Elation and Let-Down- Part Two

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

Today has been a bit manic. Okay…so more than a bit.

It started with a phone conversation I had with someone at my publisher. I had four issues to discuss that were greatly expidited by not using email and instead talking directly. Three of the four were answered quickly. The fourth, however, was something that I anticipated would be much more involved and a huge hassle to correct- that is to say, it would further delay the release of Beckman’s Folly.

As it turned out, it was something easily fixed. It was a technical issue and once again, I got an important learning curve. I learned something today. It was something I didn’t know before today. I no longer have that nagging issue to be dealt with, something I thought was a huge glitch to be fixed, something that has been a dark cloud over my head for the better part of a week. To say I’m happy about it being quickly resolved, is a massive understatement.

A little over a hour later, I sent my publisher the final approval for the interior of the book. My part in all of this was done. Any delay would not be because of me.

About three hours later I brought up my Facebook page to check out what was happening with my friends and fellow artist. One of those fellow artists, my illustrator, Keith Wood, the guys who does all of Hadley’s art work, got my attention on the Facebook instant message. We continued the conversation on Skype. In that Skype convo he shared his screen with me to show me the rough sketch progress he’s making on the book cover art of another Hadley Price story I’m preparing to release. That won’t being coming out for at least another year or so, but we’re already starting to deal with the details of it. And one of those details is book cover art. But even in rough sketch form, I have to say, Keith has done it again. I’m very pleased with what he’s shown me so far on that.

I was riding a on a high because everything seemed to be falling into place. The hurtles in getting Hadley’s first book published were dropping away. It’s release is pending. After all the work me and my team have put into this, Beckman’s Folly will soon become a reality. Add to that, is the fact that me and my team have found a place where we’re in the zone to continue producing Hadley Price books. We’re well on our way, doing the prep-work for publication of future Hadley stories.

So I was dancing on ceiling in the buzz of all this when I returned to my Facebook page a few hours later. I read a rather lengthy post by one of my Facebook friends. And since she has made it public by posting that on Facebook I can tell you who she is.

My long time friend, writing mentor and editor of my books, Christine Piesyk, has revealed that she has a growth on her breast. A doctor’s visit today has ruled out cancer, but they still don’t know what’s causing those lumps. We’re all waiting to find out what it is.

It’s not an understatement to say that I couldn’t have gotten Beckman’s Folly published without her. Those who know her personally or professionally, know that she is the writing guru. People constantly seek her for various print, online, fiction and no-fiction editing and consultations. She’s very good at what she does. And lucky me, she happens, by my good fortune, to be a good friend of mine who whips by books into shape to be good enough for publication. Way at the beginning, years ago, when I first started writing about Hadley, before anyone in my life took me seriously about the writing, she did. She was the one I called when I wrote myself into a corner and couldn’t figure out how to fix it. She was the one I called when I wrote something that contradicted something I wrote earlier in the book. She was the one I could talk to about writing stuff, about ideas I had for Hadley’s stories. She’s the only person I know who gets what it’s like to be a writer. Yes, the writing guru understands because she too, is a writer.

So the manic high I had earlier in the day dropped with the news of Christine’s health. One part good news. One part wait and see.

Christine is both a long-time friend and confidant as well as a fellow creative person and writer. As her friend, I just want to shut-down and wait for a more definitive medical diagnosis. As a fellow writer, her assistance is necessary.

I told Christine that she has to get better. I told her that I love her. And just as important, I need her. I figure I have a least eight books in me for Hadley’s continuing story.

And I can’t do it without her…

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Would you do what I did?

 

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

I was listening to an interview on the radio one time and the person being interviewed was a guy who did motivational talks with youth groups. I don’t remember his name, but he came from the streets, made all the mistakes, turned his life around and made it his life’s work to help teens do that for themselves.

I should have made a note of his name. But I didn’t. It’s too bad, because he said something I’ll always remember. In the interview, he mentioned that one of the teens came up to him after his talk and said: “I want to do what you do.” He came back with the perfect response. He said: “But would you do what I did?”

Now, the issue here is not troubled youth. The issue is about a person who has gained a level of recognition and the time and energy it took to get there. Years of hard work and obscurity before fame. And no one is interested in those years of obscurity. They only want to know about the fame.

