Thursday, April 30, 2009

Success

How do you as a writer gain success? Here is a simple plan to follow:

S - Sit down at your computer, with your laptop, with your lined pad, with your journal and be prepared to write.

U - Understand what you plan to write about and confirm your research. Don't depend on only one source. Be certain your source is reliable.

C - Clear your mind of unnecessary clutter and focus on the task at hand.

C - Coordinate your ideas so your finished piece will be logical and understandable.

E - educate yourself with regard to proper manuscript formatting, grammatical rules, marketing techniques, incredible query letters, etc.

S - study guidelines - Make sure you aren't submitting a fiction piece to a magazine which only accepts non-fiction or sending a children's picture book to a publishing house specializing in erotic fiction.

S - Submit your best work after careful editing, waiting, re-reading, polishing, and making sure everything is within the guidelines before you send.

Follow these steps and success will find you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Interview with Tim Kellis, author of Equality, The Quest for the Happy Marriage

Hi, today, Tim Kellis, author of Equality, The Quest for the Happy Marriage, is my guest.

Welcome, Tim. Can you please tell us about your book?

The journey through Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage includes a trip through history, where the most significant lessons civilization has learned over the last few thousand years are used to demonstrate not only the way to set up a positive relationship, but the causes of that relationship turning negative.

Additionally, I dive into the science of psychology to answer the most basic question anyone asks who goes through the pain of divorce, “why didn’t we work out”?

The basic premise of the book is that we have a 50% divorce rate yet there doesn’t appear to be anything happening to help solve this problem. Just because divorce has become a significant part of our culture doesn’t mean we should simply sit back while countless families suffer through the agony of splitting up.

The toll to society tomorrow because of our culture of divorce today is impossible to determine but future generations will have to deal with this change to the culture that has occurred over the last two generations.

For the first time in history I elaborate on a psychological solution to our psychological problems so that couples can learn how to change the direction of their negative relationships. In essence, the psychological objective is to understand what happens mentally between two people who make one of the most important decisions of their lives, to get married.

The objective of this book is to provide real, logical help to couples so that they can learn how to stay out of the divorce trap. The bottom line is to learn how to set up your relationship so that you can maintain a happy, healthy, harmonious, loving, affectionate, intimate marriage.


What inspired you to write this book?

My biggest influence, and the reason I have taken on the challenge of saving marriages, were my parents, who again just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. And their influence wasn’t because of anything they ever said to me, but what they did, stayed married. What makes this more important was they had the typical marriage of couples from their generation, full of fights, but they managed to stick it out. They taught me that divorce was not an option, that quitting was not the path to take.

My mom actually had my career mapped out when I was a kid to be a priest, something I took very seriously. I was an altar boy (no, I do not have any stories) and studied the bible intently. Although I haven’t read the bible since I was a kid I have used a lot of what I learned in my book. And then I discovered girls.

Although my career was extremely successful I never met a girl who lit up my passion, until at the height of the stock market (I worked as a Wall Street analyst) in 2000 I met a girl I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and then we started arguing. Towards the end we went to a therapist looking for help solving our relationship troubles. When I realized he wasn’t really helping I decided to tackle the issue myself, although that relationship ended. Writing this book was my cathartic reaction to that pain.

When I met this girl I had worked for 5 years as a semiconductor analyst on Wall Street. So I studied like a Wall Street analyst, reading over 100 books in a period of 10 months, which equates to 2 ½ books a week, straight for 10 months. I believe this may be one of the most researched books ever written. And at the end of this research my confidence in my ability to solve the relationship problem resulted in the book, after 9 months of writing.

The bottom line is a professional psychologist could not have written such an expansive book as “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage” because of the limitations of the industry. My joke is the 100 books read included nearly 2 dozen relationship books and the only books read that were fiction were the relationship books. In fact, the first title concept I came up with was “Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth” to demonstrate just that point.


What do you feel makes your book stand out from all of the other relationship books out there?

This is the first relationship book written from a mental perspective, and as I joke above this is the first non-fiction relationship book written, because it solves the marriage problem. The boilerplate that I have discovered with all of the other relationship books that I have read is they begin with a description of “John and Jane Doe” not getting along followed by behavior advice. Until you get to the root causes of behavior you will not be able to solve the marriage problem.

Dr. Phil mentions in his book that he basically has not solved a single serious relationship problem in 25 years of work when he states “in the twenty five years that I have been doing work in the field of human behavior, I have seen few if any genuine relationship conflicts ever get resolved”. And John Gray, author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, reveals the depth of his book when he states at the beginning “I do not directly address the question of why men and women are different,” which would add profound insight as to how to overcome those differences.


What is the most important message of your book?

The single biggest objective of my book is to teach couples how to get along, how to resolve the inevitable conflicts that are a part of every relationship when you bring together 2 people from 2 completely different backgrounds. You have to be able to resolve the different perspectives of each in a relationship. If you do not then you develop what are known as “psychic lesions” which are unresolved issues that eventually lead to mental regression.

The most common source of trouble in relationships today is the imbalance of the relationship with the parents of those with insecurities. We develop the emotional side of our minds at our youngest ages, beginning at birth. If that emotional development includes an imbalance perspective from one or both parents then we develop into adults with those same insecurities. And unfortunately to refute 100 years of psychology, we are not hardwired with those insecurities but learn them mentally, which means that we can unlearn them. To summarize this project as succinctly as possible, if you want to develop the positive relationship then fall in love with your parents. You will know this is the case if you can say you love your parents without the unfortunate “but” that follows those who have yet to let go.


What has the response been to the book?

The response from those who have read the book has been extremely positive. I have a 20 minute interview with the first couple I worked with, you can view it on my YouTube page (search Tim Kellis), where Bobby and Lynn discuss what they learned by reading my book. In fact, at the end of the interview Bobby calls it the bible. The basic feedback has been about the depth and scope of the message in the book. People who have read it come away with a much better understanding of their own relationship, which is my basic objective.


Did anything surprise you while you were writing the book?

I have been asked in the past about readers block, but I didn’t have any. I guess this is because of the amount of research that went into writing the book. Because I had worked as an analyst before taking on this project I have a very analytical mind. So after I finished the research I spent 9 months writing the book, and every day was just a matter of sitting in front of a computer and letting the thoughts that had built up through my research flow to my fingers.


Where can readers find your book?

I am currently running a 20% discount on the book, in recognition of Valentine’s Day. Even though it has passed I will continue the discount for a while. You can find the book at:

https://www.happyrelationships.com/buy.aspx

You can also find the book on Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Equality-Quest-Marriage-Tim-Kellis/dp/0979984807/ref=_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid34810171&sr=8-1

I recently sent in my application package for Barnes & Noble, so hope to hear back soon about having the book available through them.


What's next for you?

I am completely focused on promoting the book at the moment, but I do have 2 more books in my head. As soon as I can find the time I will sent down to write the next one, entitled “The 10 Steps to Spirituality”.


Do you a question you'd like to ask my blog readers?

I would like to hear from your readers their relationship issues that they would like to better understand. I would also like to hear the success stories, how your readers in successful relationships manage them.


Thank you for the interview!



Tim Kellis
Gilgamesh Publishing
230 SE Mizner Blvd
Ste. 308
Boca Raton, FL 33432
(561) 901-7564
www.HappyRelationships.com
www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id59207598&v=info&viewas59207598
www.myspace.com/timkellis
www.youtube.com/user/happyrelationships
questforthehappymarriage.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 27, 2009

Review Equality, The Quest for a Happy Marriage




Review of Equality, The Quest for the Happy Marriage
Author: Tim Kellis
Gilgamesh Publishing
ISBN-13 978-0-9799848-0-8
ISBN-10 9-9799848-0-7
www.happyrelationships.com

Author, Tim Kellis, has written an in depth 400 page relationship book, Equality, The Quest for the Happy Marriage. While 400 pages of small print may seem daunting, he has broken each chapter into small bytes of quickly digested information. The Table of Contents gives you an idea of what you'll find between the covers: The Origin of the Relationship; Foundation of the Relationship: Common Sense; The Fork in the Road; the Development of the Mind: Thoughts & Feelings; Psychology: Biology or Psychology; A Psychological Solution: Cognitive Character Therapy; Why? Why Should Relationships Work?; and Final Thoughts.

Much of the book is autobiographical based on Mr. Kellis' own failed marriage and subsequent search for answers when none seemed to be forthcoming from traditional sources. Generously sprinkled with historical characters and events, the book delves into successful businesses, politics, education, and family backgrounds. These, the author believes, can help unlock the secrets behind the 50% divorce rate among couples.

Mr. Kellis thoroughly researched his book, reading and ultimately critiquing relationship books and the findings of scientists and health professionals. He was particularly taken by the works of Carl Jung and devotes a good 100 pages to Dr. Jung's work. You'll also find references to historical figures as diverse as Adam and Eve and Matthew Perry. Mr. Kellis refers in detail to his own past, using it as a way to encourage readers to acknowledge the hurt and frustration of childhood and how it affects relationships as adults.

The underlying premise in the book, of course, is the fact that men and women should approach a marriage on equal terms. Both men and women think and feel. It isn't only women who have emotions or men who can use their brains. Mr. Kellis believes that couples should avoid arguments and that common sense is the key to resolving issues and solving problems.

Equality, The Quest for the Happy Marriage, is not necessarily a book you'll want to sit down and devour in one sitting, but rather one you'll turn to for answers. Although written for couples, it's also a book individuals can read to learn why successful relationships have eluded them.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Are You Stumped?

Are you stumped for something about which to write? Have you been staring out the window at the garden and thinking why can't I be there instead of here? Is your blank computer screen mocking you?

Maybe you need to think outside your comfort zone. It's possible there are markets you haven't considered. Do you usually write fiction? How about writing about your hobbies or interests instead?

If you look at market lists, you'll see there are magazines and ezines devoted to almost every subject from brewing coffee to raising reptiles. Are you an avid camper? There are magazines for RVers and magazines for tent campers. Not to mention all the regional magazines which would love pieces on places to stay and things to see.

Do you crochet or knit? Have you ever tried to create your own patterns? There are a number of pattern magazines which are hungry for new designers.

The garden that's calling to you may be a source of material for an article. Have you tried some new plants? Have you found a better way to start seeds? Do you know a trick for killing slugs or keeping deer or rodents out of your garden?

Don't feel frustrated if you can't think of something to write about. Just go to a market listing and check out magazines in the areas which appeal to you. Check over back issues to see what they publish. Put on your thinking cap and start writing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Karina Fabian Guest Blogger

Today, Karina Fabian, author of Magic, Mensa and Mayhem is my guest. Karina will share her thoughts about world building - an important part of creating a realistic fantasy world.

Sharing Your World

As a fantasy and science fiction writer, one thing I get asked about a lot is building my worlds. I even have a workshop I give where I help students go deeply into imagining their world from the vegetation to the politics and religion. (If you're ever interested, go over to www.fabianspace.com and check the workshop schedule.)

Today, however, I want to talk about how much to share.

As writers, it's easy to get caught up in our worlds, to imagine things that are endlessly fascinating, and to want to share them with our readers. Today's readers, however, are more interested in enjoying the adventure rather than following a detailed, encyclopedic discourse of the history of the world, or of the character. As one editor put it, "We get to know the people in our lives a little at a time; we want to get to know our characters the same way." Even our world can be treated as a character. After all, how many of us go to a new town already knowing the layout, the history, the politics, or even where the nearest grocery store is?

Of course, there are things a reader must know--and even things that are so cool they must be shared. The key is to keep the reader into the story and the story progressing. Here are some tricks:
Does it progress the plot or action?
What does your character know?
Would your character notice, think about, discuss this topic at the moment.
Is the knowledge vital to the story? If so, how much? (Go into detail in proportion to the importance.)

Here's an example of how I used these questions with my DragonEye, PI, novel Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. In this story, Vern, a dragon detective living in the non-magical (Mundane) world, and his partner, the mage Sister Grace, are assigned to chaperone the magical creatures at a convention in Mundane Florida. In the midst of the magical mayhem and "cultural misunderstandings," a plot by one High Elf goes wrong and nearly starts a war. The book is a mystery, but fast-moving and very funny, so it was important to balance detail with pace.

Brownies play a large part of the plot. You know the story of the "elves" who come in and fix things while the kind but poor shopkeeper sleeps? Those are the kind I'm talking about--except these are a little less discerning in the Mundane world about what needs fixing. They clean (and clean out) briefcases, move things, rearrange luggage, finish Sudoku puzzle books (in their own numbering system)... In general wreck helpful havoc. They're also what Vern calls "quantum creatures." You can either know their location or their motion, but not both. That's why no one sees a brownie.

Progressing the action: The "quantum" nature of the brownies is important, so Vern brings it up, but only when necessary--he mentions it to a Mundane Mensan during a discussion about trying to catch one. Because it's an important fact (as when they catch the brownie, they have to maintain some doubt that they caught it or it won't stay caught), Vern reminds those involved of the fact. How or why brownies are this way, the havoc they've caused in the Faerie world, how others communicated with them in the past--all could be interesting, but did not help with the plot or current plan, so I never mention them.

What does the character know? Vern and Grace know how brownies work, in general. They don't discuss the quantum nature among themselves, then. They really didn't understand how brownies could be bribed to coming to the convention--they have to figure it out bit by bit. Although Vern does know milk does not work--they're lactose intolerant. How he knows this wasn't important, so I never mention it. However, they learn that in this book, and it becomes a handy tool for their next mystery, Live and Let Fly. Nonetheless, you only see Grace bribing the brownies--I never get into how she learned to do it.

What does your character notice at the moment? The havoc--one guy screms bloody murder because his wardrobe had been re-arranged. Briefcases go missing, then show up clean in the Lost and Found. In the end, some writing on salt that indicates they were brought here by someone else--but not who.

How much knowledge is vital to the story? Brownie history is no big deal, though I could come up with some really funny capers for them. The exact quantum nature isn't important--Vern speculates that they're transdimensional beings, but I never show any big discussions on it.

What it boils down to is that, important as the brownies are to the story, what the reader gets are quips and clue and more effect than background. The result (and I'm going to brag) is a story Publisher's Weekly calls "densely plotted with distinctly memorable and occasionally silly characters." Just what I was going for.

What can you do with all the cool details? Blog them, save them for other stories, or (if your work takes off) use them in an encyclopedia of your world. Background information has its use, even when not put into the story itself. Dream on--just be wise in what parts of your dream you share with your reader.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Review Magic, Mensa & Mayhem

Review: Magic, Mensa & Mayhem
Author: Karina L. Fabian
ISBN: Paperback 978-1-934041-78-9
Swimming Kangaroo Books


In Magic, Mensa & Mayhem, Karina L. Fabian mixes dragons, elves, pixies, and a variety of other characters from Faerie, as well as the trickster, Coyote, of Native American Legend, to create a humorous mystery generously sprinkled with fantasy elements. The two main characters, Vern d'Wyvern (a dragon) and Sister Grace of Our Lady of the Miracles (a High Mage of the Faerie Catholic Church) are partners doing business as DragonEye P.I. in the Mundane world. At the request of Bishop Aiden, (also of the Faerie Catholic Church) they are sent on an unpaid assignment to watch over the Faerie creatures who have been invited to attend a Mundane Mensa Conference.

Some time ago, the Gap opened between the Mundane World and Faerie, allowing travel and trade between the worlds. Like any other phenomenon, some people adapt easily, others find it more difficult. The current assignment for Vern and Sister Grace take them farther away from the Gap than usual, thus creating more of a stir among the humans.

Vern, while an immortal and quite intelligent, lost much of his size and knowledge during a Faerie confrontation with St. George. He is slowly gaining back his former self by doing kind deeds in the service of the Faerie Catholic Church. Thus, where called, Vern goes. While the current unpaid assignment is touted as being laid back and fun, both Vern and Grace go prepared for anything. It's a good thing they do.

Before they reach the conference, the first inklings of a problem occur when it's found all the luggage on their airship of Faerie passengers has been tidied and rearranged by color. Then, upon arrival at their hotel, they find all their room reservations have been lost and those not lost have been switched, creating chaos among the Faerie folk. The only happy ones seem to be the naiads who have taken up residence in the hotel's pond. Things go from bad to worse as High Elves (who generally take hours just to say hello) begin speaking like humans. Could these elves be getting "high" on Mundane soft drinks? Throw in the Valkyrie, Brunhilde, snuggling up with various males both human and Faerie and a dwarf who wants to be discovered as an actor and the plot thickens.

Ms. Fabian keeps the story light with puns and banter. The creative names she uses for her elves get the reader smiling right from the start. For example, the two main elves involved in the mystery are Galendoropynphordaladys of the House Eternal Winds of the Forests of the High Elves (read Gallant?-or-pimp-for-da-ladies, OR Gallant, adore, o primp for the ladies) and Gozonvabosomofic of the House Eternal Winds of the Shores of the High Elves (read Goes-on- verbose-some-more-fic).

Vern with his keen intellect, not to mention his sharp teeth and ability to breathe fire, helps to keep things under control, while working to figure out what's really going on. Meanwhile Sister Grace has the talent of her voice for weaving magic to soothe jangled nerves and shape events which threaten to turn to chaos. Ms. Fabian has created a believable world where humans and Faerie creatures co-mingle. This is a book full of good, clean fun. If you love dragons, elves, pixies and other Faerie folk, make sure to put this on your list of books to read.

You can learn more about Vern and Sister Grace at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36ao0_gkEjY
http://www.fabianspace.com
http://www.dragoneyepi.net

Friday, April 17, 2009

What Is Your Fear

What is your secret writing fear? It's okay to tell, we all have at least one. Do you fear people will ridicule you if you say, "I'm a writer?" Are you afraid that when you sit down at the keyboard, you mind will go blank? Do you fear creating characters that have no dimension and no room for growth? Are you afraid you really don't have anything worthwhile to say? I'm always surprised by how many people are afraid to call themselves writers because they haven't written a novel. Is that your fear?

Most people are impressed if you tell them you're a writer. They'll probably say, "Oh, I wish I could write. I've got this great story to tell." Most times, their story isn't so great, but that's okay because you know you've already sold a story and have the check to prove it.

Everyone has a day when the blank screen laughs at them. Laugh back. Just start typing. Gibberish is fine. Even "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy hen" can be an exercise to get started. Anything works. Once your fingers start hitting the keyboard, your brain tends to kick in. It may be that what you write that day, you'll toss the next, but you're writing.

We all have created a character or two that didn't quite meet our standards. That's okay. Maybe he didn't need to be a main character. Possibly, that character should be shuffled into a less prominent position. Maybe he just isn't the person whose story needs to be told.

So you haven't written a novel. No big deal. There are poets, screenwriters, copywriters, magazine writers, journalists, short story writers. They are all writers. Yes, some have also written books, but they didn't need to write a book to be considered a writer.

Everyone has something to say. Are you a volunteer? Write about your experiences. Are you a parent or a pet owner? Write about what you've learned. Do you work in a specialized field? Explore trade magazines.

Once you face your fears, you can sit down and write.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Character Change Story

Returning to an earlier post, let's talk about another change which can occur in your stories. One of the most popular methods for writers to utilize is the "character change." In this type of story, the characters grow and change from the beginning to the end of the story. This can be a change for the good, although sometimes it's a change for the bad.

There is a process you should follow for your character change story. First you need to make your reader believe that your character has the ability to change. You can do it one of two ways, either by showing he has the qualities to change now or had those qualities in the past.

Once the reader is convinced, you have to add a reason for the character to change. Force your character into a situation where he or she must change using conflict of some type as a major impetus. Generally speaking, most people won't make changes in their lives unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Make sure that reason is there for your reader.

Don't drag out that moment your character realizes he must change. Move your story forward and allow your reader to decide what has happened by your character's deeds.

Once your character has changed add validity to those changes by showing a concrete action performed by your character.

If you incorporate all of these pieces into your character's growth during the story, you will have created a compelling piece your reader will enjoy.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Keeping Track of Your Online Presence

Do you ever wonder who's "talking" about you on-line? Are you concerned that someone is "stealing" your work and publishing it without giving you credit or payment?

A lot of us already know to do a Google search for our names to see what pops up. Today, I learned about a new tool to use. It's called "Who's Talking" and can be found at http://www.whostalkin.com/

This is a search tool which goes beyond the usual. It searches blogs, forums, web sites, news sites, video sites and more. It doesn't search just one blog network but 14 including Wordpress and Twitter.

Do an "ego" search for your own name on a weekly or monthly basis. It's important to keep track of what's happening with your work. There will, of course, be times when things slip through the cracks of a search engine, but be sure to use more than one search tool. Each tool is designed to search for different things. Use these tools to your advantage and if you do find someone has posted something which belongs to you without permission, contact them and ask them reimburse you or remove your material.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fiction Writing - Changes to Keep Your Story Moving

Recently, I reread an article in an old Writer's Digest magazine written by Nancy Kress. The title of the article is "How to Grow a Story." Ms. Kress has been published numerous times and obviously knows how to move a story forward.

The premise of her article is there are three main changes to keep your story growing. Today, let's look at the first change she mentions: "The Situation-Change Story." In the situation change story, there isn't a lot of character development. In this type of story, we have a problem with which the characters must deal. The problem is either introduced as the story opens or shortly after it begins. Examples of this might be: someone has stolen the start-up money for a homeless shelter, or the colonists on the space station learn someone has sabotaged their shuttle. By the end of the stories, we know who stole the start-up money, and it's been returned; and we know who sabotaged the shuttle and why. The problems are solved. Solutions to the problems make the ending situation different from the opening one.

In today's fiction, this technique isn't often used. Most readers want the characters they're reading about to change and grow. In a situation change story, this doesn't happen. In this type of story, the writer must create characters which can hold the readers' attention without the conflict most often found in stories today.

Before using this technique, be sure your story is one which is more a tongue-in-cheek romp with little pertinence to reality. If you can make your situations ones which shock your reader or cause them to gulp - then have fun and write that situation change book you've always wanted to write.