Joseph Clay – Author

Offical Blog

Archive for the category “General Post”

Want to be a Published Author! (WU #13-17)

Hello my faithful readers. Time for a weekly writing update and blog. A lot of you are wondering, and I don’t blame you, why I haven’t been posting weekly updates? The last post was on March, 31, 2017 over a month ago. I normally don’t tie my writing blog with my personal one but since I also vanished from social media all together I wrote a blog explaining me and S.A.D titled Has S.A.D. Driven Joe to the Fiery Pit?

Now on to the writing the updates. Even though I suffer from S.A.D. I do get a lot of writing done in the winter months as I don’t venture out unless absolutely necessary.

  • Witch’s Dilemma Video Trailer: I have no idea of the status of this project. It is on my list of things to find out by the next post.
  • Thunder Bear: As of the last post Thunder Bear was headed to the editors for a manuscript review. Well as of this writing the review has been completed and returned. Clare at Human Voices  and I are in discussion of that review ironing out the story.
  • The Tales of Joe: One new story in the writing stage. Revenge or Justice is a dark and twisted tale. Status not changed Stage 1. This book has been placed on hold.
  • The Erotic Tales of Joe: This is where most of the writing time has been spent. Across the Hall – One Door Down which was in stage 2 of 3 as of last post is completeOther short stories that have been completed since the last posting. Paula’s Second Chance, Professor Rothschild – Cougar 101, and What Damn Day is it Anyway. The next three tales of heated passion come from the manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment. (To read about that manuscript click here.) They include the following short stories.  Learning to Please – Christina’s Story is complete. Keeping the Unit Intact, I changed the name of this tale to I Love Them Both. The story has went from stage 1 to 2 and is near completion. Making a Last Ditch Effort is another tale that was written and completed since the last posting. The short story also comes from the manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment. That gives me a total of 7 stories out of the twenty I would like to have. That will put the word count between 150,000 and 200,000 words.
  • One Date and Done. This erotic tale is on hold and will be a Novella or a Novel.

 

WU _13-17

Why am I putting One Date and Done on hold along with other projects such as the rewrite of my first book Demons of the Jungle and the Tales of Joe. All this and more is explained in my personal blog Has S.A.D. Driven Joe to the Fiery Pit?

The short version, all this is being done for legal and tax reasons. I will be pulling Demons of the Jungle and Witch’s Dilemma from Joe’s Book Store, Amazon, and Nook in the near future. They will be republished under the publishing company that is in the process of being formed named ThunderHorse Publishing. All my adventures such as the bookstore and others will be owned by one company and that company will be the publishing company.

ThunderHorse Publishing will not only be publishing my books, but other independent authors as well. ThunderHorse Publishing will offer a full range of services that will include; Formatting, Cover Design, and Illustrations. The publishing company will also offer Manuscript Reviews, Editing and Proofreading along with assistance in Marketing your book over Social Media and other marketing advice. These services can be purchased individually or in packages. At ThunderHorse Publishing we will assign your book an Unique ISBN number from Bowker allowing your work to be recognized around the world, something that the free ISBN numbers don’t do, if you choose that package.

[Writers Note: Tackling the subject of ISBN Numbers will be the first blog written by ThunderHorse Publishing. ]

With all that said ThunderHorse Publishing will be looking for new independent writers in the near future. If you think writing is for you ThunderHorse Publishing could be your guide. I will post all the updates from the publishing company here until the website and blog or functional. All of the companines post will be on my Facebook Author Page and Twitter Feed. Pass this along with anyone that may want to fulfill their dream of becoming a published author.

Till next week,

-JC-

 

Advertisements

Is Knowing How to Spell and Type a Must (WWU #11-17)

Before we get into the blog part of this week’s update, let’s quickly cover what has been happening in Joe’s World of Writing.

  • In the coming weeks watch for the video book trailer in production for Witch’s Dilemma by Jayce Boynton owner of Capture Scratch Productions, LLC..
  • Voting on the book cover for Thunder Bear is still open. The polls will close Sunday March 26, 2017 at midnight. The winner will be announced in the weekly writing update posted in the week of 3-28/4-3, 2017. At this time TB-5 is in the lead by 6 votes. To see all the covers visit here.
  • Thunder Bear, the manuscript, is still on schedule to be completed and submitted to Clare at Human Voices for a manuscript review by the end of the month.
  • The other projects The Tales of Joe and The Erotic Tales of Joe, are still in the works with no new progress at this time.

Blog #11-17 Feature

Now on to the short blog feature.

“Do Not Let Your Weakness Define Who You Are And Stop You From Chasing Your Dream.” J.C.

