Monthly Archives: December 2014

A book blasts readers in controversial interview

I recently pulled a book off my shelf after it agreed to be interviewed for this blog. It has requested the title not be identified so as not to unduly influence one way or another how it should be viewed. It speaks for all books, except e-books, which we will discover.

Q: Let’s talk about your heritage, where you come from, your ancestry.

A: Well the word ‘book’ comes from the word ‘bog’ which is the Danish word for birch tree. Not everyone agrees with that; there has been some controversy about the origin of the word, but as a book, I know the truth. I can trace my ancestors back to parchment, and I believe there is some distant connection to sheepskin, but parchment for sure. I am made from pulp, which comes from trees, so I am not a tree hugger. Books need trees to live, so when a tree dies, I know a book will be born. Save a tree you kill dozens of books, maybe many more, maybe hundreds. But I don’t understand these new things called e-books. I am told we are sort of related, but they seem like aliens from another planet. I don’t really see how we are related. And don’t get me started on audio books. Please! A book is a book. A recording is a recording. I would rather be related to an e-book than an audio book. Talking Books? Ridiculous.

Q: How do feel you are treated by readers? Any complaints?

A: Are there any complaints? Ha! Most readers are good, the true book lovers you know, but other readers are downright careless and uncaring. Consider  those who read while eating-not you by the way. . .(Thanks I answer) and especially those who eat in bed. Please watch your crumbs. I hate it when they fall into my page creases. Please floss me before you turn the page. Keep floss handy. Speaking of food, do you have any idea what ketchup stains do to my self esteem? Even worse is those drinking hot coffee or tea. Every little drop or spill burns my texture and that part of me dies.

Q: Well lets talk about positive things you do.

A: Before we move on, please people, don’t leave me where a dog can get at me. Getting chewed on by a dog’s sharp teeth is not pleasant, believe me. I am not a bone to be gnawed on. And they drool which I think happens to soften up what they gnaw on for the kill. Sorry. Those teeth scare me, though nothing like one book I know. He won’t mind me mentioning his title, but Fahrenheit 451 is paranoid about fire. I tell him, we all are, but his case is worse, which I certainly understand. Anyway, lets move on.

Q: What sort of things do you feel proud of?

A: Oh, one more thing, maybe two. Be careful when you flex my spine. My spine is flexible like readers, but it can also be damaged and broken. And I have no medical so take of me and I will take care of you. And I know when you find me in a bookstore, I look perfect, new and shiny. But you should see what happens to me in a book warehouse. My god, those people are careless. I’m surprised most of us make it out of there intact.

Q: So what do you like about being a book?

A: I hope this will not be taken the wrong way, but I love being on a bookstore shelf and see people come in and look at me. And I just love it when they open me up, put there noses in my pages and take a long inhaled sniff of me. I just adore and cherish the intimacy between the reader and myself. It begins there. And then being read in bed is wonderful; just have the floss handy as I have said.

Q: You sound a bit kinky.

A: I see nothing kinky about it. I love watching your face as you read me. I watch your expression, catching every little nuance; seeing your eyes go back and forth, the way your eyebrows rise in wonder or tension, or excitement. I love your scowls, your surprise, every emotion. When I see that I know we are communicating. 

Q: Does it bother you when a reader puts a bookmark in your pages and sets you aside?

A: No. Well, I mean I am glad when you pick me up again. I do admit that being opened and closed, opened and closed, opened and closed is what we call reader interruptus. Not Good. It really spoils the mood. But I am always there for you. Maybe your wife or girlfriend is not there for you. Or your boyfriend or husband is not there for you. But I am always there. I am nothing if not patient. And I am like a car in a way for a car can take you anywhere and so can I. To distant lands, to meet new people. Give you adventure, make you cry, make you laugh, make you think. A car, by the way can’t do that, though you shouldn’t think while driving, and don’t try to engage me when driving. Not smart.

Q: What are things you don’t understand?

A: Easy. I don’t understand why some of us books get banned. What did we do you? Readers don’t have to like us. Heck some of us don’t like some readers-and you know who you are-but there is no reason to ban us, burn us, or censor us. We are just telling you something, nothing more. You don’t have to agree with everything. And we are not responsible for what you read. Our creator makes us say what we say. Don’t blame the messenger you know.  And another thing, don’t feel sorry for those of us on a bargain or discount table. We do not need pity. We will find a home. We are strong and believe in ourselves.

Q: Do you have a motto, anything like that?

A: I don’t know whether I am fact or fiction. I just am. How’s that? It is all the same to a book. Except for those highbrow textbooks. They are smug and arrogant. But the joke is on them because new information makes them obsolete. I have no idea what happens to the old foggy textbooks. I don’t think I want to know.

Q: Any parting words?

A: Yes. I don’t mind you taking me into the bathroom to read, just don’t leave me in there, especially on top of the toilet tank.  It smells in there.

Next I interview an e-book

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Writing a good book description for your book

 

Every writer, whether self published hardcopy or self published e-book, needs a book description.  It does not matter how well you write, or how interesting your story, a book description is your pitch to catch the readers eye, to get the reader to buy your book.  Rather than my telling what you need to do, let me quote from Maria Murname from Creative Space.

