Thursday, December 29, 2016

Grandson Lessons – He’s a Better Dancer than I Am

Being a grandfather to a seventeen-month-old grandson is a humbling experience. Sure, I can speak better than he can, and he hasn’t learned to write or play pickleball yet, but when it comes to dancing, he leaves me in the dust.

When he was less than a year old, we discovered that he loved listening to ABBA music. We’d put the ABBA CD in the player and he’d bounce up and down. Now that he’s walking, he gets into a full fledge dancing act when the music comes on. Me, I can’t carry a beat, but he keeps in time to the music just fine. Now when I follow what he does, I can even feel the beat. Progress.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Grandson Lessons – Looking Forward Not Backward

I continue to learn from our seventeen-month-old grandson. He has a backward facing car seat when riding in our car. He doesn’t like it one little bit. I can distract him for a while with toys, but ultimately this is not his preferred view of the world.

I can identify. Who wants to always watch where they’ve been? I also prefer looking at what’s ahead.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The World of Writing: Good and Bad Reviews

Once a writer makes the transition to an author, i.e., being published, it opens up the world of reviews and reader feedback. Even bestselling authors get one-star reviews, and the most acclaimed works get panned by some readers and reviewers. Why?  Because people have varying likes and dislikes, and no one author can appeal to everyone.

Over my ten years as an author, I’ve experienced the extremes of good and bad comments. Here are a few of the negative reviews:

“The fog level must be pretty lows so I think fourth or fifth graders would like it.” My response—I will endeavor for more sophisticated, pedantic, pedagogic obscurity.

“The author peppered his story with crude, distasteful language.” What the hell?

“Much to do about nothing.” I will work on something.

“So dull you’ll wish your memory reset every few pages.” Yawn.

On the positive side, here are some of my favorite reviews and emails from readers:

A review that speaks of my protagonist Paul Jacobson and his granddaughter, Jennifer: “It’s hard to beat a team that includes a wise-cracking old fart and as straight-talking young sprout.”

“The story’s endearing zaniness keeps boredom at bay.”

“I have read all your books and enjoyed them immensely, but even more fun was listening to my husband read them. He snorted, chuckled and guffawed his way through then. And the idea of geezer lit tickled the bejabbers out of him.”

“Thank you for the joy you gave me in reading your book. Paul Jacobson is my new hero. Whilst I am traveling towards the twilight zone myself, this book makes me feel so good about myself that I can rest easy in the knowledge that all is not lost.”

So, I suck it up when some readers react negatively to my work but also realize I provide entertainment and laughs for other readers.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Grandson Lesson for Writers

My sixteen-month-old grandson is always teaching me new lessons. As a writer, I have learned from him what makes a good book. We read a lot together, and he becomes bored if there are too many words and no action. This reinforces what one of my editors says: EOW—economy of words. I’m working on making my writing more concise and hard hitting. Always pay attention to little kids. They’re direct and to the point.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Challenges and Opportunities in the Publishing World

Since the time my first novel was published in January, 2007, I’ve witnessed numerous changes in the publishing world including consolidation of publishers, publishers dropping publishing lines and authors, and the rise of self-publishing and e-books. With twelve published titles and two more in the queue for next year, I have been fortunate to get my work out to many readers.

Nine of my published titles have been through Five Star, a part of Gale/Cengage Learning. Unfortunately, last year Five Star announced they would be discontinuing their mystery line. This has caused me to reassess alternatives and to work with two small publishers for the publications of the two books coming out next year.

Along the way I have also had the opportunity to get my work out in many different formats. Five Star published my books in hardcover and large print editions and in e-book format after the first four books. For the first four from Five Star, I put them up as e-books myself since I retained e-book rights. Five of my books have also been published as audio books from Books-in-Motion and seven in mass market paperback editions from Harlequin’s Worldwide Mystery line. I have also worked with three small publishers that put out a book each in trade paperback and e-book editions.

My most current edition is a trade paperback from Encircle Publications of the third book in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, Senior Moments Are Murder. Since Five Star will not be keeping the hardcover edition of this book in print, I will be able to continue to offer a print edition for readers. This edition releases December 1, 2016.

With all the changes in the publishing industry, I keep plugging away. And to all my readers, thank you for sticking with me and choosing to read my books in whichever format you prefer.