Friday, October 26, 2012

How To Win Friends and Influence Readers

One of the things I love best about being a published author is reviews. No, seriously, I gather a great deal of insight about my writing by looking at it through someone else's point of view. And I don't mean a critique, because that's something else entirely. That's what happens during the editing process, when stuff can still be changed before it's too late.

For example, I always thought I was writing a romantic comedy, of sorts. I knew there were tragic moments, but apparently, because Carlin "Carlos" Farley is inside my head and I know what she's thinking, I don't see the "dark parts" as all that dark. I suppose it's a "Can't see the forest for the trees" kind of thing. Truth be told, I'm so bad at writing a synopsis, I should have a reviewer do it for me. 

A reviewer, say, like my mom.

My mom wrote a fabulous review for my novel, The Carriage Trade. It was short, concise, and essentially laid it all out there. In fact, I liked her review so much that I used a very small portion of it on my website

"You'll meet a new kind of heroine in this funny, offbeat romance. I loved it and found the characters different and engaging. Carlos Farley is one of a kind. You may love her or hate her but you won't forget her." 

But you won't be finding my mom's review on my Lisa Deon Amazon page any more, because Amazon, in their infinite wisdom, had started yanking selected reviews from author's pages. This hurts an author. It brings down their rank and review status. Plus it makes it look like very few people read the book.

Part of the reason, or so I'm told, is because some writers have been playing dirty pool, writing their own fabulous reviews under assumed names. Also they are supposedly deleting reviews by authors for authors.

Now, why does that suck dead donkeys? Because besides being writers, a lot of authors are readers. So, apparently no writer should ever read or review anyone else's work. Now, I disagree with that, because if the only writer I get to read is me, my life would be very boring. Did they pull my mother's review because she's a writer? No, but we do share a very common last name, so that might have been the reason. Of course the fact that she was a verified purchaser apparently has no validity in the entire shebang. So, what's a girl to do?

I'm proud of every review written for my novel, even the lowest (3) star one. And I'm thrilled that a few of them have a disclaimer at the bottom stating that although the book was provided to the reader for free, the review was in no way influenced by that.

Being a writer is not the easiest of professions. You strip your soul naked, turn it into words, and leave it out there for people to inspect. But if you enjoy reading, my work, or any other writer, the best way to encourage and assist the author is to go to their page at the selling website of your choice, and simply click. Click the "Like" button, the meta tags, give it however many starts you deem it worthy of, and write something. "I liked it" or "It made me think about..." are reviews. You don't have to make your review of a novel a novel in and of itself.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged. If you've read my book, your reviews are welcome and encouraged also.

Oh, and here is a photo of a toasty fire to warm your heart. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

...And Your Little Dog's, Too...

Charlie horse and I drove a wedding last week, one with a pickup in Memory Grove. As usual, I showed up early. I hate surprises, start tweaking if I'm late, and generally like to be in control of my surroundings, so I arrive with ample time on the clock to most of my appointments.

Such was the case up in the park. I waited outside the gates for a while, mostly because there was a plethora of free-range children running around, which I had no desire to engage with. I killed time, dinked around on my phone, scoped out the situation, and made sure the celebrants weren't going to whip out sparklers, firecrackers, or rocket launchers.

Nope, just your average bottles of wedding bubbles. Mildly annoying, totally harmless.

I parked there long enough for an older man on a bicycle to ride up and ask me if I needed him to open the gate for me.

"Nope, I have an opener," I replied.

"Oh, I know the code," he returned as he pedaled away up the trail.

That was nice. Sometimes I have to open the gate for folks, like a few weeks ago when I opened it for the confused UTA Flex (Para) Trans bus driver. He seemed to think that the random opening and closing was some type of windmill for him to tilt at using his bus. I opened the gate to allow him to pick up a passenger at Memorial House, and explained to him how to get the gate to re-open so he could eventually leave. I'd hate to think of him trapped up there, wheelchair bound customer strapped in the back, egging on the driver to try and summon the courage to charge the gates...

I've gone totally off piste here, sorry. So I decided to take Charlie for a little walk since we had time, up to the top of the grove where we do the turn around, then back down so when we parked we would be facing the correct direction to facilitate our newlywed's getaway. As we began our leisurely stroll, a little Jack Russel mix charged us. So I did what I always do; a tried and true method that works effectively and returns the result I'm aiming for.

I looked at the dog, pointed my finger at him, and loudly said, "NO!"

The dog, who up until that time had been making a beeline for Charlie's legs, swiftly executed a "U" turn and ran back to his owner.

I've used this repel method for more than eight years. It has never failed to stop a dog, and I have never had to use a whip on someone's beloved pet. Or its owner. And I've had much larger dogs than this motley creature think about attacking my co-worker.

 Because there are dogs at the barn, our horses are not afraid of dogs. However, they also don't tolerate any crap from dogs, either.

After the dog made his retreat, the owner yelled at me. That's not an unusual response. Typically it's "Sorry," or, "He's never done that before."

But this man yelled, "He has as much right to be in this park as that horse!"


And then he said, "And something, mumble, something, {LEARN TO ARTICULATE AND PROJECT, PEOPLE!} abuse!" and he pantomimed like he was banging on a drum, but I think he was trying to mimic the motion of the lines (reins).

O-kay, buddy. Because you're an idiot, I'm going to ignore the abuse remark. Instead, let's take a moment to talk about your pooche's "rights":

Your dog has none.

YOU have the right to take your dog up into Memory Grove, and once you get past the *bridge, turn your canine good citizen, who does not menace, bite or otherwise harass any human, other dog, or, in Charlie's case, horse, off leash. Then it can roam under your direct supervision and pee on things to its heart's desire.

And if you feel that your dog's "rights" (of which he has none) have been violated by me telling him, "NO!", allow me to lead you down the inevitable dark conclusion of this chance meeting had I not instructed your dog to back off:

Your twenty-something pound ball of indignation and fury (the little-dog complex) would have found its way to Charlie's cannon bone, getting in one good nip, then all two-thousand pounds of Charlie, with no qualms whatsoever and without breaking a sweat, would have crushed your dog like a bug.

Compare their match to, say,  Hello-Kitty vs Godzilla.

And it would be within his "rights" to do it, as Salt Lake City has a leash law, which supersedes the location of an off the leash park. The onus is on you, the owner of the attacking animal. In other words, your dog started it, but my horse will finish it.

So go ahead and yell at me all you want about your aggressive dog's "right" to be off leash up in Memory Grove, sir. Next time, maybe I won't warn off your pet. Because it also happens that my horse has the "right" to defend himself against an attack. And after the inevitable squishy bloodbath, you will have the smug satisfaction of telling all of your PeTA loving friends all about how you invoked your rights.

You and your little dog's, too.

* The off leash boundaries, and rules pertaining to it, of Memory Grove Park are posted on a sign as you enter the property.  Of course no one ever reads the fine print. Except me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shifting Perspectives

 I spent last weekend at the Utah Romance Writers of America conference in Park City, Utah. It was, as usual, great fun and more relaxing for me because I was not in charge of anything this year. I also didn't pitch to any agents this year. In fact I pretty much hung out with my fellow writer roomies and goofed off, which is my standard operating procedure. I also participated in my first book signing, which while not all that fiscally productive (that's what you get tying to sell to members of my RWA chapter, many of whom already either have my book or have no interest in my book because I use a plethora of naughty words, because I am, in fact, naturally foul mouthed) was enlightening.

While many people expressed their affinity for my cover, I discovered that when they look at it, they are not seeing it.

Do you?

I do because I cannot "unsee" things, plus I was there during the creative process, and it's modeled after my tattoo which, if I could do a clean slate, I would change.

So while I was sitting around, a fellow chapter member came up and admired my coffee cup, which has a picture of my cover on it. So I picked it up and said, "And it looks as good in your cabinet as it does on the table." Then I turned it upside down, and the person looked at it again, and said, "I never noticed that!"

Do you?

Maybe because... I don't know, like I said, I cannot "unsee" it. Plus, when I got my tattoo I had the white (okay, flesh) colored horse put on top, and when people looked at my tat they would s-l-o-w-l-y- rotate their head so they were looking at it upside down. Finally, when they were in a totally awkward position, I would mention the fact that is it a ying-yang symbol, but with horses.  The they would "Ooh" and "Aww".


Above are the images used as scene breaks, and it all depends on whose point of view the following scene is in as to the image utilized for the break. And that was done mostly for me, so I knew the owner of the POV and could check for violations while editing. Because I get confused. A lot.

Anyway, that's all the news that fits, with the exception of this: The eBook of The Carriage Trade is on sale at both Smashwords and Amazon this week for $3.99 which is a savings of $2.00. So, don't say I never gave you anything.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Conference, or Jail? Hmmm...

The annual Utah Romance Writers of America's conference is on Friday, October 5 and 6 at the Silver Baron Lodge in Deer Valley (up by Park City) Utah. I will be there this weekend, which is also the same weekend the the Latter Day Saints general conference, which is held in Salt Lake City, Utah. I'm kind of happy that they are going on simultaneously this year. I typically take the weekend of URWA conference off of work so I can attend, and I take the weekend of LDS conference off, so I don't end up waiting for someone to bail me out of jail because I've punched an anti-Mormon protester in the face. I don't mind general conference, but the crazy fundamentalist protesters who wave signs and shout at the folks walking into Temple Square really chap my ass.

But that's another story. What I'm posting about is in Saturday, October 6 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm I will be signing copies of my novel, The Carriage Trade, during the URWA book signing. 

So if you are in the area, stop on in and say hi. Or just stalk me, I'm easy.