THE VERY IMPORTANT POINT: My review of The Call of the Writer’s Craft: Writing and Selling the Book Within by Tom Bird

I read this book really to broaden my horizon on book marketing. However, as I traveled through the pages (or screens since I read the ebook) I was reintroduced to a love for creativity. I was reawakened to the love and enjoyment of filling blank space with a story that is authentic and passionate. A story only I can tell. How to write that story in the right way. How to ensure it is an exciting and powerful tale. How to get out of my own way when I write and let the divinely inspired story flow from within. Because only when you’ve created an honest and passionate tale, will it resonate with others. And then, perhaps, go so far as to sell itself.

The book talks about what hinders free flowing prose. The Logical Critical Brain (LCB), and its haughty pragmatism. It knows what’s best. It checks all the checklists. Dots all the I’s crosses all the T’s. It constrains the freedom of expression. Tells us, “No, we must think about the consequences of revealing such a truth. It serves a purpose as a gatekeeper, I guess, but it stifles the true message that is begging to be released. Think about it, writer. How many times during your writing have you paused mid-type to think about ramifications, to ponder if that is what truly should be said, to argue with yourself about the character’s intentions when the character is actually screaming to you, NO. THIS IS WHAT TRULY HAPPENS!!! And what happens, is you go through several drafts struggling to find a voice that through the course of your LCB driven writing, you’ve overlooked and ignored. This shouldn’t be the case when creatively writing. Passion is the first draft. Pragmatism is the second. Write with your heart on the first draft. Your head on subsequent drafts. (But if you believe Tom Bird, you only need two drafts if you write this way).

Do I recommend you read this book? Yes, I believe that you should because it will stoke a fire in you for writing. But does the book deal much with marketing? As an indie author, I’ve learned that marketing is a big part of the package. If no one knows you wrote it, then no one will read it. Because how can you read something when you don’t know that it exists. So you need to market. You even need to market if you’re signed to a publisher. But how do you do that? Does this book tell you how? While it doesn’t go into great detail, I believe that it drives home a very important point about marketing fiction. I laugh at this pun now, about a very important point. Because without giving out a spoiler, the very important point actually deals with THE VERY IMPORTANT POINT.

Yes, I think you should read this book. For the fire for writing it will stoke and for the tip about marketing (there goes that pun again), this book will bless you immensely!

For more information on this book and others by Tom Bird, please visit his website:

https://tombird.com/ 

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Excerpt from The Darkest Loop

cover

Someone somewhere was giving me a gang of second chances. Who knew when their generosity was going to run out?

So I staked out in the side parking lot of Family Medicine. I backed my Camry into a spot near some bushes so I wouldn’t be seen. But by the time I arrived there at 7:00 in the morning, there was no one to be seeing me anyway.

There I was, sitting in the driver seat like an old flatfoot. Slumped in my seat. A baseball cap pulled over my head. The tint on my windows provided an excellent cover. I spent the entire early morning thinking about the why of the loop. The why haunted me. Eluded me. It had nothing to do with saving Kevin. I knew that now. I knew exactly why I was stuck in a time loop. My mission. But the mission was daunting—much too daunting for one man to tackle. I needed a partner. Thena was the first person who came to mind. It was like a little voice in my head telling me that we were somehow irrevocably linked in some cosmic and spiritual way. In the kind of way that would cause her to believe me when I told her that I was in this loop. The kind of blind faith that would have her help me in perhaps doing what I was chosen to do. But I had to save Kevin. And I couldn’t get hurt in the process. I would sure need my ankle later.

It was nearly noon when I saw Thena walk by and I cursed. Why was she still here? Wasn’t she still mad at Kevin?

Now, I knew that the incident with the van wouldn’t take place for another fifteen minutes or so. So I had to act fast.

I pushed through the lobby doors in my trench coat and ball cap and said, “I knew you were going to let me down!”

“Dallas,” she turned left, right, then back to me. “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve told you: I’ve been here before.”

“Here?”

I looked around the lobby. “No…not here. But out there.” I pointed out the dark glass window. “Definitely out there.” Mind you, I was wearing a trench coat in the beginning of September, along with a hat pulled tightly over my eyes. I hadn’t taken stock in the craziness of my outfit. My next statement would sound to Thena as crazy as the outfit I was wearing.

“I’m stuck in a time loop. That’s how I know about Bryant Green—but all I know about him is that you were engaged long ago. That’s not important. I only brought him up because it’s a fact that I know that I could not have known unless I saw you talking to him, and of course your mother told me that you were engaged.”

“Kevin could’ve told you all of that. You know what? You need to leave.”

“Kevin’s coming soon. He’s going to start into that intersection and get demolished unless I save him.”

“I’m calling security.”

“Yesterday, you were wearing light pink toe-nail polish with glitter.” She narrowed her eyes. “Now how would I know that unless you took off your shoes? You didn’t yesterday. Not that yesterday. But on a previous yesterday, you did.”

Thena was motioning to the representative behind the reception counter. “Excuse me! Sir? Would you please call Public Safety?”

“Oh my goodness.” I shot up from my chair. “Kevin’s coming.”

I dashed out, knowing in my heart each step was the sealing of my fate. Sweat pooled at the base of my neck to match the moistness on my forehead. I tossed the hat to the ground. Why? No clue. Maybe I thought in the seconds between my lunging from the glass doors to the sidewalk my hat would slow me down. But that was stupid. The hat—if I still had it—would cushion the blow as my head hit the ground—again. Of course I didn’t feel much pain on my first go round (if that was the first go round of me attempting to save Kevin). But the pain afterwards? The mind gnawing migraines. My ankle feeling like someone had stabbed through it all the way to the bone. And that same someone had the unmitigated gall to leave that knife there. That rusty knife. In the next microsecond it dawned on me: what if I didn’t just get nicked this time? What if that minivan plowed right through me? Or what if I was unsuccessful in pushing Kevin out of the way of the van this time? It was sheer luck that aided me the last time. That stunt man stuff you see in the movies is not as reproducible as you think in the real world. Could I do it twice?

 

 

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THE DARKEST LOOP is on Virtual Book Tour!

THE DARKEST LOOP is on virtual book tour! Today, we’re stopping by This And That Book Blog where you’ll be able to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card. The blog is here: http://thisandthatbookblog.blogspot.com/…/the-darkest-loop-…

And check out this featured excerpt in the blog and below.

Excerpt from THE DARKEST LOOP

“The dream was nothing,” I said. “And everything is cool.” The lie was better than the truth. The truth was I was coming unglued. Destabilized by this loop which faithfully kept twirling us round and round. I was a moon trapped in its orbit. And its gravity was slowly tearing me apart.

I couldn’t face Thena because my eyes would surely tell her the truth. So I turned and stared at the skyline. A gray mist settled over the buildings below, like the buildings were hiding under a fluffy blanket, wary of the coming danger. The sky was gloomy like it knew that the planes were coming. It was weird that the following morning it would be clear and a beautiful blue. For a little while. Because the smoke billowing from the towers would darken the sky. Likewise, my heart was darkened because we hadn’t found our way in.

Security had tightened since the 1993 bombing. In fact, most of the building was off limits to the public. So on the occasions that we visited the inside of the towers, it was only the lobby that we were able to freely peruse and of course the observation decks on the South Tower. There was also the restaurant, Windows on the World, on the 107th floor of the North Tower. We had dinner in the restaurant—or at least tried to. Sitting there amongst a dining area filled with people who didn’t know that all of this would soon come crashing to the ground snatched away our appetites. Our food basically watched us as we stared out of the window at the beautiful, yet haunting sky line.

We had dinner there each evening of September 9th, getting there at 8pm each time. We sat at the same table and was waited on by the same waiter: a slender man from Maldonado. The staff was diverse, reminding me of staff you’ll find on cruise ships. From various countries. Various accents. A melting pot 107 stories in the sky. We ordered the same entrées. Perhaps eating the very same food over and over again. Giving brand new meaning to the idea of recycling. And each dinner I was quiet, thinking mostly about our mission. But also about my father’s story about my mother.

I was thinking about her then as we took in the cool air atop this man made mountain. On the Observation Deck, I considered telling Thena about what my father said. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it without sounding like a lunatic. Finally, when I didn’t answer she said, “I get it. You’re imagining the planes coming at us.” I looked around us. People were smiling and chit chatting, talking about the show they were going to see that evening. The trip to the Statue of Liberty. The visit to the Museum. None of them knew. My heart really broke when that one little kid asked, “Mommy, can we come back up here tomorrow morning?” And the mother replied, “Sure. Weather man says it should be clearer tomorrow.”

“We’re powerless,” I moaned.

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s been almost a month and all we’ve done is witness this building fall three times,” I whispered forcefully. “I don’t know if I can take another.”

“Did you think we’d figure this out over night? I didn’t. I knew it would take some time because of all the variables. But we will be successful. Were that not the case, we wouldn’t keep getting all these chances to make things right.”

