Monthly Archives: May 2012

Interview with David McGowan

Thanks to the use of this Worpress blog, I have met many people who share my interest in writing.  This blog has been an amazing platform for that.  One person I met is, David McGowan, author of, “The Hunter Inside.” Like me, he has been blogging about his book and the strains and accomplishments of getting his book out there.  One day, I read his blog and noticed his excitement at finally having his novel out on Amazon’s Nook.  I was excited for him, but I don’t own a Nook, so he allowed me to read a manuscript.  Thank you, David.  After reading the manuscript I asked if I could write a review on my blog and do an interview.  He accepted.

The Hunter Inside by, David McGowan

This fast paced story follows three people who do not know each other and how they are stalked and targeted for death.  But who is trying to kill them? Who is sending the terrifying notes? Who is watching them?  Those are the questions that must be answered before a maniacal killer finds them and kills them off one by one.  But what does the death of their family members before them have to do with them being targeted? To know the answers, you must read the book.

David McGowan is a master at writing in details, using every sense to tell his story.  Readers can relate and feel the fear, horror, and sometimes bitter taste that the characters can feel.  This story is moving at a high-speed from the first chapter to the very (unexpected) last sentence.  The characters are believable and the situation is like a cross between “Seven” and “The Ring,” (the original foreign version).  Who is the killer? That was the part that made me smile as I was caught off guard by who it was.  And being able to read from the killer’s point of view was eery, but enticing.

When I asked David what genre this book fell under he said, “You tell me?! It’s part thriller, mystery, suspense, horror, supernatural.”  I tend to agree.  This book fits nicely into an array of genres and mixes them with ease.

Who is David McGowan when not writing, he answers, “A cider-swindling information professional, working on an Institutional repository. . . I definitely earn my cider.”

I was not surprised when he named Stephen King and Dean Koontz as influential authors and believe someday they may be writing an endorsement for, “The Hunter Inside.”  When asked what advice he has for other self-published authors he answered, “Be commited-especially to the formatting and editing process.”

McGowan said this book started off as a short story, by the end he had over one-hundred thousand words.  His favorite charcater in the story was Sandy Myers as she was committed to her children and would climb mountains for them, “She is a woman with real guts and determination.”  Just for fun, and to appease this writer’s sense of not being insane, I asked if his family or friends think he is crazy for writing such a vivid book? David had a modest response, “Not really, but I think they’re amazed something like this can come out of my mind.”

“The Hunter Inside,” can be purchased on Amazon for Kindle at this link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Hunter-Inside-ebook/dp/B0082KLJO6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338050206&sr=1-1

David McGowan is a WordPress blogger and can be found here: David McGowan

If you would like your book reviewed, please send me an email at author@tanialramos.com along with a pdf link to your manuscript.  I hope you have enjoyed this review.

Who am I: According to my latest press release: Tania L Ramos is an author of two books, her latest book is, “Be Still.” When not writing, she funds her publishing and marketing by working as a registered nurse in a recovery room and moonlights in cardiac rehabilitation.

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Creative Introversion

I read a great article today on how introverts spend time alone gathering energy to go out in public and how extroverts gather energy from crowds for time they are alone.  If that is the case then I need a lot of alone time.

I am officially on the road to marketing success (I’m being positive here).  All of my ducks are in a row and only need be set out onto a great big pond to float away and spread the word of this, “rising author who will be a household name soon.” I read another article that says it is okay to make profound speculations about ones-self (still feels vain to me) as long as you believe what you write.  I suppose watching a days worth of informercials has proven that theory correct.  I can’t begin to tell you how many, “world’s best stain fighter,” “next big thing,” “best of the best,” tag lines were thrown around.  They are all set in place to get a reader (viewers) attention.  Maybe I will be a household name, I mean I am in my own home…I know, that’s a stretch.

I’ve been searching online for book competitions that I could participate in, but seems many started at the beginning of the year, so I’ve missed that mark.  Not many book shows in my community and too late to grab a booth at our local fair, so I’m left to wonder what else I can do.  Something that feeds my basic nature of introversion? It has to be creative yet catchy…and legal, which is most important.

Today my boyfriend sent me this link on YouTube, please watch it before proceeding with the rest of this blog as you have to see it to know my comment: Commercial For Drama Button

Okay, did that commercial catch your attention? Make you smile? Make you giggle? Make you wonder what the heck was happening? In the end did you say, “Oh! I get it?”  THAT’S WHAT I NEED!!! I need a drama effect to the things I can create at home, and don’t think for one moment I didn’t consider doing a similar thing at our neighboring (big city) shopping center court.  Reenact the dramatic scenes from book? Oh that would be fabulous, but that takes a lot of time and at least three actors willing to VOLUNTEER their time, and someone willing to be hit by a car…at high speed.