At meet and greets, book signings and other events at least one person will make the following comment.

“Man I wish I had your vocabulary and could spell as well as you. So I could write books also. It would take me forever oh. I hunt and peck when I type.”

Well if any of you remember me from high school, college or in the work force y’all know I can’t type, my vocabulary is that of an eighth grader most of the time, and I can’t spell worth a damn. I was told more than once and by more than one teacher.

 “Joseph you need to buckle down in English, because punctuation, grammar, and spelling are important. Work on your spelling, its atrocious. Sound the word out syllable by syllable. You will need these skills to survive in the real world.”

Sounding out syllables is fine and dandy if you speak properly. I’m from the Deep South and spent some time in Texas and mix the two dilects and the drawl. So I don’t speak the English language the way it is meant to be spoken. Sounding out the words with me doesn’t work. If I spelled the way I speak “Dog” would be spelled “Dawg”, “Climb” would be spelled “Clim”, and “Atrocious” would be “Nutrocious”. Toss in the fact that any word that ends in “ing” I drop the “g”, example “running” would be spelled “runnin.”

Well to everyone’s surprise I graduated college and hit the work force. From day one there was always someone to check my work, mainly spelling and grammar. Sure it was shabby and I had to change a lot but my mechanical ability and math skills outweighed the bad English. After the first year or two I moved up, and from then on out had a secretary. When I left the engineering field in 2014 I had two patents under my belt, held the positions of Chef Engineer for a Fortune 500 company, Document Control Engineer for one of the biggest suppliers of car parts in the US and China and a Project Manager for the east coast for another company.

I know what you are thinking, how in the heck did he become a writer. Easy, that’s what I decided to do. I still type around twenty to thirty words a minute and over half are spelled wrong. But in today’s world we have spell check and auto correct. Be careful with those as auto correct will insert a word that is close to the spelling which may not be the word you wanted. See last week’s blog for an example. When I spell a word so badly that spell check or auto correct has no idea what the word is supposed to be I turn to my personal assistant, Siri. I also have a Dictionary on my desk and there is one built into word. For my extended vocabulary I use a Thesaurus, which is also on my desk and built into word. Most of the posts that appear on my author page are proofread before posting by the Queen herself, or shortly thereafter by the Tiffany whose company The Marketing Mill handles my marketing. 75% of all the blogs I write are edited and proofed, I manage to sneak a couple by  their watchful eyes. I have a professional editor/proofreader who handles all the published works.

You see writing a book is not about how well you know the English Language, spelling, a huge vocabulary, or knowing the rules of the language. Writing is a passion that comes from within. Something you feel you must do. Your reward is a simple one, you make peace with your soul. The icing on the cake is your writing allows those who read it to escape to another world and forget what ever troubles are weighing them down, or bringing them pleasure on a rainy day.

Till Next Time,

J.C.

A Glimpse into the Glamorous Life of an Independent Author – Weekly Writing Update #3-17

blog-lofe-of-autthor

Like last week, this week’s update is going to be a little different. I’m going to focus more on the life of an independent author than my writing updates.

(Don’t worry, I’m still going to update you on the writing, so let’s get that out of the way first. Writing and interview status is the same as last week: more words written but nothing complete, nothing at the editor’s, and no new projects started.)

Now, on to the subject of this blog: the life of an independent author. On average, an independent author makes less than $10,000 a year. For that ten thousand, we get rejected and reviewed, not like a normal job where reviews may be quarterly, twice a year or annually from one or two bosses, but by several different people daily, and it’s posted for every Tom, Dick, Jane, Sally, and Spot to see.

[Side note: Some of the reviews are harsh and come out of nowhere. It seems the computer generation of ‘I’m braver on the computer than to your face’ will use reviews to vent their frustrations and shortcomings. The sad part is that if you reply to them, they never return your reply and/or have their friends who haven’t read the book post negative comments, only proving my point that they don’t want to go toe to toe alone. Now don’t get me wrong, I love constructive criticism about my writing, character development, plot, and structure. Hell, I don’t even mind a one-star review that says, ‘Didn’t like the book’. Those aren’t the reviews I’m talking about. No, the reviews I mean use clichés (which, by the way, as an author you should avoid) like, ‘Was forced to read this garbage’, ‘My two year old can write better than this’, and ‘Who in the hell do you think you are? A writer?’ This alone is sad, as independent authors live and die by reviews. Many authors give their work away in hopes of reviews. For every ten books that reach the hands of readers for free, the author may get one reviewnow that’s showing real appreciation for something the reader asks for and receives for free, and for your hard work.]

