And the winds whip through the colorful leaves….

mabonToday is Mabon, or more modernly called the Fall Equinox.  It’s natures trigger day when leaves start changing color, the temperature starts to drop and we can finally pull out the bin of hoodies  and sweaters.

As mentioned before, I am one of those people who loves the fall.  Autumn is my favorite season and the colorful foliage and the temperate weather just makes everything so much more bearable, at least to me.

It’s also a time when farmers begin to bring in their harvest and the smell of corn and leaves start to permeate the air around us.  The breeze gets crisp and the nights get longer and the spirits come out to play.

In this period of change and hibernation of sorts, I find myself working on new ideas, gathering research and sitting in warm libraries soaking up the history.  If we let the spirits charm and delight us, what magic they bring into our lives!  Let them whisper to you while you sip your cocoa and bask in what they reveal.  Let your muses guide you and fill your senses with unimaginable joy and let it be transcribed to paper for the rest of the season, until you welcome the sun’s return in the Spring.

It’s all in the marketing…

There’s been a lot of buzz in my writing chapter lately due to the fact that two of our members, AC James and Kathy Kulig, recently published a box set with other writers and the collection just went wild.  Hit both the New York Times as well as the USA Today best seller lists.  Congratulations to both of them.  It’s so nice to see friends achieving their goals.  Gives the rest of us some hope.

With that in mind, I’ve decided it was time I delved into the intricacies of marketing.  I was a marketing minor in college and have two rather extraordinary marketing geniuses in my family, so I am hoping it’s genetic.  My aunt, who gave me my first typewriter back in the 70s, was a marketing CEO for companies such as Heinz, Planters and Lifesavers.  My cousin is one of the youngest CCOs for a large media corporation.  And while I can’t claim fame to any marketing job I’ve ever had, I hope to glean some insight into what makes people want to buy.

In writing, I had always thought it was quality.  Write a good book, people want to buy it and they tell their friends.  But in today’s tech savvy world, that is no longer the case.  You have to push your work everywhere, on every platform.  Bombard Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with promo blips that thousands of people will see all at once.  Get yourself out there.

There is also the stipulation of longevity.  Unlike some authors, I cannot spit out a book every three months in order to keep voracious readers knocking on my door.  It takes me a year to write a book, sometimes longer depending on what’s going on in my life.  The fact that I have a demanding full-time job with a 3 hour round trip commute doesn’t help.  I know I make excuses when the muse doesn’t come knocking and it’s something I have recently beat out of myself by joining with a great group of writers who push me and hold me accountable.

That aside, the point is to get your work out there. And here I am.  My next book, “Love in the Stars”, which is book two of the Lambourne Legacy series, should be completed in the next two weeks and, by some miracle, will hopefully be in print for you all by September.  Maybe even earlier.

If you are unfamiliar with the Lambourne Legacy, the first book “Earl of my Heart” is still available at any number or retailers, including Amazon.

Happy Reading!

I rolled a 20….

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a geek.  Even at 49, I still love to play video games with the best of them and I think I’ve owned pretty much every console known, except the last couple.  My affinity is for first person shooters, as they are called, but for me it’s not for the shooting.  It’s for that first person POV –  The immediate immersion into someone else’s life besides your own.

Going way back, I was an old school gamer, D&D all the way.  I’ve done the 3 day weekend binges, the treks to GenCon and the immortalization of characters so old and well used that they were no fun to play anymore.  I mean, when you can kill pretty much everything thrown at you, where’s the fun it that?

I recently found my old D&D Binder (signed by Gary Gygax in 1994 when I ran into him at GenCon) that showed me that my love for world building and character development during my gaming years is no different from how I do it now as an author.  In fact, looking at my old character sheets with stats and sketches, I can see that I took much of that format when I started to write and it helped me to develop my characters more fully.  Give them a life I could immerse myself into, something all writers must do to hook their readers.

Playing D&D all those years ago also gave me a great way to creatively test plot ideas, capture dialogue and note action and reaction.  So now I am jonesing to play again, to get into the shoes of my old characters and live their life through their eyes.  It’s a 20th century equivalent to the modern-day first person shooter, but in D&D, you are the catalyst for where the story goes.  If you want to shift plot, you act on it.  Just like a writer would do.  It’s the ultimate, aggressive “what if” in real time.   It’s as if you are now the DM and this world is yours to create or destroy as you see fit and having this in my past has made me aware that it has shaped my writing tremendously.

And I’m glad I gamed, and still do.