Monthly Archives: April 2013

It’s Done Now What?

Many of you who follow the blog or any other of my various media sites are completely aware my book is complete.  It remains without title until something truly pops out at me, and also remains without a cover.  I’m not hurrying either one at this point; there is still plenty of time since I remain in editing for some indefinite period as life has a way of bombarding me with twenty other “due now” tasks. Ah, I know the back burner all too well . . .  and so the story without title remains on a nice simmer until I light a large flame under my . . .

As I sat on the couch at 2 a.m., deliriously staring at my associate, Daniel, working on an ad for Surviving the Writing Apocalypse (out soon in tradeback), I began to wonder, “Why am I awake at 2 a.m.? Do business meeting know no time frames?” Oh, because there is much to be done and I was busy watching Good Will Hunting, avoiding my duties.  If you ever suspect someone of procrastinating look no further, I am a suspect at large and my associate works best at 1 a.m., a bad combination.

Am I procrastinating the edit on my book? Nope. That’s too easy. I’ve all the time in the world for that one (out this Summer). I’m putting off something new; a thought lulling and slowly eating at my brain.  Oh, I remember when the stories came so quickly, and I used to write at least the first chapter when an idea would come.  Every idea was a possibility, but most never made it passed ten chapters and so I have a flash drive filled with ditched thoughts.

This book is done, now what? I’m at a loss. I feel my standards have been raised for what I will and will not write.  Each book has to be better than the last.  I’m on such a daily schedule of interviewing characters and telling them, “i’ll keep your resume on file,” yet haven’t found the one.  Scratch that. I have found the one, but know the cost of production would be insane as it would have to be printed in color and likely would never make an ereader format. This irks me, and so here I am: Sunday morning running on 5 hrs sleep on the couch, procrastinating, thinking of new characters and wondering if I’ve got another book in me?

Two characters are very antsy, sitting across from me with hands raised high, bouncing in anticipation, desperately wanting to be called on. Pick us. Pick us! And yet it is their story that frightens me.  I’ve said it before and I tell them again, “I don’t do indie teen drama! Go haunt someone else’s mind.” They smile, and I know they’re mocking me, because the answers to my question of it’s done, now what, are sitting across from me wearing Chucks, baggy jeans, hoodies, confident smiles  with wide doe eyes and hope.  I just don’t know about this one. I’m not certain, I can pull it off . . .

indiekids

 

 

 

 

 

Tania L Ramos, Author Simmering on the Back Burner

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When the Sun Betrays the Character

The morning started off as cool with a light dusting of iced air creeping over the mountain.  It was the first day of spring and the day Elsa loved most.  Despite the bitter bite on the air, she ran outside wearing only sweatpants and a light t-shirt with Hello Kitty house boots.  She slushed through the crunching ice, now thin and moist, sounding like Frosted Flakes cracking under her foot.

It was spring! It was supposed to be a joyous, but lack of her father arriving home after another drawn out saga of arguments between her parents meant he would miss this tradition of watching the first spring sun peek out from behind the peaks atop Bear Mountain.  Elsa drowned out the endless cackle of her mother as she shouted her daughter was acting crazy and would catch a cold and die.  But Elsa cared less.  The misgivings of her parents had long since wore through any teenage patience she had, and missing the rising spring sun was something she was okay to catch cold over.

Still, the eastern sky was barely lit with a spry flare of hazy orange feeling its way into the night’s dusky blue.  Elsa stood among the pines, taking in the scent of fresh dew on pine needles and relished in the tantalizing scent that filled her nose.  Spring had its own fragrance, and on rare occasion when it arose any other time of the year, she would instantly float back to the first day of spring and standing out on the slurry with her father as they awaited the first warmth on the mountain.

She stood in an opening between two tall pines as the burnt orange ball rose in a slow teasing pace.  Eyes closed, she lifted her head to the sky, longing and anticipating the touch of flares upon her frozen face.  It was time to wake up from winter’s hibernation and she could hardly wait, now standing on tip toes to stretch up and allow her skin to swallow up the heat.

Then . . .

The first beam of light danced on her fingers and there was an instant sensation of nerves waking into pins and needles poking at her flesh.  She was cold and the reviving flesh ached at the new warmth, yet stretched out further to bathe in more.  Every inch of her small frame was engulfed in small increments at a time until the light of the world held her.  Her head lifted higher and she felt the moment a smile crossed her face.