I have read tens if not hundreds of websites telling me they know how to make an impact to be seen, but I look at them and wince, not sold on their product.  I keep thinking I can do better.  I am by no means a perfectionist or A-type personality that has to have full control, believe me I would relinquish it gladly if I knew that it would make a stand, but I haven’t found that on any website.  Some sites headlines make great promises but the site does not deliver.  You can’t expect me to purchase your product that will dazzle the literary world when their website looks like a second-rate, chop-and-drop magazine add.  I haven’t been impressed yet, which means I have to find my own creative introversion.  I have to find those tag lines that will catch a reader, and literary world, to have them think, “what happens next? Inquiery minds…”

So, short of reenacting a high speed car crash, a man traveling to a world caught between life and death, an afterlife wife with a deadly secret, and exploding coffins what more is there? That is my plight.  So far I have a blank piece of paper, a cup of iced green tea, B12 5,000units in, and a cat who still smiles when I talk to myself.  I’m set! Time for this introvert to get creative.  Today’s agenda: Send out at least one press release and learn how to create an app for Ipod. Any suggestions? Feel free to send them in and I will post them or their link.

And if you haven’t seen the book trailer for, “Be Still,” please watch it here: YouTube, and then buy the book now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble online and Kindle.  And, again, send me a picture of you with your book for a chance to win a free, “Be Still,” gift package.  Send emails to author@tanialramos.com.  Any pics sent are subject to be posted on my website or blog.  First picture in wins the gift package.

Where To Go From Here

All this hype I have put out there has led up to this day: Being published.  Here I am, standing on the mountain of my own personal victory at having a book published, available for distribution, and available online at most major booksellers.  I haven’t stopped happy dancing since the day my book arrived and not sure I ever will.  But now that I am published, or self-published if you want to get all technical, I’m not sure where to go from here.  Now that I tell people I am published, authors are coming out of the woodwork.  Seriously, I hand out a flyer and someone will inevitably say, “I wrote a book once.” Then they tell me how they still have 500 copies sitting in the garage at home…for the past ten years.

I don’t want to be that story.  I channeled many of the social media outlets, spent countless hours comparing PR websites and marketing information.  Spent more hours drawing up a TIS sheet, flyer, info about the author (which still feels vain to me), and letters to businesses to host a book signing or speaking engagement, and I really do understand how it can all be so very overwhelming to the point of wanting to throw in the towel and letting the book speak for itself and hope Ron Howard or Spielberg come across it and think, “Hey, this would make a great movie,” and thusly launch my writing career.

The truth is, as I have been told, marketing is a marathon not a sprint.  I hate running!

I still long for the days when I could spend my free time writing.  That has been a long time, unless you count proposal forms as leisurely writing.  I don’t.  Am I wrong in wanting everything to find me? I am the only one who thinks this? I’m sure I’m not so I won’t dawdle on that thought for very long, but it is exhausting; this phase after the publishing.  I’m ready to hire my son to handle all my social media updates as that is as time consuming as it can get.  Except that I love the interaction and have met some lovely people along the way, and in my world of introversion, social media is my rare form of extroversion.  It is way easier to be more exciting behind the screen of a computer.

Well, I have hit some milestones and landmarks that help me push through this marathon of pushing my book: my first book signing for a fellow co-worker who bought, “Be Still,” and “When I Thought I Was Tough.”  I hit the thousand mark in one month on my website www.TaniaLRamos.com.  I’ve had over 2500 reads on my very first book, “When I Thought I Was Tough.” And my book is now available at Barnes & Noble online in soft/hardcover, at Amazon in soft/hardcover and Kindle, and through many many more businesses online including Google books.  I still smile each time I see my book online.  It is surreal and exciting.  It’s the figuring out where to go from here part that is hard.  As I have said many times before, I’m not a marketer and I always feel like I am doing it wrong.  Well, here’s to selling 250 books by Fall.  Wish me luck.  And if you do buy the book, send me a picture, I’d love to post some pics from people I have met along the way, to my website.  Thank you all for your kind words and keep following for the next chapter in this wonderful publishing venture…

My book is here! Happy dance with me

I love it.  I received my hardcover and softcover and they look so much better than I expected.  I am now live at Iuniverse for purchase and will available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon next month (fingers crossed).  I wasn’t sure how I would respond to the books arriving, whether it would be exciting or just blah, but I can say it was exciting.  I showed every one in the house and my mom has been parading the books around at her slew of meetings today, with one person offering to buy one on the spot.  Sadly, I told her those were my “hot off the press” editions and not to sell them.  I also received a facebook message from one of the women I work with on occasion who said she purchased two books and wants me to sign them.  Oh, I had the cheesiest smile ever.  It is such a wonderful feeling to hear someone say they want you to sign their books.  My little claim to fame.

