Black Sea Flood Story

Hurrah! I’ve found the perfect narrator for my Copper Age flood tale! This is a 10-part historic story set 5600BC in the basin of the Black Sea, an event which many feel was the actual basis for the Noah flood story.

Please cross your fingers with me that she accepts the project!

What are you up to tonight?

Here is the FREE book one for you to try. Please download! Free!

Apparently some readers feel I am too prone to enjoying lush descriptions 🙂 . I need to tweak the marketing for this so I draw in readers who adore descriptions. Maybe the current cover is too quick-action oriented? Thoughts?

Newgate Copper Mine and Prison

Newgate Copper Mines / Prison

Hurrah! Bob and I had an absolutely amazing time today researching the Newgate copper mines / prison. It was a powerful experience to be there.

NOTHING was flat or level. The “ground” was tilted, sloped, twisting, bumpy, so you were always walking at an angle or changing tilt from step to step. This played with our minds enough just for the half hour we were down there – imagine that being your world for months? It would absolutely mess your head up.

What were you up to today?

Three of Rods / Three of Staves

Newgate Prison

Hurrah! Hurrah! My trip to Newgate Prison in East Granby is still on for Tuesday!!!! This will finally release the block on a series of novellas I write, and also start up an entirely new series! I am so thrilled!! I’m going to be in prison tomorrow!! 🙂 Let me know if you’d like a card 🙂

Three of Rods

Traditional meaning: You’ve made your plans and are now working through them. Your path is solid so far. You are able to look even further into the future. To think about additional opportunities.

You need to be ready to accept changes as part of this. Risk, too. But the path is strong beneath your feet.

This is a card of success, often coming after a period of difficulty.

The card also represents that external help may be offered. If so, consider accepting it. We all help each other out.

Aquarian Deck:

The first things to catch my eye are the three rods. They look strong. Steady. Almost phallic with energy. They have beautiful flowers on their top, representing both beauty and strength.

However, the character doesn’t seem to see them. The person looks between them. The person doesn’t see the strength that is all around.

Our main character’s back is turned to the viewer. While they are wearing armor on his head and shoulders, the entire back is practically bare. It’s almost as if they are inviting an attack from behind.

The character gazes out into the blankness of space, not looking at anything. The scene in that direction is completely white.
To me this is a card reminding us to be aware. To be attentive. To think about what we have already – and to plan for what is to come. To watch for those challenges and dangers.

Still, the character has strength. They have on armor. They are in a position of protection. They just need to do a bit more research. Become a bit more aware.

Cloister Deck:

The imagery is wholly different with this card. Where the Aquarian deck has an empty world, this one is entirely about the world. The person is in a beautiful purple cloak and hat, comfortably standing on shore. They are looking out to three ships actively sailing off into the distance. I can’t help but think about the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. That’s what comes to mind when I see three ships. They are off to explore new horizons. Take on new challenges. This is a card of joy and prosperity.

Or are they coming in? Are the ships bringing in bounty, having survived who-knows-what challenges?

Lisa Shea Medieval Novel

Cover for Medieval Book 16

OK clearly I have my work cut out for me. I am on book 16 in my medieval novel series so I’ve already used all the “reasonable” model shots. I’m going to have to heavily edit this.

Crop to just the heads – those “medieval” costumes are ridiculous. Then add in a shirt for him …

Let me know if you’d like to beta-read even a few pages of this one!

The heroine’s five brothers were starved to death by the Magnanimous but Slightly Confused King John, and now she is seeking revenge on whoever betrayed them …

Cordelia Pixie in Whitinsville MA

Pixie Series Narration

Hurrah! I found an awesome narrator for my pixie series. It’s set here in Whitinsville.

If you’re an author, you NEED to create audio versions of your books. Even the short ones. It lets you reach a massive new audience, and it also causes your existing versions (ebook, print, etc) to gain a more professional aura.

Do you guys listen to audio books?

If you’re an author, are your works available as audio books?

Aquarian Awakenings

Aquarian Awakenings

I recently finished proof-listening to the narration for book 1 in my four-part science fiction romance. The narrator did an AMAZING job. I got so sucked into my own story that I then had to re-read books 2-4 to finish it off. Ah, the challenges of being a writer :). Do you binge-read books once you get started in a storyline?

Book 1 in this series is FREE for you to read and enjoy! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Left Brain Right Brain

Is It Better to Post Videos on YouTube or Facebook?

Videos are an amazing way to connect with an audience. For followers who have trouble reading because of vision or other issues, your video can help them learn and enjoy content without the issues of looking at text letters.

If you’re an author, you absolutely you absolutely should be making videos on a weekly basis if possible. They can be short, done with your cellphone. A reading of your book can be an amazing way to engage new followers. You can talk about the struggles of writing. You can provide background information about your world or characters. You can talk about research projects. People simply love to be involved – and that translates into sales.

For some situations like music or multi-dimensional artwork, a video can be far better than still images to convey the details. Can you really adequately describe a Brahms sonata with mere words? Can you show the subtle texture of a painting?

But once you’ve finished the video file, where is the best place to post it? YouTube? Facebook? Somewhere else?

I know you’re going to be grumpy with me. But you really need to post it EVERYWHERE.

Benefits of a Video on Facebook

Facebook is key for a video because the people who see it are already connected with you. They are your family, friends, and followers. Whether you’re using a personal page or a business (fan) page, those people have actively shown an interest in you. They are going to watch the video. They’re likely to comment and share! So your video will be seen.

A Facebook personal page has a maximum of 5,000 friends. But those friends can share out your video to THEIR friends. You also have emotional leverage there. You can ask them to please share and they’ll perhaps do it.

So in the short term, you’ll tend to get more views of your video on Facebook, because of that built-in emotional connection.

Benefits of a Video on YouTube

YouTube is about the long game. YouTube is primarily about strangers. Sure, you can ask family and friends to follow you on YouTube, but the real power there is with massive volumes of strangers finding you and liking your works. And while in the beginning your YouTube following might be small, over time it can build up to be massive. You have to be patient while you do that building.

There are millions upon millions of people who hate Facebook but who live in YouTube all day long. They aren’t looking for a “friend” (necessarily). They are looking for interesting content. So the more of those people you lure in, the bigger your follower base gets. You need more videos and more followers to then get higher in the search rankings. It doesn’t tend to happen overnight – but when it does build its momentum it’s pretty staggering. You can get views in the hundreds of thousands or millions.

Here’s an origami flower how-to video I made, which now has over a million views.

It’s not that it was that hard to make. It’s just that I marketed it well and was an early entry into this genre.

Now, if I had posted that only on Facebook? Sure I’d get 100 or 200 friends and family watching it. But then it would fade. Facebook is always showing people new and interesting things. I wouldn’t really reach a wider audience. With YouTube, it builds over time. That then helps those new followers see your newer content.

Facebook and YouTube Videos are Just the Start

Remember MySpace? I do. It used to be the bee’s knees :). Now it’s all but dead. Social media systems come and go. It’s the way of things. Your aim should be to avidly use what works well now and also be positioned to be present on what is to come. Different groups of people use different systems. That is healthy. Your aim as a marketer is to use every system to its best ability.

It doesn’t help to be angry or upset at a particular system. They are just systems. Use them as tools. Use them and move on.

So, for example, at the time I’m writing this, Instagram and TikTok are both enormously popular. Both specialize in the short 60-second video. Sure, you can find ways to post longer videos, but the point of these platforms is that users do not WANT longer videos. They prize quick-and-to-the-point.

So find ways to cut a version of your video which is short. If you’re doing an art slideshow, make the full 10-minute version for YouTube/Facebook. Then make 10 one-minute versions, one per artwork, for Instagram and TikTok. Not only does it perfectly suit their expectations but it gives you more posts to build your library. It doesn’t take that much extra time. Point your short version to the longer YouTube version for those who are interested.

If you’re doing an art how-to, post the full long version on Facebook and YouTube. Then post the time-lapse 60-second version on Instagram and TikTok.

For places like LinkedIn and such which aren’t known for video, post a link to YouTube from there. That way it’s a non-logon-necessary link for them.

Always have your own website with your own personal URL as well. Don’t go for a or which will be dependent on an external site. Always have a type of URL which is owned by you. That way you can point it at whatever hosting company you are currently using. The website URL stays the same no matter where you go.

Promoting Videos – Summary

Videos are enormously useful in our modern era. I admit that I personally hate videos. I actively avoid watching videos. But that doesn’t change my marketing plan. I know that millions of people adore videos, and I need to take advantage of that. I need to use each system to its very best ability.

Make a long version of the video. Make the production as clean and engaging as you can. There’s a lot of competition out there. Post that on YouTube and Facebook. Then make a 60-second version and post it in the quick-video sites like Instagram and TikTok. Post links to this video on Twitter, LinkedIn, your website, and other places where video isn’t their main focus.

You’ll see your overall web presence lift and shine!

Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments. Ask with any questions. Good luck!

Left Brain Right Brain
Books and Reading

Write Your Book NOW – Before Your Storyline is Pre-Empted by Someone Else

You guys might remember years ago when I had an in-depth plan to produce a series of new takes on fairy tales. There would be a Cinderella, a Snow White, a Beauty and the Beast, and so on. In my cases the heroines would be able to wield a sword, in charge of their own destiny, and a true partner to their hero.

I talked about my progress on social media. I got feedback on cover ideas. I promoted, I planned …

Then, literally TWO WEEKS before my first book, Cinderella, went live, another author with the fake pen name of “Lisa Shea” put out her own Cinderella book. She put it under the name of Lisa Shea so to readers it looked like mine. Hers featured watered-down heroines who were more silly than wise.

I was upset. I wrote Amazon. I wrote the publisher. All of them in essence said, too bad. Any person in the world can put out any book in any name.

If I had just published my book IMMEDIATELY the moment it was done, I would have been all set. By waiting to do promotions, I ran into this issue.

Our modern world has made self-publishing incredibly easy, which is both a boon and a HUGE huge hassle. It means now any person can publish with any title, any author name, and any topic they want. Sometimes it’s deliberate. Sometimes it’s random chance. We now in essence have that “million monkeys” releasing books every second. The chances of your book being unique is dropping exponentially – and the longer you wait, the worse it gets.

Here’s a tamer example of the ‘coincidences are now commonplace’ variety.

I’ve been waiting ten months to get access to the Newgate Prison in East Granby, Connecticut. These began as a copper mine and were converted into an underground, nasty prison. I have a climactic final novella planned there for one of my series, and I always want to do my best to go visit a place in person before I write it up. I want to make sure my scenes breathe with authentic detail. So I waited and waited.

I could have just written it based on internet research. But I was determined to be there in person, to see things fresh for myself.

I finally heard back from the people at the prison that they could bring me in on a tour. I was thrilled! I decided that if I was going to get that special tour, I should write a full-length 400-page book about it too, in addition to the novella that would contain that research. I put a lot of thought into the various options. There were a number of female inmates, but they were from the 1800s when prisoners were kept above ground. I really wanted to write about prisoners stuffed down IN the mines.

So then I did genealogical research on the various early prisoners, and tracked down what became of each one. I considered and discarded option after option. I decided that the perfect prisoner to write about would be William Johnson Crawford, originally of New Hampshire. He was 24 years old and had “black eyes / black hair” which was their code for a person who was Black, Native American, or a mix. Exactly my ideal hero. He tried to escape and was either buried in the rubble or vanished completely. Nobody knows what happened to him. Again, perfect for me, so the Accuracy Police don’t lambaste me for changing history. Since nobody knows what happened to him, I can have anything happen. As I primarily write romantic suspense, that gives me my options.

William Johnson Crawford was sent into the mines / prison on February 24, 1774. He vanished on April 9, 1774.

I was set. I posted my happy news on Facebook.

I immediately heard back from another writer that HE had just published a 200-page book, “The Mine”, set in those exact same prison mines in 1780. His main character is a prisoner.

So he has a character in the exact same very specific historic location only 6 years after mine. His book just came out 3 months ago. A search on Newgate Prison doesn’t find any other fiction book at all set in this location. So it’s not as if this was going on until now.

If I had written my books back when I wanted to, ten months ago, they would be live and set. Now, I’ve already been “pre-empted” in a sense. Readers might view my book as a derivative of his, even though I had no idea he had written his. The books will be compared against each other.

It’s not that I “blame” the other author in any way. He has every right to write about whatever he wishes! It’s just that I’m pointing out that this is happening more and more frequently, now that millions of authors are posting books. And it’s only accelerating. Whatever topic you’re pondering, it’s likely that hundreds of others are pondering it, too. The question is who gets there first.

The lesson here is to not delay. If you have an idea, write it. Get it out there. You want your book to be seen and enjoy. Life is short and unpredictable.

Get it done!