The pins and needles became like small lighters held at her flesh.  This was all wrong! She opened her eyes wide to be instantly met with a burning ball of fire and quickly let out a pained gasp.  Every inch of skin crawled beneath the searing sun and she felt as if being burned at the stake.  Laden knees gave out and her burned palms were first to lay in the slurry of stinging ice and water.  She screamed in deafening agony, knowing the sun had betrayed her, helpless to move from its light of death as she lay cooking under the sun, sprawled against a bed of cold, white powder.

As years went by, the scars, tiny little cropped circle reminders, remained to serve as notes of the day the sun became an enemy.  The words she heard whispered around the small town at night were vampire  and witch.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  It was a disease, not a curse.  One that changed her life, her mentality and made her hide behind the darkness of the night and curtains  . . . alone.

If there was one thing she could she wish for . . . but it wouldn’t be the wish you would think.

*****This has been an introduction into my next book–still untitled. Just a tease, and I hope that it was*****

Tania L Ramos, Still Heeding to the Voices

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Lessons From L.A. Festival of Books 2013

We had no idea what to expect when we attended this year’s L.A. Festival of Books.  As the ever so enthusiastic intellectuals we (Daniel at Blackbird and I) can sometimes be, we researched blogs from attendees from years past.  We tried to gain wisdom and insight as well as learn from their mistakes.  Some numbers–and we do love our numbers–came back that on average an independent or self-published author sold three books a day and gave away about three hundred promotional items over two days.  That came as a surprise since over 200,00 people attend, but we also learned that big named authors were the reason many people flocked to the event and us indies were more of a “filler space” as one blogger wrote about the 2012 event.

With that in mind, Blackbird LSD, whom I partnered with for the event, and I decided this was more of a marketing/publicity event for us “space fillers.” So be it. We would be the best damn space fillers the L.A. Times Festival of Books had ever seen! And we showed up equipped with all the supplies one would need to do this: stickers, book markers, flyers, pens, buttons, notepads, a book giveaway and our ace in the hole: Jorja! Jorja, my five year old wonder who still has no problem proudly declaring above the masses, “sign up for you book giveaway and take some stickers!” Oh yeah, the crowd could not refuse her calls.

Jorja setting up camp

Jorja setting up camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where we were only able to get a handful of emails the 1st day, she got acquired over 50 in just a few hours.  Where people walked passed us and refused flyers and stickers, she was able to give out hundreds. And the good thing about five year olds: THEY NEVER GET TIRED! All she asked for was a bunny . . . we’ll see.

Blackbird represented three books in total: Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight Into It (Michelle Proulx), Be Still (me), and Treachery at Martinique Isle (Rachel Cherie).  Day one was slow, but we sold a few of my books, which helped because the author was on site to sign. We sold a few of the other two books, but nothing to write home about.  If three books a day is a success, then we had a slow start.  But, we handed out hundreds of flyers and met so many great people.

Day two started with a bang: Be Still was flying off the table and Michelle and Rachel’s books were also selling.  Then we hit a slump.  We put the 5 yr old back on the front lines and more people stopped in.  Daniel, of Blackbird, was being bombarded with questions, so that was a major plus. Emma, our intern was really chatting up the books to anyone who looked interested, and it was becoming evident that we might just have to buy Jorja her bunny.

It was getting late, and while I share custody with my daughter, it was time to get her back to dad.  I was gone a little over an hour, but I came back to find Daniel and Emma tearing down the booth as the event had come to an end. They were cheerful and said they sold more books while I was gone. Hooray!

What lessons did we take from the L.A. Festival of Books? Simple. Be prepared! Have a checklist so you don’t forget to bring the tablecloth. Always have water on supply.  Have a rotation of helpers, because talking with people really drains your energy.  If possible, have an enthusiast and cute five year old to bring in the crowd.  People love stickers and buttons! People love a giveaway. Be organized, if you have tons of materials it is best to have some kind of drawer system to easily find your supplies.  Want people to stop at your booth? make sure there is always someone at your booth.  A crowd draws in a crowd, because quite frankly we all stop to see the train wreck and we all stop to see why there is a crowd. There should be two people in front of the booth to hand out material, don’t expect them to come to you. One person to chat up the books, if not the author. One person to manage the money and keep the stock up.  If you don’t like heat, make sure your tent is not facing the sun all day.  And do not get lost in the center of the crowd. This is a big one. We were on the outskirts, surrounded by a timeshare, a carpet sales team, a hypnotist, and purses. We thought that was all bad until we walked around.  If you are surrounded by books, you are just one in the crowd and lost in the crowd, but be surrounded by non-books in a non-crowded section, and you’re the only book on the block!

