Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

New Voices - the beginning of a new direction

Further to the new direction in my writing career.

 

Okay, so you’re saying my writing career had no direction before so how can I have a new one?

 

Well, maybe having no direction is a direction.

 

Too Zen for you?

 

How about: If you write a book and nobody reads it have you really written a book? That one’s been driving me crazy since, well, since I wrote a book and nobody read it.

 

Before you? me? we? all of us? get too hung up (do people still say that?) on these esoteric ruminations let me continue.

 

All of my book marketing has been so far done online. I blog, I Tweet, I post on my Facebook page, I send out promotional newsletters to my Advance Reading Team, I review books, I’ve even gone so far as to join and contribute to online reading/writing groups.

 

And it’s got me_______. (You fill in the blank)

 

This direction(?) has been macro – my books are available through Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Library Direct, OverDrive and a few more in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and India. They’re available digitally as epub, mobi, pdf, online reader and more, suitable to most reading devices including your cellphone as well as in paperback in the UK, USA and Canada.

 

My new direction will be micro – I’ll sell actual books to real people face to face.

 

My first experience with this will be on March 27, 2017 at the Vancouver Public Library where I’ll be reading my work along with five other writers in their “New Voices” series. (How after seven years, seven novels and two plays I can be considered a “new voice” says something – what I’m not sure.)

 

The event is from 7 to 8:30 pm and our host will even provide a table for us to display and sell our books. I don’t know about the rest of the participants, but I’m taking advantage of the table and might even break off from my reading prematurely if I see someone in the audience interested in the merchandise.

 

Having been a salesman all my life I’m not the least bit intimidated.

 

So, I’ve crunched the numbers taking into consideration the price of my books, the exchange rate, shipping and tax and if I sell a book for $15 it’s $4 less than it can be purchased from Amazon and I can still make some money.

 

Enough, I hope, to at least cover the outrageous cost of parking downtown.

 

This is marginally better than selling my books at a flea market or garage sale, but if the world doesn’t want to buy them maybe the neighbourhood does.

 

I’m not afraid of taking chances, going in a new direction, and maybe, likely, failing. I never know where things will lead what’s important to me is to keep moving forward.

 

Well, at least to keep moving.

 

One thing’s for certain, if I do nothing, that’s what will happen.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

30

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Seduction as a higher purpose

Guy thinks he's God's gift to women and he just might be.

 

Handsome, impeccably groomed, fashion forward, buff, sophisticated, a gourmet chef, an exciting career as a talent promoter and wealthy - thanks to an inheritance from his grandmother.

 

Early in life Guy realized he had this power to attract women, but so what? Where was the challenge? Beautiful women were too entitled and too high maintenance, they were not grateful enough. On the other hand, plain women, say a four out of ten, the ones with the over processed hair, the "full figure" and no sense of fashion, well, they couldn't believe how lucky they were when he focused his many talents on them.

 

Why not give these women a one in a life time experience, maybe even elevate their self esteem to the point they could make something of themselves. After all, if someone a wonderful as him was interested in them, maybe they weren't the losers they though they were.

 

Dolores is one of these young women. Guy meets her in front of his beach house (part of grandma's inheritance) applies the "full press" for a week and then when she goes home to go to college never calls or returns hers.

 

Just another lucky loser, but ungrateful Dolores refuses to go away and the trouble begins.

 

Author Jowita Bydlowska has created a very memorable character, a chauvist pig for sure, but true to his own moral code. It's hard not to start to like her anti-hero as he struggles with all us lesser mortals wondering why those he interacts with are appalled by his insensitivity when we would feel the same as him if we could only be honest with ourselves.

 

Written in the first person, Bydlowska nails Guy's voice and her diction and dialogue are edgy, authentic and LOL funny. Her supporting characters are perfect foils for Guy to play off. The plot's fast paced and exceedingly contemporary.

 

This brilliant novel begins to unwind as it draws to a close The convoluted ending casts Guy out of character, stripped of his superiority, almost needy and with no apparent motivation. Did Bydlowska think her deliciously nasty, sociopathically insensitive protagonist needed redemption?

 

Too bad.

 

To be an indie author now - is to be a joke

This is my canned interview (you ask the questions and you answer them) on Smashwords, one of the self-publishing sites where my books are available https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

Anyway, I finally updated it and thought you might want to take a look at it. It begins with this question:

 

What motivated you to become an indie author?

 

I became an indie author because I couldn't get traditional publishers to publish my work.

 

That probably is the reason most writers became indie authors.

 

I published my first novel, Saving Spirit Bear in 2010 with an E-publisher after my attempts with traditional publishing houses had failed. At that time E-Book publishers were on the rise, hungry for content and they were eager for at least two more books from me.

 

Over the next two years they published Loving the Terrorist and Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients to complete my ECO-WARRIOR series.

 

Environmental fiction (Eco-fi) proved not to be a big seller with them, their catalogue being geared more to erotica, werewolves, vampires, and erotic werewolves and vampires. My stories were contemporary romances with a subplots that addressed an important environmental issue.

 

Since sales were not exactly stellar with my E-publisher and my contract with them was restrictive as to how I could promote these books I decided to investigate self-publishing for my next novel, The Big Picture - A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic if my attempts at acquiring a traditional publisher failed.

 

They did, and so I became an indie author.

 

Since then I have self-published three more novels: Forest - Love, Loss, Legend, Abandoned Dreams and The Local Rag and two plays: Harry's Truth and End of the Rope. When my contract ended with my E-publisher I yanked my first three novels and re-released them as self-published works.

 

Have they done better? No, but they haven't done worse and it's been more fun.

 

WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT BEING AN INDIE AUTHOR?

Glad you asked. I can offer promotions, sales, giveaways - I have total control over marketing my work. No sales, but still total control. And I like the creative aspect of publishing - the page design, the cover design, choosing fonts, all that stuff.

 

WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT BEING AN INDIE AUTHOR?

There are now too many of us and unfortunately most of us don't write well, and that's putting it mildly. So for you, the reader, it's almost impossible to tell if an indie author is worth reading or just a waste of $3.99 (the price of my e-books).

 

I know this because I make a point of reviewing the work of indie authors (see my YouTube channel Not Your Friend, Not Your Family Book Reviews)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

This is frustrating not only for you but for me and it's only going to get worse. With no gatekeepers and so many sites making it easy for anyone to publish anything, self-published, indie authors have lost all credibility.

 

To be an indie author now is to be a joke.

 

This state of affairs has made me rethink my role as an author - indie or otherwise.

 

I love to write, I love the research that goes into developing my characters, plots and settings, but I also want to connect to readers. The likelihood of this happening, of making this connection with readers in any significant way for an indie author is virtually nil.

 

After seven years, and seven novels and two plays I'm going back to the old fashion way. I submitted my last manuscript, East Van Saturday Night - Four short stories and a Novella to a traditional publisher and am now waiting for a response. If I get rejected, and I likely will, I'll send it to another one, and another one and so on.

 

I don't need to self publish to enjoy the writing and the research and this method of getting my work out there is not fulfilling my other need - connecting to you, the reader, in a meaningful way.

 

So it's back to the future for this author.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

 

Smashwords 2017 Read an E-book Week Promotion

March 5 to 11

Thousands of free and discounted

 

E-books Authors and Publishers enroll now at

 

https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/sitewidePromos

 

Promotional catalogue at

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1)

 

My free E-book as part of the promotion, FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/515038

 

Other discounts from my bibliography at

 

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

in

Medicine Walk - authentic, complex, brutal in it's truth

 

Franklin Starlight never knew his mother and the few encounters he's had with his alcoholic father left him hurt and disappointed.

 

He's been raised on a small ranch in northern British Columbia by "the old man", who's taught him everything he knows about ranching and wilderness survival. He's also taught him about integrity, self-esteem and the qualities of good character.

 

At sixteen, Franklin's more a man then most.

 

When he gets a call from his father he's tempted to ignore it, but this time it's different. His father is dying of liver disease and wants Frank to help him travel to remote ridge forty miles out in the wilderness. Once there he wants "a warrior's death", buried sitting upright in the ground facing east "so he can follow the rising sun across the sky to the Happy Hunting Grounds."

 

As it's his father's dying wish, Frank feels duty-bound to oblige him. Besides, he's longing to know more about his family history including how he came to be brought up by the "the old man".

 

So begins the journey, from a small mill town into the wilderness, Frank walking and leading a horse his father rides because he is too weak to walk.

 

As each mile passes Franklin begins to know his father as the man slowly divulges his personal history, Franklin's history.

 

In Medicine Walk, Richard Wagamese has created a story that resonates on many levels. There's the portrayal of a Spartan way of life defined by hard manual labour, loyalty and integrity as conveyed in the characters of Franklin and "the old man".

 

Then there's the life Franklin's father has lived - one of never facing up to your demons and using alcohol to keep them at bay.

 

It's a story of the extremes of human nature - of doing the right thing no matter how tough and painful it is, and doing everything to avoid it.

 

Wagamese' dialogue is authentic, his characters complex, and his story is brutal in it's truth.

 

 

 

 

Story of disgraced journalist lacks credibility

Kitty Logan is a disgraced journalist. In her unbridled drive for success she's cut corners and libeled an innocent man. The tabloid television news show she worked for is being sued for a lot of money.

 

The only one who still believes in Kitty is Constance, an editor and Kitty's mentor, but Constance is dying.

 

When Kitty asks Constance what story she regrets not writing, Constance tells her to fetch a file folder from her office. In the file is a list of one hundred names and nothing else. Before Constance can explain the importance of these names or how they're related she dies.

 

Partly because Kitty sees this as an opportunity to salvage her career and partly as a tribute to her late friend she decides to investigate these names and see if she can find and write the story that links them.

 

She can't. Or at least she hadn't been able to forty percent into the novel.

 

Rather than the unfolding of a promising plot premise the reader is presented with Kitty's very ordinary life, with the exception of excrement being smeared on her front door numerous times from irate readers and supporters of the man she libeled.

 

After interviewing a half dozen or so people on Constance' list and getting nowhere Kitty's getting frustrated and so was I.

 

At the beginning I had stretch my suspension of disbelieve to include the improbable plot point the the story hangs on - that a tabloid news show would allow a story to air that accuses a high school teacher of sexual misconduct with a student and fathering her child without solid evidence, like maybe DNA testing. I mean, do they have a death wish?

 

Being a journalist myself I know this would never be allowed to happen. If the reporter was incompetent enough to submit such an incendiary story without irrefutable evidence it would have been killed by the news editor, and for sure never got past the producer.

 

However, besides this grievous lack of research of the author's part I finally abandoned the novel because the story was boring and the writing mediocre.

 

Six names down, ninety-four to go? I don't think so.

 

 

 

 

 
  

Stigma of self-publishing denies good authors critical acclaim

 I want you to take a look at some research I've done and see if you come to the same conclusion I do.

 

Lets start with two novels I reviewed that are written by local Vancouver authors.

The first is The Continuation of Love by Other Means by Claudia Casper.

It has one, two-star review on Amazon.com, which I wrote, and two reviews on Amazon.ca, one of which is also mine, averaging three stars.

 

Lucky by Kathryn Para, the winner of the second search for the Great BC Novel, has two reviews on Amazon.ca, one mine and one that appears to be by a personal friend who "visited her at home". The average is four stars. On Amazon.com Lucky has five reviews (including mine) for an average of four stars.

 

Not so stellar I'm thinking when you compare them to my latest novel, The Local Rag which has seven reviews on Amazon.com (none of which I wrote, paid for, or pleaded with friends to review) for an average of four stars, and one on Amazon.ca of five stars.

 

So how come both these women are getting paid reading gigs and interviews with main stream media and I'm getting nothing?

 

Upon further investigation I discovered local poets who are garnering the same acclaim with the local literati but zero with Amazon reviewers. Some didn't even have their books available on Amazon or at the Vancouver Public Library.

 

I'm not disparaging these other local writers and I'm happy for their success, even though it would appear, at least on Amazon, that my latest book is more popular then theirs.

 

So what's the difference between them and me?

 

One thing. They all have traditional publishers.

