Tag Archives: indie authors

Interview: Greg Lentz, Author of The Nexus Complex-A Personal Guide to Truth

Greg Lentz Photo SmallGreg lives in Texas and is a musician, mountain biker, snow skier, and Shotokan black belt. Searching for Truth most of his life, he discovered a large part of it while enduring the pain of personal loss. His pets Max, Mikey, and Newt helped show him the rest. The answer was Love. He spent over twelve years researching, testing, and writing his book, The Nexus Complex: A Personal Guide to Truth, to share this comprehensive look into the human condition and our eternal quest for happiness.

The Nexus Complex Cover-Large

  • Title: The Nexus Complex: A Personal Guide to Truth
  • Genre: Non-Fiction (Self-Help/Motivational)
  • Publisher: Greg Lentz (indie author)
  • Publication Dates:  Print 1 Dec. 2013,  Ebook 19 Jan. 2013

Synopsis: After seeking Truth for years, I finally realized it had been staring me in the face all along. It took some personal loss in my life to help me discover that Truth had always been trying to tell me, “Love is the answer”. Once I began to understand the powerful implications of this revelation, I wanted to find a way to help others find Truth and experience the same thing. So, I began a twelve year journey to design a system that shared this knowledge in hopes of offering people a new understanding of what Truth continually illustrates to humankind; there is no higher inspiration than Love! The book reformats data on the mysteries of Truth typically provided by world religions and philosophies into an insightful system that is easy to understand and implement. The Nexus Complex is built upon a three-tiered foundation that presents:

  1.  The actuality of various social aspects of Truth.
  2. A method to prove this actuality.
  3. A process to apply this verified knowledge.

Through a cohesive design of concepts, techniques, and methodologies, the system shows the reader how to reconfigure themselves towards advanced levels of self-enlightenment. The common desire all human beings have is to experience happiness. Although this may seem elusive (especially with life’s difficulties), The Nexus Complex states it’s not…if we can comprehend Truth’s social mechanics. By knowing what, how, and why Truth dictates what is and is not beneficial for us, happiness can be created at will. One thing is certain, this is not your typical self-help book!

Amazon Kindle Link 

Amazon Paperback Link

Website: http://thenexuscomplex.com/

For readers who enjoy ebooks on Kindle, The Nexus Complex is offered as a free download three days in March (3/22 through 3/24).

INTERVIEW

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
Currently, I’m only writing non-fiction but I’m spending all my free time promoting my book The Nexus Complex: A Personal Guide to Truth. I wrote the book because I have a driving passion to spread Truth and help others find it to improve their lives.

 
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
This is an interesting question for me since I don’t really consider myself a writer but rather, a visionary who writes. So, I didn’t realize I wanted to write. Instead, I had a specific message to tell people and writing was a way for me to put it down into a lasting format they could utilize at their own pace. Writing the book also produced a product that would be viable for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot about the craft of writing (at least in my genre) through the process of completing this book. I did a ton of research and my editors helped me enormously. I can’t say enough about the importance of working with a good editor. In my opinion, it’s mandatory…especially for new authors like myself.

 
Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
Exposing Truth to enlighten the others was my motivation but Love was my inspiration. I wanted to help people discover the power of Truth and Love to help them transform themselves and their lives in ways they may have not been aware. If you honestly think about it, what better inspiration is there to do anything other than Love? It brings the highest benefit to everything we can possibly hope to achieve in our lives because it positively affects everything we feel, think, say, do and experience.

 
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Hmm…that’s a good question because I have so many interests in life. I’d have to say one of my favorite things to do is have a few friends over for dinner and a bottle of wine and then settle in for a delicious discussion of life. Intellectual stimulus is a turn-on for me and I love to engage with the minds of other people through sharing our feelings and thoughts with one another. It brings us closer and helps us to really know each other in a way that promotes wonderful relationships. When I can reveal my deepest desires to others and they do the same with me, it’s an exhilarating experience to share such intimacy…even on an intellectual level. Other than that, I love spending time out in nature (I especially love animals), snow skiing, and mountain biking. I also do quite a bit of study into relativity, quantum physics, string, theory, and cosmology. Anything having to do with the cosmos fascinates me.

 
Where are you from originally?  Family?
I was born in Houston, Texas where most of my family still lives. I keep in touch with my mother, father, and brother on a regular basis.

 
Is there anything unique about your upbringing that you’d like to share with readers?
My parents were divorced when I was two years old and my brother and I were raised by my mother. She’s such a wonderful person and did an incredible job of raising two boys as a single mom. I can’t say enough about what a great upbringing she provided us. It was full of love, support, and kindness. I did see my father fairly regularly throughout my childhood but I have to say that every child needs a family everyday of their lives including both a mother and a father. In my opinion, it’s essential for both to be integral parts of a child’s life on a daily basis.

 
Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?
Well, I’m all over the web. I do some Tweets, Facebook, and (now) Google+ posting as well as participating in some group discussions here and there. I also can get caught up in a YouTube spree at times. Sheesh, once you get going there, you have force yourself to stop! In addition, sometimes I’ll get on the web and just start Googling thoughts and interests to see where they take me. The internet is such a huge place to explore.

