Welcome to another episode of my podcast. Today I am venting about weird pricing on Amazon and book scams.
Hey everyone! I hope this finds you all doing well. I checked on a few of my paperbacks and found some very terrible pricing up on Amazon. This led to a bit of a rant on the podcast, so excuse me for venting, but there is a lesson for all of us in this.
I posted this on YOUTUBE, TOO!
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Happy week after Thanksgiving – hope the calories were removed from your feast and you are enjoying a chance to work on your writing goals for the end of the year.
I have been working on the second round of revisions for my work in progress a contemporary romance and it has been going well. Well, as well as they can go during a pandemic and a holiday week.
But I am anticipating going out into the world with this book early next year. I hope you will be excited to read it! But there will be more info on that to come. ESP to my newsletter subscribers. So if you are not a part of the Zanies- go on over to kimsmithauthor.com and sign up.
But, for now, here at the podcast I wanted to answer the age old question on editing a novel since I am so busy with all that and more.
Well, first of all, are you editing or revising? Those terms are used interchangeably but they really are not the same thing.
To edit is to look at all the minutiae of a novel. The spelling, the punctuation, the grammar, the sentence structure, the chapter stuff, etc. To revise a novel is to fix plot holes and create more three dimensional characters and develop settings and descriptions etc.
I am revising.
I do the edit stuff at the very last. To me story and what makes it sellable comes first. I can fix missing words any time but to make sure a subplot is concluded satisfactorily, for instance, is so much more important.
But as in all things, there are opinions on this and that just happens to be mine. There are a lot of ways to go about revising your book. You do not have to follow anyone’s way to do it.
Just know that all first drafts suck and you will need to revise. We all do. It’s just the nature of the beast.
My hardest to revise area is setting and description. I mean how do you know when you have done the job and not overdone it? We all like sensory details but pages of it isn’t really necessary.
Unless you are Stephen king and creating a mood. He is the master mood setter.
Okay so moving on.
Telling the reader where the characters are (in a physical way) and keeping the action moving is pretty vital. Recently in a discussion I told someone that I was not one who described my characters appearance preferring instead to allow the reader to “see” them as they chose.
The other party was a little surprised at this saying how they liked that bit to help visualize the people in a book.
Description needs to be done cleverly, y’all. Don’t tell us about them looking In a mirror and appraising themselves. I mean we may do that to ourselves but reading it just sounds weird.
I mean do you think, oh look, I have brown hair and blue eyes and my teeth sparkle? No, you do not. You might ask if you have anything in your teeth, tho.
One final note I’d like to mention is to check out the list of characters you have when revising. Sometimes we give way too much page space to some minor person who never comes back in the book. That will be a great place to cut down on word count.
Okay, that’s enough for today I guess. I am promoting my short story collection of sweet and sexy romances this week. If you are interested go to Amazon and check out a sweet and spicy Christmas.
Namaste for now – kim
You can find this podcast at iTunes, Stitcher, and other places.
Melodie Romeo is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida. Ms. Romeo is a retired schoolteacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver. Melodie writes historical fiction/romances and historical horror/thrillers. She has gained success under the pen name Edale Lane for historical lesbian romances such as Heart of Sherwood and the Night Flyer Trilogy.
In addition to driving and writing, Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna.
Share about yourself
I am an active mother and grandmother, retired history teacher, former farmer, former music director, karate student, lifelong musician, who enjoys gardening, loves animals, and will never learn enough to satisfy my thirst for knowledge. I like to play fantasy role-playing computer games and lie back with a bowl of popcorn for a good movie. I’ve lived in a number of different places and experienced a diverse and exciting life, much of it shared with my fantastic partner. The best part is that I’ve got forty more years to go!
Share about your work
Currently, I am an author of historical fiction novels who also runs my own personal trucking business as an over-the-road truck driver. However, I hope to soon be earning enough from book sales that I can transition to being a full-time author. I write under two names: Melodie Romeo for darker historical fiction and horror that usually features a MF romance, and Edale Lane for female protagonist driven tales of alternative historical fiction with a FF romance.
Tell us about your writing style
I try to employ a balanced writing style, with description, dialogue, action, suspense, romance, and a positive theme all blended into the pages. I engage in extensive research for my work to make it as realistic as possible. And while some of my horror works are disturbing or have less than satisfactory endings, I mostly gravitate toward that “happily ever after” conclusion. When I finish reading a book, I want to feel good, so I try to give that to my readers.
