Alzheimer’s Association in my spare time or Meet the Stars!

June 20th, 2013 → 7:50 pm @

In addition to writing cozy mysteries, I spend a lot of time on activities relating to my board position with Alzheimer’s of the Midlands. Last week I had the rare opportunity to attend a small cocktail event sponsored by the association. They were welcoming Erich Hover and Brett Cullen, two Hollywood actors who will be in an upcoming movie about Alzheimer’s being filmed in Omaha late this summer.

Selfless Stars

Selfless Stars

Hover is an Omaha native who went to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. He has appeared in films such as Moneyball. While pursuing his career Hover learned that his Dad, still living in Omaha, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Once he realized the need for both research funding and public awareness, Erich jumped at the idea of creating a film that could provide both.

His experience in the film industry enabled Hover to solicit a script telling the tale of his Dad’s journey and recruit well known actors for the project.

Actor/Filmmaker

Actor/Filmmaker

Cullen, who was featured in recent film 42 and appears in the weekly program Person of Interest has great enthusiasm for the project, in part because he is currently the primary caregiver of a Mother with dementia, and he is intrigued by the difficulty of the role. He will be playing Erich’s Dad, the Alzheimer’s patient.

It is the hope that this film will significantly help raise public awareness; in addition a percentage of the proceeds will go directly to Alzheimer’s research.

The Alzheimer’s of the Midlands, with their new Executive Director, Viv Ewing and her staff, joined the actors and researcher Dr. Bonasera in celebrating the beginning of a much needed project in the history of finding a cure.

CullenIt is only recently that the legislature and a small segment of the public have begun to realize the massive toll that Alzheimer’s will take on the medical community as the Baby Boomers continue to age.

 

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Council Bluffs Public Library Author’s Fair

April 16th, 2013 → 2:57 pm @

Thanks to all the folks at the beautiful new Council Bluffs library for the Author’s Fair on Saturday! I felt very honored to have such a prominent table right in front of the entrance doors! It was a great chance to meet the folks in The Bluffs and get to know them a bit.

Council Bluffs Public Library

Council Bluffs Public Library

I was excited to learn that they may have another Author’s Fair in November for the Christmas shopping crowd!

I met a professional book reviewer and some very talented authors! And the library staff took very good care of all of us!

 

Author's Fair location

Author’s Fair location

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Another Great Author Fare Thanks To The Omaha Public Library!

February 20th, 2013 → 7:38 pm @

Last Saturday’s Author Fare at the Omaha Public Library was the best author networking event I’ve been to yet! I met authors, folks connected to libraries, a lovely woman with a radio show she’s willing to use to help promote authors, a student who is blogging about authors who use social media and a whole host of other very interesting folks, some of whom promise to be very beneficial to an author’s career.

Author Fare

Author Fare

As much as I enjoyed last year, when the library premiered the Author Fare event, it could not compare to the beneficial networking of this past Saturday.

I appreciate all of the folks at the library for pulling this event together! A special shout out to my WriteLife publisher Cindy Grady, for being instrumental in making this event happen and in supporting her authors so well!

I look forward to next year’s Author’s Fare – but I’m hopeful that the success of this event will inspire the library to host more author related events before then!

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FAQs on Authoring a Book: Getting Started – Part 2 Continued

January 28th, 2013 → 9:55 pm @

We’ve already addressed three of the four basic categories that new authors tend to fall into:  the I have an idea I’d like to share with the world group, typically consisting of business advice – an idea, the I have a story to tell group, often about overcoming adversity, and/or self-help advice and the I want to write a book and give my business, or personal brand, a boost folks. We’ve given these author-types some advice on the best way to get things started.

Let the creative juices flow!

Let the creative juices flow!

That leaves our fourth and final category, consisting of the I love to write and I’m pretty good so I should probably write a book folks. For them the subject of the book is often secondary to their desire or even need to express themselves in writing.

At the risk of seeming immodest, that’s where I place myself. As an English major and a former English teacher, I have always wanted to write a book and I’ve never been shy about sharing that fact. When I finally got around to actually writing a manuscript there were those who asked “why did you wait so long?” And the answer is simple. I envisioned pouring my heart into my life’s work and spending the next decade receiving one rejection after another from heartless publishers who would ignore and overlook my brilliance, thus shredding my very soul.

Getting to know a publisher gave me the courage to take a shot. Once I’d made the decision to finally write the damn thing – I hadn’t a clue of what to write. A chat with this publisher helped to get me focused.

“What do you love?” he asked.

“I love comedy.”

“Then write your comedy and show it to me,” he suggested.

That was it. Next challenge – decide what funny things to write about. As a lifelong aficionado of murder mysteries – both serious and comedic – the old adage “write what you know” seemed applicable.

Once my genre was set I sat down to write. The first three chapters virtually wrote themselves. I packaged these up and sent them to my “publisher acquaintance” to await his verdict.

A few weeks later confirmation arrived. My chapters were of enough interest to warrant finishing the book. It was a bittersweet moment that juxtaposed the thrill of having a publisher’s interest and the terror of being clueless as to how to write a whole book.

For me, the next step was to continue writing while simultaneously creating a writing process. There are some who would say my journey appears to have been backwards. But it’s what worked for me.

Here are a few pointers for those of you raring to go:

  1. The writing is so much fun! If it’s not, maybe you have the wrong topic (obviously if you’re writing about a somber subject it won’t be a laugh riot – but it should “feel good”).
  2. You need some kind of a process. Everyone asked me if I had an outline – I never did. I found that the writing just took its own twists and turns. What I did need, however, was a process to determine:
    1. How long before I start to write the ending: I decided to split the book into quarters – and not start writing the ending until the fourth quarter – that was an enormous help.
    2. How many pages does it need to be:  I did some checking on several books in the genre – and they were books that I enjoyed so I knew that the length did not prove to be an obstacle in the enjoyment of the work.
    3. How to determine how many instances of physical comedy should be included: Again, research other authors in the genre – try to focus on books you thought worked well and see how many individual times they used physical comedy.
    4. How to remember details so I could tie up loose ends: I kept a notebook with notes on every chapter. I chronicled when every character was introduced and when every plot turn occurred – it’s impossible to remember every detail – notes are a godsend. I also took notes on every character’s name – you’d be surprised how you can forget a character’s last name – or how you spelled their name.
    5. In my case, folks always ask me if I knew who the murderer was in the beginning. The answer is “no.” At times I thought I knew, but as things progress I changed my mind – several times. Letting the prose take you where it does is known as creativity – don’t try to jam your creativity into a pre-determined outline!
    6. Let the editors do their work! If you are self-published, make it your business to find some great editors and ask them to be ruthless. If you publish traditionally or collaboratively your publisher will take care of that for you. Remember, a suggested change by an editor is not a failure of your manuscript – if you let the creative juices flow there are bound to be mistakes or awkward areas. A great editor will honestly improve the quality of your end product – we don’t always see the flaws in our own creation – nor do friends and relatives!
    7. If all else fails, just write and see where it takes you! You can always turn it into a book later. The whole key to your success is to let yourself go! After that, process and editing (not to mention proofing) will clean things up and make you ready for “prime time!

Donovan heads Bozell Books, a division of Bozell designed to help authors and budding authors from inception through promotion of their published work. She has authored a novel entitled: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch? www.rldonovan.com, and the second in her Donna Leigh Mysteries series is currently being published. Her next installment of FAQs on Authoring a Book will address the prospective author with confidence in their ability to write and how it impacts their process of “Getting Started.”

 

 

 

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Thanks to SheWrites Writer for the Awesome Comment on my Book Trailer!

December 7th, 2012 → 6:10 pm @

Comment by Gabrielle Mazur 34 minutes ago
Delete Comment

Just watched your video. It looks great! Very professional looking. Sounds like a book I’d love to read 🙂 And love your doggies, I have an Old English Bulldog. He’s lying at my feet this very minute. I wish you all the success in the world!

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Thanks for the Trailer Views, More is Better!

December 7th, 2012 → 3:50 pm @

Thank you so much for all the views of my trailer. As of right now – we’ve hit a total of 379 views – the ten million mark is right around the corner!

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Thanks to Jan Bolte and the Tri-State Library Conference!

November 8th, 2012 → 6:37 pm @

At the conference

At the conference

I had a wonderful time speaking at the Tri-State Library Conference in October! I am so grateful to Jan for proposing me as a speaker. I met some wonderful people who are actively trying to help promote my book to libraries – and some even bought copies of my book for themselves, their friends and family – that was a huge surprise!

As a result I’ve already had requests for future libraries speaking engagements and book clubs as well! Thanks again for an awesome opportunity.

It was a great opportunity to try out my new book trailer – and the librarians were extremely complimentary – check it out yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmgkpYPi5q8

 

 

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Visit Booth #541 at the Big “O” Show on Wednesday, Oct 17th!

October 14th, 2012 → 8:38 pm @

Bookdisplay

Bookdisplay

Wednesday, October 17th I’ll be at the WriteLife booth #451 from 10:30 – 12:30. Come on by and chat and see my book trailer.

Visit with me and all of the other WriteLife authors – up close and personal. This is a great chance to get to know who’s writing what you’re reading.

I look forward to seeing you at the Quest Center and chatting about the first book in the Donna Leigh Mystery series, I might even be persuaded to share some details on book #2:  I Didn’t Kill Her, But That May Have Been Short Sighted.

 

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Check out my book trailer

September 13th, 2012 → 6:47 pm @

My book trailer just went up on the WriteLife YouTube channel today. Check it out:

 

 

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A Huge Thanks to The Lit Coach for including me in her post: Blogs That Work and Why!

August 24th, 2012 → 4:27 pm @

Blogs That Work and Why

by | on August 23rd, 2012 | 4 comments
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Tuesday, I shared the Five Pillars of Effective Blogs as I shared with the LARARWA group this past weekend:

Compelling Content, Consistent Posts, Fresh Ideas, Engagement, and Share-ability

Today, I’d like share with you some of the blogs I discussed and why they work.

Yarnagogo – The blog that launched Knit Lit Romance author Rachael Herron’s career. Rachael shared with me that not only did her blog come before she scored an agent and a three book deal, it pretty much sealed the deal. Her agent and editorial team loved her authentic voice and how she connected with her audience.

Girlfriends Book Club – This collaborative blog featuring Women’s Fiction heavy hitters Ellen Meister, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Marilyn Brant, Maggie Mar (who I had the great pleasure of meeting at the LARA event) and many more, is a prime example of great content, consistency, fresh ideas, robust engagement with the audience and a community of sharing between most involved on the blog.

I asked Ellen Meister about how the blog began and how they’ve found success as a popular blog. Here’s what she had this to say:

The Girlfriends Book Club blog rose from the ashes of The Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, which was a group of commercially published women authors who posted about each other’s books. That went on successfully for a number of years and eventually just burned itself out. Author Karin Gillespie deserves some kind of medal, because she not only ran the GCC but continues to coordinate and schedule the group blog.
 
It’s a tremendously effective way of reaching people, because there’s strength in numbers. With 40 writers as part of the group, the blog pulls from a vast network.
 
As it turns out, the majority the blog’s readers seem to be aspiring writers. Recognizing this, we post a lot of writing and marketing tips for aspiring authors. My most popular post was 20 Social Media Tips for Writers. Other favorite posts include 16 Tips for Writing Sexy Scenes, 18 Novelists Share Their Writing Routines and Girlfriends Share Tips on How to Be a Productive Writer.
 
As far as promoting our own books, it’s clear that the most popular posts are the ones that offer giveaways.
 
Importantly, the women in the group are tremendously supportive, and we help spread the word about each other’s posts with Tweets and Facebook status updates.
 

Menologues – Robin Donovan, author of Is it Still Murder Even if She Was a Bitch?, began blogging about menopause “because stumbling blindly through menopause is less funny than it sounds.” She wanted to reach a community of women who were going through what she was going through and it worked. Robin had a clearly defined audience, wrote specifically for them and soon, her blog was picked up by Vibrant Nation.

Twinfatuation – Twins expert and author Cheryl Lage has a world-wide audience, has written for an impressive array of national and local magazines, and ezines, has appeared on Martha Stewart Live Radio, has been called by The Today Show and so much more, mostly because of her blog. But like many bloggers who author books, she didn’t begin with a blog. Cheryl contacted me when I was a literary agent and she, a mother of adorable toddler twins and a writer with a great idea about a book for parents of twins and multiples. Cheryl’s story is very special to me and I was delighted to share it on literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog (another fabulous blog!). I encourage you to read the short post on how we started building her platform as a twin parenting expert before we sold her manuscript. You may see some of your questions and concerns answered in the robust comment thread.

A Walking Carnival – This has got to be my favorite slice of life blog ever. I like to say Deirdre Lewis, the creator of AWC, is the love child of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris. A filmmaker and screenwriter by trade, Deirdre’s unique quirkiness shines through her blog as she takes you through her neighborhood in Echo Park, CA, to a dusty old camera shop, to an airport book store and to her father’s house. There is no post I don’t absolutely love. This blog is ALWAYS fresh, pretty consistent and I feel the content is spectacularly good. One of her latest posts is an all imagined dialog between two car mechanics – notice how the conversation reveals so much about the narrator. Deirdre is not repped by an agent, but it won’t be long before she is. She uses the blog to discover her voice and hone her craft. Works for me!

What blogs do you absolutely love and why? Share them below.

TLC

 

 

 

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Comments (4)

  1. Ellen Meister, August 23, 2012
    Thanks so much for another terrific and informative post, Erin. And of course, the shout-out for the Girlfriends Book Club blog is much appreciated! Here’s a recent update–the wonderful Maggie Marr is now at the helm. We’re so lucky to have people like Karin and Maggie to lead the way! Ellen Reply
    • TheLitCoach, August 24, 2012
      Ellen, thanks! I truly feel what you all contribute to the blog world, especially with regard to educating writers, is so valuable. I really enjoy the blog (and need to comment more often!) and am happy to refer writers to it. While I was speaking about GBC in front of the group, Maggie was in the audience. She smiled when I mentioned the name so I stopped and asked her if she knew of the blog. When she said she was ON the blog I nearly died! I was THRILLED to meet a GBC member. Reply
  2. Marilyn Brant, August 23, 2012
    Thanks so much for the shout out, Erin! I feel lucky to be part of the GBC because, as Ellen said, it’s such a tremendously supportive group of writers. I truly enjoy getting to read the posts of the other contributors and have found the readers to be really receptive to the diversity of topics and voice, too. Looking forward to checking out the other blogs you recommended!! Reply
  3. TheLitCoach, August 24, 2012
    Thanks, Marilyn. The GBC blog is so unique and really is a compelling example of how to collaborate with your fellow authors online successfully. Reply

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