly knowing how to depend on your abilities. Truly having faith in your reasoning.  Knowing what makes you a happy person.  Knowing how to cope when you are unhappy.  Having faith, perhaps in a higher power to assure you when you're down.  Knowing that you can truly make things happen and hit your goals.

For years the "advancing confidently" part tripped me up.  I remember reading Conversations with God by Neale D. Walsch and that helped somewhat.  First, it showed me that I wasn't insane and you, anyone, could hold a conversation with God.  Second, he brought up an interesting point.  Sort of a Dale Carnegie Power-of-Positive-Thinking point.  Walsch stated that you had to imagine yourself successful first.  No matter what, you had to envision yourself already having achieved your goal.

That tripped me up, too.  How the heck can I imagine myself successful if doors keep getting slammed in my face?  How can you feel positive when you feel like you have a giant L branded on your forehead? That unanswered question was just one more thing that eluded my grasp.

Then I met my friend and writing mentor, Ronald Jacobs.  Ronnie was a producer/director/writer for such notable television shows like Dick Van Dyke, That Girl, The Andy Griffith Show, Mod Squad, I Spy -- he had a wonderful career.  We were introduced by a mutual friend who used to watch me pity myself until she could no longer stand the sight of me.  She still doesn't talk to me! But she introduced me to Ronnie and that changed a lot.

So, if we are going to take a class on "advancing confidently," this will be Point 1.
Point 1:  Get a mentor in the business you are interested in.

First of all, that person will recognize your talent, even if you don't.  And if you are not talented, then you need to hear that from someone you trust.  Maybe you are following the wrong dream. There's no shame in that.  It just means you're pursuing something that's not truly part of your heart. Maybe it's part of your ego, or someone else's dream for you.  Better to realize it now and focus on something that really gets your heart beating.  I guarantee you that all of us contain a glowing lamp inside.  And you need to shine that special personal light, because in doing so, you may just light someone else's way through a bad time.  Or maybe that light you carry will illuminate your own brighter path.  But you can't shine if you are frustratingly following an erroneous path.
I believe I was on the right path because Ronnie gave me encouragement. He is quite possibly the most positive person I've ever met. And he gave me a word of warning:  DONT HANG OUT WITH NEGATIVE PEOPLE.

Which of course, reminds me of another favorite poem of mine: Desiderata.
"Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit." 

I don't know if loud and aggressive people are necessarily negative people, but I'm going to toss them into the testosterone-fueled peacock cage while we're at it.  How can you tell a negative person?  Well, chances are when you have something to be happy about, they'll remind you of a hurricane that killed people.  Honestly, I don't know how they do it, but they find a way to bring you down. And usually, it works.  Mostly because some negative people don't truly come off as negative.  That's so deceitful, isn't it? They'll be more manic-like.  More "high as a kite" happy which, in turn, will demote whatever nice thing happened for you.  Somehow, they will let you know that the incredible things happening for them should make the evening news and you will quietly tuck your good fortune into your back pocket. That's what happens with the insidiously negative people.  Watch out for them. You don't see them coming.

Another thing a mentor does is make you work.  Ronnie and I worked on a play together.  It really was my dream, but I didn't have the guts to go it alone.  He was right there with me.  And you know what?  We made it happen.  I've never worked so hard in my life. Which brings us to Point 2.

Point 2:  Don't be afraid of hard work

Man, you've got to work hard in this life.  My parents' generation made it look easy.  I think they were afraid to be honest with their kids.  I never knew any of my father's financial or business-related aches and pains.  In my world growing up, he never had them.  So, surprise/surprise when I reached an age of truly wanting to make something of myself.  I learned you have to work really, back-aching, head-stuffing hard.  But the first time I heard the actors speaking the words I wrote in a script, I thought I'd gone to heaven in that small theater with the loud air conditioner.

Okay, this blog is too long!  Tune in next time when we hit POINTS 3 & 4!