Ok, back to the blog. For $10,000 or less a year, independent authors wear many hats:

  • Creative writer
  • Editor/proofreader
  • Cover art designer
  • Illustrator
  • Formatter (for ePub and traditional publishing)
  • Website designer
  • Marketing and promotions manager

(There’s more, but I’m trying to keep this blog short!)

Most independent authors, on top of doing all the above, work another job, as ten grand won’t put a lot of food on the table, or keep the lights on and the car insured (if you can even afford to have one). Which brings us to the hours worked. A dedicated writer will be up to write two hours earlier than they need to be, before their other job begins, or they might wait until they get home from their day job, help with the chores and spend some time with the family, before retiring to some dark corner to write for a couple of hours before bedtime. Then, just like shampoo, rinse and repeat, day after day.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I don’t have another job so writing is all I do, and I have a team around me that helps with some of the jobs listed above, so I do get to spend a lot of my time just writing. (Check out my team at Joseph’s All-Star Book Team.) But my hours are just as strange and long. I have an office in my home on the ground floor, by the back door, which means I have an open door policy: open the door to let the dogs out, open the door to let the dogs in, open the door to see who is knocking, open the door… well, you get the idea. My editor, Clare, owner of Human Voices Editorial Services, lives in Bristol, England, six hours ahead of me here in Nashville, so she starts work at 3am my time. I do get 6 hours of sleep, in two 3-hour shifts. Most of my writing is done after midnight. Discussions with Clare are between 3am and 6am. Then to bed by 7am, and up by 10am to handle whatever needs to be done, from personal chores to author business. Nap time is between 3pm and 7pm. That schedule varies depending on the drama that is going on around me. Now you know why, if you have ever talked to me, I have no idea what day of the week it is, or the date.

So you are probably asking yourself why independent authors continue writing if the pay is so bad, the hours are strange and long, and we don’t get a lot of recognition. That one is easy: we love what we do. If the truth be told, we write more for ourselves than we do for the reader. Don’t get me wrong, we like people to read and enjoy our tales. When we meet people at book signings and they purchase our works, we get ecstatic. Then we become honored when they like our Facebook pages. We are floored when we become friends with that reader on Facebook, and understand it’s a privilege to be accepted as a friend. That is a real fan, and most of all a real friend. We are thrilled when someone acknowledges our work with a rating and/or a review. A five-star rating to me means that the reader enjoyed it; one star means the reader appreciated the effort but just didn’t like the work. But it all boils down to this: we like living in our own little world that we have created, and we hope you enjoy visiting our world through the tales we write. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Till next week, keep reading.

Yours truly,

Joseph Clay

 

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices.

Numbers to Words: My Journey from Engineering to Writing

In Elmore Leonard’s book Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing one of the rules is, “Never open a book with weather”. Well, the weather plays an important role here, but this isn’t a book and I’ve already opened with Elmore’s rule about the weather so I’m covered. I will also try my best to break some more rules as we go along, such as the one about no backstory.

The summer of 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee was a hot one, with a stretch of 28 consecutive days – June 13 to July 10 – having warmer than average high temperatures. The day we all almost died was June 29, when the high temperature topped out at 107°F. (For reference, on that day the average high temperature is 88°F.) That type of heat, combined with a job as a Senior Service Tech for the steel industry, took its toll on this old man, who had always lived, worked and played hard, and whose body was showing the signs of his lifestyle.

Backstory: September 27, 1977. Location: Interstate 85 north bound, north of Newnan, south of Atlanta. Age: 17. Event: Honda 350 versus tractor trailer carrying a tanker full of peanut oil. Winner: tractor trailer. Injuries suffered in defeat: left leg suffered traumatic injury. The tibia and fibula suffered compound fractures. The tibia was ground down two to three inches by the asphalt as I skidded up the pavement. The fibula, when it snapped and shot through the skin, removed half of the left calf muscle. The left ankle was broken and crushed. The impact of the front bumper and fender of the tractor trailer severed the left leg four inches above the ankle. Three inches of skin was all that was holding the left foot to the leg.

I spent the next 8 months flat on my back in a hospital as they reattached the foot and let the wounds heal. Over the next several years I went through reconstructive surgeries that included bone grafts, rods and, later, a plate to hold everything together in my lower left leg. I had toes pinned and a wedge of bone removed from my left foot. Now I wear a size 11 right shoe and a size 9 left shoe – that foot never caught up with the right as I continued growing, but thank God I still have it. While I was being repaired I finished high school, went to tech school and college.

