Big-Hearted Charlie Runs The Mile

Big-Hearted Charlie Runs The Mile is based on a true story about a little boy who joins a track team and works hard to overcome his small size as he runs against boys who are much bigger. At first, he never wins a race. But Charlie doesn't give up, and his hard work pays off. He becomes a champion on the track and later a true hero in real life as a U.S. Navy SEAL. Published in April 2017 by Legacies & Memories Publishing, Big-Hearted Charlie Runs The Mile is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major booksellers.

 

Click on arrow below to play interview with Krista Keating-Joseph:

Krista Keating-Joseph is the mother of Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV, whose life was tragically taken fighting ISIS in Iraq on May 3, 2016. A devout Catholic, her faith, support of her loved ones, and now publication of Big-Hearted Charlie Runs the Mile has enabled her to cope with the devastating loss of her son. Just like Charlie, Krista always loved to run and has remained an avid runner throughout her life. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Krista went on to found the Arizona Track Club as well as coach the girls cross country team at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Arizona. She currently resides in Ponte Vedra, Florida with her husband, Ron, and Charlie’s sister, Ali. For more information, visit bigheartedcharlie.com.

Girl from Ipanema

There are 2 books in Ur Legend fantasy series: Sun Valley, Moon Mountains, and The Girl From Ipanema, by Ajax Minor.

The Girl From Ipanema: The World Turned Upside Down, has just been released (June 2017), and in it, Ajax Minor has created a world-clashing, universe-shaking adventure in which his character “Ur,” whom he has based on the daughter that he lost, must grapple with forces of good and evil, life and death, and struggle with foes that are both external and internal. The multi-layered narrative is at once a page-turning adventure, an exploration of human emotion and grief, and a serious look at issues facing the world we live in that are rooted in science and philosophy.

Both installments, Sun Valley Moon Mountains and  The Girl from Ipanema are smart, non-traditional fantasy stories driven by unexpected protagonists that readers of Neil Gaiman and Ted Chiang will enjoy. On a deeper level, the books grapple with questions about the world we live in, rooted in science and philosophy.

Ajax Minor was born in Danbury, Connecticut, on September 11, 1950. He ‘prepped’ at Danbury High School and received an A.B. from Princeton in 1972. After graduation he moved to New York City and began a career as a bond trader. He and his wife lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn for twenty years, and spent another twenty in Denver, Colorado, where their daughter Katherine was born, and died. Presently they reside in Monterey, California. Minor began writing after the death of Katherine. Though the novel is his preferred medium of expression, he has also written a few short stories and some poetry, available on his website, ajaxminor.com.

Thomas Keech

Doc Doc Zeus: A Novel of White Coat Crime by Thomas Keech follows the life of Dr. Hardwicke Zeus. Zeus is successful physician, who cheats on his wife, degrades his mistress, stiffs his medical partners and defrauds insurance companies. Most problematic of all is his deep-seated misogyny, which he takes out on his female patients. The medical board knows he drugged and raped Katherine two years before, but is helpless to do anything about it. His current victim is sixteen-year-old Diane. Diane is intelligent and strong-willed, but she is also an unwed mother who at fourteen has given her baby away for adoption, has lost faith in her church, and is having trouble reconnecting with her only two friends. Even as she cherishes her relationship with Dr. Zeus, Diane resists some of his sexual demands and finds it necessary as a matter of survival to lie to him about taking the drugs he prescribes for her. With a little help from a new friend, she gradually figures out that she is being used, and what to do about it. 

Doc Doc Zeus will be available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
To listen to the interview, please press the arrow:

THOMAS KEECH is a retired Assistant Attorney General for the state of Maryland having represented the State Board of Physicians for sixteen years in its attempt to discipline doctors who were sexual predators, perpetrators of insurance fraud, violators of self-referral laws, and many other types of misbehavior. Prior to this, he served for thirteen years as the Chairman of a state administrative appeals board. Before that, he was an attorney and lobbyist for the Legal Aid Bureau of Baltimore for seven years.

Currently, Keech is a contractual consultant to the Maryland State Board of Physicians, where he write regulations, coordinates with other boards and agencies, and participates in investigations.

