Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blood, Smoke and Ashes by Bradley Convissar: Guest Post: Orangeberry Tour Stop


My Advice For Beginning Writers
by Bradley Convissar

This blog post is going to be geared towards authors like me, those who have a full time job and write on the side.  I know there are many people who have the luxury to write as a full-time job, but I am talking mainly to the people who are trying to juggle their love of writing with a day job.  Juggle their love of writing with a family and the responsibilities a spouse and children bring.  Like a wise man once said… if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.  If you can find time to write despite the maximum amount of distractions out there, then you can succeed.  A lot of this information will be the same as you have read other places, but that’s okay.  If you can pick out a nugget or two, then it was worth it.

My first piece of advice, the most important piece of advice, is this: even if writing is nothing more than a hobby in your mind, a side project, you need to treat it like a job.  You can’t just say “I don’t feel like doing it today”.  It’s like the gym.  Or flossing. One day off spirals to a week off.  And then weeks.  You cannot write sporadically or haphazardly.  You need a schedule and you need to keep to it. Of course things come up: emergencies, busy days, vacation, etc where there is simply not time to write, but you need to do your best to drag yourself to your chair every night, sit down, and do it.  And once you start, a lot of times it’s hard to stop.

If you are married or live with a significant other, you must make that person understand how important writing is.  That you view it as a second job.  If he or she doesn’t understand, it can lead to friction.  So make sure you have that discussion before they think that you are ignoring them.

If possible, and this may seem silly, but find an old computer without an internet connection.  The internet is the devil.  I’m serious.  It is so hard to sit down, especially when suffering from some writers block or lack of inspiration, and get to writing when there is a whole World Wide Web out there to explore.  Facebook and Tumbler and Twitter and Youtube and game sites… they all offer so much more in the way of instant gratification, and the urge to play around is hard to ignore.  Half of the posts on my Facebook feed are from other authors: Get off of Facebook and get writing.  I know, it’s impractical to find or buy another device just to avoid the internet, but you need to find some discipline because procrastination is your enemy.  I could write a whole post on this, but I’ll leave that to someone else.  When you sit down, you must resist the call to play games or play around on the internet, because once you open Firefox or Chrome or IE, you can pretty much count your writing session, or most of it, goodbye.

Keep a drink at hand to keep you from eating.  And I don’t necessarily mean something alcoholic

If you plan on publishing yourself, plan on spending some money.  If you want to be treated like a pro, you need to put out a professional piece of art.  Get a cover done by an artist.  Pay an editor to read your manuscript, not only for grammar and spelling, but for content.  Beta readers and friends are great, but someone who is an actual editor is better.  You need to view this as a business.  You think to think long term.  Cover art and editing is an investment that will help you grab and keep readers.

Don’t want to give away your masterpiece for free, even for a few days?  Write some short stories and sell them for free through KND select.  The samples that Amazon offers are good, but a lot of readers want to see your ability to craft a whole story, not just the first twenty pages.  Remember, selling books is a lot less about the monetary    investment for readers.  $.99-$2.99 is reasonable.  Potential readers are much more concerned about wasting TIME.  They are much more likely to pick up your novel if you convince them of your ability to write short works.  Some of my most devoted fans discovered me by reading free short stories first.

Pricing.  Yes, on a $2.99 book, you make 70% for every sale while on a $.99 book you only make 35%.  But remember, 70% of nothing is nothing.  At the beginning, if you are unknown and need people to take a chance and write reviews, you need to sell at $.99.  At least for a while.

Keep on writing.  Even if your first book doesn’t sell thousands of copies, don’t let it depress you.  The more books you have to sell, the larger the library, the bigger the chance of developing new fans.  It is a rare author that hits it big with his or her first book. 

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller / Horror

Rating – PG13 bordering on R

This is the second edition of the book, and the errors noted in several of the reviews have been corrected.In the Fall of 1955, the state of Nevada used the electric chair to execute a prisoner for the first time.

