Always Be Marketing


You noticed in my last post how I cleverly mentioned the name of my second novel, DROPPINGTON PLACE? Well, did you notice that I just mentioned it again? Boom. Right past you, there, huh? That, my friend, is marketing.

Well, actually, it’s not, because you are the only one reading this post. But, if I had, like, a million readers, boom… see?

Here’s another one: I put Chapter 14 on MARIGOLD’S END, my first novel, on the Pages part of this website. Huh? Did you see that? Huh? Right there.  Boom.

The theory we’re testing here is exposure. Repetition. Repeating the name over and over. If you look over my posts, you’ll see a preponderance of pirate pictures. Ah, another part of the theory.

If the theory of repetition holds true, when I finally get MARIGOLD’S END pried out of the hands of my stalled editor and published, there will be a line of people waiting to buy it. It will virtually be a line… or maybe a virtual line. Maybe a hypothetical line. Maybe a line of one. Me.

But that’s the gamble of marketing, upsides and downturns. Read the chapter. Leave a comment. Boom. You are marketed.

Bad Guys Need Not Apply


Enjoyed quite a bit of Tomorrowland, the new Disney marketing vehic…film. The message is a little preachy, but, at the 80% mark I realized that there were no bad guys. How cool is that? An interesting, provocative film without an antagonist.   Oops, put down that optimism, sonny, here he comes now. Bwah-ha-ha!

Bad guys in art must be a gimmick. While there are certainly bad guys in the world – if you are one, please raise your hand. Look around, kids. See? None of your friends are bad guys – overall, we’re a pretty good lot.

You know this is true, not because it rhymes, but because, if there were as many bad guys on the street as there are in the movies –on a bad-guys-per-picture ratio – you’d be lucky to get home at night. We’d be up to our armpits in evil.

My story is about a good guy who has to face out some bad guys in the meanest part of town… please. The bad guys are a contrivance, a means of creating conflict because all stories must have a central conflict.

Superheroes. How can you have a superhero if there is no evil to overcome? As an author, you must create super-villains to challenge your superhero. Boy. That sounds like comic book stuff… oh yeah, superheroes come from comic books.

In the real world, take a walk in a certain part of town and you will find disadvantaged people willing to prey on you. And, you’ll find unkind, even bad people preying on them. A real superhero would be down in that part of town, not battling super-evil geniuses, but correcting the societal imbalances that create a bad part of town in the first place.

Because life isn’t about bad guys. The conflicts in life don’t usually come from a ne’er-do-well trying to do you in. Go ahead. Shoot me. I was getting kind of bored anyway.

No, the conflict in life is much more sophisticated. It’s that ticking noise in the car. The hesitation when she says “I love you, too.” It’s the never-ending debt that hides behind you, altering your judgments.

It’s the frustration you feel when things don’t go your way. When you could do more, but don’t. When you could say the right thing, but stay silent. When the parade marches down the street, and you’re standing on the sidelines.

There are no bad guys there.

This diatribe is brought to you by my newest novel, DROPPINGTON PLACE. It’s a charming little story about an earnest boy from a broken family struggling through his parents’ recent breakup while trapped in a magical world fashioned from paper by an Elizabethan playwright. No contrivances here! I tried to make bad guys, but couldn’t . Even the scariest guy, the master sorcerer, turns out to be pretty fun.

So, when you sit down to write the great American story, maybe the story isn’t really about good guys triumphing over bad guys. Maybe it’s more basic than that. Maybe it’s about regular folks doing their best against challenging circumstances.

If you must have a bad guy, maybe you could, like, make him move away in the first chapter. Or, better, make him be a chronic cough that pops up at the worst possible moment. Yeah, triumph over that little beauty!

The Unlucky Chapter

Chapter 13

Thirteen. There’s no 13th floor in the building. You’re counting the nickels in your piggy bank…10, 11, 12 oh please don’t let there be just one more…ah, 14. Chapter 13 of my book MARIGOLD’S END is released on my site..

Hey, wait, that’s good news. I know you haven’t been keeping up, but I can tell you, if you had, you would not see the change of events coming in Chapter 13. No sirree, this guy would have hit you right between the eyeballs.

A little background…this is against my principles, but I like the story. 12 year-old Phineas Caswell, the son of a missing colonial American sea captain, is dragged to sea against his will by his seafaring uncle. Phineas learns about sailing ships, and a little bit about the lore of the sea.

He actually learns a lot about seasickness, meets a manta ray face-to-face, gets goaded into climbing to the top of a mast, and finds himself in perpetual trouble with the ship’s one-handed sailing master.

But that trouble is nothing compared to the adventure that slowly unfolds around him. When the sailing master takes over the ship and uses her to chase pirates, Phineas finds he must fight for his very life. Nearly drowned, kidnapped by awful cutthroats and given as a prize to the most depraved pirate in Port Royal, he has only his wits and his stalwart friends, Taylor and Louise, to bring him to safety. We hope.

The new chapter, Chapter, gulp, 13, finds him running through 18th century Port Royal, Jamaica, from the vicious Red Suarez and his henchmen, Maldonado and the purple man. He’s bumped into a great tattooed fellow as wide as he is tall, and who can mean nothing but trouble for the young lad…

There, now. You’re up to speed. There’s good seafaring stuff in there, if you’ve an interest in learning about the great age of the fighting sail. Or if you’re interested in viewing the summer of 1706 through a pair of twelve-year-old eyes. Or if you’re interesting in some great writing.  Whoops…now I’ve really said too much.

Anyway, don’t forget, Chapter 13. Other there, under Pages. You won’t regret it.