Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Christmas Poem : Maxwell Cynn

Twas the night before Christmas
That story we know
About Santa, and reindeer
and ribbons, and bows

And poor bullied Rudolph
has entered our myths
With Frosty, and toy shops
and Klingons, and Siths

But none of this has
very much in relation
to a babe in a manger
or Divine Revelation

We've lost the true story
of Love, Joy, and Peace
And replaced it with presents
and Jolly Olde Feasts

We shop 'til we drop
and drink 'til we spew
Then stagger, head hurting
to the Holiday pew

We forget in our shopping
our wrapping a box
That our Savior was born
in the stall of an ox

He healed sick and lame
and made the blind see
But our biggest worry is
what's under the tree

While many good brothers have
no home or hearth
We drink 'til we stagger
and eat 'til we barf

But Christmas is not about
tinsel or bow
Not about stockings or
eggnog or snow

It's the Lord of Creation
living as we
Giving Himself freely
nailed to our tree

Forget all the shopping for
presents to give
And give of yourself
that others might live

God Bless Us Every One

Monday, December 15, 2014

Starting Over #AmWriting

Three years ago my books The Collective and CybrGrrl were both in the top ten at the same time on Amazon and Smashwords. CybrGrrl reached number one! I had just released my third book .45 Caliber Jitterbug and it was climbing the lists.

That's an eclectic mix—CybrGrrl is a techno-erotic romance, The Collective is a romantic conspiracy thriller, and .45 Caliber Jitterbug is a cozy romantic mystery set in the 1920's. A wide ranging audience!

As many of you know, who've stuck with me on the blog over the years, shortly after the release of .45 Caliber Jitterbug my son was diagnosed with T-Cell ALL ( Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia ).

Leukemia is a nasty form of cancer that effects blood cell production in the bone marrow. The treatment requires destroying the effected T-Cells and the bone marrow producing them. Treatment is a long and arduous process.

My son is in remission, but he'll continue chemotherapy for another six months.

Over the interim I deleted my Facebook account and let my Google+, Twitter, and other social media accounts dwindle away. I've basically been AFK for the last few years. I'd hardly cracked open a book or written a word until a month or so ago an old and dear friend Cali MacKay told me to get off my duff and start writing again.

Starting over is hard.

The industry changes fast and I'm playing catch-up. But a writer writes, what else can we do? I'm currently working on my fourth novel. I've reinstated my Facebook account (and added an author page). I've also started tweeting and blogging again. My network isn't half as large as it once was, but I'm meeting new friends and it's growing again.

I'm thankful for the friends who've stuck with me and the new friends I'm meeting every day.

2015 will be a new start for me. I'm working hard to rebuild a strong, content driven platform to reach a larger fan-base with my work. I will continue here on the blog reviewing great books and offering tips to writers and indie publishers.

This is my anchor.

Around the social nets I'll be sharing poems, excerpts, short stories, and news for readers on Facebook, Google+ and Tsū . And on Twitter I'll be linking it all and interacting with friends and fans.

There will be a lot of changes over the next couple of months as I get it all together. So stick around—it'll be fun! The great part about starting over is YOU can take part in it. If you have suggestions leave them in the comments below.

What do YOU want to see on

Monday, December 8, 2014

Facebook's New Policy: What's an author to do?

Last week we looked at Facebook's New Policy and how they play bait and switch with ads, likes, boosts, and their squirrelly algorithm. But what can we, as authors, do to promote our work without getting sucked into the bottomless money-pit of paid ads and boosting posts?

There are hundreds of social networks, some more popular than others, some more “user friendly” than others. The number one priority for authors is finding where their audience is and building relationships (your fan-base). Obviously Facebook, the king of all social networks, is important. But it is NOT the only place to reach your audience. Or the only place your audience wants to interact with you.

All of the big networks—Facebook, Google+, Twitter, GoodReads, Tumbler—have a niche and a culture that is unique to each. There is a lot of crossover and cross posting, most people don't use one network exclusively, but there are subtle and not so subtle differences. Then there is Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords... Your time can spread thin pretty quickly.

Use the networks you are comfortable with and use them well. You should have a couple of primary networks that you use a lot, and perhaps a few more you check-in with occasionally. These can change over time. You should feel comfortable and natural. Forget you are trying to sell your next book and think about which networks you enjoy using—even if you didn't have a next book.

Each network has it's own culture and it's own etiquette. Become one with the social aspect of the network. Really Zen, right? But seriously, don't be the one who drops in - posts ads - and moves on to the next network—that's considered spam. Follow the lead of others on the network—post what's uniquely popular on each network.

That brings us back to Facebook. Facebook, to paraphrase their policy, is not for selling your book or product—it is for engaging and interacting with your fan base / customers. I know, Facebook breaks their own rules of etiquette and plasters your page with paid ads, spams your time line with paid ads, steals your content and harasses your friends with paid ads... But that's Facebook. Everyone ignores all that crap, so why were you even thinking of paying for ads? Read my last post.

Facebook is, I must reluctantly admit, the master site of online social. So be social. Engage your readers with posts they will enjoy. Offer them content, contests, prizes! Build your fan base (they will buy your next book). The old saying is true, “To have a friend you must be a friend.” And if your want to be “Liked”— interact! Like and comment on other posts, reach out to those friends-of-friends. Be Social.

If you are a writer, trying to sell a few books, what is the one rule editors and publishers love to chant into excess?” Show Don't Tell. It is the same in social media and book promotion. Give your readers a reason to follow you, friend you, like you, and they will buy your next book without you having to spam the world with buy links. And without you buying Facebook ads or boosts. Show your talent and you won't need to Tell anyone where to buy your next book.

Now, go. Be social!

Hit me up on Facebook & Twitter (my primary networks) Though I'm leaning toward replacing FB with Google+ because... it's not Facebook.

**This post is a follow-up to last weeks #MondayBlog Looking at Facebook's New Policy