Spread the Word – Postcards DIY

I am ready to send postcards to announce the release of The Book of Sharon – book 2 of The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy. I designed these using Vistaprint, and I am very happy with the result. I have to say that I have used this service for a lot of my promotional and business material and it is great. I am always happy with the result and quality. It is also economical. Just sharing one of my ideas; I am not affiliated with this service. It is a great way to spread the word, and you can even place them inside your books, as bookmarks.

Here is what it looks like, front and back.

Post card (front) - The Book of Sharon

Postcard (front) – The Book of Sharon

Postcard - The Book of Sharon (Back side)

Postcard – The Book of Sharon (Back side)

In addition, Moo.com is a great alternative, although they are a bit more expensive, in comparison, but offer more flexibility in creativity. They have mini cards that you can carry in your pocket, and double-sided cards perfect to create hand-out book cards. You can create an image of your cover for the front of the card and a small description of your book on the back of the card. I made mini cards for all my novels; however have not made any of the regular size with the description, but I’m planning to do so. Here is a picture of a mini card for The Book of Sharon. The back just shows my business information and logo. The mini card is about 2.75 x 1 inches.

The Book of Sharon mini card

The Book of Sharon mini card

 

There you have it, just sharing a few ideas for indie authors. Hope it inspires you.

 

The Dinorah Chronicles – The Book of Sharon

I am very happy to announce  the release of the second book of The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy – The Book of Sharon.

It is available through Amazon and CreateSpace in paperback and Kindle edition.

By now, you already know how much I love to find theme songs/videos in YouTube for my novels and what better opportunity than this one to leave you with this awesome song by the Editors – I want a forest. The youtuber is frogfromnz.  When I heard this song, I could not think of a more perfect song for the novel. The Youtuber did a great job with the video as well, and I certainly love this song by the Editors (by now, you probably know that I love the Editors).

I hope you enjoy it, so here it is.

 

PS – Thank you to all of you who have liked and follow this blog; it means a lot. Sometimes, it may take a while for me to catch up, but I always try to do my best and visit as well 🙂

 

 

In Between the Lines – Duty

Duty – An act or a course of action that one should or must do. A moral obligation. A task assigned to or demanded of one. – American Heritage Dictionary

 

Duty is another main theme in my novels. Ramblings of the Spirit may be summarized (thematic) with this line – When destiny must fight to meet love, duty stands in the way.

As the above definition suggests, many times our duty goes beyond a task that is demanded of us, crossing into moral territory, and guided by the weight of our beliefs. It transcends the material into the spiritual, and it is then, when duty is bound by the material but being called into action by a higher or spiritual belief or value system that conflict is born. What a person (or a character) does to solve this internal conflict and find balance (or not) determines not only the course of action, but future events. It is then that true heroes emerge, and the embodiment of duty becomes reality.

Many times, duty and sacrifice go hand in hand; other times, duty goes beyond sacrifice, reaching the realms of an ideal that becomes more important than the sacrifice itself. The sacrifice becomes a vessel, a vehicle to fulfill duty. Understanding how our mind works through these scenarios, while relating it to the material and spiritual perspectives, will help us create more complex characters that become more real and human as the story progresses.

In short, we might have never been in the character’s shoes, but that does not prevent us as writers, to embrace the character’s psyche or transcend into their spiritual realm/value system. As writers, it is our duty.

 

 

 

In Between the Lines

Photo of vintage jewelry box by M.A.D.

Photo of vintage jewelry box by M.A.D.

 

How many themes can you identify in your novels? I asked myself that question, and decided to start a series of posts, each one about a primary or secondary theme that I have identified as predominant in my novels. I will start with a primary theme – Love.

Throughout all my novels, Love seems to permeate the lines, whether it is romantic love, parental love, love of God, love of a friend … however, it seems to be linked to duty, almost in a duty vs. love or love vs. duty way. To complicate things more, Destiny is mixed in between those two. Now, why is that? I am not going to analyze my author’s psyche in this post; however, I will write about Love.

The topic of Love puzzles me. Why do we love? How far will we go for love? What would I do or not do out of love? What changes the love I feel for someone into something else, or is it that love leaves the heart and another feeling takes its place? Is love circumstantial or unchangeable? Why everything seems to hover or spin around love? Why loving seems so easy or so hard at times? What is the ultimate definition of love, and according to what or whom? – and so many other questions that make Love something to ponder seriously. I even started a one year study about Love in 2009, but got distracted, and restarted it on 2013 and got distracted again, and I hope that I get to finish it sometime.

The more I ponder, the more I realize how powerful this feeling is, and how it is capable of altering reality. It is also complicated, maybe because humanity makes it so. Take as an example the mother or father who gives her/his life to save a drowning son or even the stranger that does the same. Heroic acts of love. But also, take as an example the woman who murders her ex-lover claiming that she did it out of love, because love hurt so much – a crime of passion. One can argue that true love does not hurt another being, but in the mind of that woman, does she know the difference between the love she felt for her man when they were together and the love she still feels now that they are apart? How does the mind process this Love, or is it processing the pain of loving? Is love a feeling or a chemical/nerve reaction in the brain? We say we feel love in our hearts, but are we able to isolate the area in the brain? Certainly food for thought.

And I could probably write thousands of words about this topic, and never fully understand the true power of Love, and that is not even adding the spiritual side of Love to this post – God’s love. For now, I am happy to let you ponder about it. Feel free to comment.

 

 

Tools of the Trade

I just glanced at the right corner of this blog, and the realization that I have roughly 8 months to write my next novel, Sunrise Souls, hit me. Where did time go? My goal is to write the first draft by December 31st. So far, I have just a few ideas fluttering in my head, and nothing in writing – should I panic?

There is an issue, a challenge, with Sunrise Souls, and that is that part of it, will take place in Rome, Italy. The issue? I have never been to Rome nor will I be able to take a trip there soon. As you can see, this story will take a bit of research time, via internet, and using a blessing of a tool for writers – Google Earth. Yes, lots of Google Earth time. I will have to make the best use of it, as needed, to be able to convey a measure of credibility to the story, even that it is a work of fiction. Aside from that, it will be up to my imagination and inspiration – and the clock keeps ticking.

I am not crazy about outlines, but I think that for this one, most likely, I will have to put something together, a short one, just to create a bit of structure to facilitate the flow of ideas. I think that I will do most of my research at the beginning, and that will help create the right atmosphere for inspiration, and will help situate my mood and mind. Later on, I will research as needed, depending where the story leads. I am excited about this challenge.

We are living in exciting times for writers; the internet opened many opportunities for research, as well as making the task easier. Imagine the same challenge in the old days, when there was no internet or tools like Google, YouTube …

Feel free to share your research ideas and tips.

Novel or Novella?

I have been immersed in the editing process of The Book of Sharon for the past couple of months. I have changed, cut, rewrite, added, pondered, ignored, and have been guilty of neglecting this blog a bit (mea culpa). In the process, I reviewed my writing habits, and what is truly important to me as a writer. I found that I needed to eliminate a few things, and strengthen others, so I could use my writing time more efficiently – in short, editing leaked from the story to my life.

I discovered that I need to tend a bit more to my author website, as well as this blog (the venues I love most), but I also discovered that I do not want to Tweet, but will continue to enjoy meeting people on Facebook, so I closed my Tweeter account. I thought about other issues that were clogging my brain, such as joining Goodreads, Shelfari, and other sites that I have pondered about too much for too long, and concluded that I don’t want to join now, despite all the advice I’ve heard for indie authors to join as many venues and be everywhere to gain exposure. I felt that I needed to get back in touch with the writer in me, and keep up the activities that I enjoy most while ignoring every sound advice out there for indie authors. At one point, it seemed overwhelming. I discovered that the only few venues I wanted to keep up at this time were Inkspeare, my website, and Facebook. I decided to offer my books through Amazon/Createspace only at this time. And while that may seem extreme, it is what I need to do to get in touch with the writer again. Finally, I gave  myself permission to accept that I do not have to follow all the trends, and understand that it is okay (however it plays out). I’d rather do more of the few activities I love, than do less in tons of other venues/activities, so I adjusted my focus.

After I sorted all this out and emptied my scattered brain, I realized that I had to make a decision about The Book of Sharon, and that is to publish it as a novella, which suited best the story, and not follow the earlier pattern of my other books, which are novels. I listened to my gut, and decided to make it a novella. It will be available through Amazon and Createspace in a few days. In the meantime, I will give you a peak at the cover.

 

THE BOOK OF SHARON

THE BOOK OF SHARON

Dinorah Sandbeck, half-Human/half-Anarth, has been chosen to deliver a message, one entrusted to her by birthright. However, she must not reveal her Anarth ancestry. The pages contained in the ancient tome may alter the path of the human race.

 

The Book of Sharon follows a different style from the other two novels, and it was a bit of a challenge to write because it included Dinorah Sandbeck’s (main character and a writer/librarian) book, as well as pages from her old tome – an ancient book that guides her and that she must protect, but those had to be weaved in the story – the story I wrote. So there are three main components to this book, as well as three voices throughout – Dinorah’s, the ancient tome, and me. Think of it as a book inside a book inside a book. To help the flow of it, as well as the tone, I felt that making it a novella suited best the style. I am happy with the decision.

Food for thought – As an independent author, how do you cope with all the advice offered and the new trends developing? 

 

Discovering Themes in Your Novels – A Healing Process

I remember watching best-selling author Kate DiCamillo on an interview on YouTube, and something she said stuck with me. I don’t remember the exact words but it was about how sometimes in a more personal level, a novel is a healing process for the writer. At first glance, it may seem as a regular story but later, there might be symbolism in it that only the author will understand and recognize as personal issues that in a way, are healing/addressed through the story, whether past or present issues.

I thought about my novels and went in search of a deeper understanding. At first glance, the stories appear as pure creativity, and unrelated – just an inspired story. However, once I got beyond the written lines, a whole world of symbolism appeared in front of me. I understood what DiCamillo meant. I discovered healing through those pages, and much more. There was a part of me inside the story that only I could understand, and totally oblivious/secret to a reader. I am not saying that every novel I (or you) write will have encrypted meaning and be a healing vessel, but it is possible that somewhere along the line, it may happen. The mind is amazing and it finds a way.

If you are a writer, go back to one of your early stories and look at it beyond the written lines, go on a discovery mission, and pay attention at what comes to mind. It may surprise you and delight you as well. We write for ourselves as much as we write for the readers.