What do you find challenging about the writing life?
First is finding time to write with a 70 hour a week day job. Next was the publishing challenge. Major publishers won’t take authors without an established following, and small presses have an unfortunate penchant for going out of business. I eventually cleared that hurdle by starting Past and Prologue Press.
If you could write from any place on earth, where would you choose to write from?
If I could, I would sit in a comfy chair in a castle in Scotland overlooking the sea, rolling meadows out the opposite window, with my laptop open typing away.
When asked to set goals, what do you see for yourself or current WIP in five years with your writing?
With the third book of my Night Flyer Trilogy about to be released in December, I am gearing up for a number of new story ideas to explore. This year I was fortunate enough to complete 3 novels and renovate and re-release my first published work. In five years I hope to be an established writer earning enough from book sales to quit my “day job” as an over-the-road truck driver.
What are you reading right now?
“The Eye of Heaven” by Clive Cussler and Russell Blake
Who is your favorite author?
One? Surely you jest! As a youth, it was John Steinbeck and Edgar Allan Poe. Now I add Amanda Quick, J.D. Robb, Brandon Sanderson, and Bernard Cornwell to a list that must include J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling. Can I just say that C. S. Lewis is my favorite?
Give a bit of advice for an aspiring author.
Two things – edit, edit, edit, hire an editor if necessary. And don’t give up. You write what’s in your heart, and that is something an author is compelled to do. Take classes, online courses, get a mentor, whatever you need to hone your skills, but don’t give up because you get a bad review or someone criticizes your work. Maybe you’ll never be able to give up your day job, but you have a message and you have a voice. That story needs to be told because somewhere out there is a person who needs to hear it. Do what it takes to build your confidence and then let your light shine.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Tribute in Blood, a Tale of Vlad the Impaler, by Melodie Romeo
The most terrifying horrors are revealed in the pages of history.
After killing over 100,000 people during his first reign as Prince of Walachia, Vlad has returned, ready to inflict tortuous death on anyone he chooses. Only Nicolae and Maria, drawn together through mutual tragedies both inflicted by the ruthless Prince Dracula, dare try to stop him. Can Nicolae fulfill his plan of justice and revenge while winning the heart of the lovely Maria, or will he become the Impaler’s next victim?
With heart-stopping danger at every turn, detailed historical accuracy combined with fictional characters, and a myriad of surprises, Tribute in Blood is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Order this historical thriller romance today!
Vapor rose from the black water as Nicolae Anton floated down the Arges River toward the Danube. He came ashore when he thought he was far enough south and headed east through some farming country. Spying a darkened barn, he crept in and wrapped himself in a horse’s blanket to dry. Afraid of being caught there, Nicolae grabbed a handful of the oats which looked mighty good to him by then, crammed them into his pocket, and was on his way. After crossing the Dimbovita River, he found the road to Tirgoviste and followed its path from a safe distance amid the trees and bushes. By mid-afternoon, when he could see the buildings of the city ahead, the exhausted youth took refuge in an old abandoned corn crib and slept.
In the very early morning, before anyone was out, Nicolae traipsed up the highway leading to the city, his gut churning with nerves. He had been this way several times before when traveling to and from Cozia, but this time something seemed different. A meadow was supposed to lie on that hill to his left, yet tall, grim figures pointed skyward, trailing their tree-like black shadows. Nicolae’s stomach tightened as he veered off the roadway and walked toward the recent growth of forest. Then, as the morning fog rose and shifted, terror seized Nicolae’s heart, and he stopped dead still in his tracks. They were not trees at all, but the corpses of the boyars hanging on high impaling spikes. A new ray of light hit the mist as it lofted up through the skeletal remains, creating a grisly, ghostly aura.
Nicolae’s hands and knees began to shake as he took in the scope of the scene. Men, women, servants… perhaps four hundred in all… a forest of the impaled… the death of the entire boyar class of Walachia. He wondered about those back at Poenari; was this their fate as well? He gazed on the spectacle before him as though it were an unreal thing, a hellish nightmare, or ghoulish vision. But reality hit when a crow landed on the body nearest him and proceeded to peck at the carrion. “No!” he shouted in horrific despair and disgust. “This did not happen!”
Nicolae’s heart rate accelerated, his stomach knotted tighter, and his head began to spin. He was forced to drop to the ground and lower his head between his knees lest he pass out. He tried to calm the erratic, shaky breaths, but it was as if all the boyar specters were staring at him, expecting him to free them.
