Joseph Clay – Author

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What Happened – Writing is the Easy Part – So I Thought (WU #14-17)

UnGlued

What’s up friends? I have a couple of reasons for asking. The first, I want to know and the second, I have no idea what is up with me. So I’m hoping someone knows what is going on. I feel like I’m running in a hundred different directions and not getting nothing done at all. Most of the time my writing keeps me half way sane, but lately it’s driving me crazy, as the characters are taking over and taunting me.

I’ll start with the writing updates. Below is the progress made since the last blog was posted on 5-4-2017 titled “Want to be a Published Author! (WU #13-17). Reading it may shed some light on the updates and blog below.

Working Projects

Witch’s Dilemma Video Trailer: At last post I had no idea the status of this project. I’m happy to report it has been completed with the exception of the credits at the end. The video is awesome, Jayce Boynton owner of Capture Scratch Productions, LLC., did an excellent job. Since the restructuring and forming of ThunderHorse Publishing, the logo for the company will need to be added to the credits also. The Logo should be completed within two weeks. However the video will be held from public view till Witch’s Dilemma has been pulled from the retail market and republished under ThunderHorse Publishing.

Writing Projects

[No book will be released until after the Publishing company is up and running. My goal is to have all the projects ready for publishing when that happens. I uses a 7 stage system in my writing process letting me know at what stage each writing project is at.  Her is the numbering system explanations; 1-Write * 2 – Manuscript Review * 3 – Rewrite * 4 – Edit * 5 – Proofread * 6 – Book Cover Art /Illustrations/Format/Book Trailer Video * 7 – Publish. I have listed the projects below in order of expected release.]

Thunder Bear: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/100%, 2/100%, 6/25%, Book Cover Art is complet.) Clare at Human Voices and I are wrapping up the discussions on the changes that need to be made to the manuscript, this includes story line adjustments and formatting.

The Bet: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/75%). This will be a love story with an erotic twist that came out of no where after arguing with my characters. I’ll explain how it fell into place in the blog below.

The Erotic Tales of Joe: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/25%). This book of erotic short stories has been through same changes since the last blog. The word count of 76,770 has declined to 64,023 and the total of stories went from 7 to 6 but two poems were added. The reason for this will be covered in the blog below also. At this time the book contains these completed tales and poems. “To a Princes” (Poem) * “Masterful Tongue” (Poem) * “Across the Hall – One Door Down” * “Paula’s Second Chance” * “Professor Rothschild – Cougar 101” * “What Damn Day is it Anyway” * “I Love Them Both” * “Making a Last Ditch Effort”. I would like to have twenty stories in this book putting the word count somewhere around 150,000 and 200,000 words. I have seven more stories outlined, so will need to come up with another five or six tales and/or poems.

The Tales of Joe: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/20%). This book hasn’t got much attention. At this time the book contains six stories which are titled. “Bloody Waters of Wahoo Creek” * “Death of a Soul – Birth of a Killer” * “To Die in Peace is to Rest in Peace” * “Night of Dreams” * “The Birds of Peace” * “Cursed; To Be or Not to Be”. Like above I would like to have twenty stories in this book putting the word count somewhere around 150,000 and 200,000 words. I have two outlined, which means I need around twelve more.

Demons of the Jungle: (Stages/Completion Percentage – 1/100%, 2/100%). If that title looks familiar it should, it’s my first published novel. Demons of the Jungle will lead us straight into the blog.

Blog #14-17 Pic1

Writing is not easy, buy a long shot. But I feel compared to all the other hats an independent author wears it is the easiest part. But sometimes due to the authors ego and stubbornness it becomes difficult which leads to everything getting crazy.

[For more on what an independent author does read my post “A Glimpse into the Glamorous Life of an Independent Author”.]

Demons of the Jungle is my baby, as it’s my first published worked and is in eBook and Paperback format. There has already been one major revision to the book as I felt it was not my best work. Read “When is a second edition needed?” That blog will explain my line of thinking on that re-write. The second edition was an improvement over the first from book cover art to story. However people either like it or hate it, and the written reviews are harsh to say the least. The first and second editions were done by different editors. The editor I use now, Clare at Human Voices, who is not one of the two mentioned above, is top notch and the best in the business. As I have said a thousand times I trust her completely with my writing career. I had her do a manuscript review on the second edition. We will get into what she found in the next blog as we cover the rewrite in depth. Maybe the old saying, the third time is a charm will hold true here.