It was also the last time.

Molly Blackburn, nicknamed Jane the Ripper by the Las Vegas press after killing eleven men while posing as a prostitute, was strapped to the chair without incident. The switch was flipped.

Everything after that went horribly wrong.

Since that day, a copycat Jane the Ripper has appeared almost every decade in a different city, mimicking Molly’s choice in victims as well as her methods of murder. She kills eleven men then disappears, never to be found. The similarities between the bodies left behind each decade is uncanny. As if they are all the victims of the same murderer, not a copycat.

But that’s impossible, of course, because Molly Blackburn is dead, her execution witnessed by a dozen people.

FBI Agent Jack Shaw, the lead investigator in the Jane the Ripper cases since the seventies, finally catches a break in 2009 when the intended fifth victim manages to turn the tables on the newest copycat . Everyone believes that the horror has finally ended with her capture. Shaw is not so sure, though, wondering if someone else will take up the mantle and kill seven more men to complete the cycle. But when no more bodies with her distinctive markings show up over the next two years, Shaw allows himself to believe that maybe he has seen the end of the Jane the Ripper murders.

As it turns out, what he thought was the end was only the beginning.

His hunt will take him across the country, and even when he thinks he’s finally discovered the truth, he quickly learns that not everything is as it seems.

That not every monster is created equal.

That the nature of good and evil is not as black and white as he has always believed.

That not everything that is broken can be put back together.

That not every fractured soul can be saved.

When blood, smoke and ashes rise, no one comes out the same on the other side.

Blood, Smoke and Ashes is a 115,00 word supernatural thriller that also contains the first half of my crime/thriller novella “I Never”. 
(Horror with some violence / Some sex, not overly graphic)


Brad Convissar is a dentist by day, a writer of dark fiction at night, and a father, husband, and not-so-proud pet owner when time permits.
He is the author of several dozen short stories, four novellas, and will be releasing his first novel, Blood, Smoke and Ashes, a supernatural thriller, in early 2013.

He was born in Georgia, but moved to southern New Jersey before he could be forced to be an Atlanta Braves fan. He spent his formative years living outside of Philadelphia where he latched on to the Philly sports teams and was promptly disappointed for almost twenty years. He spent his college years in New Orleans, where he earned his bachelor's degree in evolutionary biology at Tulane University, then relocated to lovely Newark New Jersey, where he earned his DMD.

After eight years of bouncing around, Brad finally settled down back in south Jersey, only miles from the house he grew up in. He is happily married and the proud father of two children. He is also "dad' to a diabetic, half-blind eight-year-old daschund named Friday who is little more than a lump on the couch most of the time.

When not filling cavities or performing root canals or extracting teeth or fabricating dentures, or writing, he spends his time playing with his kids, playing video games, reading comic books, reading non-illustrated books, and impotently rooting on his beloved Philadelphia Phillies or less than beloved Philadelphia Eagles.
His favorite authors are, but not limited to, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Richard Matheson, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Simon Green, Jim Butcher, and Jeffery Deaver. He likes to think he learned something of the art of writing from each of these authors.

To this day, he wonders how the TV show LOST got so bad, so quickly. The wasted potential of the first three seasons still haunts him.
Connect with Bradley Convissar on Facebook & Twitter
Next Few Stops
6th May – Guest Post at Quality Reads
7th May – Guest Post, Author Interview & Book Feature at Talisman Book Publishing
8th May – Book Review at Unbiased Book Reviews
9th May – Book Review at Book Connoisseur



Fran Swarts said...

Would love to win, thanks for the chance.

Jody A Kessler said...

Haha! <3 this..."The internet is the devil. I’m serious." Thanks for the great reminders and sage advice. Your novel sounds fantastic, cheers!



I'm a new follower to your site

pam said...

Book looks really good. Thanks for the giveaway.

Julia Mills said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway!!!

Felicia said...

Hey there - I am new to your site and your books - how cool to find new authors - well, new authors for me!