Sci-Fi on the Rock 9, here I come! :)

Greetings everyone,

It’s spring time here (at least what passes for it with flurries still in the forecast April 18) and I’m gearing up for my first convention of the year. Last year I missed Sci-Fi on the Rock due to a family illness (he’s doing much better now) but this year I’m all set to go and will be there for 3 full days! (I know you can barely contain your excitement!) .

SFOTR9Logo  I’ll be downstairs in Diagon Alley (Salon F) on Friday from 10am-8pm, Saturday from 9am-6pm, and Sunday from 10am-5pm (with a short break around 1pm). As before I’ll have copies of my Newfoundland Vampire series (two books so far!) comics, some magic cards and of course FREE CANDY! (That always seems to bring people around).

11132199_738291536707_1043323700_o Killer on the Road: A Newfoundland Vampire Story Book II

If you can’t get enough of me (and really who can?) I’ll also be doing a talk Sunday at 1pm called "Adventures with Vampire Fiction and Publishing". I’ll also be having a look around the main floor upstairs, hopefully a friend will be there to watch my table. What can you see upstairs? Great costumes like these:

SciFiontheRockCostumes SciFiontheRockSteamPunkRyanSkanesSciFiOnTheRock

Lots of great vendors, information about other conventions like the first Avalon Expo (also here in St. John’s), the 4th Atlanti-Con (in Corner Brook, the west coast of Newfoundland), groups, meet the guests and of course all the fun panels (probably none as good as mine though 😉 It’s always a great convention and I hope you’ll be able to make it. Come see me and I’ll tell you all about my new publisher and when to expect books 3 and 4 of my series. In the meantime have a great weekend and watch the Star Wars 7 trailer (it rules!).

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Book Review: Sci-Fi from the Rock Returns

Details from Amazon:

SciFiFromtheRockReturns

Book Description

Publication Date: April 26 2013

The third collection of science-fiction short stories from Newfoundland’s top authors, including Steve Lake, Tara Murphy, Matthew LeDrew, Darren Hann, and Mark Todd! Also including the work of Jay Paulin (Ink’d Well Comics) and Larry Gent (light|dark)!


Product Details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: Engen Books (April 26 2013)
  • Language: English

Initial Thoughts:

I enjoy supporting local writers and companies, I also enjoy short stories, combine those two likes and of course I buy Engen‘s short story collection every year. I was at Sci-Fi on the Rock last year (this year sadly I may have to miss some time) and of course I picked it up. Also the fact that I’ve read and enjoyed stories by Darren Hann, Steve Lake and Matthew Ledrew were an added bonus.

Main Points:

As this is a shorter collection (just 92 pages), I’ve give my thoughts on each short story (something I am not going to do every time).  I should also point out right away that Engen needs a better editor, in almost every story I found grammatical errors. Everyone makes them when they write but if they don’t get fixed afterwards…well it takes me out of the story and is a big flaw. I won’t harp on it the whole review so here’s a glaring example right on page 10 "Sowing us down?", that’s not just bad punctuation, it’s completely the wrong word. Sorry to be so harsh but it looks very unprofessional.

Also worth noting is since these are short stories it’s impossible to discuss them without giving away details, so consider this SPOILER ALERT!

"Shadow of the Full Moon" by Steve Lake

Steve has been doing a series of Full Moon stories, it’s a tale of vampires versus werewolves. I’ve enjoyed them, the characters are well done, good action and a nice story. This one, well I hate to start on a downer but this is the weakest one so far. My problem is that the descriptions are good (and it’s the same characters I like) in this story almost nothing happens. Frank wants to become a werelion, Ryan stops him and there’s a note on the floor. Really? It took you a year to come up with that? A big letdown I’m afraid.

"The Hadron Effect" by Mark Todd

Mark has also started to do short stories for Engen, I enjoyed his first one but here…I would like to say at this point that I like these two guys. I never write anything in a review as a personal attack, I hope they take it as constructive criticism and the opportunity to become better writers, because that’s how it’s meant. So with this one we get a nice setup, an interesting take on time travel and the consequences of the Higgs-boson Theory and teleportation.  The story has this time agent captured, his captor doesn’t believe his story, he is about to press a button on his wrist device to prove him wrong and nothing, the story ends. Once again, I really don’t like it when you do a short story (with I assume no intention of a sequel) and you’re just left with no conclusion.

