Does life really begin?
Well...that's a question for another day. For now though, do we all start somewhere? Or do some of us not start at all? Well, I guess even that opens up a whole new can of worms.
For now...let me introduce you to today's guest poster. Welcome, Patricia Neuman:
How We Got Our Start
Once upon a time, two (unbeknownst to each other) wannabe authors lived in Minnesota. Yep, their names were Roz and Patty. They met through mutual friend Lee, whom they both adored, in part because she was a real character, in the best sense of the word.
Not long after they met, Patty moved to South Dakota. Roz and Patty developed their friendship via letters (remember those things?) and occasional, all-too-expensive, long-distance phone calls (anyone in this day of unlimited long-distance remember THOSE?).
When Roz’s letters arrived, Patty read them aloud to her husband, and the couple chuckled frequently and even guffawed from time to time. When Roz read Patty’s letters to her husband, he said, “Point, point” – something Patty rarely got to. Not quickly, anyway.
Patty told Roz she should be a writer because of her keen Brit wit (Roz is a born-and-bred Londoner who now lives in Texas; but back to Minnesota and South Dakota for now). Roz told Patty that she had actually written short stories when she was a teen. Then Patty confessed that she, too, had written (unpublished) short stories and essays for Redbook Magazine and the like. So they each subscribed to Writer’s Digest and The Writer Magazine and began their writing careers in earnest. Separately.
They wrote and shared with each other their yet-to-be (soon-to-be?) published novels (watch for Trousseau and Tangled Webs – in the distant future, if not sooner). Then both came to a creeping if not screeching halt.
So one day Roz called Patty and said, “How about we start a writing exercise? I’ll go first and send you a segment, you can add a segment and send it back, and so forth. At least we’ll be writing.”
And write the friends did. After about 100 pages, one of the friends turned it into a murder mystery. After a few more pages, one of them said, “This is really good!” And thus the friends eventually finished their first co-authored novel. It wasn’t the first of the Val & Kit Mystery Series, but rather a stand-alone murder mystery. Aptly titled Segments, it also remains yet-to-be (soon-to-be?) published. The friends won’t define soon J but watch for it in the near or distant future, too.
For now, they’re busy trying to get the 2nd in the Val & Kit Mystery Series to their readers, who are clamoring for it. Seriously. And they’re busy pinching themselves.
As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.
Are you top notch or are you egotistical?
As a writer and as a reader?
Are you the absolute best at what you do and no one, anywhere, anytime, in any manner is qualified to give you advice of any type?
Are you open to hearing advice because any little tidbit can help you grow and improve?
This sprung into my mind because I've been seeing a trend lately. A bad trend. We've always had a few writers in our community that have the elitist mentality. They believe they are better than everyone else, period. And, although there's a ton of trash in our community, which hurts our community overall, the elitist mentality does NOT help our cause, either.
Some countries actually very much discourage this type of thinking, and we can all learn a bit from that. There's nothing wrong with being humble. Nothing at all. Who knows, you may actually make another friend or two if you're a bit more humble.
There's also nothing wrong with having pride in your work...but then there's pride and there's ego. Two different things. No matter what country you're in, from Australia to Japan to Russia to Europe to South America to Canada to the U.S.A., ego is the same everywhere. And ego is not a good thing.
I admit, this does not just affect indie writers. Some of the biggest branded big names have big egos as well. However, that affects them. That affects the major companies. Indie authors have enough going against them as it is. Why add an over-inflated ego to that equation?
So, are you top notch or are you egotistical?
And now, time to introduce Seumas...fully clothed:
IT”S AS MUCH FUN AS YOU CAN HAVE WITH YOUR CLOTHES ON
Now I’m on the tiger, I can’t get off..
… and I really don’t want to get off. You know these crazy bucket lists, somewhere between ‘saving Africa from Justin Beiber’ and ‘getting everybody in France to speak English'? I’ve had tons of them. As a kid I wanted to be a drummer, then a football player, Scottish style (very elegant ball dribbler). That was superseded by a yearn to make tons of money as a gambling bookie. Next up came the Stones and Eric Clapton and Freddy Mercury…all change again, front man in a great band it had to be. Then along came that thing that John Lennon spoke about, ‘life happening when you’re busy doing other things..’ Oh, yeah, life. That thing. Well that thing triggered off with the standard Glasgow practice issue of punching my father out when I was fifteen, and off I went with a duffle bag and an old acoustic guitar, into that big wonderful world out there.
Now, over forty years on, the history I look back on astounds me. That surely wasn’t me becoming a bank employee, then a bank officer, then, Oh God help us, the man in charge running banks all over the planet. Sounds too proper, too correct, too boring. Well it would’ve been except… except along came a twenty year war with booze that I didn’t win. I hammered it in Europe and Asia, got my licks into it in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, but bugger me, it never gave up…by the time we got to round fifteen in Singapore, it had me beat on a points
count. I declared a truce. Round about then I was sent (a slum lad no less) to Harvard to re-tread the brain box. To get their money back, my employers made me corporate Mr Fixit, jumping on planes to this, that and the other mess that needed the surgery applied. Why I am I telling you all this? Because that’s where the boredom stopped and all the great experiences started to pile in. Hong Kong has its own magic for any foreigner. Asia gave a range of cultures…Bangkok, Seoul, Japan, China, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei,…and the characters that zone in and out of these places are just that…characters that you’d normally only see in books and the movies. I loved all of it.
I’ve been in Abu Dhabi since 2004 but the workout before that was a stricken ferry company in Manila in the Philippines. The first thing I did was fire 600 trade union dockside workers. That got me to the top of the Christmas Card list, and a present of an armoured car with half a dozen armed body guards. These lads were SAS-trained, and so were born the guts of the characters in my debut novel THE VIOLIN MAN”S LEGACY. There’s things which work within the law, but the stuff that goes on under the radar is always more fascinating.
So, back to the ride on the tiger…the writing. The book was finished three years ago and was promptly despatched to forty agents. Just as swiftly it attracted forty rejection slips. So, what to do? Give up there? No bloody way. This was my baby. There was too much of me in it not to let it see the light of day properly. I got it appraised professionally, then re-edited a couple of times. Now what? The 'now what?' was amazing. In the middle of last year, someone suggested Kindle. Now, understand this. As a 24 carat computer Jurassic, I’d never heard of
Kindle. It was explained to me single syllable words. On to Kindle it went. In the first three weeks it got 80 downloads and I thought “Karamba, I’m a published author!” I then started asking email pals, to get email pals, to pass it on. Within the next three months it exceeded 7,000 downloads, and at the last count it’s now tracking well over 16,000 paid hits. The writing‘s the easy part, getting the mother out there is the real work. As a businessman, the decision for me is easy. It calls for a proper campaign of blogs, review sites, Twitter, visibility, visibility, visibility, and oh, by the way, write a decent piece of work.
The second novel, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK, is well in progress with three other story concepts to follow, all in the same series, all about the ex-SAS guys taking on a host of various criminals, using their black operations skills. It’s a helluva blast, and I don’t see it being any less fun for the foreseeable future.
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