Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Teaching a Short Story Writing Course

If you haven't heard of Savvy Authors, it's time to get acquainted. They offer reasonably priced classes that cover all aspects of writing. Right now they're putting on a Summer Symposium. For $30 you get your choice from a long list of classes--take as many as you can handle.

The signup is at their webpage.

If you'd like to delve into short stories, I'm teaching When Shorter is Better.

Here's a bit about the class, which begins 8/24!

Are you intimidated by the thought of writing a short story? Even though you've already whipped out a novel or two? Relax, it's not that hard. There are a few basics that can help you understand the needs of a short story: the arc and structure, the character requirements, and some tips on writing shorter. We'll discuss how to get short successfully.

Five lessons:
1) structure

2) characters - number, how to introduce, how deep to go into the character

3) descriptions - how detailed to get

4) twists at the end

5) how to write shorter - eliminate unneeded words, count total words and pages, figure out how many words/page to cut

Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: The Pyramid of Doom by Andy McDermott

Here's another book review that I originally did for "Suspense Magazine". This has also been posted on the DorothyL mystery reader list. Hope you enjoy it.

Dr. Nina Wilde, with the help of her British husband, Eddie Chase, continues to astound archeologists, and the world, by uncovering yet another unknown treasure. This one leads to the possibility of the existence of the fabled Pyramid of Osiris and a conspiracy the goes far beyond archeology.
We are introduced to college student Macy Sharif, who is bored with her summer job on the project in Egypt, even though, in just eight days, the leader of the expedition promises to reveal the existence of the Hall of Records, long thought to be mythological, amid international television hoopla. Her boredom vanished when she realizes some of the project members, even the leaders, are plotting to remove treasures without the knowledge of the International Heritage Agency sponsors. Macy, a fresh and engaging character, turns out to be resourceful as well, when she escapes from the thugs who are inexplicably trying to kill her. She appeals to her idol, Dr. Nina Wilde, the discoverer of Atlantis, for help. Nina, who has been suffering from depression after being "suspended" from IHA because of her disgrace in the Garden of Eden disaster, meets with Macy in a New York coffee shop called 52 Perk Up, and they're off!
A quest to uncover the secrets of an Osiris cult leads to a romp from Egypt to Paris, on to Switzerland, and even Monaco. A handsome, vacuous action movie star, Grant Thorn, gets mixed up in the adventure, along with a pair of murderous Egyptian brothers who have their own ideas about the legends of the gods Osiris and Set, and an American named Bobby Diamondback who favors snakeskin jackets. This eventually ties in with a plot that could kill millions.
The car chases and shoot-outs go on a little too long and are sometimes a little too contrived for this reader, but fans of Nina and ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie, will certainly expect them and will willingly suspend disbelief.
Amid the action and double-crossing shoot-em-up excitement, are the serious themes dealing with the relationship of Nina and Eddie, Nina's suffering self-esteem, and Macy's voyage of self-discovery. And, most satisfying for the fans of this series, the future is left up in the air at the end. Another wild ride is surely coming right up!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My 99 cents experience

My numbers aren't very large, but I'd like to report my experiment with a 99 cent sale in case it helps anyone who is considering doing one.

I put the ebook version of my novel, CHOKE, on sale for 99 cents for a couple weeks in July. Before that it had sold for 5.99. After the sale I dropped it down to 4.99. When/if the sequel comes out, I'll probably drop it to 2.99.

For Kindle, the ebook first went on sale for 5.99 in May and it sold steady in May and June. During the sale, the numbers increased 66 percent and I went on to sell just slightly less at full price after that.  I didn't increase income for the sale, but I got several more books out, so I'm pretty happy with that.

On Barnes and Noble, my sales were much less in May and June. The sale numbers were about double my total. I haven't noticed an increase since the sale. In fact, there are very few there.

On Smashwords I didn't sell any at 99 cents. I am, however, selling there steadily at full price, both in the US and in the UK.

When I have more books out and my numbers are larger, I'll try this again to increase readership.

Here are some links to real numbers for several authors. These aren't about 99 cent sales, but about sales in general.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Link to my radio interview, a signing, and a class this month

Here's the link again to Hopeton Hay's blog. Hopeton is the host of KAZI-FM book reviews and brings in some big names! Check out his other interviews. My own interview is here.

I'm excited about my Barnes & Noble signing Saturday, August 6th. I've checked and the books are there (a touch of OCD, don't ya know?). If you're anywhere near Austin, TX, drop into the La Frontera store between 2 pm and 4 pm and say howdy.

I'm giving a class on short story writing for the Savvy Authors' Summer Symposium August 24-28. It's a mini-workshop with some exercises designed to put novel writers more at ease when they go short. You can sign up for the Symposium on the main site, then click on the individual classes you'd like to take. Mine is called When Shorter is Better. If you're a novelist who fears short stories, give it a try. You might like it!