Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Never Too Soon or Too Young.

How soon or at what age should someone think of taking the big leap and publish a book? Well, times are a changing! Meet Spencer Brokaw. He's twelve AND a published author ( Impenetrable Spy ). Can you imagine? Plus, he maintains a website where he regularly includes author interviews, which is how we got together. I asked and he accepted. So, below is the link to that interview.

Writing and publishing at a young age is what I'd refer to as "dream-inspiring". What self-publishers such as Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu have done is to make it possible for writers of all ages to display their work in a big way and with an actual product. That's an extrinsic motivator you can't ignore. Before the days of computers and the internet, I recall how elementary teachers would "publish" their students stories, making them into books. Sure, it looked homemade, perhaps with construction paper covers and spiral-binding. But it was something to take home and show to family and friends, thus creating a proud moment for both creator and admirers.

So, I'd say it is a great thing being done, here. Giving young people the opportunity and encouragement to fulfill their dreams. Nothing wrong with that!

Here is the link to my interview, if you're interested. And to all those writers and writers-to-be ... write on!

Interview With Author K. Sean Jennkrist (Kathryn Long)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New eBook craze ... Digital Add-ons ... What Could Possibly Be Next?

Ebooks ... some might say, "Isn't that enough technology in the reading world?" Well ... I guess not. I have to admit I'm rather excited about this new trend. And I imagine it will attract a whole new category of readers -- those who would rather watch than read the written word. Sigh, groan, sigh somemore.  I myself would like readers who truly enjoy reading, but an occasional visual might add to the experience.

Okay, getting right to it. The latest technology is to embed videos in the eBooks where ever they might fit. I am linking to an article that might explain it better. It even gives you an example of a book -- Nixonland put out by Simon & Schuster. Since it's an historical book, it places video clips on such topics/people as John F. Kennedy, news clips of demonstrators against war, etc. Really, it is very fascinating to watch.

The author of the article on this trend brings up a valid point -- visualizing or imaging through words is what drives the imagination and makes each reader's experience a personal one. As a teacher, I agree totally that to take away from this skill and experience by replacing words with videos may diminish the skill. We already do that enough with the technology and media at everyone's, especially young people's, fingertips. In other words, walking a fine-line and not overusing this technology should be the guideline for authors and publishers. At least, that's what I hope for. From an author's viewpoint, I truly am infatuated by the idea. I can see embedding videos in my books, only to supplement the stories, not to replace the details. Again, limiting the numbers is key. I think I would most like to embed a video of me in each of them, talking about how I came up with the idea for writing them, etc.

So much is changing in the digital world. It's scary and exciting at the same time. Who knows where we will be five years from now? (A memory of when I first saw the hollistic chess game in Star Wars comes to mind. I thought that was the greatest invention ever!) I wish I had that crystal ball. Anyway, here is the link to the article on video-enhanced eBooks. Let me know what you think.

Video-enhanced E-books Beginning to Gain Momentum

Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes
Not So Snow White

Sunday, August 14, 2011

When You Hit That Bump in the Road ... Life and Writing

Okay, so I was going about my business for the day. I had errands to run and I wanted to hurry up, get them done, and then home again to write. Easy enough ... or so I thought. Rushing across the garage to my car, I tripped on an uneven surface and fell flat on the cement floor. Ouch! My knee took a beating and so did my day. I ended up a hostage in my chair without a single errand run. However, on the upside, I got lots of writing done!

I guess you could say my mishap, forcing an adjustment to my plan, reminds me of writing, too. Sometimes the best plan of action must take a few twists and turns ... or "falls" if you will. Adjustments in plot, characters, even the whole book can happen when you least expect it coming. The advice being, be prepared for all things. Sure, I could have pouted for a while, thinking about the clumsy move and ruin of my day. But I got my writing done! Nothing bad to say about that :-)

Whips Cuffs and Little Brown Boxes

Not So Snow White

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are Paid Book Reviews Unethical?

With the flooding of self-published work there comes another flood -- paid reviews. It seems there are a few well-known reviewers climbing aboard to take advantage of a new opportunity to make money, i.e. charging for their reviews. And I'm talking big dollars to fork out. Well, at least for some folks like myself with limited income it is a bit steep. Kirkus Indie charges $425 to $575 for a 250-350 word review. This option is geared toward self-pubbed, indie pubbed, POD, etc. authors. Okay, so on their webpage they do state that you will receive "a fair and unbiased assessment of your work" and that the rating can be anywhere from positive with stars down to negative.

Can you imagine? Fork out a few hundred, hard-earned dollars and get back a negative review? Ouch! At the same time, isn't this what really should happen? An unbiased, honest-to-goodness review of your work. I'd imagine that's what everyone should expect, but it's a pot-pourri of feedback out there. Friends and relatives who only want to give you a pat on the back and a leg up, persuading potential readers to buy your book. And of course, there are many others out there who would probably say all sorts of nice things, warranted or not, if you shoved some green under their noses.

I say this. Getting reviews, paid for or not, will always bring some bias along with them. In other words, it's not a perfect system. I, for one, from the reader's POV tend to ignore book reviews. If something strikes my interest, I buy it and read it to gather my own conclusions. But that's just me. As an author with a few books out there, both adult and teen fiction, I haven't really gotten much of anything in the review department. My books are selling okay, nothing worth writing home about, and I often wonder ... if I paid people to review ... hmm....

So, what's your take on it? Are paid reviews okay? Do you read reviews and let them influence your book-buying habits?

Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes
Not So Snow White
Cinderella Geek

Monday, August 8, 2011

My alter ego, K. Sean Jennkrist has surfaced and created a new fairytale. Enjoy the magic!                                      
                                          NOT SO SNOW WHITE
is a modern teen fairytale that's magical, adventurous, mysterious, romantic, humorous, sensitive, and so much more. Winter Snow takes advice from her elfin-sized sidekick she's named Duane and journeys to find her missing dad. She soon discovers she has more than "elf power" to help her. Winter has "witch power". It's an exciting battle with good witches and bad, with school bullies versus the witchy freak, and then of course add in a little romance to complicate things and you have Winter Snow's life. The ending will leave you feeling good since Winter gets to discover more about her family and herself. Lots of surprises and lots of entertaining fun. It's CINDERELLA GEEK (the first in this series) but with a magical boost. Only 99 cents in Kindle format.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Having a LILLY Moment

If you write stories, I'm sure you will relate to my experience. I had a Lilly moment. Lilly is the main character in my mystery novel WHIPS, CUFFS, AND LITTLE BROWN BOXES. To know her is to love her ... or maybe hate her. It depends on the day. To put it briefly, or as short as I can possibly make it, Lilly is a forty-year-old, single woman who has issues. Guy issues, mother issues, friend issues, crazy neighbor issues, job issues, and the list goes on, but I promised to TRY and make this short. Anyway, Lilly gets inside my head and if you want to say I have a case of multiple personalities, okay. I'll buy that. I love my Lilly. In fact, I love all the characters in that book. They are family. But I digress ... I had a Lilly moment when my niece was explaining--she's fifty-five, divorced, and seeing this really great guy--that her guy friend had made an insensitive comment about her weight. WELL, Lilly popped into my head and the fireworks started. She went on a rampage about how great my niece looked and if guy friend didn't like it, then he could ... well, you get the picture.
Okay, so this little anecdote was really meant to be educational and informative, a writer's tidbit of advice. So, getting right to it ... Know your characters, become friends, create the whole picture for them, have conversations with them! If you do this, when you write their scenes, they will act naturally, genuinely, and everybody reading will say, "Wow! Now that's great writing!" Of course, side effects include the occasional Lilly Moment, i.e. replace Lilly with your character's name. But it's worth it!

So, go write yourself a few friends and have a great story to tell :-)