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Friday, August 24, 2012

FB Interaction

I’ve mentioned before about having my family spread out all over the country, and sharing pictures, videos, and notes on Facebook. As many people have pointed out, FB has become a marketing tool, or curse, depending on your point of view. I’ve always been able to scroll and ignore what I don’t like, so I haven’t had any moments of outrage or angst because someone pushes a book or product on FB. There’s a tool on it when you get nothing but spam from a source that enables you to block their stuff. I’ve blocked a couple of friends’ posts because they write their posts in complete four letter word rants which are neither funny nor impressive. I can still go on their page and see how they’re doing. It’s kind of funny in a way because they’re both women writers with families, who I know probably don’t speak like they post… at least I hope they don’t.  :)

The reason for this post is a neat comment posted on my partner RJ Parker’s ad on Facebook for THE PROTECTORS from a reader named Jeanie. He has a much wider range of friends and followers than I do, and his marketing skills far surpass mine. Since I’m not a household name yet, any comments I get from readers are a thrill. If an author can handle the inevitable bad with the good, Facebook allows interaction with readers on a personal level I really like. Anyway, I just wanted to mention FB is not the devil it’s portrayed as. One thing on it I stay away from is apps and invitations to their extracurricular games. That opens you up to spam central. I passed 50,000 words in the third book of my YA trilogy. They’ll be titled DEMON, DEMON INC, and DEMON AT WAR. I already have the pictures picked out I want to use for each of the covers. I just need to work on the lettering. I’m releasing the PG rated LANCELOT at the beginning of September, and then LAYLA around Christmas. The DEMON trilogy will be released in March through August. I’ll also be blogging the link to my full page ad in Book Trailers Showcase E-mag in September for HARD CASE. They did a great job on it. Not much money on the horizon, but there’s at least some excitement.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Progress and Reviews

On the writing front, I passed 43,000 words on my third book in my YA novel trilogy – DEMON, DEMON INC & DEMON AT WAR. They will all be in the 77,000 to 79,000 word area. I decided in addition to getting my rights back for LANCELOT, I would return it to the original format I wrote it - as a straight up Paranormal/Fantasy, and get rid of the pen-name along with the erotica. That in addition to a new cover may make it possible to revisit my updating of the legend later. I only added the erotica to it after over thirty rejections. It did garner a contract on my first submission with added erotic scenes, but it never went anywhere, possibly due to a horrible cover. I think I’ll leave the erotica to Ms. James and the ‘Fifty Shades’ golden calf’ from now on.  :)

I found a couple more ads looking for a short screenplay much like what I wrote, so I submitted again. Haven’t heard back, but I did start making the notes for converting HARD CASE into a screenplay, breaking down the novel into scenes, which is not for the faint of heart. The one thing many of the ads mention is keeping costs down due to locale. With HARD CASE, I only have one foreign scene which wouldn’t necessarily have to be shot overseas. The rest of it takes place right in Oakland, CA.

A very nice reader gave my YA novel STORM the best REVIEW I think I’ve ever gotten. She perceived everything I had intended when writing it – if you’d like to take a look and give her a YES for helpful as a reviewer I'd appreciate it. 

My good friend Charles Gramlich read THE PROTECTORS and wrote a great REVIEW for me. He and I are in the trenches, fighting for the elusive ‘Fifty Shades’ of fame and fortune with our humble offerings, competing with the growing legion of authors increasing exponentially each passing day. We fight the good fight against superior numbers.  :)

To end this post, here’s a picture of my Grandson Colin with his Superman cape at Magic Mountain’s Superman ride, my daughter posted. That boy has flair.  :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2007 Yukon Denali Throttle Problems