The youth held his head in his hands until the spinning sensation began to dissipate. Then a burning, driving need overtook his being–he must find his parents. He was compelled to discover if they were here among the impaled. With relentless determination, his searing cobalt eyes set out to find his mother and father. He rose to step, then trot, then run through the ranks of ghastly victims. The sight was repulsive and the odor sickening, but Nicolae removed himself from the horrible surroundings, consumed with singleness of purpose.
It was not a simple undertaking. The eyes had been pecked out and much of the facial flesh eaten or weathered away. Hair remained a sign on most heads along with the distinctiveness of their dress. Nicolae arrested his memory and demanded that it recall what his parents had been wearing. He closed his eyes and saw them dancing together once again. Yes, of course, he thought as he desperately scanned the scores of bodies. For most, the pikes had been inserted through the buttocks and exited through the back, chest, or mouth, making for a slow and tortuous death that could last hours or days. Others were spiked through the gut or upside-down. One pike had even entered through the victim’s mouth as his bones hung inverted with limps dangling in an unnatural parody. But Nicolae had to shut out these nightmarish horrors to accomplish the task at hand.
Recognizing clothing would not be easy either. Blacks had become sun bleached and whites turned brownish-gray. The once-bright colors had faded, and strips had been torn from the cloth by wind, rain, and wild animals. The most identifying items would be his mother’s exquisite marama, his father’s light reddish-blond hair, and their jewelry. Most Walachians were Romanian–dark-complected from Mediterranean stock–but his father’s family contained Saxon blood. Nicolae had gotten the light sandy-brown hair color and his sister the red.
As the sun began to rise higher, Nicolae’s search became more frantic, for he knew he would have to hide soon. As he passed row after row of corpses, he began to have hope that they were not among the dead. All at once he halted in front of a stake. He swallowed hard as his eyes became transfixed with abhorrence, and his ashen face a mask of desperation. His knees quaked as his heart palpitations thundered within his chest. “Mama,” he lamented.
Nicolae dared to move his eyes to the figure beside her. “Tata,” he uttered in broken-hearted despair. Tears streamed down his face as he sensed his body becoming violently ill. The horror-stricken youth fell to his knees and bent toward the ground emitting dry heaves, for there was no food or drink in his stomach to come up. Their bodies were wasted, picked apart by scavengers, but he knew it was them. Bones protruded through in some places with pale, swollen tissue in others. Ants and flies crawled without and within their rotting forms. It was more than a son could bear to look upon.
“Oh, God!” he wailed, his face buried in his hands. “Why?” The orphaned youth began to sob uncontrollably, speaking whenever he could form the words. “Didn’t you tell him? You didn’t do it!” Then he felt like his father was right there, staring down at him in a convicting manner. “I tried to save her, Father… I tried,” he moaned between gut-wrenching sobs. “I carried her as long as I could, but I wasn’t strong enough. Oh, God, I tried, but I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough!” Then the boy broke down completely and fell upon the ground, recoiling in pain, consumed by agony.
As time passed, his weeping began to subside, and Nicolae wiped his face. Life returned to him in the form of a newness of purpose. He remembered his father’s last words to him and raised his head to reply. “I survived, Father; I did what you said, and I survived. It is for a reason–I know that–and I will continue to survive. I must leave now, Father, but one day I will return. Then Dracula, that son of the devil, will discover that the plan he devised has failed. He will know that Lord Nicolae of Cozia escaped his purge and I will punish him for what he has done here.” Exhibiting wrought-iron courage, young Nicolae stood on tip-toe and reached up to pull the signet ring from his father’s bony finger. No grave robbers had visited this haunted forest; they knew that the penalty for any crime under Vlad’s reign, even robbing the dead, was punishable by burning, boiling, disemboweling, or impalement. Any tortuous death would do for the cruel, sadistic despot who found amusement in watching his helpless victims die.
Nicolae tried the ring on, but it was much too large for his emaciated finger. The workers had been fed enough to live, but no more, and the already lanky youth had grown even thinner. So, he thrust the ring deep into his pocket and let out a mournful sigh. In that instant, Nicolae heard a rustling in the grass behind him. He spun around wide-eyed, clenching his hands into fists. There, among the stakes, he spotted two dogs tugging on either end of a human leg bone. It was a repulsive sight that twisted his stomach and filled the youth with an even stronger loathing of Prince Vlad Dracula, the Impaler. He swallowed hard and with nerves on end uttered through clenched teeth these last words. “If he enjoys death so much, then I will give it to him!” The mist was rapidly dissipating under the warmth of the morning sun when Nicolae Anton turned and fled the forest of the impaled.