"Mirror Blade" by Larry Gent

Now we’re getting somewhere! A good story with some well developed characters, a nice backstory and very exciting action sequences. I enjoyed it very much. The warm poem at the beginning and end was a great touch, excellent through and through. The best of this collection. I won’t dwell on it here (I bring it up later) but Larry is also not from Newfoundland, just saying the title of the collection should be changed if this trend continues.

"Invasion" by Matthew Ledrew

Interesting story, I liked how the mundane (and sometimes sadness) of every day life and relationships is contrasted again an alien invasion. Very good work.

"Hagridden" by Tara Murphy

Very creepy, gory and depressing, I loved it! Tara’s knowledge of horror and costume/set design comes through in the details and it helps make the story shine. Perhaps the scariest part of all is the idea that if a parasite took you over slowly, if you protested enough, maybe no one would intervene. It’s always refreshing to see when someone has the guts to kill the main character of the story, one of the bests of this collection.

"Rebel Howl" Jay Paulin

Short story in the form of a poem, a nice twist. Eloquent, brief and to the point. I also really like putting in his feelings on animals rights, excellent all around.

"Rituals of the Celestial Ram" Dr. Lee M.W. Whatte

Amusing little story with an interesting twist. I’ve never been a fan of coffee (or any coffee shop) so I couldn’t relate much. I do need to point here something, I have nothing again Dr. Whatte but isn’t this collection supposed to feature Newfoundland writers? It says clearly in his bio he lives in Chicago, was he born here? Just seemed like an odd thing to do for this collection.

"The Fishing Trip" by Darren Hann

Very short story but I liked the twist, it reminded me of an old episode of "Twlight Zone" (or one of the better "Outer Limits" episodes). I would have liked more details but all and all a good one.

"Recruitment Possibilities" by Larry Gent

Gent continues to show that he has quite the talent for short stories. I like a story with some action and this one provides in in spades. He has extensive knowledge of the military and it really pays off here. Interesting characters, a good story and lots of room for a sequel.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this collection and I would give it a cautious recommendation. My concerns are primarily about the first two stories (which both had good ideas, just needed further work) and some improper (or perhaps lack of) editing overall. This could have easily been an 8/10 but with the above concerns I have to put it down to a 6. Once again certainly not appropriate for children but certainly worth a look. And yes if you’re wondering I’m a forgiving person, I certainly will buy the next collection, I’m just hoping for an improvement. Until next time (which will be my thoughts on "Godzilla"), have a good one all.

Book Review: Compendium by Ellen Curtis

Details from Amazon:

Compendium

Product Details

Compendium – the debut novel from Engen superstar author Ellen Curtis is finally available internationally! Read the three shorts that propelled Curtis into stardom: "The Tourniquet Revival," "At Midnight, the Dawn," and "Falling into Fire!" Explore the Engen Universe like never before, and even gain early insights into Engen Books’ newest series, Infinity. Available now at a special discounted price!

Initial Thoughts:

I know Ellen from conventions (and from her time doing a webshow I appeared on) and from being an author in Newfoundland (she’s with Engen Books), so after reading a short story she did in Light/Dark (which I enjoyed) I picked this up at Sci-Fi on the Rock and finally got a chance to read it (in my defense I have been reading a lot of comic books). I like to support local authors and of course I enjoy getting books signed and speaking with the author about their work. Also of course I like short stories (have at least 3 more collections of them to read). I’ll note here that I liked how there is a short preface that introduces the idea that the story themselves are part of the Engen world (and I like the character Matthew, pretty sure I know who that’s supposed to be). It was clever and a unique way to start a collection.

Main Points:

Since this is a short collection (which isn’t a bad thing at all, I like short) I’ll do each story individually (As it’s impossible to talk about short stories with revealing  details…SPOILER ALERT!