 

Sure, their publisher may be some small press operating from a barn just north of Nowhere, Saskatchewan, but these authors didn't self publish. One way or another they got their manuscript accepted and published by a bona fide (?) Canadian publisher who's likely getting significant grants from the Canadian government just for existing.

 

I've traveled the submissions route before and it's like living in suspended animation. You send out your manuscript and wait at least six months. By then maybe you've heard something, maybe not. You decide to continue to wait or accept that the recipient of your work is not even gracious enough to let you know they threw your manuscript in the garbage, and you move on.

 

You have no idea what's going on, you have no control over the process. You are, in a word, powerless. No wonder so many authors choose to self-publish their work.

 

Unfortunately, you're very, very unlikely to receive any critical acclaim if you follow the self-publishing path and that's because there's a stigma attached to self-published books and regrettably it's deserved.

 

With the increasing ease of self-publishing and the complete lack of gatekeepers self-published books have become an anathema to the serious writer. It's estimated Amazon carries 37 million self-published titles, up 438% since 2008. Most of these books are terrible or mediocre at best. Finding a well written, good story among all this dreck is near impossible and every one has come to realized it including credible publishers, agents, reviewers and even readers.

 

For me to self-publish another novel is futile. I'll garner a handful of positive reader reviews, fewer sales and that's it.

 

So I'm going back to researching potential publishers and submitting my manuscripts, the first being East Van Saturday Night, four short stories and a novella.

 

It's deja vu all over again only this time I'm older (not necessarily a plus), smarter (at least in this arena) and a far better writer.

 

It's time for real critical acclaim and credibility as a writer - or not.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

 30

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Writer's Process more validation than revelation

 

I came to this book, The Writer's Process, Getting Your Brain in Gear, with extreme

prejudice. I find it hard to believe creativity can be taught. After reading Anne Janzer's book I still feel that way, but she's made me believe that creativity can be nurtured and maybe even enhanced.

 

Janzer's approach is scientific and it's backed by experts in the field of psychology and cognitive study. But understanding the mental process doesn't tell us how to activate it. What the author sets about to do is "label groups of mental processes that we can activate when needed."

 

The book is divided into three parts.

 

The first part, The Inner Gears, describes how the brain works using the term Scribe for areas of focus, discipline and writing craft. Processes like intuition, creativity and empathy are the domain of The Muse.

 

The second part, The Process, Start to Finish, sets forth and elaborates on the seven steps of the writing process beginning with research and ending with publication. The chapter on Revision in itself is worth the price of the book.

 

Part three, Writers in the World, has some practical advice on how to address problems all writers face including finding time to write, dealing with criticism, and working through writer's block.

 

If you're a creative person, specifically a writer, you're likely incorporating many of the suggestions Janzer puts forth in The Writer's Process. If that's the case this book will not be so much revelation as a validation.

 

And what's wrong with that?

 

 

 

Possibly the most important book you'll read about writing

Most writers would agree the beginning of a story is the most important part. That's where the reader gets "hooked" and continues read on or abandons the book.

 

In Les Edgerton's book,  he describes in broad strokes, fine strokes and with examples how to achieve what his subtitle proclaims.

 

According to Edgerton, you can't write the opening until you know in significant detail who your protagonist is and what the story is about. To do this you must first identify your hero or heroine's "storyworthy problem", that would be the problem that is just below the surface and is gradually revealed as the story unfolds.

 

From that discovery, and Edgerton urges you to drill deep to find out what's really bugging your protagonist, comes the inciting incident. This is where the story begins, the moment where the status quo is upset and the protagonist sets about to resolve it.

 

The inciting incident presents the first indications of the bigger issue, the storyworthy problem.

 

Don't start with backstory - bringing the reader up to date on your protagonist's life, start with "trouble" - an incident presented in an action filled scene that incites your protagonist and reader to carry on to resolution.

 

A provocative opening sentence, an exciting inciting incident giving a glimpse at the storyworthy problem and you're on your way.

 

Complicated? Maybe, but Edgerton hammers it home again and again (with examples).

 

Hooked may very well be the most important book you'll read about writing. Edgerton writes in non-academic, easy to understand language, includes entertaining examples and even gives agents and editors the last word on the most common mistakes made in the manuscripts they see and, you guessed it, a bad beginning ranks right up there.

 

Edgerton's prescription on how to come up with a good story opening is actually more than that, a lot more. It's the formula for a sound story structure.

 

 

 

 

 

2016 - My Writing Year in Review

So how was your year in writing?

 

Mine was, as always, interesting though not commercially successful. I'll list my publishing credits for 2016 at the end of this blog that way you can skip them if you like.

 

I'd rather talk about what worked and more often what didn't. I want to tell you what I learned and how I feel about it. Perhaps by the end of this accounting a way to move forward will become evident - a more positive, less frustrating one.

 

To complete and self publish two novels, as well as resurrecting and self-publishing two plays means, if nothing else, that I've been busy. I've also tried to keep up to date with the latest trends in the industry including the new publishing platforms and book marketing techniques.

 

After the launch of The Local Rag in October, I once again revisited that dark place, the one where I feel the only way I'll achieve publishing success is by divine intervention and how likely is that for someone as undeserving as me?

 

I had used every iota of publishing savvy I had gleaned from a myriad of sources and, though more successful than previous launches, it came up short - way short. To continue what I was doing and expecting a different result, well, that's a definition of insanity, or at least severe delusion.

 

The only thing I had yet to attempt that is highly touted by the book marketing gurus is the internet connection - becoming chummy with groups of writers and readers online. The theory is if you're sincere and share something of yourself a relationship will bloom and from relationships evolve all good things, right? Anyhow, you get the picture.

 

What did I have to lose? Say again, what did I have to lose? Nothing. All, right maybe dignity, but how bad could it be?

 

Goodreads is a big proponent of the benefit of participating in groups. I joined three; two were dead and the few active members of the one that was functioning were so ostentatious I couldn't stand it.

 

Internet group snobs - who'd have known.

 

I registered with Amazon's Write on, "a place for all the people who make great writing happen. Here, "you can get support and provide feedback at every stage of the creative process." Very quickly it becomes apparent this site is populated primarily by new writers - very new writers, many whom have no desire to go further. They write their stories, post them on the site and receive positive, if specious, comments that feed their delusion. Go deeper into the site and there are some very toxic groups - interesting but not illuminating.

 

Then there's Wattpad and Inkitt. Both these sites are primarily populated by teenagers - seriously. However, moving forward with the "what have I got to lose" attitude I decided to participate.

 

I began writing a story for the target audience just to see what kind of response I'd get. It's actually been fun, submitting chapters and seeing how many hits you get - not many. Here's the link to The Rocker and the Bird Girl.

 

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/romance/85760?ref=a_f0008a76-bbb3-4b9e-b291-bd01bbc0e8ce&utm_source=share_author_reminder

 

I also contributed mini reviews for a number or works posted on Inkitt. It's safe to say very few writers on this site understand the basic structure of a story - though some have been less hostile than others in regards to learning about it.

 

This sojourn into internet socialization has been exhausting and fruitless. My time is better spent trying to sustain my Advance Reading Team e-mail list which seems to diminish with every campaign I send out - a disturbing trend.

 

You can help bolster it by signing up if you like and get free e-books, discounts and interesting links to other writing stuff from time to time. Click here to sign up.

http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

In 2017 I'll focus on East Van Saturday Night - four short stories and a novella, currently being considered by a traditional publisher, and re-releasing under my own name Not Wonder More - Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients, the third book in the Eco-Warrior Series when my publisher finally relinquishes the rights.

 

I currently have two works in progress that are introducing me to fascinating characters including an asexual politician, a passionate ornithology student and a ass-kicking rock guitarist who studied at Juilliard. I'm learning new things and visiting exotic places.

 

And they say a writer's life is lonely.

 

Achievements (?) in 2016

 

Self-published Abandoned Dreams (March 22)

Resurrected and self-published two plays, Harry's Truth (July 15) and End of The Rope (August 16)

Self-published The Local Rag (October 8)

Read and reviewed 12 books

Wrote and posted 34 blogs

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

 

30

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

Thanks for your interest and support in 2016

 

Thanks to all my 442 followers (isn't that amazing!) for your interest and support in 2016.

 

Resolutions? Only to try to write better.

 

In 2017 it's more important than ever to

Stay Calm, Be Brave, and Watch for the Signs

Today only, Dec. 15, 2016, The e-book edition of The LOCAL RAG is FREE on Amazon

The Local Rag - Rod Raglin

 

Today only, Dec. 15, 2016

The E-book edition of The LOCAL RAG

is FREE on Amazon at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Here's what the reviews are saying...

 

★★★★★ "...a story which pits an individual trying to do what’s right when it comes to reporting the news against those who would rather keep the status quo in keeping what happens somewhere stays there, I’ve given Mr. Raglin 5 STARS for his endeavor here."

 

★★★★★ "A very well written media/political thriller book. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns and a huge set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great political thriller movie, or better yet a mini TV series. A very easy rating of 5 stars."

 

★★★★★"...an engrossing and exciting story that moves quickly. The narrative comes alive because the characters are three dimensional. This is a novel well worth reading. Highly recommended."

 

★★★★★ "Interesting plot, fast-moving story, well-developed characters. Not only well presented but also very realistic. A whole range of characters, with all their good and bad sides. Many twists and turns, not always with a happy ending. Rod Raglin is definitely good at writing and gripping the readers' attention from the very first page. He managed to put so many levels in this book - corruption, drugs, murder, threats, politics. Yet, there is also place for love and friendship. He not only presents his story, he challenges his readers to get actively involved, to start asking questions and reconsidering their own life decisions."

 

★★★★"Raglin’s Local Rag grips us with a dose of reality not seen on most major media. His story highlights the control over the minds of the public by special money factions. Readers have only to see similarities with today." "...challenges readers with the ethics of seeking justice, money control, and the role of an independent media." "... hits the reader with the overwhelming forces in our life."

-Tom Pope, Bookpleasures.com

The Illegal reads like a fairy tale, poorly written

The Illegal: A Novel - Lawrence Hill

Zantoroland is a small island ruled by an evil dictator. People from Zantoroland are black, poor and friendly. The only thing good about Zantoroland is it produces the fastest long distant runners in the world. Keita, the protagonist is one of them.

 

Fifteen hundred kilometres across the Sea of Ortiz is Freedom State, a far larger island, a democracy and one of the wealthiest nations in the world. People from Freedom State are mostly white, mostly rich and mostly bigots.

 

The people of Zantoroland are trying to get to Freedom State anyway they can for obvious reasons. The people of Freedom State are tired of illegal immigrants for obvious reasons and have elected a quasi-fascist government to find and deport them.

 

When Keita's father is murdered by the evil dictator he must flee and ends up in Freedom State. Unfortunately, the evil dictator has kidnapped his sister and is demanding Keita pay a ransom for her release.

 

As an illegal the only way Keita can make money to pay the ransom is to win long distance races. This is the premise behind The Illegal by Lawrence Hill.

 

This preposterous plot is further hobbled by stereotypical characters including the aforementioned evil dictator, a whore with a heart of gold, a female cop that answers to love rather than her commander, a feisty old lady, and a sleazy, unethical prime minister and his sociopathic assistant.

 

The political machinations in The Illegal are convoluted to the point of being ridiculous.

 

On every level, except for the running, this novel lacks authenticity and credibility. The first sentence of The Illegal should have began , "Once upon a time..." The last, "And they lived happily, ever after."

 

# 7 The LOCAL RAG. Putting everything I know into a book launch and achieving nothing

The Local Rag - Rod Raglin

 

How I came to write my seventh novel, The LOCAL RAG.

Plus book launch advice - what doesn't work

 

The LOCAL RAG was my first go at fiction - a long, long time ago.

 

At the time I was full of hubris and upon completion quickly sent it to a local publisher. I don't even remember revising it.

 

It just so happened it landed on the desk of an editor who recognized my name as the publisher and editor of five community newspapers and an aspiring politico. Rather than shred it she took the time to line edit the first chapter. Suffice to say there was so much "blue pencil" it obscured the original manuscript.