About Melodie’s BOOK TOUR!
You can visit her during her tour at these other locations on the web:
We will be doing podcasts, and guest posts/interviews on this blog for the foreseeable future. Doing the Youtube channel videos became such a hassle it wasn’t worth the trouble. We may bring all that back in 2021 if we can get more time to pursue those projects.
Sign up below if you want to be hosted for a guest post/interview.
Writer Groupie will host author Melodie Romeo on the blog on November 26th. You may know Melodie from her books, or maybe you know her from her location (Mississippi has great authors!) .
Here is her bio from Amazon. Y’all check it out!
Melodie Romeo is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida. Ms. Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver with Prime, Inc. Her first book, Vlad a Novel, (https://www.facebook.com/VladANovel) a historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, and Less Than Three Press. Her LGBT fiction is written under the pen name Edale Lane to differentiate from her more mainstream stories. She has a son, Peter, and a daughter, Michele who both serve in the US Army, a daughter-in-law, Jessica, and grandsons, Mark and Asher. She resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna.
Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral or instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing full-time.
Her first book is still available on Amazon click on the image below.
Anyway, this is just a little preview of what’s to come just before the big holiday starts. I hope you enjoy this information about our guests coming soon.
Welcome to another episode of my podcast. Today I am just blabbering in about time at home and what I am doing creatively. It is also a rainy day and not much encouragement to get outside so, you are the recipient of my indoor activity.
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Recently, I had the great pleasure of speaking with Ms. Aragon about her co-authoring experience with Katie Davis on a book about how fanfiction has helped shape young lives. See the PODCAST LINK at the bottom of this page.
Fanfiction, Youth, and New Forms of Mentoring
Cecelia has co-authored with Katie Davis, a book said to be ” An in-depth exploration of the unexpected ways young people learn from writing fanfiction online. “
About the Book
Over the past twenty years, amateur fanfiction writers have published an astonishing amount of fiction in online repositories. More than 1.5 million enthusiastic fanfiction writers–primarily young people in their teens and twenties–have contributed nearly seven million stories and more than 176 million reviews to a single online site, Fanfiction.net. In this book, Cecilia Aragon and Katie Davis offer a detailed examination of fanfiction writers and fanfiction repositories, finding that these sites are not shallow agglomerations and regurgitation of pop culture but rather online spaces for sophisticated and informal learning. Through their participation in online fanfiction communities, young people find ways to support and learn from one another.
About the Author
Cecilia Aragon is Professor in the Department of Human-Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington, where she is also a Senior Data Science Fellow at the eScience Institute.
Recently, I had the great pleasure of speaking with the author of The Sea of Japan, Keita Nagano. You will certainly enjoy this audio only version of my chat with Keita, and learn a bit about his writing style.
About the book
When thirty-year-old Lindsey, an English teacher in Japan who’s been assigned to a tiny fishing town, is saved from drowning by a local young fisherman, she’s drawn into a battle with a neighboring town that has high stakes for everyone—especially her.
As their efforts to save their town backfire, Hime gets closer to falling apart—putting Lindsey’s friends, her budding relationship with Ichiro, and her career in jeopardy. To save Hime, Lindsey realizes she’ll have to become a true American fisherwoman and fight for her new home with everything she has.
Get the book The Sea of Japan by clicking on the image above, or here at the link listed below:
Keita Nagano is an award-winning Japanese author who has lived almost equally in Nevada and Tokyo—more than twenty years in each place—and he reflects the difference of the two cultures in his novels. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Keio University in Japan, as well as an MBA in global business and a PhD in management from Walden University in Minnesota.
The pursuit of the authentic American experience is his hobby: he has been to all fifty states, all thirty major league ballparks, and the top sixty big cities in America. He has published seventeen business nonfiction and eight fiction books in Japan.
In 2013, he received a Nikkei (Japanese Wall Street Journal) Award for Contemporary Novel for his missing-child thriller, Kamikakushi. He also received a Mita Literary Award in 2011 for his short story “Takino-a bank clerk.” In addition, he is an official weekly columnist for Forbes Japan.
Nagano lives in Henderson, Nevada, with his wife and Welsh corgi. Their teenage daughter is currently studying in Tennessee.