Thank You for all Your Support

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. I hope you are having an amazing week. This month marks my third year as a published author. Crazy, right? This week I thought I would take a moment and thank you all for being around and taking the time to support my writing. There are a lot of authors out there and if you’re a reader, I’m sure you have a stack of books fighting for your attention. So, thank you for adding my books to your stacks.

Another thing I wanted to do this week is share some amazing reviews and graphics that have been created for my books and short stories. If you post a review to a public forum, there is a chance a portion of your comments (no names are associated with the review) will be used for promotional materials, which I think is pretty amazing. So if you’ve taken the time to review any of my works, check out the graphics to see if you can see if your comments are being used.

Here are some pieces that have been created for each story.

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What do you think? Tell me in the comments below.

As a reminder book reviews are incredibly important, so if you’ve read a book and you want to help my works reach more readers please leave a review on one of your favorite platforms. Another way you can help get the word out about my works is by sharing my posts and encouraging your other readers you may know to buy my books. If you live here in the US and want to signed copy, you can always order one through my website (click here) and I would be thrilled to send you a signed copy.

If you would like to buy any of my books you can find them here.

NineStar Press: https://bit.ly/2VroALu

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2U3Kx65

Barnes & Nobel: https://bit.ly/2NxRypZ

iTunes: https://apple.co/2EneUKQ

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2IDBcxk

Remember, you can always leave me questions below, or you can contact me directly (click here) I always respond to your questions and comments as best as I can. As always, don’t forget to share and like this post. Until next time have a great week.

Am I Really a Fraud and a Failure?

Wow! A new month, October no less. This time of year happens to be my personal favorite. However, these past few weeks a blanket of sadness has covered me and my family as I have lost my sister, Dawn, to cancer. It has been a challenging time, and each day has both highs and lows. These past few weeks have seen more lows than highs, and I have taken many moments to stop and ponder my writing and what I’m doing. I debated quite a bit about this blog post, but I finally decided I would post it and share some of my thoughts about this writing adventure I’ve been on.  So, here we go.

This month is special as back on October 23, 2017 my first short story was published by NineStar Press. The story in question, The Reunion, it’s my first short story and if you aren’t familiar with the plot here is the brief blurb:

It’s been twenty years since the quiet Midwestern town of Lakeview was struck by tragedy. But every year on the anniversary of the event Teddy returns home for ‘The Reunion’. Lakeview, like Teddy, has secrets and not all mysteries should come to light.

This time period was special for a different reason a darker reason, it was also around this time that we learned that Dawn had a cyst on her neck that needed to be removed. We would find out later that it was cancer.

This is me with my sister Dawn. I often say that my husband, Eric, is my biggest supporter, and he is, however, Dawn was my fist Champion and Protector.

This is me with my sister Dawn. I often say that my husband, Eric, is my biggest supporter, and he is, however, Dawn was my fist Champion and Protector.

When it came to my short story, I remember being thrilled. Of course I told Dawn, and she was as excited as I was. I wasn’t able to believe that anything I wrote would ever be published. She of course never doubted me.

I still have these feelings two years later, but now she is no longer here to remind me that I am good enough.

With The Reunion coming out I knew I had one more short story coming out in December 2017, A Dragon for Christmas (which was dedicated to her and my niece), and in January 2018 my debut novel, The Calling would be launched. So much was happening, and it was crazy roller coaster ride. At the time I had a group of wonderful people around me helping me work through planning a launch party and helping me set up all the back end details that are associated with being a Writer. With these amazing people including my sister and the rest of my family, I could be more excited.

It was great.

Fast forward to today and here I am, I have four novels out, and two short stories. I’m currently working on the edits for the next novel in my A New World series Conspiracy and I’m working on the edits for the sequel to The Calling. This is all amazing. I’ve accomplished something that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are never able to do, and I’m grateful. I count myself as a lucky man.

But as I mentioned, Dawn isn’t physically here to share in my joy anymore and that is difficult.

By now you are probably wondering why the title of this post is called Feeling like a Fraud and a Failure. Well, because if I’m honest I feel like a fraud and a failure, since October 2017 I’ve learned a lot about the writing and publishing world. I’ve also learned about and met so many amazing authors who tell these stories that touch your soul, and here I am writing fluff. I’m not complaining, I love my stories and I love the writing I’m able to share with people, however, my writing is mind candy, it doesn’t really do anything for you, it’s enjoyable for the moment and just as easily forgotten when you are finished.

I think part of all this, has to do with the loss of Dawn, I know she is still around me spiritually. She is still, of course, cheering me on, but I miss being able to call her and talk to her on the drive home. Somehow talking to her reminded me of my specialness.

I never set out to be a serious, hard-hitting author who tells stories that make you think. I’ve only wanted to write stories that are fun and take you on an adventure.

Now, I sit here wondering why. Why not write something profound? Why not write something with meaning? Why not write something that will change the world? Why not write something that makes a difference? The answer I come up with is that I’m a fraud. I’m not a real author, real authors write those kinds of stories, but I don’t. I’m the empty calories you enjoy for the moment then when you’re finished you wonder why you ate that candy at all.

I think, as writers, we all want our work to have some kind of meaning. Some kind of impact on people or on society. Part of my writing journey has been listening to other authors share their stories some write to make a difference, some write to be famous, some write to make money, some write for fun.

Why do I write?

I like to think I write to tell good stories that people can relate to, but looking back on what I’ve written I wonder are they good stories that people can relate to? Are they anything more than just a random collection of words on a page that a few people will enjoy? Does it matter? Mostly, I wonder why I feel like I’m a fraud and a failure when I’ve accomplished more in my writing in the last two years than most people will every accomplish?

Dawn, was older than me and I always wanted her to be proud of me. I know she is, I saw it the last time I went to visit her and brought her copies of my books and she cried, because she was so excited. I know she supported me in what she shared on Social Media about me and my silly little collection of words.

Please, forgive this whining and this moment of reflection I don’t want anyone who reads this (all five of you, including my husband) to think I’m unhappy or ungrateful, because I’m not. I wake up every day look at the copies of my physical books sitting on their little stands and remind myself of what I’ve accomplished and how blessed I really am.

I think, today, as we are getting closer to my family’s private memorial for my sister, all of this is hitting me hard, because it’s all becoming more and more real to me.

