Monday, April 30, 2012

Your Monday Morning Chuckle

Frustrated? Whipsawed by the foibles of the publishing world? Having dark moments when you think there’s a conspiracy against you? 
Well, you may be a bit over the top, but we all go there sometimes. Here’s a statement of empathy to get us through. Perhaps, we, too, are surrounded by morons, and perhaps we must simply recognize that sometimes the cat door is closed. (you’ll understand when you watch this short video).
Check this out. :-)

Eet ees sooo . . . existential. (and french)
~ Linda

Friday, April 27, 2012

Writing Seminar

William Bernhardt Writing Seminar


-- June 18 - 22, 2012  (Level 1)
-- June 23 - 27, 2012  (Level 2)
-- July 5 - 9, 2012  (Level 3)
-- July 16 - 20, 2012 (Reunion Class)
-- September 15 - 16, 2012

Bill Bernhardt is one of the most fabulous teachers, and outstanding individuals I've ever worked with. He gave me the foundation to take my writing to a professional level. His style is supportive, yet honest. Constructive, yet compassionate. He knows what he's talking about and has a grasp of structure, character and story. I cannot say enough positive things about this man, and his skills. 

I highly recommend his seminars, for whatever Genre you write. Summer is a challenging time for me to get away from the airline business... people like to travel on during the summer months. But I'm going to try for the July 16 Reunion Class. I hope that you will all check out what he has to offer.

Please take a moment and look into Bill's seminar. It definitely take your writing to the next level. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Know The Heart Of Your Novel

Happy conference season to all those who are submitting! During a writer's chat I took part in last week (#IndieChat on Tuesday at 6pm PT on Twitter) the question of how to pitch came up. Having landed two agents, the best answer I can give is that you must know what the heart of your novel is before you can pitch it or start submitting it. If you don't know, neither will the person you're trying to 'sell' it to, which means they won't buy off on the idea.

Knowing the heart of your novel is more than just saying it's about this character or that event. It's saying what is deep down, the idea that drove you to write the novel in the first place. Take one of my novel's for example, The Secret Of Spruce Knoll. At first glance it looks like a story about a girl who discovers she's a channeler after her parents are killed and she has to go live with her aunt in a strange little town. But that isn't the heart of the novel, not by a long shot. The heart of the novel is that Eren is part of an endangered species that is going extinct as the world slowly dies. See what I mean about the heart? The second description illicites a deeper response because it's about the big issue, what is outside of the character and drives them through the novel.

You have to get to the deep issue and bring it to the surface of your query or pitch. Only then will others see your novel and it's potential. You may have written an amazing novel but if you can't communicate what is so amazing about it then no one will ever know. It's all about that first impression. Those of you who are querying and getting no bites, take another look at your query. Does it get to the heart of things?

Best of luck!


Author of The Secret Of Spruce KnollBorn Of FireChanneler's Choice, and coming in May of 2012, To Ride A Puca. A short story of Heather's is also available in the free In His Eyes eBook anthology. 

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Monday, April 23, 2012

One More Article: the Lawsuit Against e-Book Price Fixing

A week ago today there was an article on the front page of the New York Times Business section that beautifully sums up what's really happening with the government vs. publishers and distributors and e-book pricing (at least in my humble opinion—it was great to finally see someone nail it in the news).

The article, written by David Carr, is called Book Publishing's Real Nemesis. It's not too long, and I'm including the link for you to read the full article (highly recommended). But for your skim-browsing pleasure, here are the highlights:

  • The Justice Department finally took aim at the monopolistic monolith that threatened to dominate the book industry. So imagine the shock when the bullet whizzed past Amazon. . .and struck five. . . publishers and Apple.
  • The (law)suit has its roots in 2007, when Amazon released the Kindle and began selling . . . books at $9.99 . . . to bolster sales of (Kindle).
  • As an aside: Why the crumbling book business is worthy of so much attention from Justice while Wall Street skates is a broader question. . .
  • . . . pull back a few thousand feet and take a broader look at the interests of consumers. From the very beginning Amazon has used its market power to bully and dictate. . . Amazon uses its scale not only to keep its prices low but its competitors at bay.
  • . . . book publishers face an existential threat
  • In defense of the agency model: the deal struck with Apple . . . allowed other players into the e-book business, including independent bookstores (that couldn't get in when Amazon had a lock on the $9.99 price). It was only after agency pricing went into effect that Barnes & Noble was able to gain an impressive 27 percent of the e-book market.
  • Now Amazon has the Justice Department as an ally to rebuild its monopoly and wipe out other players.
  • It is not clear that lower prices are necessarily in the long-term interests of the public at large.
  • Scott Turow, a big-time author who is president of the Authors Guild, (says): "It is breathtaking to stand back and look at this and believe that this is in the public interest. The only rationale is e-book prices will go down, for how long? What happens when there is no one left to compete with them?"

With those wise and cautionary words from Turow, who is an attorney as well as a major author, the issue is summed up.

I'll be following this sort-of-bizarre lawsuit as it goes on. I have a feeling it will drag on, but what happens with it will certainly be of interest to us. I would love to hear all your thoughts on this. Do you think there's a silver lining? What is it??? Is self-publishing the best response for a writer? Is going with a major publisher? In either case, how hard is it to keep your head above water?

~ Linda

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fulfill Avery's Bucket List

My family's hospital ordeal started in March 27 th and continues. But when you read a story like this, it puts life in perspective. Be ready for a good cry. Then spread the word. Doing something helps with the reality that your baby is going to die.

"Imagine you've been diagnosed with an incurable genetic disease and you are told you will not only lose your ability to walk and move your arms, but you will die between now and the next 18 months. What would you do? My name is Avery Lynn Canahuati, I'm almost 5 months old, and this has become my reality. But before I die, there's a few things I'd like to accomplish...this is my bucket list and my story. SHARE IT & HELP ME TELL THE WORLD ABOUT SMA!"

Have a beautiful day.  
XOX Karlene

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writers Should Do Unto Others

A recent discussion with an acquaintance at work made me realize that we writers must do unto others as we wish them to do unto us. Don't worry, it wasn't anyone you know, this happened at my 'day job'. Though I was completely strapped for time (two full time jobs, and they knew it) this person was dying to have me read their writing and help them with it. You know me, I love to help others and normally I would find time to fit it in without complaint. But this person has been very honest with me about the fact that they have never read any of my books. So in essence, someone who doesn't have time for me, wanted me to make time for them. Not cool.

If you are an aspiring author then there will come a day when you will hope your friends (and the rest of the world) purchase and read your novels. And then you'll hope they'll like them so much that they'll recommend them to everyone they know. But before we put our hands out for support, we must give it. Part of building your platform (your life, your friendships even) is to support others. You're probably wondering how many of my published friends books I own. All of them, yep really, because I believe in paying it forward. 

If you don't have time for your friends, eventually, they won't have time for you. So when you're building that platform, understand that it isn't just tweeting, blogging, or commenting on a profile. It's actual support of others who are fighting the same battle you're fighting. 


Heather is the author of the YA paranormal Channeler series which includes; The Secret Of Spruce Knoll, Born Of Fire, Channeler's Choice, and coming in May of 2012, To Ride A Puca. A short story of Heather's is also available in the free In His Eyes eBook anthology.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Publishers Weekly's Take on U.S. Lawsuit Against Apple and Publishers

In a March 12 post I mentioned the possible lawsuit against Apple and five large publishers by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, with a link to a New York Times article. This week I want to share a fascinating podcast from Publishers Weekly with you about that lawsuit, which U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week. Amazon is deeply involved/affected by all of this as a major bookseller, as well.

Below is a link to the Publishers Weekly article in their Beyond the Book feature, and podcast:

Go to the bottom of the article to click the arrow above 'PW Preview' to get the podcast. The first ten minutes are an interview with PW's Andrew Albanese, in which he discusses the DOJ's case against Apple and five publishers and gives his educated opinion on what it all means, and its implications for Apple, the traditional publishing world, and Amazon. One of Albanese's most interesting conclusions: this lawsuit isn't really about achieving fairness to save consumers money, or about going after the publishing industry (in Albanese's opinion) nearly as much as it is about going after Apple, which the DOJ has been eyeing for a while. (The remainder of the podcast, if you choose to listen, is about PW's current book reviews.)