He also authored Unemployment Insurance [Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers, 1991], As well as the novels The Crawlspace Conspiracy [Baskerville, 1995], Prey for Love [Real Nice Books, 2011], and Hot Box in the Pizza District [Real Nice Books, 2015]. The novels dealt with state politics, teenagers entangled in suburban corruption and college romance, respectively.

Learn more about Thomas Keech on www.realnicebooks.com or by connecting with him on Facebook or Goodreads.

Doc Doc Zeus will be available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

Containers and Copyrights

When you eat out and have left overs, you bring home the excess food in a box. When organizing a child’s room, we often use baskets to hold all their toys. When we write, we use paragraphs to hold our sentences. And sentences are the container for words.

It is useful to see words as the toys that we put into a basket. However, it is even more helpful to see how all the toys in one basket are alike or different, and how we need the diversity in each basket. For example, let’s build a sentence together:

Get it!

This is a short sentence with only a verb and a noun. More often, we have a noun followed by a verb. In this case, it is the noun and get is the verb. We could also call this subject and predicate. Subject being the noun and the verb being the predicate.

I rock!

So, in this sentence I is the noun or subject and rock is the verb or predicate. Every sentence you will ever write needs both a subject and predicate. The ONLY exception is when the subject is understood.

Go!

The understood subject is (you) and go is our predicate.

Can you see how having containers help? We cannot plant a seed or a plant without a container. Sometimes the container is a pot full of dirt and sometimes the container is the garden. The garden might contain many more seeds or plants.

In writing, we often see the container much like the garden. A book is much like the garden in that we plant multiple seeds or plants where seeds and plants are actually the sentences and paragraphs.

Containers can be big or small. Containers can be plain or decorative. Containers can also be genius or terrible. Grammar is not an optional component, but it is actually the backbone of any writing container. It is okay to get your book written down, but before you go to print, make sure you get it edited. There are two kinds of editing: Copyediting and Developmental or Content Editing.

Copyediting

Copyediting is the line-by-line check for grammar and punctuation (actually punctuation is part of grammar, but most people see it as something else). This should be the last thing that you do before publishing. However, it is sometimes helpful to do it more than once, if you have a lot of corrections to do. That way, you make sure that you’ve gotten them all.

Developmental or Content Editing

Developmental or Content Editing is not the same as Copyediting. While grammar may come into play during Developmental Editing, it is not the focus. Actually, Developmental or Content Editing has more to do with the flow of a manuscript.

For book-length manuscripts, flow is important and often as important as reworking it for redundancy and undeveloped plots, characters, and book structure. While you may think these are minor things, consider the reader. Consider why you are writing whatever it is you have written.

If you have not hooked your reader in the opening scene or paragraphs, you may have lost the reader. If your book really gets going on page 17, what makes you think that your reader will read that far? Most readers will read the first few paragraphs of a book, if they are not pulled into the story by the paragraph three, they put the book down and do not buy it! The same goes for non-fiction. If the reader has not found the relevancy of your book by paragraph three, your reader will not buy the book!

So let us move from conventional containers and see how words fit into containers. The short story container is short, which is a subjective word rather than giving us anything exact. However, as a magazine publisher, we might restrict your word count for a short story. So when submitting one of your containers, you’d need to see how big or small your container needs to be.

Let’s say, you’ve used a container for a short story that is 4,000 words, but the magazine’s limit on short story containers can only be 3,000 words. To submit your container, you’ll need to shave 1,000 words off of your container.

Most containers are plain, giving only words. However, many writers attach images to their containers, which dresses them up! When you approach the publisher, you will want to justify your decoration. And you must make sure you have the rights to the image. If you took the photo yourself, then you own the rights to the image. Understand that most publications assume the rights to any material submitted and accepted for publication. What this means is if you want to publish your work and your image in another publication, such as a book, you need to get permission from the magazine.

Most magazines publish in their guidelines what rights they will take. For example, in Weeping Cherry International Review (http://weepingcherryinternationalreview.org), the magazine that I publish, I don’t actually take any rights, well in theory, I don’t. I am actually taking One-Time Electronic Rights, which means that I have the right to publish your piece one time in an electronic format. I also have Archival Rights, so that your piece can be available in back issues. However, the right to grant someone else the right to publish your material rests solely with you. I also do not have the right to take the material and compile it into a book. To get clear on all your Copyrights, read this article http://freelancewrite.about.com/od/legalissues/a/rights.htm or check with a Copyright or Literary Attorney.

When you publish a book, the publisher is asking you for ALL rights, which really does mean: Every. Single Right. This is one of the motivators for Indie Publishing. If you publish it yourself, use your own publishing company or your business name as the publisher, then you retain all your rights and can re-use the information in your book for many other things, such as courses, mini-series of Kindle Books, and many, many other things.

Containers of any size and form, such as articles, short stories, poetry, true short stories, column-type articles, book reviews and most any other type of written material has an automatic copyright as soon as you put it down on paper.

Work-for-Hire Containers are not copyrightable by the person hired to do the work. For example, if you hire me to rewrite or ghost write your book, it isn’t MY intellectual work. Even if I created it with only a hint of information from you, I still have no legal right to the material, because I agreed to do the work as a work-for-hire arrangement. With or without a written contract, once you have hired someone to do some specific work on your manuscript, they have no legal right to it. However, it is always good to have a written contract so that there are no misunderstandings. Also, if the person was unscrupulous who took on the rewriting or ghost writing of a manuscript, without a contract, it will be harder to prove that the person unlawfully has laid claim to the copyright.

Checking out your container, getting the appropriate editing, and be aware of what copyrights that you are giving away when you get published.

Teleseminars Are Authors’ Best Friend

Going on a VBT (Virtual Book Tour)?

Need exposure for a non-book product or service?

It's as EASY as getting an interview for a teleseminar!

Want to Know More? Click on Graphic Below:

Teleseminars for Authors Made Easy

REGISTER for FREE Teleseminar Kit

Red ArrowI took the Teleseminars for Authors Made Easy course with D'vorah Lansky. Afterward, I organized a Virtual Writing Conference called: Writers' University Boot Camp. My e-mail list grew about 200%!

I continued to do a Teleseminar Series: Monday Morning RED HOT Teleseminar Series, which is a series of Author Journeys to help inspire other writers to get back to work on their writing even if they have the Monday Morning Writing Blues! I have been slowly increasing my e-mail list from when I began about 60 Days ago; and I have increased my e-mail list by another 40%.

If you want or need to build your list, then you should sign up for Teleseminars Made Easy at: http://publishwithconnie.com/teleseminarsforauthors.

Designing Covers on a Shoestring

What goes on your cover? There may be a lot of different answers to this question, because this can be design preferences. However, there are some basic things that should be on your Front Cover, and they may be rather obvious items: Title and Subtitle; Author’s or Authors’ Name(s) (without “by”), and a graphic. The Back Cover can vary a lot. Some people like a short author bio and small photo. Some people like a summary of the book. Another item that is popular on the book is to identify for whom the book has been written.

Deciding what text goes on the Front and Back pages is an important part of designing your book. Next is deciding what work of art goes on the Front Cover. My primary genre is Children’s Books, so my picture is one of the graphics in the interior of my book. However, for young adult and adult fiction, and non-fiction, there may not be art inside the book. Then, you will need to create it or have it created.

Color of background and text also figure into the design of your book cover. The font and size of font are also critical. Bold and Italicized fonts can be used to emphasize text. There is a lot of conversations on the Internet about fonts. There seems to be some agreement that Sans Serif works for most people. There are a lot of old-school sorts that prefer the Serif fonts.

If you are scratching your head wondering what the difference is, don’t feel too bad. Most of us, writers, don’t mess with fonts that much. A Serif Font has barbs or squiggles on it. Sans Serif means without the barbs or squiggles. To be truthful, you can read pros and cons about using one font or the other, and there are literally thousands of individual fonts within the two categories.

My suggestion is to play around with fonts. This might not be the most scientific method of working with fonts, but it has worked with me. I like fun fonts, such as Comic Sans and Hobo, for my children’s books. For non-fiction and even fiction for middle grade, young adults, and adults, fonts need to be a bit more standard. Standard, of course, is subjective. The usual choices are Arial, Palatino, or Calibri.

