September 1, 2014The hero of my novel is really, really short
Check out my latest blog post about Alexandre Jean Noël, the 16-year-old French draftsman who went to Baja California in 1769. He's the hero of the novel I'm working on now, The Vermillion Sea. Turns out that Noël, at sixteen, was not just the youngest in the expedition; he was probably also one of the "little people."
This discovery was a huge surprise for me. When I first began writing the novel, I pictured him as tall. He was THE HERO, after all. Then I found a painting that blew apart that image. Noël's oil painting was made in 1778, nine years after he'd watched his mentor Chappe die of typhus in far off San Jose del Cabo. Nevertheless, the painting arrived at the perfect time: I now know exactly how my characters looked. I didn't have to imagine them into existence. My character was, indeed, "le petit Noël," as the astronomer Chappe referred to him. Learn more about him at my site at the Authors Guild.
How to order MONTPELIER TOMORROW
My debut novel, Montpelier Tomorrow launched on August 19. Here's a direct link to my Amazon Affiliate's order page.
If you purchase the book by clicking on the link below, I make a tiny bit more money. The book will not be in bookstores. My publisher, All Things That Matter Press, is a print-on-demand publisher, so when you order a book, one will be printed just for you. If you send me an e-mail and let me know you'd like your copy personalized, I am happy to send you an autographed book plate. Tell me to whom you'd like the bookplate addressed: e.g. "To me, myself, and I..."
Click here to buy from Amazon
How to help readers find out about MONTPELIER TOMORROW
This novel took a long time to write, and when the publisher told me it was finally a book, my feeling of euphoria was quickly eclipsed by panic. What if no one bought the book? What if no one even knew about it? I had been so focused on writing the darn thing that I was practically out of steam by the time it appeared. My publisher provides lots of marketing ideas, but no actual money. Now, I'm climbing the hill of internet marketing, and here's how you can help.
1) Buy the book and read it. I've already had a woman I've never met track me down and tell me how compelling she'd found the story. She was in tears. You cannot imagine how rewarding this was for me because a lot of sweat and tears went into creating this book.
2) If you belong to a book group, either online or in person, recommend the book. ALS is in the news. This novel is about imperfect people coping with a horrible disease. There's plenty to discuss. I can also do a Skype call or Facetime appearance, and I have a pdf of discussion questions I'm happy to send.
3) Find the Montpelier Tomorrow page on Facebook, and visit my other author pages. I'm finding Goodreads to be an easy place to blog and interact with readers.
4) Post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Amazon's easy. To post a review on Goodreads, follow these instructions:
Navigate to the book's page.
Underneath the book's profile picture on the top left, rate the book using the stars.
The "want to read" button will automatically be replaced with a "write a review" link. Click that link.
Write your review in the review box that will appear and save.
Please note that you have to be a Goodreads member to write a review.
5) If you know ten people who would like this book, then please e-mail them and urge them to buy it. The book isn't a beach read, but it will show folks what the "Ice Bucket Challenge" is all about. One goal I've had from the beginning is to increase awareness of ALS, and I hope you'll help me do that.
Now, about your secret novels
As busy as we all are with our lives, you may think it's hopeless to ever write the book that's burning inside you. Distance learning programs are a great solution. You don't have to add a commute to your already busy day, and you can get solid advice for the next steps in your writing career. Most important, a distance learning program structures your time. You have weekly assignments. They're targeted to teach new skills. You get an immediate M&M of positive reinforcement from your peers.
Are you a reporter or PR person, trained like Pavlov's dog to respond to the jingle of a deadline-bell? If you can't sit down to write without a deadline, then try a distance learning program and see if it helps.
The Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU offers online classes in all genres, from poetry, to novel-writing, to writing screenplays. Some of these classes are offered as short courses. Others are offered as year-long seminars. What's unusual about the Piper Center is its focus on science fiction, fantasy, and YA fiction. The deadline for applying is September 30, 2015. Please visit the Piper Center website for details.
That's it for now. I would like to invite you stop by my recently updated website. Leave me a message. Tell me what you're up to with your writing. If you have a particular writing question, maybe I can help. Also, please have a look at my blog about caregiving.
Remember, "Life is a box of chocolates." Take a bite. You can always put one back and take another.
My Authors Guild website