Tag Archives: books

What Are the Arts? A Hollywood Standard

After spending more than my self-allotted time on Facebook today, the running theme was the Meryl Streep speech. This blog is not a political debate and I will not go into politics. However, I will discuss “arts.” Ms. Streep made a rather bold comment that has sent MMA fighters globally into an uproar, whether her intention or not.

Per Ms. Streep, “So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

The question now begging to be answered is: What are the arts? Are the arts only limited to those on stage or in productions? Have we lost sight of what the arts are? Have the arts  evolved or devolved?

According to Oxford, art can be defined as 1) the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. 2) (the arts) the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance. 3) a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice.

I would consider definition #2 to include artists, writers, poets, sculptors, singers/song writers, and dancers. In there I would add acting as well, as this is a dominant basis to portray stories through creative activity. That would be my opinion. Using the given Oxford definition then, Mixed Martial Arts, football, even culinary chefs would fall into definition #3, as they have honed into a special skill acquired through practice. This can also absorb definition #2, as a writer works at his skill acquired through practice: the art of writing. Similarly,  the art of song writing, the art of basket weaving, the art of sculpting, the art of dance, the art of fighting, heck even the art of war.

So here is my kick: as definition #2 (the arts) can easily dip into definition #3 (acquired skill), can acquired skill also be considered the arts? The definitions are so broad. Have you ever watched Tai Chi? The slow and fluid motions are almost poetic in nature and mesmerizing to watch. Would Tai Chi not be a creative activity defined as the arts? Again, the definition is quite broad and could not encompass every example of the arts, but instead gave the more prominent ones.

Glass blowing: the arts or an acquired skill; the art of glass blowing? Tai Chi versus MMA; is there a difference?

Definitions give to evolution in an ever changing world, but are the definitions variant through the eyes of the beholder?  A husband and wife go to an art museum. The wife is in awe of the sculptures and paintings, to her that is art. They walk into the next museum, an air and space museum, and the husband sees the curves, the mass, the depth of an old WWII fighter plane and says that is true art. Which one is wrong? Are they both correct? Couldn’t building a plane be considered a creative art? I’m sure the Wright Brothers would love to hear that argument.

My blog today was not to bash or trash, and definitely not to make a political statement, but rather to entice people to open their minds as to what is art and what are the arts. Are only the beautiful aspects to be considered art such as Tai Chi versus MMA? Are some form of the arts higher up on the evolutionary art ladder than others: slam poetry versus Hollywood movies? Is it art to portray a fighter in a movie but not to be a fighter? Is it art to portray a fighter pilot in war but not to be a fighter pilot in war?

Have we evolved or devolved our definition of the arts over time? And if all of Hollywood disappeared today, would the arts disappear with it?

I would love to hear your “non-political” input on what you consider to be the arts, or on Ms. Streep’s thoughts that without Hollywood there would be nothing left but football and MMA. Maybe the world could read the book instead of watching the film adaptation, but I’m a writer; I can dream.

Tania L Ramos, RN BSN & Author of the arts

Follow me on FB, Twitter, or my personal website for listings of books

Is it Time to Walk Away From Advertising?

After the high of writing and completing a manuscript comes the tedious task of deciding how to publish. Once that task is complete, and if you went indie or small press, next comes the crucial stage of marketing and advertising. I think many indie’s hit this strong and with so much excitement, but most would agree that they are writers not marketers. Short of  having the money to dish out into marketing/advertisement many of us are left to figure it out on our own.

At what point does an author step back from the day consuming chore of marketing/advertising to become a writer again? And is there a point at which an author gets marketing fatigue and goes on marketing disability?

A book will not advertise its self. When I’m not actively marketing my book it is not actively selling. I’m not of a name yet where people search me out. After life got in the way I took a moment to go back and look at my royalties for one book. I sold three in the first two quarters of this year sans marketing. In two weeks I revamped my energy and went back on the social media road. In two weeks I sold more than I did in the first two quarters.

When is it time to walk away from advertising and marketing? When is it time to say you gave it your best and now its on to the next project? How much do you promote older books when you release a new book? The answer: You are always selling. Your new life title is Author and Director of Marketing & Sales. If you want to sell it, you need to promote it!

trinity-college-old-library

With over 3,000,000 books available online, you need to make sure people see your name and titles.

Tania L Ramos, RN & Author

Be Still on Amazon & BN

Teasing the Betas

Fun writer fact #1
Nothing is more satisfying than telling your beta reader not to get too cozy with their favorite character. Then walking away.
#IControlTheStory
a7Nani nani nani

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author in control
Follow me on FB
www.BeStillNovel.com

Visual Novels

I picked up my son from his friend’s house and he looked kind of morose. He turns to me and says, “I’m depressed.” This is my ninja assassin child. My child that thinks if you can’t fix it blow it up. He’s all balls to the walls; going down in a raging flame of glory; hell hath no fury like my son scorned. I love that kid, chip off the old block {tear}.

So why is this kid depressed? After all, he has two main reasons for going to his friend’s house: better internet connection for homework and video games. So I asked him what was wrong and he said a game he was playing had him up for fourteen hours straight. Not so unusual for this kid. Turns out it was a type of game I had never heard of called a visual novel.

visual novelWhat are visual novels? These are much like the old books often called “choose your adventure books,” where a reader would be given a choice of paths to take at the end of the chapters. Exact same concept here, except these games are visual, donning bright anime graphics and theatrical music throughout the story line. There are several styles ranging from adult (Eroge), science fiction, and emotional (Nakige), to horror. Each type is designed to instill a specific type of reaction within the game player.

