Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Paradox on Vacations

One of the sad truths of my life and librarianship profession is that I get a lot of vacation time as part of my benefits... but I don't earn enough to afford any decent vacations that I could go.

It's been like this every place of employment I've been - public AND academic library - where I have all this time I could take but no means to take them... I've capped out accrued vacation hours nearly every place I've worked, it got so bad when I was with Broward Libraries they insisted I take leave one year just so their HR computers wouldn't tank on my data. A following year the county offered a payout to cash of a set number of hours, which I took... and then added up all those vacation hours again because I still couldn't really afford a trip on the money I had in hand (which kind of went towards paying off part of my college loan debt I still had).

I did go on a week-long vacation last year - to go see Gettysburg on the anniversary of the battle, plus watching the 4th of July fireworks from the DC Mall - but that wiped me out financially even including the extra money my parents helped me with.

So here I am, kinda feeling like I need to use up leave 'cause I've capped out my vacation hours yet again... and yet I've got nowhere to go.

The smart thing would be to take little trips to places I can visit within reasonable driving distance - state parks, the beaches, museums - but going by myself to a lot of them is... well... sad.

Other thing I can do is get some more writing done, take the week off to complete any number of unfinished novels on hand. But that's feeling more like work than time off.

I might mix one or the other. We'll see.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I Came, I Saw, I Sold Books: Local Authors Event 2016

Well, as I warned ya, I went to the Local Authors Event in Wesley Chapel at the Barnes & Noble this afternoon.

I set up two of my ebooks - The Hero Cleanup Protocol and Body Armor Blues - for FREE download via the B&N shop, still good for the rest of the weekend by the by, and packed up some books and signage and bookmarks and made my drive up to the store. Silly me, I forgot to bring display stands for the books themselves as well as the bookmarks. Good thing my table companions were Gwen Mayo and Sarah Glenn from Mystery & Horror LLC publishing and they brought a bookmark stand.

And so, as threatened, I documented the atrocities no no uh abbatoir ack wrong word hold on avalanche hmmm maybe... here we go, thesaurus suggests the word affair. Anywho.

getting set up at the check-in desk

they would have us at tables in appropriate shelf areas.
they don't have a large enough spot for all writers to sit together.

looking down into the first floor. More writers checking in.

Inspirational writers - should have gotten names, sorry - in the Lego area.
I just noticed I keep angling my smartphone too much on the right side.

action shot of writers getting set up at their table!

Gwen Mayo and Sarah Glenn already getting customers at the table

the store manager set us up in the Science Fiction shelves
there was a traffic jam at this corner table...

Two of the local authors - ach, I need your names - waving hello, hope they had fun today.

I think that's Madonna Wise pitching her latest history
on Wesley Chapel itself

after two hours of talking up our books, we were getting a little silly...
By the by, my parents had stopped by to show moral support - and shop for books, they're avid readers - and so Dad got those last set of photos for me. Thank ye, Dad.

As for the day itself, I talked a few interested shoppers into the FREE downloads I was offering for the weekend as part of promoting this day, as well as getting one buyer of the History And Mystery Oh My book (the buyer liked that we had two stories in it nominated for Agathas in the Short Story category).

It'd be nice to get more people showing up at these things, sad to note most of my friends are either in south Pinellas or Polk Counties, too far away for them to make the trek. Le sigh...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Reminder: Local Authors Event in Wesley Chapel THIS Saturday May 21

Update 5/21: I am here now. I will document the event as best I can and post a follow-up later tonight. Please check back then. Hope to see you all here in Wesley Chapel!!!

One more time: I'll be at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel FL, north of Tampa, on Saturday May 21 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

If anybody wants to show up - and it will be great to have people come and support the local authors and readership in general, please and thank you - please do.

As part of this weekend event, I've gone and turned two of my eBooks into FREE downloads for Nook eReaders: Body Armor Blues and Hero Cleanup Protocol. All I ask if you download either one and if you like the stories, please give them a review. More reviews means increased shopping views.

Click here to the B&N store link.

Click here to the B&N store link.
Hope to see you tomorrow!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Biggest Problem with Publishing to eBook?

You lack the physical material - the actual book - to promote your works when you go out to any author signing events.

