Thursday, February 14, 2019

Cover of Upcoming Novel

As those who follow this blog know, at least I hope they do, I've got a new novel that will be released May 1. 

And today I'm previewing the cover for New Horizons, the third book in the John Ross Boomer Lit series, from Wings ePress. The others in the series are Old Ways and New Days and Darkness Beyond the Light.

Trisha Fitzgerald-Jung, the graphic artist, did a fantastic job with the cover. I couldn't be more pleased with her artwork. Of my nine novels, it's my favorite.   

The photo is of a street in Budapest I took when my wife and I visited the Old World city in 2016. And much of the novel takes place in the Hungarian capital. I hope readers will gain a sense of what a wonderful place it is to visit.  

Budapest is a city that captured our hearts, and it's a place we'd love to spend time again. Maybe someday. I would encourage others to experience the sights if given the opportunity.

That's all to this post; I just wanted to share the beautiful cover.

Until the next time . . . 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Band Music from Bands

Quite a few songs with "band" in the title have charted in the U.S. through the years. 

The first one that comes to mind is "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band," from The Beatles' landmark album released in 1967. The Paul McCartney-penned tune (but credited as a McCartney-Lennon composition) reached No. 71 on the charts. 

The following year, The Association's "Six Man Band" made it to No. 47. The song, written by Terry Kirkman, revealed the band's edgy side.

John Fogerty's rousing "Travelin' Band," reached No. 2 in 1970 for Creedence Clearwater Revival. The guys showed they were much more than a bayou-blues band.

Three Dog Night scored a No. 19 hit with the funky "One Man Band" in 1971. It was written by Billy Fox, Tommy Kaye, and January Tyme).  Three Dog Night had 18 songs reach the Top 20; quite an accomplishment for a group that can't get a nod from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Albert Hammond had a No. 19 hit with the bouncy "The Free Electric Band" in 1973. He co-wrote the song with Mike Hazelwood.

And finally, Grand Funk Railroad had its biggest hit in 1973, with the driving "We're An American Band" topping the charts. Drummer Don Brewer wrote and sang the classic song (my favorite by the group).

Some other notable "band" songs include "Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney and Wings (No. 1 in 1974 by McCartney); "Uncle John's Band" by the Grateful Dead (No. 69 in 1970 by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter); "Listen to the Band" by The Monkees (No. 63 in 1969 by Michael Nesmith);"Rock & Roll Band" by Boston (uncharted in 1976 by Tom Scholz);  and "I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)" by The Moody Blues (No. 12 in 1973 by John Lodge).

Do you have any favorite band songs?

Until the next time . . .

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Farewell to Google+

As some of you may know,  Google is shutting down Google+, effective April 2 (I suppose they wanted to avoid an April Fool's Day joke by shuttering it a day earlier). 

It means those who have blogs on Google's Blogspot will be losing some of their followers (134 for me). So when I post something after April 2, my loyal followers will not receive any notification.

So, Google has this recommendation: "Between now and the shutdown, we recommend you let your followers know where they can see your content outside of Google+. Consider creating a post that lists your website, blog, social media channels, and other ways to stay in touch."

During the next few weeks, I'll download links to my page that you can click if you want to remain a follower of my blog. And I'll do likewise on your blog if you notify me. I do have a "follow" button on the right column of my page that you should be able to use. 

I know this is an inconvenience, for you and me, but that's the way the Internet seems to work. Just when you think something is working right, developers make changes or kill it. Does anyone use MySpace anymore? 

Anyway, here's an article on what Google+ users can do between now and the "sunset" of the app.

Until the next time (if there is one) . . .  

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

After the Book is Finished Comes the Hard Part (For Me)

I admit that my greatest weakness as an author is marketing and promotion. 

It's not that I'm passive about it; I think it's because I'm not aggressive enough. I guess I'm a bit on the shy side when it comes to promoting myself. And most authors I know are the same way.

I promote and market on Facebook, Twitter, my personal website, and this blog as well as emails, postcards, bookmarks, and other marketing plans. I occasionally go to book fairs, libraries, and bookstores to sign books and meet readers. I do some public speaking. Some strategies work better than others, some hardly work, and some don't work at all. recently finished reading Alinka Rutkowska's How I Sold 80,000 Books: Book Marketing for Authors (a free download on Amazon), and while it contains many recommendations that you see in similar books (compiling email lists, asking others for reviews, professional editing, and slick book covers, etc.), what stood out is that it takes a lot of work to promote a book.

Much like writing a book. 

While the book targets indie and self-published authors, I've heard stories from writers at traditional publishing houses that they're expected to promote their books as well. 

Alinka provides free advice and links to relevant websites but stresses it's the author who has to do the work. And even then, there's no guarantee that you'll sell 8, 80, 800, 8,000 or 80,000 books.  

And we know you're not going to sell a single book (unless to mom) if you simply sit on your hands and do nothing. 

Rutkowska's book is one I recommend (you can't beat free!). She writes in a lively and light style that's easy to read and takes perhaps an hour or so to finish. I particularly liked the bonus section at the end which includes interviews with six authors on how they achieved their various degrees of success. 