How The Bet came to life. I love Edgar Allan Poe and remember in his The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, the tale titled “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, had a sequel to it titled “The Mystery of Marie Roget.” From the manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment I had to cut a whole chapter due to content and I needed to also get rid of some characters. That chapter dealt with two lead female characters that played off each other and intertwined through the chapter. The chapter was too long to be a short story. Then my brain kicked in and I snapped my fingers as I thought, That’s it, I’ll break it up into two different stories, similar to what Poe did. As I was celebrating my genius of an idea, my gut was telling me, nope that will never work. “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story”, would be the first story with “The Secrets of Delilah” being the sequel. I finished “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” and placed it into The Erotic Tales of Joe short story collection and began working on “The Secrets of Delilah”. The stories were tying in great and I was laughing at my characters as they were telling me I was no Poe and what I was doing wasn’t going to work as they needed to stay together. Laughing at them was a mistake. Once I got to the end of “The Secrets of Delilah” the struggle became real. Although the stories had meshed and “The Secrets of Delilah” was a sequel of “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” the ending didn’t feel right or end the way I wanted it to. The characters started taunting me each day, to put it all back together and make it a novel. This battle went on for weeks until I gave in and reevaluated the situation as I realized they were right and one of the story’s endings had to change to make it work. I walked away leaving it to simmer for a couple of more days before returning to it. The characters had calmed down by then, but were ready to do battle again if I didn’t see the light. I was shaking my head in less than a minute. There, right in front of me, was a chapter that had all the components of a great erotic love story. All it needed was a few tweaks and the word count would come out around 75,000 words with the ending the way I wanted. “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” was removed from The Erotic Tales of Joe leaving the book short a story and about 12,000 words. The writing process started over with the chapter intact bringing to life the love story titled The Bet.

[Note: To find out what happened with my first ever manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment; read my blogged titled “Numbers to Words: My Journey from Engineering to Writing.]

Till next week,

-JC-

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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-

 

Nope that’s not Flash Fiction! (WWU #12-17)

I got up this morning and “BOOM” it was Friday. Then it hit me like a sledge-hammer, Joe you going to post a blog this week?  That sledge-hammer has a name, Tiffany Miller, who owns The Marketing Mill and handles my marketing, and trust me I ain’t easy to market. Any who it was her text message that brought the hammer down. So before I get another knot on my head I present to you for your reading pleasure Joes Weekly Writing Update along with some writing tips that answer questions like how many words are in a novel, flash fiction or a short story. Maybe you have a desire to write a novella or maybe a novelette. I have included all the word counts and a brief description of each in this weeks blog.

Weekly Writing Update

  • Thunder Bear Cover Voting: Voting concluded March 26, 2017 and the votes have been counted. The winner is TB-5 with 94 votes, taking Silver was TB-3 with 89 votes and taking Bronze TB-1 with 77 votes. To see all the covers click  here.
tb-5

Copyright ©2017 Rick Chappell ©2017 Joseph Clay

  • Witch’s Dilemma Video Trailer: Due to no fault of Jayce Boynton owner of Capture Scratch Productions, LLC.. the video has ben pushed back at least a couple of weeks. Yep I know you are putting the puzzle together and thinking. If  it ain’t Jayce’s fault it must be Joes. Correct you are my friend and you have earned the title of Watson!
  • Thunder Bear the Novel: The manuscript has been completed. Total word count 91,109. Thunder Bear has a scheduled appointment with Clare at Human Voices  on Monday April the third and will arrive on time.
  • The Tales of Joe: One new story in the writing stage. Revenge or Justice is a dark and twisted tale.
  • The Erotic Tales of Joe: 4 – 1 = 3 are in the writing stages. Across the Hall – One Door Down is near completion, stage 2 of 3 and is a new story. 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, Keeping the Unit Intact, and One Date and Done. All the stories that were pulled from West on the East – Noon Judgment are in Stage 1 of 3 of the writing progress with the exception of One Date and Done, which is in stage two.
  • New Project – One Date and Done. This erotic tale is the minus one from above. I was going to included it in The Erotic Tales of Joe. However when it got into stage two of the rewrite the word count quickly escalated. I was well above the short story word count and was pushing the word count for a Novella. After reviewing  it I decided to pull it from the short story collection and make it a single book.  For more on word count and book categories read the blog below.

