How I feel Post Publication

Hello everyone, I hope you are well this Saturday. My week has been great. It’s one week since the release of Autumn Leaves, so I thought I would take this blog to share with you how I’m feeling seeing my novel out in the large and open world.

First of all, a special thank you to all who purchased it, retweeted and shared it, and who liked all my posts and pictures throughout the whole ordeal. Trust me, that is what keeps an independent author going strong. It has been a lot of fun getting the story on line and seeing how much excitment it generated. Again, thank you.

Now that it is out there, I have gotten some good feedback so far. Right now, two copies are in the UK, and one is somewhere in Italy, most likely in the Eternal City. Yes, I have a good friend who purchased it while in Spain, and is currently reading it. It’s very exciting to see my work abroad. It’s also doing well here in the states. It opened very well, and now I’m getting reports of progress. Some readers have already started it, and others are targeting it soon. There have been no reviews yet, but I know they will come when readers complete the book. There is interest on goodreads as well, which is exciting. If you are not on goodreads, you should check it out. The site is a lot of fun, and you can gain access to many books you might never have experienced before. Check it out.

Well, with all this excitment, how am I doing? Like I mentioned before, the wave of joy and elation is strong. I am filled with hope for the novel, and rest well knowing it is finally on the market. I am proud of it and feel honored that I was able to bring the story to life. Like any author, I feel a strong sense of pride in the work. I am, however, always nervous for those who are about to begin the journey with Claire and Ryan. I wonder how they will react to the story, if they will like it, or if they will detest it. I am always nervous I have not adaquately chronicled the journey of one woman into the dark world of domestic abuse. I want so much for the story to help people, that my anxiety arises from the thought of failure. Only time will tell, and when the reviews arrive, then I will know.

Aside from all the internalized sentiments, I am really, really happy to have some free time again! For almost a year, I labored on the story; now, my free time has returned to me. It’s great, because a new project unrelated to my writing career has taken its place, and I need all my free time to accomplish it. Here we go again!

It’s way too early to share any mention of my next project, but suffice to say, the proverbially wheels are turning for my second work. Wish me luck! Oh, and if you feel so inclined, share the novel with your friends and family. Pass the links around if you feel the book is worth reading. I would always appreciate any help I could get.

As always, thanks for reading.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Autumn-Leaves-Robert-Oliver-ebook/dp/B01D2BPOCM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458302334&sr=8-1&keywords=Autumn+Leaves+Robert+Oliver

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/autumn-leaves-robert-oliver/1123534519?ean=2940152923513

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/622923

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How to Help An Independent Author

Hello Everyone. I hope you have been well this week. I, personally, am fantastic. Why? Autumn Leaves is about to debut tomorrow (Friday), and I couldn’t be more excited. I can’t believe that a year has almost passed since I first started the project in May. The novel was so fresh and new, and I was so eager to begin. Nearly a year of my life is in that work, one 12 month span devoted to a single idea. Now, like a child growing from adolescence to adulthood, my work is ready to venture into the world. I have mixed feelings on the subject, some of trepidation and some of awe. I fear the story will not be received well (the fear of all authors); yet, I also look upon it as a well trained knight who is ready for their first battle. I have done all I can do, and now the time has come. Will it sink or swim? Well, that’s up to the audience. That being said, I thought I would share tonight a few thoughts I had on helping independent authors.

Independent authors are those who have no major (or any) publishing house pushing their work in the literary world. They choose to ‘go their own route’ in the world of publishing, and with such avenues as Amazon and Nook, they are capable of doing something that twenty years ago would have been very difficult, getting their work into print, albeit electronic. I chose this for a multitude of reasons, which I shall cover at a later date. But, now that my work is in the world, I guess I’m an author now.

There are many ways you as an audience can help an author. First, and most importantly, BUY THEIR BOOKS!!!! Sorry for the all caps there, but I just thought it fitting. In all seriousness, most ebooks are priced economically, making them affordable. Indie Authors want to get their names ‘out there’ and so make the works monetarily tangible. You must remember that the price does not reflect the quality. Many authors will spend a great deal of time working on their projects. Where else can you purchase so much thought, energy and skill for so small an amount? Everyone likes to support small businesses; Indie Authors are small businesses, too.

