Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ultimate Reading - Seeds

When we go in search of reading material we start by looking at those genres we enjoy the most.

I've been reading a cross-genre piece these last few days.  It is a combination of fantasy, fiction, romance, horror, thriller, science fiction and action.  Hard to believe all those can be listed together in one read but please, read on to learn all about this fabulous work.

Each year my heart springs forth with eternal hope... I'm reading seed catalogs. 

Each page is filled with fantasy and fiction.  Beautiful images of flowers and plants that supposedly I can grow in my area and match their wonder under my care.  Yeah, right. 

There is romance with the plants I love; tomatoes, sweet corn, gladiolas, dahlias, alyssums and the list continues.

Horror? Thriller?  Very easy with memories of last year's fiasco.  I grew sweet corn and hovered over it as it sprouted and finally matured to tassle out at the top.  My mouth started to water at the prospect of yummy corn soon to be on a platter and ready for a slathering of butter.  Life has been a robust exercise in attempts of trying to keep the birds and small chipmunks at bay. I used techniques which included holographic eyes, hot pepper sauce, cayenne, black pepper sprinkled on the corn to protect the young cobs. Ah, but in the dark of night, when you least expect, THEY strike. RACCOONS. Those pesky critters destroyed my whole crop in one orgiastic night of frenzied feeding on the highly spiced corn.  In the morning's light, there was nothing; the fiesta was over.

Science fiction?  Have you seen some of the things you can sow and grow?  There is a green bean that is over three feet long and curls unbelievably.  There are super warty gourds in shades to make you wonder. White beets with red centers.  Strawberries that taste like raspberries. Why?  Pink blueberries... uh, if they're pink, can they be blueberries?  If you live in the proper climate you can grow your own Venus Fly Trap -- just what every person wants in their flowerbed.  Already this year I have seen ads for ruby red sweet corn... not white, not yellow, not mixed white and yellow.  Red!  I'm not sure how the melting butter would look on it... uh, would the butter turn pink and appear like dripping blood? Plus if you don't think six and seven foot high growing sweet corn is high enough, there is a twelve foot variety of sweet corn with upwards of five, six or more ears on it.  Should I mention there is not only white cauliflower but also purple, green and orange.

As to the action aspect.  Whew!  Try reading through all the lists of garden tools and gadgets without working up a sweat.  Now that is action at its best.

In truth, let it be said that garden seed catalogs are truly some of the best writing around.  Nobody can sit and read it without the itch of wanting to try this or that.  Even Christmas sugarplums don't dance this well.  My wife and I discussed what we would grow in the garden for 2012 - IF WE GREW A GARDEN IN 2012 - while 2011's failures were still fresh in our minds.  I am already pushing for modifications to the plans.  The plan was simple: sweet corn with an electric fence to be added to the mesh and wire fence already in place; this is to keep the raccoons at bay this year. I wanted to direct wire in 220/240 but my sons convinced me to use the normal lower voltages -- I didn't really have to shock the critters into the next community!  Of course there would be a couple of tomato plants, perhaps 2 hills of each: cucumbers, squash, watermelon and cantelope.  The plan was solid.

Wouldn't some lettuce be nice?  How about a couple of pepper plants?  Carrots, I love carrots.  And we can't forget radishes.  And... and... and...

Shall we start on flowers now?  Don't even get me started...  The plan was utter simplicity... petunias and alyssum in flower boxes.  Raised flower beds would be covered with mulch and await the blooming of the fall mums.  But... but... wouldn't geraniums look pretty there?  How about some marigolds and zinnias along the low wall?  How about some roses in front of the high wall?  And just think how daylilies would look out by the road!!  And... and... and...

Why am I talking about seed catalogs?  I'm a writer and I can only hope my writing to be as exhilerating as a seed catalog.  Imagine being able to tug your reader to such actions?  Of course I'm happy just making sure the reader keeps turning the pages until the end.  I've been told I accomplished that with my novel "2012: Timeline Apocalypse" which is in both ebook and paperback at Amazon or signed copies at my website.

Well, back to my reading and dreaming; seed catalogs.

Until next I ramble...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Rambling

Ever have a day when you wanted to stand out? Say something profound? Today was that day for me. Today I was suppose to put down the words which you would read, sit back and be in total awe.

Instead, it is me sitting back and just saying "Awwww."

I have interviewed authors and publishers. I have hawked my book. I have talked about writing techniques. But I have yet to say anything truly profound on my blog. So, am I cheating you?