Thank you for letting me share this. I shall step out of the light and move on to brighter topics and continue to remind myself of what I’ve done. I won’t just be doing this for me, I’ll be writing for my sister too, because I can’t let her down, she has faith in me and my writing and that is pretty powerful, well, at least to me. Tell me do you ever feel like you are a fraud or a failure in what you do? Do you have moments of doubt and indulge in a little self-pity? Do you have someone in your life who reminds you to keep following your dream? Share your comments below and let me know that I’m not the only one who feels like this.  In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.

June 2019 Writing Updates

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Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I wanted to shine the spotlight on some things I’ve been up to. As you know I’ve been focusing a lot on other authors, so today I wanted to share my updates.

It’s been a busy six months. As you all know, I’ve released two new novels. Books 1 and 2 of my A New World series. Contact (book 1) and Conviction (book 2) have done amazingly well and have gotten some outstanding reviews. Both books can be found on Goodreads lists of Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books and Best Science Fiction Books (click here), which is exciting as this is the same list with such incredible works as Dune, 1984, and Brave New World. I’m honored that my novels are even on the same list as these amazing works.

Also, within the past six months I’ve launch a store here on my website (click here) where, for now, if you live here in the United States you can get signed copies of my novels currently out in print (The Calling, Contact, and Conviction). And, until the end of the month you can get 25% off my books by using the promo code: PRIDE19 at check out. It’s a wonderful way for you to support me and to get a signed copy of my books especially if you can’t make it to one of the events I’m attending.

Speaking of events, two weeks ago I was at SacPride. It was a very windy, but fun event and I got to meet a lot of folks and connect with readers and fans. I had a blast.  A big thanks to QSAC for the invite. Check out the photos here.

Not only have I been attending events, but I’ve been featured in the media; Outlook Video, Wrote Podcast, Divine Magazine, and The Writescast Network and that’s only since January 2019. To see all my media interviews click here.

Coming up next on the engagement front, me and three other area authors will be at the Billy DeFrank Center (click here) on August 16th talking about LGBTQIA writing and what our experiences have been in the writing community. It should be a great conversation so if you’re in the area I hope you can come by. Also, we will sell our books, with a portion of the proceeds going to the DeFrank Center to support their mission and their work in the LGBTQIA Community. You can find more info here.

On the writing front, I’ve finally finished all my edits for book 3 (Conspiracy) of my A New World series and the book is off to the publishers for them to pick up (keep your fingers crossed).

Also, in my writing world. I’m wrapping up the edits for T.A.D.-The Angel of Death so you can look for that novel coming out in the Fall 2019. To find out more about my newest novel click here.

One final writing update is that The Called (book 2 of my The Calling series) is finally getting wrapped up. I should finish the first draft in the next few weeks, which means from there it goes into the editing process. I know a lot of you have been patiently waiting, so I’m looking forward to getting this book out to you hopefully in 2020 or early 2021.

Well Scribblers that is all I have for you this week. Remember, if you have questions for me leave them in the comments below or you can email me at info@mdneu.com Don’t forget to show your love by liking and sharing this blog post with other readers. In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.

A New World-Contact has Arrived

Happy 2019. I hope you are all having a wonderful new year. Can you believe we are already almost to the end of January? Wow!

This week A New World-Contact has arrived, and it’s already gotten some amazing reviews. Check them out here on Goodreads and here on Amazon. It’s incredible and I couldn’t be more thrilled. As I mentioned last week, I have a lot of virtual and personal engagements planned for the next several months. You can click here for all the details I shared last week.

I wanted to share what is coming up next. Well, A New World-Conviction will be released on March 11, 2019 so you won’t have to wait long for the next book. Find our more about it here. Also, coming out on June 24, 2019 I have my urban fantasy T.A.D.-The Angel of Death. Learn more about TAD here. It will be a busy few months, but I’m excited and it is my hope you will enjoy what I have in store.

I haven’t forgotten about The Calling-Book Two, which has the working title of The Called. I’m getting the first draft finished and as promised this will be the last book of the series, but you never know what other stories will come out of this universe.

Also, regarding my A New World series book three Conspiracy is finished and working through Beta reads right now.

Those are all the current updates I have right now. Next week I’m honored to bring to my Scribble Page author Barbara Russell (find out more about Barbara here), she will talk to us about her current and upcoming books which I can assure you are great reads.

If you have questions please share them in the comments section below. If you want to help me out, please share my website with your friends and family especially if you know anyone who loves Paranormal writing or Sci Fi books remember to recommend me. The other way you can help me out is to leave a review of my books. Reviews really make a difference. Check out Amazon reviews here.

Until next time have a great week.

October Updates and Special Announcement

Wow, can you believe we are already in October? Crazy right? This week I wanted to provide a personal and writing update. Also, I have an exciting special announcement so stay tuned (this is a Scribbler Exclusive). Let’s get to it shall we.

The last few months a lot has been going on with my writing and me. If you’ve been following along then you know we have been amid a bathroom remodel. We can now see light at the end of the tunnel. Thank goodness! It hasn’t been that bad, but it’s exhausting. I’ll be thrilled when construction is over and we have, not only, our bathroom back, but also our house (if you want to see the images from the construction check them out here and here). Once everything is complete, I’ll provide a final update with photos for you to check out.

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When it comes to my writing, I’m working on The Calling – Book 2, which I’m toying with naming… The Called. There are a couple of reasons for this name, which I can’t get into now, no spoilers and all, but the name is significant within the story. Also, it was one of the names suggested by a reader over on my Facebook Page (check it out here). What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Overall, the writing is going well and my goal is to have the first draft finished by the end of the year, which is ambitious, but we’ll see. Should be a piece of cake, right?

Oh, did you see the character interviews I have with two popular characters from The Calling? If you want to know more about Victor Rey (click here) and Juliet de Exter (click here). You need to check them out, they were a ton of fun and you might get hints into what may be coming in The Called - Book 2 in The Calling Series.

This month I will be getting the edits from my Editor for A New World – Contact Part One (learn more by clicking here) which is slated for release on January 21, 2019. As with The Calling there will be a launch party here in San Jose. If you’re in the area or can make it out this way stay tuned for more details in the early part of January 2019. I hope to see you there, last year it was a lot of fun… just saying.

