Saturday, June 30, 2012

Advice for the Newly Divorced from the About-to-be Divorced

It's Saturday ... it's almost July ... my blog stats dropped. Why? Because July is vacation month -- the heaviest traveled month outside of the holiday season. I'm blogging on a Saturday night. What a life, right? Ah, it's not that bad. I went out earlier today to meet one of our authors. Now my daughter is yelling over the balcony rail at other children. I won't let her go out into my apartment complex to play. I'm so mean yet very protective. It's not like when I lived in a house. You can't send an eight-year-old out to play without supervision, and I'm not just going to sit in the courtyard, so I guess I'm so mean LOL. I can smell BBQ, too. I miss BBQ. (I am stream of consciousness blogging here.)

And for the record, I could be dating if I wanted to. I don't want to. I have an important relationship in a holding pattern until I have completed the divorce process. In my personal, aged and "saged" opinion, it's not a good idea to relationship jump. I did that, and if you're reading this, I don't recommend it. My favorite aunt put it aptly and this is good advice for the about-to-be or newly divorced, "You can't bond and grieve at the same time." So right! Now I am fortunate, blessed or whatever you want to think in that my important relationship is also mature, aged and "saged" properly ... so holding pattern it will be. Dating unfamiliar and new men it will not be. I thought about that for about two seconds ... yep! No go. All you Facebook "dudes" you can stop messaging anytime now LOL. Two words: not interested.

I keep thinking about when this is over with writing yet another probably easily forgettable book about divorce LOL. I am thinking, though, it should be focused exclusively on resilience. Maybe stories of women who have sunk in the goo of the nasty process and managed to rinse it off without bitterness, negativity or regret. I don't regret anything. I have done some regretful things, but I am working through the detox and self-forgiveness and forgiveness process. I do have a book, I would like to recommend by author Tomi Tuel, 101 Things I Learned AFTER my Divorce. It was her book that made me realize one super, duper important thing or things ... one I have a great man in my life right now. Two, I don't want to be a sexual "pig" as she put it. All I want to do is get better, feel better and be better -- and it's all good. Tomi, who is a new 3L Publishing client, wrote an excellent book. Please get your copy on Amazon.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thank You Angel Friend! And Script Doctoring

Anyone out there going through a divorce? Now say with me all at once, "Divorce sucks!" I think that is an understatement, but hey! I don't use profanity on the blog, so there you go! Actually, I am making myself chuckle here. It's good to laugh when laughter seems so far from reach. The changes on my script California Girl Chronicles written by the script doctor just made me laugh till I wanted to cry. He is so gifted, but I can't use his name for a number of very good reasons. It reminded of me of a bawdy Friends episode ... and that says an interesting comment on our combined skills. I was told by a little bird, he thinks I'm an excellent storyteller. Thank you! I think he is an excellent screenwriter ... just calling a genius a genius is all. Like my blog love-fest or what?! Well, in sharing I am cheering myself up, and I'm letting you know that the script is progressing.

And I'm taking my despair over a terrible, brutal and divorce air out into the energetic world to release the energy. So let me loop this back around ... divorce really sucks! I'm listening to an old Cars song right now ... ironically ... "Let the Good Times Roll ..." yeah baby! You want to know what I am really, really excited about ... a friend of mine didn't want me to spend 4th of July all alone. So, he volunteered to keep me company ... isn't that nice? You need friends in this world. And sometimes, I think the Universe and my angel guides sit quietly, nod, and say, "Hey you over here! Go be over here! She needs some friendship!" Isn't that kind of cool, and I'm grateful it works that way. My friend is going through a divorce, too, and said some profound things to me. He said, "I remember those days of being yelled at and told lots of negative things. It sucks! It hurts! It is hard to hear. You are not all of those things!" THANK YOU ANGEL FRIEND!

If you would like your script coached and doctored, please send an email to info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dear Mattell,

I have a really big question. I visited your Mattel headquarters store in Los Angeles. Well, I as an indignant eight-year-old girl realized that you sell all of your Polly Pockets alone in each package. Well, I object! How can you sell my poor girl Polly all zipped in a sealed plastic container with no one to talk to? Polly deserves a friend on her voyage, and you have left her all alone. You didn't even put in a Paul. She can't even start a family! Ah! So upsetting. And let me point out, she hasn't had a friend since you invented her. I am so upset. I think I need to start a "Give-Polly-a-Friend" movement. Everyone should have someone even if it's an hermetically sealed plastic package.

Your Upset Friend,
Cambria

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Book as a Winning Platform for Business


The following is an excerpt from Vanity Circus published by 3L Publishing in 2010. If you would like a copy, go to Amazon or the 3L website at www.3LPublishing.com

There is one thing we consistently see across the board. We constantly educate our authors on how their book is not a singular passive revenue stream; but we inform them how their book can become a business with multiple revenue streams. When our clients come to us with such tunnel vision we educate about the “business-in-a-box” business model and slowly light up the tunnel until, “ta-da,” the realization of a business opportunity hits them smack on the side of the head. They finally understand the concept and then they run with it. When you write a book, it is a platform and opportunity to do many other things such as speaking engagements, workshops, and increase your current business activities.

Smart Girls
The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.” ~ Trinity, The Matrix

Did someone just give me a mic?
When SMASH: a Smart Girls Guide to Marketing and Public Relations first came out last year, we were immediately flooded with speaking opportunities. The part that was surprising was that the people who were asking us to speak did not even read the book yet. When you publish a book, you are automatically viewed as an expert. Now, between the two of us we do have the marketing and publishing experience to warrant the “expert” status; but to get opportunities without even trying was pretty amazing.

There are several ways to leverage this aspect of the “business-in-the-box” model. You can do what we did and take your stand-up comedy routine on the road. First, you will be asked to start with non-paid speaking engagements that you will need to start building your speaking resume anyway. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why would I want to do something for free?” Well, for one thing you may not be paid but you will be able to sell your book at the back of the room. We have personally watched some of our authors speak and sell not one, but two or even four books to each person in the room. Second, by speaking in general you will be promoting your core business. If you do not sell a book to everyone in the room you are still a 30- to 60-minute business promo to every single person in that room. The exposure is priceless – and they might turn into several new contracts for your core business.

Once you have built up a resume with the small guys, it is time to start leveraging this experience with the major conferences that are relative to your transcript. One very important question to ask your publicist is to find out if they will create pitch letters for you, and if they can submit them as well. When you are on a major conference circuit you are looking at 5K or 10K or even 50K for any speaking opportunity where you keynote. This is not bad income for the time spent – and most major conferences will cover travel as well. Oh, and P.S. you can write off your trip too. Last, when you speak to a group this large you know your Amazon sales are going to blow up to say the least. And, you will be famous.

Now, I think we need to get real for a minute because some people suck the big one when it comes to public speaking. We have seen some pretty bad speakers and two in particular ended up in our screenplay C-ASS. Terrible speakers usually exhibit one of the following qualities: crappy content/lack of audience entertainment/interest/involvement/nervousness.

Smart Girls
According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being nervous when it comes to public speaking. Now, if you have a deathly fear of it you might not want to pursue this aspect of your “business-in-a-box” model. However, if your fear is minor and you can correct it with a class (or even a nice glass of Merlot) or start attending a group like Toastmasters … go for it.

Most people, unless they are a born entertainer feel nervous when they start a presentation until they get to know their audience. Once they are in for a couple minutes the nerves subside and they actually enjoy the experience. Most people enjoy themselves because they are talking about a topic they feel passionate about; therefore, the speaking engagement becomes fun. Isn’t that a novel concept? On the flipside there is nothing wrong with not wanting to speak if you truly feel uncomfortable. If you are forced to do something you do not want to do your nerves will cause you to do silly things like blurt out things you do not mean; ask for everyone’s opinion in the room for buy in; and overall make your entire audience uncomfortable while they have one single thought going through their heads, “Please God, make it stop.”

Smart Girls
Before you decide to get in front of the microphone you should carefully contemplate content, your audience and the interest factor. Over the last year, we have seen more horrific speakers at various networking events we attend. Most of the time, they are walking, talking infomercials and occasionally we leave wondering what the f*** was that about? When we are really scratching our heads that hard about something despite the horrible content the entertainment factor was usually there for sure. First, make sure you are passionate about your content and look at what takeaways your audience should get out of your performance. I know, I know, you are thinking but what’s in it for me? I just want to talk about my upcoming seminar. See, now you are an infomercial. It is best to stick to helpful, relative or inspirational information where you have your audience engaged. The engaged part is key, because once you have them hooked you will have followers (and possibly stalkers) for life. Last, please do your audience a favor and be interesting. If you are boring everyone in the room – and you see them leaving your snooze-fest – chances are public speaking may not be for you.

Workshops and Seminars … Oh, Boy!
Smart Girls
Once you are published, your book will be a great platform to launch workshops and seminars. Workshops and seminars can be done both online as well as in person and not only will you generate book sales you will be charging for workshop/seminar attendance as well. What a novel idea!

In an ideal world, you should start working on content for these while your book is at the printer. The content for the book will obviously be done, but you need to figure out how you can turn your book into a workshop and what physical takeaway or written plan your attendees will receive. When you have ironed out these little details you also need to figure out how to market your events. I have to share with you that if you do not market your events, no one is going to show up. It also does not feel good to have no one show up at your book-launch party either. Isn’t that your worst nightmare kind of like one of those dreams where you find yourself in the middle of a crowd with just your underwear … doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy does it?

There are some great marketing tools online and your publicist should be aware … if not fire the person. One of our favorite ways to promote our events is through MeetUp. MeetUp is a great, inexpensive online group service you can sign up for to create your meeting group and market your events. The best part of MeetUp is that once your page is up, MeetUp will invite everyone in their system who is interested in your particular topic. MeetUp also accepts payments, pretty cool right?

Another great way to promote your events is through LinkedIn. We have to warn you about LinkedIn though. In the interest groups we belong to, there seems to be a lot of cranky people with free time on their hands that are ready to mudsling at any time. Our recommendation is to test the water, find an interest group that is a good fit, participate first and then promote.

Last, we started out this chapter talking about how your book is going to be a platform for your business itself. I can guarantee you that if you own an auto body shop and you write a book on a Smart Girls Guide to fixing your car … you are going to get business from local women simply because you have a book out. If you are reading this, and are wondering if this is you, yes … I am talking about you.   

If you would like to discuss ghost writing or writing a book to support your business, call us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vanity Circus: Excerpt from Chapter 1: The Good, The Bad and The Brutally Ugly



The following is an excerpt from my book on publishing titled Vanity Circus, which is available on Amazon and my website at 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com). 

