Thursday, December 20, 2012

Writing is Lonely. Publishing Takes a Village!

Writing a novel requires endless hours spent alone in front of my computer. When things go well, the time speeds by. When I'm stuck, I can spend hours procrastinating: getting another cup of coffee, checking Facebook, streaming yet another episode of Cake Boss. For me, writing is rewriting. I rarely speed through writing chapters and keep going. I write forwards and then go backwards; sometimes I jump ahead.

Publishing is a different story. I'm not a techno-geek, so I can't do it all myself. When the book is finished, writing becomes a collaborative effort. 

I usually work with an editor who can help me spot plot holes and who will offer advice to strengthen then story. After another rewrite or two, I ask fellow writers and readers to read the manuscript--usually I print it out, because I find reading on a printed page helps to spot typos. After I get feedback and make corrections, I may send it to a copy editor for proofing. It constantly amazes me that ten people can read a book, and typos still slip past.

Meanwhile, I send the manuscript to my cover artist, Jeroen ten Berge, so he can start getting ideas. Covers are extremely important, and Jeroen always does a great job. Making a cover work in thumbprint size is a challenge. Initially, Jeroen came up with a cover that you can see on this blog, but after receiving feedback from fellow writers like Blake Crouch (he told me the cover had to feature a dancer), Jeroen went back to the drawing board and came up with the current gem.

Finally, I send the book to my formatter, Terry Roy of TERyvisions. She's the person I torture most, because she has to deal with my nit-picky changes and corrections. Terry is close to a fact, she may truly be one! And she does a terrific job for eformatting and paper. 

Rosy presented additional challenges, because I decided to name each chapter for a song and link the chapter heading to an MP3 download of that song. First, I contacted Amazon to make sure that was okay. They gave me the green light, but after doing some research, and learning how litigious the music industry can be, I became nervous about being sued. I contacted several lawyers via the internet.

Kirschner Law advised me that lyrics are copyrighted, but song titles are not--they advised me to check each title for trademarks. Todd Mouser of Mouser Law was exceptionally helpful, giving me further advice regarding trademarks--not all of them are easy to determine. Todd advised me not to mention the artists in conjunction with the song titles, because that might be construed as an endorsement. Todd also advised me to delete all lyrics from the text, which I did. If you need advice regarding intellectual property, I highly recommend Todd Mouser. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.

After determining that I would probably not be sued, Terry linked the Chapter Headings, and I downloaded Rosy: A Novel.

Then author, Mel Comley, who'd downloaded the book, was kind enough to let me know about a number of typos she'd discovered! 

So guess what? 

I had to bug Terry Roy again.

Early this morning, I downloaded the new file to Amazon. Hopefully, it will be published in time for the 3 day FREE promotion beginning December 21 (tomorrow) at midnight!

Writing may be a lonely process, but publishing is not!

Many thanks to everyone who's helped me!

Please pick up a copy of Rosy: A Novel. FREE on Amazon, December 21-23.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Free Books from Suzanne Typak

Today is a great day to fill up your new Kindle Fires and iPads with FREE books! Including my new novel, Rosy and my historical, Hetaera--suspense in ancient Athens. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Surprise Guest: Thea Atkinson

Please welcome one of my favorite writers: Thea Atkinson

I can't wait to read her new release!

Thea is always full of surprises, and this post is no exception. 
From Thea: 

I'm a history addict--so much so that my hubby has on occasion said to me when I grab the TV remote, "Oh, God, not another Egypt thing."

I'm also a big reader. And I LOVE Suzanne's books. Grabbed and read and LOVED Vestal Virgin and Hetaera. (Did I just write Love twice in one paragraph and cap it both times?)

So imagine my delight when Suzanne invited me to guest post. No. Really.  Imagine it--you wouldn't be far off if you believed I did a little jig--except you'd have to also imagine Elaine on Seinfeld to get it to something accurate. I'm a very poor dancer.

I considered using this opportunity to hock my wares--I have a new novella just released (Theron's Tale) but I thought how cheesy that would be when this gracious writer I admire offers me such a gift. So I'm not going to do that. Instead I'll mention the series that has recently captivated me.

Mankind: The Story of All of Us has production values that are out of this world. More than that, the images feed my habit in ways that speak to me as a writer.

