Monday, July 30, 2007

GUEST BLOGGER: Marilyn Celeste Morris, Author of THE WOMEN OF CAMP SOBINGO

9:07 AM 0 Comments
A number of people have asked me what was behind The Story of Camp Sobingo – the “real” story. I have no ready answer. I was only an 8-9 year old kid in 1946 in that military compound so far away from the country of my birth. It was while I was writing Once a Brat, about my experiences as an army brat accompanying my army officer father all over the world in the days following the end of WWII, that the image of my mother telling me that one of the women in the compound had died, sprang into my mind. And not only had she died, she chose to end her life there. I often wondered why a woman would destroy herself, what kind of dark forces in her childhood would convince a person that death was the only way out of the terrible pain?

So, being the incurable writer (story-teller that I am, I made it all up.

The four women in the story are composites of women I have known throughout the years, some stories are true, others appear quite by accident as I sat at my keyboard and allowed the characters free reign to do as they pleased. And often the results were a complete surprise to me. I began wondering why the beautiful Leah Damon would want to kill herself, and imagined a troubled childhood, a feeling of being “different” from the others in school (no doubt a mirror image to my own childhood where I was always the new kid in class, and do girls here wear Peter Pan collars or sweaters?)

My mother is portrayed most nearly true to form. She is the West Texas farm girl who marries a soldier and becomes an army wife, following him to the literal ends of the earth.
Maggie is probably my alter-ego, if I would let it out to play. She is a brassy, bossy, fun-loving woman who takes all the challenges life throws at her and almost literally spits in fortune’s eye.
And Trudy. Ah, yes, Trudy is the shy girl who marries into wealth and power and yet she follows her husband to make a home for themselves in a distant country, where she can be herself instead of one of the Cavanaugh Women of fame and fortune. Years later, she finds her own hidden strength, and a weakness that led her to believe events that were not true.

Perhaps the following will describe more in detail the process I undertook getting this story from my imagination to the publisher’s website.

A Note to the Reader

There really was/is a Camp Sobingo, located outside the capitol city of Seoul, South Korea at the end of WWII. This military compound’s cookie-cutter “quarters” was home to the women and children who joined their Army officer husbands during the US Occupation. The camp had a school, a post exchange, a dispensary, a commissary, and even a movie theatre (think “MASH”). Ever-present, however, was the military presence, both Korean and our own US forces, and the tyranny of the Russians located across the 38th parallel, who merely annoyed the dependents with their random denial of electricity to the American contingent.

Most of the Americans had deployed to other assignments before June 25th, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. Those remaining escaped safely, but “The Land of the Morning Calm” would never be the same. In 1954, my father was ordered back to Korea as part of the Military Advisory Group. He took a short drive to what remained of Camp Sobingo, and sent snapshots of our former quarters, (Hq.G-27) which had been pock-marked by aerial strafing, and natives were stripping the floorboards for fuel.

The window, where I had sat and dreamed a 9 year old’s dreams and played with my homemade doll-house populated by models cut from the Sears, Roebuck catalog, was boarded up. More pockmarks surrounded the framework.

An unusual childhood, one might correctly assume, yet I was not alone in this kind of adventure. There are vast numbers of military brats and wives of servicemen who carry the same experiences from different countries. Thanks to the power of the Internet, we are finding each other. Two such sites that assist in this process are:
www.military-brats.com where you may register so that others may find you, and www. Overseas-Brats.com. Another organization of interest is the American Overseas Schools Historical Society, which recently broke ground for a museum to be built in Wichita, Kansas, housing such “sacred artifacts” as my 4th grade report card from Seoul Dependents Elementary School. Many of the schools currently in operation overseas are being closed as our military presence is no longer required.

Researchers and historians will be astounded by such a treasure trove detailing one small but important part of our nation’s history.

Marilyn Celeste Morris
Author of THE WOMEN OF CAMP SOBINGO

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

GUEST BLOGGER: Elena Dorothy Bowman, Author of THE GATEKEEPER'S REALM

8:11 PM 1 Comments
I am an author who writes in several genre's including: futuristic science fiction, and mystery romance novels that have a touch of the paranormal running through them. I started writing fiction seriously during my lunch hours at work. I needed the diversion since most of my writing at that time was devoted to technical writing. With my first published novel, I guess it started with my smoking. Yes, I used to smoke. I don't now, haven't for many years. But one day while sitting in my office during a break, after a real rough morning, I lit a cigarette.