Believe it or not, I have a second book coming out next year T.A.D – The Angel of Death (learn more by clicking here) it be released on March 11, 2019. As with A New World – Contact there will be many more details as we approach launch day.

I’m looking forward to sharing these new characters and new universes I’ve created with you.

Now for my Special Announcement. This is a Scribbler’s Exclusive… drum roll, please…

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I have a limited number of copies of The Calling, which I will personalize, autograph, and send out to folks in the US for $20. This is a print book, and the cost covers the physical book and shipping (standard USPS mail nothing fancy). To be part of this limited exclusive offer of The Calling First Edition please email me at info@mdneu.com and we can work out the details (name, mailing address, and payment). If you are outside the US and would like to take advantage of this amazing deal, please email me and let’s see what we can work out. I will keep this offer open for a limited time (I’m not saying when it will end). And remember for right now this is a Scribbler Exclusive, so take advantage of it now before time runs out and I open it up.

Well gang, that’s all I have this week. Coming up later this month, I have a couple of amazing interviews so keep an eye open. Remember to like and share below. See you all next week.

Writing Update – June 2018

Happy Wednesday Scribblers.  I hope you are all having an amazing Summer. This week I thought I would provide my writing updates and share my cool media spotlights. Let’s jump in, shall we?

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I’m excited to share I’ve been moving forward with The Calling–Book Two. The outline is complete, and the writing has started.  I’m four chapters in and I’m digging how things are going. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will share this. Now that the threat from the witches has been neutralized in Book One (have you read The Calling-Book One? If not click here) we are left with magic seeping into our world. Which could lead to a big shift in our reality. Will we see more mystical beings?  And what was Chris’s vision?  Are we heading for a supernatural war?  You must wait to find out.

Do you have some amazing names floating around in your head? If you do, I need three background character names (two men and one woman) they are the new house staff on Juliet’s estate.  If you can think of some good names and want a chance to win a free eBook copy of either; A Dragon for Christmas or The Reunion, check out my Facebook Fan Page for more details (click here). The new characters will appear in The Calling-Book Two

Finally, I want to share my media spots for the last month. Yep, I’ve been making the rounds on both blogs and podcasts:

Frist, I was featured on Nicola Markus Edits; we talked about writing and the editing process.  It was fun and I hope folks take a minute to check it out (click here).

Second, How Author’s Work had me on their podcast. It was a great conversation. We chatted about writing, publishing, workflow secrets, tips and tricks, and we talked about my books.  Andrew and Paul were amazing hosts and I hope to join them again. To listen to the interview click here.

That is all for you this week. Short and sweet. Don’t forget sharing is caring. If you know anyone who loves paranormal and fantasy books share my books and my website with them. You can also share this Scribbles Page with friends by clicking the share button below. Until next week have a great week.

What is the Hardest part about Writing a Book – The Marketing

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Recently I was asked; What is the hardest part about writing a book? Without hesitation, my answer was marketing. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I’m not the only one either. Most authors consider marketing in one form or another. Especially after your book has been out for a while. Sales start to drop off and all the excitement of the launch has worn away. So now what?  How do you continue to get your book noticed?

There is no one answer and things can be even more challenging for non-romance gay books.

Here’s the thing. How do you market a non-romance gay book? Gay Romance is a huge market and everything gay seems to be lumped under that umbrella. Last week I found out that my book The Calling is 96th on the Best Gay Vampire Book list (click here), which is part of Best M/M romance featuring gay vampires… um what? I thought my book was a vampire book, not an M/M romance.

Don’t get me wrong, this is exciting and I’m so thankful and grateful especially since I’m a new author with only a few works published. You can find them all here. This free publicity is amazing and I’m hopeful it will be helpful as well, especially with marketing.

However, anyone who has read my book knows it isn’t a gay romance. That’s not what I wrote, yet that is how it is classified. This is a bit of an issue because there is this thing called false advertising and I never want to be criticized for that.

How do I market a non-romance gay book?

I did a Google search asking that question. All that comes up is how to market a gay romance and if straight authors should write gay romance. It definitely defeated the purpose of the question.

So, I went back to the Vampire lists, and I found other lists. Such as Best Vampire Books from “New” Authors, (click here). The Calling is 482nd. Go me! One of the other lists that made me chuckle is Great Vampire Books that Aren’t Twilight (click here). The Calling is 382nd. Also, The Calling is 23rd on the January 2018 MM Releases list (click here).  So, I’m using this news to create a bit of a buzz about my book. I’ve sent out a Facebook post to see if I can get more people to vote for The Calling on those lists. On May 1st I sent out an email blast to my subscribers to see if they would vote for The Calling on these lists.  All to move my book higher on these lists.

Notice, I’m only talking about The Calling and not A Dragon for Christmas or The Reunion. That is because I’m trying to figure out what works so I can duplicate it for these books. This might also be an issue. Should I be marketing all three together?  I’m not sure.

Now back to these Goodreads Lists. Why are they important (or why do I consider them important)? Because to be lumped in with such books as; Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles), Dracula, the Sookie Stackhouse Series, ‘Salem’s Lot, and, even the Twilight Series? Tells potential readers that this book has substance. It also means that The Calling (and soon to be The Calling Two) even though they have a gay main character are of the same caliber as these amazing works and not a vampire sexcapade. This is a difficult stigma to break considering that Gay Romance and Gay Erotica are so popular. It is also what most people imagine when you mention you write LGBTQA Fiction. Ugh... but that whole topic is for another day.

Why these lists, well they are some of the best free marketing, they can help drive sales, and they get my book noticed.

The Calling being number one in any of these categories or being in the top 100 allows me bragging rights and is something I can advertise. Trust me, I will be.  Right now I’m working on ads to capitalize on these lists and this news.

Some additional marketing strategies I’ve been doing: Getting more reviews. Lining up interviews and speaking opportunities. Having fellow Authors on my Scribbles Page. Trying to be more engaging on Social Media (not talking about my books but other topics). Joining Author Groups were we share ideas about marketing and public relations.  

So, yes, the hardest part about writing a book is the marketing. It’s not the writing or the publishing (although both take time and are a lot of work).

Do you have any suggestions on ways to market non-romance gay book? Do you know anyone who loves vampires and witches send them the link to my book (click here)?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Until next week have an amazing week.