Of course, I did my own homework to find many of these games are based on Japanese novels, or were so popular they were eventually turned into novels. I asked my son (19 years old) if he cried, as he said he was playing the emotional games (Nakige) games. He said he didn’t, but he did get choked up because the characters completely draw the player in.visual novel2

 

 

What I’ve learned:
The game is played in first person, a change from the typical choose your adventure novel. Because it is first person, the player is deeply embedded not only within the story but with all the emotion of the character. These characters have such in depth stories and intricate emotions that it is near impossible not to get caught up in the moment. The games are growing in popularity and generally take 10-16 hours to complete one story. They are playable on PC and some are occasionally ported to game consoles. Most recently they have been adopted to Android applications, although they aren’t as in depth due to memory limitations. Also, only one character story takes 10-16 hours, and there are several characters, plus you can replay the same character and choose different outcomes.

So what’s the big deal? As these games suggest, they are visual novels, which should be of interest to any author out there. The entire game is reading. READING! So I’m already excited at the prospect that this avenue has brought a new generation of non-readers to reading. Plus, these games take limitations off the story line. The bigger the book, the more it costs. As such, authors create trilogies or more. With Visual Novels, the book is only limited to memory space.

The catch: Before running off and using a free program to create your own Visual Novel you must know this: you will need graphics, typically anime with a range of emotion. And you will need an orchestra for the theatrical music aspect. Visual Novels are wonderful mixed-media avenues, so if you know an artist and an orchestra, this is a perfect opportunity to cross promote each other.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Looking for an Orchestra

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

*********************************************************************

Follow me at

https://www.facebook.com/tanialramosbooks

For more information on all my books: https://BeStillNovel.com

The Great Escape: Las Vegas, NV

It has occurred to me that I can not finish my next book while at home.  The endless noise, questions, stares, and distractions make this a near impossibility. But, Tania, you wrote 95% of the book at home, so what’s your problem, you ask?

Answer: Although the beginning and middle are all great, I think the end deserves a special kind of finesse and must be done with tact.  It is hard for me to wrap my head around this concept with so much going on around me all the time.  Did I mention before that my home was a hostile? Okay, not really. I love my family, but it’s time for the big escape to finish this book without any distractions.

lasvegas

My plan: The mission I have accepted is to spend four days in beautiful Las Vegas at a wonderful resort courtesy of my expiring timeshare. Each day I will wake-up and spend my time divulged into finish the book. I have 2 days to do this. TWO! The next two days will be spent on doing a quick go over, before submitting it for editing.

Agenda: Wake-up and do some social media for Be Still and Surviving the Writing Apocalypse (available in print soon). I am allowing only one to one and half hours to do this then …

9am: write

12 pm: snacks, smoothies, nurishment

1 pm: reading (for http://www.WritingApocalypse.com books for review)

2:30pm: more writing

5pm: dinner

6:30pm: poolside reading for reviews

7:30pm: more writing

9pm: frozen cucumber slices on my eyeballs because they are going to hurt

Goal: Finish writing and first round editing

Milestone: I’ll be ecstatic if I just finish the book!

If anyone is in the Las Vegas area and wold like to meet for coffee, tea, lunch, or dinner let me know. It would be nice to mingle with some authors during my tentative breaks. I’ll be there early April

Tania L Ramos, Author With a Plan

Facebook Fan Page

Twitter

By the way, The Writing Apocalypse website is accepting submissions for books for review to be accepted onto the website. The March cost is $25, and you get a full content review along with a basic review to be posted on Amazon and here. If your book is accepted we place it on the website with a link directly into Amazon and share you across all our social media sites. Plus you’ll be eligible for Book of the Month and Book of the Year. That’s a huge package for a small cost. (we only charge because it helps us keep the website up and one of our guys does this job full time) Click for info: SURVIVOR All reviews are honest! Just because you pay does not guarantee a good review or acceptance onto the website.

L.A. Festival of Books Booth 214

This is a quickie shameless plug, which I haven’t done in quite sometime, so here it goes:

Blackbird LSD (social media & publicity for indie authors) as well as myself have secured our booth at the L.A. Festival of books. We will be at booth 214. Please come visit us if you are in the area of the beautiful USC campus from April 20-21. They are also representing the lovely, Michelle Proulx and her book Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight Into It. It’s a scifi/YA book and one that kept me on edge with it’s fast paced action and adventure.

They will also display my books: Be Still and Surviving the Writing Apocalypse

What they will have:

  • Bookmarks
  • Buttons
  • Books
  • Magnets
  • Info on Blackbird LSD services
  • Whatever else they can get their hands on

We have high hopes that this event will bring all of us great exposure.  There is an expected attendance rate of over 200,000, and all of them are there for one reason: books!

Blackbird LSD is currently accepting two late admission authors (we had one unable to commit to the dates & awaiting confirmation of the others). You do not have to be there for them to represent you, however, they do need to read your book so time is of the essence.  You will need to provide your own promotional material (bookmarks, books, etc). If you can attend, even better!

Please visit BlackbirdLSD for more information or email info@blackbirdlsd.com for questions and prices.

Oh, and also see the latest updates at The Writing Apocalypse

Tania L Ramos, Author Attending LAFOB 2013

We will be at Booth 214

We will be at Booth 214