Enjoy . . .

~ Linda

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Moment Seizing You

Our writing is an immersion into another world, one which we create, be it frightening, fascinating, heartfelt, or otherwise. It often demands more of our attention than we can give it, seizing our sleep and our every waking moment. But, there are times when life seizes us in much the same way. Forcing us to make time for it, to slow down and live it, to enjoy the company of those around us.

Today our critique sister Karlene has been seized by life and isn’t able to drop by and blog for us today. She is healthy herself but is at the side of a loved one who needs her. If you can spare some good thoughts or energy, she and her family could use them about now. You’re in our thoughts Karlene!

Karlene is the author of the outstanding new thriller, Flight For Control available through Jetstar publishing in hardback, paperback, and ebook formats.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Getting The Reader On The Edge Of Their Seat

No matter what genre you write it is always good to get the reader on the edge of their seat, flipping pages late into the night. But how do we do this? Is there a touch of magic to it, a secret coveted by the bestsellers? Not really. When you get down to it, it's pretty simple. Writing a page turner is all about infusing it with tension. Easier said than done, I know. Allow me to demystify it for you a bit.

The world does not have to be in peril for there to be tension in your novel, nor does anyone's life have to be at stake. Though if that's in there too, that's all well and good. The kind of tension I'm talking about is simpler than that. For young adult writers it can be the girl who is sweating as the boy she's crushing on sits down next to her on the bus. She may start biting her nails, fidgeting with her hair. Her heart will be racing faster, she'll be worried about how she looks, smells, what she wore. The tension could be as simple as will he talk to her before the bus comes to her stop.

To put it another way, a woman is sitting waiting for her husband to come home. When he does she hears the car door slam, followed by the front door, his lunchbox clatters to the counter making a terrible ruckus. He curses as he removes his shoes and throws his keys on the table. Immediately we know something is up and we're wondering what is going to happen. The big tension in the book is what makes people pick it up and take it home. But it's the micro-tension on every page that keeps them reading and will make them buy the next book. Tell me, how do you add tension, conflict, or interest to your writing?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Amazon's Arc

Hardball pricing tactics, combined with market dominance, have made Amazon the elephant in the room that no one can avoid talking about any more.

As writers who hope for publishing support, we despair over what Amazon's cut-to-the-bone pricing is doing to many traditional publishers and to critical parts of publishing itself; and at the same time we love the advantages that can be gleaned by working with the behemoth. Now that Amazon's not only the biggest online bookseller for all books and huge venue for indie-published books, but has established its own substantial publishing imprints, it is a player in our world like never before.

Personally, I share the belief that a shakeup was overdue in the traditional publishing industry, but like most people, I sure don't want to see the loss of quality or of opportunity for meaningful editing, distribution, and publicity that are the innards that make publishing good, not only for writers, but for readers.

The past decade, since the tsunami of digital publishing hit, has been a wild ride, and promises to continue to be for a while. Amazon is, of course, key to the tsunami, and there's still no telling exactly how the sea change will leave the beaches it crashes over. What will survive and grow stronger? What will be nothing but beach detritus when the waves recede? There are signs that many of the traditional publishers will not, after all, be detritus. Hooray! I believe that if they maintain a strong competitive presence, we writers and readers will eventually end up with the best of both worlds.  But before we get there, we've still got some serious undertows to deal with. One way of knowing what those might be is to keep up with what's happening with Amazon in the book world.

An article about a current development was published last week in Amazon's home town of Seattle, in the Seattle Times newspaper. Worth a read all the way through, but to summarize what's in the article about recent developments in what I like to call the Amazon Arc of Influence, consider:

  • early 2010: Amazon removes 'buy' buttons from MacMillan's titles (see Standoff with publishers section of article). Amazon ended up rescinding that action, but it set the tone for what was to come
  • February, 2012: the Independent Publishers Group (IPG) debacle—Amazon pulls 5,000 IPG titles from its sites because IPG won't accept Amazon's pricing terms
  • Currently: small publishers are feeling the pinch big-time from Amazon, even more than previously. They can't afford Amazon's pricing demands and those who are dependent on Amazon for the majority of their sales face possible closure
According to the article, Amazon's pricing cut demands to publishers are often made by email, with no personal contact information provided, leaving almost no room for discussion. A lot of the resulting  anger and frustration is coming not only from the impossible bottom line being demanded, but by what is felt as an offensive and overly aggressive attitude from Amazon. And, of course, Amazon does not seem to hesitate to cut off anyone from its distribution network if they don't comply with the pricing cut demands.

Feeling conflicted about all this? Remember, it's good to stay abreast of what's going on in the industry—it may allow you to take advantage of publishing opportunities, or at least tread water while we wait for the waves to recede. If reading the Seattle Times article adds to your angst, be sure to go to the Amazon logo and its parody next to the Standoff with publishers section and play with the logo—move the little orange bar left and right to see how some publishers are venting. :-)

Yet, I believe many new indie-published authors have had good experiences from working through Amazon and other digital publishers/distributors. Are you one of them? Where do you think writers will find their comfort zone in all of this?

~ Linda

Friday, April 6, 2012

"The novel is an event in consciousness. Our aim isn't to copy actuality, but to modify and recreate our sense of it. The novelist is inviting the reader to watch a performance in his own brain."
George Buchanan
My brain is a scary place to be. Would you like to join me? Flight For Control, where fiction mirrors truth. 

Happy Easter! 
Enjoy the Journey and your Holiday Weekend. 
XOX Karlene

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What To Write

Some say write what you know, others say write what you love, even more say write what sells. Who do you listen to? This is a question I have often pondered and I've written novels for all the reasons above. However, I just finished editing (for the thousandth time) the first novel that I have written about something I feel deeply passionate about. And I've got to tell you, that's the only way to go people. Only when you finish a novel that is written from your heart and soul, can you truly understand the power of such a thing.

Will my readers love it as much as I do? I don't know. But what I do know is that it resonates with something deep in me, something I had to write about and had to share. And there is power in that, so very much power. It is a bit dark, has some violence and difficult subjects, but it is honest and fearless. It is the best thing I have ever written. That right there is worth every moment spent sweating over every word. Sales are lovely and they pay the bills, but that feeling, that's forever.

So I say write what's in your heart. If it sells that's fabulous. If it doesn't, it won't matter because you will have written 'the' book.

Coming in May of 2012, To Ride A Púca, a YA (recommended for mature YA and adults) historical fantasy about the last of the druids in ancient Ireland.

Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again.

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cover Reveal! TO RIDE A PUCA by Heather McCorkle

I am thrilled to be among the people participating in my wonderful blog partner, Heather's, cover reveal of her new book. Nothing I can say will top what she's put together for all of us, so without further discussion, here it is:

Heather: I'm so excited to share the cover of my young adult historical fantasy novel, To Ride A Púca, with you. I've been waiting for so long to reveal the news and the cover that it's been driving me crazy! This novel is special to me, as many of you know, because it felt like my heart and soul has gone into it. It isn't a part of the channeler series, though it is a tie-in novel as it's about one of Eren's ancestors. This is a stand alone of a very different flavor and I hope you love it as much as I do.

Here is a bit about it:

Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again.

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone.

Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?

This novel is intended for mature teens and adults as it contains some difficult subject matter. 

I had to throw that warning in because I had one person who was disturbed by some of the subject matter in The Secret Of Spruce Knoll. To Ride A Púca is a much darker novel than Spruce Knoll and will certainly not be appropriate for some readers. Slavery, oppression, and violent situations are within this novel. It certainly falls under the dark YA catagory. But it is also about hope, love, and belonging. It releases this May! To add this novel to your Goodreads lists click here. To pre-order a signed hardback (to ship at the end of May), click here.

What a gorgeous cover, Heather, and what an exciting prequel to your channeler series. Very cool! Thank you for sharing.

~ Linda