Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Tips & Bits for Marketing in 2011: 12 Days to the New Year

DAY 11
in the 12 Days till New Year's Book Marketing Tips & Bits

Before I wrote Night Creeps, my genres were primarily science-fiction/fantasy. There was the occasional horror scene but that was it - a scene. When I developed the idea for Night Creeps, I took a walk in the woods one chilly night to "feel" the story. I looked up a few news stories on murders and found several that occured in rural and mountainous settings. Combining the two gave me the feeling I wanted to convey to my readers. So, my advice to you as writers, if you are writing in a new genre, make sure you  develop that comfort zone by feeling the emotion behind that genre before writing it. Otherwise it's a story with four flat tires.

A Night With Eddy

A young man walked down the Philadelphia residential street with his head down. He wore a gray wool tam and a long gray London Fog raincoat. It was chilly and rainy for late June and the wind was brisk.
The young man, Jonathan Price, noticed an old fashioned English Pub, the only building on the corner of an otherwise vacant lot. The remainder of the lot was flat with only the shapes of three abandoned vehicles, a short distance away, as evidence of the area’s economic plight.
Overhead, the sound of cars and trucks on the elevated portion of I-95 disturbed the evening air. Airplanes landed and took off at the airport, just south of the pub.
Tonight, there was a certain magic in the air. Jonathan felt it and hoped that it would be the key to his story. He recently graduated from one of the local schools with the goal of becoming the publisher of his own magazine and writer of macabre short stories.
Jonathan wrote and submitted his stories for two years to magazines and publishers to kick start his career but with no luck. Several sources told him that, while the stories were entertaining, he was missing a certain ingredient or spark in his stories so better luck next time. He felt the pressure as his savings dwindled and opportunities became scarce. Somewhere out there in the night was the missing ingredient to his stories. 
Jonathan stopped in front of the pub and looked up at the sign. “The Center of the Bar” was carved in a large shaped slab of oak. He became curious and entered the bar.
Inside, it was just an ordinary neighborhood bar. An elderly, bearded man wiped glasses with a towel and nodded to him with a smile.
Along the wall opposite the bar was a fireplace with a healthy fire burning brightly. Fifteen stools were lined up along the bar and a dozen tables were neatly arranged on the floor. One of the chairs had a black wool coat hanging on the back of it and a hat on the bar. The chair was turned sideways and a full glass of whiskey on the bar as if it waited for its occupant to return.
“Come on in. It’s a miserable night to be outside,” said the bartender with an English accent.
Jonathan removed his gloves and hat as he approached the bar.
“Good evening. Can I bother you for a glass of Chardonnay?”
“Of course.”
The bartender reached under the bar and retrieved a bottle of wine and poured into a cylindrical shaped, crystal glass. He set it on the bar near the other occupants’ stool.
“Thank you, sir,” said Jonathan as he removed his coat and folded it over a stool.
The bartender returned to his task of wiping the glasses. Jonathan sat down at the stool and studied the glass. As he raised it and sipped, the occupant appeared from a short hallway passed the end of the bar.
The occupant, a well-dressed male in a suit with a neatly trimmed beard and sad expression, seated himself and sipped from his glass. He slid a small notepad from inside his jacket and scribbled several notes on it.
“Where ya’ from?” asked the bartender of Jonathan.
“I’m originally from Richmond but I have an apartment over on Chestnut Street. I’ve been in Philly for almost five years now.”
“Go to school here?”
“Graduated last year. I’m still looking for work though.”
“That’s a shame. What do you do?”
“I’m a writer,” said Jonathan as he took another sip from his glass.
The well-dressed man put his notepad down and turned toward Jonathan.
“A writer, huh?” he quipped.
“Yes, sir. Well, at least I’m trying to be,” replied Jonathan humbly.
“You should have picked a better field. Writing is a thankless job.”
Jonathan was disappointed. This was not what he wanted to hear, especially tonight.
“You don’t understand, sir. Writing is my passion.”
The man stood up and leaned on the bar. He sipped from his glass of whiskey and set it down.
“Your passion, you say.”
“Yes, sir.”
 “My name is Edgar.”
The man reaches over and shakes Jonathan’s hand.
“And I’m Jonathan.”
“Hello, Jonathan.”
“Have you had any success with your writing?”
“Not really. I’m told that my stories are good but they’re missing something. I haven’t figured it out yet.”
“And what do you write about, if I might ask?”
Jonathan turned his stool toward Edgar and quickly considered his response.
I like to write about the macabre. I think of men like Boris Karloff and Vincent Price and their effect on people. It’s as if they could mesmerize their fans.”
Edgar looked impressed and sipped again from his drink.
“I can’t say I know either of these men but it seems they’ve made quite an impression on you.”
“I’ve read stories whose authors have left me with chills, too. There was Dracula, Frankenstein and even several short stories.”
Edgar swirled the ice cubes in his glass and grinned. He seemed to ponder for a moment and finished his drink. When he set the glass down, the bartender promptly poured him another.
“My young friend, perhaps that is part of your problem,” suggested Edgar. “You’ve seen the macabre through other people’s eyes. You must learn to see it through your mind’s eye. You must induce your own fear and when you feel it, only then are you ready to share it. Don’t be entertained by it, be afraid of it; for, if you are not, then you have not done your job as a writer.”
Jonathan was impressed with Edgar’s words. He realized there was a lot of truth to what he said.
“Are you a writer, sir?” Jonathan inquired.
Edgar nodded and sipped his drink.
“As a matter of fact I am.”
Jonathan slid his chair toward Edgar and sipped his wine.
“What kind of writing do you do?” he asked Edgar.
“I have an affinity for the macabre as you do. I prefer short stories but I’ve also written poetry.”
“Have you had much luck with it?”
“The writing business is very tough.  Have you finished school?”
“Why,  yes I have. Just last year.”
“I assume you’ve chosen to make a career of your writing.”
“Yes, I did.”The best advice I can give you is to go back and choose another career field. If not, then you must be committed for a long and arduous journey where few have succeeded.”
 “I’ve already made up my mind, good sir. I’m going to be a professional writer.”
Both men sip from their glasses. The bartender is amused by their intensity.
“Are you from the area?” asked Jonathan.
“Not really. I was born in Boston and spent much of my time in Richmond. I do travel between New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia quite a bit, though.”
“I’m from Richmond. Since I finished school, I’ve been debating whether or not I want to go back. If I do, my family will think I failed.”
Edgar became irritable and slammed his glass on the bar.
“Damn the family! You must do what’s right for you. They will never appreciate what you will go through.”
Jonathan was taken aback by his reaction.
“Excuse me, Jonathan. I harbor resentment toward my father and stepfather. They both failed me miserably.”
“Gee, Edgar, I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Nonetheless, I’ve survived without either of their assistance thus far.”
“So what brings you to Philadelphia this time, Edgar?”
“I’m lecturing at a few of the nearby universities and meeting with several potential sponsors about a new magazine I’m creating called Stylus. I’m dedicating it to my late wife, Virginia. She passed away two years ago.”
“Wow, Edgar, you’ve really had some bad luck.”
“That’s the kind of thing that helps write macabre material. You get to know pain, suffering and death intimately.”
“That’s a terrible way to learn.”
“If you don’t like it, then I suggest you write comedy or romance.”
“No, I want to do this.”
“Then you’ll know what to do.”
Jonathan stood up and glanced at the bartender.
“Your rest room, sir?”
“Around the corner at the end of the bar.”
“Thank you.”
Jonathan finished his wine and set the glass down.
“Pardon me for a few moments.”
Jonathan left him and went to the men’s room.
Edgar stood up and donned his coat. He tore a piece of paper from his notebook and scrawled something on it. He left the note by Jonathan’s glass, bowed to the bartender and left the bar.
When Jonathan returned, he was surprised to see that Edgar was gone.
“Where’d he go?” he asked the bartender.
He bartender stopped wiping the glass and pointed to the door.
Jonathan tucked the note in his pocket and rushed out the door. He looked up and down the street but there was no sign of Edgar.
Disappointedly, he returned to the bar and put a ten on the counter. He took the note out and read it.
Remember, you must experience pain, suffering and death if you want to write about it.
- Edgar A. Poe
Jonathan shook his head in disbelief and put on his coat. He glanced at the bartender, who continued to wipe glasses.
“Thanks for your help,” Jonathan said as he put on his gloves.
The bartender nodded to him.
“Have a good evening, sir.”
Jonathan left the bar and hailed a cab.
Once inside, he pondered his strange friend and the mysterious note.
“Edgar A. Poe. He’s got to be kidding.”
The cab reached Jonathan’s apartment and stopped. Jonathan got out and paid the driver. He opened the door and ascended the stairs to his apartment, still confused by Mr. Poe.
Once inside the apartment, he turned on his computer and immediately searched for information on Edgar Allan Poe. He was shocked to learn that Mr. Poe indeed came to Philadelphia in June of 1849 to raise money for his new magazine, Stylus. His wife ,Virginia, did indeed pass away two years prior.
“No way! This has got to be a joke.”
Jonathan dialed his cell phone and requested a cab. He hurried downstairs and waited.
“The bartender might know something about this imposter,” he thought.
The cab pulled up and he got in. He waited anxiously as the cab returned to the street he directed him to.
“I don’t think this is the right place, sir.”
Jonathan stepped out of the cab and stared at the vacant lot in disbelief. There was no sign of the bar. He took the note out and looked again.
Remember, you must experience pain, suffering and death if you want to write about it.
- Edgar A. Poe
“Son of a gun,” uttered Jonathan.
Then he realized, Mr. Poe’s life was based on pain, suffering and death. That was the key he was looking for. He got back in the cab and went home, still befuddled by his experience.
When he entered his apartment, he sat down in front of his laptop and opened one of his stories. As he read it, he realized what he was missing. He felt a new perspective on his writing and relentlessly rewrote several of his stories throughout the night.

"A Night with Eddy," will be one of the featured shorts in an upcoming book named, "The Center of Time Bar," which will be published by Az Publishing Fall 2011. 

Author, Mike D’Ambrosio of Morton, PA announces the release of his latest science fiction novel The Devil’s Playground. This is the third book in his successful Space Frontiers series from Helm Publishing. The series is a fascinating quest by a young Fleet officer, Will Saris, whose hopes of ending the war with the alien alliance are filled with thrilling adventures throughout the galaxy. His crew aboard a stolen Attradean vessel is a unique collection of characters including a Seer named Shanna, whose romantic relationship with Will leads to all kinds of complications.
   Michael is a life-long resident of Delaware County who has traveled throughout Europe and as a nuclear field engineer and the Middle East as a 22-year member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard who is now retired. Currently working for PSE&G at Salem Nuclear Generating Station, Michael now writes screenplays as well.
    The Fractured Time Trilogy was Michael’s first project and has recently been re-released through AZ Publishing with new adventures added from a proposed TV series Michael has written should the screenplay become a motion picture. Last October, Michael’s adult horror story Night Creeps was also published by AZ Publishing Services, LLC.
   Much of Michael’s success has come from science fiction conventions around the country where he does panels on marketing and producing books and screenplays as well as other entertaining topics. He has many famous acquaintances that have helped him market the screenplays. Michael’s Face Book page displays pictures of Michael with his friends and mentors. Michael’s remaining appearances for the year are in Phoenix for CopperCon over Labor Day weekend and Archon in St. Louis the first weekend in October.
   With the construction of Sun Center Studios nearby, Michael sees increased possibilities that his projects could see development here in the tri-state area. For additional details on Michael’s projects and appearances, see his website at

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