WWU _18

As you write you shouldn’t worry about word count. However once the manuscript is complete you need to know what type of book you have written. The type of book will  play into your marketing strategy, how you price it, and who to market it to. For example, The Erotic Tales of Joe is a short story compilation. According to definition a short story has a word count  between 3,500 and 7,500 words.  One Date and Done is pushing 30,000 words, which is a novella and to long for a short story. Why does that matter. The reader is expecting something they can read in one sitting, only a few characters, and one single episode. Below you will find a general break down of word count and a definition of each type of book or tale. Now these numbers are not in stone and each genre within each category has its on rules.

  • Flash Fiction (53 – 1,000 Words). Flash fiction also known as short, short stories, micro fiction or postcard fiction. These stories are extremely short and normally deal with a single event.
  • Short Story (3,500 – 7,500 Words). A short story is basically fictional prose, written in a narrative style. However, the narrative style may either be first person or third, or whichever the author chooses. The short story is one of the most common forms of writing and does not usually involve major twists and conflicts, and involvement of various sub-plots and multiple characters is not common. Traditionally, short stories were meant to be read in a single sitting. They are usually published individually in magazines and then collected and published in a collection.

The words “novel,” “novelette,” and “novella” come from the Italian word “novella,” feminine of “novello,” which means “new.”

  • Novelette (7,500 – 17,000 Words). A novelette is also a narrative fictional prose. Back in the day, the term “novelette” referred to a story that was romantic or sentimental in character.

[Writers note: Novelette’s are a thing of the past and the term is hardly used. This is where you can fudge on your numbers and expand the Short Story and Novella count.  The Novelette word count consist of 9,500 words. (17,000 – 7,500). If we divide 9,500 by two we get 4,750. We add 4,750 to the end count of our Short Story which was 7,500 and we come up with a new ending total of 12,250. As you will see the beginning count for a Novella is 17,000. From that we subtract the 4,750 and we get, 12,500.]

  • Novella (17,000 – 40,000 Words). Novellas have been called a long short story or a short novel. It can involve multiple sub-plots, twists, and characters. Its length constraints mean you’ll find fewer conflicts in a novella than you will in a novel, but there will also be more nuance and complication not found in a short story. Novellas are more often focused on one character’s personal and emotional development rather than with large-scale issues. Unlike novels, novellas are usually not divided into chapters, and like short stories, they are often meant to be read in one sitting. They are considered to be an awkward length and it may be more difficult to get a novella published. The internet is turning that around as an eBook really doesn’t take length in to consideration where traditional publishing (paper and hardback) do and use length to determine if it is feasible (price wise) to print. Most erotic tales are nothing more than Novellas.
  • Novel (40,000 – Plus Words). The novel is one of the more common works of fiction. A novel often involves multiple major characters, sub-plots, conflicts, points of view, and twists. Due to its considerable length, a novel is meant to be read over a period of days.

[Writers note: Here is where things get messy. The word count of a novel is really questionable. The only main rule that seems to be firm is the minimum word count needs to be greater than 40,000 words. This is also where the different genres came in to play. Some editors often consider a novel has a word count between 80,000 – 120,000. Romance novels, however, can be shorter than that and fantasy, horror, and science fiction usually see works of greater lengths.]

Remember there is a story in everyone’s soul begging to came out. What is your story and who better to tell it than you.

Till next week keep reading, writing and smiling,

J.C.

 

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.

Writing Update WWU #10-17 and Writing Tips

WWU 10-17

Oh yeah, welcome to Friday my friends, I can smell the weekend, what about you? I can also see the spring on the horizon and summertime is not for away. We know what that means, time to get that swimsuit body into shape!

I got a lot to cover so let’s get straight to the updates.