 
What types of books do you like to read?
To be honest, I wouldn’t call myself an avid reader. As I said, I love to interact personally with people. I guess I’m “old-school” because I don’t even like to text as I’d much rather actually talk to someone. However, when I read, I tend to gravitate to non-fiction since it stimulates the intellectual side of me. I’m always eager to learn something and get my mind entwined in thought and contemplation. Although, this is usually the case, I have been known to read some fiction but particularly, science fiction and fantasy. This comes from my interest in cosmology and my younger days of playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends as well as my love for computer gaming. Right now, I’m reading Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe by Robert Lanza and Bob Berman.

 
What would you like readers to know about you the individual?
I’d like them to see that I truly have their best interest in mind. I want them to know that I spent many years producing The Nexus Complex to help them understand how and why Truth affects every conceivable facet of their lives. My greatest hope is that humanity can someday rise above of our propensity to choose Fear and begin to transform into a Love-based species. My efforts to accomplish this goal are reflected in my book and I’m trying to do my part in the grand scheme by helping others…even if it’s one person at a time.

 
Who are your favorite authors and why?
Writers that move me emotionally and particularly intellectually are special. To this point, I’d have to say some of my favorites are Ayn Rand, Neal Donald Walsch, Echkart Tolle, Larry Niven, Frank Herbert, J. R.R. Tolkien, and R.A. Salvatore. Of course, Shakespeare was a master with words and his work is true artistry. The way he crafted common speech into a form of art is astonishing and intrinsically beautiful. In my opinion, writing is the essence of creating art from the use of words and he was (and still is) the best from my perspective.

 
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.

That’s a difficult question to answer but probably, it’s that I’m an accomplished vocalist and songwriter. I studied music in college and was in the music business for almost seventeen years as a frontman for various bands where I grew up. Yep…it’s true.

Your Writing Process

Why do you write?
As I said earlier, I write to communicate my journey to discover Truth. Although this path was incredibly profound for me personally, I became motivated to share it with others to help them make sense of the many aspects of Truth in their lives. I found that the motivation continually inspired Love and spreading it to as many other people as possible became my passion. During this process, I also discovered that the more I shared Truth with others, the more I benefited from doing so. Love has a way of replicating itself in our lives when we share it unconditionally!

 
What excites you about writing?
The thing that excites me the most about writing is taking my thoughts, feelings, and experiences and transforming them into a medium that transfers them to another person. Hopefully, it does so in a way that affects them in a positive light. It’s fascinating how we can transmit data from within us to another person and then, it alters them in some way. To me, this is the essence of art and communication. It’s a wonderful capability we have to connect with one another.

 
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I work until my fingers bleed and my brain begins to smolder. During the writing of The Nexus Complex, I had many sessions where I would be at the computer for over fifteen hours. On some occasions, I was writing for over twenty hours straight! Due to the subject matter of the book, it’s design elements, and the previous years before beginning the project when I was formulating the concepts and techniques it includes…I was filled with an immense amount of energy and drive to put all my thoughts down into this work. Each writing session compelled me to meticulously craft my “masterpiece” in a way that would be thought-provoking and profound to the reader. I can say the one thing The Nexus Complex does is get the reader thinking deeply about Truth in ways they may never have imagined before.

 
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Absolutely. I’d advise they do some research to learn their craft. There are plenty of resources and workshops out there to help them out in this area. I’d also say it’s important to free their mind of their own subjectivity because it’s so easy for us to get confined within ourselves and not see the forest for the trees. What might seem interesting to us may be boring to others so it’s a good idea to let family, friends, and associates proof-read the manuscript along the way and when it’s completed. I know this from experience since I looked at my work for so many hours that I’d miss things other people would notice.

Although I can talk about The Nexus Complex until the “cows come home”, I really don’t want to look at the manuscript right now. It’s seared into my brain and I’m a little burned out on reading it since I spent several thousand hours across six years of writing and editing. That’s why other peoples’ insights on a manuscript are so valuable. I’d also strongly suggest any aspiring to writer hire a good editor. In fact, I would say it’s mandatory. An editor is invaluable in polishing the manuscript in so many ways that most writers cannot accomplish. Plus, they provide another objective opinion to help support the author in producing a professional work. Again, I can’t stress this point enough.

In addition, not only does any author these days need to be willing to promote their book(s) but also, they need to be knowledgeable in how to do so. This is especially the case if they’re an independent and aren’t actively seeking an agent or the New York houses. The choice to go indie or not is always a big question for new authors. Both have their pros and cons so do your research and in either case, be ready to spend the time and money it will definitely take to get your work out there to the public. A great book with a weak marketing plan has little change to be successful.

Lastly, I’d say any new author should develop a thick skin and a will to press onwards. Not everyone is going to see the beauty in your masterpiece so be ready for some rejection, brush it off as subjective opinion (which it is), and move on. Determination is a powerful force in your success. Oh…one more thing. Work on your craft. Write more books. Get all the advice you can about writing and marketing books. Never stop gaining knowledge that will help you to be successful.

 
Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?
Well, The Nexus Complex and other possible spin-offs will keep me busy for a while. I also plan on doing speaking seminars and hopefully, mainstream media interviews and talk shows. The Nexus Complex has so much potential to transfer to other forms of media. However, I’ve noticed a little voice in me lately that whispers, “Try your hand at some riveting fiction. Let your imagination run wild and create something new”. Whether or not I’ll ever do it is unknown at this point but I have to say it’s an intriguing idea that’s got me interested.

 
Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?
When I’m writing, I’m completely focused on transferring my mindset to the manuscript. I don’t want anything to interfere with that process so I don’t listen to music, watch the television, or have anyone near me to get me off track. I don’t know how this will work if I ever write any fiction but due to the intense subject matter and design of The Nexus Complex, any outside interference was not an option for me. It was difficult enough to complete this book without any distractions!

 
Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?
Clean the cat litter box but I dearly love my cat Newt and as unglamorous as it is to clean his box, it’s really a labor of love.

 
What would you like readers to know about you the writer?
I’d like them to know that I’m a person who wants to help people find happiness in their lives through learning how to unconditionally love themselves and others. We have far too much Fear in this world and not near enough Love.

 
What is the best and worst writing advice you have ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received is to learn how to forgive. This means to not only forgive others but myself as well. The worst advice would probably be that money provides happiness. That seems to the predominant message throughout human history and it’s quite evident today too.

 
Do you have a system for writing?
For The Nexus Complex, I did have to develop a system for writing since the book is a system itself. I spent years thinking, observing, asking questions, testing, re-working, and re-testing the fundamental concepts and techniques in the book before I even began the writing process. When I started to write, all my thoughts and experiences from the pre-writing phase just came pouring out of me. I was so excited to be actually writing the book I lost sight of how it should be written. Initially, it was a form of descriptive non-fiction meshed with prose. I soon realized this would simply not work for what I was trying to accomplish because the book contains such a wide range and comprehensive set of data that this style would only confuse the reader. It was just too much information to process. So, I decided to design a “system” where the information was compartmentalized within three main goals:

1.    A presentation of what Truth is and how/why it operates.
2.    A method for the reader to verify this data.
3.    A process for the reader to apply the verified data in their life.

Once this was done, I separated all the various concepts, techniques, and instructions into these three areas. Then, I arranged the parts to correlate with the goal of each section. After this structure was completed, I began writing. Still, due to the deeply fundamental nature of the material and the distinct possibility that each reader would be challenged to remain objective, I had to be diligent in presenting the data in a way that was compelling and difficult to argue. This would be a key design element in helping the reader to acknowledge the material as being viable for understanding and accepting it as Truth (conceptually). So, yes…there was a specific design and a definite method to my madness!

 
Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?
For this book, no I didn’t because I knew my editor would be stripping the manuscript down to an appropriate length based on its subject matter and content. Oh and believe me, she did. The manuscript went from about six-hundred pages to a little over four-hundred! Regarding the amount of hours I wrote each day, I worked until either my eyes lost focus or my brain couldn’t transfer the data. It’s funny because I remember times when I’d be staring at the screen, dazed and lost in time. Then, I’d snap out of it ten minutes later and see the cursor blinking in the same spot as before! I even fell asleep at the keyboard on more than one occasion! It was writing sessions like those when I knew it was time to get some sleep.

 
What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?
Unquestionably, it was when someone read the book (or parts of it) or when I had the opportunity to talk to people about it and they told me it was so profound that everyone should read it. I knew I was on the right track when I repeatedly saw people were altered in some way by the book’s message. Yeah, that was very uplifting!

Your Books

Is The Nexus Complex a religious or New Age self-help book?
That’s a relevant question and one I’m asked quite often. Although many readers will certainly try to correlate The Nexus Complex with their personal beliefs regarding Truth (whether religious, New Age, or otherwise), it was not designed to present data from these perspectives. It uses a pragmatic approach to look at Truth. For instance, the book specifically informs the reader that it doesn’t intend to explain such topics as the existence of God(s), spiritual realms, the afterlife, ghosts, demons, reincarnation, etc….nor does it. In fact, it doesn’t offer any “viewpoints” whatsoever but rather, it presents the actual state of various social mechanics governed by Truth as well as how and why they affect humans beings and their relationships.

Another important point to make is that it doesn’t attempt to offer any explanations of the origin or source of Truth. There is a good reason it takes this approach to all of these topics; they cannot be unquestionably verified. This is why humanity has created so many belief systems in the first place. We have been unable to universally agree on these topics because no one has provided unassailable proof of them…at least not yet. However, though The Nexus doesn’t delve into these areas, it does present that in whatever way Truth came into being, it exists in an observable and verifiable state of operation.

In other words, the book is not concerned with Truth’s origin because it can’t be proven but it is very concerned with illustrating how Truth functions in regard to human social dynamics. These aspects can absolutely be observed and verified to operate in a particular manner and The Nexus Complex was designed to help a person know how to do this. So, even though readers may initially associate the book with religion or New Age postulation, it simply doesn’t fit into those categories. Of course, during and after reading the book, they’ll understand this more clearly.

 
Why should a person consider observing and verifying Truth in the first place?
That’s another excellent question. It’s quite simple really. The basic answer is to know what is and is not in their best interest to experience true states of happiness. Let me to explain this a bit further. The Nexus Complex says that all human beings have the same, innate desire to experience happiness. It also presents that Truth exists in a state of actuality and this state will illustrate benefit and non-benefit regarding the choices we create in our attempt to experience happiness.

Furthermore, it says that if this state is not known neutrally, accurately, and comprehensively (three very important prerequisites), the only thing we have left to understand Truth and its aspects such as what happiness is and how it is actually produced…is our perceptions. If these perceptions don’t correspond to Truth’s actual state, we will have all sorts of distorted interpretations about it that vary wildly from on person to another, from one culture to another, and so on. As a result, we will have varied and incompatible perceptions of happiness and how to achieve it.

For example, a thief may perceive stealing from others provides them with happiness while a philanthropist perceives giving to others produces happiness. Both have the same goal yet very different methods of accomplishing it. If a person had a way to observe and verify Truth such as what it dictates as being actually beneficial and non-beneficial for experiencing happiness, they would be more successful in accomplishing this goal. This is one of the many things The Nexus Complex teaches people how to do but even more important, it shows them why it’s in their best interest to do so. Here’s a simple example to illustrate the problems caused by Perceived Truth and why it’s in our best interest to discard them and replace them with verified knowledge of Actual Truth.

If a person perceives that money provides happiness, they will naturally pursue money to be happy. They will correlate more money to more happiness and vice versa. However, if Actual Truth dictates that money is incapable of producing happiness, they will never truly accomplish their goal. In fact, based on their perception, their level of happiness will fluctuate dramatically depending on the amount of money they possess.

In essence, their inaccurate Perceived Truth causes them to be ignorant of Actual Truth and thus, they will never experience true happiness but rather, a perception of it. What’s more alarming is that they will be unaware they even have a perception. They will not know that they do not know! Conversely, if they knew the actuality of Truth, they would know money does not produce happiness and they would find it inconceivable to pursue money for this purpose. Instead, they would create choices that actually produced happiness as dictated by Truth. This is just one example illustrating why it’s so important to know Truth’s actuality through observation and verification while eliminating any inaccurate perceptions of it.

 
Why is The Nexus Complex different from other similar books in the genre?
There are three basic reasons why this is the case and fourth fundamental reason as well:

1.    It doesn’t present presumptions of Truth social aspects but rather, their actuality. Initially, this might appear to be a controversial statement to the reader but as they continue through the book, it viability will become clear.
2.    It provides a method to prove the actuality of these aspects. This might also seem to be controversial but again, the book will support the statement as credible.
3.    It offers a specific process that shows the reader how and why to apply verified knowledge of Truth in their life.

The overall reason The Nexus Complex differs from other books in this genre is that it’s a complete system designed to provide the reader with comprehensive data to actually produce higher states of self-enlightenment. Not only does it guide a person in how and why to accomplish this goal, it shows them how to monitor whether they have done so or not. Of course, one thing must be said here about everything the book presents; it all depends on what the person wants to achieve. However, that’s another topic entirely but The Nexus Complex goes into detail about it as well.

 
Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?

Prepared.

 
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Only one at this point in my writing career, The Nexus Complex and of course, by default, it’s my favorite. However, I’d have to say that no matter how many other books I may write, this one will remain my favorite because of the important goal it was designed to accomplish. It’s really dear to my heart!

When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?
Not at all. In general, there will be people who are simply not ready for The Nexus Complex because they will not be ready to accept Truth itself. Truth can be a harsh mistress if a person is not comfortable with acknowledging things about them and their life that might shine an unfavorable light. On the other hand, many people can and will do this. Therefore, I’m not nervous since I already know there will be a wide range of reactions to this book simply due to its controversial and highly subjective subject matter. Actually, I’m looking forward to engaging in the coming discussions, arguments, and debates. As I said previously, I’m prepared…because I know the material inside and out. Moreover, I’ve lived it. So, I can honestly say that I’ve “walked the walk”.

 
What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?
Hopefully, a blog tour, media interviews, seminars, and other means to interact with readers and potential readers. I’m also looking into releasing an audio version of The Nexus Complex as well as a workbook. Several people have suggested writing other books that use The Nexus Complex to look at specific human social topics such as personal relationships, education, business, government, religion and even a version for children. These won’t appear in the coming months but may possibly be in the works a bit later.

 
What story haven’t you written yet but would like to? Is there anything holding you back from writing it?
Hmm…that’s another good question. I think I might be interested in someday writing a fiction novel of a person’s journey toward understanding Truth with all the ups and downs in their life to reach self-enlightenment…or fail to reach it. Either way, it would be an interesting look at the human condition. I wouldn’t say anything is holding me back but instead, I just have a lot more work to do in presenting The Nexus Complex to the world before I entertain other projects. Trust me, this could be a lifelong project in itself!

 
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
For The Nexus Complex, my research mainly consisted of three process I present in the book:

1.    Data Processing
2.    Verification
3.    Application

Basically, these involve observation to conceptually discern Truth’s actual state, proving this state is actual, and then, applying this knowledge in the form of specific choices to produce benefit to the self, others, and the environment. I did a lot of observation of people currently living and those who lived in the past. Then, I began to observe myself and test the design elements on a personal level. These were in the preparation stages before the actual writing began. Along the way, others close to me were also testing the principles found in The Nexus Complex and their input was very helpful.