The work-around for that is to have at least one thing published in book form to have on the display table, and then having posters and bookmarks and handout items like pens or notepads at the ready for people to take home.

So there's a cost to that: getting bookmarks printed with professional stock paper - glossy stock, a thicker card-like stock - gets up into the tens of dollars to print a hefty amount to hand out.

The rules of creating things like bookmarks are relatively simple:

1) Eye-catching image on one side of the bookmark, usually a part of the book cover art;

2) The other side of the bookmark has to contain brief Author information, and detailed Book information about where and how it can get purchased. ISBN number, which website to find it at, which eReaders can open it, etc.

3) If it's an object, like a coffee mug or pen, it depends on the amount of space you're working with. A coffee mug or mousepad or poster should have more than enough room on one side for the book cover, but a pen or smaller object would have to go with just the title of the book, author info, and weblink to an Author's Page.

Like all graphic design projects, it would help to rely on someone trained in marketing design and layout.

Just to note all this as I prep for the Local Authors' Signing this Saturday.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Reminder: Barnes & Noble Wiregrass at Wesley Chapel, Saturday May 21

The Local Authors Signing event. The store's address is:
28152 Paseo Dr Suite 100
Wesley Chapel, FL 33543
In case you want to GPS it on Google Maps.

It'll be from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, it's a two-story bookstore and they've tended to put us at tables on the second floor. There should be about twenty-five others, and I know that this time around some of the authors from the anthologies Strangely Funny and History and Mystery Oh My will be present.

I hope to get a lot of people to show up to support local authors in general as well as my own work, and there's a lot of different genres - romance, teen, travel, true crime, inspirational, science fiction, fantasy, mystery and thriller - to choose from.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day For Cats

Heya, Ocean the Wiggle Cat! Did your son Mal the Crazy Cat bring you anything this Sunday for Mother's Day?

Ocean with River and Inara
Ocean is still waiting for Mal to bring her a balled-up wad of paper
for her Mother's Day present

Thursday, May 5, 2016

In Which We Pester Writer Columbkill Noonan About Humor and Horror Anthologies Until It's TOO LATE

As part of the ongoing promotion for the latest humor/horror anthology Strangely Funny III, now available as print book (ISBN-13 978-0996420969) and Amazon ebook...

I've been interviewing fellow authors of the anthology, and this time around I got a reply back from an entity known only as Columbkill Noonan. I have no idea which parent lost the bet during Naming Day, but still, here we go:

Question 1: What inspired you to write stories with a humorous bent?

I equally enjoy writing serious stories, but funny stories definitely seem to come more easily to me. Perhaps because much of my life tends to be a comedy of errors, so I have no lack of inspiration.

Question 2: Which is harder, writing a horror scene or writing a humor scene?

Definitely horror. I find myself, well, horrified when writing horror scenes. One of my own stories even gave me nightmares!

Question 3: So was Mad Max Fury Road robbed of Best Picture at the Oscars or what?!

(This question was apparently so heartbreaking that Columbkill Noonan was unable to answer. Instead, she was seen spraying Silver Mist food coloring over her mouth while jumping into a souped-up SUV screaming "MEDIOCRE" and driving into the wastelands)

Question 4: If you had a choice between classic monsters - the vampire, the golem, the werewolf, the ghost, the gill-man - which one would you throw a coconut custard pie with whipped cream at?

The werewolf...because he might take some time to eat the pie instead of me. A ghost would be entirely indifferent to the pie; same with the vampire (unless it were blood pudding, maybe?), and the gill-man...what was a gill-man, again?

Question 5: and why did that pie end up hitting Humphrey Bogart instead?

Because Humphrey must be a werewolf. Obviously.

About the Author:

Columbkill Noonan has no biography. No identity. No grade point average. A lone rider in the night, wolf by her side, Blu Oyster Cult guitar solos wailing in the distance, driving through the dark woods of (Insert spooky remote area of the Eastern seaboard here). Fleeing from a scarred past, a dangerous mission that went horribly wrong, that one incident that haunts her forever until the time of reckoning at the tide of a blood-red moon...
...either that or she's trying to get the pizza delivered before the 30 minute timer runs out...
Columbkill does have a Facebook page.