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A Perfect Appetizer: Review of The Perfect Crime: An Asher Benson Short Story

What did I think? I thought it was awesome! THE PERFECT CRIME, by Jason Brant, is a short story that occurs between books 1 and 2 of his Asher Benson series. Asher was just as witty and tough in this short as he was in ASH. The cool thing about this short is that it is told totally from the point of view of the bad guy, a lowlife creep named Andrew. And the ending took me by surprise! What I loved most about this story is that it made me laugh out loud. What I disliked? Absolutely nothing! THE PERFECT CRIME was a perfect appetizer for MADNESS, book 2 of the series, which I am about to start reading right now!
Check out this book on Goodreads: The Perfect Crime: An Asher Benson Short Story https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23622005-the-perfect-crime 

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A Fun, Feel-Good Read (Review of THE PLAYER’S OPTION by K.L. BRADY)

Ty Ellen Baker and Chris “C.J.” Jamison are sports agents on a collision course. They each have a client who has threatened to jump to the other agent and Ty and Chris know this. And they both have serious flaws which hamper their business. Maybe their meeting at the Combines in Indianapolis is fate at work. The only thing is, when they meet, they only know each other as Just Ellen and Just Chris. Having never met as Ty and C.J. before, they have no clue at first that the other is a threat. Will they connect? What happens when truth springs and two wolves learn that they’re hunting the same piece of meat?

This was a fun, feel good novel. Written with wit and charm. Sprinkled with comedy here and there. There are two POVs: Ty and Chris. This is cool; however, the author at times rehashed entire events that I’d read in one POV in the next. The characters were well fleshed, real, and flawed. As crazy as it sounds, flawed characters are good. A character that has all the answers is not only boring to me, but unrealistic. The only thing I disliked about the novel is that the author “told” instead of “showed” in a few scenes–told me how a character felt instead of illustrating it through action, facial expression or dialogue. But this was only minor to me.

A major theme of the book is the dynamic of competition and completion. For example, in the novel (won’t say where) there’s this guy (won’t give name) who was jealous of his lady’s success. How shallow! Man, my wife’s successes are mine as well. The more money I make, the more money she makes. When she wins, we win. There is no competition. Only Completion! How can we complement each other so we both get what we need?

If you’re looking for a fun, feel good novel that is written with wit and charm, check out K.L. Brady’s THE PLAYER’S OPTION. There’s also a great life lesson there. Fiction–from the times of the Parables to now–still one of the best formats for learning life lessons.

For more info on K.L. Brady’s books, check out http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/K-L-Brady/76764023 

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Come On Book Two! My Review of RENAISSANCE (THE NORA WHITE STORY) by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Nora White is a recent high school graduate searching for herself, trying to find her voice. A seed looking for the right environment. It’s not the family farm, not the acres that provide food and establish ownership. It’s not the South, with its stench of slavery and racism. It has to be Harlem, New York. It has to be the Mecca, where blacks have finally arrived, right? Only there, in that environment, will Nora find her voice. Because she wants to write. Be mentioned among the likes of Langston and Zora Neal. So she flees the South for greener grasses. Leaves her mother and father’s good graces. She essentially runs away from home, from her family, and maybe even from herself. Will she find good soil and break ground? Or will she just end up breaking her parents’ hearts?

The first thing that drew me to this novel was its beautiful cover. A deep blue sky fading into a sunset which bakes an old country road golden brown. After reading the description and the first few pages, I was hooked by elegant prose and alliteration (e.g. “knew the mind of a mule”). I enjoyed the use of personification, when the author says that the sun was an overseer. The plot moved quickly but did jump around a bit from relative past to relative present. However, the author clearly notes this movement. So it assists the reader.

There’s a  little mystery, which I love. What was it about Nora’s mother, Molly White? What family secret was always at the tip of the tongue? I enjoyed the way that mystery kept peeking out at you. To me, that tugs at the reader. Keeps him and her intrigued.

The characters were well developed and memorable. You’ll love Nora’s father, Gideon AKA Dee Dee, because he’s ‘bout that life! You’ll hate Ms. Charlotte, because she’s eccentric and entitled. There are characters you just aren’t sure about like Lisa, no spoilers. Then there are the famous Harlem Renaissance folks with whom Nora rubs elbows. I won’t tell you who, exactly, but they are some of Harlem’s elites.

Overall, RENAISSANCE is beautifully written, with an ending that will have you craving book two to see what happens next. Come on, Book Two!


For more info about this book and other titles written by Yecheilyah Ysrayl, check out yecheilyahysrayl.com

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THE DARKEST LOOP

On Labor Day, 2001, Dallas Amderson is invited to a cookout by his best friend. The next day, his friend his killed by a car. During the week that follows, Dallas falls in love with his best friend’s sister. On the following Tuesday, they witness the 9/11/01 attacks. And the next morning, Dallas is invited to a Labor Day, 2001 cookout.

Have I told you the entire story for my latest novel THE DARKEST LOOP? Nope! Not even close.

The Darkest Loop Book Blitz is HERE. Sign up for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

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