Demands Beyond writing – Promotion and Its Complexity

It’s More than Creative Writing

Did you know writing would be this complicated?

In olden days a writer found an agent and the agent found a publisher. Sure that’s a little simplistic, but it was broad stroke for how it was before self publication. When my wife and I wrote our workbook to help stepchildren adjust to their new family a good friend took it into Doubleday and they published it. They sent us on a national tour including an appearance on the Phil Donahue Show. Those days are gone.

How It Is Now

It seems publishers only talk to agents and agents only talk to—I don’t know who. In short there is no easy way forward to get a book published, publicized and marketed. It seems it is mostly up to the author. Of course there are predators out there who engage authors and charge incredible fees for doing things which are of little use. I won’t go into that mess.

And Then There is the Promotion and Author Help Industry

There are books to help us write books, there are books to help us edit books and on and on. Advice pours forth from multiple sources and it is up to us to sort it and make sense of it. I’ve spent some years now reading sorting and in the end came down to trying it out. Some of the advice turns out to be dated, some spot on. 

The Best Advice

One of the best pieces of advice I read was to be patient. I’ve become quite clear that nothing works right away. It is said that there are 3500 “books” “published” each day. That comes down to a huge crowd and a lot of noise. It takes time to be noticed. The other things I got clear about was that things have to be tried and then we have to adapt.

Having a Thick Skin

Some things we have to listen to are writing related and some general publicity and advertising issues. But there is also reality. When the first of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy was published, the very first review on Amazon gave it one star. It was not to the reader’s taste, she thought the vocabulary was “too big” and she couldn’t write an effective sentence. Got that. And there it sat on the Amazon page all alone as I worked to attract other reviews. Who is going to buy a book with one star? It took some time, then the five star ratings showed up and the total climbed. Phew! The world is not an even, supportive place.

Being Fair With Each Other

One of the things I concluded immediately is that we need to be fair with each other. When I pick up a book and don’t resonate, I have to be honest that the issue may be me and not the book. We don’t all like the same things. I’m not much of a fan of word heavy literature or that’s what I term it. I want that book in my hand to be stirring and along with it my imagination and that essential thing in my life “possibilities” must call out to me. I’ll rate books but won’t rate books that are not to my taste. It wouldn’t be fair or reasonable.

Endurance

I guess in the end what I would say is that we have to endure and stay with our projects. Let’s face it, we like the creative writing process and some people accept it as a hobby and don’t expect to sell much and may not even try to promote it. It seems best if we weigh our goals and accept the complex noisy world in which we live. We learn to improve our writing skills and we have to learn what to expect and to accept endurance is essential.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Origins and Sources of the Majesty Trilogy – Pt. 5

 

Being Moved Beyond Simple Exposition – From Within

Many of us who write fiction do not anticipate where the effort will lead us or what might begin to stir within ourselves. When I began the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I had a story line and then used Dara Marks’ Transformational Arc to organize it and structure it. One perception is that it may then be a matter of filling in the blanks. No such thing.

The story took on enhancements and a life of its own in ways not anticipated. And then there was the matter of insistent characters who showed up for inclusion. In the end I had to concede that the story and the writing process was stirring things inside of me.

Essential Elements

At the beginning, the intention was to write a story about the salvation of our future. Without a doubt we live in a very dangerous time. Perhaps the least of our dangers is how we may ruin our economic future. And then there is our capacity to use nuclear weapons to bring untold destruction. At the same time we are seeing clear evidence of climate change wrought by our presence. Deniers can deny all they want but we have the capacity to damage so much of this planet in ways never before seen. 

Other Discoveries

Even though we have been around our habitat for millions of years, we know so little about it in many ways. We must accept that life is insistent. We have learned about change and now know how adaptable life forms are. Deep in the ocean around warm vents we discovered life forms we assumed could not exist. We now know that asteroids contain water and amino acids which suggests life seeds itself well beyond this planet. How naive we have been!

Being Discoverers

We like to explore and discover more and more about our world. And now we are looking to go to Mars. That planet has been virtually striped of its atmosphere because it has no magnetic field but we seem interested in terraforming. It is likely that we may discover something we had not thought about.

What will happen if we break out of our planet? Are we ready? Are we mature enough as a species to bear the burden which discovery reveals? And who might we meet out there? In Star Trek they insisted that they not interfere in civilizations in other worlds they discovered. Part of that seems to come out of the perception that we may not be that wise. There are stories of invasion and attacks by extraterrestrial beings and we hope they do not come here. That, in some ways, is a projection of our understanding about our frequent lack of maturity.

What Fiction Brings

As I wrote the story, its characters developed. And now as I look at the trilogy I find that a book 4 seems to be demanding my attention. But it remains in the shadows and I will see if it will manifest itself. But one thing became apparent, that the story was leading me toward the theme of transformation. In human history we have seen sudden delineations and development as with language and culture. And then there are things such as the Enlightenment. Is there a transformation in our future?

If we survive this dangerous period, how might we advance. Suddenly we see stunning revelations about widespread molestation and mistreatment of women. The cascade of revelations is such that we cannot turn back from it now. And the uprising of women to overthrow their subjugation is stunning but just beginning. And in writing these books I found that the empowerment of women was essential. I really have to wonder if the empowerment of women is going to lead us to a significant transformation beyond anything we might suspect. We will see won’t we?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

An Innocent Discoverer – Adelais Dubois

 

Who Shows Up

Unlike many other characters in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy Adelais did not seem to be in the plans of the author. Most of the other Andromeda warrior women had a clear place and presence although who they were had to be clarified and developed. In Adelais’s case she suddenly appeared to this author.

Not All These Women Had Dramatic Histories

Yes, Adelais was from a Primal family, but not every member of such a family was ordained for a purpose or would even become deeply involved either in the Andromeda or other aspects of the mission of the Tethyans. In Adelais’s case she had spent a peaceful childhood in a bucolic setting in Provence, France. She is properly characterized as an innocent and like so many innocents it came to a painful end.

What Propelled Her

She was on her way to university at the Sorbonne in Paris when fate intervened. But, of course, in this trilogy, whether it is fate always has to be questioned. In Paris she stopped to visit her grandmother who was prominent in the environmental/sustainability movement. When her grandmother was brutally murdered in front of her everything changed. She was taken to the Thonis Tethys in the sea off of Alexandria, Egypt to attempt to heal her emotional wounds.

But Then There Is Who We are

The experience led to her coming to terms with her inner spirituality and the need to take action led her to join Andromeda. Of course she got to know the other women and one of them was Nicole with her clear links to the spirit world. This experience was to thrust Adelais into a depth of understanding and involvement she had not anticipated or sought.

Who We Are

Most of us are not truly in touch with who we are deep down. Sometimes we find a side to ourselves which is wholly unexpected. In Adelais’s case she was drawn deeply to an alternative reality and spirituality. Of course, in such a context we have to question how much was simply a cascade of events and how much in some way showed the hand of Gaia. Each of us develops something of a life plan but often it takes turns which are unexpected.

Adelais as an Explorer

Adelais illustrates the fact that we are all explorers in one way or another. Some people seem to go through life on an even course which is an exploration nonetheless but for others there are dramatic turns. Adelais shows how we can rise to the occasion and grasp a wholly new course. It was necessary for her to attend to the need for healing, but, in the end, she healed, found she had not truly lost her grandmother and learned that there may be much more to our world and the future of humankind than we ordinarily believe. There is so much to be explored and Adelais takes one trail of possibility for us to observe and to engage us.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health? by Roger B. Burt

Being a Tourist in the Caribbean – Part 2

 

View From Ladera Resort

View from Anse Chastanet Resort

An Extraordinary Opportunity

I think that is how I would characterize the tropical islands of the Caribbean. The choices offered are many.

Cruises:

There are different ways to see the islands. One way people choose is cruises. We saw the reality of cruises whenever we stopped in a capital city. In those major ports the cruise ships arrived and disgorged passengers. The tour operators waiting on the dock were often aggressive and we knew there were others who were gentler. And often we saw the passengers make their way through the duty free shops over and over again. It seemed rather pointless. There was generally a failure to touch the soul of the island and its people. 

Romance and Mystery – More Than a Vacation

We had researched the islands before committing to build but the adventure of actually staying at resorts just happened. We accepted it as an opportunity and a gift. Two resorts utterly intrigued us beyond the small cozy resort in the north where we stayed when we were building our home.

In fact, by seeing the different resorts, we experienced St. Lucia in depth. One evening when we were traveling with our builder, Wayne, he took us to dinner at Anse Chastanet. It is in the southern part of the island and was built up a hill with a stunning view of the pitons. Sunset comes early in the Caribbean—every day all year, because it is relatively close to the equator. And that evening we had a delightful dinner in romantic dim light with a group of people Wayne assembled. They were from all over the world and generally were there on some kind of business. The conversation was truly interesting. The feel that evening is hard to convey. Cozy, warm and so much more.

Another special favorite was Ladera Resort which is nestled between the pitons. The view is truly enchanting and there are no walls on the room on the ocean side. It is a form of rustic. Without a wall on the front there is a special intimacy with the pitons and the larger tropical environment. The quiet is enchanting and the experience enhances companionship. The staff was warm, it was quiet and felt so pleasing. Such resorts are rare and need to be sought.

And then there are the day to day experiences being out and about. One year we were on the island for New Years Eve. The party was fun and, I should say, the local people, even the expats living on the island were unrestrained. At midnight the bartenders jumped out of the bar opening it to the guests. I had been standing by the water and looked down into a boat featuring a couple making love. It was a rich evening.

Doing Research:

Even though our initial experience on St. Lucia engaged us, we did research before we committed. At the time there was a monthly newsletter covering each island in turn. I finally called to talk to one of the authors. The information I received led to confirmation of St. Lucia. Now, of course, it is possible to do research on line. But, above all, we still recommend people get into the richness of island life. It need not be complex but requires seeking environments beyond what largest resort chains offer. But also its best not to be naive. Balance is best. There are many inviting options.

Reality of Island Life

It all requires common sense and often a sense of humor. At the time we often traveled on Air Jamaica. The landings were flawless and one time I commented on the one just experienced to the Jamaican man sitting next to me. He responded, “Yes, they do much better now that they are not drinking.” He was, of course, teasing me. 

On another flight to Montego Bay they passed out a newspaper with the headline, “Eight Hour Gun Battle in Montego Bay.” Of course it had ended before we arrived. Naturally such a thing is not a common event and we have gun battles in the States as well.

Getting out into island life does, however, require not being naive. Simple caution and being realistic is indicated. But isn’t that a fact of life?

Since our experience led us across the Caribbean, in a later post I’ll share the view we gained of other islands.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Being a Tourist in the Caribbean – Part 1

 

Asking What’s the Point

Maybe this is an idiosyncratic viewpoint, but perhaps it is good to think about why one is traveling and where one is traveling. Is this a vacation designed to sit by the pool and read or are you interested in really getting to know the location? Asking those questions opens not just the purpose but possibly the world.

The Caribbean for Us

My wife and I had spent many years going to the Maryland shore in the summer to be at the beach with our four children. When at last they were grown, we had a broader set of possibilities. Yes, we had done things like taking them on a really neat vacation in Northern Ireland, but now we could travel and design adventures just for ourselves.

But what happened was not quite on our plan. I had been in a catastrophic accident when someone drove his SUV in my driver’s door which sent me into years of surgery. At last came the ability to travel. We had business in California and went on to beautiful Hawaii. It was terribly far from the East Coast and we thought about seeking tropical options closer to home. We had friends who were considering a location for their boat in the Caribbean. We joined them when they went to look for land to build a home base. That took us to the island of St. Lucia in the Windward (eastern) Islands.

What did we know about St. Lucia? Nothing. Why were we going? For an adventure with friends. And so we were trekking into the back of the back as well as developed areas. It was an eye-opening experience. St. Lucia at the time was developed, but not highly. And, we could get in touch with the island people who were quite friendly.

Recognizing Potential

On the first trip we went to a mid-size resort our friends had chosen. We thought there would be night life. There was none. A band played but no one showed up. A day gamboling in the sun robs you of energy and if you are there on a honeymoon or in a passionate affair then evenings afford other pleasures.

Over time we experienced many different kinds of resorts. We saw large resorts and cozy inns. Either we stayed or we found it desirable to see what we might advise people about. Why was that? Because our friends didn’t buy land, we did and then we built a house. As described in another post, we ended up renting the house we built when we weren’t there and that led to a rental business including several islands. We needed to be able to advise people.