I watched the curled smoke from my cigarette rise toward the corner of the office disappearing into a crack in the wall. I watched this for several minutes wondering where the smoke was going. Was it just being swallowed up into the wall, or did it vanish into the nooks and crannies that were hidden from view and led to God knows where. Needless to say, my imagination took hold and before I knew it I was writing the first chapter to my science fiction/mystery/romance novel Sarah's Landing-I-Contact. I have since taken the smoking aspect out of the story and replaced that part of it with a human being — the lead character — which ultimately led to the birth of four complete novels in The Sarah's Landing Series. All four books in the series have been released in ebook format by Write Words, Inc., ebooksonthe.net. The print editions will be released sometime in 2007 by their imprint Cambridge Books.

My fifth published novel, a Romance/Suspense/Mystery Thriller, The House On The Bluff, first came into existence due to a mysterious, seemingly uninhabited house on a ledge that
overlooked the ocean. A place where I had never seen anyone enter or leave in the many times I had visited there. It was as if the house sat there waiting for something or someone. It was a foreboding looking house, especially on a cloudy day.

Still, there was something majestic about the way it stood its ground against the ocean crashing up against its seawall, and the mystery surrounding it — just added to the equation. This, too, lent itself to a three book series entitled The Legacy Series. All three books in the series have been released in ebook format by Write Words, Inc., ebooksonthe.net. The first two books in the series have been released in print by their imprint Cambridge Books.(http://www.cambridgebooks.us/).
We come to my eighth published novel, Time-Slip, in the Romantic Paranormal Suspense genre. At present, it is only available as an e-book, but hopefully it, too, will be released in paperback. This novel had its birth while researching ancient histories and lost civilizations. The thought occurred to me as I read certain books that what if, what they say is true, about a continent that disappeared in the Pacific? What if it all did happen exactly the way they say it did?

But what if it all wasn't lost? What if a part of it was trapped in a sort of bubble, but no one, just by looking, would ever discover it? What then? What if some young archaeologist decided to search for ancient artifacts and was caught in a seaquake, an undersea earthquake that opened the door to a portal that only the Earth remembers —and to an undersea world that shouldn't exist? This, too, will be released in print sometime in 2007 by Cambridge Books. More about all of my novels, excepts and reviews can be read on my website: http://sarahslanding.com/ or http://elenadb.home.comcast.net/.

Elena Dorothy Bowman
Author of The Gatekeeper's Realm

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Nightmare of Booksignings by Susan Gregg

10:13 PM 0 Comments
When my book The Toltec Way came out, I went on a book signing tour of the West Coast. When I got to my first book signing, the store had forgotten they were going to even have a book signing. That could have been my first clue. I spent 3 1/2 weeks on the road going from town to town signing books.

Now don't get the wrong idea, some of the book signings were wonderful.
I got to meet so many wonderful people. One night while I was waiting for people to show up I sat in the back row. I forgot my picture was on the back of the book and just sat there watching people gather. Finally the woman sitting next to me said, "I know who you are are you supposed to be up front?"

I feel silly sitting behind a table with a pile of books and people scurrying by trying to avoid me so I refuse to do a book signing unless I get to do a talk as well. One of the bookstores had shelves that were about 4 feet high. When I started my talk there was a handful of people
sitting in the chairs. As I talked I started to see disembodied heads appearing over all the shelves. It was great.

At a bookstore, I think it was in Seattle, there was only a schizophrenic and a homeless man who really enjoyed the cookies. Some day I hope to have people lined up around the block, just waiting for me to sign their book, but for now I'll just enjoy my virtual book tour.

Susan Gregg
Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditationshttp://www.susangregg.com/



Monday, July 16, 2007

WHY I WROTE WEEKENDS by Lindy S. Hudis

9:04 AM 0 Comments
What can I say? I grew up reading. Books were, and will always be, one of the great loves of my life. As a child, a read Dr. Seuss, then grew up to read Judy Blume. I loved how she would put a story together. Then, as I got older, something amazing happened to me: I discovered Jackie Collins! I think that she was truly an inspiration to me. As I got lost in her characters, and their incredible situations, that is when I knew that I wanted to write fiction. I wanted to do what Jackie did: to take the reader away. I wanted to reader to feel that they are in some kind of exotic place, doing wonderful and crazy things. The only question was: what do I write about?

Back when I was an aspiring actress, I met a man named Joe in Los Angeles. He was an actor, and did commercials and soap opera work. We got to be friends, but I liked him as more than a friend. He just never knew. He had the most gorgeous blue eyes, and delicious blonde hair (he was the typical California pretty boy, but I didn’t care.) I guess I am a sucker for a handsome face. All of my male characters are sexy and beautiful. I do get inspired by men, because I feel that they are fascinating. A writer friend of mine once told me that I “hit the nail on the head” when it comes to writing about male sexuality. That was one of the best compliments that I could ever have! Yes, it is true. I love men. The do inspire me, captivate me, and intrigue me…but I digress!

One day, Joe just disappeared from my life. I guess he went to New York or something. Whatever, I just never saw him again. So, I sat down at my typewriter (I had no computer then.) and began to write about this beautiful man named Joe. I wanted to describe him in a way so that the reader could see what I saw, what I was seeing in my mind’s eye. I threw in a little bit of my personal fantasy, a bit of the California setting, and just let Joe take me where he wanted to go. I just sat and typed out 22 pages, just for therapeutic purposes. Then, I took the pages, stuffed them in a drawer, and forgot all about them. I never thought….

Cut to eight years later. I am married (yes, to a sexy blonde hunk with gorgeous blue eyes) and I am pregnant with our first child. We were “nesting” (the instinct that moms-to-be have when you clean out your home like crazy to get ready for the new arrival). In the process of discarding old junk, I ran across those 22 pages about Joe. My husband asked what it was, and I told him “Oh, just some writing I did a few years ago.” Well, that night, I read over them. Then, I read over them again. Then, I put them in a folder and put them next to the computer (I have a computer this time, lol!). I didn’t look at them again for another six months.

Veronica came into the world on December 9, 2002. My husband went back to work, and I was a home with our new daughter. When she was sleeping, I needed something to do to come back down to Earth, to have some “me” time. So, I ran across those pages, again. I broke them out, and just for the heck of it, decided to type them into the computer. So, I typed, and typed, and typed. “Hello Joe.” It was almost like seeing an old friend. I added characters, and introduced them to my Joe. Then, I let them take me on an unforgettable journey.

One a side note: As I am sure you are all aware of the tragic events that occurred in Santa Monica at the Farmer’s Market on July 16th, 2003. A man lost control of his car and plowed through the Farmer’s Market, killing several people. We were living three blocks away from that accident at the time, and my daughter and I would go to that very place every Wednesday to buy fresh vegetables. That particular day, however, my characters were literally saying to me “No, stay home and write…we are on a roll here!” and I did. I didn’t realize that something terrible had happened until I heard helicopters and received frantic phone calls from friends and family members. It was strange: One of the people killed, sadly, was a four month old baby that was born on Veronica’s due date. I think that my characters saved us that tragic day.

It was on a Friday that, I realized that I had 250 pages. I thought “I have a book here, what the heck” Then, I did the unthinkable : I showed my manuscript to my father-in-law. My father-in-law is Norman Hudis, the television writer of M*A*S* H* and other successful television shows. This is a man who pulls no punches. If you stink, he will tell you so! He makes Simon from American Idol look like Mother Theresa! So, I took a deep breath and showed it to him. He read it. He liked it. He told me I had potential. I almost fainted! He told me, in his sophisticated British accent “Lindy, I feel that you could have success as a commercial writer.” So, I took his advice, and I went for it!

So, after rejection and rejection, I finally got that coveted publishing deal. Now, my work and my Joe are out there for the world to see. I hope that I can entertain my readers. I know that I am not going to win a Pulitzer with my work, and I don’t wish to! I just want to let the reader have some fun! I want to take my readers away to an exotic and relaxing place somewhere. I want the reader to feel the sand, to hear the ocean, and to smell the salt air. I want the reader to use their imagination. I want reading to be fun, like I have always thought that it was.

Lindy S. Hudis
Author of Weekends
http://directorbabe.tripod.com/


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Marketing and Promoting My Book by Judi Moreo

4:50 PM 0 Comments
When I was in high school, I wrote articles for a local newspaper and after graduation, I continued to write articles and columns for newspapers and magazines, so I always had an audience for my writing. Then I was asked to write a book, “Delivering Exceptional Customer Service," so I did and that was about as far as it went. It was published but it only sold about 1,000 copies. My next attempt at writing was a self-published book, “Make Up Your Face,” which I promoted myself and sold 9,762 copies. Then a seminar company asked me to write a book – which I co-authored with Fiona Carmichael “Conquer the Brain Drain” – and it has sold and sold and sold…for four years….because it is sold back of the room in seminars across the USA. None of these books were the book that was in my heart. That book is the one I’ve just written “You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power." The information in this book is a compilation of the knowledge I acquired by owning my own business for 17 years, Universal Models Agency & Finishing School, as well as from being a Senior Executive in a large communications corporation in South Africa, and traveling on the road as a Motivational Speaker. (Yes, I have a diverse background.)

Through all these experiences I kept running across talented and knowledgeable men and women who felt they were “less than” they could be. People who said they felt they were created for something more, so I decided to write “You Are More Than Enough.”

Then the hard part began. If I am going to make a difference in anyone’s life, I have to get this book into the hands of at least 100,000 women in the next year. How was I to do it?

I attended a Dan Poynter seminar and made notes on all the different methods he suggested. Then I bought John Kremer’s book, “1001 Ways to Market Your Book” and read it cover to cover. Then I went on Amazon.com and bought about 10 more "how-to" sell your book books, and attended Greg Kompes’ Writerpreneur seminar which by the way, was informative and most helpful. I also attended the Henderson Writers Conference in Las Vegas two years in a row. And while it all sounds good…and some even sounds easy….how do you do everything that needs to be done and still be a motivational speaker who is on the road speaking a minimum of three days a week?

My solution – do at least one thing every day to promote the book. So I hired Dorothy Thompson at The Writer’s Life to do a virtual tour. Even though the tour goes on for two months, I only count it as one thing because what I did was hire Dorothy, which was one of the smartest things I’ve done.

I also hired a publicist, Newman Communications, for a three month print campaign and they have sent out 125 review copies of my book to publications across America.

I give away books to total strangers. The other day as I was driving through Jack-in-the-Box take out line, the young lady helping me was so polite and efficient, that when I got to her window, I said to her, “You have just won the outstanding customer service professional of the day award and you get a copy of my new book, “You Are More Than Enough,” and handed her the book. She started screaming and immediately wanted the book autographed. Everyone who worked in the back of the fast food restaurant came to see what she was screaming about and she showed them all the book with great pride and said that she was the “Customer Service Professional of the Day” and that was her award.

I did the same thing to a saleswoman in a dress shop. She showed it to all the other saleswomen and all the customers that were in the store and then displayed the book along with my bookmarks on the counter of the store.

I’ve contacted book stores across the USA and offered to do book signings and luckily my publisher owns several newspapers, so when I do signings in the towns where the newspapers are located, they run a quarter page color ad in the paper to promote the signing and the book. It’s amazing how many people show up at these who have heard me speak at some time or another over the last 10 years.

I’ve traded books with other speakers. In this way, my book appears before their audiences and their books give me more products to have on my back of the room sales table, plus we don’t have to worry about paying each other commissions as once the books are traded, they belong to the other person and no money changes hands.

I will continue to do one thing a day until I have at least 100,000 books in the hands of women around the world. I am so sure that those who read it will be able to do, be, and have more than they have ever dreamed of….because they are “More Than Enough” to make it happen once they believe they can. And I'm finding out that marketing is not as hard as I believed it would be....just take it one day at a time.

Judi Moreo
Author of You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power
http://www.judimoreo.com/


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