I feel that I am. I just finished a marketing book and according to that particular author; I am. He says we (you and me) should only blog 6-10 times per year, if even that often. This guy has sold a million books, maybe I should listen to him. He says I should write something profound on my blog for my readers, not just blather on. But I ask, WHAT? What will you find profound?

My brother-in-law died this past week. He was a good man, a gentle man but not a perfect man. Don lived a full life; he was 82. And just like the anyone else in the rest of the world, he will be remembered only by those who knew him. The rest of the world didn't know him and care less if he existed or not. He was just an average Joe; military service out of high school, married, two children, worked, retired to finally live in a small home in the peaceful countryside where he enjoyed nature, and is now laid to rest in a pleasant cemetery.

Looking at life as a universal timeline, Don's full existence was but a snapping spark in the fire of life. Like so many others who have lived and died, he was just a glimmer in the dancing flames.

I want to be more! I want to be that spark you watch lift up from the fire and flicker into the night sky. I want to be noticed.

As a writer, you are trying to make an impression, leave a mark on life. At the very least you are screaming into the shadows of the darkness, "I existed." There is hope that at some point in the future, be it near or far, someone will take notice of your work and for a brief moment, you will once more exist... to be... to have a little limelight in your absence.

King Tut had a pyramid built for his eternal rest. Kinich Janaab Pacal* had the Temple of Inscriptions for his tomb. Both these men had the intelligence to foresee that writing would help to preserve their names. Tut had hieroglyphics and Pacal had carved glyphs. Archeologists have spent years trying to decipher what was inscribed on these tombs. Tut and Pacal exist yet today eventhough they died over 1000 yrs ago.

I know when I pass, I won't have a huge temple built to preserve my body; it will be a small vault in a quaint country cemetery. But, in the libraries, I hope to have my books on a shelf for others to read for all the future. Book that anyone can read and hopefully not have to interpret.

At that moment I will be that glowing ember flitting upward into the dark, night sky. I am remembered; I am a writer.

* Read "2012: Timeline Apocalypse" to learn more about the Temple of Inscriptions and Kinich Janaab Pacal and the Mayan culture.

Check out my stories and books at www.bobnailor.com or at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005VGO3VU (ebook) and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MZS89I (paperback)

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/bobnailor
Follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/bobnailorauthor

Until next I ramble...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Follow the conversation...

"I've written a story and it is one great story."
"Really.  What genre?"
"Well, it is about a guy who is a detective and needs to get an item back for a museum."
"So it is a detective story?"
"Well, not really. It takes place in Mexico and is about the Mayan calendar."
"Ah, a historical tale."
"Um, not really. It links 600 A.D. with today with ghosts."
"Ok, that makes it a paranormal story."
"And involves Mayan gods and legends."
"Could be considered fantasy.
"It also has details about the moon, stars, constellations and time."
"So it is science fiction."
"Should I mention there are sparks between the female news reporter and the detective?"
"Are you saying it is romance?"
"To be honest, I don't know. There is also adventure, mystery and food."
"You blended too many genres."

And there you have it.  A great story with so many aspects to it that it can't be pigeon-holed easily into one genre or sub-genre.

This is a fact of many authors today.  In the "good ol' days" authors wrote detective, adventure, science fiction, fantasy, romance, thriller, horror, western and the list goes on.  They wrote in a genre and were known for the style of book they wrote.  Today we have cowboys in space... is that science fiction or is it western?  And if we toss in love interest with the aliens... suddenly we've tossed in the romance genre.

I wrote "2012: Timeline Apocalypse" and while writing I wove facts with fiction to create what I hoped to be a great tale.  I originally considered it fantasy but the story evolved.  It involves a real item; the Mayan calendar and the fact the calendar ends on Dec 21, 2012 ... it is a truth, not fantasy.  Notice I said the CALENDAR ends.  Our calendar ends on December 31st -- every year, but I digress.

I wanted to call it an adventure thriller but another author informed me if I had ghosts in the story, therefore it should be considered paranormal.  Another person claimed it was a detective tale or at least it was a mystery.

Why all the frustration?

You, the reader, love action thrillers but although this book has action and thrills, it isn't your typical action thriller.  Just as the tale involves a detective but this is not a story about a detective and a case... at least, not completely.  Nor is it a paranormal story even though there are ghosts or pseudo-ghosts.  Just as there are lot of historical aspects, this is not a historical tale.