The tourniquet revival, very good story. Lots of action, well developed characters, creepy villains, good atmosphere. A kidnapping with a supernatural/cult twist where I found myself excited and drawn in. I do have to point out though what I felt was a small error. Kat thinks "her next decision would haunt her for years to come", it’s a nice phrase but I can’t see how it fits in with the story. While things don’t turn out perfectly (what horror story does?) I really don’t see how anything she did in the next moment could have been any different, how it would have helped. The guilt part makes sense but the shooting when she opens the door makes sense to me, I just wonder if this line was missed in editing, I’ll try to ask the author about it sometime.

At midnight the dawn, a nice story with an unexpected twist. To be honest though I found this to be the weakest of the collection, I think the issue I had was that while it starts off really nice (What are these two teenagers up to? Why are they stealing? What are the details of this gang?) it goes downhill once they are captured. The whole demon/angel angle is thrown in abruptly and I felt that the powers/mythology/history was not given it’s due. I know it’s a short-story but I think this one could have done with at least another 4-5 pages to delve into the characters and history. This one seemed a little rushed or possibly maybe only a second or third draft (in my experience 4-5 drafts is the minimum for anything).

Falling into fire, my favorite of the collection. Here’s a great line near the start, "The staccato crash of running pierced the hall, annihilating any silence that had previously existed here".  I love conspiracy theories/sci-fi/military experiments gone awry. A good action-packed stories, nice characters and really interesting ending, I hope she’ll return project Aisli sometime. I also enjoyed how at the end we’re not entirely sure what happened, a little mystery can be a good thing. Once more though I felt this story to be cut short a little too soon, I certainly would have liked some more back-story and the characters, the institution and the experiment.

Final Thoughts:

Ellen is obviously making most of her main characters female in this collection, which is fine. I can certainly relate to being able to write your own gender easier and I would also agree there are not enough strong female characters in fiction (or most stories period). Ellen has a way with words, she uses phrases I enjoy and her writing is often eloquent and clever. She also makes me look up words, which is always a good thing (especially if you’re a writer like me). I do have put out a small criticism, why do the story titles not have any words capitalized? (I added capital letters above just to illustrate) I know it seems very nit-picking but I couldn’t help it, just something I noticed.  Overall I give this a strong recommendation (for readers 14+) and 7.5 out of 10. I’m looking forward to reading Ellen (along with Matthew and the other Engen writers) short stories in Sci-fi from the Rock Returns (also from Engen), hopefully I’ll finish it before the convention in May.

2013: My year in review

Happy Holidays and early happy new year everyone!

I’m doing my year in review a little early this year (organizing it differently). I haven’t seen a movie in a little while (Christmas is a busy time for us) and I’ve been catching up on some TV (Sons of Anarchy is still excellent and Lilyhammer is a lot of fun).

Oh before I continue, waiting to watch a show after it ends, TOUGH to avoid spoilers! I just had the ending of SOA ruined for me, hopefully other people who do this don’t have the same experience.

holiday 2013

As I said this time I’m going to do categories rather than month by month. So here goes:

Music:

I love music and I went to a bunch of concerts this year. If you want to read about them in more detail have a look here. I’ll add that Barenaked Ladies were excellent (despite the loss of one of their main singers) and for an outdoor show we had great weather.

Also I saw Ron Hynes (a local singer who recently battled cancer). I know this probably makes me sound like an asshole but he was really crappy. I am glad he’s feeling better and I appreciated how friendly and thankful he was to the audience but his voice is gone. A friend was with me that night, he left during intermission. I’m more faithful/stubborn and I stuck it out until the end. The problem here is that he had throat/mouth cancer and now he can barely sing. I’ll miss seeing him, he did great bar shows and is funny but I can’t see him again, it’s just too sad and depressing. If Ron (or someone he knows) reads this please tell him I love his music, he’s a great songwriter and a Newfoundland icon but he has to stop at least until he’s made a full recovery.

Aside from that we went to a dinner theatre for our work party called “Christmas around the world”. By Spirit of Newfoundland. The show was excellent, great music, excellent performances, funny. They even did a shortened version of my favourite Christmas song “Fairy tale of New York”. I should mention though that the food (especially for me as a vegetarian) has gone downhill from other performances. This doesn’t mean I won’t go back, just probably not for a staff party.

I’ve already purchased tickets for another one of my favourite singers, Billy Joel, for New York in July. I’ve been trying to see him since 2003, so I am really looking forward to that show as well.