You see, I've always been one to gravitate to odd bits of history. I love the underdog, so much so that I always loved the peculiar pieces of history that didn't get taught in school--or church.

I remember reading the King James Version of story of Judas's betrayal and saying to my mom--a devout Evangelical Christian, mind you--that I couldn't believe God would be so heartless that He'd condemn poor Judas when the poor disciple was obviously just doing his part in 'The Plan." That he was just obeying what the big J told him to do.

Phew. The tongue lashing.

Then about eleven years later I read about the Dead Sea Scrolls and all the Gnostic teachings and got this chilly sense of recognition.

What that has to do with how small bits of images form Mankind feed my writer essence is simple. It's these types of things: flashes of imagery, sound bytes of words that get the psyche-deep synapse-firing effect in me that forces me to narrative. I like to tell myself a story I'd like to read.

And I always fail.

Nothing I write ever comes close to the visceral response I get to the possibility of a story. It falls woefully short of the drive and potential I foresee. I get this sense of magnitude and emotion and satisfaction even before I've put pen to digital paper. It's when the potential is at its fullest bloat and I sense the power of the escape I want to create.

If only my talent and skill matched that quivering swell. Oh. The story I could tell.

And that's why I love Suzanne's work. It promises and delivers. You wouldn't be here reading my paltry words if you weren't too a fan. So I'd like to thank you for letting me have some of that time you would normally have reserved for her; I appreciate it more than you can know.

You could try out my work, I suppose, if you like. Some is plain and some is edgy. Depends on where the images or words took me. Just remember if you do that you'll find odd things in there everywhere, because nothing speaks to me quite so much as peculiar.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Author, Hunter Gross, invited me to post in The Next Big Thing blog go-round. The idea is cool--I post about my next project, then tag other writers at the end. They'll post on their blogs next Wednesday and tag other writers! So keep following us so you'll be privy to The Next Big Thing!

 The Ten Questions:

1) What is the working title of your next book? 

I just released a new book. The working title was Rosy's Dream, but upon publishing, it got changed to Rosy with the subtitle Dreams Can Become Nightmares. After the holidays, I'll continue working on Priestess, part two of the Agathon's Daughter Trilogy.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Rosy demanded that it be written. The first draft poured out of me almost fifteen years ago, but the story required a long germination. It takes place in New York City in the late 1970s--a crazy time. I did a lot of first-hand research.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It's dark coming-of-age and has been compared to Wally Lamb's, She's Come Undone. The story contains a romantic suspense element as well. Gotta love that sex and violence.

4) What actors would you chose to play the characters in a movie rendition?

Unknown, quirky actors. Sarah/Rosy requires offbeat beauty and a sense of humor. Robin needs a rock star quality--a guy like Jim Sturgess.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Small town girl, Sarah, dreams of finding love and fame in New York City, but following her dreams leads to a downward slide into the insanity of the late 1970s: nightclubs, sex, drugs, and violence.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published. I'm too impatient to wait for traditional publishing. I did send a copy to my agent--just in case something opens up in other areas.

7) How did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I wrote the first draft quickly, about fifteen years ago. Since then I've cut a lot and done several major rewrites.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within its genre?

As I mentioned, She's Come Undone. And the movie, Magic Mike. The story doesn't shy away from darkness. I consider Sarah an unreliable narrator, and I thought of Catcher in the Rye while I wrote parts of it.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Life inspired me. I lived in New York City in the late 1970s. I was a dancer, an actress, and generally a fool. Years later, I wrote the story (in part) to sort out my experiences.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

Anyone who has dealt with abuse will probably resonate with the story. Anyone who has struggled to pursue a dream will probably relate to Sarah. And music buffs may enjoy that each chapter is named for a song. The chapter headings are linked to MP3 samples of each song on Amazon. (When I bring the book out on iBooks the links will go to iTunes.)

This was fun!

Next week check out The Next Big Thing by these fantastic writers:

Cheryl Bradshaw
Elle Chardou
Tory Hartmann
Chrystalla Thoma

Sunday, November 25, 2012

M A Comley, Author: Today my guest is Suzanne Tyrpak who has just rele...

M A Comley, Author: Today my guest is Suzanne Tyrpak who has just rele...: Today my guest is Suzanne Tyrpak who has just released another fab book.            When and why did you decide to become an Indie ...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guest Post, Nancy Parker--How I Became a Writer

I'm not sure how Nancy Parker stumbled onto my blog, but I'm always delighted to meet new readers and writers. How did a woman majoring in Biomedical Sciences veer off the scientific path and chose the rocky road of writing? Please read Nancy's story.


How I became A Writer

Writing was never a profession that I thought I would end up in. I grew up in a home full of engineers and sales reps and if anything, I thought I would have a job in Human Resources or sales. However in high school I had this idea I wanted to work with people and make them feel better. I wanted to be a doctor despite what my GPA was; I wasn’t a bad student but I wasn’t a stellar student. I think it was more of a desperate attempt to impress my parents who seemed more caught up in their divorce lawyers than me.  

So I went off to the university and chose Biomedical Sciences as my major. I was surrounded with studious students and perfectionists. I felt so left out and it was after the first semester that I realized, ‘oh crap, I have to actually attend every class and study everything’. I didn’t feel creative and I was bored. So I was kind of stuck and not sure what I wanted to do, all I knew was my GPA was pretty low and I wanted a major that didn’t require a math or language course.

I sat down in a counselor’s office and looked at a list; my eye was immediately attracted to the word ‘Journalism’. For the first time in my life, I actually got excited about something. I thought about one day writing for a magazine, writing a book or reporting for a newspaper, the ideas were endless. So I chose Journalism. I went into it blindly and not knowing what I was getting myself into, I mean I loved reading and writing in high school and in fact scored higher in those classes than any other class but never gave it a thought. Fast forward a few years, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. 

Who knew I would enjoy writing this much? There is something about getting my ideas, feelings, thoughts, emotions and stories out on paper that I can’t get over. It turns out that I am a pretty decent writer and people like my work. I like the idea of talking and interacting with people- I immediately start writing things in my head, little jokes or short stories. I listen to strangers, friends, family and keep mental notes of their words, reactions, facial expressions for inspiration. 

I keep my words simple and short, no fluff. I want my work to be read like you are talking with that person. I like my stories to be funny and relatable. I may not be a prolific writer or even a great one, but that is okay with me. I like to write and will always write. 

Author Bio
Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny, etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rosy (Dreams Can Become Nightmares) is Live

I'm delighted to announce that my new novel, Rosy (Dreams Can Become Nightmares) is now LIVE on Amazon, Kindle.

To celebrate the book's release, I've priced it at just .99 cents for the next week. Please pick up a copy, and while you're on the page, it would be great if you would tag it:

1970s music
Dark humor
New York City
Urban Novel
Women's Fiction
Sexy get the picture!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rosy (Dreams can become Nightmares ) LibraryThing Giveaway

If you've never visited LibraryThing check it out. It's a great site for readers and writers. And there are always lots of giveaways.

I just posted a giveaway for 100 FREE copies of my new novel, Rosy (Dreams can become Nightmares) at LibraryThing on the Member Giveaway page. You have three weeks to sign up for copies. And there are plenty of other new books listed there too.

Here's my latest description for Rosy:

Small town girl, Sarah, dreams of finding love and fame in New York City, but following her dreams leads to a downward slide into the insanity of the late 1970s: nightclubs, sex, drugs, and violence ὰ la Magic Mike.

Desperate to dig herself out of debt, Sarah becomes pole dancer, Rosy Dreams. But the more money she makes, the darker her nightmare becomes as she sinks into a world where no one can be trusted—especially the men who claim to adore her.

As Sarah slips deeper into the underworld, she questions not only her dreams, but her sanity. She battles demons—imagined and real—fighting to survive the city’s brutality, fighting for her dreams, and ultimately fighting for her life.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rosy's Playlist

Today is a huge day for me. I just finished writing Rosy. Of course, I've finished writing the novel several times--since I began it almost 15 years ago. But today I finished the version that I plan to send out to the world. Right now it's with my beta-readers. I'll make a few more changes and corrections based on their feedback, then get it to the formatter.

Each chapter is named for a song--mostly from the late 1970s, when the book is set. The Table of Contents is called Rosy's Playlist. At the beginning of each chapter, the heading will be linked to Amazon where you can buy the song as an MP3 download. I think that will be fun. 

But here, I've linked Rosy's Playlist to the artists on YouTube. Hope you enjoy...

Rosy's Playlist

Problems--Sex Pistols