Behind the Scenes – It only takes #32Seconds – The meaning of number 32

Why the number 32, and not 30, or 15, or 5,000? Well…I’m a sucker for numerology and symbolism. number32

I flipped the number 23 and turned it into 32. The number 23/32 gives 2+3=5. In numerology, 5 is a dynamic number. Always in motion and always in need of change, 5 is feminine with tomboyish qualities. 5 is independent, and a risk-taker. 5 is loyal, but when not in a relationship, likes to fly from flower to flower without any strings attached. 5 can adapt to anything. 5 is charismatic, charming, good looking, smart, but drawn to be an outcast given anything conventional bores 5 to death. 5 is judgmental, self-righteous and sometimes, uptight.

Now you get a portrait of Julie Jones. She’s the number 5. She seeks freedom of thought and action, she cannot be controlled but is far from being narrow-minded. Her sense of humor is healthy, she carries her heart on her sleeve and often gives it to the wrong person because she’s not the greatest judge of character. On the negative side, she’s selfish, reckless and irresponsible. She tends to procrastinate and be unreliable. She will experiment with drugs, sex and alcohol and other weakness of the flesh. She deals with a desire for instant gratification, a sense of invulnerability, lack of discipline and restraint…

23 Seconds didn’t sound as good as 32 Seconds…Therefore, I flipped the number.

And there you have it. My mind loves to play with stuff like that. I’m all about yin and yang, which explains why my brand The Manicheans, derived from manicheism, is based on a dualistic system: life and death, positive and negative, light and dark.

Julie Jones loves that stuff too. She calls my process intellectual traffic jam.

Until next time. Have a good day folks!

ALS Awareness – W/o the ice bucket challenge #donate

Heya!

Julie Jones here again. Hope you folks started Wednesday off the right foot. I’m stealing the spotlight from my creator so I can blog a little bit about the ALS fundraiser. The ice bucket challenge – which has flooded (no pun intended) my social media feed – confused me a little bit at first. I kept seeing people tossing buckets filled with water and ice cubes over their head – and to be honest, I found the whole concept a bit uh hum, dumb. But…hear me out. It doesn’t matter what I think. It’s a good cause, and heck, I don’t need an ice bucket to donate money (Dad has plenty of money anyway) oh right, but we’re talking real money here…Hey creator, you’re willing to donate a little something for a good cause?

She said yes. ALRIGHT!!! And because she’s feeling generous today, she’s also gonna give a little something to the ASPCA because pets are her first love anyway. So here, two birds with one stone!!

Cha-Ching!! What I learned during my journey in the Underworld is that I can’t stay narrow-minded! And judging a book by its cover isn’t the right way to go either. Doesn’t mean I gotta jump when everyone jumps, but when the cause is right, and I can do a little something to improve by helping others, I’m all for it. Shucks, my friend Evan would be proud.

That’s it for today. If you wish to follow the lead and donate, I’m pasting the link to the ALS Association here. Have a merry hump day folks!!

 

Easy Does It – but Do It! Julie Jones has a word or two… #32Seconds

Hi folks!

So I will tentatively release 32 Seconds on November 7. Of course, this date might change – if it does change, the next date will be December 5 – my birthday, and this one shall be the final release date of this awesome novel. I’m not rushing myself, so we will see what comes first.

Other thoughts that went through my mind today – how to deal with life and all the ups and downs and unexpected events that make the writing journey a bit more perilous. I am very happy no one is pushing me with deadlines because I would be unable to meet any of them. But I still have to stick to a schedule, otherwise, nothing would be done. Time must do its work too. I’m not the type of author who follows a strict outline. My process is more organic, and changes as I change.

Now that 32 Seconds is being copy edited, I’m already thinking ahead, and preparing myself to tackle The Manicheans…I started writing this story in 2010 (yeah, speaking of deadlines…)! Lots will evolve, but the main characters have already found their spot in my heart and mind, and I cherish them like my children.

Julie Jones from 32 Seconds has decided to take on the hot seat today – to keep me focused. She thinks I won’t think of her once I start working on the next project…Here she comes. I better let her work her magic or she will nag me for the rest of the day. Enjoy!

***

Phew! Got here as fast as I could. Don’t want people to forget about me so I will talk and talk and talk until you know my name and who I am and what I did, and bam! Julie Jones becomes your favorite character ever. Although, it might be overkill. I should know better than to brag about myself. My awesomeness can be surpassed, I had to learn that the hard way, and yes, I am not perfect (even if I think sometimes, the world just doesn’t understand me and I am ultra-perfection reincarnated.)

Hum, if my ego tries to push more crap down your throat, you might not want to read my story, and I swear, it ends well! Alright, I’m keeping it in check then. What was the topic today?

(re-reads title of blog post)

Yes, I am a procrastinator. I am the specialist of let’s do it later if we’re too busy now, which in my book is an acceptable excuse. I am always busy. I gotta run all over the place, drive my Bubble (I call my car Bubble) all over Los Angeles and take care of business. Good business. Not the non-kosher occupation I used to love doing until my world turned upside down and I landed in a place where nothing made sense. The Underworld, my friends, was quite the journey. But I digress…

Easy does it, that’s my motto. I apply it every day – and try not to stress myself out until I hit panic mode. Because I’m great at procrastinating (I already said that), and piling up stuff until the laundry list is too long and I get overwhelmed. Discipline and structure are two words that don’t belong to my vocab, but I try, I really try. So I do what I can, when I can, and I don’t beat myself up too much (although I love to do that too). Self-confidence is the key. But arrogance is a no-no. Gotta find the middle-line, which to me is invisible, and very hard to find when I’m in a hurry, but heck. The world wasn’t made in a day. No need to worry then.

I’m sure you can relate. My friend here is doing the best she can to keep up with me, and it’s tough, I grant her that, because I’m a tough cookie. I managed to mellow out a bit though. Just a tad. She has to use patience. Lots of it. She’s a great gal. I’m very lucky to have been born in her imagination. Her mind is a bit messy at times, but always entertaining. I never get bored there.

Alright, my time is up. I don’t want to keep writing until I publish a bible, and there’s so much to say until 32 Seconds is out, so you’ll have time to get to know me…

Ciao fellas, until next time.

***

32 Seconds – Coming Soon!

32secondsfinalcover.jpg

Getting there, getting there!! 32 Seconds #Release

Sorrrrrrry! Haven’t been very active on this front, it’s because I was busy working on my novel 32 Seconds. And it’s getting there, slowly but surely. The copy editing will start now, which means, I can aim at a release date in the Fall. I haven’t set a day yet, but I think November will probably work. My mom asked if I could release it on her birthday, which is November 7, and I will certainly do my best to grant her wishes.

What’s new otherwise? Life’s good, very good, can’t complain. I remain inspired, and ready to tackle on the next project, The Manicheans Trilogy, Volume 1! That, my friends, promises to be epic. But first things first, I will focus on 32 Seconds and promise to release a beautiful novel, which I hope you will enjoy. I will announce here when pre-orders are available. And for the first week of the release, there will be a lot of goodies and prizes, and all that awesome stuff, so stay tuned. I know you will.

Have a happy Monday (at least as happy as it can get) and I will post again on this platform very soon.

:)

32 Seconds

At seventeen years old, Julie Jones is one tormented teenager for whom the glam and glitz of Los Angeles don’t mean much anymore. Born troublemaker, she seeks to forget about the demons of her past by leaving her family and friends behind. Her journey to a fresh start takes her to the outskirts of a small town where an old lady lures her outside a one-dollar store, and gives her an enchanted chocolate.

After eating the magic piece of candy, Julie enters a parallel universe called the Underworld, where she meets her handsome guide, Evan. Despite her constant struggle to grasp the severity about her past deeds, and the main reason behind her ill-being, Julie keeps moving on through obstacles and challenges as Evan feeds her answers to many of her questions.

Why does Julie feel like she doesn’t belong anywhere? Why does her anger control every one of her actions? Why does she keep having visions about her best friend Kara, whom she hasn’t been in touch with for the past two years? Deep down, Julie knows she won’t find peace of mind until she accepts the truth about her anger. And why Kara keeps coming back.

New Trends and Indie Writing – how to make a difference in today’s publishing world

Happy Friday! Many authors, including myself, dream of breaking big sales, turn into a J.K. Rowling overnight and live off of writing exclusively for the rest of their life. If I don’t aim for the stars, why write at all? At least, that’s the question my mother and fellow authors will ask me. They’re right. Why aim low when you have the potential to reach high?

The publishing industry nowadays is not what it used to be. No need to elaborate on that. Self-publishing has exploded, and will continue to explode, and any aspiring author out there knows they can publish a book, and they don’t need anyone’s help to do that. Heck, looking for books on Amazon and similar platforms has turned into a treasure hunt. If you don’t have an author in mind, and are simply looking for a new story to fill your head with, that search can take hours. That’s why Amazon and its fellow competitors have established the star rating system, the sales rank, and the promotional thumbnails to help the reader with their quest. And the same question keeps popping in my mind: how do I become more visible? How do I increase my sales rank? How do I become a best-selling author?

Great books may stay in the dark for years before a breakthrough. If the marketing is low, and the topic unconventional, these great stories might never break at all. We, as authors, are bound to having an audience. And finding this audience is key. During a writers’ conference, I asked publishers what they were looking for and they gave me a very simple answer. They want something that will sell. They provided me with details about what they thought would pop the readers’ cherry, but given they were no psychics, their assumptions were as good as mine.

“American Psycho” was a bestseller along with “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” or “Twilight”. Sure, we have entered this YA/NA era where everything revolves around fantasy and paranormal genres, and as long as this pot of gold isn’t dry, the trend will live on for a while longer.

But how, as an indie author, will you know what to write so you can sell? That’s the one million dollar question right there. Many have tried to follow the steps of Grisham, King and Cornwell, or E.L. James and Meyer, for what result though? Erotica will always sell. Romance too. Psychological thrillers, and stories about crooks, gangsters, attorneys, dirty cops, and nurses – airport books I call them and that’s how I bought my first Stieg Larson’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” copy – that stuff reads well, and fast, and keeps you busy and distracted for a few hours. You might not consider the book a milestone in your reading career, but you will have fun reading it, and that’s the most important part of writing and selling books in the first place. So that the readers can enjoy themselves.

Once you try to tackle touchy topics, like necrophilia, pedophilia, rape, cannibalism, drug addiction, and so on…you’re appealing to the minds that find horror exciting. And horror sells as well, especially in the context of serial killers, zombie, and vampire tales. Same goes with deep psychological novels.

There are tons of bestsellers out there that prove that any genre can break huge – so following trends might not be a safe bet after all. You can try to ride the wave, and catch the next big fish, but your attempt might fail dramatically. It’s very difficult as an author to write stuff that has never been written about before. Sci-fi and fantasy allow writers to push boundaries, but main themes always remain the same.

At the end of the day, you’re basically back to square one. You got your manuscript and have no idea if the story will appeal to a multitude of readers or not, and then you have your marketing strategy, which might be super advanced or amateurish, depending on how much time you can devote to market your book, and money to advertise as much as possible. And still, you can do everything in your power to attract readers, your book might not sell much.

After this long monologue, you might be asking yourself, what is the best way for me to still make a difference? There must be a light at the end of the tunnel here.

Well, consider your competition a few millions books, and many more to come. Sub-genres that burst within sub-genres. Niches within niches. Word of mouth works wonders – it’s actually the most efficient marketing strategy. And…promoting your book doesn’t stop at writers’ conferences, book signings, and blog hops. Radio shows, podcasts, YouTube, and naturally, Twitter and Facebook, help tremendously. Like I often say, not only do you sell your book, you also sell a brand. Don’t think a trailer is useless. Freebies help and sometimes they don’t. An attractive book cover can take your book a long way, without you even realizing it.

The natural order of things will do that certain authors reach the top, and others stay stuck in the middle. If you’re in the middle now, remember, your book might reach the top someday. It’s never too late. But you have to keep trying. What goes on with writing, happens with indie filmmakers, artists, and pretty much any solo entrepreneur next door. A product is a product. If it’s good, people will buy it. If people hear about how good it is, they will buy even more of it.

Follow a trend, or don’t. Pour your heart out, stay true to your writing, and stand behind your product. Aiming for the stars isn’t crazy. Giving up is.

#Realism in #Fantasy and #Supernatural stories – World building

Happy Monday all! Fantasy and supernatural stories need to follow a set of rules in order to be as realistic as possible. Dystopian tales do the same. Whatever environment the characters will roam in has to make sense, and if a rule is broken, a good explanation has to be given, otherwise the whole world building falls apart.

But I’ve come across a lot of stories that broke rules, or invented new ones, without giving the reader enough foundation to justify such a plot shift. The author will focus on the characters more than on the world they live in, and all of a sudden, things change, and I get confused. I start asking questions while reading the story, and ultimately lose interest if too many of these new unexplained rules get thrown into the mix.

I made the same mistake. I thought writing a fantasy story allowed me to do whatever the heck I wanted. The truth is – if your reader is older than five years old, the world building will have to be tight and structured. I lose my marbles when I watch a TV show or a movie, and rules are being broken so many times, I’m pissed, and stop watching the show. The characters can be the most compelling folks, if the world building blows, I’m done.

Many authors won’t give as much attention to details to the world they create, and their story, just like a house, won’t have a strong foundation. Therefore when plotting, think of the world or worlds before the characters, and set up rules. For trilogies, or series, keep this set of rules handy. If the characters have superpowers, they will follow their own set of rules, and these rules can’t clash with the world rules.

Who thought that writing a novel would be so scientific, huh? I certainly didn’t. I wrote without plotting, and after 95,000 words, considered the job done. What a hassle it is to rewrite 75% of the story because of rules. And many authors learn that the hard way, because let’s be honest, unless you work in the publishing industry or attend a few writers’ conferences, you know squat about rules. All you think about is how you want to write this awesome book since you were a kid, and bam, now you have to set up a whole strategy in order to successfully do so. Rules are one of the main elements that will fail a book. Another reason why readers don’t trust self-published authors. Good editing will usually fix that problem, but often, self-published folks don’t use the services of a professional editor to review their work. Sad really.

To make your dream come true, don’t ask your best friend or your mom to review your book. Ask them to read the ARC, but please edit the story first. Create rules, brainstorm, rework the rules and plot accordingly. Writing the rest of the story will come easy once this step is completed, and editing will be smoother too.