These random ramblings and author musings are designed to entertain, though they might drag you kicking and screaming through my daft indie publishing journey. If you are somehow inadvertently informed, or if you have discovered something useful within, well then . . . count that as a jolly coincidence. Thanks for reading! (header background - Sky_18 Free Texture #133 by Brenda Starr)

20130323

Word of the week: feasible /ˈfēzəbəl/ (hear it!) - adjective - 1: capable of being done or carried out; 2: capable of being used or dealt with successfully, suitable; 3: reasonable, likely - Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

Some years back, I was told that we (referring to editors, but this applies to indie authors, too) are expected to be perfect [in our editing/writing], and yet no one is ever perfect. Oh, so, so true—heartbreakingly.

Well, naturally, this high expectation creates a conundrum, which creates stress, which of course creates excessive perfectionism, which cycles back around to exacerbate the original conundrum, which in turn creates even more stress on top of even more excessive perfectionism . . . which eventually leads to bald indie authors tearing out their “flowing locks” trying to please “all and sundry,” or abandoning a perfectly feasible project in disgust. (Yikes! [insert your own capitalized entity here] forbid!)

Please, no bald indie authors. And no giving up.

In the November 2011 issue of the Writer's Beat Quarterly (# 35), my good friend and proofreader, Keely Christensen, WBQ's editor-in-chief, wrote in her quarterly Letter From the Editor a matter I felt hit spot on. Something indie authors need to remember if they ever plan to be taken seriously in their self-publishing endeavors. One of many issues indie authors face, without a doubt, but one that should not be taken lightly, regardless, despite its seemingly minor significance.

And it's oh-so easy to fix. Honest!

So, here it is, reprinted with permission, a well-spoken . . .

Indie Reader Rant!

I’ve been reading so many self-published ebooks lately. I’ve come to find that there are a great deal of them I enjoy just as much as (if not sometimes more) than traditionally published novels. Every here and there, though, I get into something in which I would love to be able to demand my money back!

For the sake of fairness, I will not specify what book or who wrote it, but I recently purchased a novel for $2.99 on my Nook. I read about five pages of the “free excerpt” and, coupled with the synopsis (which sounded interesting), I decided to go for it. Page six shows up. Commas are crazily out of place, capitalization is frustratingly incorrect (“Dialogue.” He said.), and words are misspelled everywhere (the author wrote about the “school’s principle”). In the next ten pages (all I got through), I found 249 SPaG errors.

Now I know there is a constant ongoing debate on self vs. traditional publishing. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a fair share of traditionally published novels with errors, too. I just really want to point out that whatever route you want to go for, you need to try, try, try your hardest to make sure that it isn’t one big ball of messed up crap. You could have the next greatest novel in the history of the world, and if it goes out to people talking about how the “whether” was supposed to be nice and that the diamond was two “carrots,” I don’t care how great the story is. I’m gonna get frustrated.

Now, I’m not a stickler for perfection on those kinds of things. I’m sure if someone searched through this they might find a handful of errors. I do, however, want to see the effort put forth. I don’t like paying three dollars for something that makes me feel like I was just ripped off. Like it was a first draft or something.

Not to say that it’s an easy task—I realize that. We have a great team here [at Writer's Beat Quarterly] who does as much as we can to make sure things look nice, and are correct. We miss things all the time, of course, but we try hard to make sure those errors aren’t riddled throughout (you know, like 249 times in ten pages . . .). So, I want to give a thanks to the hardworking team at Writers Beat for making sure that our readers don’t end up crying because of the all the errors!

Keely Christensen, Editor-in-Chief of the Writer's Beat Quarterly

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Click here to download (for free!) and read (for free!) and enjoy (for free!) more Writer's Beat Quarterly issues. (Did I mention they're free?)

20130312

Word of the week: inkling /ˈiNGkliNG/ (hear it!) - noun - 1: a slight indication or suggestion : hint, clue; 2: a slight knowledge or vague notion - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Semi-Immortality In Writing

One thing I've discovered purely fascinating about being a writer is the interesting sense of semi-immortality it offers.

Semi-immortality? What the heck does that mean?

Well, for those of you who write fiction (and likely autobiographers, for that matter), you probably have an inkling of what I'm talking about. And perhaps you are grinning. Or maybe scowling. Or laughing your heads off. Who knows? Personal reactions to others' ramblings and musings vary, I'm sure. But for those of you who don't (write, or have an inkling, or ramble, or even have any reaction whatsoever), allow me explain.

Characters. Whoo, boy! It's oh-so easy for a writer to insert certain bit-traits of himself into the characters he writes about, and to flesh them out from there. You see, we writers are always told: “Write what you know!” All right, fine. Who better do we know—truly—than ourselves?

So, that said . . . I have several characters on my plate in various, scattered projects. Some are drawn from others' traits, but many of my main characters are drawn from myself and certain inborn and learned traits, likes and dislikes.

For example: Marisa, the main character in my novel, The Perfect Player. She loves going into the forest at night, even though she knows it's forbidden. Me? Used to do it all the time; nighttime exploration of the woods was great fun in my teenage years. Foolish? Absolutely. Yet it gave me excellent experiences to draw upon. Marisa also dreads public speaking; she's inherently poor at it. Guess what I'm inherently poor at, too.

Another example: Eden, Marisa's mother, the main character in another novel of mine, The Drawing Voice. Bitter, cynical, scathing—Ooo, awful traits I must admit I possess as well. Let's just say I live vicariously through her: Direct, to a fault, without worrying over consequences, Eden is. Myself? Society's expectations and polite self-control have kept me quiet, to a fault. Eden's also fond of “creatures of the dark,” particularly demons; I happen to adore bats (unless they get stuck in my hair, which they never do), and creepy-crawlies like spiders, centipedes, millipedes, worms, slugs . . . creatures people normally abhor. Oh, yes, and minotaurs are very cool . . . unless they get stuck in my hair.

And another example: Malia, Marisa's aunt, the main character in a third novel, The Coalition Letters. Strong minded young woman, with a will to match; a runaway who hates being squashed by unfair rules and festers inside with guilt over rash actions, yet in time learns to repair the hearts she's broken and to mend relationships with forgiveness. Pfft. Generally, the story of most of our lives, no?

Others? Fern despises womanizing men (The Deeper the Lust, the Sweeter the Flesh). Kerri is heartbroken over losing her beloved Golden Retriever to cancer (Open Your Heart to Chance). Albert and Ralph are subjected to an overabundance of deliberately misused cliché phrases (The Straw The Broke the Camel's Back—yeah, yeah, I know, it's not really a trait, but it was fun to construct!), and Jack the squirrel discovers the strength behind familial devotion and love (My Jack!). I even express my affection for gargoyles and fantasy's overall bizarreness in a flash piece (Ugly Stone)—yes, I, as the main character has no name.

And there's so much more! But in each and every one of those main characters, I have left a piece of myself—a semi-immortality, of sorts—as many fiction writers have probably done so in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. Scattered bits for readers to remember us by? *shrug* Perhaps, but because of this, we writers kind of live on, and on, and on . . . even long after we pass from this tangible world, to whatever realm happens to be next in the future of our souls.

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Cloud angel - picture credit - Alice Popkorn

20130301


Word of the week: tangential \tan-ˈjen(t)-shəl\ (hear it!) - adjective - : of, relating to, or of the nature of a tangent; 2 : acting along or lying in a tangent; 3 a : divergent, digressive , b : touching lightly : incidental, peripheral, also : of little relevance - (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Indie Author of the Month: Come Meet . . . Pete Malicki

When Pete, owner and founder of Helm Publishing, came onto the scene at Writer's Beat writing community back in 2009, I was captivated by his wit, intelligence, and easy-going nature—a personality that matched his writing style—so when I had ever discovered Pete had written a book, well . . .

 
Eyes and Knives is an absolute thrill to read. Well-woven, multiple point-of-view tale that takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through secrets and intrigue, and through different levels of interconnection that the reader would never suspect. Plot-driven, fast paced, and edgy (open minds could read this novel oh-so-swimmingly).


But this Australian-born author and publisher has accomplished, and continues to accomplish, much more than the completion of his wonderful novel, Eyes and Knives.