Maria lists three rules to follow. They are:

  1. Show, don’t tell: Much like an online-dating profile, if you toot your book’s horn too much, it’s a turnoff. If your book is funny, don’t write, “This is a laugh-out-loud story!” Instead, write something funny to describe it. Another downside to the overselling approach is that if the reader doesn’t laugh out loud when reading your book, he/she is going to feel cheated. (This unfortunately has happened to me several times, which is why I decided to write this post.)
  2. Don’t go into too much detail: When I’m perusing potential books to read, I want to know what the story is about, period. I don’t need to know all the details, or all the minor characters’ names, or exactly how the book ends. None of that matters to me before I begin reading it. Plus, when my eyes start glazing over because there are simply too many words in one massive, overly descriptive paragraph, I question how good the writing in the actual book is, and I usually move on without making a purchase.
  3. Watch your grammar and spelling: As in the above example, if the book description is well written, I assume the book is well written. The reverse is also true, so make sure you don’t have any grammar or spelling errors in your description.

It is something you should check from time to time. Just because you have written a book description you think is good does not mean you should not return and ask yourself whether you can I make it better? I have  rewrote mine on Amazon a couple of times and will probably do so again. It is as important as any story you may write.

My descriptions are at the Amazon link below and if you think I can improve them, please them let me know. Thanks.

http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Nelson/e/B00EEVHN38

 

 

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Sneak peek at novel in progress and what it means to writers

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Why I write period fiction

Don’t read this blog if you don’t like history and if you don’t like history what’s wrong with you.

Somewhere in my schooling I heard, from whom I no longer recall, that history is not about dates and legislative acts. Who cares when the Homestead Act was passed. History is about the people and the times. I can relate to that.

Before I tell you why I write period fiction, let me offer three great biographies about people and their times. “Cleopatra” by Stacy Schiff will make you feel you are in ancient Egypt and you will learn more about Cleopatra than you will from any movie. “Jesse James, Last Rebel of the Civil War” by T.J. Stiles is the most thorough study of Jesse James I have read and there are scenes in the book that still haunt me. “Black Count” by Tom Reiss is a revelation about the father of writer Alexander Dumas. If ever a story ever cried out for a movie this is the one.  The story about the Black Count is too detailed, too rich, and to exciting to go into here. All three books are great reads for taking you to another time and place.

And that is why I write period fiction. I want to escape to another time and place. I have no interest in writing contemporary fiction (my short stories an exception) because it is not an escape. When I wrote “Loonies in the Dugout” about a fictional character observing a true story about the 1911 New York Giants baseball team it gave me the chance to go back in time and learn about 1911 New York. I loved the research about buildings, events at the time, the people of the time. I had the opportunity to make true life characters like Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Damon Runyon, Bat Masterson, and of course Charlie Faust come to life again. They are long dead. I never had a chance to meet them, but by writing about them in my story I was bringing them back to life. I was a kinder Dr. Frankenstein.

Then because I liked my two fictional leads, Chester and Eveleen, I set them in 1922 where they solved the true life murder of William Desmond Taylor, a silent film director, in the book “Loonies in Hollywood.” Once again I brought to life people I would have liked to have met and I solved a murder that to this day is unsolved. I won’t say I had inside information, but I met years and years ago someone who was  involved in the Hollywood scene at the time. My ending is purely fictional though. Although . . .

Then because I loved studying the flapper era with all that jazz, prohibition, speakeasies, and the movies, I gave Chet and Eveleen another chance to solve a murder in a novel that will be released this spring. It takes place in 1927 and though Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, Clara Bow, Adolph Zukor, among many others, grace the story along with two fictional characters so important in my previous book, Detective Tom Ziegler and Clancy, my favorite flapper, this story, unlike the other two is not based on a true story.

So if you like history, period fiction, and reading, my Amazon page for my e-books are here. http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Nelson/e/B00EEVHN38

 

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How to write from your experience

Here is the opening paragraph to my novel in progress, the title of which I hesitate to reveal for reasons of paranoia.

The narrator is Chet Koski, former baseball player for the New York Giants-one season only-now a screenwriter for Paramount Studio. The Matt he refers to is fictional screenwriter Matt Hobby, not to be confused with Pat Hobby, a screenwriter creation of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I mention this for legal reasons.

Without further ado: First paragraph, chapter eleven.

“I liked my locked room mystery and decided to ditch the idea Matt and I were working on, if indeed we were actually working. I think we were just talking and talking is not working, though I wish it were. Besides Zukor wants a script and with Matt off to a dentist or who knows where and was unlikely to follow through on our idea, it was time to buckle down, no more procrastinating, no more daydreaming, no more killing time with things you tell yourself are important, but, in truth, if you are honest with yourself, are mere illusions of importance, the keep yourself busy distractions.”

Yes, that is the plight of the writer, at least this writer, which is an illustration of writing from experience. In truth few writers, if any, write about experience. What experience did Agatha Christie have murdering people? What experience did Jules Verne have 20,000 leagues under the sea? What experience did Arthur C. Clarke have in outer space?

To a certain extent you can write what you know, which in my case is severely limited to arcane stuff nobody cares about, but the key is to include it, using yourself for example. I do have a bad habit of procrastinating about writing,  even when I have the time to write. So  I used that in the opening paragraph with the character of Chet, who often bemoans the writing process. In point of fact I wrote this blog when I began to proofread chapter eleven and thought the opening paragraph a good idea for a blog. So now I am procrastinating editing and writing on my novel by writing this blog.

It is insidious.

When you write from your experience or what you know, it is not the facts that interest, but the universal feelings we can identify with and how to use those feelings when you create your characters.

In case you are wondering what Chet was up to in 1911 with the Giants or how he solved the murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor, he will explain in my e-novels found at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Nelson/e/B00EEVHN38

Now I must get back to work.

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