Although this was the predominant method, I also did quite a bit of research on various perspectives from philosophy, psychology, and religion. Even though these were helpful to support the information I was presenting, The Nexus Complex is not based on these perspectives but rather, observation and testing of how and why Truth functions in actuality. I have to say that using the three bullet points mentioned above as research altered my life forever in a positive way. Therefore, I truly enjoyed this research. It enlightened me to a greater level of knowledge and experiences regarding Truth and resulted in allowing me to be happier and to love more often. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?

 
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
I didn’t have an agent or publisher so there was no deadline. Even if one had been proposed, I would make it clear that due to what The Nexus Complex was designed to do, it would take as long as it would take. If they didn’t like that answer, I would have been perfectly happy parting ways before the ink hit the contracts. This book is about helping people in dramatic ways rather than making me or anyone else rich and/or famous. That may sound too altruistic or even naive to some people but those were not the reasons I wrote the book…so I’m not concerned with such criticisms.

 
If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover?
I have to say it was exhilarating! After taking almost twelve years to get this book completed, holding it my hand was affirmation of my passion, determination, and hard work. Yet, even more exciting was knowing I would finally get it in the hands of other people to help them improve their lives and maybe, with their help, start changing the world one person at a time.

 
Is there something special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?
Oh definitely. A fabulous dinner and some special time with my special someone.

Random Questions
Name one website you visit every single day.
Hmm…that’s a tough one since I’m constantly browsing the web. I’d have to say there’s not one particular website but I usually check in on my social networking sites on a daily basis. If I did visit one site, it would probably be YouTube but I don’t and for good reason…I’d never get anything done!

 
Where do you get your daily dose of news?
Ah…the news. Well, I don’t usually seek the news because all it does is remind me of what miserable shape this world is in. I don’t need to check in on the tragedies of humanity on a daily basis since I’m well aware of them. With that said, I do occasionally check the news to see what’s going on in the world but it inevitably reaffirms what I already know. I used to follow the news regularly but the information was so consistently depressing that I decided to forego it and concentrate on improving my life and helping others to the same. However, I will say that when major world events occur, I’ll be watching and reading like everyone else.

 

 

End Notes:

Red, I want to thank you for the opportunity for this interview! I hope you and your readers have enjoyed it. I certainly have and I’d love to come back and visit anytime you’d like to have me. If you or your readers would like to find out more about The Nexus Complex or contact me, please feel free to visit the website at:

http://www.thenexuscomplex.com

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Filed under Contest/Giveaway, Interviews, Non-Fiction, Writers and Writing

The LL Book Review & Updates

Just an update that may be of especial interest to the small press, self or independently published authors that I review or who are seeking reviews, I will now also be working with the staff at The LL Book Review group. This means that besides my usual auto feeds to Twitter and Facebook (and wherever else those notices filter down to), as well as my manual uploads to Goodreads and Amazon, reviews may also be posted at LL Book Review.

For those interested in being reviewed directly with their group, please visit their “Pick Me!” page, which allows the author to publicly post a review request and if accepted, check the status of their submission. I thought this was a novel idea which helps the author better understand how to compose a request and what information should be included.

Here’s a link to a great article on their site that can help all authors, whatever your experience level “12 Words Every Writer Should Know and Use”: Creativity, Storytelling, Listen, Surrender, Criticism, Time, Patience, Read, Rejection, Loneliness, Character and Fun.

In any case, The LL Book Review is another reviewing source that isn’t afraid of indie authors and their work, nor looks down on the self-published as unworthy. Believe me, I find some of your work infinitely worthy.

Other updates: Flying With Red Haircrow is again open to review requests. Please read through our Seekers of Review and About Me page to see if you’d like to submit. We are accepting on a case-by-case, limited basis at this time.

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Filed under Reviews, Updates, Writers and Writing

Sharing the Smashwords Love: My Story On Why & How I Came to Self-Publish

It began with a vampire. No, not the shiny ones or lovers and fighters on the big screen, but a virtually unknown Russian named Vlody who first appeared in my consciousness eleven years ago.

I’d been traditionally published in a few different genres a few times and though this wasn’t my main literary focus, it was a fun, dark fantasy-filled tale I wished to share with the world. Since I had positive communication with one of my publishers, I submitted “Katrdeshtr’s Redemption,” The Night Cat, Book 1, which they said was well-written but didn’t work for them, as they accepted fantasy but didn’t wish to go into this type of sub-genre. Entirely their choice, of course, but instead of queuing back in line and laboring through the submit, decline and resubmit process, since my schedule was quite busy at the time, I decided to self-publish.

I first went to Amazon as I’d heard of their self-publishing application. I searched other websites and companies also, but as I didn’t have extra cash I wished to front for publishing my work, especially considering some of the fees being charged, I kept looking. I came across Smashwords through a simple surf on the web, by entering the question, “Best place to self-publish.”

After reading the Smashwords Style Guide, and all the little steps and tics to formatting a manuscript, at first I was overwhelmed and didn’t think I could do it. But I told myself, “Hey, you wrote the book in the first place, why shouldn’t you be able to take it a step further?” With Katrdeshtr’s beautiful, immortal voice also demanding to be heard, I did exactly as the guide suggested, I set aside several hours to devote solely to editing my story, formatting and rechecking my work. Using the guide, step by step, I found it wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined it to be, it just took time and dedication: just like writing a book in the first place.