Want to know a way to absolutely ruin an utterly brilliant day? Be forced to read a tragically and poorly written manuscript (fiction or non-fiction … doesn’t matter). In my opinion, nothing is worse than being forced to read a manuscript that for all intents and purposes is utter drivel to the extreme – and perhaps the most pain I can possibly experience is also to be subjected to horrible, horrible dialog. Nothing makes a reader wince more than weak dialog written in a stilted and idiotic manner. I promise you that forcing a reader to strain through inane and meaningless dialog will drive them mad. So with that said, it’s time to tell you about The Good, The Bad and The Brutally Ugly when it comes to sifting through and reading a pile of manuscripts.

The Good
The Good manuscript while it has a handful of weaknesses – a missing comma or perhaps a misplaced semi-colon – will make the reader smile, having now been enlightened and even delighted by the words. The Good always develop their stories and characters and take their time to really think out what they’re about to submit to an agent or publisher. The Good at least try to proof read their work, and therefore, minimize mistakes. The Good know they need an editor and proof reader and happily and graciously submit to the process with the understanding that it will make their work better. The Good also know they are not designers and do not attempt to draw their covers by hand or use a lame version or low-end design program in an attempt to present their ideas in tacky clip art. The Good submit to the idea that a graphic designer knows his or her job – and sit back and allow them to do it unimpeded with random notes about moving a line a little more to the .5 inch margin. The Good know they are writers and not publicists and do not interfere or ask a dozen questions about why such and such magazine didn’t review their books. They accept public relations as a process and go along for the ride. They show up on time for interviews and happily oblige their publicists with their schedules, as to not miss any media opportunities due to an unexpected flight to China. We like The Good. They understand the value of 3L Publishing services and are a pleasure to work with.

The Bad
The Bad write marginally good stories or fiction books, but accept the fact it may not be perfect. The Bad do accept an editor’s advice but only after arguing continuously over the use of words like “which” used in place of “that.” The Bad also try and argue about the use of a professional editor at all and change back all the suggested changes in a mental tug of war that they eventually lose over the idea of, “It’s my book not yours.” The Bad also love to boss around the graphic designer – even though they have the artistic skills of a five-year-old. The Bad argue over every design and template and always ask that we use Times New Roman as their font of choice, because, well, it looks right. The Bad fall in love with their horrible dialog and try to convince the editor why it’s so darned good. The Bad also fall in love with their story lines and even defend their right to tell the ending at the beginning. The Bad want to choose their own printer, because they’re cheaper. The Bad don’t listen to reason when we plead with them not interfere with the production process by calling our sales representative on their own without our permission – and then wonder where all the confusion came from. The Bad really secretly wish we would just go away and let them publish their books on their own – but they also know just enough to know better. The Bad don’t need public relations – the book will sell itself. And if they do invest in public relations, they spend $500 on a press release they intend to pitch on their own with no awareness that the press will laugh at the writer as publicist and not take it seriously.


The Brutally Ugly
The Brutally Ugly insists their writing doesn’t need an editor or proofer … period. The Brutally Ugly also explain that their manuscripts don’t need an editor because their friend Daisy who is an English teacher at Pookipsie High School in Idaho said so. The Brutally Ugly argue when we insist they rename the book from The Cabbage Patch Monster Rides Across America – and it’s not a kid’s book. In fact, The Brutally Ugly names their books Shattered Lives and insists the name is original – even though we have 10 other submissions with that title. The Brutally Ugly believe they don’t need a graphic design either and they can design their own covers, see and doesn’t that clip art look awesome, dude! The Brutally Ugly also tell the whole story in the first line of the book; they don’t develop the story; they have too many characters running around to know the difference; and their dialog sounds like two two-year-olds in deep conversation. The Brutally Ugly’s work is, in fact, so bad that 3L Publishing can’t even revive it with a trip to our friendly neighborhood writing coach. The Brutally Ugly tell us our company is “dubious” when we pass and also tend to scream at us when we reject their manuscript by yelling, “I pass on you!” … sometimes even in Russian. We read one page of The Brutally Ugly’s work and know where it goes – on the rejection pile. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

True Blood, Season 5, Episode Three -- Review

Wow! I must be totally devoted, tireless or just nuts ... I am not up to posting this blog at all ;). But here I go anyway. Last night, my favorite show True Blood episode three aired. I've loved this season very much, but now I have to say the part of the story that just was sort of the "ew" factor: the chancellor bedded three men in one night. Who exactly was the whore in that episode? Pam who slept with Eric and actually displayed genuine affection or the chancellor who bedded Bill, Eric and the supreme one whatever his name is? Mind you, the chancellor is drop-dead gorgeous (obviously) and quite seductive (obviously), but here is the slang for that: really? And the "sloppy seconds" comment from Bill, hilarious, poor taste and true. What about that just didn't work for me? Story lines working just fine: Jason comes to his sexual reckoning that maybe he did have a big "hole" that he was unsuccessfully trying to fill with sex. His ability to over the course of his character arc "grow up," and Jessica's sweet-natured offer to back off the sex and just be a good friend ... nice! That said some great things for both characters and their potential future. Tara going off into vampire hysteria! Perfect for her character and true to her human "nature." Sookie's grief and confession to Alcide about Debbie ... I don't know on that one. I'm kind of stuck in the middle of my thoughts. Sookie has in some ways become far less interesting than the show's other characters, which is a big, bad error on the Alan Ball team's side. She has lost her "glue" as the show's center by taking her out of the vampire world either temporarily or not. I recommend a solid re-tool there before you lose the central core to the show. It's "Sookie's world" after all! The only comparison I can make is to taking my character Brea in the California Girl Chronicles out of her own book series! What is then the point?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday ... I Have to Blog ... Ack! OK ... Boundaries

