All because I wanted to help….

I created a list of the most frequently asked questions and added them to the handout materials for the class.

I love being an author, I really do but more than being an author I love being a publisher. Asking me to write about my life story is a little surreal because I didn’t plan to be a writer or a publisher. I did however have a desire to help people. It just so happens that I found my niche in helping people to meet their aspirations and become published authors.

It all started when I taught grant writing classes for nonprofit organizations. The students’ questions were pivotal to understanding the class. So, I created a list of the most frequently asked questions and added them to the handout materials for the class. As time passed the little booklet of handouts that I distributed changed from a few handouts and a few questions to a full size manual with information and resources. The game changer came when someone asked if they could purchase copies of the manual to give to their employees so that they could learn to write grants as well.

Within six months Grant Me The Money! The Practical Guide To Successful Grant Writing Practice was released as a self-published book. It was a very popular book and as I traveled around the country teaching grant writing; the book became a significant part of the course as the workbook and resource guide. Several copies were sold for distribution as gifts and resources for colleagues, peers and friends.

That was just the start. As the momentum for the book increased so did my desire to learn the publishing industry. This was due to the fact that my book was a self-published book and it was very difficult getting it in as a holding in the book stores. I was told that it was an excellent product but because it did not have a publisher and imprint the best that it could and would do was to be sold via the internet or direct sale.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was not the only one that faced this challenge and I knew that if I wanted to break the barriers and stigma of a self-published author something had to change. Needless to say, I learned the book industry thoroughly, created a publishing company (Crystal Spirit Publishing, Inc.) and the two interest that I now had and enjoyed, publishing and helping people were joined together as one.

When I started as a publisher it was to give my works legitimacy. However; I started to receive request from aspiring writers from all over the world asking for assistance and for me to share my knowledge and experience of the book industry so that they too could fulfill their aspirations and dreams. It was then that I decided to expand the focus from my works and invite the works of others for publishing consideration.

Now ten years, seven books and five authors later my focus and objective to help aspiring authors is still the same but with more intensity. The only difference now is the level of experience has increased of course, the geographical boundaries have expanded, that little booklet that started it all is now in its 3rd Edition and I have authored two additional books as well.

I love being an author as I stated from the beginning but I love being a publisher even more.

Grant Me The Money! The Practical Guide To Successful Grant Writing Practice 3rd Ed. can be purchased at http://www.crystalspiritinc.com/bookstore.html

HOW I BECAME A HAUNTED AUTHOR

The nine months my son Chris and I spent in the house have forever changed our lives

Seven years ago, on a cold and snowy day in January, 2009, I stood in front of a group of mourners in a church to give the eulogy for my deceased friend, Paul Jaeger. Paul and I were close friends for over thirty years, throughout which we had shared our love of art, anthropology, history and more. What he didn’t share with me, however, were dark, family secrets that would be revealed to me as I fulfilled the responsibility as executor to clean out and sell his home.

The nine months my son Chris and I spent in the house have forever changed our lives, and what we experienced there became the subject of my debut book, Estate of Horror, A True Story of Haunting, Hatred and a Horrific Family Secret. Standing before the friends assembled at Paul’s memorial service, I couldn’t have imagined that I would now be an author, having fulfilled the promise to myself to tell my story of the incredible haunting and poltergeist experience we survived at the small, three-bedroom house that my friend had called home.

It was important to me to share my story publicly. My story is true but I’ve had to defend myself to skeptics who questioned that it was my imagination and that I made it all up. Believe me; I do not have that wild an imagination! It has been suggested by some skeptics that Chris faked the poltergeist activity presented on our videos on YouTube. Let me just say poltergeist activity is a very rare event. You would never believe that statement to be true with all the rampant “supernatural activity” that happens on today’s paranormal TV shows. I am not saying things don’t happen on those shows but remember these are primary entertainment venues and

they have to give the audience something “creepy” so they will tune in next week. When we recorded our paranormal events we did it for our own documentation at the time, never thinking they would later be reference in a book and then on a TV show, A Haunting. That was the furthest thing on our minds. We were more interested in surviving. So many people have had similar experiences like mine but they fear telling others because of the possible ridicule.

It’s not easy having me for a client, either. It is not every day that someone comes to you with a manuscript about a truly scary paranormal experience and you decide to take them on. Only then you realize what you got yourself into. That brave person is my agent Laurie Hawkins of Collage Literary. Over four years ago she read my manuscript for Estate of Horror, the work of a first-time author, and took a chance on me. Her hunch that my story would be read by many others paid off. In fact, my story became an episode for a national TV show. Not bad!