Wishing to have my story in the Premium Catalog, I made yet another nervous yet thrilling leap, as I downloaded the free graphic art application Paint.net and created the cover image layering a photo I’d taken plus free images on the web. And so my character, Katrdeshtr the Night Cat (as he renamed himself after a few hundred years finding his original, Vlody, too boring) was given the face I’d imagined and his supernatural story was presented to the world with the help of Smashwords.

Soon after that I published three more titles at Smashwords, but for a particular work of mine since it was a lighter type of fantasy set in a contemporary setting, I regressed a little, I’d call it, I was interacting with that same publisher again and though they said again it was beautifully written, they didn’t think their readers would like it and that it wasn’t personally something they’d like to read and they only published what they liked to read.

…didn’t think their readers would like it….?

….it wasn’t personally something they’d like to read…?

….they only published what they liked to read….?

 

That didn’t sit well with me at all. I believe it is the reader’s choice what they want to read, and they should be given every opportunity to find something special for them. So with pleasure and new determination, I returned to Smashwords, self-publishing the title, “The Angel of Berlin”, and though my other works have received good reviews, it has been my most successful venture to date.

My Next Steps

I asked some of my friends who are also writers, but hadn’t decided whether to publish their work or who’d admitted not wishing to go through the extremely subjective process of acceptance by traditional publishing, I told them without hesitation and with great confidence, go to Smashwords! Do it your way!

Because too many indie and self-published books are still getting shunted to the side and dismissed by review groups, on 31 October 2010, I opened my review/interview site “Flying With Red Haircrow” utilizing the knowledge and methods I’d gained as a reviewer and intake coordinator for online literary magazines.  And a few months ago, though I’d self-published my own works, I opened the indie publishing side of my brand, opening it to other authors who may need help along the independent path. I’ve been fortunate to find a partner as enthusiastic about a few projects I had in mind. At both sides, authors are welcome to submit their press releases, promos and updates to have them post, shared around and auto-fed to other sites like Amazon, Twitter and Facebook, that I am a part of.

Our slogan and mission at  “Flying With Red Haircrow”:

“Enjoying the freedom of creativity…”

  • To provide unique perspectives.
  • To provide readers with more variety.

Our quote:

“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.”

— Red Haircrow

 My Testimony

With the advertising, marketing and online interaction I take part in every day, besides the many review requests received regularly, I get a lot of email, but one of the messages I always read first whenever it appears is the newsletter from Mark Coker’s Smashwords Blog.

Helpful, honest, willing to ask and answer the hard questions about publishing and the writing industry and market in general, it always provides a level of encouragement I find absolutely indispensable. On those days I feel like everything is going wrong with my writing or have those moments of doubt on whether this was the best choice, I reread articles on that blog. It never fails to provide me with the courage and motivation I need to continue.

What are some of the tips I have for writers on self-publishing and Smashwords?

  • First of all, believe you can do it, because you can!
  • Secondly, conceive, write, edit and revise to the very best of your abilities, get help if you need it and accept constructive criticism from those who have your best interests at heart and understand you and your work. That way you can be 100% confident in whatever you produce, and when/if you do receive a review where someone didn’t like it, you still know your work and you are worthy. It just might not have suited their personal tastes.
  • Follow the Smashwords Style Guide closely. They have carefully provided a manual for your work to look as best as possible.  Presentation and quality are two of the keys to your success.
  • The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide can save you a lot of time and angst, don’t be too proud to rethink things when you need to. Remain true to your purpose, but also be willing to adapt as the ebook publishing industry is continuing to evolve.
  • Even on those days when you feel sales aren’t meeting your expectations, or you’d think about what more you could do to make your books a success, take time out to read other writer’s heartfelt expressions of how Smashwords helped them achieve their goal of being published. Sharing the proverbial love is a great way to receive positive feedback and support. Help other and help yourself. Visit the Smashwords page on Facebook. Reach out to others, as there are plenty of indie enthusiasts out there.

And just a few tips for writers from the standpoint of a reviewer:

  • No matter what the reviewer says, remember you took the steps to write, publish and share you work, and for that alone you might be congratulated.
  • For reviews where constructive criticism is offered in an objective way, take it for what it is. No writer is infallible, and we can see that when even well-known and widely successful writers are critiqued heavily. Take it as encouragement to improve your craft, something we can all try to do, whatever level we’re on.
  • Reviews are inherently subjective. Even though it’s hard to receive a chancy or poor review, remember that one person may not care for your work, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t either. On the other hand, if you find a number of people saying the same thing, this should give you an indication of what might need attention.

What Smashwords can do for you and what I love most about them!

Smashwords is an excellent website and great opportunity both for authors and publishers to get their work out there were readers can read it!

After writing your blurb and description, deciding on the genre and tags for your work, and creating or commissioning a cover image (if you would like to be included in the premium catalog), you can take your well-edited manuscript saved as a Microsoft Word file and upload it with just a few clicks then their specialty application converts it into several different formats of your choice.