This hit home for me. I’ve taken several years of my life to write about my Vampire gal, Hadley Price. The first of her novels will be published and released soon. In that time I’ve also written one other novel-length Hadley story and other Hadley-related writing projects. And those are currently going through the editing process.

The point is, just writing a book is a hellacious amount of work. Just learning how to be a good writer and going on to actually doing it fairly well is a saga in itself. But the thing they don’t tell you, in all your lit and writing courses in high school and college, is that once you’ve managed to travel the blood-on-the-typewriter journey to its conclusion and actually produce an honest-to-gosh book, what do you do with it then? What’s the next step? It’s like the young musician in the school band. They may get good at playing, but there’s nothing in there on how to get gigs and do it for a living.

I’ve been a writer all my life. For the last several years I’ve done that exclusively in exploring Hadley’s world and the interesting lifestyle of the Vampire race. When Beckman’s Folly is finally released, I figure I’ll move from writer to the status of author. With that graduation, I’ll leave all of those lit and writing courses behind (or rather take them with me) to go …where?

Uncharted territory. It’s something totally new and outside my experience. It’s something I know nothing about: book publication and promotion.

As a new author, with a book that isn’t even out yet, I’m currently dipping my toe in the deep end of the book promotion pool. But I’ve seen, so far, that this is going to be a hellacious amount of work. Just learning to be good book promoter and going on to actually doing it fairly well is going to be a saga in itself.

I won’t go into detail except to say that I’m currently developing a learning curve on several fronts. The term “learning curve”, as I’ve finding out, could be defined as: “you’re going to make mistakes, but you’re going to learn a lot of stuff in the process. And you may or may not look stupid doing it.” Yes, I’ve got a sign on my forehead, glowing in neon lettering, that says: “Newbie.”

Every time I feel a bit intimidated by it all, I remember those words of wisdom: Would you do what I did? Why is that quote so inspirational to me? It gives me a perspective. I am now at the beginning of the “did” portion of that. It took me several years to write Hadley’s stories. There’s no reason to believe that the next step in that will be a quicker process…

Waiting and Learning Curves

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

I’ve been asked where one can purchase a copy of Beckman’s Folly. The release date is pending so it isn’t out yet. When it is, however, it’ll be available at the big online retailers in both ebook and paper book. I won’t name specifics until it does come out. Stay tuned.

One of the people asking me that on the Tales of Vampire Hadley Price Facebook page, just happened to be someone who lives one town over from me. I’ve never met her face-to-face, but we are fellow locals. For anyone living in the greater Northeast USA, New England area, I’ll tell you what I told her. There are plans in the works to do book signing events within driving distance of where I live in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Please check back regularly to this blog and Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price on Facebook for updates on that. I’d enjoy meeting you and signing your new copy of Beckman’s Folly.

In other news- I’ve emailed the modification forms for the final product of Beckman’s Folly to the publisher last weekend and have received an email back saying that they got them. And again, the waiting game for them to get back to me saying that this will finally get a release date.

In the meantime, I’ve been learning all kinds of new software and digital technology as prep-work to produce various promotional items. I’m getting a learning curve on a couple of graphics programs and my niece and I are getting up to speed on her new Nikon digital SLR. Not a big fan of selfies. Any pictures of my homely mug, online or elsewhere, will be taken by some else. I’ve tasked my niece, Jessica, with the challenge of making me look not totally ugly.

In the works are Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price tee shirts (basic black, of course), Bumper stickers (but once you get one you can stick it anywhere you want) and bookmarks. The tee shirt and bumper sticker graphic are the same and look really-really cool. Vampire cool. My artist, Keith Wood, has done it again. Also, my friends over at Gemini Dream Designs will be making jewelry based on things Hadley and Svetlana wear in the books. In fact, Kelly LePlante at Gemini Dream Designs was very helpful in designing that jewelry for my characters. Check them out on Facebook: Gemini Dream Designs.

And in all of this, as I’ve mentioned, I’m also in the process of editing the next book in the series. And also some other Hadley-related writing projects. I’ve been sitting on the book cover art for Beckman’s Folly for a few months now. Keith did a great job. It’s everything I can do to not show it off. But as soon as I get the word from the publisher, I’ll post it online.

The story, the cover art and all of it will be worth the wait.

Making eye contact with the Vampire Hadley Price? (Artwork by Keith Wood)

Making eye contact with the Vampire Hadley Price? (Artwork by Keith Wood)