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You Are What You Watch on TV

My Inner Dude Comes Out

I don't watch much TV during the week.  I come home after work and get to my second job -  writing. 
So I record everything and watch what I can on weekends.
Here's my current lineup of shows in no particular order:
Walking Dead
Talking Dead
Sleepy Hollow
Almost Human (How Ka-Cute are Ealy and Urban?)
American Horror Story
Dragons: Defenders of Berk
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
Marvel Agents of Shield
Greys' Anatomy
The Good Wife
My new fav - Super Fun Night

I think there's a repressed twelve year old boy inside  me trying to get out. 

A few weeks ago, I was in Vegas.  I was with my Mom, so no it wasn't a 'sin city' kind of trip. (Dangnabit.) We ended up in a TV show testing center. I think it was for NBC.  At this center, (it was in the Bally's hotel ) they fork over cash to whoever wants to watch a new tv show and then answer survey questions.

My Mom was all in for the cash, so we did it.  After the episode (it was for Welcome to the Family) they asked what kind of shows did we usually watch.  They had blocks of shows to select from.  The block I chose might as well had "For Dudes" above it. The only thing that was included I didn't watch was Monday Night Football.  Otherwise every show was of the male-oriented, bad-ass variety like Walking Dead and Breaking Bad - or was of totally action-mayhem-will-ensue type. 

The books I prefer to read (and write) are of the same vein. 
 So what does my entertainment preferences say what about me?
What does your TV/Book choices say about you?

The care and feeding (and shunning) of vampires

This isn't about the fun kind of vampires though--

This comes from Seth Godin's blog.  As I ready to release my next book, the line about one-star reviews caught my attention. 

Vampires, of course, feed on something that we desperately need but also can't imagine being a source of food.

You have metaphorical vampires in your life. These are people that feed on negativity, on shooting down ideas and most of all, on extinguishing your desire to make things better.
Why would someone do that? Why would they rush to respond to a heartfelt and generous blog post with a snide comment about a typo in the third line? Why would they go out of their way to fold their arms, make a grimace and destroy any hope you had for changing the status quo?
Vampires cannot be cured. They cannot be taught, they cannot learn the error of their ways. Most of all, vampires will never understand how much damage they're doing to you and your work. Pity the vampires, they are doomed to this life.

Your garlic is simple: shun them. Delete their email, turn off comments, don't read your one-star reviews. Don't attend meetings where they show up. Don't buy into the false expectation that in an organizational democracy, every voice matters. Every voice doesn't matter--only the voices that move your idea forward, that make it better, that make you better, that make it more likely you will ship work that benefits your tribe.

It's so tempting to evangelize to the vampires, to prove them wrong, to help them see how destructive they are. This is food for them, merely encouragement.
Shun the ones who feed on your failures.

Book Cover Reveal

Here's the new cover for the latest book.

I'm nervous about this one.  The book, not the cover.  It's a dystopian novel.  Well, novella.  47K words.  Originally it was a short story I'd written years ago.  I decided to revamp and release it.  I thought it would be a quick turnaround but it has taken weeks.  As a result, the story changed into something different. 

I was in love with Blood Gem. This one. . . I'm not so sure how folks will react. 

I think the cover came out swell though.

Pristine's current synposis (in progress):

An engineered virus changed everything.
No one knew society was falling when it was. 

Sunny Hudson is seventeen, famous and pregnant.  In a world where infertility is the norm, and couples beg for a healthy child, Sunny is ecstatic to do her civic duty and be a donor mother. . . for the right price. She enrolls in the exclusive Barrons Academy, an academic and research facility for young donor parents, to become the willing plaything of a multimillionaire -- until love, deceit, and murder change the rules of the

Now Sunny must choose between opening her heart, survival, or exposing a truth that could spark revolution.

Pristine is a dystopian novella that questions what love really looks like in a world where perfection is expected. 

The Introverted Writer During the Age of Social Media

Platforms like Amazon's KDP has made it easy for anyone to self-publish.

However, self-publishing goes hand in hand with the M word.


The responsibility of garnering attention for a new book has become the responsibility of the indie writer.

Enter social media.

And blogging.

There are plenty of debates on how relevant it is for writers to build a platform vs. devoting more time to the craft. 

Personally, I prefer to be on a beach somewhere writing. (Or watching Walking Dead.)

Really, social media confounds me a bit.  I have so much to do already.  I work a 9-5, have a two hour daily commute, and have to do other stuff like bathe, eat, procrastinate on working out - finding more time to read about other people doing stuff seems . . .

Well I don't want to be rude.  If you're reading this, you're taking time out of your very important life to read my blathering.

In 'real' life I'm not overly chatty.  Given a choice, I'd much rather be reading a good action novel than striking up a conversation. 

So what does the slightly introverted writer or person do in the age of social media?

Da, da, da, daaaaaaa -

Here's some ideas for posting on facebook, or a blog or twitter or whatever-- -

1. Take pics of your town or city.  Nothing too fancy.  Maybe post them with a motivational quote.  Folks love those.

I'm going to do this one, from time to time.   I'm a born and bred New Yorker.  There's ton of stuff I can take pics of.  In fact this one here is a pic of the steeple of St. Andrew's church from my office window.  (this is the church that many of the relief workers during 9/11 found sanctuary in)

2.  Dust off an old short story and post it in installments

3.  Find other interesting blog posts and write a brief commentary linking back to the original article

4.  Post pics or video of your pet.  I just heard on NPR (yes I listen to NPR) that there's an annual cat video convention.  Yes, they only show cat videos

Pick one or a few, load em up in one of those auto-poster things like hootsuite, and its done.  The only thing is you have to make an effort to go comment on other people's stuff.

The key for all of the above is to inject a little bit of your personality into every post.  That's the real reason people are stopping by, to check you out. 

Then go back to writing about werewolves.

Yes, I like Cat Photos

Ok, this one just makes me laugh. 

I think you have to be a cat owner to appreciate cat humor. 

Cupcake Nirvana

These come from a bakery in the UK called Cupcake Occasions. 

They are fortunate an ocean separates us.

And  they have a note on their homepage that they do Not deliver!  Aargh.

The Fall Out from My First Bad Review

One day I logged onto Amazon and to check the stats for The Blood Gem.

Yes!  Someone left a new review. I'd been hoping my last free promo would garner some new comments from readers. 

For indie writers, reviews might as well be currency. 

I hurriedly clicked over to the page in sweet anticipation of reading how my book is the new hotness.

And there it sat.  A glowing one star  followed by a scathing commentary.

Prior to this I'd prepped myself.   There's plenty of talk in the writing community about getting the bad review.  What to do.  What not to do.

Some say to laugh it off.  Others say learn from it if possible. You can't please everyone.  But no matter what, getting negative reviews is inevitable.

I thought I was ready for it.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion.  I would take the high road and when the moment came, I would find the diamond hidden in the poop.

Yeah, well. . . that didn't happen.

I closed my laptop and went to bed. 

I didn't write for days.  My body conked out and I developed a really bad a sinus infection.  The last thing I wanted to do was write.

On the J train going to the office, the critic's words would come back to me unbidden.

Even now, I can quote lines from what this person wrote.

On the kindle forum, somebody suggested to go read the reviews for your favorite 'traditionally' published writer.

I did.  And OMG!!! 

People feel free to rip writers a new one.  And they do it with glee.   Some sound like they know the author personally and they're still pissed off the writer's dog crapped on their lawn. 

Again, everyone is entitled to their opinion.  And yes, if one buys a crap product a little annoyance may be justified. 

But c'mon how about some constructive criticism delivered with a huge-ass dose of common courtesy? 

Sometimes the anonymity offered by the internet is corrupting.  Or maybe it allows us to show our true natures?

I belong to Toastmasters where we learn the art of giving effective speech evaluations that are supportive and instructive.  It's not that hard. 

After reading those reviews I put on my big girl panties and got back to work. My next book is a dystopian story about love and deceit and the ties that bind us together.

Writing is weird and hard and fun.   And when the 'publish now' button is hit, that book (usually) represents someone who has put a lot of time and effort into it.

Now, I've read some crappy books - self-published and traditionally published. No one should get an instant stamp of approval just because they've spent x amount of hours working on anything.

In the future when I leave a review, I will write it as if the author is sitting next to me.  And if I act like a bitch, they're allowed to punch me in the face.  

This was a good lesson.  The next time the single star pops up underneath one my books, I'll be ok.