Second, review their works. All purchasing sites have places where you can write an honest review of the novel. Believe it or not, authors love reviews (especially positive ones). As an author, I love to see where I succeeded, and where I failed. Reviews help me to be a better writer. They also help sales. People will read the reviews and hopefully purchase the story. That being said, I always ask for Honest Reviews. As my wife and editor would say “don’t blow sunshine up my skirt.” That means, don’t tell me it’s wonderful if you didn’t like it. Authors want an honest review, not a fictitious feel good diatribe. If you give me a bad, but honest review, I’ll totally respect that. Of course, I’ll never speak to you again, but I’m sure our mutual and fond memories of one another will keep us warm through many long years! Kidding.

Third, recommend their book to others. If you enjoyed the book, you can tell people through your review, and you can tell them verbally. Word of mouth is so important to many ebook authors. It’s the way many  works reach your nook or kindle. So, feel free to tell your friends. Also, you are always welcome to share any electronic links the author posts on social media. It takes just a moment, and a quick little attached line about the work is a very nice touch, and is always appreciated.

Fourth, follow the author on social media. It helps to keep in contact with what the author is doing, and keeps you in the loop, so to speak, on the release of the next work. It also helps the author to have the audience so readily available, and it assist them in building a social platform.

Now, these rules apply for all authors, of all genres and styles. The Indie world is growing rapidly and and it’s an exciting time to be involved. Remember to explore the world of independent writers. Yes, you will encounter junk, but you will also find a lot of talented writers who are having a lot of fun writing and getting their works onto reading devices. I dine at a Greek restaurant where they say to “go Greek once a week.” So, go indie, um, once a week, I guess. It doesn’t rhyme, but you  know what I mean.

As always, thanks for reading.

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My Dream for My Novel

Hello Everyone. I hope your week has been pleasant. Mine has been very exciting, with the cover release pending, and final submission of the manuscript only a few days away! Yes, it’s been a very fun time. I actually drafted a timeline of the weeks’ events. We are in the final dash here. That being said, I thought I would take a moment and share my dream for my novel.

Every author has a dream for their work. They dream of success, of financial prosperity or fame, and certainly of enough royalties to quit their current occupation and pursue a full-time writing career. Have these thoughts drifted through my mind? Yes, they have. I won’t lie. I dream of writing full-time and having enough money to do so. But, my dream for my story is more than just that. You all have heard me speak for weeks now about domestic abuse and how the story has impacted me. What I want, what my dream is, is for someone else to be impacted by it.

Novels have the power of influence, the ability to reshape someone’s life. I want my story to reshape a reader’s life or situation. I want to know that people reading my work will understand that some women (and men) live as prisoners every day. I want their eyes opened to the situation, much as mine were. More than that, though, I want it to help someone to be freed of their prison. I dream of the day someone may say that they found the strength to walk away, partly from reading my book. Or, that they had the strength to help a friend in need, because they remembered Claire and what she endured.

Keep the royalties, forget the gain, I just want to know that it helped a person, a prisoner in need. That is the dream I have for Autumn Leaves.

As always, thanks for reading.

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The Myth of the Happy Ending

Hello everyone. I hope this finds everyone enjoying their week. Mine has been great so far. I hope the same for you all. I wanted to share something that has always shaped my writing style, and even something that has helped to shape my life, that being the myth of the happy ending, and why I don’t embrace it. Here, let’s begin.

The happy ending is quite literally the fairy tale ending of any story that has everything working out well in the conclusion. All the villains are vanquished, the heroine is rescued and true love reigns. Secondary characters may die, but the “A Team” of the story always survives to see another day. Two loves overcome their obstacles and finally get together at last. It is the happy ending we all want. I must admit, however, that this model seldom is visualized entirely in reality. Bad things happen, and remain.  Villains conquer and rule for a life time. Love is lost. If this is what truly transpires in some cases, why is the myth so popular in writings?

The myth of the happy ending exists, I believe, because in a world that is sometimes very dark, we want to know that things will work out in the end. We need to know that everything will be balanced and brought back into order. We need that happy ending to feel good about ourselves and the story to which we just committed several hours or week of reading. We don’t want to embrace a story if the clouds fail to part at the end.

I don’t blame readers for that. A joyful ending always makes one feel glad they endured the trials of the story. Imagine reading the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy, only to find all the main characters die in the end. That would not leave one with a good feeling. I understand the concept, but I can’t totally embrace the happy ending because I don’t always see it in our world. That’s not the say it doesn’t happen. There are many instances where the world is made right again and all ends well. In those cases, write about it. If that is the reality, write about it.

When I write, I capture reality and place it before my readers’ eyes. It’s not always pleasant, but it is our world, our culture and our time. We see tyrants who are not vanquished, corrupt politicians who are reelected, and unpunished CEOs who retreat to private islands amidst uproars. Sometimes, the end is not always happy.

I don’t mean to sound dark and depressing, but it is the simple truth that not everything turns out the way one would like. I wrote a love story once that had the young couple forever separated at the end. My paramount work, Bleodsian, does not end happily. Even Autumn Leaves….well, you’ll just have to read it to see what transpires.

What I feel needs to replace this myth is the reality that we are lacking in our writings: that of a hardened and somber ending. I want reality in my writings, and to do that, I sometimes have to put aside that old myth and embrace something new and less amicable. I must describe a story where the end doesn’t wrap up the way we’d like. I recall an old country song that says “the boy doesn’t always get the girl, here in the real world.” There is a lot of truth in that.

And finally, sometimes, the end comes and it’s not what we wanted or thought we should have had. And, you know what? That’s okay. There is a greater power orchestrating the events, and  what is depressing today can be joyful tomorrow.

So, in my writings, you can always expect an ending that will fit the story. You won’t always  have the lone rider galloping off into the sunset, but you will have an ending that will remain with you, much as Anna Karenina has remained with me.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

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Domestic Abuse Statistics

Hello everyone. I hope it has been a nice week for you all. As many of you know, when I set out to write Autumn Leaves, I steeped myself in the research and literature concerning the topic of domestic abuse. I must say, it was one of the darkest subjects I have ever covered. In the course of my studies, I came across a multitude of statistics that certainly ‘drive the point home.’ I was astounded by what I found, and tonight, I want to share them with you. Please, share this blog so that more people may realize what so many women, and men, endure every day.

-Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten.
-Every 30 minutes, 20 people are abused by an intimate partner. In one year, that is 10 million people.
-1 in 3 women, and 1 in 4 men are victims of physical violence in their lifetime.
-1 in 5 women, and 1 in 7 men are victims of severe violence by an intimate partner.
-1 in 15 children are exposed to domestic abuse. 90% are eyewitnesses to the event.
-A typical day for the Domestic Abuse Hotline consists of 20 thousand phone calls.
-Intimate Partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes.
-Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are most commonly abused.
-19% of Domestic Violence assaults involve a weapon.
-Only 34% of victims who are injured by an intimate partner receive medical treatment.

-The number of soldiers killed in the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars between 2001 and 2012: 6,488. The number of women killed by current or ex-male partners during that same time: 11,766.

-81% of victims are stalked by a current or former male partner who are also physically abused by that partner.
-10 million children are exposed to Domestic Violence each year.

As you can see, this is dismal. This, also, is only the beginning of all I researched. A simple search on the web will yield so many results. If you ever have a moment, try to familiarize yourself with the resources that are available. You never know if you might have a friend who might need them. Or worse, if you ever need them. Remember, as with Claire, this situation can happen to anyone.

Thanks for reading. And remember, not everyone will sleep peacefully tonight.

Take Care.

Sources: ncadv.ord, huffingtonpost.com

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Why I Changed

Hello everyone, I hope this finds you having a wonderful Saturday. I’ve been asked a few times why I changed my style from horror writer to general fiction? As some of you may remember, psychological horror was my speciality and my passion. If it meant so much to me, why change? That is what I’d like to share with you below.

As I said above, horror literature was my delight, and I loved the scary, the dark, the macabre world of old derelict houses, morbid cemetaries and forlorn, haunting love. I cannot say I have totally turned away from that, but frankly, seeing the world as it stands today, I can say there is enough horror in everyday living; we need not add any additional horrorific elements to it. That, honestly, is why I changed.

Living is rough. It takes courage to step out of your door (yes, I’m totally hearing Bilbo Baggins speaking right now). If one watches the news or listens to the radio, they hear of ‘wars and rumors of wars.’ There are killings and robberies. All of this is the totality of one’s day in the world. I asked myself, then, why add to it with shock and awe stories of monsters and killers? That is just not me anymore, not my ‘thing,’ and not who I am. Yes, my novel draws directly from the real world; yes, it is not always happy; yes, it is violent; but, it is real, and by it, I hope to bring awareness and change. If I can pull some good from the world, and put it in my novel for you all, then I have succeeded.

On a recent visit to Universal Studios in Orlando, FL, we quite unexpectedly met with some dear friends, and over dinner in Daigon Alley, we discussed to what Hogwarts House each of us would belong (Harry Potter, for those not in the know). It was unanimously aggreeded that I would be Slytherin. I chuckled, and though partly agreeing, knew it not to be true. In my heart and mind, I knew different. Yes, years ago I would have gladly accepted the moniker, but not now. Things are diffenret. I can’t be a Slytherin anymore.

Well, in a world that is sometimes, dark, I want to bring some light. It might not always be the best light, and it might not be light that we want to see, but that is my hope. Autumn Leaves is a story of both light and dark,  love and abuse. It tells a dark tale, but there is light in it still. And that light is the light of change.

As always, thanks for reading. Oh, and for those who want to know, I’m a Ravenclaw.

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Making Progress on Autumn Leaves

Hello everyone. I hope you all have had a good week. Mine has been a little crazy, but also productive. I’ve completed a lot on the novel, and gotten some other interesting things in order. Here, let me further explain.

First, the novel. Autumn Leaves went through two extensive edits, and I am happy to announce that the second edit is finally completed. No, really, I am elated. I hate editing, and am completely surprised I have not had an editing rant on here yet. The novel did well in the first edit, and even better during the second. I’m extremely pleased with the final product. I have a few more minor decisions to finalize, but for the most part, it’s ready for on-line.

Second, the cover mock-ups are being finalized into one cover image for Autumn Leaves. I am so pleased with the amount of artistry displayed in the work. Aaron Voebel, the master designer behind the cover, always does exceptional work, and this cover was no different. I have worked with Aaron for many years now, and it is his vision that you see with the very first covers produced for my original writings. I always like a collaborative effort when designing a cover; I feel that the designer, after reading the work, will have their own artistic vision, and together, we work until they are a cohesive representation of both views, and the novel as a whole. I’m excited with what’s been produces so far, and seeing now that the end is near, I’m eagerly anticipating the end result.

Third, I’m continuously strengthening my platform and my on-line presence through sites like Facebook and Goodreads.  I’ve seen some advancements with my twitter as well, and am excited to see an increase in activity with that medium. Readership of this blog has also increased, as well.

What’s still remaining? Well, a lot, actually. The novel needs to be prepared for submission on-line, which is an extensive process. The formatting will take some time, but not too long. I still need to write up the descriptions, which is a pain. Every author hates writing about their work in that fashion; that’s why all authors hate writing the story synopsis! Writing 500 pages is simple, but writing a two page write-up about the work is the most difficult thing. So, that awaits me. Expect a griping post on that later. Ha!

That is where we stand now. I’m delighted all of you have decided to take this journey with me. Writing a novel about domestic abuse is no easy task, but the support all of you have given me is simple amazing. I do appreciate it.

Well, that is it for now. I hope you have a great weekend. As always, thanks for reading.

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