Aside from those you can read about the other great shows I saw here.

Conventions:

I was fortunate enough to attend 3 conventions this year. All of them I had a table to sell my books and I got to do a talk at each one. I enjoyed them all a great deal (though Hal-Con had the most issues, which I discussed before). Atlanti-Con gave me the most time to chat with two of the guests (partially due to the fact that I was at the same hotel as they were) and made me feel the most welcome.

Of course the con I’ve been going to the longest (and get greeted by actual fans of my series) is Sci-Fi on the Rock. This con has truly grown into a great Newfoundland tradition and I had a great time this year. Always great guests, great people, well run and always surprises me in different ways. My thoughts on the con for this year.

Book 2 and other writing:

You knew this was coming. The second part of the vampire series “Killer on the Road” came out early September. I’ll admit that sales for it have not been as good (and I haven’t gotten as many reviews) as book 1. I’m not deterred in the slightest though. I paid someone  to update my webpage (have a look here). I had a radio interview, a newspaper one, several internet ones, did 3 blog tours, 4 readings, a book launch, put up over 200 posters, did Flea markets, Farmer’s markets, conventions, a Goodreads contest and everything else I could think of to promote it both in person and online. I am hard at work on book 3 (already nearly finished chapter 7). In fact I’ll announce that the title (if Pat approves) of book 3 will be “The Newfoundland Vampire book III: The gathering dark”. I have a short story coming out in the new year (sc-fi for a change) and I intend to hopefully make at least book 1 into a play/stage production of some kind as well in the new year.

Of course I’ll also maintain this blog and I do other non-publishing stuff running a D&D campaign with some friends.

Travel:

I love to travel and I’m lucky to get to do a fair bit of it. This year I go to two of my favourite places, Gros Morne, Newfoundland and Grant, Florida (where my parent’s house is). If you’ve never been to Newfoundland (or Gros Morne) you really owe to yourself to come. Just not in the winter! Yes I have climbed Gros Morne mountain, just not this year. I did a couple of great trails, got to stay with some great new people, ate yummy food, finished off book 2, went to an outdoor book reading, a play, played lots of board games and drank a little too much beer.

As for Florida, well I know like anywhere it has it’s flaws but I so love to get out of here in the winter and my parent’s place is in a nice quiet spot (well on the back). I was there for almost a month and here’s the highlights.

Over the summer (and fall) I also went to Eastport, Swift Current, Corner Brook, Grand-Falls Windsor, Brigus and Halifax. This post will get way to long if I go into what I did at each place, I just think traveling (to safe places of course) is a wonderful experience for everyone. It educates you about the world and gets to do things that you may never have had the opportunity to do otherwise.

My health:

I’ve put on some weight over the fall/Christmas (like a lot of people I’m sure) and I have a few back/feet/wrist issues. I need to get back into exercising on a regular basis and cut down on the junk food. This is dull so I’ll just say getting older does suck but so far I’m still doing good.

Work/personal life/charity:

What’s to say? I don’t like my job but it pays well and I get a lot of time off and lots of benefits, so I really can’t complain. Our busy time of the year is over (though I’ll still be in a whole weekend in January for inventory).

I believe that those who are more fortunate should help those who are not (and give to what you believe in). I put my money where my mouth is and gave over $2000 to charities this year (a lot of that to an environmental group called the David Suzuki Foundation). I hope my contributions make a difference and I feel good doing it, so I think that’s the most important things.

I’ve reconnected with some old friends a lot this year and made a few new ones, which is always good. Other than that I’m happily married and I think lead a fairly active social life (which does slow down a bit in the winter). I don’t get to role-play (the geeky way people!) nearly as  much as I used to but that’s what happens when a lot of your friends have children.

Speaking of I do spend more time with my niece than I used to. This is a direct result of her being a little older and we don’t need to worry about diapers anymore (not that I ever changed one). We’re not having kids so it’s a great compromise for me (5-6 six hours in a week is PLENTY of time for me with a 3 year old).

I don’t have a large family but we are fairly closely knit. Over the last week (Christmas time of course) I’ve seen them more than I usually would. It’s fine but like most people I’m glad Christmas only comes once a year.