You can use more than one font, but I try to limit it to two. The same two that I use within my manuscript, I use on the cover. For example, with Comic Sans, I might use headlines as Hobo or Arial Black. While Covers do not have to match the inside, I just like to carry that continuity throughout the book. However, if I changed the font on the Cover because it worked on the Cover better, I might or might not change the inside pages. That would depend on why I used something different and whether it fit for the inside.

While there are many, many software programs to use for designing your cover, you really don’t have to have a fancy graphics program to do that. Naturally, you need a graphic on the cover.

You can use a photo or other graphic from such places as Dreamstime.com or iStockPhoto.com. For a small fee, you can use these images royalty free. But what happens when you cannot find exactly what you want?

Hiring an artist or graphic designer to create a Cover photo is one choice. This can be inexpensive or extremely expensive, depending on whom you hire. Hiring an art student can be a choice.

A rather new find, Canva.com will help you develop graphics and text to create your cover. The images are very inexpensive, such as free or $1. It seems to be an inexpensive way to develop cover art. It is free to set up an account and its drag and drop design environment is easy to use. There may be other applications on line, as well.

Creating a cover, also involves taking into account the number of pages to account for the spine. Most on-demand printing/publishing companies will give you the formula. Let’s just do an example, see below

  1. Choosing a Trim size of 6”X9” and a page count of 300 and white paper:
  2. The thickness of the white paper is .002252.
  3. Multiply the number of pages by the thickness of the paper or 300 X .002252 = 0.6756.
  4. .Add the width of 6” + 0.6756” of spine, giving a total width of 6.6756”.

While you can create this width of 6.6756” and length of 9” in just about any graphics program; however, I have found an easier way…well, at least for me!! Using PowerPoint™:

  1. Go to the DESIGN tab and click on the PAGE SETUP.
  2. A popup menu will give you the opportunity to enter the exact size of the page – 6.6756 width by 9 length.
  3. Then choose LANDSCAPE as the Orientation, which you can choose slides or handouts…that really doesn’t matter.
  4. Click Okay.
  5. Using the rulers at the top, move the text boxes or delete the ones that are there and create new ones, leaving the .6756 as the spine. Actually, you’ll leave a bigger space to accommodate margins on the page.
  6. Create another text box for the spine. It doesn’t matter how big it is, you can adjust that later. Type in the Title and the author name(s), then click on the HOME tab, click on TEXT DIRECTION. NOTE: It has some arrows beside it.
  7. In the left-hand text box, create your FRONT COVER.
  8. In the right-hand text box; create your BACK COVER.

One of the reasons that I use PowerPoint is that you can move text and pictures around easily and change angles, etc. Once you have finished your Cover, save it as a PowerPoint file, in case you need to work on it more. Then, save it as a .PDF file.

ATTN: Aspiring Authors, New Classes Are Starting

Publish with Connie is taking registrations for new classes that will begin in March!

An Evening Class will start on the first Thursday of each month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., beginning March 6, place TBA. (I try to locate geographically close to where my students are, sometimes a student will host the class.) 6 slots available

A Daytime Class will start on the second Thursday of each month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Best Deli, 391 E. Central (Rt. 140) in Franklin, MA. 6 slots available

These classes are 12 Sessions long, meeting monthly, which give busy participants enough time to write between sessions. Class size is intentionally kept small so that each participant can get the attention needed.

The classes cover 12 Steps to Getting Published:

Step 1 - Get Clear on What You’re Writing (Value: $495)
Step 2 – Establish Writing Habits (Value: $495)
Step 3 - Learn Good Interviewing Skills (Value: $495)
Step 4 – What Goes in the Front Pages (Value: $495)
Step 5 - Learn How to Legally Use Other People’s Material
in Your Book (Value: $495)
Step 6 - Copyrighting Your Book (Value: $495)
Step 7 - Designing Your Book (Value: $495)
Step 8 - Finishing Your Book (Value: $495)
Step 9 - Find Your Publishing Mode (Value: $495)
Step 10 - Creating Your Book Marketing Plan (Value: $495)
Step 11 - Promotional Quotes and Other Ideas (Value: $495)
Step 12 - Learn to Publish Your Book (Value: $495)
TOTAL for the Classes: $5,940

You will receive both a book and a workbook with the class. (Value $150)

You will also have UNLIMITED access to Connie Dunn, your Book Coach, via e-mail and phone. (VALUE: $1,200)

You will get an invitation to a Private Facebook Group for Authors, where peer discussions, questions, etc. can be another opportunity to learn. (VALUE: $1,000)

Accountability happens in two different ways:

  1. By consistently bringing material to share during sessions; and
  2. Through pairing up and becoming accountability partners.

Within the class, you will get group feedback after sharing material. Education also happens during group questions and discussions about writing techniques, publishing, and marketing. Through group support and rapport that develops within the group, you gain confidence as a writer. The classes are intentionally kept small, so that everyone gets what they need! (VALUE: $2,400)

TOTAL VALUE: $10,690

Since few could actually afford such a course, the course is offered at only a fraction of its total value. The COST is $650. A DEPOSIT of $100 will hold your place in the class. NOTE: Deposit is applied to total cost of class, leaving $550 due at the first class. If you would prefer to pay this out in installments, you may pay it in 12 monthly installments of $55.

PLEASE NOTE: If you choose to pay in installments, you are responsible for all 12 installments once you enroll. If you miss a class, you are still responsible for the payment. If you stop attending the classes, you are still responsible for ALL the payments. If I cancel a class (due to weather or illness), it will be rescheduled at a convenient time for the entire class.

To REGISTER for the class, please contact Connie Dunn at 508-446-1711 or  connie@publishwithconnie.com.

Why Choose to Indie Publish?

I’ve been publishing independently (Indie) since 1981. Before that I kept trying to go the traditional route. I got a lot of rejection letters, probably enough to paper a room. In 1981, I decided to publish a recipe book of family dessert recipes. That is when I decided to just publish it!

Not long after that, I met a woman who asked me to collaborate on a book of stories. We wrote quite a few. She illustrated them. Then, we published them by photocopying and spiral binding. She also did most of the marketing and selling, because the books were geared toward a very small niche market for which she knew well and with whom she went to conferences.

Publishing options have certainly changed since then! But this blog is not about the mechanics of publishing. This is about why you would want to choose Indie (Independent) Publishing.

The key to choosing indie publishing over traditional publishing is in understanding how the traditional publishers work. Traditional publishers take on all the costs of editing, formatting, book design, and publishing. As a result, they are the ones investing in your creative endeavors. However, when it comes to one of the most important parts of getting your book sold – marketing – they don’t support that. You can almost count on zero dollars for marketing, which if you don’t market your book, you won’t sell it!

Here are some other truths. It costs traditional publishers a lot of money to employ copyeditors and content/development editors. Even if they use freelancers, there is a hefty cost. The traditional publishers have a lot of overhead to maintain. They are also in contract with union printers, which means that their printing costs are some of the highest. Don’t get me wrong, I am in favor of everyone making a living wage. But the bottom line is that traditional publisher’s costs are steep and they also keep most of the money from the sales of your book.

Here are my reasons for choosing indie publishing, especially in today’s technological world. On createspace.com, a 52-page color book would be $7.49 for your cost. You can set the price for $15 or $20, depending on your intended audience and what you assess is the best price point. You, of course, will either learn how to do everything up to the time you upload your file to the printer or you’ll have some out-of-pocket costs to hire them on your own.

Don’t panic! You are writing your book. You’ll need to make some decisions about how you want it to look, but all of these things can be done in your word processor software. Getting your manuscript edited is usually not a huge cash outlay. At the time of this writing, the average cost is $55 per hour. If you do your own first edit, you’ll probably catch a lot of typos on your own. If you are using a program like Microsoft™ Word, it usually underlines in green for sentence structure and red for spelling.

This article is too short to go through all of the processes that you need to know about writing, publishing, and marketing your book. However, I have two courses that are available. They are: 12 Easy Steps to Publishing – online; and 12 Easy Steps to Publishing – in person. The online program is learn in your own time frame, but the in person class meets once a month for 12 sessions.

Writing a Book Means You Are in Business!

Book Biz

Writing a book means you are now in business. I know; I know! Some of you don’t want to be in business…and yet, you do want to write a book. And if you’ve invested the time in writing the book, you probably want to sell them…hopefully in large numbers.

My expertise is in Independent Publishing, which means that I publish my own books through my own Independent Publishing Company. What most authors want is to get published through a traditional publisher so they don’t have to deal with the marketing. The truth is that whether you publish your own books or whether you get accepted to a traditional publisher, you are still in business. You will still need to market your own book. While many years ago, publishers financed more marketing of their authors’ books, they still did not finance that part for new authors. Now, they don’t do marketing for most authors. Perhaps their blockbuster authors get more of that. But most of us are not Madonna or Lady Gaga nor do we have that much name recognition! Therefore, as an author, you are in business.

So what does it mean? Well, first of all, you don’t have to race to an attorney and start an LLC (Limited Liability Company). A sole-proprietor is sufficient, unless you are wanting to expand your publishing into an Independent Publisher that takes on other people’s book manuscripts. In that case, you should talk to an accountant and an attorney to make the best decision about that.

As a book author, you need a Website. If you have one book, and aren’t planning to publish another, then you need a Website for your book. If, on the other hand, you are planning to write a whole slew of books, then set up an Author Site, as well as a Book Site. Most Web Hosting Companies offer “unlimited domain hosting.” This means you get this on one Website and you can “add-on” other domains for just the cost of the domain registration. In this way, you can put up numerous Websites and pay hosting on one!

Websites, of course, are just Websites! They do you no good unless you put the right information on them. Your Book Site needs:

  • An Opt-In page with a free gift to entice visitors to opt-into your e-mail list or fan list. This list will help you market your book and future books!
  • A Sales Page with a “Call to Action “(the action being to order your book!)
  • An About Page with your bio and a picture of you, preferably a professional picture and not a snapshot!
  • Book Summary Page with a short summary of the book.
  • Testimonial or Endorsement Page with positive comments about you and your book.
  • Events Page with all your speaking engagements, book signings and other events related to your book.
  • If your book is for children, it is a good idea to have some activities that relate to the book on your site.
  • Contact Page should have your contact information. Generally, people list name, address, phone, and e-mail. If you’re a home business and don’t want to list your home address, rent a Personal Mail Box (PMB) at a local postal service or a box at the US Post Office.
  • Media Page should have your Headshot, Bio, Press Releases, and Book Summary.

Your job is to sell books. Look at some of my previous blogs to learn about some ways to market your books, such as a Virtual Blog Tour.

Story Quilts – Illustrations for Children’s Books

I am just returning from a week-long Fabric Art Camp at Ferry Beach, a Unitarian Universalist Camp and Conference Center, in Saco, Maine, where I made Story Quilts! I'd love to say that I illustrated my entire book while I was there, but that didn't happen, nor do I think it was even doable!! Never the less, I learned some wonderful techniques for machine quilting, got inspired from some other Fabric Artists, and created my third of 10 Story Quilts, as well as began my fourth.

When I left for camp, I had created two quilts. I got the idea to create these quilts from the promotional material that Babara Stroup, our leader, sent out. It was a fun FROGGY Quilt! It was very kid-friendly. Barbara teaches quilting in the Springfield, MA area and can be reached by e-mail at barbara.stroup@comcast.net. She had made some incredible quilts not for your bed but for your walls!

I was definitely inspired by others in my class! One made a beautiful mermaid quilt, one made a beautiful flower from a photograph, and another worked on a "dream" for which she had encountered and was creating a visual for it. There were beautiful quilts being made all around me. Mine were less beautiful perhaps, but very detailed and childlike. Each of my quilts had to represent a children's story that was in my collection of stories. Mine also had some three-dimensional aspects on the quilts, such as a grandmother holding a tray of chocolate chip cookies.

My book title is "When Panda Was a Boy," and is a collection of stories that all deal with gender issues in some way. The book is for K-8 with more younger stories than older stories, because that's when children are just discovering their own gender and what that means in our society. The adults in the stories answer their questions in the most "perfect" manner, so there is some modeling of parenting around these issues. This book will hopefully come out before the end of the year. The stories are all ready, and have been edited. However, the quilts take their time to create.

If you are the creative type, I encourage you to play around with several mediums to find what feels right and take a shot at illustrating your own book, especially if you are writing a children's book. Eric Carle has always been my inspiration and now there is the Eric Carle Museum at http://www.carlemuseum.org. Being whimsical in art requires a certain flare and I, by no means have reached that, but will I strive to illustrate again? Yep! That I will!!