Any reader expecting this to be a certain genre will be disappointed since it won't match the expectation of the genre.  Go into the book store and where would you expect to find it?

Is this book doomed to failure?

There is GENERAL FICTION which the book could fall under... but [sigh] what reader is going to be excited by general fiction?  I love fantasy and this book could meet my expectation.  I like action, thriller, etc etc and could meet my expectations since I enjoy many genres.  But there are those who live for the adrenalin rush of the genre.  There are horror aspects but this is not a horror story.  There is some love interest but this is not a romance story.  There is action, thrill, mystery but it is blended so each is balanced to keep the reader flipping pages.

Actually, I'd say this novel is a great read, a fun read; a story covering many aspects and genres to make it enjoyable to all.  There's just enough mystery, thrill, adventure, romance, fantasy, history and whatever else you want to make this book a family favorite.  Ok, maybe not a book to rival with Swiss Family Robinson, but you see what I mean.  Young, old, male, female; it should appeal to almost any reading taste.  Yes, I would call my book's genre FUN.

So where would you place my tale?  What genre should "2012: Timeline Apocalypse" fall into?  Tell you what... read the book then you tell me.

Here's a link to a tease read of 2012: Timeline Apocalypse
or just a quick overview at my book website.

Until next I blog my ramblings...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Do You Know Ed Gorman?

Yesterday I pondered what I would blog about.  I wanted it to be something useful, profound or at least interesting.  Later in the evening I got an email from a buddy.  My delimma was answered. 

Genius Publishing has just released a new book by the absolutely fantastic author, Ed Gorman.  Actually, it is a re-release of two of his well-known stories: The Day The Music Died and Wake Up Little Susie.

A little background on this author.  Ed Gorman has been writing full time since 1984 and has helped to mold the genre and blend the fields of horror, mystery, and crime with fear and shock.  Mr. Gorman has been a prolific author writing not only under his own name Ed Gorman but also under pseudonyms such as E. J. Gorman and Daniel Ransom.  As such, Ed has created series with such well-known characters by Robert Payne, Jack Dwyer and of course, Sam McCain which brings us back to the new book.

The Original Sam McCain Mysteries. 

The Day The Music Died begins the day after the tragic plane accident involving Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper which was on Feb 3, 1959.  Our lead, Sam McCain, is tasked to find out who killed Kenny while the whole town believes Kenny murdered himself.

Wake Up Little Susie, a sequel, actually takes place two years earlier in the late summer of 1957.  It involves the release of Ford's new Edsel and the D.A.'s wife found in the trunk of a new one.  Sam is again tasked to find the truth and the murderer.

For those who enjoy a period tale, this detective double collection is a must; Ed Gorman at his best.  Check it out at http://amzn.to/AtGl8T

I currently have a review copy of this great release and hopefully will be able to give you a review.  Right now I have about 3 other books to read but I will attempt to be timely on this.  Maybe I'll even be able to have a snippet to offer.

Until next I blog...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Interview With A Publisher

Today I am going to be asking questions of the head editor at 23 House Publishing.  So please welcome Mitchel Whitington to the hotseat as I ramble on...

Q: Do you have a niche market for publishing or are you open to anything goes?
A: 23 House is open to consider most anything. We’ve done several mainstream fiction titles this passed year in 2011, but we’re talking to an author for a potential 2012 title that is more niche than we’ve ever niched before. In general, we’re looking for a book which has a specific marketing plan behind it. Simply writing the best novel in the world won’t do it in the marketplace today.

Q: What makes your books different from others on the market?
A: That’s easy – our authors! Our average author is a seasoned writer who has only published a book or two at most, so they’re eager to please their readers and help create the best book experience possible for their readers.

Q: Why did you decide to become a publisher?
A: It just kind of happened. As a writer, I was attending a conference in Oklahoma City over a decade ago, and saw a book stored on a small floppy disk and they called it an “ebook.” I bought it, read it on my computer, and realized that this was the wave of the future. No publishing houses were doing ebooks at the time – they were mostly self-published – so 23 House was born. Ebooks waned without a standardized reader, and so the house evolved into standard book publishing. Which now, interestingly enough, includes ebooks.

Q: Are you open to submissions and how would a person contact you?
A: We are open to submissions for 2012, but the proposal has to be unique, exciting, and it must have a marketing plan. If you tell us that you’ve written the best western of the year, that’s not enough if you don’t have a plan for selling it. Our writer’s guidelines are on the website – www.23house.com – along with contact information.