Back to the summer of 2012: I love the summer, the hotter the better. The heat doesn’t affect my joints like the cold does. I function better in the warm months than I do in the winter, point blank. That’s the reason I knew something was wrong; as hot as it was, I shouldn’t be limping around so badly, and my knees and ankle shouldn’t be giving me fits. The right knee, which had taken all the weight while the left leg was being reconstructed, had already been repaired once. I decided it was time to go see an orthopedic doctor. What I had suspected was true: the right knee had torn cartilage and tendons, the left knee needed to be replaced. Then I got the shock of my life. Before they did any type of surgery they wanted approval from a heart doctor, since I had a scar that ran down the middle of my chest from open-heart surgery.

Backstory II: Heart attack #1, 1993, aged 33. Heart attack #2, 2003, aged 43. Quadruple bypass. Heart attack #3, 2009, aged 49, Stent. That bring us up to date with what this blog covers, but wait, there is more. May 2014, cardiac cath, diagnosed with 37% left ventricular ejection fraction. Heart attack #4, 2015, aged 55. Removed clots and inserted stent.

With my heart history, the heart doctor decided that before he would give his approval he needed to do a stress test. Well, like all tests, I flunked it. He put me on some new medicine to try to fix the bigeminy and other issues that I was unaware I was having. The heart and orthopedic doctors consulted and came to the conclusion: no need to put new wheels on a car when the motor is going out. Their consensus: I needed to find and pursue something I was passionate about, within the next couple of years, to avoid any further damage to the leg. If the ankle fusion gave away then it could not be repaired and the foot would have to be amputated; this would also save wear-and-tear on the knees until they got the heart condition under control. The heart doctor interjected that, whatever I chose to do, I should stay away from stress. I had been juggling several projects for the previous 35 years. That and stress was all I knew.

I took my summer vacation to think about what the professionals had told me; I don’t always listen to doctors. Nina the Kat and I crunched some numbers, she concluded I could retire, I decided I had to find a way to beat this. I had to work as long as possible. So I sat down and decided to write a blog about the ordeal. I had started Am I The Only One Not Insane? Mind over Matter: My Mind is the Only One that Matters in 2009. When I pulled the blog in 2013 (at an editor’s suggestion: you don’t want your personal opinions offending someone who may buy a book), I had 3,000 plus followers. I wrote about controversial issues that included politics, sex and religion – you know, the three things you never discuss on a date – plus other topics. While I was writing the blog on my health I realized something: I loved to write, even though I couldn’t spell a lick. I thought what the heck and decided to write a novel.

I continued to work, as I needed to eat, and began my writing journey. I spent my vacations, holidays, weekends and other spare time I had in front of my computer screen, writing my masterpiece. To me the process was easy. The book went through many titles: A Bullet Mends a Broken Heart, Noon Judgement, West on the East. It wound up going to the editor’s under the title West on the East – Noon Judgement.

The basic plot follows the life of Levi West a young man who suffered sexual abuse as a preteen, along with his best friend Elena, at the hands of the ranch nurse Charlotte. Levi has lost all his family – mom, dad, grandma and grandad – to freak accidents that he is sure were in fact murder. To top all that off, he suffers panic attacks along with showing signs of mental disorders, paranoia and schizophrenia, all while dealing with paranormal activities at the ranch. Since Levi is a minor, Carven Smith, the cornerstone of the ranch and Levi’s confidant, asks the lawyer John Basham to allow him to be Levi’s legal guardian until he turns 18, at which point the trust, which Carven is also in charge of, will make Levi a billionaire. Levi’s job is to take over the ranch, but he bucks at the thought, wants no part of it and would rather be a cowpoke with a real job. That is when the story begins.

The book was packed full of characters, major and minor, protagonist and antagonist, and alongside the main plot I had written in several minor subplots. It was a complicated tale I had woven.

Once it was finished in late October of 2012, my search began for a publisher. I was visiting a good friend, John Cannon, a local artist here in East Nashville, when I noticed a bookstore in the Idea Hatchery complex into which John had moved. I walked down the way a piece and stopped in the shop called East Side Story, where I meet the owner, Chuck. He explained that his shop only sold books by independent authors that were located in the Nashville area. I explained to him what I needed and he pointed to a flyer that had pull-off tabs on the bottom of it. My excitement was growing; I had found a place to sell my book and someone to edit it. I had taken the bull by the horns and was well on my way to author status and living the good life. Back home I called the number on the tear off. A deal was struck: this company would do a manuscript review for 100 bucks. If they liked the book they would edit and publish it, taking a percentage of the sales until the publishing fee was paid. I sent the manuscript to them and waited. With the holidays over November and December, it took a while.

The first week in January 2013 I got the reply I was waiting on. I eagerly opened it. The email gave me some pointers that I needed to follow, which are listed below.

  • Most new authors don’t start by writing a novel that is over 100,000 words. Reasons are as listed: with that many words it’s hard for new authors to hold the reader’s attention, as they have not learned the art of showing instead of telling. Your plot, although strong, was overshadowed by some of the subplots, which were also strong, taking away from the main plot. This manuscript had too many subplots; it would have worked better with one main plot and two to three subplots – no more than that.
  • Your manuscript was written more like a screenplay than a book. Once again, we feel this comes from telling the story instead of allowing the reader to visualize and feel they are in the story by using the five senses. The below suggestion should help in this area.
  • Take a creative writing course to learn the basic principles of writing.
  • Like your plot and subplots, your characters are strong, but there are too many of them in this book.

“Mr. Clay we believe you have some of the traits that good authors have. This manuscript proves that. However, until you hone your skills we must reject your manuscript at this time due to the above, and due to the sexual content that borders on pornography. We have made suggestions throughout the manuscript, highlighting your strong points and weaknesses, along with suggestions. Please contact us if you have any questions on those mark-ups.

“We have an idea that you may want to consider. Since the characters are strong, we suggest you hang on to this manuscript, pull two of the characters out of it and write a short story around those two people. We would make it a standalone story, fewer than 50,000 words, that doesn’t have anything to do with this manuscript. Once you have penned that story, come back to this manuscript, pull two more characters from it and write another story with a word count no more than three times the first story, 150,000 words maximum. Once that is complete, once again return to this manuscript. Divide it up into two, three or maybe four books and make it a series.

“When doing this, keep in mind to use only one major plot and no more than three subplots. Sexual scenes are OK in a book, but they must be limited, not one after the other, or your book will get tagged as erotica, which will kick you out of the mainstream market. We suggest doing some research on the difference between erotica and pornographic material. If your book gets labeled ‘pornographic’ it can only be sold on certain internet venues and in print at adult book stores and truck stops. The reason we bring this up is that some of sexual scenes were written well, and with some modifying of slang words they could be used in a story that would pass in the mainstream marketplace. Also, one of the biggest selling genres on the internet is erotica. You could pull the sex scenes from this manuscript that are not used in the series of books or the two previous stories, and write in that genre. Once again, you would need to tweak the wording a little. We have pointed these areas out in the manuscript critique. Thank you for giving us a chance to review your work and good luck in your endeavors.”

I pondered their suggestions for several months, trying to decide whether this was really what I wanted to do. I still had my day job and I hadn’t planned on hanging it up till the end of 2015. I discussed it with Nina the Kat; we both asked ourselves, what could it hurt? I decided that I wouldn’t give up, but that I was not going to spend all my spare time writing or worrying about it. During my summer vacation that year, 2013, Nina the Kat had a brainstorm to get me on track; you can read about her writing exercise in the blog ‘Birth of the Demons’.

If you refer back to Backstory II, you’ll see that I wasn’t able to continue working to the end of 2015. In May 2014, the same month that my first e-book, Demons of the Jungle, was published, the heart doctor highly suggested that I change careers, as my line of work and environment were not doing my heart any favors. I continued till August of that year before hanging up my hard hat and pursuing writing full-time.

Below are some excerpts from the West on the East – Noon Judgment manuscript critique. They are funny now, but back then they pierced my heart like an arrow.

  • “Everything needs to be broken up into paragraphs and the dialogue needs to have quotes and attribution. ‘Blah blah,’ he said.”
  • “This could all be its own chapter and told from the point of view of Remington as a child.”
  • “This reads like erotica. That’s fine if that is your intention. You will have limited options for publishing if you keep this in, but there are online options for erotic literature.”
  • “You’ve switched to Bethany’s point of view, but the rest of the novel is from Remington’s point of view. Need to pick one and stick with it. Or each character can have a chapter.”
  • “If you want to refine this to publish as erotica, some of the slang would have to come out. Otherwise it’s really more just pornographic.”

As you can see from the above, there was really nowhere from me to go but up.

Thanks for stopping by, and never give up. I can attest that doing something you love really isn’t work.

 

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices.

Post Navigation

Joe - Coming Unglued

The life of a writer away from the keyboard

Southern Georgia Bunny

Adventures of an Southern Bunny everything from dating, sex, life and shake your head moments.

Human Voices | Clare Diston

clarehumanvoices@gmail.com

%d bloggers like this: