I woke up yesterday to find a new five-star review posted for THE WILCO PROJECT. It turns out this review was posted by none other than fellow Solstice Publishing author KC Sprayberry. As I have mentioned before, receiving a great review is one of the most rewarding parts of writing. For me, this reward is amplified when the review comes from another author because that person has endured the rigorous process it takes to become published.
Here is the 5-star review as posted on Amazon.com:
Steven Archer, dot-com millionaire turned college professor, is on top of his world. His interactive cell phone game is succeeding far beyond his wildest dreams. The students running the project have some issues, but they’re working just as hard to make the game a winner. Then a phone call early one Saturday morning turns everything upside down. Archer can’t believe how fast things are tumbling down after the discovery of a body, of a female student participating in the game trials. The evidence points at the project manager, a student on track to be named to a fabulous job once the game goes public. But Archer has a hard time believing this particular person would ever do something like, until a second body is found.
Daniel Springer’s concept of a techno-thriller where the focus is on the characters rather than the technology works extremely well. The reader is captured on the first page and can’t stop until they get to the end. The reader has difficulty figuring out exactly who the villain is, and will be surprised at not only the motive but also the person when it’s announced after a chase with the game running. Springer’s talent for using a few words to get his point across paints a breathtaking picture of gamers going for a hot new game where they play in the out of doors rather than from behind a computer screen. The dialogue is quite believable, as are the reactions of those involved. The Wilco Project whetted my appetite for more works by this talented author.
Thanks KC for the kind words. KC didn’t ask me to do this, but I here is bit about her:
KC Sprayberry juggles her writing between a son in the band, a loving husband, a reformed barn cat, and an excitable Black Lab puppy determined to play all day long. She lives in Northwest Georgia, and often uses local settings, such as the one in An Ordinary House, in her stories. Her first love in writing is for young adults, be it historical, contemporary, sci-fi, or fantasy, a short story or a full length novel.
Here is the blurb on her book, SOFTLY SAY GOODBYE:
Erin Sellers, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, hates teen drinking. She and her three friends – Bill, her guy, Shari and Jake – decide to use Twitter to stop a group, the Kewl Krew, from using their high school as the local bar. But the members of this group are just as determined to stop anyone from messing up their fun. Despite veiled threats to her safety, Erin continues her crusade.
To make matters worse for her, the stress of school and extra curricular work mounts and suddenly, shockingly, booze-fuelled tragedy strikes. Erin is now under greater pressure as she spends all hours to produce a mural and other work to commemorate the death of a teen friend. Bill, Jake and Shari support her in all this…
But more tragedy lurks nearby… until it’s time to softly say goodbye.
Find more about KC:
Nancy is the author of the mystery Due Date available now! I want to thank Nancy appearing in this blog–you will find links to her web site, FB, and Twitter at the end of the article.
Where do ideas come from?
by Nancy Wood
There was a fascinating post recently on our Solstice Authors Facebook page about where ideas for books come from. Some authors said they loved to people-watch and all their ideas came from observing human nature. Others said their ideas came from real-world events or events they experienced in high school. One author said she liked to think of all the things she couldn’t do or places she couldn’t visit in the real world and translate that to paper.
It’s the eternal question about creativity. There’s a great Ted Talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert on the nature of creativity and how every person has a “genius” that is often ruined as we go through life. (http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html) What I’ve found through the author interviews on my website (http://nancywood-books.com/author-interviews.html) is that ideas come from everywhere and are as varied as people’s interests: Dan Springer, my host, always loved mysteries and is a gadget geek, so writing a mystery where technology played a major role made perfect sense to him. Another author, Joyce Strand, a Corporate Communications director, and decided to build a new career that would take advantage of her writing skills. Nancy Curteman loves to travel – her mysteries are based on areas in the world that she’s travelled to. Colleen Collins is a PI in real life, so she is writing what she knows. Author Kelly Abell was inspired by an event she heard on the news. And Carl Brush has always been interested in California history and social justice, so writing a historical novel set in 1910 in San Francisco gave him an opportunity to explore these themes in fiction.
Some well-known authors are quite open about where their ideas come from. Gillian Flynn, author of the blockbuster GONE GIRL, said she wanted to write a dark psychological thriller about two people who know each other really, really well. (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/gone-girl-author-gillian-flynn-395337) Tana French got the idea for her first book, INTO THE WOODS, when she was working as a temp on an architectural dig near a Dublin forest. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/books/tana-french-finds-her-niche-in-dark-themes.html?_r=0) Agatha Christie scribbled in notebooks; the notes show that her ideas came from the ordinary: an overheard conversation, a newspaper story, a trip to the theater. (http://agathachristie.com/about-christie/how-christie-wrote/plotting-and-notebooks/)
Ideas are as varied as we are. If you’re a writer or author, leave a comment! Where do your ideas come from? If you’re a reader, have you ever thought of an idea that would make a great story? Tell us about it!
2012 has been an interesting for me and certainly an upgrade from the preceding year (where I lost a close friend to cancer and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with “stage-4″ cancer).
I have much to be thankful for, including: my mother-in-law is now cancer-free and back to her old self! My daughter is flourishing academically and my son earned a letter as a freshman for swimming. I am personally in great physical shape as fitness was a priority for me last year.
I look forward to a prosperous 2013 for myself, I and I wish the same to you and yours!
Have and safe new year!
It is that time of year again, and with my own son starting high school, it reminded me of a very cool project my sister and I did two years ago to support the release of my novel, THE WILCO PROJECT.
In June of 2010 I signed a contract with Solstice Publishing, and after a couple of months of editing, the publisher announced a release date of October 31–I know, Halloween, very cool, right?
I really wanted to make a book trailer in preparation for the launch. I came to the conclusion I wanted my book trailer to be like a movie trailer (as opposed to a group of still pictures linked together). The problem was that I had no experience in shooting video and no access actors and equipment. Then it came to me, see if the local high school drama department might be interested in producing the book trailer.
I contacted my sister, Teri Locke, a teacher and the head of drama club at Strawberry Crest High School, and she agreed to let me pitch the idea at the first drama club meeting. At the meeting when I asked the kids if anyone would be interested, almost every hand in the group shot up.
In the end, a group of very talented high school drama students wrote, shot, and produced an incredible, Hollywood movie-style trailer for my book. Take a look:
So with the new school year picking up again, any cool projects on the horizon?
Unlike movies, TV, and video games, books don’t have a rating system to label the “appropriateness” of their content for readers. As an author I shudder at the thought of some panel slapping a label on my book and potentially limiting my audience as a result of their opinion on the suitability of my work for a particular group of readers. On the other hand, I just purchased a Kindle for my thirteen-year-old and I certainly would not want her downloading a title like Fifty Shades of Grey, either on purpose or by accident! For the record I have yet to allow my teenage son and daughter to read my book because it contains adult language and a couple of “mature situations” that I believe they are not ready to handle.
Why do some authors put bad language and sex in their books? I can only speak for myself–I write adult fiction and, like it or not, many adults use bad language and have sex! It is a matter of authenticity and making my stories ring true to the reader. The way I generally write is to simply document the movie playing in my head–if a character in the movie happens to curse, then that’s what I type on the keyboard.
Is this type of content required to sell books? Obviously not! Look at the massively successful young adult works, the Harry Potter series and more recently The Hunger Games. I also just finished an adult fantasy that very much enjoyed and can’t recall reading a single swear word. Most commercial, adult fiction–especially the kind I like to read, mystery/thrillers–have intense characters, both good and bad that say things and do things I don’t want to expose my teenagers to.
Prior to publication, I remember submitting an excerpt of The WILCO Project to a panel of three folks who provided feedback on my work. All three gave me good reviews and comments, but one made the observation that using the f-word in the dialog was unnecessary. If all three had made the same comment, I might have changed it, but I left it in because that what the character said. Everyone has their own tastes and I have figured out that, as an writer, you are never going to please everyone all the time.
When it comes to books and judging if their content is appropriate for children, I am happy there isn’t a rating system. Parents need to monitor what their kids are reading and watching because one size will never fit all.
I am blown away and humbled by a new 5-star review on Amazon! As I have mentioned before, nothing gives me a better sense of accomplishment and validation as a writer than an excellent reader review.
In today’s turbulent world of book publishing, author’s like me who have yet to breakout as a big-time bestseller certainly don’t write for the money. Sure, it would be wonderful to live off the royalties from books I write, and I do believe I have the ability to reach that goal someday, but with my current book priced at $1.99 for the eBook version, I have to sell an incredible amount of books to pay my mortgage.
So, as I work on my next book in an effort to make writing my main profession, getting feedback from readers is essentially how I get paid. Reading this Amazon review made for a fantastic payday!
Ron writes the following review titled: IMPOSSIBLE . . . to put down
This book is impossible to put down. Extremely well written; kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. A classic, who-done-it murder mystery mixed with a modern high-tech plot, reflecting the big-brother privacy concerns that have been debated at length in our new mobile world. The characters are very believable; I found myself in the story with them throughout the book. Would make an awesome movie! Encore Mr. Springer!
My thanks to all my readers who have taken the time to review The WILCO Project–it means so much to me and provides motivation to complete the next book.
The Fun Stuff!
BEA 2012 is winding down–what a jam packed three days in NYC! For the first time in the show’s history, 1000 non-industry folks, “Power Readers” were able to attend the event today. So, today I got the opportunity to sign and give my books away. Book signings are so much fun for me–the whole idea that someone is interested in reading my novel still gives me goosebumps. These people are big time readers and book fans and seem to genuinely appreciate the effort involved in writing and publishing a novel.
The other neat part of the show for me is meeting other authors. I made friends with a couple of Romance Writers of America authors, Leann Harris and Patricia Davis, who write “inspirational romance” for Love Inspired, an imprint Harlequin. These ladies are wonderful and very successful, and they were sweet enough to sign a couple of books for me.
I have to thank Solstice Publishing again for allowing me to participate again this year. I see great things for the new company in the future–stay tuned!
Big and small, old and new–they are all here!
My publisher, Solstice Publishing, is making a splash at this year’s Book Expo America, Javits Center in NYC. Everyone in publishing is here from the monsters in the industry, like Ingram, Harlequin, Random House, Penguin, Hachette, Scholastic, Harper Collins, and many more, to the market changers like Amazon Publishing and Google Play.
And, right smack in the middle of it all is Solstice Publishing. Just like yesterday, the booth is packed with authors and publishing industry insiders networking and discussing projects and the state of the industry. Many of these folks choosing to conduct short interviews to provide their perspective on publishing today and in the future.
Great day so far meeting other authors and industry pros. I feel proud to be a part of the Solstice family! If you are attending BEA, come by for a free copy of my book, THE WILCO PROJECT at booth #3983.
Solstice Publishing Booth (#3983) a Success!
Solstice Publishing’s new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Linda Harmon, called me last week to chat about the plan for this year’s booth at the BEA at Javit’s Center in NYC June 5 – 7. She described the vision that new CEO, Bruce Wilhelm, and the team dreamed up for the booth, including the concept of the Illumination Lounge, a warm area with comfortable chairs where authors , agents, and publishing executives could gather to discuss writing and the publishing industry. She also hinted there would be a camera crew filming short interviews allowing BEA attendees to discuss their views on the current state of publishing. I remember thinking that the concept seemed ambitious, unique and intriguing, but I wondered if the BEA community would embrace the concept. Would the booth be empty?
The answer is “no”–the booth buzzed with excited authors and industry folks from the moment I arrived mid-morning until the crews dimmed the lights well after the expo floor closed. The Solstice team hit a home run! In fact, I heard several times that Solstice had the best booth at the show.
New editorial chief, James Hallman, along with the camera crew conducted some 19 interviews, barely taking a break all day. The interviews not only allowed participants to voice their opinions on the state of the industry, but it fostered plenty of discussion and networking within the Illumination Lounge, making the Solstice Booth the unofficial social hub of the expo.
The new Solstice team figured out how to engage the BEA participants and provide content and value for those stopping by. Wednesday promises to be another busy day. I will be giving away copies of my novel, THE WILCO PROJECT, so please come by and say hello!
As I sit looking out over the beautiful, white-sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, packed with families enjoying the long, Memorial Day weekend here in the USA, a wave of guilt floods over me. Every year I eagerly await the last weekend in May and the three days spent at the beach with my family, letting the stress of work and raising a family drift away.
Invariably though, sometime during the weekend the real reason for the holiday hits me. Memorial Day is about remembering those who have lost their lives defending our freedom. When I ponder the ultimate sacrifice these warriors have given so that I can enjoy freedom of speech and have the opportunity to live the way that I do, it brings tears to my eyes. We are in the middle of a war right this minute, yet most days I am so selfishly wrapped up in my own pursuits that I forget the brave men and women that are giving their precious lives for my freedom and way of life.
Shame on me!
So, for those that have fallen, I honor you. For those fighting today, I thank you and will do better to support your efforts and sacrifice for myself and my family.
Happy Memorial Day my friends and thanks for listening (I feel better)!