 

I quickly hid this embarrassment in the back of my filing cabinet and would have forgot about it except for her comment that "there's a good story in here somewhere". I thought so too, all I needed to do was learn how to write it.

 

With the demise of so many reputable media outlets and the rise of just as many disreputable ones I had been thinking about writing a novel with a media theme. I wanted to investigate "citizen journalism", the influence of social media, and digital technology on my profession. Why not have a protagonist, a publisher and a journalist, who is struggling to keep his professional integrity while confronted with technological and financial challenges.

 

Hey, that's what The LOCAL RAG is about, and maybe I now know enough about the craft that I can write it.

 

I dug it out, sucked it up, and read it.

 

Wow, was it bad. But, as the editor had said, there indeed was a story in there and it was the one I wanted to tell.

 

It's quite interesting that as you become a better writer you write simpler. New writers and bad writers use way too many words. I cut about forty percent of the novel and then set about layering in characterization, motivation and honing the plot line. I also needed to bring it up to date technologically and to do that researched successful online newspaper models.

 

It was fun, it was exciting and a side benefit was that I learned how to put the last of the community newspapers I still publish online.

 

Here's the gist of it:

 

Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers?

 

Jim Mitchell doesn't.

 

He's a journalist and the publisher and editor of a community newspaper, The Sentinel.

 

He gave up a career with big media because he couldn't justify their choice of what to cover, couldn't tolerate the way they edited his stories and would not be implicit in misleading the public to benefit some hidden corporate agenda.

 

When he bought The Sentinel he thought all that would end. Being owner of "the local rag" he could select the stories, edit the copy and make sure the interests of the community were served.

 

He would print the truth - no slant, no bias, no spin, and he'd make a living doing it.

 

He was wrong.

 

Right from the beginning Jim's brand of reportage rankles some powerful people, people who pay his bills. Then there's the new competitor, a multinational media conglomerate that's expanding its generic community newspaper format into The Sentinel's market area.

 

Soon it's a struggle for The Sentinel to make a profit and for Jim to keep true to his uncompromising ethic.

 

When his best friend, Anthony Bravaro decides to run for mayor Jim's hopeful he'll be an honest politician.

 

Hope turns to dismay as Jim watches the quest for power turn a good man bad. Tony's campaign tests Jim's professional objectivity and personal integrity.

 

When Jim confronts his friend with damaging information that could end his run for public office he finds out how far Tony's prepared to go to win the mayor's seat - farther than he could ever have imagined.

 

 

This being my seventh novel I tried everything the so-called experts insist makes for a successful book launch.

 

Beginning in October, The LOCAL RAG was available for pre-order and entered in KindleScout, where readers could nominate it. I did a direct mail campaign with a free e-book advanced reading copy attached to over two hundred people who had expressed interest in my work. I ran giveaways on Goodreads, BookLikes and LibraryThing and enrolled in Amazon's KindleSelect so I could take advantage of their five days where The LOCAL RAG is available free.

 

I promoted all this on Twitter and Facebook and sent two follow-up messages to my email list.

 

So far I've given away about four hundred e-book editions and the net result has been one sale - I think ( I find Amazon's royalty reports are challenging to understand) and four reviews - all flattering mind you, but disappointing just the same.

 

I'm here to tell you despite what the book marketing, book launch scammers tell you none of their sure-fire techniques and gimmicks has worked (yet) - at least for me. The only up side, if you can call it that, is I've been able to do all this marketing on my own so it hasn't cost me anything.

 

I have two more Amazon free days left and am currently in the process of sending out e-books and two paperbacks to winners of my giveaways so there still could be a review or two trickle in from that - not like it will make a difference.

 

Even for a guy who loves to write this is getting a bit (?) frustrating.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

30

 

Reviews for The LOCAL RAG can be read at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Love transcending

The Story Hour - Thrity Umrigar

In the Story Hour, an arrange marriage finds Lakshmi, a woman from a small town in India, working in her husband's restaurant in the American midwest. She is exhausted, unhappy, isolated. She attempts suicide and comes under the care of Maggie, a psychologist and African American.

 

Maggie is married to an Indian, Sudhir, who came as a student and stayed on to become a professor and American citizen.

 

Maggie and Lakshmi are from different cultures, have different family dynamics but their similarities as women, indeed as human beings transcends the patient doctor relationship and finds them becoming friends.

 

Gradually understanding grows and with Maggie's help and guidance economic disparity between the two diminishes.

 

But when secrets are revealed both judge each other unfairly in the most part because, despite their affection for each other, it's impossible for each to overcome the biases ingrained by culture.

 

The relationship seems irreparably damaged but one woman is prepared to risk everything for make it right again.

 

Author Thrity Umrigar really shines a light on how our background and different cultures frame the way we see ourselves, our fellow human beings and the world around us. It's also a realistic, compassionate and hopeful look at the lives of millions of immigrant women from third world countries who come to reside in the west.

 

The story has depth, humour, passion and compassion and remarkable insight. A true novel for the twenty-first century.

 

 

2 days left to win 1 of 200 e-book editions of The LOCAL RAG

The Local Rag - Rod Raglin

The LOCAL RAG

All Jim Mitchell wants to do is publish an honest newspaper - and not get killed for doing it.

 

UNTIL DECEMBER 4TH ONLY

Enter to win 1 of 200 e-book editions of The LOCAL RAG at

https://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list

http://booklikes.com/giveaways/show/2367/the-local-rag-rod-raglin

and 1 of 2 paperbacks at

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/209419-the-local-rag

The LOCAL RAG (E-book) is FREE ON AMAZON

 

Here's what the reviews are saying...

 

★★★★★ "A very well written media/political thriller. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns and a huge set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great political thriller movie, or better yet a mini TV series. A very easy rating of 5 stars."

 

★★★★★"...an engrossing and exciting story that moves quickly. The narrative comes alive because the characters are three dimensional. This is a novel well worth reading. Highly recommended."

 

★★★★★ "Interesting plot, fast-moving story, well-developed characters. Not only well presented but also very realistic. A whole range of characters, with all their good and bad sides. Many twists and turns, not always with a happy ending. Rod Raglin is definitely good at writing and gripping the readers' attention from the very first page. He managed to put so many levels in this book - corruption, drugs, murder, threats, politics. Yet, there is also place for love and friendship. He not only presents his story, he challenges his readers to get actively involved, to start asking questions and reconsidering their own life decisions."

 

★★★★"Raglin’s Local Rag grips us with a dose of reality not seen on most major media. His story highlights the control over the minds of the public by special money factions. Readers have only to see similarities with today."

"...challenges readers with the ethics of seeking justice, money control, and the role of an independent media."

"... hits the reader with the overwhelming forces in our life."

-Tom Pope, Bookpleasures.com

 

 

Practical, professional advice on how to write your memoir

Writing Memoir: The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life - Jerry Payne

Jerry Payne is a ghost writer, he writes for other people. Mostly he writes memoirs.

 

He feels, and rightly so "there is something profoundly revelatory in exploring a life to the depth that’s required to write about it." He suggests an honest memoir does just that. In his book, Writing MEMOIR, The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life,

 

Payne is also honest in his assessment of those who want to take this project on. Some people just can't write, others can't be honest with themselves. However, if you have a proclivity for writing and can be honest with yourself this book is an excellent guide.

 

First and foremost, Payne points out that a memoir is not the story of your life but a story of an interesting part of your life. He suggests you approach your memoir as an author approaches a novel defining goal, motivation and conflict and establishing a story arc. If you don't know what all this means, he explains it.

 

He also offers writing advice - how to "show" (action) rather than "tell" (summary and passive). There's also information how to effectively revise and polish your work and when that's done how to go about attempting to find a traditional publisher or to self-publish.

 

Writing Memoir is not the work of an angst-ridden author telling you how he or she struggled to come to grips with writing their own story. It is a very readable practical guide, excellently presented by a seasoned professional.

 

As a facilitator of creative writing circles at which many of the participants are writing a memoir I would recommend Writing MEMOIR, The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life over all other books I've read on this subject.

 

I receive this e-book free in the hopes of an honest review.