Back in January I wrote that someone from Iuniverse contacted me about doing an interview. They said I did a lot of social media work, really worked up the book, and made myself known across different platforms. Well, that’s what us indie’s do, right? Of course I agreed to do the interview. How amazing is that? In the world of indie authors, that’s a pretty stinkin’ big deal.
A month or so later, I did the interview. It was all very nicely done, and the interviewer was a real sweetheart. Once it was wrapped up there was nothing to do but wait. And wait. And wait. Okay, just so you all know–and maybe it’s just me–but when I have to wait for something more than a minute, I assume something is wrong.
OH MY GOD!!! The interview sucked! I sucked! I looked hideous and they just couldn’t put that for people to see. I sounded dumb, or made no sense. They decided nobody wanted to hear my story. The lighting was wrong. Did I have a huge zit on my nose? Did I just mortify them to the point that my interview was laying on some editing room floor?
Eventually, I simply repressed the memory of any interview ever happening. Yet, a piece of my soul was shattered (cue dramatic clutching of the chest). Then, Sunday night, I was searching the pages of Iuniverse to find some info, and when I landed on one page I saw a video clip and thought, “Hmm, that girl looks like me.” The name was wrong (Tonia Ramon), it was close but oh so very not me. I took a closer look and yelped. It was me. What I found was that they didn’t just make one video about using Iuniverse, but turned it into two videos with the other about the importance of editing. Worry? Who me? Pshhhhaw. I knew it would be awesome.
So, please watch my videos; show some love and support, leave a comment on YouTube and let Iuniverse know that I’m kind of a big deal. :D Thank you all.
Tania L Ramos, RN and Author with 3 Minutes of Fame
Be Still by Tania L Ramos available on ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon Life by Chance coming this holiday season
Okay, so I wrote out this huge post and my computer did something awful. Next book: When Good Computers Go Bad! So where have I been? In a place where free time no longer exists.
I started my Bachelor’s program in nursing through GCU. It is a rigorous thirteen month course that has occupied every last bit of free time I have had, and has even snuck into my not so free time. By this time next year, and $16k in debt, I will have a BSN and a government loan. Exciting, yes I know.
Any time for writing has been shot out the window, and the rantings of characters has been quickly drowned out by rantings of health care essays and deadlines. But I need some sanity, and the characters of Life by Chance started invading my brain even through medical papers. They were tired of being on the electronic shelf; tired of the promise of fruition; and tired of being unheard.
Blackbird Press and I had gone round and round on publishing prospects. I looked at some indie presses, but most either worked only in press or only in e-books. Some weren’t a right fit, others made me nervous, and still others didn’t offer the variety I desired. We talked about sending out queries to agents, but my time was already being strangled. It looked Life by Chance might spend another bout “shelved.” Then I received an email that Iuniverse was having a 50% off sale, and I thought about it.
On June 30th, the last day of the sale, I made the call and chose to go with Iuniverse. I used them for Be Still so I’m familiar with the process; I know what is important and what isn’t. Of course my only complaint is the low royalty payout and the timeliness of the payout, but all-in-all it isn’t breaking the bank. My spirit is renewed! Yay. If all goes well, Life by Chance should be out by the holidays.
While I haven’t spent much time promoting the book these past few months, except in blurbs on social media, the artist has been promoting the art work. “Life by Chance” has been accepted into several mainstream contests, and was displayed at an art show in Hollywood, CA. It is currently a submission in the Bombay Sapphire art contest, and has received honorable mentions in other events.
Comic books, movies, war stories…you can learn something from each of them. Things that can help you in real life I might add. We’ve all done the thing; you know the thing at the movies where you yell at the screen as if it were a choose your path kind of book. “Don’t run up the stairs!” “Look behind the door.” “No, not that guy.” Relating yet?
Well here is my personal compilation of things we can learn from fiction:
1) Super Hero Real Estate
Never ever, and I mean ever, buy real estate in a city where there is a known super hero. Look at Gotham and Metropolis, these cities are in a constant flux of rebuilding due to the fact that a super hero lives there. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction: For every super hero there must be a super villain. Not a villain mind you, but a super villain. Taking up residence where there is a super hero almost definitely puts your property on increased home owners insurance due to “Collateral Damage based on Superhero.”
2) The First One Out
It goes without saying that you never take the first helicopter out. If you are a pilot, never be the first one in. Which movie have you seen where the first helicopter or plane in managed to stay adrift after picking up the first load of survivors? The zombies are at your feet, the enemy has you within its sights, the plague is in the air ten feet away…take your chances with the zombies, enemy, and plague before hopping onto the first airship. Trust me.
3) Beware the Ally
If you feel like taking a walk on the right side of the line and you don’t have extraordinary skills, be warned that you are pretty much a pawn. Haven’t we realized yet that the enemy always goes after the family, friends, and love interests of the hero (super or not)? Sure you will be avenged, but you’ll never know that you were because you’ll be dead.
4) The Only Person You Can Trust
Enemies are really allies. Allies are really enemies. In the end the only person you can trust is the most volatile and unpredictable person. They will always be volatile, they will never be predictable and that at least gives you something to work with. Even unpredictable people are predictable in that they are not. That’s right, think on that one.
5) The Entourage
To survive in anything you will need an entourage of key players: The kick ass girl who looks as innocent as a dove but will readily jab a dagger down someone’s throat and not think twice. The driver; one who can drive any vehicle, drift, knows two-wheel action, how to launch off a simple pile of pallets, and can maneuver through a crowd of people on the sidewalk. The Juggernaut; a man of godly proportions who can smash a WWE wrestler without much effort. The sniper; good with a gun, can wait a man out for 48 hours without blinking and take him out from the next zip code. The Face; my favorite, he doesn’t really do anything but he’s pretty to look at and that in and of itself is a means of distraction. The 5150; remember the volatile and unpredictable person…you want him on your team. The Ex-con; because they aren’t afraid to go back.
Hope this has helped you in some way. I actually live by it and am working on my entourage now. Accepting resumes as we speak.
Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Desperately wanting to be the Kick Ass girl.
BONUS ADVICE: Never marry a Cartwright! Those chicks never survived. (name that show)
I’ve sought out several editors and received a few sample reviews. As an author you either feel elated to get some feedback or dread any kind of feedback. After my first book, I was dreading any kind of feedback. Imagine building something tangible, something that you think is the most fantastic thing to ever brew forth from your imagination, and then imagine someone comes by and tells you what could be better. That’s how it feels to send a manuscript to editing.
But there’s more. Perhaps you have heard of the author’s voice. This is the mannerism in which an author writes: short sentences, long sentences, lots of detail, lots of dialogue, minimal dialogue, to the point, and so much more. This way of telling a story is an extension of the author. It is a creative process built on blood, sweat, tears, and lots and lots of hallucinations and voices. We tell a story the way we see fit . . .
Then enter the editor to tell us what we saw fit isn’t what the reader sees fit. And so ensues a battle of the creative process. There are things to consider when getting an editor, here is my list:
Get a sample edit of at least 1,000 words
Explain your voice
Give a small synopsis of your story
Explain what you expect: line editing, review, developmental, copy editing, etc
Know the cost up front. Don’t waste your time or theirs.
Ask for references
Be leery of all cash up front services. Ask if there is a payment plan, and ask for an invoice of services.
Be sure they work in your genre
Ask what the ETA of editing is
There are things an author needs to be prepared for:
The cold hard truth
Lots of red marks
Changes to your words
Changes of entire sentences
Lots and lots of advise
Before you submit a manuscript to editing be sure you are mentally prepared. Limber up. Eat healthy. Watch funny movies. Do anything that gets you in a good frame of mind. When your manuscript comes back, you may want to do that all over again. Take a deep breath, hug a kitty, then send the kitty away because you don’t want to harm anyone of anything when you open the file.
Above all, remember you own creative rights. You don’t have to change a damn thing. That being said, after you read it the first time, walk away for a day or two and then come back after the dust has settled. Keep an open mind always.
As for me, its time to choose my editor.
Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Reading the Red Stuff
Ever hear the phrase, if it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all? Man oh man has that been my week. How about the expression, when it rains it pours? Add that to my week and you get some fun, sad, and interesting tales. All of which will be incorporated into my writings for public musings.
First off: Last week I woke up feeling not quite right. I figured it was stress from not having steady hours at work and losing lots of pay. So I wake up with that, “something’s not quite right” feeling. The one where nothing is really wrong, but you just have this inkling…maybe its women’s intuition, but whatever it was landed me on my butt, back down on jagged rocks, sun trying to melt my face, as I vomited then proceeded to pass out. It felt like my heart was racing at a thousand miles a minute, but when the boyfriend (EMT/Firefighter) took my pulse it was slow and irregular. BLAH!! I don’t have time for that crap.
Second off: I went from having zero hours at work (as in: zip, zilch, nada, time to sell the farm) last week, to being triple booked this week. Pssst…that’s the when it rains it pours part. I took a new job, which makes this position #4 (ED nurse, PACU nurse, GI nurse, and ED nurse at a new facility). I was also offered a position at a place I was at before. Can you say, “Feast or famine?”
My life has become one big giant cliche of sayings.
Third off: After speaking with a doctor, he says, “Did you know if you had some kind of infection that you didn’t know about (given I had a high leukocyte count), that it can affect your heart?” Um, yeppers, I’m a nurse. Hello? I knew this . . . I just chose to put it somewhere in the back of my head. And so comes to next saying: Nurses and doctors make the worst patients. To that, I digress! I’m a freaking amazing patient. The best patient ever. I’m so stupendously amazing that I voluntarily stay out of the ER and doctor’s offices–even after passing out and having some phantom arrhythmia.
I’m living the cliches. I love my life. Because there are few Nurses and doctors who make the worst patients, especially during a time when it rains it pours, and still survive during the feast or famine, because–after all–if wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
On a side note: Always read the warnings on your antibiotics! Mine have basically given me permission to have visual and audio hallucinations (as if I needed antibiotics for that little talent), but it also gives me permission to essentially go postal and be able to ride the Antibiotic Defense all the way to trial. Just saying, if the Twinkie defense stands up, so does the Antibiotic one.
Tania L Ramos, RN and Author on Day #2 of Cootie Killers.
Question: If I already have voices in my head, does the medication give my voices the ability to hear voices in their head?
Most of my characters are very clear to me before I ever start to write them. I take a little bit of something from every where and every one I know and concoct a new person. Its a bit of a mad scientist, Frankenstein process but works very well for me. Sometimes, after already having written my character out, I may see someone on television, the news, or someone I already know and think, “Hey, that’s my character!” It’s always nice to put a real face on a fictional character–at least for me.
In a previous post about Guns & Lightsabers, I gave an excerpt of a conversation between Huck and Maggie. To this day, I have all of my ducks in a row for each character in the book Blackbirds; there is a bio of their physical appearance, and I can see them plain as day. All except for Huck. I’ve been writing him but avoiding anything physical because he isn’t in my head yet. This character is very important me, as are most of my lead male characters, because I tend to enjoy writing in the point of view of men. Maybe its just me, but I find it fascinating to write men more than women.
Huck’s Bio: Mid to late 30’s, tall and rugged, has piercing eyes that can be spotted a mile away. Witnessed something in his youth that set him off on a road of anger and rage, until he met Jenny. That romance and marriage was short lived when Jenny passed away suddenly. Huck was then infuriated at life, family, God, and anything else that crossed his path. He’s filled with sarcasm, cynicism, and believes he still sees and can talk to his dead wife…he thinks he’s gone crazy. Then a young woman (16 yrs old), just about as broken as him and matching his wit, sarcasm, and stubborness enters his life. She has nothing to give and he has nothing to offer, but they find a way, and his rugged exterior is peeled away a little at a time, until he goes into an all out rage when he discovers her secret. Huck is the epitome of country strong, stubborn, and at times a real ass…but he has a heart, especially for Maggie.
That is my character without a face. A complex man, as most characters are–as most people are. But I was watching a program on television the other night and saw this face, and my world lit up. I had my daughter and shouted to her, “That’s him. That’s him. That’s my character, Huck.” She was very happy, because she said one day she will sing for him and he’ll turn around. So here he is, my new muse for Charles “Huck” Roon. Drum roll please…
The first five people to respond and tell me who this is will receive a free copy of my last book, “Be Still,” via Nook or Kindle download.
My latest WIP (work in progress) is a big drift from my normal style of dark writing. This new book still has its dark subject, still has its subjective point of view, and as always, has some dim undertones within the aspects of the characters. What makes this book different is that the scenery isn’t always so dreary, and even when life is dreary, their mannerisms build up to a kind of comedy through it all.
Now, I take much of what I write from over heard conversations and/or discussions I’ve had at home. I take those little snip its and add the voice of the character to make it their own. Sometimes I get the exact same conversation, and those usually don’t make the final cut. But, sometimes the conversation takes an interesting spin within the mind of a character and I get something fabulous.
The scene: Huck and Maggie are sitting at the dinner table. Huck is in his mid thirties while Maggie is all of sixteen. They are practically strangers who have been thrust together by fate, and have two completely different ways of thinking. There’s a loud banging at the door, one that sounds like someone is trying to break the door down. Huck pulls a shotgun out from the side of the fireplace.
Maggie jumps from her seat, her eyes filled with concerned more than worry. “Huck? What the hell are you doing?”
Looking over his shoulder, the shotgun already in position by his right shoulder, he replies, “I’m hunting wabbit! What the hell does it look like I’m doing?”
“You aren’t going to shoot whoever’s out there, are you?”
In a fit a confusion, he rattles his head about then aim at the door while creeping closer. Maggie gives a hushed shout at how ridiculous this is. He stops and looks over his shoulder again, “I don’t have any plans on shooting, unless absolutely necessary. Okay? Hippie?”
“So what? Then you just planning on scaring whoever runs through that door? And when he’s sees your cannon he’ll stop and cower, right?”
Huck was growing weary of the conversation, and the banging at the door wasn’t letting up. Didn’t she understand he was trying to protect her? Was she really having a debate on guns while someone was trying to break in? It was clear she didn’t care, so he decided he wouldn’t care back and put the butt of the gun down on his right toe while holding the barrel with his right hand. “You have a better idea?” he asked.
Their eyes met, and he wondered how many of these visual standoffs they would continue to have. She was stubborn, cocky, and the biggest pain in the ass he had ever met, and all of that paled besides her wit. He stood there, eagerly anticipating some smart remark.
“Lightsaber,” she said.
“Lightsaber?” he practically dropped the gun from his hearty laughter.
“Think about? We’re in the middle of shotgun, handgun, Glock, 9mm, hillbilly hell, right? Everybody has a gun next to the fireplace, everybody has a rifle rack in the truck? And this crazy bastard is still trying to get into the house.” She points at the door that is still taking a beating. “That guy knows you have a gun of some sort, and odds are so does he. Probably bigger by the sounds of it.”
“You can tell he has a big gun by the sound of the banging on the door? Oh, you’re good,” he chuckled. Then he put his finger on his chin stubble and asked her to go on.
“That guy isn’t going to be surprised to see a gun. But, he swoops through that door and you’re holding a lightsaber . . . well, now its game on. You don’t need perfect aim, just one big swoosh,” she motions as if holding a lightsaber and striking, including the sound effects. “Whala! Dead.”
“You think a lightsaber is better than a gun?”
“Have you even seen the movies? How many people actually die by way of guns? Like one to every thirty people who died by lightsaber. There are red blasts all over the place and once in a while someone actually gets hit, but the lightsaber death toll was in the kazillions. I mean, if you gotta be a Neanderthal killer then at least do it with finesse and with a weapon that has a proven kill rate.”
At that moment the door burst open and Huck was instantly mowed over by the three-legged goat before he was able to get his shotgun up. As he looked up he saw Maggie standing over him, hands on her shifted hips saying, “if you woulda had a lightsaber you might’ve stood a chance.”
“You haven’t won this argument,” he said.
“Then answer this: if you busted through someone’s front door, would you be more petrified to see you holding a gun or Qui Gon Jinn with a lightsaber?”
His inability to answer caused her to throw her hands up in victory and do a little happy dance. It became quite clear he might just be the student and not the master. “Yeah, well . . . you need to work on your sound effects,” he mumbled.
So that little conversation came about from the topic of gun control I had with a friend on Facebook. I was pleasantly pleased with the changes Maggie made, and how fiction mimics real life yet gives it its own little spin.
Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Shopping for a Lightsaber Facebook