So between now and the May 1 release date of my next novel, New Horizons, I'll be busy promoting and marketing it to the world. 

Until the next time . . . 


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Manuscript is out of my hands (for a little while)

The manuscript for my next novel is out of my hands, thank goodness, even if only for a little while.

My Wings ePress editor had a few questions about my final edit, which I addressed, and returned to her yesterday. The manuscript now goes to a copy editor who will give the 71,500 words a deep read to find any typos, grammatical errors, and storyline inconsistencies. 

And when that's completed, I'll receive the galley proof for one last read for any minor mistakes (I sure don't want any major ones at this point). The manuscript will also be formatted for publication. 

In the meantime, I'll hear from a graphic artist about the book cover. I have already provided information to her about the book. I'm anxious to see her artistic interpretation of the novel. 

The novel is set to be released on May 1. Over the next few months, I'll be working, along with the publisher, on promotion and marketing. 

Steve Flairty
As an aside, my books were mentioned in an article about Kentucky books by Steve Flairty, a reviewer for the Northern Kentucky Tribune and Kentucky Monthly magazine.  You can read it here.  (Disclosure: I have edited  Steve's "Kentucky's Everyday Heroes" books.) 

Until the next time . . .

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Past, Present, Future, and Excuses

Let me start by saying that 2018 wasn't my best year in writing. 

I have excuses (don't we all?) but I should have been more productive. I didn't reach my goal of 50 blog posts; I didn't have a novel published; I didn't write any short stories.

On the positive side for 2019, I do have a tentative release date of May 1 for my next novel, the third in the John Ross Boomer Lit series. I completed editor's suggestions and corrections today and will be sending them on to her.

And I've have completed an idea form for the graphic artist to begin work on the cover of the novel. I'm excited to see what she comes up with in the next month or so, and I'll it share with you as well.

As for this blog, I hope to post something once a week. I was on target to do that last year but faltered the final two months because of my excuses.

As for short stories, we'll see. I've been planning to publish the second volume of Laments but excuses got in the way. I've already written six but they need to have the dust wiped off. 

My publisher, Wings ePress, has come up with some new marketing and promotional efforts including pre-release sales. I'll let you know more about that in a future post. 

So that's where I stand on Jan. 1, 2019, excuses and all.

I hope you have a creative and productive new year!

Until the next time . . .

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Travel: The Maine Line from Kentucky

In late October my wife and I drove to Maine from our home in Kentucky. Every autumn for the past few years we have tried to take a short trip to other parts of the United States. We generally reserve spring or early summer for international vacations.

A foggy view at Acadia National Park
We wanted to take in the fall foliage as well as a few historic sites during our drive. Mother Nature didn't always cooperate with our plans.

For the 1,200-mile trip to Maine, we took a different route to New England (I used to work in New York so I've driven back and forth a few times). We drove to Columbus, Ohio, then across to Pittsburgh since we had never been to Steel City. While it was simply a drive-through, the view of the city from the Ohio side is quite a sight. Unfortunately, there was too much traffic to pull over and take a photo.

Mark Twain Home
We stayed overnight in Altoona, Pennsylvania, then headed to Hartford, Connecticut. We made a quick stop to see Mark Twain's home, before going on across the border to the aptly named Plainville, Massachusetts, where we spent the night. 

The next day we left early to avoid any possible traffic jams in Boston. We stopped in Saco, Maine, where we had lunch with Claudia, a friend we made on a trip to Budapest, Prague, and Vienna in 2016.  One of the bonuses of travel is making new friends.

Bar Harbor 
Then it was on to Bar Harbor, our primary destination, to visit Acadia National Park and the historic fishing community. The only problem we encountered was the weather, as we drove through bands of sleet and snow along the way. We wanted to see the iconic Portsmouth lighthouse but didn't want to contend with the rain and wind from a nor'easter that was moving through the area.

Stephen King Home
We stayed three days in Bar Harbor, and fortunately, we had a respite from weather to take in some hiking and sightseeing. Then it was on to Bangor, where we had a brief period of sunshine while stopping at author Stephen King's home (imagine that!) and the Chamberlain Freedom Park commemorating the underground railroad and the path to freedom for those who had been enslaved during the Civil War.

The trip back to Kentucky (prompted somewhat by a call from our vet telling us our dog Bailey wasn't feeling well), took us across the beautiful White Mountains in New Hampshire and the Green Mountains in Vermont.  We also stayed overnight in picturesque North Conway, New Hampshire, a destination for skiers and those who love the outdoors.
Snow and Pine trees in the White Mountains

After reaching Scranton, Pennsylvania, we considered going to Cleveland and taking in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But the weather intervened as another storm front was moving across Kentucky and into Ohio. We'll make that trip during a long weekend in the next month or so (weather permitting).

Needless to say, we made it back safely, driving across West Virginia and into Kentucky, where the foliage was still a bright palette of oranges, yellows, and reds. 

We do hope to make another trip to New England, spending several days in historic Boston and other interesting stopovers along the way. 

Until the next time . . .