There have been “bumps in the night” along the way. Laurie has experienced some very strange occurrences at her home office while printing out my manuscript for Estate of Horror and now my sequel Dark Transference. She had ghostly experiences before she met me but things have only escalated. There has been poltergeist activity and sightings of a little girl at her home. Things have disappeared and then turned up in the strangest places. Computer files have evaporated on her desk-top and her printer has been known to spit out parts across the room!

We have found we have been deliberately thwarted in getting this second book out. It has been difficult for me to properly juxtaposition the last six years of the many supernatural incidents and to combine them in a coherent story compared to Estate of Horror’s time frame of only ten months. That is why there has been the delay in getting the sequel published. Citing these factors, it has not been an easy project for either Laurie or me. We both have dealt with serious personal health issues with parents over these last four years, too. She has faithfully edited me through each chapter to help me put together a book we are both proud of. Above all, I wrote Estate of Horror for the people who are not able or willing to write about their supernatural encounters and the heartbreak that they have suffered alone by keeping silent. I feel your pain.

I had never intended that I would be writing the sequel Dark Transference, now. I simply wanted to tell my incredible and true ghost story and be done with it. Unfortunately, that was wishful thinking. But although I live a paranormal life every day I choose the light always.

This post is contributed as Guest post by Anita Jo Intenzo

Why Do Writers Write?

One famous writer, whose name I no longer remember, once asked to have written on his tombstone, the simple legend, “He wrote only to be read.”

After a recent talk I gave on writing, some people waited behind to speak with me. One of them jokingly remarked, “What do you do with all the money you’re earning?” That is a question I have been asked more than once. There are some writers, I know, who write with the hope of making money — a vain enterprise — but the great majority of writers are concerned more about finding readers. One famous writer, whose name I no longer remember, once asked to have written on his tombstone, the simple legend, “He wrote only to be read.” Money was for him neither an issue nor an objective.

Reflecting further on this, I have come to the realisation that recognition, or fame perhaps, is little more a motivating factor to the truly committed writer than is money. So what drives the urge? I believe that the answer is twofold. There is simply the creative spirit that desires to bring into being something original, and there is the creative ego that yearns to share that creation. Most writers would confess, if they’re honest, to a secret wish to stand at the shoulders of everyone reading their work, to watch their every facial expression, to decipher their every reaction, and hopefully, to win appreciation, even praise, for their brainchild. So, while writing may appear initially to be a fire in the belly that must need find expression, ultimately it cannot be an end in itself. The creative ego is a hungry beast.

Guest post by Author Brian O’Hare

WRITING — HOBBY, PROFESSION or THERAPY?

My Writing Therapy by Author Tony Thorne MBE‏ – An author’s account of finally retiring as a prolific writer of near future speculative novels and short stories.

An author’s account of his hard way up, from SciFi fan and fan magazine editor, to Design Engineering Business Executive, Software Consultant, and finally retirement as a prolific writer of near future speculative novels and short stories.

In the last decade, things have changed dramatically in the writing and publishing business, and will never be the same again. Anybody, perhaps almost everybody nowadays with any kind of computer seems to be having a go at it! Nowadays then, to some agents and acquisition editors, it must seem that there are far more writers around today than there are readers. Why do they do it? The irresistible lure of possibly doing another Harry Potter?

Perhaps things have become an amateur’s dream of a preferable alternative to a normal occupation? Maybe they’re making it an exercise in self-fulfilment too, a way to express and analyze their feelings about the world. Where they fear it’s going, and the urge to communicate about it to anyone who’ll listen, or rather read. Could be!

Perhaps it’s a therapeutic exercise?

Well, there are easier ways to relieve one’s feelings of frustration when it comes to requiring therapy. You could try beating up your partner… but that can be very expensive, especially in America. In some countries I believe you can buy little clay idols, horribly hideous to behold. With just a little imagination a suitable one of them can be identified with the galling irritation of the moment. Rage and indignation does the rest. Trials and tribulations presumably scatter in the breeze with the dust of the thing as it crumbles in your fist, or shatters under your heel.
Well, I’ve no doubt it works for some people, but if you lead a very frustrating life, it might soon get to be expensive. However, there are more economic ways to relieve one’s feelings when the need for therapy arises. Years ago, to become your own psychiatrist, the minimum you needed was pencil and paper.

Nowadays, a personal laptop, or tablet… or even a smart phone is more convenient, and most of us have one nowadays…or something similar. Everywhere can become a couch and it’s more socially acceptable than talking to yourself… or taking it out on your partner, which, as I already mentioned, can be very expensive.

So, put it all down then…scribble or tap away, unbutton your creative belt and let everything hang out. Develop your expressive urges and have your characters tell your conscience how you feel. Above all be honest with yourself, even if it hurts. It often does, and I should know…this is the voice of experience.

The nearer I got to the top of the heap, in my business profession the more I longed to release my over-pressurized feelings, throw away my collection of emotion-screening masks, insult all the customers, turn my order book in for an axe and hack away at the plastic feet of all the false idols I seemed to be worshiping. I felt disillusion and contempt for the commercial rat-race, and the way it submerged my appreciation of the simpler things in life. I resented the never-ending battle, that constantly seemed necessary, to just stay level, let alone to expand further, and I was filled with remorse at the neglect of my home-life and family. All the time you see my conscience was wearing me down. It refused to believe my contrived excuses and justification for what I was doing. I eventually knew I needed some kind of therapy, so I started writing again.

I should mention that back in the fifties I wrote and sold a few SciFi tales, as an avid Science Fiction fan and participated in several conventions. My rapidly expanding business life however, soon put a stop to those fascinating activities. Eventually in the late seventies I decided it was time to retire from my professional executive life, and went to work for myself as a software consultant. The problem with that was the way it soon took up all of my time again, so in my early eighties I gave it all up and finally retired.

Since then I have only indulged in writing, editing and promoting my speculative fiction output. Now of course, I am ruefully finding the latter, the essential marketing requirement, seems to take up more and more of my time than the writing does. But to continue…

The smaller magazines and genre websites began to take my work, and still do, and I’ve also won a few competitions, and received a couple of awards. Altogether I’ve published over ten collections of speculative stories from macabre tales to science fiction and even some humor. I’ve also had stories published in about nine anthologies in America. My first novel, Points of View, was published in 2012 by Eternal Press in California. In 2015 they were taken over by Caliburn Press in Madison. Wisconsin. The first sequel will be published by them around December 2016. They want the second one too, which I have just completed. They have also acquired my latest collection of quirky macabre stories SPECULATIVE TALES..!

In 2014, with my own self-publishing imprint, Etcetera Press, I self-published my largest book, 358 pages of THE BEST OF THE TENERIFE TALL TALES, selected from my earlier award winning trilogy, which has that most generous introduction by the late legendary, American SciFi author Harry Harrison. We met up in 2007 at a convention in Copenhagen, and he later visited me for a most illuminating week in Tenerife, Spain where my wife and I were on vacation.

He liked my stories, and gave me a glowing introduction to use with one collection, but said I really had to write a novel if I seriously wanted to get anywhere. So that I did, as already described earlier, and now things are progressing well. My very latest effort has been to self-publish an analysis of the coming Artificial Intelligence revolution, in a book entitled, THE SINGULARITY IS COMING. It has become my best selling title. Most people I talk to have never heard of the phenomenon, and yet many scientists and other experts believe it will arrive in less than a decade and change all out lives completely. If you don’t yet know about it you should… and you know how to find out about it, don’t you?

Last October it was acquired by the IT Books Division of the Chinese Information Ministry Publisher, PTPress in Bejing. for publication in simplified Chinese eBook, hardback, and paperback versions, scheduled for release in June 2016… and it was! So how did that wonderful breakthrough come about? Their Publishing Manager simply found me while searching through the Internet and took it from there. In his own words, “I wanted a follow up to Ray Kurzweil’s book and your book is concise and easy to understand.”
So my own simple secret of success can be revealed as get yourself featured on the Internet, everywhere and as often as you can.

Make sure your name and your essential website URL appear whenever a potential reader enters anything relevant in the search entry box on any browser. Inexpensive experts waiting for you on that remarkable website www.fiverr.com can provide all the facilities and the opportunities you need to achieve that objective. (Yes, it does have two letter “r”s at the end). When you have done all you can, check your website regularly, add anything new, and keep it updated and ongoing, but above all… be patient!

To sum up now, my therapy has brought me close to understanding that if you don’t have the time to be a perfectionist, there can be contentment in accepting adequacy, defined perhaps as the acceptable limit of one’s abilities. I also suspect that the trick is to never give up until you get as far as you truly believe you can, or maybe stop just before that.