So please, allow him to introduce himself and elaborate upon his talents . . .

Mr. Pete Malicki!

* * *

I had a revelation yesterday. After twelve years of writing quite seriously and trying to make a living from the arts, I am. Not quite in the way I expected but all the same, it’s happening.

After years of cheerful rejection letters I jumped the chasm and published one of my novels myself. An article in the local paper led to a job teaching Creative Writing. In turn, my volunteering at a theatre company led to me being asked to run a regular show, which in turn got me on board as the organisation’s Literary Manager. I now run the world’s largest short play festival, Short+Sweet Sydney, as well as doing work in editing, script consultation, teaching and theatre production.

As tangential to my real goal of making a living as a writer as this may seem, it’s having a major contribution towards that goal’s realisation. In Sep 2012 I had my first ever full length play, “Room,” produced in the Sydney Fringe Festival. Typically at the Fringe, shows disappear in the sea of other productions – there are 260+. We had a respectable overall audience of 400, largely thanks to my profile in Sydney theatre, but more importantly I got six amazing reviews, a publication offer, two translation offers and an award.

The goal now is to get “Room” produced around the world. Its setting and appeal is universal so little adaptation is needed. I’m looking at mainstream Australian theatres as well as those in the UK and US, and in Europe with the translations. I’ve knocked up a pretty flyer with reviews and production pics which I’m sending out to Literary Managers everywhere.

In 2012 I made about AU$1000 from my writing, in royalties, book sales and prize money. Hopefully that will grow to a figure big enough to pay off the yacht I just put a deposit on.

Pete Malicki – www.petemalicki.com 

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Excerpt from Eyes and Knives by Pete Malicki
(copyright: Pete Malicki)
 
Wednesday - Early Morning

‘Tickets please.’

A young man named Rory Henderson took a sharp breath. He clenched his jaw tight and his eyes darted around the carriage. There was no escape. He had to think of something quickly.

He leaned back and feigned sleep.

‘Sir, your ticket please. Sir? Sir!’

‘Huh? What’s up?’

Rory rubbed his bleary eyes and looked up at the young man standing before him. He was tall but his build was slight. A dark blue uniform and the badge in his left hand identified him as a transit officer, that is, a glorified ticket inspector. Rory was sure he could take him.

‘Can I see your ticket please sir?’

‘Shit, I must’ve fallen asleep. What station are we at?’

‘Almost Helm, sir. Your ticket?’

‘Helm? Damn, I’ve missed my stop.’

The inspector reached for his radio at the same time that Rory clambered to his feet. ‘I wouldn’t try to leave, sir. I’m going to have to write you a ticket.’

‘That’s not fair mate. I fell asleep and missed my stop!’

‘Can you show me your ticket?’

Rory looked at the man’s radio. Inspectors travelled in groups and it wouldn’t be wise to attack one of them. ‘I lost it. My wallet was stolen.’

The inspector smiled a humourless smile. ‘Was it really? You won’t be able to bribe me then, will you? What a shame.’

He started filling out one of the forms on his notebook, ignoring Rory’s bewildered look.

‘Bribe you, hey? You know, I might have a bit of money in my sock.’ 

Rory wasn’t sure if the inspector was being serious or sarcastic, so he kept his tone lightly jocular. Was attempting to bribe a rail inspector considered an offence? Could he end up owing the bloody government even more money?

‘Fifty dollars would do you fine. No pun intended.’

‘Fifty dollars,’ Rory repeated as he reached into his pants and pulled out his wallet.

‘I think that is a reasonable price, sir. It is a seventy-five percent reduction on the overall cost of the fine. You needn’t worry about your criminal record, either.’

The train was nearing Helm Station. ‘Is this a trick? Because you can’t make that kind of offer; it’s entrapment.’

‘Give me your name or your money, sir.’

Rory Henderson took a fifty dollar bill out of his wallet and handed it the inspector, who took it wordlessly and left the carriage. The train pulled to a stop at Helm and
the inspector alighted.

Rory looked out the window. Four burly transit officers were boarding the train. His jaw dropped as he watched the guy he’d just bribed run away at full speed.

*  *  *
Read more - Eyes and Knives - Available at www.petemalicki.com