In 2013, I wrote down some notes on the formula for modern disaster movies. My wife loves these, so I made the notes as we watched way too many of them.
Check out the book pages to see the new links.
Originally, the first two books were on those sites, as well as Apple’s iBook (now Book) store. I’m still working on getting the books on Apple’s store, but not sure things are going as I’d hoped. Since I had almost no sales on that venue before, I won’t be putting out much more effort there.
Barnes & Noble have been hosting my paperbacks all along, including having the correct cover on the display page. Now, the e-book is there, too.
This little post is just to keep you up to date on where the books are available.
Lately, the paperbacks have been selling well. Recently, all three (paperback editions) were in the top 10 of Amazon’s Teen/Young Adult Christian Science Fiction category. That was fun!
I got a chance to talk to a book club composed of young ladies in California this week, via a conference video call. Yeah, we’re living in the future.
Fraud is a deceit, trickery, or con perpetrated for profit, according to Dictionary.Com. We hear about fraud all the time, maybe not with that particular term, but it all boils down to the same thing. It feeds on human greed.
Greed, of course, is one of the Seven Deadly Sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth). Boy, are we going to have fun with these over the next few posts.
I sometimes think we missed getting an eighth sin in there. Gullibility.
Fraud includes scams and things that prey on human frailties and the most common frailty is gullibility. Most recently–on Facebook–a post being share around claims some random Facebook users will be selected for various prizes from the Ellen Degeneres show. When I see someone I know posting these things, I let them know it is a fraud and to delete it. In this case, Facebook removed the post in question and I didn’t get any copies of the text for analysis. Sorry.
But, that’s my old IT security dude coming out. We need to look at the kinds of messages that gets folks to share, forward, repeat these scams. One, they claim to be from some pop-culture, popular organization or individual. Two, they offer “too good to be true” prizes, gifts, miracles. Three, all you have to do is like, share, copy/paste/post, or otherwise perpetuate the hoax.
It doesn’t seem to matter there’s no possibility of getting one of the prizes mentioned just for liking or sharing it. Folks get sucked in every time. It is no surprise. Every part of the fraud message is designed to get a greed, lust, pride, wrath, envy response–depending on the goal of the message. The perpetrators of these had a lot of practice. Remember the old chain emails and Nigerian 419 scams in the ’80’s and ’90’s?
How does this translate to our writing? Well, character. We build characters to reflect the human condition. And most humans are pretty gullible, among other things. Based on what we see on Facebook, a few choice turns of phrase easily manipulate people. Temptations that feed on our greed, lust, or pride.
A fellow author, Thomas Waite, recently released his new novel Shadowed (this is an adult-themed novel, so you’ve been warned). The main character, Dylan, is my case in point. Dylan’s main flaw is his gullibility (Thomas, you can argue this, he’s your character). The bad guy sucks him into situations that compromise him, his future, and his love interest, and could have ended his life. He makes bad decisions. Repeatedly. That’s about all I can say without spoiling a great read for you.
But the character Dylan is like most of us, woefully unprepared for the bad guys. We don’t recognize the signs, the language, the dangers. Until it is too late. On Facebook, the end result is often a compromised account. In real life, the end result may be yellow tape around a crime scene and a chalk marked silhouette.
Apply the Flaw
Isn’t this the stuff of thrillers, though? The flawed main character, the long con, the love interest, the really bad guy.
So, apply the flaw. Make the main character gullible. Use what you see on Facebook for examples of how to dupe and manipulate. Think like the bad guy. What can the bad guy get the main character to do? How will he/she approach it? Have some fun. I think Thomas had a lot of fun writing Shadowed.
Remember. The good guy has to have some redeeming quality that allows him to win out in the end. Just saying.
Reviews & Reviewing
I don’t mind getting reviews from others, be they readers or writers. I learn from them no matter how critical they might get. But, writing a review of someone else’s work … that can be a minefield.
Fortunately, the folks involved in the round-robin are honest and direct, and give good reviews.
I wrote a couple of reviews so far and they were honest, constructive reviews of stories that I liked. They aren’t my normal reading fare, but it never hurts to explore new material. I posted the reviews, then crawled into a corner until the authors responded positively to the comments.
I’m well into another book that I’m enjoying and will review it soon. In addition, I have some new reviews for Sudden Mission, both on Amazon and Goodreads. In this next round, I hope to see more reviews of Nasty Leftovers. This round-robin works out well, and my reviews are increasing.
Granted, the new reviews are by other authors and not my target audience (teens). But, getting teens to review on Amazon or anywhere else is very difficult. I used a little meme on Facebook a couple of times to prod folks to review.
The rules are simple, if not completely accurate today. I know Amazon has changed some of their rules for reviews. For example, they usually do not accept reviews of books by friends of the author, or family members. How they figure that out is beyond me.
As for Rule #1, that is true. But, if you buy the book and review it, you get a “verified purchase” tag on your review. That might impact the “algorithms.”
Rule #4, though, is the most important. Authors need reviews. More reviews move a book’s status in the rankings on Amazon. They make the title more visible to other readers. They help other readers make decisions on what to choose to read.
Sure, not all reviews or ratings are five-star. Not everyone likes the same thing. My books aren’t everyone’s favorite genre. But, a review is a review and I appreciate every single one I get.
Some comments in reviews can inflict pain in the author. That’s part of growing a thick skin–which we need to survive. No one is perfect, no author writes a perfect book. Accepting that and moving on is important.
I try to keep that in mind as I review other author’s work. No, the book isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe the book needs an editor. Maybe there are issues with the story. But, I can address that with constructive, positive comments. I made the mistake of being too blunt and critical in a review once. It hurt a relationship. That’s the minefield I mentioned earlier.
Care. You write and you read. The only way this business can get better is if we all care and comment positively and constructively.