I met a multi-tasking accident waiting for a place to happen yesterday. I’ve written about the texters out there before humorously, such as texting Tina one cold morning blocking my shop entrance with her little thumbs moving at light-speed. Tina had nothing on my stop in. A 2007 GMC Yukon Denali pulled into the shop. No one beeped, which is a nice change. I left the Toyota I was working on to go over and greet my prospective arrival. The lady driver did not even look up at me. I saw her complete riveted concentration focused on attempting to wear the skin off her thumbs. She will be Yukon Lil for my blog. In these lean blog subject days, I have a sixth sense for prime blogging material, so I waited for a few minutes until I knew for sure she was not going to look up without prompting. I said a few silent prayers for the unaware motorists on the road with Yukon Lil while I waited.
I cleared my throat finally. “Hi, may I help you?”
Yukon Lil looked up at me, startled, as if she had to wait a moment before recognizing where she was. “Oh… hi… sorry about that. My check engine light came on, and my truck started hesitating and running weird.”
Lil had shifted to glancing down every few seconds, and reduced her output to one thumb. I decided to do a quick check with my scanner, because I was figuring with a 2007, it might be a pattern failure.
“How about letting me do a quick scanner check and see what set off the light?”
“Uh…” Yukon Lil did an extended one thumb SOS or something on the gizmo in her lap. “Sure… that would be fine. Can I wait?”
“You can wait. It’ll only take a few minutes.” I opened the door for her so she could dance text her way over to the side. I went and retrieved my scanner for a reading. It turned out she had multiple throttle codes – PO121 (throttle position sensor malfunction) PO2119 (throttle closed performance) and a PO2135 (throttle position sensors 1-2 correlation).
I knew I would have to research this one for Tech Service Bulletins and do a thorough inspection of the wiring, ground connections, and sensor connections around the electronic throttle body. Lil was in a texting trance again, so I unhooked and walked over in front of her. I thought of waving a hand in between her furrowed brow and the gizmo, but I didn’t want to cause a stroke or anything, so I simply started addressing her in a louder than normal voice.
“I believe your electronic throttle body is acting up. If you’d like, you can leave the GMC off with me while I do a few more checks.”
Yep, that’s what I thought, but I had her attention again, so I repeated my offer. Yukon Lil accepted and we filled out her invoice for the estimate. I also confirmed with her there was no extended warranty on it, and she already had over 85,000 miles which took her out of the regular warranty period. It turned out she only lived half a mile from the shop so she walked home. I of course peeked around the shop corner to watch her trek down the sidewalk, thumbs flying. I closed my eyes as she walked right through the 4 stop sign intersection without even glancing. I then went to work. Wiring, grounds, and connections were all good, as was all other data related to everything else but the throttle. GM was having trouble with multiple throttle codes, which I scanned through on my Tech network. Like Ford’s Expedition problems with electronic throttles, Yukon Lil’s GMC was going to need an electronic throttle body replacement.
After she okayed the estimate, I ordered the part, which they had in stock (always a sure indicator Lil wasn’t the only one having throttle problems). After the replacement and test drive I called Lil. She arrived, stopping just inside the shop, where my motion detector didn’t pick her up. I have no idea how long Yukon Lil stood there in the middle of another texting Armageddon, but I hurried over once I noticed her. She paid the bill, and believe me folks, I made sure I put her GMC on the street for her. A few more silent prayers for motorists sharing the road with Yukon Lil, and I had to go back to work.
Anyone else frightened by this use of technology? :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Screenplay Attempt

I submitted my first short screenplay to an ad looking for ten page screenplays this morning. I'm looking forward to finding out how they handle queries. It would be a change to get something other than a 'not for me' form letter. As to screenplay writing with my new software, I can only say I'm glad I'll be helping my daughter with her interest in it with some experience. Whatever anyone says about using Word to do it - forget about it. After doing this ten page screenplay I can tell you this much concerning the difficulty doing it. I would never do it on any other program, and having stated that, the learning curve is steep. Once you get the hang of it, and the visualizations are flowing in your head, the rest comes with repetition. It is without doubt a whole other ballgame compared to novel writing.

On the marketing front, I'll be giving out the link for the next Book Trailers Showcase e-mag. It will be carrying my full page ad for HARD CASE. They did a wonderful job on it. A real selling point for it is they archive the copies with the ads, so any readers perusing the back issues will always see the listing. Although my marketing partner, RJ Parker is doing incredibly well with his non-fiction series in both literary and audio sales, he's found that the fiction world is a really tough nut to crack. I have retrieved my rights back for my erotic/paranormal LANCELOT. I'm going to replace that sissy cover they stuck me with and try releasing it again.  :)