By the standards of averages were we a success? 3 books a day is a success according to some bloggers, who stated it wasn’t worth the money. I say, unless you are a big name it isn’t all about the sales, but about the exposure.  Did we successfully expose all three books? Heck yeah! Over one thousand book marks, flyers and stickers were handed out and 60 names were added to our email list. Success! The numbers have increased on our Facebook and Twitters sites: Success! As for book sales: 20 books were sold all together. We have to sit and count the books to see exactly who sold what, but do the math and it equals on average to each book selling at least 3 a day: SUCCESS!

The team starting from left: Daniel (Blackbord LSD), Emma (intern), me, Glenn (helper). Not shown: Jorja, Abram

The team starting from left: Daniel (Blackbord LSD), Emma (intern), me, Glenn (helper). Not shown: Jorja, Abram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tania L Ramos, Author who Loved her First BIG Book Show

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Feeling Squirrely

As we drove home today from dropping off my daughter it occurred to me that I am not as daring as I once was.  What brought on this sudden notion? Squirrels. Yeah, I said it: squirrels.

Truth be told, I think squirrels are the ultimate thrill seekers. Think about it: How many times have you driven down the road and had a squirrel dash out in front of your car? It’s happened to all of us, right? Coincidence? I think not.

Here’s what I think:

Fluffy the Squirrel: Hey Butch?

Butch the Squirrel: ‘Sup of Fluffs?

Fluffy: You feeling like a round of danger today?

Butch: Hellz to the yeah.  Whatcha got in mind?

Fluffy: Tracks?

Butch: Oh man, you must be feeling squirrely today if you wanna hit the tracks.

Fluffy: I’m feeling kinda nutty. Let’s do it.

The squirrels hang out at the train tracks, watch a few roll by, even leave a few acorns on the tracks and watch them get smashed.  Butch dodges a train followed by Fluffy.

Fluffy: Enough practice. Let’s do this!

Butch gives Fluffy a smack on his fuzzy tail and shouts, “Go! Go! Go!” Fluffy waits until the absolute last moment and races across the street barely missing being obliterated by a speeding car. His little pounding heart is filled with adrenaline as he does an air fist pump and declares, “I am the ultimate thrill seeker!”

So the next time you see a little Fluffy or Butch run across the street you have to say, “Well played little extremist thrill seeker. Well played.”

squirrel

Tania L Ramos, Author Giving Squirrels their Props.

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http://BeStillNovel.com Free gifts with purchase through website

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Scene Setting vs Author Setting

Hello bloggers and good morning. Today I am coming to you from very warm and sunny Las Vegas.  I arrived yesterday to a wonderful resort with great staff, bedside view of the pool, cool room and piss poor internet service. Heh, can’t win them all.  besides, I’m here to write, not socialize–as if.

Last night, as I stared out my window and watched visitors play in the brightly lit pool, I wrote a scene set in a hospital.  This morning when I woke up, I opened the window curtains to the full and inviting sun and wrote about a woman sitting in a bleak, pitch black hospital room.

When my internet finally gave way to working (despite the cost of $9.95 a day for use), I caught up on some Facebook posts and looked up a song that has really set the pace for this current WIP. While watching this rather downtrodden and eye opening video, I again looked out my window.  Such an uplifting day.  It’s the kind of day that inspires me to think about getting life back in order.  The kind of day that makes you want to seize it! Ha ha! I can do this.  Heck, I want to run a marathon . . .

Okay, so you get it.  And yet, here I am, writing a dark indie novel about the ties that bind and sometime break us.  I’ve said before that I listen to music to create a mood, but it has occurred to me today that I don’t need that same setting to create ambiance in my book. I can just as easily write death and destruction from an awesome vantage point as well as I can write sunshine and rainbows from my dark closet.

Okay, here is the video I was speaking of.  Thompson Square “If I Didn’t Have You,” which pretty much sums up my book WIP. EXCEPT, this book isn’t about a romantic couple, it is about the struggle between a mother and son, with some Tania L Ramos twists and subjective fiction.

Tania L Ramos, Author With a Great View

Oh, look, there is the view from bed. Mmmmm, I love writing getaways!

hotel room

Shooting Myself in the Foot

The day has arrived, and short of making some people angry at my extended departure into the writer’s cave in a different state, I am ecstatic. Hold me back; my body is in California but my mind is about as deep into sitting in a quiet hotel room sucking down a Coconut lime smoothie from Margarittaville whilst writing my opus as it can get. I’m on fire … or am I?

Ever have the greatest intentions? That perfect itinerary? The To Do List that will absolutely get done come hell or high water? Is there an apocalypse on the horizon? I said hell or high water, but apocalypse can really slow things down. Yes, I am now suffering from shoot-myself-in-the-foot-itis, also known as biting off more than I can chew or setting the stakes too high. I’m sometimes notorious both. Okay, I have a problem and this is the first step to recovery.

My biggest worry: That i’ll sit in that quiet hotel room overlooking the Vegas strip, laptop open, cursor flashing–or is it mocking–with a blank petrified stare on my face, and it’s not from the coconut lime smoothie brain freeze I will likely suffer from at some point. It’s because I won’t have the words! Is there a cure for overachieving and failing miserably.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I set such high goals, such top shelf standards that I need a twenty-story fire engine story ladder to get to it? If I am the Rebellion, then the goal I have set is on the Death Star. Where else would it be? Okay, setting feet firmly in place and raising my fist to the sky, “So help me, I will never be hungry for a word in this novel again! There will be an end. There will be an end!”

*says a silent prayer* Please let this book end this weekend, and maybe keep the brain freeze to a minimum. And if possible, no migraines, bellyaches, sinus congestion, pancreatitis flare ups, diva tantrums, carpal swelling, eye blurring, or criminal investigations (don’t ask). Thank you. Amen.

Tania L Ramos, Author (And nurse who can treat her own wounds)

Meet you at the Las Vegas sign. 🙂

Review: Progeneter by Steve Bareham

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Book: Progeneter I: Immortality the Quest

Author: Steve Bareham

Review generated through WritingApocalypse.com.  We give honest reviews whether positive or negative.

progeneter

Gazing into the ruby, red, crystal eyes of an ancient crystal skull renders a man helpless to succumb to the powers of the entity.  There is a feeling of being lost in a haze, being lost in space, and being lost within one’s self.  The power is magnificent and can change a man just at the sight of it, but what else does it hold?

I followed the story of the Mayan Bacob priests across the span of centuries: first at the discovery of the crystal skull and only a small insight into the awesome powers it possessed.  Next, I trekked as a  Bacob prisoner to the Spaniard expedition of de Coronado into the depths of the greatness of the Grand Canyon.  It was there the intimidation and stealthy ways of the Bacob show me they were bred for survival.  I continue to follow as they discover a new wonderful magic of the crystal skull: the ability to slow the aging process.  But with that comes new problems, including the issue of population growth and a mutation in the gene pool.

Again, I follow the Bacob on a new quest to refill their population with a new gene pool.  It wasn’t their finer moment, but it was necessary to save a race.   Centuries later, a young Mavus u Ch’an changes the destiny of the Bacob forever as he enters western civilization.  Now a big company with a heartless CEO will go to any lengths to discover what the Mavus u Ch’an know.  It never occurred to me what having infinite life could mean for the human race, but the Bacob have spent centuries studying this and they must now embark on a new quest, one which will thrust them in the real world, and I fear they will falter out of their small colonial element.  And what of the safety of the crystal skull which they have hid all these centuries?

     Progeneter I is a well written book not only as fiction but as education into the quest for immortality.  Author, Steve Bareham  poses a real question relevant to this day and age as people are living longer.  What kind of impact will this have on our planet?  This book tells a great story of an even greater people and their struggle to keep this from happening.  Follow the beginning of the Bacob monks and how they have evolved over the centuries in this well written two part series.  The only thing that seems to take away is the great detail some scenes are written in, however if you love reading about all the nitty-gritty facts then you’ll enjoy this.  This book, an adventure spanning from Mayan Central America to present Western Civilization, is a perfect read for anyone interested in a little history, some conspiracy and a lot of adventure.

We are pleased to feature this quality book on WritingApocalypse.com

Available on Kindle: HERE

The Staff at Writing Apocalypse

*********************************************************************This was a paid review from the author. We not only write a review such as the one above, but we also write out a detailed content review given to the author listing any content/formatting errors and use a concise rubric to decide if a book is top quality and will make induction on the website. We have turned down books, just because it is a paid review does not guarantee a good review. For more information please visit us at WritingApocalypse.com

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