My only qualm, same as many people, is that the softcover should have been slightly smaller in size, but my mom says she likes the larger version as it is more manageable and easier to hold.  Okay.  So I am going to spend the rest of my day putting my press release together and possibly shooting an interview to post to YouTube.

I am excited, and by the way, I put in my acknowledgment page a very special thank you to all those who have been following my wonderful, liberating journey here on WordPress.  Your blogs and responses have been nothing but encouraging.  Thank you all for your support.

Purchase here at Iuniverse http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000524925/Be-Still.aspx

Follow me at www.TaniaLRamos.com

Don’t I look excited? My day has arrived

What The Tweet? Friends vs Followers

I never thought I would say it, but Twitter is so much more than idle chatter and gossiping.  I’m upset that I waited so long to join as I assumed it was nothing more than a short dialogue (140 words) to give a quick update such as: I have to pee.  I fashioned it to the likes of MySpace, a place for kids while Facebook was a bit more intimate.  I was wrong and right.

I have only been on Twitter about a month or so, and it has taken this long to understand it all, but I have removed “Twitter for Dummies,” off my must read list at this point.  There are hashtags(#) and followers as opposed to friends and some lingo like “RT” which was confusing at first, but people are always willing to explain.  Within my first 24 hours I already had 5 followers, none whom I knew personally, so I began to wonder what the heck Twitter was.  A spamming site? A stalker site (well maybe, I do stalk Tim McGraw and Chuck Palahniuk…yep, I put them in the same sentence)? But it is so much more than that.   It is a place to meet other people who are just like me–writers– or have a service to offer people like me.  I simply search, “marketing,” and hundred if not thousands of people pop up for me to follow.  Or I can search, “writer,” and find other writers.  Do I know them? Nope, not-a-one.  But they all have something great to offer in the way of blogs, articles, helpful info and more.

Sure, some people spam with nothing more than plugs for their book or service, but if they get to be too cumbersome you can always unfollow.  Twitter can be a useful networking tool.  I have PR Web as a corp I follow and when I sent a message to the effects of, “Does @PRWeb really work?” PR Web responded with a list of Twitter followers I could ask.  That was nice.  I have also found many tweets to have links to great articles, reviews, and networking events.

How is it different from Facebook? Like I said previously, Facebook is more intimate created for your friends and family, and while they can definitely follow you on Twitter, Twitter seems to be more set up for networking.  I also don’t have to request to be friends with Ron Howard.  He is on Twitter and all I have to do is follow him (kinda exciting too), but that doesn’t mean he is following me.  On Facebook you have to send a friend request (on a personal page you want secured) and anxiously wait to be accepted…or not.  However, on Facebook you can set up an account to be open and accept all requests but it is still inherently different than Twitter.

Is there one I prefer over the other? No.  I like Facebook to be intimate with my friends, but I have my book site also to only talk about my book.  I really don’t want to spam my friends on FB on a daily basis with my marketing, publishing, and general book info all day, but I can put that on my FB page dedicated to my book.  Keep your friends separate I have learned, but make sure they know once in a while what is going on with your venture.  Twitter I like for the connections and to be interacting with others like me.  And I like to think I have some kind of connection to Tim McGraw, Ellen DeGeneres, Ron Howard, and James Patterson, but I also have a venue through #hesperia #highdesert #victorville to be able to share with my community what is happening.

Just imagine, twenty year ago I would have had to pay for an ad to get this much publicity out.  Now I can make connections, meet new people, give and receive advice all from the comforts of my bed and Hello Kitty pajamas.

I’m at @TaniaLRamos on Twitter

TaniaLRamos on Facebook (the one with my bookcover)

www.TaniaLRamos.com

See you there!

“The Road to Grace,” Richard Paul Evans: a review

     I was captivated by the jacket insert which explained how a man named Alan was walking from Seattle,WA to Key West,FL after the death of his wife and about the people he meets on the way.  At first I took it for a Forrest Gump knock-off, but I browsed the Barnes and Noble shelves and nothing else peaked my interest, so I went back to pick up the book, “The Road To Grace,” by Richard Paul Evans.

     I didn’t realize until halfway through the book that I was a step behind.  Apparently I was two steps behind–or should I say books– as this is the third in a series of books called, “The Walk,” series.  I was bummed to learn that I started in the middle and had to read the next book out NEXT year to find out what happnes.  Cliffhangers are wonderful, but not year long ones.  Will I remember the character in a year?  Besides, my career is booming with wonderful people I have met who have mauscripts for me to read and review on my blog. I like that option so much more, but I digress…

“The Road To Grace,” a wonderful story of man, Alan, who lost his wife to an infection after she broke her back in a horse riding accident.  After her funeral and a series of life-changing events, he decided to walk to the furthest location he could: Key West, FL. 

Along the way he meets several people, all of which have something to teach or ask for.  All of which have a life lesson to be learned.  But as he saunters on, things start changing for him (no spoiler here) and he learns of grave news…hence the year long cliff hanger.  Boo!

I was captivated by this man’s journey and was always left to wonder who he would meet next, which is why I read it in a few hours.  The people he meets have stories as fascinating as his.  The woman following him.  The polish man.  the mother at the store.  And the tramp (not hobo).  Some of their stories brought tears to my eyes, some made me cringe, but there was always a lesson to be learned.  Lessons we can take to heart and learn from.

The story is fast and an easy leisurely read.  Richard Paul Evans definitely writes with a purpose of making his readers reflect on their own life.  It isn’t only of fiction, but applies to a readers life at some point and at some conflict many have encountered.  I doubt I will rush out to buy the first two books as this book gave me much of the information I needed to jump right in.

The Road To Grace, by Richard Paul Evans

On a five star scale, I give, “The Road To Grace,” four stars (****), I didn’tgive it five only because, I personally,  do not like sequals. But that is just me.

If you have a book you would like me to review on my blog, please email me at author@TaniaLRamos.com and send me a book, manuscript words doc (any year), or PDF.  I will also link to where it can be bought and to your website or blog.  All I ask is that your review my book in return, and I will send you a softcover or download(when available) or pdf for faster delivery.  We indie writers need to help each other out and get the word out.

The Cliff Hanger Chapter

A writer is only as good as the first 5 pages.  I tell myself that so I remember to catch my audience in the first five pages, but Iuniverse sent me a mock-up book website which previewed the first four pages of my book, “Be Still.”  I’ve hyped this book so much to the nurses I work with that I was concerned that it wouldn’t live up to the legend that I created.  But two of the nurses read the first four pages, the teaser, and they immediately asked if the rest of the book was just as good.  One nurse even said she was ready to cry just at the first page.

I did my job!

Then they asked about my first book, “When I Thought I was Tough,” and so I showed them how to link to it.  I was quite surprised when they read a few lines and said they would now have to read that one at home.  Yay!

 

I did my job!

Then they asked what my third book was about so I gave them the elevator pitch.  One nurse said it sounded like a tear jerker (that’s my genre as you may recall or are just learning).  I told her it would be a year before that one came out.  She smiled and said that was too long to wait and I should leave work now and go home to finish the book.  I smiled…

I did my job!

What I have learned in writing is that you must captivate your audience (especially a new audience) in the first 5 pages, and I know that is a general rule of writing a book.  Captivate, hold, and give the premise of the story in the first five pages.  My website mock-up only gave four, but I had fans who were eager to read the rest.  I must be doing something right.

I also make the ending of every chapter a mini cliff hanger.  The dun dun dun.  Or if we are speaking of soap operas, that long, dramatic stare and the thought of what was going to happen in the next episode.  In fact, writing a novel is very much like a soap opera.  the characters, the story line, the cliff hangers–they all need to be there and need to mesh into something a reader wants to stay awake late at night to finish.

For me, every chapter ends in that cliff hanger.  That thought of knowing there is more, but having to move on to the next chapter to find out what it is, only to discover there is still more in the chapter after that.  It’s not just enough to have great detail, to have great characters, and to have that great plot.  Anyone can tell a story, but not everyone can tell a story well.  Three people can tell the exact same story, but we all know that one person who can tell it best and get the audience excited and full of suspense.  It is my job to be that story-teller.  As a writer, it is your job to be that story-teller that people are eager to read.

Chapters should flow, but I want mine to end at the height of a towering waterfall where jagged rocks are awaiting below.  If it ends that way, wouldn’t you want to know what happened next? Go ahead, fill in the blank.