I try to blog every day, and some days it's just not that easy. As I am a woman in habitual transformation with a mind that, according to close friends, goes 10,000 miles an hour (and they are right), I am always ready to change and move forward if it's for the best. So today's topic of infamy boundaries ... or shall I say the lack thereof (LOL). I am generally assertive and then soft, too. Bo, our operations manager, said, "I have watched you do both right in front of me." For about two years now, I have struggled with setting better boundaries in all facets of my life and business. Now the cool part is that Bo works the hard line boundaries on the business. She does things I consider essentially unpleasant (collections anyone). Now I am asserting some personal boundaries, too. And I want to say that it's super important that you draw some lines in order to get what you need and want in this life. I have been terrible at getting what I need. I ask, and then I ask, and then I ask ... and then ... nope. I wish I could tell you this one story that is like a metaphor for failure, but it's too private and I can't share. But this happened about seven months ago. I asked someone important to me for something really, really basic. What do you think happened? Not good my friends. In the past, I never seemed to have my "enough" points. When is enough, enough? That's just the fundamental and beautiful question, and unlike in the movie The Mexican where the answer is there is no enough, I totally disagree. I have an enough point, and now the goal is just to say what is the boundary and when is enough, enough! When the boundaries are crossed or not met -- so simple, isn't it? We all need boundaries! We all need goals! And we all need to know what we want -- and what we don't want.

Friday, June 22, 2012

California Girl Chronicles and What is Energy Work?

I want to promote and support Sara Grace, who does what is called "energy work." Sara is a healer, and she is very gifted. I went into the process not really knowing what to expect or how it would be done from a distance. It's a deeply personal process so I won't get into the particulars, but I did want to share it with my readers. She had warned the next day I might be sick and prone to some unexpected emotional moments. Well, I actually felt super clear the next day, but I did get a few odd emotional, unexpected moments and at odd times. The clarity and grounded feelings real kept me in a peaceful place and enabled me to identify and move through some necessary things. I will tell you, she didn't tell me exactly when she was "going to go in on me," she just said she would about a certain time. I am not kidding here, I knew exactly when she went on me. It was impressive! And it was rather unpleasant in a good way. I felt so great yesterday, and I still feel really great today even though I have a few issues bothering me that I hope will eventually resolve, but I intend to give those issues zero negative impact anymore. The energy work really helped me sort of understand and then come to a point of clarity on self work. I'm a pretty amazing person! We're all amazing. And we all have incredible gifts. It makes me feel joyful and happy to ground back in my own energy and know that soon I will be running the room the way I've always been able to run the room. We have some production meetings come up for California Girl Chronicles, the energy and the re-ground within myself will enable me to hold my own with what I presume will probably be mostly male executives (or maybe not ... one can hope). I also have a message for the independent producer on the project (who doesn't read this blog), watch out! That woman you saw swing into the meeting the first time we met is squarely back! I will and am holding my own space again!! If you would like to work with Sara Grace, please call her at 916-337-3561 and she will review what she does. I highly recommend her.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

California Girl Chronicles Update and News


I have to tell you, I'm just all skewed with this summer stuff. After spending a lifetime in 100-plus-boiling-my-behind-off Sacramento weather, these tepid Marina del Rey temperatures throw me off. I keep expecting the flowers to bloom into spring, and then I realized, "Hey! I think I missed spring all together - and it's summer!" I will have to adjust to this new-found steady, unchanging temperature thing. I do have to secretly tell you I am so happy to never have to turn on my heat or A/C - that saves a heap of money for sure. And speaking of things throwing me off, OMG I have learned a huge, huge lesson on herding 10 Powerful Women aka lionesses not cats! First, let me just make you laugh: you know you don't herd lions, right? And enough said ...

In other really amazing news the book Under the Sycamores came out, and I'm just pleased as the punch and bowl combined with how great it looks. We did this special soft-cover edition thing with the flaps, and it looks just incredible. It has to be up there with A Feast at the Beach in terms of the look and feel - and the sweet, incredible story. It has an Italian ethnic quality to it, too. I'm just a happy, happy publisher about this one. I highly recommend you go to the 3L website and pick up your own copy. It's an outstanding piece of fiction and so tender, well written and beautiful ... enjoy! We've also had a number of queries for new business - and ironically many on divorce books! Really? Really Universe, do you really want me to hash out divorce stuff in book after book? Probably and absolutely LOL ... never ignore the Universe, right?

In California Girl Chronicles TV pilot news, my producer has been working on this one with due diligence. We haven't discussed details yet, but I know he (being the aggressive and amazing man he is) put out pitches to some 20-plus production companies. We've also been re-tooling the pilot (well, he has LOL but I'll have a go at it soon). Why does this matter right now? Because it's pilot-pitch season, and now one of his other goals is to go find an actress to attach and see what actresses are attached to what production companies. I made an emphatic statement that the only thing I feel strongly about is Brea's physicality (those of you who have read the book know how important that is). I've read the first 10 re-tooled pages, and it looks and reads absolutely amazing. You want to know what a "real" script reads like? Yep! He has this way with the rhythm and what he calls the "emotional highs and lows" and "beat" points that makes it almost like you're indeed watching the actual show. It's quite impressive to read the difference - and I'm very happy he's on my team. He doesn't read the newsletter (he's not a subscriber), but I thank him anyway. If you want a script coach, he's available - and he's quite talented. And I want you to know, he is only doing this, because he wants to work with me and my team. So, you shouldn't expect this will stay or that it is in normal. He has his own TV show in the works. If you want to seize the day, send an email to info@3LPublishing.com and reference script coaching. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Release: Under the Sycamores