  • Thunder Bear Book Cover: The polls are still open so there is time to cast your vote for the book. Not sure what I’m talking about read ‘Help Me Choose a Book Cover’. The tally is as follows. TB-1 (20) votes, TB-3 (30) votes, TB-4 (10) Votes, and TB-5 (30) votes
  • Thunder Bear: down to the last two or three chapters, I have it scheduled for completion for the last of the month.
  • Tales of Joe: This is the short story collection. I finished a re-write of a story I originally penned back in 1978 titled The Bloody Waters of Wahoo Creek. For my friends who live or have lived in and around Sargent Georgia, this tale comes from the folk-lore of the headless woman in search of her husband. That makes a total of five stories so far. The book also includes the following tales. Cursed; To Be or Not To Be, Death of a SoulBirth of a Killer, Night of Dreams and The Birds of Peace.
  • The Erotic Tales of Joe: At this time this book still has only one tale, a poem titled To a Princess. The good news is there are two stories out lined. The exciting news, I have solicited the help of two excellent erotic writers to write the female point of view in these tales. The first titled Getting My Mojo Back will feature Ava Bell as a female co-lead and G. Michelle as the other female co-lead. Me of course, I’m the male lead. Yeah I’m a lucky guy. The second title Lust Verses Commitment will be feature G. Michelle as the female lead.

That covers the updates.

I have read a couple of books from independent authors over the last week who didn’t have their work edited by a professional editor/proofreader. They made several  common new author mistakes. So this week I wanted to share a couple of writing tips. The excerpts that I will use as examples are from my manuscript Witch’s Dilemma.

Line Break

The line break is used for:

  • To change Point of View (POV)
  • To show an amount of time has elapsed since the last sentence read.

There is no right way or wrong way to insert a line break. However to help your reader follow the story it is essential that one is used. I use a space, *** centered, followed by another space, and no indention for the  paragraph following the ***. Like you do at the beginning of a new chapter.

Example:

 “I agree. I’ll be in around two to go over your discussion material for the conference, that give you time to get a shower and regroup?”
Megan nodded as she picked up her bag, along with the pink pieces of paper that had her messages on them.
Sandra knocked on the door before she stepped in. Megan was leaned back in her chair, eyes opened, with her ear buds in place. “Meg, you ready to get started?” Sandra inquired as she walked closer.

Now if you read the whole chapter you will see that this conversation wrapped up around one o’clock and Sandra is going to come see Megan at two. Without the line break it appears that Megan followed her to her office, but yet that was left out of the story.

Now read it with the line break inserted. 

  “I agree. I’ll be in around two to go over your discussion material for the conference, that give you time to get a shower and regroup?”
  Megan nodded as she picked up her bag, along with the pink pieces of paper that had her messages on them.

***

Sandra knocked on the door before she stepped in. Megan was leaned back in her chair, eyes opened, with her ear buds in place. “Meg, you ready to get started?” Sandra inquired as she walked closer.

Next the reader doesn’t need to know every move the characters make, or do they want to know. If the characters actions are not moving the story forward, well to put it in the words of Elmore Leonard, its Hoopte Doodle and needs to go.

Never Trust Auto Correct or Spell Check

When writing a scene in a book the writer tends to be focused on what is in their head and not on what they are putting on the screen which will transfer to paper later. If you depend on auto correct and spell check too much it’s going to bite you sooner or later.

Example:

   Levi was removing the ear buds from his ears as he spoke. “With all due respect, detective, this is a free country, once they walk out of here they have the right to go where they wish and will (excursion) that right, please don’t tell me your department has a problem with that.” Levi stated as he took a step toward the detective.

The word (excursion) is spelled correctly but is not the word that was meant to be used, (exercise) is the proper word. When typing ‘exercise’ it was misspelled and auto correct changed it to ‘excursion’.

Text and Background

I write an article for Live, Laugh, Love Nashville who has a blog and Facebook page. These articles are for a feature called Music Mondays. It is an informative article on the local talent here in Nashville. When you write an article on someone whether it be an individual or group three reputations are at stake. They are listed below in order of importance.

  1. The person or group the article is about
  2. The person who writes the article
  3. The person or group who posts the article.

The rules to follow are simple and will give you a professional looking piece. For starters, the person or group is the main focus of the article, not the writer or the organization posting the article. Do not misquote them, if you don’t understand an answer, ask, and if you don’t get a reply leave it out. The lead in to the story, if not about the person or group, should be no more than two lines, one preferably, as they are the feature of the article. Nothing is to draw attention away from the article and the stars of that article. This includes but not limited to, a flashy back ground that covers text or headers, some text centered, while other text is left or right justified, using a dark background and when text is cut and pasted, it has a white background. With all that said here are some basic tips to follow.

  • Use a white or light-colored back ground for your text, which should be black. Makes sure your blog background doesn’t interfere with the text by distracting from it.
  • If you are cutting and pasting a piece written for you, make sure you keep the paragraph structure correct.
  • If you are writing the article, have it edited and proofed, and if at all possible let the client read it before posting.
  • Use pictures sparingly one or two at the beginning of the text with one or two at the end. It’s recommended not to break the text up.
  • Make all text the same, left, right, or center justified, do not mix.

Besides this blog I have an obscure one that holds all my book reviews, interviews and the articles I have written for Live, Laugh, Love Nashville. I use it to lay the articles out to visualize what I think they should look like. None have been published but I decided to publish my book review with Nashville Author G. Michelle as an example of a journalistic piece. You will notice the clean white back ground with black text. No it doesn’t have a lot of color or bells and whistles in the blog background, but that allows the person or group and the article to be the center of attention.

Book review: Promise Me Always by G. Michelle

Till next week keep reading, writing and dreaming,

J.C.

 

 

 

 

 

Witch’s Dilemma: eBook Release WWU # 9-17

After five months of brisk sales of Witch’s Dilemma in Paperback, the time has come to release the eBook version. The eBook format will go on sale Friday March, 17 2017. You can preorder your copy now on Amazon to get a step ahead of the game. Price $5.99.

WD Book Poster WS

©2017 Joseph Clay

Book Cover Design by: Rick Chappell ©2017 Rick Chappell

“The devils you know are angels of mercy compared to the hell you are about to encounter.”

World-renowned paranormal psychiatrist and practicing witch Doctor Valerie Bell and her husband, computer genius and strip club-owner Adam Bell, have an unusual marriage, but when Adam goes missing and a mutilated body is found in his car, Valerie begins to fear for her safety. At first she uses her powers of witchcraft and her position as a profiler for the Fort Worth Police Department to help with the investigation, but when she receives a threatening ransom note from a madman she turns to a private investigator for help.

Levi West, mysterious, sharp-witted and sexy, has come to Texas to help two women, Debra and Patricia, who are in the care of the non-profit organization Basham House. The women have endured a terrible supernatural ordeal in the Congolese jungle, and Levi takes them to Valerie for psychiatric therapy. During their first appointment Valerie tells them about her husband’s disappearance and begs Levi for help. But with so many skeletons hiding in Valerie’s closet, how can he be sure that he can trust her?

With the clock ticking, Valerie faces a dangerous dilemma: come up with the ransom money or execute a risky plan to save her career and her reputation. Whatever she chooses, she must act quickly. Although she keeps the details of her past firmly locked away, unfolding events threaten to drop the key right into the hands of the wrong people, and Valerie only has one week in which to assemble an unstoppable team before somebody unlocks the door. Can she convince Levi to help her in time, or will her sordid past end up splashed across the six o’clock news?

As the investigation continues, connections are made between Adam’s disappearance and a series of brutal killings, the Salem Stake murders, which took place six years previously. The killer was never found, and the bodies of the thirteen victims were all discovered alone, in rooms locked from the inside. So when a message from the returned Salem Stake is found in Adam’s car, alongside the unidentifiable body, the police begin to wonder how he could be connected to the unsolved crimes.

Witch’s Dilemma is a novel filled with twists, turns and plenty of questions to keep you guessing. Will the mystery of Adam’s disappearance ever be solved? Who is behind the Salem Stake murders and is it too late to bring them to justice? And is there more to the police investigation than meets the eye? As loyalties change and sexual attractions burn sudden and fierce, every character learns the price that must be paid when confronting a life-changing dilemma.

Dive into Witch’s Dilemma for an explosive adventure packed with witchcraft, sex, betrayal and bloodthirsty vengeance.

The other blogs in the Witch’s Dilemma series: Texas Witching HourValerie and Associates Fort Worth Government LACN Investigations Rounding out the CastThe Bell Witch Haunting Some Things Can’t be Explained.

 

Book blurb written by Clare Diston @ Human Voices.

Witch’s Dilemma and blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices.

Help Me Choose a Book Cover – WWU #8-17

Welcome to Friday everyone the weekend is only hours away depending on what time line you standing in, but like the song say’s, it’s five o’clock somewhere.

This week I am asking for help from all of you. The next book I’m releasing is titled Thunder Bear which is book one in The New Era Series. I’m close to wrapping it up and getting it over the great pond for a manuscript review by my editor Clare owner of Human Voices Editorial Services. When I get to this stage of the process I start planning the art work. The rough draft will go to John Cannon so he can start the illustrations, and Rick Chappell and I have already discussed the visions for the cover. These talented people or part of my All-Star Book Team, and make my life so much easier.

Well as it turns out Rick came up with 5 different designs, and I can’t decide which one I like the best, so I decided to let y’all pick. The process has no forms to fill out, you want be added to a mailing list, or be hounded by phone calls. All you got to do is make a comment on this post or my Facebook page with the number of the cover you prefer. With out further ado I present to you the choices for Cover Design of Thunder Bear.

© 2017 Rick Chappell

All art work is protected under the copyright laws and may not be downloaded or used with out written permission by the owner Rick Chappell .

tb-1

TB-1

 

tb-2

TB-2

 

tb-3

TB-3

 

tb-4

TB-4

 

tb-5

TB-5

There you go, cast your votes I will update the results in my weekly blog letting everyone know which cover is winning.

Till next week everyone have a great weekend and be safe.

 

J.C.

From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author Weekly Writing Update #5-17

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Hello again. This week I’m going to focus on the manuscript that should be heading across the big pond to the editor by the end of February or early March. I figure it’s about time Clare―my editor/proofreader and the owner of Human Voices Editorial Services―gets it back, since I had the first review from her in August of last year. I’ll start from the beginning.

The characters in Demons of the Jungle and Witch’s Dilemma came from the first manuscript I wrote, West on the East – Noon Judgement. I won’t spend a lot of time telling you about how that book or the manuscript review went. To read all about that, visit ‘Numbers to Words: My Journey from Engineering to Writing’.

Last year, while Witch’s Dilemma was going through editing, proofreading, formatting and all that goes into the final stages of getting a book published, I went back and dug out West on the East – Noon Judgement from the file cabinet. The process of dividing it up into several shorter stories began. From there, I placed the stories into two different series, with the first series called ‘The New Era’, and the first book in that series titled Rise from the Ruins.

[Note #1 to new authors, a rule to remember: never list in the back matter of your book the title of your next release, unless it is already written, edited and waiting to be published. Keep reading and you will find out why.]

Rise from the Ruins, just shy of 143,000 words, was completed and sent to Clare for a manuscript review on August 8, 2016. I figured since I had already written two books, I had this down pat, and I could possibly release Rise from the Ruins in mid-December in time for Christmas.

While the manuscript was being reviewed, I was writing the blogs and preparing the book release/signing party, with the help of The Marketing Mill, for Witch’s Dilemma, never giving Rise from the Ruins a second thought. Like I said, I’ve written two books, what could go wrong?

Later in August, the 23rd to be exact, Clare sent the manuscript review back (yes, she is fast and thorough). I opened the email thinking I would make the changes needed by the middle of September and get it back to her for editing and proofreading, and then to the publisher by November 1 for the December release.

This is the first paragraph from that manuscript review:

“I really enjoyed Rise from the Ruins. There’s a good mix of the supernatural and the real (eg: mental health issues, a very human story about a man trying to fill the shoes of the people who came before him). I also thought there were lots of humorous moments and witty dialogue, which balanced nicely with the darker material.

“Here are my suggestions.”

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, that’s about all the good there was in the four-page review. As a writer you know you are in trouble when there’s a Plot Graph Triangle on the first page, attached below.

 plot-graph

(During the edit of this blog, Clare informed me where the above chart came from. I ventured on over and read the post in its entirety. The blog is titled, ‘To plot, or not to plot – that is the question …’, written by Kate Forsyth.)

[Note #2 to new authors, a rule to remember: remember this graph; it comes in handy when writing and checking your plot structure. Plus, take a few minutes and go read Kate Forsyth’s post, after you finish reading this blog, of course.]

With Clare being the professional she is, in each section (Plot, Writing Style, Characters, Settings) she always started off with the good, and then proceeded to the bad and ugly. Below is another excerpt from her manuscript review that sums it all up.

“So, you are missing a Midpoint Reversal and satisfying Climax. Essentially you need a moment when all the mounting danger becomes inescapably real, and everything Levi holds dear (ie: the ranch and its people) are unquestionably in danger, when Levi could be about to lose everything. Then there needs to be a climactic scene in which Levi defeats the enemies who are pursuing him (ie: the people who are after Betsy’s will), or at least one of these enemies, who can then set him up to continue the hunt in the next book. I don’t know if you play video games, but it’s like defeating increasingly difficult ‘baddies’ on the way to the big boss – in a series, you need to defeat a baddie in each book to give the reader that all-important feeling of victory that keeps them hooked.

“I have some plot suggestions that could give you these important moments. Of course, these are only ideas and it is your book so you should tell the story you want to tell, but it might help you to see what I mean by showing you in the context of your story.”

There were more issues than the plot, so my first thought was to shred the whole project and begin writing something else altogether. Since I had less than two months before the release of Witch’s Dilemma, I still had blogs to write and post, a party to plan and a manuscript to get to the publishers for printing. I decided that I could shred Rise from the Ruins later and filed the review with the manuscript.

Well, Witch’s Dilemma was released late October, and then before I knew it the holiday season was upon us and a new year had been rung in.

Three days into the new year, I began planning out my year. I had a lot of short story ideas and a lot already penned, so I decided to put those into a book titled The Tales of Joe. Then there were the tales that dealt with the erotic genre. These scenes were in my head or had been pulled from manuscripts. I would build short stories around them, and that collection would be called The Erotic Tales of Joe. Then I pulled out the manuscript review of Rise from the Ruins, and it once again crossed my mind to rip it into shreds, toss it into the bottom of the file cabinet and swear rats chewed it up. However, I trust Clare with my literary life, so I focused on the good and not the bad and decided it could be fixed, with a lot of work. Via email, Clare and I began discussing the changes; most of her suggestions I agreed with, but there were a couple I didn’t.

[Note #3 to new authors, a rule to remember: it is ok to disagree with your editor/proofreader as long as it is done in a professional manner and with respect. Trust me, they have forgotten more than you will ever know. Have a good reason why you don’t want to do it their way―you may want to make sure your idea is better than the one they are suggesting, so think about it first before putting your foot down.]

I thought we needed to add time to the front of the story; Clare didn’t like that idea as the beginning was in good shape and set the story up the way it should be. She suggested that a prologue may be the answer. I didn’t want to use a prologue as that breaks rule number #2 in Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, plus my timeline was laid out so one was not needed, I thought.

I continued to write on the other two projects while I pondered a way to fix this mess called Rise from the Ruins. One day, during a break from the other two projects, I pulled down the two-inch red binder that is full of the notes, bios and history of the non-existent ranch in that story, and the family tree and the timeline through which this land came to belong to the family. Along with those notes I once again removed the bled-all-over West on the East – Noon Judgement manuscript and began reacquainting myself with the complete saga. Remember, I pulled this from the beginning of a huge manuscript written well over four years ago.

[Note #4 to new authors, a rule to remember: keep all your notes on your work and keep them organized. This holds true for any story idea you have, but especially for a series. An outline that you thought you wouldn’t need may be what you need now.]

Once that was done I thought back to any issues I had when writing Rise from the Ruins. One immediately jumped out at me: I had a hard time figuring out what scene should be used to end the first book. Choosing a wrong ending will make the middle and the beginning wrong also, or (as we see from the review excerpts from Clare) cause your editor to show you a plot graph. With all the research complete I saw the problems, and by the middle of January I had it figured out:

  • I had chosen the wrong ending point.
  • A main character had been left out of Rise from the Ruins; he is essential to the story as he is the lynchpin that gets everything going and sets the tone for the New Era series.
  • I was pulling from a manuscript, West on the East – Noon Judgement, that had started off wrong. I found in my notes that, for some reason, I had jumped in my timeline to the opening scene of Rise from the Ruins, not the true starting point of West on the East – Noon Judgement.
  • This meant I was essentially telling two stories in one book. One was boring as it was missing the element of urgency and suspense, and one wasn’t.

The fix: Clare was right. The beginning of Rise from the Ruins doesn’t need to be changed, but it’s not for this book. I was right in that I didn’t need a prologue, I needed a first book―which was already outlined in my notes but overlooked―that led up to the beginning of Rise from the Ruins, and that book needed to revolve around the main character that got all this started. The new title of the first book: Thunder Bear. The title for the second book, I think, will be… let’s just say I don’t have a clue and leave it at that.

[Note #5 to new authors, a rule to remember: learn from your mistakes, as a mistake repeated more than once is a choice and could become a habit. Yes, I have a title in mind, but the story is nowhere close to being ready to be published.]

I really don’t know if I’ll ever use Rise from the Ruins as a title, as the way it’s laid out now it doesn’t seem to fit anymore. [Note #6 to new authors: refer to Note #1.]

Till next week,

J.C.

 

Blog edited by Clare Diston @ Human Voices Editorial Services.

 

From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author. Weekly Writing Update #4-17

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I hope everyone is having a good week and has recovered for Super Bowl Sunday. Why they don’t make the Monday following the big game a holiday is beyond me. No matter if your team won or lost I think we all can agree it was one of the best Super Bowl games in recent years.

Before we get into the writing updates, there is a few things about the websites I need to let everyone know about. If you will remember in From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author. Weekly Writing Update #2-17,  I changed the name of my official website to Joe’s Bookstore and More, making it a store and my official page. Well that didn’t go over well at all, so I had to drop some cash, to solve the problem. Oh yeah the problem, it appears people who want to shop, that’s all they want to do, they don’t want to know about the author, how to order books for their store or schedule a book signing; this also worked in reverse. I began the task of separating the two.

I can’t tell you how many times over the weekend I heard, “Steffon, it’s your Franklin, and I charge by the hour, you coming to bed?”

“Not now, Guinevere, got to get these websites separated and operational.”

“I’m going to start with out you.”

“Go ahead Guinevere, what I’m doing is a little more important.”

Once the weekend was done so were the websites and Guinevere. The websites or etched in stone now and are as follows.

Now on to the writing updates:

  • Upcoming Book Review: The G. Michelle book review of Promise Me Always: Gabe & Evie (Bayou Romance Book 1). Has been written and will be sent to the editors over the next week. I have it scheduled to post on Friday February 24, but I’ll try to get it sooner.
  • Upcoming Interview G. Michelle: The questions are still with the G. Michelle. I talked to her yesterday and she apologized, but had good reasons why she wasn’t finished with them yet.
  • Upcoming Interview Tiffany Miller: I have begun working on Tiffany’s twenty questions about marketing and the services she provides. Tiffany is a go getter so, getting her to sit still long enough may be an issue.

Joes WIP:

Tales of Joe – A compilation of short stories that have been written over the years, some dating back to 1977. At the present time the manuscript has five stories in it, with a total word count of a little over 30,000. Once I hit between 50,000 and 75,000 words Volume One will be complete. The titles so far:

  • Memories
  • Night of Dreams
  • Death of a Soul – Birth of a Killer (This tale is one of the darkest I have every written, and I can get pretty dark. It was so dark and twisted I let a few people read it including my editor. People either hate it, or they love it. I got the go ahead, with a few modifications to leave it in the book.)
  • The Birds of Peace.
  • Cursed; To Be or Not To Be. (This one is my favorite to date)

The Erotic Tales of Joe – A compilation of short stories that have been written over the years, but mainly scenes that were removed from manuscripts that editors and publishers deemed pornographic, and had to go. So I pulled them and filed them away hoping one day to get to use them again. See this is the reason you never throw anything you write away. I have begun pulling those files, cleaning them up and writing stories around them. At this time there is only one story in the book. How ever fans of erotic not to worry, if  I had to, I have enough material to write this one in weekend if necessary. Like with the Tales of Joe once I hit between 50,000 and 75,000 words Volume One will be complete. The lone tale so far:

  • To a Princess (I wasn’t sure which book this one went in, so my editor read it and decided The Erotic Tales of Joe was where it belonged.

Rise from the Ruins – This one should be headed to the editor soon and will be the first one to come out this year. This manuscript has been through the wringer so to speak. So next week’s blog will cover this one in detail.

Till then keep on smiling, makes yourself and others feel good along with making a few wonder what you have been or what you or up to.

Joe

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

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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.

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