April Writing Updates

Scribblers!  I hope you’re all doing well today.  I figured I would provide a few updates today and see where this takes us.

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Update Number One: Last week as some of you may have seen I was a guest on WROTE Podcast.  We had a great conversation about writing, marketing non-gay romance books, and how gay is cross culture, cross race and cross economics.  If you haven’t checked it out click here to go to the show.  It was a lot of fun, so go listen to it you’ll enjoy it.

Update Number Two: This last weekend I finished the first chapter of The Calling – Book Two. What you haven't read The Calling yet (click here to get your copy) As a special treat for you today here are the first four paragraphs for you to sink your fangs into.

I sat with a glass of brandy between my hands focusing on the fire in Juliet’s office. The oranges, reds and yellows danced around the logs releasing a warmth that barley penetrated my worried exterior. The crackling sound tickled my ears as the scent of burning oak lingered in and out of my conscious.  A knot tugged the back of my neck. What was this new vision? Worse yet, what did it have to do with me. Not to mention Juliet, Kirtus, Gregor, and the other Immortals.

“What are you thinking?”  Juliet’s gentle voice pulled me from my thoughts.

How long had I been like this? A minute, a day, a year. I wasn’t sure.  I turned from the fire.  Kirtus sat next to me on the sofa his coat removed, replaced by an air of worry. Gregor’s tall solid frame blocked one of Juliet’s bookcases. All of Juliet’s tombs and books, several of them personal journals of her long life, sat there. Would they be able to unravel this new vision? This new mystery.  They were little help last time. I sipped my brandy hoping it would take the chill from my soul.

I caught Juliet out of the corner of my eye: patient as always. She sat with her ivory pant clad leg crossed and a glass of red in her hand, but deep in her eyes there was unease. Despite her worry, in moments like this, she seemed so young. Nevertheless, behind that façade of youth was the power of an Immortal who had been around for 1650 years. No one should ever underestimate her.

Keep in mind this might change and, of course, I had to remove spoilers from the last book. You never know know who might be reading. I suggest you keep an eye out because I may share more of the story as I write it.

Update Number Three: Next week (May 1st) I’ll be taping an interview with the guys over at How Authors Work.  Check out their recent podcast here.  It should be a lot of fun. We’ll be talking about the writing process, publishing, and all that. I will keep you posted on when the show airs.

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Update Number Four: I’ve been invited to take part on a panel of LGBTQ authors for Pride Month. The event will be on June 25th. County Supervisor Ken Yeager is slated to kick off the event. It should be a lot of fun and as the event gets closer I’ll be sharing more information.  If you’re in the area I hope you’ll be able to stop by.  Again, more details to follow.

Update Number Five: Over the last several weeks I’ve been working on some marketing materials for The Calling.  I can’t wait to share these with you. I think they are turning out great.  So, again more info to follow.

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Update Number Six: On a personal note I wanted to share with you all that I’ve picked up two new books to read. I can’t wait to dig into them.  One is 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson and the others is Bones and Bourbon by fellow NineStar Press author Dorian Graves. This is Dorian’s debut novel so go check it out (here is the link) we’ve been chatting about her book and I’m excited to read it.  Once I finish her novel, I’ll be giving it a full review here. In addition, I want to see if I can get Dorian over to do an interview. Here is where you can find Dorian, go show her some love, she’s amazing find her here

Well Scribblers, that’s all for this week.  Have a great week.  Did I miss something?  Is there something you wanted me to mention but didn’t?  Let me know down in the comments below.  Also, I was thinking about doing another ‘Five Things About Me’ blog.  Lastly, give me a heads up if that is something you want me to do again (here is the last one) and if you have any personal questions for me.

Announcements

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Today I wanted to share some exciting announcements. First, I want to let you know (and you’re the first to hear the news) that NineStar Press will publish my Science Fiction novel A New World–Contact.  To keep the purchase price of the book reasonable they will release A New World–Contact in two parts. The book is hovering around 170,000 words (about 652 pages).  We are aiming to release Part One around the end of the year with Part Two coming out a few months later.  There won’t be a long delay between release dates.  Both parts of the book will be available in eBook format and paperback. So, keep an eye open for more news as we get closer to the launch date. If you want to learn more about A New World–Contact check it out here.

Second, on March 8th I’ll be interviewed on Outlook Video. Outlook Video is a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender monthly public access cable program and is associated with the Billy DeFrank Lesbian and Gay Community Center. Once I know when the show is to air, I’ll share it.

Click here for more information

Click here for more information

Click here for more information

Click here for more information

Third, on the writing front. This week I submitted a new manuscript to NineStar Press for evaluation.  The working title is T.A.D and the story is about an angel and drag queen.  It's a lot of fun. My hope is NineStar Press will pick it up.  So keep your fingers crossed.

One more writing update, this Thursday March 1st. I’ll have a featured Blog Post on NineStar Press.  You’ll be able to check out the post here however, I’ll be sharing the links on my social media pages.

You can see a lot is happening.

Before I sign off for the week, I want to mention how thrilled I am that The Calling is doing so well.  It’s gotten several 5–star reviews on Amazon and as of this writing the book has a 4.4 overall star rating.  Not to forget A Dragon for Christmas or The Reunion they are at a 4.5–star rating and a 4.7–star rating respectively.

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Why am I mentioning this? Because ratings and reviews are very important for books and writers (especially lesser known authors like me). In almost every article written about helping your favorite author, ratings and reviews, are always in the top five, along with buying the book and recommending the book. Don’t take my word for it, here is an article by the Huffington Post with 10 Ways to Help Your Favorite Author. Click here. Here’s another article from Mill City Press that also offers some amazing ideas. Click here. If you want to try any of these out, I’ll happily be your test subject.

Are you ready to help me reach that goal? Have you read all or some of my books? Do you have an Amazon account? Do you want to be a part of my book’s success?

Yes.

GREAT!

You don’t have write a full review, simply click on the 1–5 stars is a great help.

Click here to go to Amazon to rate my books.

Click here to go to Amazon to rate my books.

Why is this important to me as a new author? Because once I hit twenty-five reviews the book will be eligible to be turned into an audio book.  In addition, another benefit is that once the magic number is reached Amazon will start marketing the book in the ‘if you like this book, than you might also enjoy this book’.

As my thank you, for your review, I will share it on my Facebook Fan Page and my Twitter feed to show the world how awesome you are.

On that note. I hope you all have a great week.  I love hearing from folks so feel free to leave me questions and comments below.

Five Money Saving Tips for the New Year and a Writing Update

Since it’s the New Year I thought we could all use some money saving tips. So here are ten of my favorites:

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1. Cook instead of eating out.  Considering how expensive it is to eat out, try cooking at home more.  It’s cheaper and you are eating more healthful especially since you know what you are cooking and what you are putting into it.

2. If you have direct deposit with your job have them take a hundred dollars from your paycheck and have it sent to a Credit Union or your savings account.  If you don’t have direct deposit have your bank do an automatic withdrawal from your checking account and putting it in your savings account on the same day you are paid. And if you want to be really old school put twenty dollars a week in an envelope and keep it put away.  Regardless of how you do it the money is gone so you won’t miss it and you’ll be surprised at how quickly it adds up.

3. If you like movies go on cheap nights.  Most theaters note only offer matinee pricing but usually once a week, typically a Monday or Tuesday the tickets will be about half the cost of what they would be on a Friday or Saturday. 

4. Along with cooking at home, double your recipe so you have leftovers to take for lunch.  If you can save the $10 for lunch each day that is about $200 a month you are saving. Even if you don’t like, or have leftovers, make a sandwich and take a piece of your favorite fruit, it’s a lot cheaper than eating out everyday.

5. This is a big one.  Make your coffee at home before you go to work and take it in a travel mug.  You can still go out of your Starbucks once in a while but at $5 (on average) for one Starbuck’s coffee the cost adds up.  It’ll surprise you how much you can save even if you just cut out one or two Starbucks a week.

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Bonus. Buy what you can in bulk; laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, meat, cheese, cereal, milk, coffee, etc. These are things you’re going to use and when you buy them in small amounts can cost you a lot, but in bulk it will save you money.

These are all tips that Eric and I use (with the exception of the coffee we don’t drink coffee) and we’ve saved a lot of money.  It won’t make you rich, but it will sure help keep the money in the wallet. If you have any tips, share them below.

Writing Update:

What a busy start of the year I’ve had.  As you all know I had my book launch for The Calling this month and had an amazing write up in the San Jose Mercury News (click here for the article).  I also, had my first ever Blog Tour thank you to IndiGo Marketing.  If you want to check out each days stop, click on the day below:

Day One: The Blogger Girls
Day Two: Love Byters Reviews
Day Three: Queer Sci Fi
Day Four: Divine Magazine
Day Five: The Novel Approach

I also took some much-needed time off.  Eric and I went down to Disneyland for a week.  We hung out with some family and some amazing friends. It was a great break. Here are a couple fun pictures from our trip if you want to suffer through and check them out.

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While I was on vacation, I got to finish The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth.  Its a wonderful story and such a joy to read.  If you want to check out my review of the novel click here.  This is a must read if you love Science Fiction.  It has something for everyone. Buy it here.

For a quick writing update I wanted to share that, at this moment my publisher is evaluating A New World – Contact and I’m hoping to have more information on that soon.  I’m also working on book two of my New World Series and I’m over a three-quarters of the way through.

Which means, I’ll be working on the sequel to The Calling in the coming months. I have the second book outlined and I’m working on the finer points of the plot, but that doesn’t mean everything is set in stone.  So if there something special you would like to see in book two of The Calling now’s your chance to weigh in.  You can make your suggestions below in the comments section.  Please try to avoid spoilers. Let’s have a little fun with this.

Until next week have a great week.

2018 New Year Update

First Off.  Happy 2018.  I hope you all have a wonderful new year.

What a difference a year makes.  So much happened last year, and this year promises to be just as busy.  Last year I released two short stories (The Reunion and A Dragon for Christmas) through my publisher NineStar Press. Both short stories have been well reviewed, and they have seemed to resonate with people.  So if you haven’t checked them out yet you can buy them on Amazon here or on Barnes & Noble here

Some of you know, I was a judge for the Rainbow Awards (which was an absolute blast) I got to read some amazing books.  I’m hoping to get to do that again this year.

Author M.D. Neu signing books.

Author M.D. Neu signing books.

Also, last year I finalized by debut novel The Calling, for release on January 1, 2018.  There was a lot to get ready (editing, more editing and pre-launch marketing) it was a lot of work but I couldn’t be happier. On January 1, 2018 The Calling was released to wonderful reviews. Then on January 11, 2018 I had the official book launch and signing. Which absolutely would not have happened without my amazing friends and family.  It was an incredible experience.  We had about 70 people show up.  For the event we had food, wine, Champaign, a wonderful introduction provided by Jean Blomquist renowned editor and writer for over 25 years, and of course a reading of The Calling by me.  I’m so blessed to have had such an amazing night.  I was doubly blessed when fellow NineStar Press author K. S. Trenten showed up to join in the celebration; she’s so cool I’m hoping to get her on my Scribbles Page until than check her our here and find her books here

M. D. Neu with fellow Author K. S. Trenten

M. D. Neu with fellow Author K. S. Trenten

With all this happening I managed to eek out time to read several wonderful stories, most of which I’ve already spoken about.  However, the latest is this wonderful story by author SA Collins (find out more about SA Colins here), Angels of Mercy – Diary of a Quarterback – Part 1: Kind of Imperfections. If you want to check out my review, you can find it here. You should add it to your reading list buy his novel here.

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What’s coming in 2018? Well, in the short term I’m going to be on a blog tour next week promoting The Calling so stay tuned for that.  Also, I’m going to be looking at doing a more in person events this year.  To that affect in April I will be a guest on WROTE Pod Cast (check them out here), which I’m excited about so I’ll keep you posted on that.  As for writing, well, I’ll be working on the second book of The Calling and hopefully in the next few weeks I’m going to have an announcement about my Sci-Fi book series A New World.  I’ve also got a few more short stories I’m hoping will get released.

On the Blog front I will to continue to bring you fellow authors who have amazing works, I hope you take the time to pick up their books, because these folks are so talented that it would be a shame if you missed them.  I’m also, going to be much better about posting new poetry at the very least once a month, so if you don’t see any new poetry bug me about it, cause I love sharing that part of my writing with you.

Well I think that is all for this week.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to be adding an events section to the website where I plan on sharing photos and the video from the launch party of The Calling as well as other in person events I do. Oh and keep an eye out for “Who’s reading The Calling” this should be fun, if you want a little hint of what’s coming check out my Facebook Page.

Anyway, if there is something you want me to share or something you have questions about, please feel free to let me know.  I love hearing from you.

Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful and blessed Holiday Season.

Have a wonderful and blessed Holiday Season.

I wanted to take this moment to wish you a very merry Christmas and thank you for being so supportive of me and my writing.  If you’ve been following along this whole year, you understand it’s been filled with amazing highs (three books picked up by my publisher, NineStar Press) and painful lows (Illness and deaths of several close family members). Still, I’m so blessed to share not only my thoughts with you all here, on my Scribbles page, but also, I’m able to share three wonderful stories with you. Click here for Amazon and here for NineStar Press where you can buy my books.

This year Eric and I are hosting a holiday party.  We haven’t done one of these in quite a few years, so I’m sure there will be pictures which I’ll share either here or on my FB page.  Also, during this holiday season I plan to finish reading, Diary of a Quarterback–Part 1: King of Imperfections, by S.A. Collins.  I, also hope to get more writing done. Even though I get just over a week off, I’m gonna be busy.

Feel free to share what you are doing for the holiday.  I love to hear from you.  So drop me a note and let me know.

Have a great holiday everyone.

All about San Jose, California

In anticipation of my two upcoming stories, A Dragon for Christmas (my holiday short story) coming out next week on December 18th (click here to learn more) and my debut novel, The Calling coming out January 1st (click here to learn more) I wanted to share some locations that will appear in both these stories.  Actually, a friend of mine asked me to do this blog post, and I thought it might be fun.  So, here we go…

Let’s start with, A Dragon for Christmas.  There are several places in this holiday short but let’s focus on some key locations.

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First, the Dragon Training Facility.  This is the location were Carmen trains for her dragon. The training is difficult and only those that are special are considered for training.  Because of the health risks involved, I wanted a location near a medical facility and I could think of no better location than Stanford Medical Center. Here is a picture of the Center as it is in real life.  However, it’s much different in the story.

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The next location that I thought would be fun to share is Plaza de Cesar Chavez where every year San Jose hosts Christmas in the Park. When not hosting Christmas in the Park the park sees a variety of other events throughout the year.  It’s located in the heart of downtown San Jose and worth checking out any time of year.

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The last location I want to share is Carmen’s neighborhood. This is where she grew up.  Much like me Carmen grew up in East San Jose.  Not as popular, or as expensive, as Willow Glen or the Rose Garden. East San Jose is a mix of different cultures and has a rich vibrant atmosphere, which is why I had Carmen grow up here.


The Calling, much like A Dragon for Christmas is set in and around San Jose.  I include locations as far North as Los Altos Hills and as far South as Morgan Hill.  The main character Duncan comes to the area on vacation and never leaves.  Here are some key locations I used in, The Calling.  I hope you get a chance to explore them someday.

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Santana Row.  This is where we are introduced to Duncan.  He is sitting and enjoying his lunch when our story begins.  Santana Row is a large shopping, dining, entertainment and living space in San Jose.  It’s more than a shopping center it’s a destination and given its popularity and beauty I couldn’t think of a better location to start.

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The Winchester Mystery House. Even though only briefly mentioned at the start of the story its worth a mention here.  Duncan had spent an afternoon here before the story started.  After he toured the site, he crossed over to Santana Row for lunch.  Sometimes I wonder if maybe his visit to the Winchester Mystery House had anything to do with the future events in the book.

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The 88. The luxury condo high-rise in downtown San Jose The 88 seemed only fitting for one of my characters, Victor, to call home.  In the book I changed the name to, The Heights, so I could experiment with the building a little more and giving Victor and the building more of a presence in downtown.  Nevertheless, make no mistake, The 88 didn’t need much of a tweak.  It’s an amazing building with fantastic views of San Jose and the rest of the valley.

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Westfield Valley Fair. Somehow, shopping and shopping centers played heavily in this story. Westfield Valley Fair, much like Santana Row, was a necessary location for the story.  This is the largest mall in the area and they keep expanding it.  This mall also has a few shops there were required for the story.  I won’t say much more, but if you get a chance to check it out do it.

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Los Altos/Los Altos Hills. Not technically part of San Jose, however, I needed a location for Juliet to live that would suit her.  I worked in Los Altos for three years and it really left a mark on me.  When I started to put the story together I was going to have Juliet live in Willow Glen. However, when I fleshed out her character I realized she wouldn’t live in San Jose. Instead she needed to live just outside of the San Jose and I couldn’t think of a better location for her than Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.  Her home needed to be kept close to San Jose, and having her outside of San Jose kept the city as the perfect backdrop for her and the story.

I hope you got a little taste for each of my stories and the locations they are set.  Clearly, there are many more locations, to many for me to go into here.  However, you’ll get to read about them when you pick up your copies of both, A Dragon for Christmas and, The Calling.

Until next week, have a wonder week.  For my wonderful Jewish friends Happy Hanukkah.

A Dragon for Christmas Cover Reveal and other Exciting News

So much has been happening these last few weeks it’s hard to keep it all straight. First, the launch of my first short story, The Reunion. Coming up, I will take part in a launch party with other NineStar Press Authors. Then, I will welcome my first guest blogger. After that I will be planning my own January 2018 book launch of, The Calling. Finally, not to be forgotten is the release of my second short story, A Dragon for Christmas coming out on December 18. So, today first and foremost here is the beautiful cover art for my new holiday eBook, A Dragon for Christmas. Click here for more information on the story.

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As I mentioned there are several other things happening. On November 20, 2017 I will take part in an online launch party with other NineStar Authors. This will be an all-day event, where you get to chat with Authors, learn about their works, play games, ask questions and maybe win prizes. The event starts at 9am (EST) and ends at 1am (EST). I’ll be on-line at 8pm (PST) 11pm (EST) right after my buddy J.P. Jackson. For more info on the event and what authors will be on-line and when click here. Oh, and not to fear, I’ll be giving away goodies.  So, stop on by and say, “hello”.

Next, on November 29, 2017 I plan on welcoming Morticia Knight as a special guest blogger. Morticia is a best-selling author of M/M erotic romance who spends most of her nights writing. She’s been fortunate enough to have several books on bestseller lists, along with three titles receiving recognition from the Rainbow Book Awards. To learn more about Morticia check her out here.

I can’t wait to welcome her to my blog as she writes in a completely different genre than I do, and I’m sure she’ll have some wonderful information to share with us.

As you all know, The Reunion just came out a few weeks ago (it still amazes me to say that) and its doing exceptionally well.  As of today is has 4.6-stars on Amazon and 4.18-stars on Goodreads.  It’s also been reviewed on Amazon UK hovering at 4-stars and on NineStar Press with a 5-star rating. I hope you have time to check it out and enjoy it before my next eBook comes out. The two works are completely different so it’ll be fun to hear what everyone has to say.

Speaking of NineStar Press, on November 14, 2017 I will be a guest blogger on their Blog.  The title of my blog post is, Why I Write and How the Stories Come to me. I hope you’ll check it out.  I’m flattered to be on their Blog and I hope to do it again.

Some amazing news I want to tease here is that in January 2018, not only will my first full length novel, The Calling come out (thank you NineStar Press), but with the help of some wonderful friends we are planning a Book Launch Party.  Not just any old book launch party but this will be a huge event. I can’t share details here yet, but trust me when I tell you it’s a big deal. I’m very excited and as soon as I can share more information with you I will.

This event will do Juliet proud… oh wait, you haven’t met Juliet yet. Well, on January 1, 2018 when, The Calling is released you will. I can assure you, this event is something Juliet would be thrilled with.

Who Loves You

Finally, over the last two weeks I’ve had the opportunity to read, Who Loves You by Emily Alter. It was a great read and you can check out my review and the book here. If you love character driven stories, you should read this novel.

Well, these are all the updates I have for you today.  As always I encourage you to ask questions and leave comments. I love hearing from you.  Also, please remember to like and share, because it makes a difference.  Until next week.

Writing & Personal Update

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It’s time for another Writing Update and given all that has happened over the last several weeks there is no better time than now.  Things for me have been a mixed bag full of blessing and sadness. It’s never easy talking about the not-so-happy events going on in our lives, well not for me, but I figured I would share as talking it through is supposed to help.

Recently, my husband and I had to go to Utah to take care of my husband’s father. He has terminal cancer and dementia.  It’s not been easy, and my husband is an only child, so there is a lot for him to deal with. All I can do is support him and the decisions he makes. Luckily we’ve had some wonderful support from his aunt and uncle so we weren’t totally alone in dealing with all of this. 

A few weeks back we all spent a week in Utah taking care of his father’s house (getting it ready to sell). We also spent time seeing his dad and making sure he is settled in the care facility, which is amazing. The staff are wonderful and so is his father’s hospice worker.  As I’m sure you can imagine it was a stressful week, but we got everything we needed accomplished. By the end of the week we were all exhausted but we still had out humor. Eric’s uncle summed up the week like this, “It’s amazing we’re all still talking to each other.” We all got a good chuckle out of that.

Amidst that, my short story, The Reunion was being finalized and getting ready for its launch. The launch was October 23rd and went off swimmingly.  I’m so thrilled that I had the support of great friends, family, and the wonderful folks at NineStar Press (check them out here).  They really helped and made the process seem less.

Unfortunately, because this has been a mixed bag of emotions. Last week I got news that one of my only living great-aunts passed away (she was 99 years old).  This sad news brought up the memories of my grandmother (my aunt’s older sister) and the realization that that generation has all moved on. We have a close family so that has made it all the more difficult.

Also, on October 23rd it was the fifth anniversary of Eric’s mother’s passing in a tragic accident.  So, the day my debut short story launched there was an air of both joy and sorrow. Eric and I agreed that his mother would’ve been proud and excited and we’re sure that the launch date was no coincidence.

I’m a firm believer that our family never leaves our side and that they are always there with us. The launch day was one way for her and my mom (also passed away) to show their collective support.

There you have it an emotional roller-coaster.

I don’t want to end this on a sad note because as I said at the start these last few weeks have been a mixed bag of both good and bad. To that point, I still have two more books coming out over the next few months, A Dragon for Christmas (December 18th) and The Calling (Jan 1st) I’ve also, been writing/editing three different stories so there is much more to come. And lastly, I want to share some quotes from a few of the reviews I’ve received for, The Reunion (buy it here):

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“…cleverly written and I couldn’t put it down because I just needed to know what had happened in this town!” – Lulu Forth (Alpha Book Club) full review here.

“I thought I knew where the author was going with the story and time after time, they proved me wrong.  And that ending….” – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (full review here).

“A fantastic story full of good times and bad, The Reunion is one of those tales that you're going to want to read over and over again.” – Amazon Review by Wordsmith full review here.

Until next week, have a great week gang.  Remember I love hearing from you, so leave me a comment and don’t forget to like and share.
 

Self-Promoting when you’re a Writer

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Over the last few days/weeks I’ve been pondering self-promotion and the best ways to go about it.  Even though I have a publisher behind me and my upcoming books (NineStar Press check them out here) I’m going to have to do a lot of work myself (and I’m okay with that). Still, there is a line between promoting your work and basically being that annoying person who shouts, “buy my book” or whatever all the time.  For me, the key is having a good mix of promotion, content and finding what works then ditching what doesn’t.  That way you don’t feel like you’re out selling your soul to everyone who walks by.

The internet is a great resource at finding ideas and suggestion.  Here are just a few I came across and liked (I won’t be doing everything but I plan on mixing it up):

50 Ways to Promote your book

15 Do it Yourself Tools to Promote your Book

How to Promote a Book

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Not everything is going to work out and sure I’ll be banging my own drum to get people to notice me, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, as long as I don’t become an annoying crow about it (please let me know if I do).

For me, my current plan is to focus on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.  Also, I’ve talked to friends and families who are going to help spread the word.  I’ve joined various genre groups.  A press release is in the works as are Facebook ads.  I’m working on engaging people and getting folks excited about my upcoming book releases. There are three scheduled over the next few months (two short stories, The Reunion and A Dragon for Christmas, and one novel, The Calling).  Additionally, several people have been contacted and asked to read my ARC for, The Reunion, and provide reviews for the release day.  One, thing I’m doing and I’m finding surprisingly helpful are author interviews on various blogs. I’ve picked up some great new fans and I’ve been continuing to engage them.

How will all this effect book sales and my efforts at self-promotions? I’m not sure yet, but it can’t hurt. I guess what it all boils down to is getting out there (whatever that means) and being seen.  As I move closer to my book release days, I will let you know how things go.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are.  If you’re a writer please share, if you’re a reader please tell me what you like and don’t like about self-promotion.  As always have a great week.

Writing Update

I have so many updates to provide, but first with all the current devastation with the hurricanes in Texas and Florida and the major earthquake in Mexico I want to share some ways for you to help.

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Catholic Charities USA–Long term recovery and support click here

Red Cross–Immediate support click here

Caritas (Caritas International)–International relief outside the US click here

These agencies do amazing work and already have people in the areas helping.  There are many other non-profits who help as well.  These just happen to be the ones I tend to support when disasters hit.


When it comes to my world of writing a lot has been happening since my last writing update. 

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Firstly, I now have three books (two short stories and one novel) being published by NineStar Press it’s very exciting and I can now share release dates with you (so mark your calendars):

 

So, as you can imagine things are crazy busy with editing and working with the publisher on cover art and all that good stuff.  I can’t wait to share the cover art with you all.

Secondly, I’m still one of the judges over at the Rainbow Awards.  There have been so many wonderful entries and I’m excited to still be part of the process.  The awards will be announced in December 8, 2017 click here for the Facebook page with more information.

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On the writing front (yep, I’m still writing new stuff) I recently finished my novella T.A.D and it’s started to make its way around my writing group, so this is exciting. The feedback and suggestions I’ve been getting are wonderful and are really helping the story.  Also, I’ve been editing ‘A New World – Conspiracy’ there is still writing to do, so this project hasn’t been getting the love it deserves these days.  I hope to change that over the next few weeks.

I have a few personal things I want to share with you all.  On August 21, 2017, I became a Granduncle, my nephew and his wife had a bouncing baby boy.  Eric and I have gotten to meet the newest member of the family, so that has been really quite exciting, I’m very happy for my nephew and his wife. Also, I know some of you still ask and yep, Eric and I are still doing our weekly meals.  It really has been wonderful and super easy.  We love it.  On a bit of a sadder note, both Eric and I have family members who aren’t doing well health wise. It’s not easy, of course, when you live in separate states so you can’t be there for them. However, with the help of technology we get to talk and check in so that is something.

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If you haven’t noticed I’ve made a few changes to my website, nothing major but there have been some additions and modifications.  We’ll see what more needs to be done, but for now we’re making tweaks here and there.

Lastly, some of you have been asking about the headshots, well the short answer: it’s a process.  The long answer; we’ve taken two rounds of photos and we still want to take a third.  We’re trying to get various looks and moods, so it’s taking a bit of time.  I would like to have the headshots all done by the end of this month.  That is my goal, however, the photographer, and the others involved on the project may have other plans.  Either way, the photos are moving along and what I’ve seen I like, so that’s good.

That is about all I have this week.  Next week I have an amazing author interview coming out, so that is exciting.  Have a wonderful week everyone and if you’re in an area of the country or world affected by the hurricanes or earthquake, please be safe and take care.

Writing Update?

Over the last few Blogs I’ve talked about various topics, the most recent was about Slow Burn Books if you haven’t read it check it out here.  Anyway, I thought today I would provide an update on all my writing endeavors and surprisingly there are quite a few.

To start, I was recently asked to work on a training video project ‘Know Your Rights’ for the nonprofit I work for. It was a series of vignettes about what to do when ICE confronts you.  Each video would be a different scenario.  First, ICE comes to your home. Second, ICE comes to your work. Third, a police stop. And, fourth, how an agency is to respond when ICE comes to investigate clients.  We did an English and Spanish version.

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We spent a few weeks working on the script and in rehearsals.  The thing to point out here is none of the people were professionals.  So, they were relying on my limited experience.  Regardless, I spent whatever time I had with them running lines, rewriting and changing the script and working on blocking and preparing them for taping day.

The day of the video shoot came, and we spent a full day in studio with a crew of five.  I had designed the sets and costuming as well as handled make-up (I was wearing a lot of hats that day including directing).  With the shoot finished the next week I worked with the editor to pull it all together.  The finished product is something I’m exceedingly proud of, and the videos already hit over 600 views (in just a week).  Click here to go to their channel.

I’ve been asked to work with the Editor and take the vignettes and turn them into an actual DVD that other agencies can purchase.  So, that will be cool.

Channel trailer for Tall Tale TV.

My second update is if you follow me on Facebook and Twitter (which I hope you do), you should’ve seen my interactions with Chris over at Tall Tale TV. Chris takes short stories and converts them to audiobooks that you can listen to on his channel.  It's a great way to hear about new and upcoming authors. The channel is new so there isn’t a lot of content yet, but he’s growing it.  Anyway, he had a call for short story submissions and he selected one of mine.  I recently, the last few days, got word that my story ‘The Reunion’ will be airing in the next couple of weeks.  Once, I’m given the date you can be sure I’ll be letting you know.

My next major announcement is that I have a new work in progress underway, ‘T.A.D.’  This new story is set to be a novella and much shorter than my other works.  I don’t want to give away too much because things may change, but this story has elements of time travel and focuses on angles.  I’ve gotten some positive feedback from the first chapter so I’m excited to bring the outline to life. 

My final update is about my other works in progress.  ‘A New World – Contact’ is back with a couple of Beta Readers.  ‘A New World – Conspiracy’ is still in the writing process however, I’m happy to report that Act Two is now complete, which means I’m on to the final act; Act Three.  Yay!

This leaves me with an update for ‘The Calling’ it is complete and has gone through edits.  The rest I’m going to be a little cagey about because I’m hoping to have a big announcement about ‘The Calling’ in the next few months.

Those are my updates for now.  I'd love to hear what questions you have for me ask them in the comments and I'll answer.  Feel free to share this blog with others who will find it interesting.

See you next time.