Q: What is your favorite and least favorite book genre to publish?  Why?
A: I don’t know that there’s a favorite vs. non-favorite. Fiction is infinitely harder to sell than non-fiction, but by the same token, good fiction can be rewarding.

Q: Do you write?  If so, how long have you been writing?
A: I do – in fact, I had a “road to Damascus” conversion into being a writer back in 1979. I was reading Stephen King’s The Shining one evening, and our basset hound Fred had to go outside. We lived on a wooded lot, so as I walked Fred I became frightened in the dark among all those trees. Suddenly, I realized it was King’s words affecting my emotions, nothing else. It was at that point I realized the power of words – to entertain, to educate, and to bring forth emotions in the reader. I knew at that point I had to become a writer, and I’ve been writing ever since.

Q: What do you have planned – book related – for the future?
A: Our publishing calendar for 2012 is already filling up, and we have some solid titles already in place… quite diverse, in fact. We have a supernatural WWII novel that will be a movie in 2013, regional ghost books from different parts of the country, a Christian end-times sci-fi trilogy, and another book that hasn’t been signed yet which is a complete and total departure for 23 House. It’s going to be an exciting year!
Q: Tell us an interesting tidbit about you on a personal note.
A: I love the Friday the 13th series of movies. In fact, I took a girl on a date to see the original one when it came out in the theaters years ago, and later married her. I guess if she hung in through that, I figured she was a keeper. Anyway, as a fan of the series (I own all the DVDs) I noticed there was a continuity issue between  the end of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and Friday the 13th Part IX: Jason Goes to Hell – there is no clear explanation as to how Jason gets from New York back to Camp Crystal Lake between the two movies. A few years ago I started writing a fan-fiction novel to resolve the issue. Since I was writing using other people’s trademarked characters and such, there’s no way that I could ever publish it or sell it. I make my living as a writer and publisher, so it made no sense to continue. Still, I allow myself to drag it out every now and then to spend a few hours on it. Maybe I’ll finish it one of these days, but what I’ll do with it, I don’t know. As I write this, I’m starting to realize how bizarre it all sounds… okay, forget everything I wrote; what I meant to say is, “Interesting tidbit? I make my own soap.”
Q: Where can we find out more about you and your publishing company?
A: We have a lot of information on the company website: www.23house.com . There are also entries in Writer’s Market and other trade listings, but the most current info is on the website.
Q: Any tips to share with writers?
A: In the world today – and I hate to say this – marketing is as important, if not more so, than writing. You could write the best romance ever written, have it published, and placed on the bookstore shelves. If no one knows your name, and there is no buzz about your book, then it will sit there and eventually be returned to the distributor. I know that I’m sounding like a broken record about marketing, but you have no idea how important it’s become.
For years I would ground myself by walking into a bookstore and simply looking around. There are thousands of books on the shelves, all written by authors across the country who have been vetted by agents and publishers before their work was in print and in the distribution channel. Some years ago the average published author in America made about $3,000 a year from their writing. For every John Grisham, there are thousands of starving artists (in this case, writers). It helped me to keep in mind how much competition there was, and how hard I had to work.
In 2012, the publishing industry is not only different than it was ten years ago, it is different than it was one short year ago. Any writer – literally anyone – can get a book printed and sold on Amazon. Competition for readers’ dollars has increased EXPONENTIALLY. The challenge is not only to write a compelling book, but to be able to effectively present it to the audience of buyers.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share?
A: We live in a MAGICAL time – things are changing every day. There are people who cling to the old ways of the publishing world by their fingernails, denying the change taking place, and hoping their words can speak things back into an existence of years past. But that is not the case. New writers, who will be the Kings and Grishams and Ludlums of the next incarnation of publishing, are the ones who seek out and embrace the evolution of the written word. They will immerse themselves in social media, take advantage of every aspect of modern technology, and keep their finger on the pulse of the public.
Instead of ruling the publishing empire, publishers will soon become facilitators and coordinators, providing editing, layout, design, and distribution – the path to power is shifting to the authors themselves. It is important – no, crucial – to stay on top of the cutting edge of the publishing world. In doing so, you can ride the crest of the wave to success!

I'd like to thank Mitchel for taking the time to allow me the interview and I hope you will check out his company site: www.23house.com, if not to get published, at least for some really great reads to purchase.

Until next I blog...