The new book Under the Sycamores, written by first-time novelist Michael Perrotta, asks many deep, spiritual questions about love, fidelity, and the choices we make when we come to a fork in the road and have to decide which direction would best serve us. Sometimes we choose the obvious right choice that will take us deeper and into the next level of our lives, and sometimes we stay the course and may wonder if that was the right one. Now during 2012, which is considered a major transition year, many people are taking hard looks at their lives and making these choices — so this book is very timely and will resonate with many people who stand at similar forks.

Under the Sycamores is the deeply personal heartfelt love story about Emilia, a married woman, who meets her “anima gemella” or “twin soul” Nicholas, and over a long weekend they form an inexplicable, unforgettable bond. Emilia must deal with morals, obligations and responsibilities as she fights her true desire to be with this man with whom she shares a forbidden love. While love blossoms under the shadow of infidelity and betrayal, Emilia and Nicholas ultimately must find a way to life’s own course.

Under the Sycamores addresses important themes about how we all come to the fork in the road and wonder if we chose the right path, how our lives would be different. Or we take the opposite route, is it too late to change course in life? Or as the book so eloquently says, “Not who you are. What you’ve become. There’s a difference. Who you are — belongs with me!” Questions like this are paramount on many people’s minds these days, and Under the Sycamores evokes consideration of what is the right course to take by illustrating possibility what some might consider the least satisfactory course, which denies raw passion, love and fulfillment of a different nature.

Under the Sycamores retails for $19.95 for the print version, which is available on Amazon, 3L Publishing’s website (www.3LPublishing.com), and the Author’s websites at www.perrottamichael.com or www.underthesycamores.com. It will be release into the bookstores in summer 2012. For more information, contact Michelle Gamble-Risley at 916.300.8012.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Book-Writing Process

Every author has his/her process. I've spoken to some authors who outline their stories. They did a "cast" list and figure out each character's role. They try to identify their characters' arcs and development. Other writers do index cards, which in some ways is kind of old fashioned, don't you think? We're in the digital era, but for these writers that makes sense. I actually don't question the process, because it's different for everyone. If you're a new writer and want some great advice on getting started, here are some fabulous ideas:

Non-fiction and the Table of Contents -- I always recommend that authors whether they are new to their crafts or old dogs should start non-fiction books with a well-thought-out table of contents. The table of contents becomes your roadmap and guide for how you will organizationally write the book. I encourage new writers to have an outside person review their table of contents. You will notice that all books have a sequential flow. A poorly organized table of contents will reveal a book that could end up organizationally dysfunctional and not making sense. 3L Publishing will gladly do a quick consult on your table of contents. It's one of the ways we know if a book frankly is going to make sense.

Fiction and Synopsis or story summary -- I always tell authors that if they can't nail what their books' themes are in 200 words or less then go back to the drawing board. Your main plot is the most important, and you should be able to effectively articulate that really in less than a paragraph. If you say, "I don't know how" or "I don't know," you need to hire 3L to consult, guide and coach your project before you simply waste your time on it.

Subplots and character -- You should try and describe those subplots and its connection to the main plot before you get too deep into the writing. Make that cast list and describe each person both physically and emotionally. Again, some authors still like to make cards or place stickies on their walls or bulletin boards, which is a good way to remind yourself Bob is a blond and not a brunette; his eyes are blue not brown.

Now I've just given you all of this advice, but here is the real truth. My process is completely different. I just sit down and start telling my story. I don't map or write out who's who. When I wrote books one and two of the California Girl Chronicles, I just let Brea's story and mischief flow out of me. It took roughly six weeks to write each book that way. So, I'm not going to preach to anyone's process, because I ultimately believe we all have our own creative tools in our heads and ways to do things; but if you're stuck, these suggestions will pull you out. California Girl Chronicles is available on Amazon in print, Kindle, iBook and Nook. It can also be found in select bookstores.

Monday, June 18, 2012

True Blood Season 5, Episode 2 ... Another Winner

I am telling you, Season 5 of True Blood is hitting them right out of the ballpark. Finally! Instead of focusing on non-vampire-related story lines, Alan Ball reigned it back in. Now we're cooking with bloody good, silver-infused torture! Oh yeah baby rock that storyline with the Authority and torture no less. What creative and demented minds came up with the silver concoction to torture vamps into submission? Yeah, you writers knock yourselves out. I am duly impressed. Now add the nice touch of finally filling in the blank of how Pam and Eric Northman met in San Francisco, 1905, and you've just got this one being hit out of the ballpark. Anything Pam and Eric ... all good. Now follow this up with Tara's insane outrage at having been turned against her will, and you've just got the makings for a fantastic, hyper-fueled romp into True Blood land. I had driven home last night after nearly eight hours in the car and not feeling well, but I tell you this episode managed to keep me glued, eyes open, attention on even though my bed beckoned me. I will re-watch this fantastic episode On-Demand. All I can say is, bring it on! I can't wait till next week as we start to explore the Russell Edgington storyline.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Conquering California Girl Returns!

Identity -- I started letting other people's comments about things like my blogger picture that I thought was fun up-end my confidence. How silly of me. I liked my blogger picture, as I felt it reflected my out-there personality and fun-loving nature. Who would you rather work with? An uptight corporate suite or fun me? I think fun me is way, way better ;). I took those photos to reflect the author of California Girl Chronicles, because let's just say if you're going to write a fun, racy book, your image should at the very least match. I mean come on now sexy for sexy ... just saying. I do find it really funny when you see a clearly introverted author who has a racy book, though -- now that is ironic. Well, the last few months have weighed me down quite a bit. But it's time to shift, get ready and go! We've got a very exciting summer ahead I must say. We're re-tooling the California Girl Chronicles pilot with the goal to make it a top five cable show ... lofty, but amazing goal I know will be achieved. I've seen the re-tooled first 10 pages, which are nothing short of amazing. Book 2, Brea's Big Break is on hold over a bookstore snafu that delayed its formal release. One of these days, it will formally release, but I'm a little unclear on that one. All right and today I made some big, bold moves all just for me. And it made me feel really, really great! I won't tell what I did (wink), but it was just for me! Nobody else! And sometimes you have to do the little things to just take care of yourself. Want to work with a smart, sassy and fun publisher? Drop me an email at michelle@3LPublishing.com, and I will gladly see how I can help you ... oh, and you will have fun!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Give it 100% Extra Percent for Success

I've had a rich and full life. I've been fortunate, blessed and talented enough to follow every passion and succeed probably because it is my passion. I successfully blazed my own trail into publishing because I love it -- every aspect of it. I have to say the only element I don't like is paperwork ;). Who does, right? My whole life, though, is about passion. People who either are close to me personally or professionally always feel like I center my energy on them. I do in the way that when you're in my space, I'm 200% invested in how I can help you. Your success matters to the 3L team. We believe that your success is our success and your failure is our failure. I had clients shocked at how responsive I am when they send requests for service. My whole team operates at that level. I'm like that personally, too. I go out of my way to do everything at 200%. There is a book called The 1 Percent that suggests that if you give it just that one extra percent you will succeed beyond your wildest imagination. Well, I believe you should go so much further ... try another 100%. Go above and beyond in everything you do and the fruits and rewards will be worth it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's All How You Look at It

So last night I came home from an errand. I now park in a parking garage, and my space is very tight. I managed to bump my neighbor's car. I was not pleased because I have nothing on my insurance record in like six years. Now my bumper corner is in need of repair ... well, I had a pretty good day yesterday and I shook my head. I decided my cup is half full ... maybe the guy who fixes my car will change my life! You never know. I had a brief chuckle that maybe he's my Prince Charming or something (for the record, highly unlikely), but that made me laugh and cheered me up (I hope I already met my prince ;). Well, so then I had insomnia really bad last night, which I was hoping I had licked. Guess not. I didn't fall asleep until 2:00 a.m. I ended up eating Ruffles and re-watching the season premier of True Blood and looking for the clues indicated by the reviewer Unreconstructed Fangirl provided in her show analysis. Um, didn't find all of them ... did Pam really tilt her head like Eric communicated to her telepathically? I sure didn't see it. But hey, it was 2:00 a.m. I woke up with another sinus headache. My head has been hurting really bad from allergies, and I've been taking over-the-counter stuff like I'm consuming Skittles. I would make a leap to assume that my "Skittles" aren't good for my liver. Well, the headaches and fatigue gave me the perfect excuse to sleep in. I deserve to sleep in, right? And maybe I'm supposed to sleep in because I need to be well rested for something super cool today! See, it's all in how you look at it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

True Blood Season 5 Opens with Fast-Paced Storytelling

Last night the long-anticipated True Blood Season 5 started with some fantastic and fast storytelling. Alan Ball, who is still at the helm of the campy vampire show, pushed every single story forward from the conclusion of Season 4. I don't think the season opener missed a single beat. From the pick-up where Sookie shoots Debbie and Eric and Bill go on the lamb from the Vampire Authority, it moved from scene to scene and from continuation to continuation. I have to say I think it was the best season opener I've seen so far. The only story line not ringing true is the Eric-Bill sudden alliance and friendship. Eric's sudden loyalty to Bill ... huh? Eric hates Bill. He's normally very cool toward him and the "not without Bill" statement just fell on the side of ... huh? The animosity disappeared when exactly? Additionally, Eric's blithe reaction to Sookie's fear and his statement that "she dumped both of us" and his ignoring her peril ... not ringing true at all. Eric was deeply in love with Sookie. No way would he do that! I was also very turned off with his sudden and passionate encounter with his vampire "sister" Nora where pants were down and sex was on within minutes. Again, if we take this from the end of Season 4 where he declares his love for Sookie in terms of storytelling that was mere days ago; now he's banging his "sister" in the metal storage container without a single thought ... hmm ... not ringing true Mr. Ball. All right, the rest of the stories were great ... Tara rising suddenly from the dead -- awesome! Pam's usual campy remark about the "Wal-Mart sweat suit" -- perfect. And from the looks of things, we're going to have a lot of fun with Steve Newlin, the proud "gay vampire American" -- double awesome! I'm going to like this season!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Four Reasons A Book is Good for Business


Some clients but not all are surprised when I say this, “Did you know that having a book is better and even costs less than a full-color brochure?” Some color brochures can cost up to $10 a copy while a standard-sized book can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00 a copies, depending on the page count and quantity ordered. Here are three very good reasons you should consider writing or having a book ghost written for your business.

Speaking opportunities – a book makes you an instant expert. Yes, even if its mere perception, people believe those who have written a book are now experts on whatever subject and will ask you to come speak to their groups, organizations or associations.

Speaking equals cash in the door. The opportunity to speak in front of a group equals more business. You are perceived as an expert in your business, and people will want to know more about your business and ask for meetings, which often leads to more business and more cash in the door to sustain business.

A book gives your business more exposure. You now have something newsworthy to promote to the media.  You can get stories and even book reviews that put your company’s name out there in the press and give you visibility and exposure to the masses. More visibility equals more interest in your company. More interest in your company means more business for your company.

Books are sold and not just given away, which gives you a passive revenue stream. Even if you give your book away, you can count on one thing – people generally will throw away a brochure, but how often do you see a book go into the trash? You can now sell your book on Amazon or bookstores or even eBook it and sell it on Kindle, iBook or Nook. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Morning Musings

I can't believe it's Friday already. I have no idea where the week went. Now that I am living in Southern California, I am adjusting to my new world. LA is so LA ... that is the most accurate statements. It's a whole other culture here, but most people know that already, as it has been so well depicted in classic movies like the hilarious LA Story, which is still one of my favorites.

I was out last night with a girlfriend, and I am one of these people who typically gets engrossed in conversations and quits noticing everything around her. I got to the restaurant a little early and was texting back and forth with my friends when I looked up and really started to notice the crowd. A mixture of familiar faces, as many of them I'm sure were D-level actors and actresses, and just the "artist" scene. Lots of guys with chiseled cheekbones or long hair that they would flip like girls over their shoulders. I just had to laugh. You know I consider myself an artist, too, but I don't put pretense around it. I love what I do -- I am a writer and publisher. It's that simple and straightforward. I write (and if you're a true writer you get it) because it's just who I am and how I express myself. Putting on "artistic" airs means nothing to me. Watching the women come in that restaurant who were a mixture of ages was pretty interesting, too. The older ones looked "worked" on and the younger ones were wearing fashions like ripped jeans (are those still in style?). I've never understood the whole, I pay $200 for a pair of ripped pants. Hey, you can rip your own jeans for free.

It was crowded and interesting to people watch, which kept me well entertained for another 15 minutes until my friend arrived, and then there was the Australian guy who thought that asking to borrow our free chair was the perfect pick-up line. He starts trying to chat us up over a chair! Yeah, how scintillating is that? My girlfriend in true style just looked at him, said practically nothing, and that seemed to send his energy elsewhere. Try that sometime. Throw off your energy at men you don't want around that just says "go away." Works like a Lucky Charm every single time. I'll never forget the one jerk who once walked up to our table and asked, "Do you want to hear a dirty joke?" (Yeah, buddy great conversation starter.) Me being the true ice queen when I'm revolted by bad behavior said, "No!" And left it at that. Poor guy didn't know what to do with himself, and my girlfriends started rolling with laughter.

So how's your Friday? And if you want to work with a publisher who doesn't pay $200 for ripped jeans, please always feel free to send me an email at michelle@3LPublishing.com.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Are You Looking for a Publisher, Editor, Book or Screenplay Coach?

Blog, blog ... blah, blah ... I sort of feel that way about it when I can't think of anything to say that will scintillate your reading pleasure and make it worth a repeat trip to read First Word. When I'm not sure what I'm going to say for the day, I just start typing and here we are.

We are going to be taking California Girl Chronicles on a pitch go-round with the networks that seem ripe for the project. I am working with producer Scott D. Roberts on that project. Being completely confident in his producing skills, he was grounded in the statement that he will sell it -- and I believe him. One thing I have always liked about him -- and as is the case with the true professionals in this town -- is that he has this open sincerity, generosity of spirit, and willingness to share and help, which is why he makes an excellent script and book coach for 3L Publishing. If you have a book or script that you would like:

  • A thorough one-page analysis of the story, characters and plots
  • A full review including comments and guidance in the actual manuscript
  • A point-by-point review of your script
Please send an email to info@3LPublishing and tell us what you need, and we can give you a price quote and hook you up.


Those of you who know me or have worked with me, know how important it is to me that I only work with people I like. My staff and consultants reflect this value. Since I left corporate in 2006, I have made it my mission to never work with people who are not talented, positive and just enjoyable to be around. In fact, I've spent the last several years actually eliminating those negative relationships that would hold me back. Did you know you are a reflection of the top five people you keep around you? In fact, I would encourage you to take a look at that one. So in my round-about way what I'm trying to say is that Scott, Erin, Justine (who still occasionally consults with us), Frran and Bo are all amazing, positive, brilliant people. When you work with anyone on this team, I can promise you a fantastic experience. We don't have a single author we work with that I actually don't consider a friend. And how lucky am I? I have friends all over the United States!

Note: working with a boutique publisher means personalized, friendly service. When you work with larger publishing houses you become a number and get in line. All of my authors have direct access to me at any given time. I make it a 3L policy to answer all questions within 24 hours, and if we don't have the answer, we go get it for you.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You Sunk my Battleship!

I read yesterday on my Google Alerts that the popcorn flick Battleship tanked. The $200-million budget coupled with the reality that it did not soar to no. #1 on the box office charts makes it one of those movies that I'm sure executives pray DVD and Blu Ray sales will help recoup some losses. Now no offense to  my favorite Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard, who plays the more solid brother to the wayward rogue brother, but I just have to say a movie about battleships and aliens isn't exactly how I might have envisioned this "board game" turned movie. The only reason I will eventually see it is because I am a Skarsgard fan and will support his work. Otherwise, I would never have bothered. I really don't know why there was a need to deviate from a traditional story about "sinking battleships" to aliens vs. ships. Right from the get-go, I thought the premise was sort of an odd combination kind of like popcorn and steak. So it comes as no surprise that that movie went down the drain budget-wise (notice my little water play on words LOL ... sorry it's just too easy). I know sometimes decisions get made like, "Hey Bob you know movies about aliens made a fortune last year." "Oh yeah, they did." "And you know movies like Transformers do well so hey let's try something like that ..." or some such oddball combination of thoughts that lead down the garden trail to big, bad and horrible movies. Oh well ... as long as no one tries taking Candy Land and putting little children in the gum drop forest only to be sucked dry like Capri pouches by the latest vampire craze, and we're all good.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What You Should Know About Traditional Publishing

Most authors have big dreams about receiving a major advance and winning the lotto big time with their best-selling book. It's a nice dream, right? Well in today's ever-changing publishing world, you now have many options to chose from, but realize that hitting the NY Times Best Seller list is just as difficult as it is to win Lotto no matter what method you chose. I thought I would take a moment to distill three important things every author should know about going the traditional publishing route:

1. You have to get an agent -- and that is just the first layer of qualification. It can be quick and easy to get a literary agent or it can be just as tough as getting a publisher. You might be weeks or months away from getting an agent.

2. Once you get an agent, you're still playing the time game -- the agent then has to shop your manuscript to the publishing houses. This is a game of waiting for one person to read and vet and pass to the next person to read or vet. Then it goes back down the line as a yes or no. If you happen to get the much-anticipated "yes," don't expect instant gratification.

3. A "yes" is only the first step and you're still 18-24 months off of publication -- so a "yes" is just a "yes" and it means you are at least 36 months off of every seeing those so-called Lotto funds, that is, if your book sells. And guess what else? You will only make a mere 10-12 percent per book sale. You also deal with buy-backs and returns that eat away at those royalties, too.

Want to get your book through the "yes" to press to publish in 4-6 months instead and receive royalties anywhere from 35-100%? Then send us a sample chapter of your book and synopsis to info@3LPublishing.com. Find out more on the publishing industry by picking up a copy of my book Vanity Circus at www.3LPublishing.com or Amazon.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Little Help to Clear the Mental Clutter

First a little side note about getting a little mental assist with some good prescribed drugs. I was always anti-psyche drugs. No thank you and when people would suggest things like Zoloft and Paxcil. I've never taken anything on the premise that my positive-thinking brain can do it on its own. Well, anyone going through not one but two but three major life changes in one year who finds their minds racing like it's on the track in Daytona, let me tell you something, you might have a change of heart. My cousin, who also had a similar experience, urged me to try one pill ... just one and see what I thought. After weeks of sleeplessness and what one could only describe as completely erratic behavior, I woke up the next day and guess what? I felt like my old self. My mind was settled. I was rational. I slept beautifully. Even today when I'm not sure what the status of a certain situation is, I usually would start asking, "Hey what's up?" Nope! I'm in a sort of quieted Zen land where the what's up can be waited on. The mental clarity is astounding. I don't feel desperate or sad or near tears (weeks of crying friends is exhausting). If the situation today goes south then I will simply shrug and make different plans. If I had been in this situation a week ago with no assist, I would have vacillated between tears, sorrow and desperation. I am by no means suggesting you all go out and get on a lifetime prescription to Audivan. But if you need a tune-up and some help with your brain chemistry to settle down those speed-racer thoughts, it's good for a simple reboot and rethink. Some might argue with me about this theory, but I am living, breathing proof that it works. And no worries, I'll return back to my positive-thinking brain skills!

Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Submit Your Book Ideas and Manuscripts to 3L Publishing

It's Friday, and I'm already trying to think of something fun to entertain you with. Let's start with the wacky submissions I get to 3L Publishing that make me scratch my head. Every now and then I will have authors who just don't understand submission protocols. So, before I share the good, the bad and the atrocious, let me first share the right way to submit.

If you have a manuscript, please send the following to info@3LPublishing.com:

  • A sample chapter (preferably chapter 1)
  • A 300 word synopsis that explains the summary of the story
  • If it's a non-fiction book, your synopsis should explain what topic is going to discuss, how it will do it, and why it's unique
  • If you've really gone deep enough on the business side, a marketing plan is welcome, too
Here is what I don't want to see:
  • A full manuscript with that 400 maybe 500 words long with the expectation from the author that essentially demands: please read my entire book and give me feedback. Just so you know, I don't have enough time in the day to run my company and read brief samples let alone read your entire book AND give you feedback.
  • A designed manuscript with low-end clip art and design construction that you are demanding I publish "as-is" ... please look in the 3L catalog. All of the books are consistently designed at a high-quality standard and by the same design team. We don't publish homemade books and publish them under the 3L logo. We have a reputation to maintain. And I know maybe this hurts your feelings because your kid took a graphics class and is talented, but truly that is not professional -- and frankly is the last justification that I as a professional even want to hear in the first place. 
If you are interested in submitting a correctly formatted manuscript and synopsis, please send it to: info@3LPublishing. We have a 24-hour response time to let you know whether this project would fit in our catalog. Visit the website at www.3LPublishing.com. You can also purchase my book on publishing titled Vanity Circus either on the 3L website or Amazon.