We much preferred the cozy inns and cottages or villa rentals. They came with the opportunity to know the local people better and to experience the depth of island living. Of the larger and better known resorts only two intrigued us.

Diversity of Resorts:

Some of the larger resorts are those of well advertised large chains. On occasion we had reason to stay in the northern part of the island since that was where we were building our house. Sandals has three resorts at the top off the island. Being waterfront they have next to no views except of a flat ocean. The glorious mountain views were elsewhere. We were told they discouraged people from leaving the resort. What a terrible shame! They advertised drinks available at all times. What that means was they circulated with water and soda which decreased demand for beer and wine.

The small inn in the north, where we stayed, was cozy, engaging and close to wonderful restaurants. Happy hour was a treat. One evening I became attentive to the music they were playing and was told it was the music of the French islands. The name of the music became the name of our villa. There were so many opportunities.

As to tours, we recommend taking a day tour of the island. The cheaper alternative is a minibus with 16 people inside. Clearly getting your own driver for a personal tour would be our preference. Yes, it is more expensive.

A Rich Environment:

I’ll leave it there for this week. Part 2 will be posted next week.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Summertime

 

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. We travel, visit relatives or cool off in the water, so I cut back a little. There will be no posts this week and from now through Labor Day there will be only one post a week—typically Monday. 

I’m sure by Fall there will be lots to cover.

Have a great summer.

Roger

Life As a Journey of Discovery

 

What periods of discovery have you had?

We Begin With “How It Is”

First for us in life comes family. From there our world expands. There were my parents and my brother and then my mother’s two sisters. They lived together and would have been called maiden aunts. There was so much more.

Families can be secretive for reasons that are never clear. It was decades later that I found who one of my aunts was. My maternal grandfather was a milkman in the silk stocking district of Manhattan. That was in the early 1900s. The family lived in Hell’s Kitchen. It was said to be the home of the Irish Mob but census records show a highly diverse population. But in all regards it was a tumultuous immigrant community. 

Our Families Unfold

As my grandfather made his rounds both in Hell’s Kitchen and in the upper East Side of Manhattan he watched for abandoned children. He saw to it that they were taken somewhere safe. I had always wondered why my aunt Agnes loved to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It turned out that Agnes had found refuge in my grandparents’ home and she was not a blood relative. She was joyous and Irish through and through.

Agnes and her sister Ruth saw to it that my brother and myself saw New York. Often you can live in a city and never see it. But my brother and I were their children as well and we toured New York. The most special day was New Years Eve. My first such fest was when I was five. It became a tradition to go to Radio City Music hall for the movie and the show. Then we went out to Times Square. That was long ago and far away and we loved it. And after the ball fell we went to arcades and played games until the wee hours. Yes, I was a night person and delighted in the festivities.

The World Opened

And then when I was ten my father took us to Europe. It was just five years after the end of World War II. London was a pile of rubble still. Some interesting things were left standing but the sight of war and its consequences came home to me. Then we crossed the channel and met the French. To this day I do not understand why the British and French continue to have reservations about each other. Yes, they competed in the past but I found both peoples different but lovely in their own right. At the time the French seemed a little crusty. But as I visited them over the coming decades I saw them relax. Later I understood.

How Curious Is Memory

Something unexpected happened. Recently I read a novel about the experiences of three women during the time of the Nazi occupation of France. And then I remembered the face of a woman in a shop outside of Paris when I was ten. It haunted me. She seemed to be in a bad mood and suddenly stopped and stared off into space with a look of terror on her face. I was only ten and the Nazi occupation had ended just five years before. As a ten year old I could not understand. Now I could believe she was being hit by terrible recollections. Depth in my life was unfolding.

From France we went by train to Switzerland. To Americans there were odd shortages. We ate in the dining car on the train and as a ten year old I would have been drinking soda or water except the train had neither. So I had the choice of wine or beer. I tried the beer. It was an interesting trip to Switzerland for me.

Building a View of Life 

What’s the point? Our country appears to be on the cusp of major changes. In those changes we will see and discover much about our country and ourselves. In it we will see that our lives are journey’s of discovery. It doesn’t matter how far ranging the discovery is, it is there if we will attend to it. And it may be in the books we read, the friends we make or world events. It is precious and not to be missed. And we each attend to our personal reality.

What have been your turning points?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt