Saturday, June 24, 2017

Follow Your Heart

We all have dreams, and attempting to make those dreams a reality is a perilous journey for some of us and for others, it’s as easy as taking a breath. (We hate those people.)

Breathing is the most important thing you do everyday.

So, you want to be a writer, and you yearn for the world to read your tantalizing and thought-provoking scribbles? Well, for those of us who are old enough to remember the word ‘plastic’s’ and its significance, in the realm of writing and publishing, the word is ‘Marketing’.

For most independent unknown authors, writing is easy when compared to the effort it takes to entice potential readers into spend $2.99 on an e-book or $12.00 for a paperback.  

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”    That phrase is poppycock in today’s world!

Good marketing techniques and eye-catching covers are gold. If independent authors want to sell their books, they better have a sound marketing strategy and a cover that makes people go WOW! Unfortunately, both of those things require money or fancy slight-of-hand tricks.

Some authors give their first couple of books away for free to build a reader base. It’s an old fishing trick, chumming the water to lure the fish in closer. The only trouble with that strategy is that those first books better be dam good. Fish don’t like bad chum nor do readers like bad writing and poor editing.

I took the path of nonconformity. My covers are simple and my marketing strategy is nonexistent. My sales are also nonexistent, but on the upside, I followed my heart and never wavered from being true to myself. I write from my heart and do the best that I can with what I have. Um, I have about 6 loyal readers. Eh, it’s a start, I suppose.

My advice to every new independent writer, don’t be me and instead, learn everything there is to know about self-publishing, effective marketing, editing, and book covers before you formulate the first sentence of your book. There are millions of ways to do it wrong and very few ways to do it right. Educate yourself and do it right the first time.

Have a Great Week!

Be Yellow and Mellow, Sing with the Blue Birds, and Follow Your Heart for as long as it Beats.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Epic 3 Book Adventure

Looking for an entertaining fantasy set of books to read? Look no further than this exciting and wonderfully crafted Trilogy!  

Experience the magical fantasy adventure about a young boy and his amazing journey into an unknown world where mysterious women, bandits, and fantastical monsters challenge his resolve to find his way back home and what he truly desires most in life. It is an intriguing story that promises to keep you guessing and eagerly turning the pages to find out what happens next. 

What if you had the chance to learn one thing from the past that could change the future; what would you choose to know?

What if you were immortal, but the only way you could save the people you love was to sacrifice your immortality; what would you do?

What if you had a wish; what would you wish for?

Fate, free will, and monsters are hard enough to deal with, but added into the mix; sextuplet sisters with unique personalities and seductive persuasive skills, who relentlessly manipulate for their own fiendish intentions.

Vanguard Review: Great coming of age tale with a well developed magical land to explore. Each time I thought I knew where the story was headed, I was surprised by another twist or detour. I love the themes of growing up, the role of family and tradition, and adventure. There is even some romance along the way. Highly recommended for my fellow fantasy readers.

Warfolkan Review: Wajue continues his journey and it is surprise after surprise. Now grown and evolving into a leader, he is faced with loss and tough choices once again. This book is filled with both adventure and some lighthearted banter and fun. This book is full of diverse characters, friendships, romance, betrayal, bravery, and strength. Wajue continues to be the hero warrior searching for answers and truth. It was great to follow Wajue and he matures and finds his way.

Sagacity Review: After the cliff hanger ending in book 2, this third book in the series gets off to a fast start of continued danger and adventure. Who knew a talking owl could be such a beloved character? Again full of interesting characters, new romance, and mystery, this is a superb follow-up to Warfolkan. It kept me guessing until the end and left me satisfied. A sure thing for those that have been following Wajue's journey.



Friday, September 25, 2015

Broke Résumé

Yesterday, as I was browsing the Internet, I noticed an advertisement about how to improve your Résumé. Instantly, a thought occurred to me. I have never written a Résumé. None of the jobs I ever applied for required one. I just showed up and they hired me on the spot. I know it sounds strange, but it’s true, and my wife hates me for it. Although, there is one exception, but I’ll reveal that at the end.  

Today I shall attempt to write my first ever Résumé! Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure what goes into one, and I’m too lazy to research the particulars. Therefore, I’ll just jot down what I think is important and/or required.

Name: James L. C. Kafka
Marital Status: Married, but that status can change at any moment.
Children: 4
Race: I was pretty good at running the mile in High School. 
DOB:  Wednesday

Current Occupation: Residential Lawn & Garden Superintendent, Housing Maintenance Supervisor, Sustenance Wrangler and Cook, Finance Clerk, Domestic Clothing Purifier, Dishware and Utensil Sterilizer, and Volunteer Bartender at the Polish American War Veterans Club. 

It feels wrong being on this side of the bar!

Education: Kindergarten & Elementary School Graduate. I completed 4 years of High School. My GPA was better than 215 other students out of 825 and I received a diploma. I was highly recruited by the United States Air Force and Navy. I signed with the Air Force and attended their 8 week physical and mental training course. I passed.  

Previous Employment: Paperboy – 2 years. Automotive repair apprentice – 3 months. Ice Chipper at the East St. Louis Railroad Stock Yard – 2 days. United States Air Force – 12 years. Radio Disc Jockey – 1 year. High School baseball umpire – 12 years. Football Coach – 8 years. Professional Golf Instructor – 2 years. Golf Course manager and maintenance supervisor – 2 years. Grocery Store Stock Clerk – 8 days. Automotive parts delivery driver – 6 months. High School shop teacher (small engines) – 1 year. High School job placement coach for special needs children over the age of 16 – 2 years. Janitor – 1 year. Child Development Coordinator – 36 years and counting. (We have 4 children; you never stop being a parent and you can’t get fired from the job either, no matter how hard you try.)

Higher Education: 60 day Modern Male-Female Behavioral Science class. (Dated my future wife) I passed. Male Commitment 101 - (Got married). Human Creation 101, 201, 301, and 401 – graduated Sumo Wrestler Yell Loudly, whatever that means. Potty training children in one day 101, 201, and 301. I failed the 401 class, only because the female child didn’t respond to my male training techniques. Advanced Marriage Protocol Degree – PHD, with 36 years practical experience.

Undocumented Education and Experience: Innovative adult-child negotiating tactics 401. (I advocated for my children’s defense in the principal’s office at least 150 times.) Stay-at-home dad - 14 years.

Hobbies: Coffee drinking, reading, day-dreaming, watching football, sleeping, gambling, and laughing at the neighbor when he picks up his dog’s crap. Oh, and I occasional write stuff.

Domestic Experience: Chauffeur - Halloween make-up artist - Santa Claus impersonator - Tooth Fairy assistant - TV remote control operator - Spider, Mouse, and Cockroach exterminator – Medical practitioner for minor wounds – Finder of lost socks.

References: Joe the Bartender, Roger the neighbor, and my wife. I’d list my children, but I’m not sure if they’d tell you the truth. And please, don’t call my sisters; doubtful they'd say anything good about me.

Contact Information: Call the One-Eyed Pirate Tavern most days, but never after 5 pm.

Salary Expectations and Amenities: A minimum of $80,000 a year, company car, personal bathroom, private office with a secretary, full medical and dental coverage, and 375 vacation days a year.

“Whatcha think, jimmy? Would you hire me?”

“Nope! You’re over qualified for just about every job out there.”

“I agree. Wanna eat lunch on the patio? It’s a beautiful day.”


Note: My dream job – I have always wanted to write fantasy adventure novels. However, no one ever hires an unknown person off the street to write novels. So, I hired myself. I now have to pay myself, set my own hours, and I have to pay someone to publish my manuscripts. I also have to do my own marketing or I can pay someone to do that for me too. This job sucks! If I don’t get fired soon, I’m gonna quit!

Based on my previous employment record and being magically hired on the spot, I am stupefied as to why publishers – publishing agents haven't called or contacted me yet. Maybe if I sent them this résumé they'd hire me.  

It truly is a strange world and it is for amusement only!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Broke Punctuation

After reading a brief narrative about how punctuation evolved over the years, I noticed it had an eerie similarity to the seven Ecumenical Councils.

Wikipedia Note: The first seven Ecumenical Councils, recognized by both the eastern and western branches of Chalcedonian Christianity, were convoked by Christian Roman Emperors, who also enforced the decisions of those councils within the state church of the Roman Empire. Acceptance of councils as ecumenical and authoritative varies between different Christian denominations. Disputes over Christological and other questions have led certain branches to reject some of the councils that others accepted.

The key words in the above text are enforced, acceptance, disputes, and reject. Let’s translate that to today’s world, shall we?

The Enforcers are the Literary Police whose only purpose in life is to point out mistakes. The Acceptee’s are the Readers; they like a good story and don’t dwell on disputable punctuation. The Disputers are unimaginative 12th Grade English teachers and College Professors; they know everything, just ask them. And finally the Rejecters, they're people like me; we play with punctuation like a child plays with Legos.

Out of necessity, jimmy and I convened our own Literary Ecumenical Council to determine our preferred definitions of punctuation.

A Period means stop, start a new sentence, go pee pee, get a drink, or continue reading.

A Comma means you need to take a short breath, or perhaps, you just want to be a drama queen, and, add, an excessive amount of, pauses.

A Semicolon is for a continued or specific finishing thought; or make a crazy long sentence that takes the readers breath away; hey, you gotta exercise somehow while reading!

A Colon is for listing things like: rum, coke, ice, and lemon. A cool refreshing drink while reading is vital.

Quotation Marks are a writer’s paradise. Inside them you can say it and spell it however you want! Quotation Marks are like Las Vegas – What happens in the quotes, stays in the quotes.

An Exclamation Mark means you're excited about what you just wrote! More than one is redundant!!! , but fun!!!!!!

A Question Mark denotes a question or confusion. HUH?

Parenthesis they are a writer's VIP room. (See Quotation Marks.)   

Dashes and Ellipses – use them for extremely . . . exciting . . . dramatic pauses, or . . . you simply want the reader – to take a breath. Breathing is very important.

There you have it! Dr. jimmy says that exploiting and manipulating punctuation is a great way to relieve stress.

Note: Italicizing and Underlining mean you probably should pay attention to those words; there could be a pop-quiz about them later.

Librarians are the gatekeepers, protecting written knowledge for future generations to study and explore.

“Mr. Kafka; did you reread Homers Iliad last night?”

“Yes . . . yes I did, jimmy.”

“That explains it.”

“Explains what?”

“Nothing. I’ll make you a grilled cheese sandwich, and then we’ll go take a nap under the willow tree.”

“Thanks jimmy. That’s a great idea!”