Sunday, May 20, 2012

Shaking Things Up A Bit

One of my plans this summer will be to put up a dedicated website to just my writing. This will be less blog and more about my books, the characters and what’s happening. I’m still considering the host, the format and what goes in it. Pretty much right now everything is wide open.

I’ve planned to do less blogging about self-publishing and writing advice. Not that these are unimportant, but I wanted to help other writers and move in a new direction.  I will still from time-to-time blog about what comes to mind and put out updates on what’s happening. But the theme is helping others market their books.

First addition will be Book Reviews. My tastes runs to mystery, horror, thriller, adventure, some historical and even main stream. I go by how a books sounds. If it captures me in the first few paragraphs, I’m hooked.  Things I do not read include romance, younger grade children’s books and books written purely for sex. I’m still a sucker for vampires. And I've been reading some steampunk. As I said earlier it’s how the book sounds that captures my attention. If you have book you think I may be interested in, drop me an email at rondvoigts (at) gmail (dot) com.

Second area I am excited about doing are Author Interviews.  These are great ways to get exposure. The name of the game is branding. Getting your name out there. Reaching potential readers.  In fact, I recommend this as a first choice in any marketing scheme. More exposure means more sales. If you’d like to showcase your book and yourself here, please drop me an email at rondvoigts (at) gmail (dot) com.

Catch you later...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Whatzup? #1

Book Signing in Cumberland, MD

Book signing at The Book Center

Here’s a pic of me at a book signing at the The Book Center in  Cumberland, promoting my Penelope Mystery books.  This indie mortar and brick bookstore is still going strong, and Lee the owner does what he can to help local authors.  If you’re in the area, stop by and take a peek what he’s got on the shelves. Also check out the Penelope books while you’re there.

Penelope and The Movie Star

Just finished my KDP Select stint on Penelope and The Movie Star.  Did not work as well as I’d hoped.  Amazon did everything they said, but I didn’t see much sales come out of it.  It may just be the nature of the series. Middle grade books are difficult to market.  A 10 to 13 year old reader is most likely not surfing Amazon on their Prime account, looking for books to borrow.

The good news is the book is now available at Smashwords and should be popping up on Kobo and Apple in the next few weeks or so.  The book is also available at Barnes and Noble.  Check it out!

Latest Work-In Progress

Doing fine tuning on my latest work-in-progress about a down and out reporter who gets a second chance managing a small town newspaper and soon finds himself working on a cold case murder with a psychic and a witch.  Originally I ‘d planned to self-publish this one to boost my writing career, but after recently landing a writing contract to publish my book Claws of the Griffin, I may pass this one by literary agent. Check out my author bio at Cool Well Press. Way cool!

John Irving Interview on NPR

Irving is one my favorite authors, probably most remembered for The World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules.  I heard a recent interview on NPR and did not realize the guy was at one time a professional wrestler. When asked about both careers and he said, “…they seem very similar to me. In both cases you have to be devoted to tireless repetition and small details.” Great advice! Many times as writers we want to throw the story over the fence and let our readers see it, when we should rewriting.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Upon a Midnight Dreary

“…the agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long and final scream of despair.” – POE

Thus ended The Pit and Pendulum, at least the 1961 movie version of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story.

The movie was the second in a series of eight from producer and director, Roger Corman, that were loosely based on stories by Poe.  All but one starred Vincent Price. Some other notable actors that appeared in the series were Boris Karloff (the original Frankenstein’s monster) and Peter Lorre (whose voice and acting style would send chills through the strongest of men). In the movies, Vincent Price portrayed a demonic yet sympathetic character capable of doing great harm and commanding complete attention.  Even in real life, his sneering smile and impish glare could frighten the bravest soul.  I heard him tell in an interview of watching one of his own movies in a theater. When the house lights came up, he leaned forward and poked his head between the women sitting in front of him. “Did you enjoy the movie?” Price crooned, and the women ran screaming out of the theater.

This was also a time in film making before green screen and digital effects. Camera angles, distorted lenses, smoke, colors and chilling music all played into the macabre atmosphere.  Cob webs, plenty of cob webs, touching the hero’s face and tangling in the pretty girl’s hair added to the suspense. Then came a scream just when things seemed to get better, sending the cast running to see what new horror waited for them. The background shots in the movies yielded a mood that Poe had created in his stories, being both melancholy and somber, although I expect many were created with a movie technique back then called matte.

At age ten, after days of begging my mother to take me to see The Pit and Pendulum, I got my wish.  I spent much of the time in the lobby, sneaking peeks through the crack in the doors that went into the theater and listening to the shrieks and sound effects. I laid awake much of the night unable to sleep and when I did I dreamed of Vincent Price wearing a henchman’s cowl  and pulling a chain that slowly lowered the swinging pendulum to slice John Kerr in half. Did that deter me from ever seeing another one of these movies? Of course not! I also caught Tales of Terror, Premature Burial and House of Usher.

Now the movie The Raven is out with John Cusack playing the role of Edgar Allan Poe.  I’ve watched the trailer and wonder if it will capture the chills and thrills of those old movies? Will it be so memorable that decades from now I’ll still relive those horrifying moments?

“…And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted–nevermore!”– The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe