Listen to Pilot Light

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A weekend at a writing festival

This weekend is the Southwest Festival of the Written Word here in Silver City, NM. It is the first time this has been tried and I returned just in time. I hope it becomes a regular event. It is still on, but already I have had a chance to hear, and talk with, people in the business of getting words sold. Peter Riva, a literary agent, gave an information-packed talk on the state of the market. I wish he had been given twice the time, as he had much to say. Mark Medoff talked about screen and play writing from both conceptual and lifestyle perspectives. His talk was both entertaining and informative.

I also spent some valuable time with Diana and Jaime Andrade, the owners of Brook Forest Voices in Colorado, who make audio books and enhanced ebooks. You can learn a great deal online, but it is more fun when you can interact, asking questions and watching body language. Besides, they are likeable people and it was an enjoyable talk. Like most of the people I've been encountering, they seem to get excited about what they do. 

As I look at the things I want to accomplish this year and into the next, all this information provides food for thought, as well as ballpark ideas for the cost of doing things. And it is fun to see the other authors who are at the festival trying to do exactly what I want to do -- sell books.

The organizers have done a great job with this inaugural event and my hat is off to them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A single focus for an eclectic person

I read the blogs of other writers and I am often impressed that they seem able to write a book, just one book, and stay with it to the end before starting another. If that is the sign of a writing discipline, then it is one I lack.

Not that I lack focus, exactly. I can sit down at my desk and work on a story, one story, until I look up and notice that the say disappeared somewhere (days do that to me a lot). I can even be interrupted, stopping to answer the door or make lunch or play with the dog, and get back to the task.

What I am talking about is lacking the kind of focus that means every day I sit down and work on the same story. I can go days in that mode, but then wake from a lucid dream (or something) with another idea in my head. It could be an idea on how to fix a story I previously shelved, or a new story altogether.

And I, of course, feel compelled to get it down. Some of it, at least.

It isn't that I think this is the best way to work, but it seems to be part of me. And not an occasional part, either. I almost always have several stories in the works. So when people ask, "What are you writing?" my answer tends to be more of a catalog than it ought to be.

I have no idea if this tendency makes my writing better or worse, but I do know that it plays hell with my "to-do" list. It ebbs and flows like some erratic tidal system. But the writing is enjoyable, and that is the important thing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book stores and readers

We are in the process of scheduling some book signings and readings (aka "events") for THE INVENTION OF CLAY MCKENZIE. The people who have read it are few, but have been enthusiastic and we are determined to help it find more readers.
 This is the story of a reclusive New Mexican author (whose name is not Clay McKenzie) and a brilliant first novel. It is about an ambitious (and young) New York editor who wants to prove herself; and mostly of her well-intended attempt to make things appear as they are not, and the consequences of putting that in motion.

As an avid reader and a fan of bookstores (real bookstores, where the people who work in them know and love books), logic dictated working through bookstores to encounter the elusive reader. 

The attitudes of stores toward author events prooved mixed... some enjoy them and see their value (authors and readers in the same place and maybe some sales), and some do not. Fair enough. We work with the willing.

COAS Books in Las Cruces, New Mexico is one that does work with authors willingly, and we have scheduled a book signing there on Saturday October 26th from 10 am to noon (during the Farmer's Market!). Jim Beckett and I will be there to chat with readers and sign books. It should be fun.

On January 4th we will travel to Albuquerque's North Valley, north of Griegos, in the Flying Star Plaza, for an 3pm event at Bookworks.

We hope to do a few more, perhaps in Tucson or elsewhere in the Eastern part of Arizona.  Our intent is to try and convey some of our excitement about the book and meet readers. If you are in the area, we'd love to meet you. If your favorite bookstore is open to such things and not too far from New Mexico, let us know and we will see what is possible.