After passing a necessary inspection and being checked for errors in formatting, your work will be available on the site. If your file meets further simple requirements regarding presentation, cover and quality, your ebook will be included in the Premium Catalog which ships out to online distributors like Sony, Apple, Kobo and more if you wish. You can opt in or opt out of any of these choices.

Easy to read graphs and reports can show you how your ebook is selling across the web, and you can receive notification at your personal email address whenever you have a sale on-site. If you have any questions, Smashwords has a great staff who’ll answer as soon as possible. Create your profile, add your website and feeds from other sites like Twitter and WordPress, and Smashwords can be your central location for telling readers more about yourself and your work.

The thing I love most about Smashwords is the upfront and no non-sense, yet professional and friendly approach they have. If they’ve made an oversight or error, they tell us. They regularly post site updates so you can know what’s going and to help you get as much exposure for your work as possible. It is an interaction process that I greatly appreciate because I feel they honestly and personally have my best interests as a writer at heart.

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Interview & Review of Natasha Troop’s “Lakebridge: Spring”

Review: Clean, clear, crisp writing about dark magic and sinister scenes that gave me shivers both of pleasure at the sheer skill of the writing and the unpredictable nature of the story itself. Evident from the very start, the author’s plotting and pace was perfect, with visual descriptions that were never overwhelming or heavily wrought. They suited the story’s sense of the macabre on its build to a chilling climax and a resolution that paves the way for the next entry in the Lakebridge Cycle.

Characterization was particularly a high point for me as well. There were a number of different characters interacting over the course of the novel, but each added a unique “flavor” to the narrative. Gil, the main character, was very believable for me, empathetic and distinct. The length of some of the paragraphs was the sole issue I had with Lakebridge: Spring, and unhesitatingly I look forward to the other books in the series. Absolutely thrilled to have been able to review such an outstanding novel.

Description: Vermont, picturesque and lovely, attracts visitors from across the country in search for the perfect picture, the perfect fall foliage or perhaps a taste of maple syrup. Stansbury is best known for the odd covered bridge that spans Stansbury Lake and goes nowhere, connecting no roads and serving no known purpose. The locals call it the Lakebridge. Very few know of its mysterious origins and fewer care to know more.

Those visiting the town perhaps take a few snapshots and leave, their curiosity quelled by an uneasy feeling that they shouldn’t think on it anymore. The tourists will eventually leave Stansbury, but its residents strangely linger, seemingly held captive by a force they barely recognize. They also do not think about the town’s mysterious artifact much except in passing, all but Gil, his father, Ben, and a few others. They know of the bridge’s dark history and understand that it is responsible for every horror that ever befell the people of Stansbury: the people who fear the bridge but will not speak of it.

The bridge makes people do things – bad things – so that it can continue to love and care for them all. Some have tried to destroy the bridge, but as long as the bridge is fed with the lives of the innocents of Stansbury it will go on – loving the people of Stansbury. Lakebridge: Spring is the first of a four book cycle revolving around Stansbury and the Lakebridge.

Available on Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback, 260 pages
Published April 25th 2011 by CreateSpace
ISBN 1461122503
ISBN13: 9781461122500
Source: Author

Interview with Natasha Troop

I am pleased to present an interview with Natasha Troop, a transwoman and fellow author.  For more information about her works, please follow the links to her sites:

The site for the Lakebridge Cycle: www.lakebridgecycle.com and Natasha Troop’s blog about being trans virginiastonic.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

Interview:

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

 

I write across genres, actually. I think if you stick yourself in a particular genre, you limit the scope of your work. I’ve always appreciated authors who escape the confines of bookstore sections and just write their stories as they need to be. I write what I do because an idea takes me and gets under my skin to the point that I have no choice but to get it out.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

 

I love directing plays (which I get to do as part of my teaching), playing with my children, reading and spending quiet evenings with my spouse.

 

What books are currently on your nightstand?

 

I just finished Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind, which is a brilliant novel. I’m also working my way through Ulysses and a copy of Drood by Dan Simmons is there as well.

 

Do you remember the first novel you read?

 

Indeed! It was The Hobbit. I read it when I was 7 years old.

 

This especially interesting to me, as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy was one of my first major reading endeavors as a child.

 

 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 

It depends on the time of year. But ideally, I write midday for a few hours. I try to set realistic goals, such as writing at least 2000 words a day when I’m on task. If I can stay focused, this is not difficult for me.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

 

Simple. Write something every day. Even if it’s a blog or a journal. Keep the words flowing. The easiest way to get blocked is to stop writing. It’s always easier to do nothing, so make yourself write something. Make it as important to your day as eating or drinking.

 

Have you ever had one of those profound “AH-HA!” moments while you were writing?  Would you be willing to share it?

 

I have. I was actually working on the next book in my cycle and I had envisioned a character a certain way. But when I started writing him, he took me in an entirely different direction and I was kind of stunned by it because it was so perfect for what I am doing with the books and that when I was outlining the book and the characters, it hadn’t occurred to me was surprising because of how wonderfully it fit.

 

Thanks for sharing that. It actually made me have shivers of excitement, because that’s such a special moment. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.

 

 

What story haven’t you written yet but would like to?  Is there anything holding you back from writing it?

 

I have two ideas that I have been playing with for some time. One is about the building of a pyramid and the other is about a robot. I love both pyramids and robots for some odd reason and I think it would be a lot of fun to write about either…or both. But not at the same time because the pyramid story would be kind of ruined if the robot was in it and vice versa. I could put one in the other, but not as a central focus. The only thing holding me back from writing them is that I am currently more enthusiastic about the Lakebridge Cycle and want to see it through before I move onto something else.

 

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

 

I outline the skeleton of the story as well as write out my character arcs. Once I have that down, I write the novel around it. But the outline is essential because it allows me to keep the story moving towards a goal and it allows me to know when to break a chapter.

 

If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover?  What is your favorite cover of all your paperbacks?

 

It’s pretty incredible. I cried a little bit when I got the proof for Lakebridge: Spring because it was the culmination of a lot of years of work and there it was, like this magic thing that I had dreamt of and made real. It made me feel like a real girl. I love the cover on Lakebridge. I described it to my friends and they were amazing in how they designed it almost exactly as I described it. There’s a depth to the fog that I adore.

 

 

Your Characters

 

 

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

 

My characters are drawn from my imagination and then I give them traits from either myself or other people I know. But mostly, I create them from whole cloth and breathe life into them. Once that happens, they tend to take on a life of their own and I let them guide me through the novel as much as my outline does. Occasionally, a character will surprise me and I’ll have to make major adjustments to fit what has come out in the writing. It’s important to remain flexible and open to accommodating what comes out in the writing.

 

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?

 

Nope! I just name them and don’t sweat it. I know people who work hard making their names symbolic or whatnot. I just try not to repeat names and make sure they sound natural for who they are and where they come from.

 

 

Which of your stories would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles?

 

I actually have a vampire screenplay I developed with Lions Gate Films a few years back that would make a great movie. Joshua Jackson and Sam Rockwell would be perfect for the leads.

 

 

What is your favorite restaurant you can’t do without?

 

Los Dos Molinos. Seriously, it’s the best Mexican food on the planet. Their carnitas platter is to die for. It’s the only thing that makes Phoenix livable, knowing I can have this near perfect plate of food every once and a while.

 

 

 

Name one website you visit every single day.

 

www.woobiescookies.com The best cookies in the world. And I’d even say that if I didn’t make them.

 

What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?

 

I took my kids to see Cars 2. All I can say was they loved it. And, really, that’s all that matters when you take kids to the movies.

 

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

 

The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips. It’s a complex, gorgeous and emotionally beautiful piece of music. There is no other complete collection of songs that makes me feel as this does. It’s music that washes over you and through you.

 

What’s the last album you bought?

 

Ready For This by Tim Minchin. He’s amazing. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s this brilliant Australian satirist and pianist. My spouse an I saw him live a week or so ago and there were times we just watched his hands as he played the piano. I am always awed by people who do what they do at the genius level. When I see it, I get a little jealous, but more than anything, I appreciate what they do and that there are few people who can do it as well.

 

Who is the sexiest person on TV currently (sitcom, drama, reality show, game show, etc)?

 

Joshua Jackson. Something about his everything makes me a little weak in the knees.

 

 

What is your favorite curse word?

 

Fuckmare. I invented it actually. As in, “This traffic is a fuckmare.”

 

Who was the hottest teacher you ever had?

 

Mrs. Branzei, my 8th grade science teacher. She made science sexy. I remember she met us at a movie theatre to see 2010 and my friends and I were just a little bit jealous of her husband.

 

How many drinks does it take before you get drunk?

 

That really depends on the drink, now doesn’t it? I mean, one yard of beer will get me as drunk as, let’s say, two or three vodka tonics. But I rarely drink to the point of being drunk. A glass of cabernet sauvignon is usually all I ever have these days. It’s a nice way to unwind after the business of the day.

 

Thank you again for such a wonderful interview, Natasha. You made me laugh out loud at some points, and it was just delightful reading your responses.

Best of luck in all your endeavors!

Originally posted at the Swedish online magazine, Queer Magazine Online.

 

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Filed under Horror, Interviews, Reviews, Speculative

Indie Publisher-Flying With Red Haircrow Site Now Up!


Our Mission

  • To provide unique perspectives.
  • To let the readers choose what they want to read.
*

“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.”
— Red Haircrow

 

Visit and tell us what you think…. http://theredhairedcrow.wordpress.com/

What We’re Looking For

Flying With Red Haircrow, the review/interview site opened on 31 October 2010, and I’d always had the plan to extend the brand to a small indie press/publishing venue as well. As we have publisher status at a number of online distributors, if you’d like your work included under our brand, drop us an email. Now I’ve set up the publisher page and we are open to partners, affliates and other writers who’d like to advertise their works here.  You don’t have to be indie either. Promos, guest posts, interviews or anything related to publishing or literary interests.

Flying With Red Haircrow review/interview site will continue to specialize in indie authors reviews, but this IP-Flying will be dedicated to new releases, WIP chat, announcements and updates on authors and their books. For those interested, just write us at theredhairedcrow at gmail.com with your news and posts, and they will go live as soon as possible. If you’re also slated for a review or interview, we will still be posting them at our other sites too.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, offers, or feedback, they’re very welcome.

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