Reading/movies/TV:

I review every book I read and every movie I see. I’m not going to pick my year’s best for either as this post is getting lengthy. I just wanted to say that I am reading more comics now than I have in many years (mainly due to the fact of how excellent Walking Dead is and how much cheaper/easier/convenient digital comics are).

I also am trying to cut down on the TV I watch, while there is lots of good shows out there I am SO far behind on my reading. I’ve already given up both Seth McFarlane cartoons and had a bunch of shows end. I’ll miss shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter and Eastbound and Down (read: the first one more than the other two combined!). If you’re never seen Breaking Bad, I envy you. I’ve watched a lot of TV and it was for me one of the best shows ever. The ending (unlike a lot of shows) was perfect and the acting/writing was always spectacular.

2014:

Of course I’ll ring in the new year with a New Year’s Eve party (with fireworks) and I’m looking forward to another great year for me. If you made this far I hope 2013 was good to you and that 2014 will be even better. Look for book 3 (among other projects) to be out hopefully late summer/early fall and I’ll keep an eye out for you. Until then I am, as always…

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My thoughts on Sci-Fi on the Rock 7 (local convention :)

Hi all Smile

It’s been a little while since I did Random Musings, so here’s one on the con I went to last weekend.

SciFiOnTheRock7Me

There’s me in the left hand corner (obviously I didn’t take the picture). This is was slower moment as it was a busy convention! From Friday to Sunday over 4000 people came to visit (not including children under 6 who got in for free along with artists, vendors and volunteers who were also there for free). Thanks to Jeff Power for taking this pic. In terms of numbers I did well. 13 copies of my book The Newfoundland Vampire were sold, one given away for an auction and one give to Val for a review on Tuck Magazine. Considering my book has been out over a year (and I’ve sold almost 1000 copies including online sales) I think that’s pretty good. I also expanded and sold some comics (over 20 that weekend) and Magic cards (I have no idea how many, they sold well).

Cons are about costumes (and panels and lots of other stuff Winking smile) but for Sci-Fi on the Rock the costumes keep getting better. Here’s some of best ones (none of these were taken by me, Phillip Rene for the first two and Lisa Daly for the last)

StormSciFiOnTheRock

RyanSkanesSciFiOnTheRock

SteamPunkSciFiontheRock7

If you look closely at one of the pictures above you notice Dominic Keating was there and I did see his talk Hot smile. He was good, funny and told some interesting stories. I appreciated his honest about Star Trek: Enterprise (it had good episodes but only really 2 good seasons) and I especially liked how he asked two parents to leave the room with children (they were being noisy and if bothered me it obviously bothered other people). I’m always annoyed how people take very small children to inappropriate events. Anytime someone is giving a talk a small child is not going to be quiet, I don’t think that’s being mean, it’s just the truth (at least from my experience).

For my panel I had about 10 people (one couple with a child came and left half way through but that’s fine). They were a quiet bunch but asked a few questions and I have two readings. It was nice that two of the people there had already read my book and asked me about the sequel. If you’re been reading this blog you know the rough draft is written, a contract signed with Penumbra Publishing (thanks Pat!) and the final product will hopefully be out sometime in September.Vampire bat

The other parts I really enjoyed were meeting fans and chatting with other authors. I had two people come up and ask to have picture taken with me Open-mouthed smile. That was a great ego boost and made me feel good for the whole weekend. As I mentioned in my talk I’ve accepted that at least for the next few years I’ll have to keep working my day job but I see progress and I remain hopeful that one day I can have a career of just a writer Smile.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Dale Jarvis, a horror writer, tour operator and academic. He was very friendly and we had a nice chat. An author friend I see at Cons and markets Scott Barttlett was there (and looked after my stuff for a while,thanks!) and several other people I see on a less frequent basis (some people are just at this particular con every year). Along with Matthew and Ellen from Engen Books.

So what’s next? Well I’ve been invited to write a short story (which I’ll certainly do) and I am going to try and do some work this month on book 3 (might as well get the creative juices flowing Smile) Aside from some flea markets and Farmer’s markets during the summer. Of course I’ve got several concerts to go to but now I’m off topic. Have a great day everyone until next time (which will likely be a movie review) I am as always…

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2012: My Year in Review (and FREE STUFF! :)

Hi Everyone Smile Well it’s the that time of year, to look back at the year past and forward to the future. Don’t worry this won’t be a long, philosophical musing on all the world events of 2012 and what we could do better, rather just some highlights from my life along with some picture (and something FREE at the end! Open-mouthed smile).

January:

Aside from doing some serious editing on my first novel (The Newfoundland Vampire of course!). This happened:

Yes that’s real. My wife’s old Santa Fe caught on fire one morning! (It had just been started). Way too much excitement for 5:45am let me tell you!. Luckily no one was hurt and since we live in the woods there was no damage to our house or any other property. I don’t remember the mechanical reason for it happening but obviously car was toast.

February:

Nothing of interest, I was busy editing my book (did I mention my editor Patricia Morrison at Penumbra? She is excellent and has a lot of patience. I’ll admit I can be a nuisance sometimes). I learned some valuable lessons about dialogue, plot structure and most importantly not getting personally invested in a story to the point that I was irrational about changing it, live and learn Thinking smile.

March:

Early in the month (and for all the rest of it) we went to my favourite vacation spot, sunny Florida! There were tons of pics so I’ll just share a couple of my favourites.

A convertible in Florida? All kinds of awesome! Hot smile

In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Geek and a big kid at heart. Also, who doesn’t love Spidey? Smile

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One of my favourite places in the world. Ernest Hemmingway’s house in Key West, Florida. The descendants of his cats (they have 6 toes on every paw) are still there.

April:

My book! After months of editing, 8 months of writing and about a year to find a publisher it finally came out Smile Obviously I was ecstatic and I tried my best to sell and promote it.

That was my appearance in the Evening Telegram. Thanks again to Tara Bradbury for doing a full page article on me, it was very much appreciated! Smile

Photo: My Mom also came down to see me and Joanne Pearcey took a picture :) Thanks to everyone who bought a copy! (and to Lisa M. Daly who also came downstairs to see me :-)

My Mom and I at Sci-Fi on the Rock, this was the first time I sold my book it public. Had a blast Smile

May-June-July-August:

I had a busy summer, here are some highlights.

Photo: The third annual Geek Fest is about to start. Big Red (and me) are ready, you? Have a great weekend all (and just enjoy the pic if you have no idea what I'm talking about)

Photo: Hi all :) Just wanted to let people in NL know (and in the St. John's area in particular) that my book is available at Costco. Here's proof! Have a great night everyone :-)
www.charlesokeefe.com

September-October-November

Summer came to an end but I kept up with my promotional and selling activities. Along with some more good times Smile

This was at another excellent convention, Atlanti-Con, held in Corner Brook, Newfoundland the end of the September Smile.

Several times this year I was lucky enough to work with a bunch of great people on Star Trek: Reliant, a fan-made (not for profit) Star Trek series filmed locally here in Newfoundland. Always a great time Smile

December:

While I was very busy at work, for most of the month I did have a great Christmas and just last night an excellent New Year’s Eve Smile.

 

SGMPic

This was my last chance to sell my book in person for the year. An excellent local market ran by a friend Laurie Legrow called “Some Good Market”.

Photo: Merry Christmas everyone :) listening to "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues, of my favourite Xmas songs before we go out visiting :-) happy holidays all!

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There were lots more fireworks, I need a better camera I find it extremely hard to get a good picture of them.

So you’ve made it to the end, I had a great year and as promised here’s the freebie, my book! For the rest of today it’s FREE on Amazon Kindle. If you haven’t read it yet, today’s a great day to get it! Smile Oh and once you finish it you can look forward to book 2, which will be out hopefully sometime this summer. Have a great New Year everyone. Until next time I am as always…

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The life and times of a writer/promoter 3 months in

Well howdy everyone Smile (thought I’d start with a different greeting). I hope you all are having a good summer. I know for many people you’re roasting with heat but hopefully you can find ways to cool down (or at least drink your troubles away Winking smile) but I’m rambling already.

So today I wanted to talk about my experience as a promoter/salesperson/author these past 3 months (I still work full-time, maybe someday writing will provide a more substantial income). I’m not going to share any figures like total books sold or profit made for two reasons, 1. I don’t have all my figures yet and 2. I can’t share all my secrets the one time! Vampire bat

For those of you who know me a little you may know that I’m the obsessive type. It’s a double-edged sword, it helps me to get stuff done but I’m certain it can sometimes rub people the wrong way and it does take up a large part of my free time. I have done many promotional activities starting with a convention (both selling and giving a talk), putting up over 200 posters around St. John’s, giving out bookmarks (not sure but probably over 200 of these as well), a book signing, 2 radio interviews, a newspaper interview, a book launch, having a table at a Farmer’s market, use of Twitter, Facebook, a blog, a website, sending out my book to many blogs, Shellfari & Goodreads, placing books on consignment in many stores, selling while I do deliveries at work, selling to customers who come into work, delivering copies to friends & relatives, doing interviews for blogs and other stuff that I’ve either forgotten I did or will do in the next month or so. Oh I should say in case you’re new to blog I’m talking about my first novel “The Newfoundland Vampire” of course Hot smile.

newfoundland vampire1

What I’ve learned/accomplished:

Well like I said before I’m trying not to be a pest and I’ve learned the importance of not writing a spoiler filled review for a book (ok that’s a little off topic but still I learned it recently Thinking smile). I have had people come up to me and say they’re heard me on the radio, read the newspaper article or saw one of my posters which was nice. I’ve learned that success (at least for 99% of writers) is a slow process and you must have a great deal of patience. Also that while it took me 2 years to get a book out, people have it read sometimes in one night (one person did just that, much to my delight/amazement and you can read about it here). I can see the benefit of writing two or three books all at the one time to keep up with this demand and I certainly see the benefit of writing a series as people have asked me will it be the same characters and one woman in particular was thrilled to find out she would find out what happened to them next Smile. Speaking of, talking to someone who has read and enjoyed your book is a wonderful experience, I hope it happens to me many more times yet.

I’ve gotten some great reviews (4 on Amazon and 4 on Goodreads among others, you can read about them all here) and I’ve learned to handle some critical reviews without getting angry (with thanks to Pat who’s always been there to give advice Open-mouthed smile). And got to chat with (and in some cases become friends with) some great people online.

In terms of selling I saw that while I had a nice push in April and May, things have slowed (at least in person) for me in June and July. I have also discovered that selling to the general public is hard (two weekends at a Farmer’s Market with just 9 copies sold was rough, but I’m giving it the rest of the summer at least). In comparison to a convention where I sold 36 copies in 2 days. I don’t mind when people aren’t interested in my book but sometimes I get dirty looks (for the poster above I can only assume), lame excuses (saying you have no money while you count out 20’s just makes you look like a jerk) or stupid jokes about vampires being real or how come I’m out in the daytime, I’ve heard them all. Please just smile, nod or just be give a friendly “hello”, it’s really not much to ask. I have learned that the other vendors at a Famer’s market are some of the nicest people I have ever met. The food there is all excellent and I would certainly recommend it if you have one near you.

I have also learned that getting reviews is hard! Most people are either busy, not interested in my book or never get back to me. Also those who have given me reviews (and interviews) are wonderful people (you know who you are, thanks so much!) and I will certainly be in contact with all of them for book 2 Thumbs up.

Conclusions:

So where does all this leave me? Well with more to do before I start writing again. I think I’ve mostly tapped out the free advertising and will be getting into some paid ones (suggestions welcome!). I haven’t forgotten a blog tour and I will do one once I finish submitting to blogs (the end of July is my cut-off time). I also have another convention the end of September (Atlanti-Con, come see me if you’re anywhere near Corner Brook, NL) and of course the wonderful feeling of getting my first pay check from Penumbra, which will arrive in the next few weeks  (and by arrive I mean show up in my Paypal account Smile).

I’ve also found that writers, editors (and plenty of other folk online) are a great bunch of people who like to share ideas and help each other out. I know I’m only just starting my journey as a writer but as Aerosmith (who I’m going to see this weekend, can’t wait!) says “life’s a journey, not a destination and I just can’t tell just what tomorrow brings” so I might as well enjoy it Devil. Until next time dear friends, I am as always…

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