Just One Comment Can Win You My Book

That’s right! I’m running a giveaway for What’s at the End of Your Nose?, my debut children’s book, and YOU could be the winner!

TO ENTER: Click http://bit.ly/2npTju0 (you’ll be taken to a Facebook Event page hosted by author Erica Graham) and comment with something you love that’s simple yet meaningful.

But hurry! This giveaway ends on April 8.

The paperback edition doubles as a coloring book. Also available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. See an excerpt here!

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Author Interview: Alex R Carver

“The nervousness that had afflicted Lucy Goulding since she left her parents’ house seemed to grow with every step. She had set out with just a single butterfly fluttering about her stomach, but now she was almost at her destination her stomach roiled and churned with what seemed like thousands.” –Written in Blood by Alex R Carver

Meet Author Alex R Carver!

AlexCarver

Alex R Carver

Alex R Carver has worked a number of jobs over the years, none of which provided the satisfaction he got from writing, and he has now given up the day jobs to write full-time. Primarily he writes crime fiction, reflecting his interest in the seedy underbelly of life, but science fiction and kids’ adventure have featured in his writing, with books in those genres on the long list of titles he is preparing for release.

Book 1 of the Inspector Stone Mysteries, Where There’s A Will, is already out, as is Written In Blood, a serial killer thriller set in a small English village, while Book 2, An Eye For An Eye, is due out in September.


Your new book, Written in Blood, is out! How’s that experience been? How did you know when that title was right for your story? What parts do you wait in glee for readers to get to? What are your secret or not-so-secret hopes for this thriller?

Originally the book was going to be called Murder In Oakhurst, but after discussing it in one of my writer’s group and being given a few options, I settled on Written In Blood, which I think is much better for attracting attention.

Obviously I’d love the book to become a top 100 on Amazon, or even a NYT bestseller, but I’d settle for making a little, that’s my hope, though it would be nice to do better.

You recently started a new author’s website, alexrcarver.wordpress.com. What made you decide to start over instead of rebranding / retooling your previously-existing site?

My research revealed that an author site is most effective when it has an author’s name as all or part of its web address, that wasn’t the case with my first site so I chose to start from scratch. It might have been better to rebrand/retool but I wanted to do things the way it is recommended they are done, plus I had a guide I was following which made it easier to begin again.

In a previous interview, you mentioned you put a real person in your writing. Would you ever do it again?

It’s likely that elements of real people will find their way into my writing from time to time, but I don’t intend to put anyone in in their entirety.

How do you maintain a full-time writing career? Was it a scary or exhilarating step to take?

I received a small inheritance that coincided with my losing a job, it’s enough money to keep me going for a while as I work to get my writing career up and running. It’s exhilarating but also very scary because I only have about two years worth of saving to start making a living, and if I don’t manage it in that time I will have to start looking for a job.

I’d much rather become a success with my writing.

You’ve got a solid core in crime and sci-fi. Do you ever see yourself branching out into other genres?

I’ve always wanted to write fantasy, it’s one of my favourite genres to read and I do have an idea for a fantasy novel/series. I have an idea for a romance story as well, but whether I’ll get around to writing them, I don’t know.

Besides making sure your books will look the way they should, what things about Amazon Publishing do you pay the most attention to (reviews, sales rank, what people buy after they buy your books, etc.)?

I have OCD, so I tend to pay more attention to my sales figures and rank than I should, but I don’t look at much else. I do need to start looking at what people buy after looking at/buying my book in order to help me improve my sales.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

During my first publishing career I obsessed far more than was good for me on the reviews I get, now I pay them less attention. I check to see if they say anything I need to deal with, but I have learned to look at them as personal opinions and nothing more.

When a new story comes to mind, do you see the whole high-level plot roll out before you, or do you see it as more of a first sentence / initial concept (or both, or something else)?

Generally I start out with just a concept, I have to sit down with pad and pen to flesh it out and decide if it’s viable, and where it’s going to go.

How do you feel about fan-fiction? Would you want people to write fan-fiction about your stories?

I’m torn on the fan-fiction matter, I’m not sure it’s something I would ever write myself, though I did have an idea for something in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer world once upon a time, but I appreciate that it would be flattering to have someone like my books enough to want to write fan-fiction involving them.

What are you planning to launch next?

Now that I’ve released Written In Blood I’m back to my Inspector Stone Series, I’m working on An Eye For An Eye, which is the 2nd book, tentatively it’s set for a September release.

Now for some just-for-fun challenge questions…

What type of book do you reach for to relax?

I read almost anything, with the exception of romance, but my favored genre is fantasy.

Name a movie adaptation that really should have stayed as a book.

There’s far too many to name. The Percy Jackson series is one of the worst though.

Do you listen to music as you write? Name some songs!

When I do listen to music it’s normally something like Pink Floyd, but mostly I watch TV while I write, it’s not a good habit, but I struggle to focus on one thing at a time.

When you get a story idea, do you scribble it on any scrap of paper or napkin you can find, or do you have a special notebook or online tool where you keep all the inspiration?

In the first instance it goes down on whatever piece of paper I have to hand, but I do have a notepad where I try to keep all of my ideas together, so I know where to find them when I need them.

While we’re not saying you need this, what one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

That’s a tough one. I don’t really have a lot to spare, unless you count the surplus around my waist, which I would happily give up to become a better writer. I would be prepared to live in a more unpleasant environment (think Dickens era poverty, but not quite that bad) to be a better writer.

Advice time–in reverse! If you could go back in time, what writerly advice would you give yourself?

So much, but mostly it would be to cut…cut…cut, I used to be a very wordy writer, but now I’ve learned to be more concise and avoid using 20 words when 5 will do.

 

Here’s where to find and follow Alex, and purchase his books!

 

 

Giveaway Ends April 8, 2017!

Sick of hearing “I’m bored” in your family? Have them join Sidney Snail’s adventures in What’s at the End of Your Nose?

The paperback edition doubles as a coloring book! Also available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

TO ENTER: Click http://bit.ly/2npTju0 (you’ll be taken to a Facebook Event page hosted by author Erica Graham) and comment with something you love that’s simple yet meaningful.

SidneySnailani

Mindfulness At Work

It was in the middle of January that we hatched an idea: What if we did a month-long corporate campaign on a topic that hopefully would resonate with everyone, yet still remain “us”?

Originally, this campaign was going to be a Facebook Event of the kind that people click to join, but instead of going anywhere, they receive a daily update in their Facebook feed.

Where I work, we do a lot of great things for safe behavior management, bullying prevention, trauma-informed care, and autism. The more I looked at our offerings, the more I kept coming back to behavior management. Most of our content aligned under that topic, and it applied to a variety of industries.

We brainstormed further. When you’re trying to reach as wide a variety of people as possible, “31 Days of Behavior Management” doesn’t resonate.

Yet “31 Days of Mindfulness” does.

And look, March was coming up. March Madness. March Mindfulness. #MarchMindfulness!

Do our content, philosophy, and mission really fit in with the concept of mindfulness? You bet it does! You can’t “do” what we teach without being mindful.

Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote to illustrate this:

Exploring Mindfulness

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn

Paying attention on purpose. That’s mindfulness in shorthand.

But how do we actually do it?

Every one of us has this ability already; the trick is to develop it. By paying attention to what we’re thinking and feeling, and how those thoughts and feelings affect others, we’re effectively building in an essential moment of time to decide how to bring out the best outcome, whether you’re in the middle of a daily task or dealing with a more challenging situation.

We need to remember the big picture: The type of person we want to be, nurse, educator, caregiver, whatever our profession. But we also need to keep from getting bogged down in the small stuff that our livelihoods can bring. We need to remember to be mindful in the moment, and react to things from a place of balance, purpose, and non-judgment.

When we’re working in settings where cultivating positive relationships and making real connections are paramount to providing the best care and support, being mindful is essential.

Putting mindfulness together was a huge team effort. Once we had our concept and content picked, we met with our designers. It was in that meeting that we took the idea out of Facebook Event land and into a landing page on our website. From there, we could post each day’s mindfulness tip or resource on several social media platforms, and maintain control over the entire concept for future use..

We had that hashtag: #MarchMindfulness. But what symbol would tie it all together? You’ve got to have a symbol!

It came down to this: The lotus in green, lifting up a person in blue. (That person, by the way, is 1/4 of our company logo!)

The lotus symbolizes patience, love, compassion, and self-awareness. When it’s in green, that’s a gift to improve life and begin good habits.

Speaking of a huge team effort, by the time we had everything planned out, from content to logo to landing page with its cool calendar populating a new post every day, we were already into February.

Could we really pull off 31 days of this in March? Because this was intended for social media, that means not only 31 graphics for the landing page, but 31 socially-friendly graphics as well!

And the rest of work sure doesn’t stop just because somebody gets an idea.

Okay, so I wouldn’t be writing this if we hadn’t made it——but as today is the last day of this campaign, I wanted to say how proud I am of my team for making this happen, through all the planning and the unexpectednesses.

Here are a couple of the 31 #MarchMindfulness gems. Get all the rest right here.

 

Foley Poetry Contest (Deadline March 31, 2017) + Cover Letter

I need to stop finding these contests a day before the deadline!

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The Foley Poetry Contest: America Media is sponsoring the annual Foley Poetry Award, given in honor of William T. Foley, M.D.

  • Submit one poem of 30 lines or fewer.
  • Only unpublished poems not under consideration elsewhere will be considered.
  • Poems may address any topic.

**Submissions must be received between midnight ET on January 1 and 11:59 p.m. ET on March 31, 2017.**

There’s a postal mail address, but I’d use their Submittable instead!

The winning poem will be announced in early June and published in the print edition of America. The cash prize is $1,000.

Get all the details and submit here.

The contest requires a cover letter. I had never written a cover letter for poetry submission before, but I suspected (hoped) it would be a simple process. Thanks to Writer’s Digest, it is. For better or for worse, here’s mine, with all due consideration!

Dear Mr. Hoover,

Please consider the attached 21-line poem, “Make and Mend,” as an entry in the Foley Poetry Contest.

I have an English degree and am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Thank you for your time and consideration.

And here is a great, quick guide from Writer’s Digest (love that site) on How to Prepare Poetry Manuscript Submissions.

Good luck!