Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Business Strategic Planning for 2016

Hello First Word Friend-Os! We are on the "eve" of New Year's Eve. Can you believe another year has passed? I'm not sure if time is speeding up or slowing down. At the end of the year I always like to do a roundup of things that have happened that amuse me. This year though I think I'm going to end the year by helping you get prepared to conquer 2016 Friend-O style.
 
Here are some tips and tricks to get your new year off to an effective start. Since my newsletter readership is a mix of authors and business people, these tips apply to your business and your efforts to promote and help your book succeed in a competitive marketplace.
 
Strategic planning - time to do what most executives and managers do, which is plan for the New Year. Most managers though will do the strategic plan and start the year off with gusto and quickly abandon the document in favor of "wing-it" management. The idea of planning is to plan and execute not fall back to status-quo. I've noticed authors and managers initially are energized to conquer the market, but within a few weeks return to old, (and most importantly) "comfortable" habit. If you're going to enthusiastically create a strategic plan then execute it. Realize you'll need to stay the course on the changes for it to be effective. Don't let the strategic plan gather dust on a shelf two weeks after you write it. Keep it on your desk. Remind yourself of your goals. Speaking of goals ...
 
Time to set some goals - I don't like to use the term "resolutions" when it comes to business. I like to set goals and then set out to achieve them. In my world I try to establish daily, weekly and monthly goals. The daily goals are written on my desk calendar (and yes, I still use paper in this digital world). I begin each morning by writing down my goals for the day. As I accomplish each one, I check it off. Goals not achieved that day get moved to the next day and so on. Breaking down your goals into bite-sized pieces makes them doable, which is why I prefer "daily" goals. If you can see your progress happening it makes it feel like you're moving and progressing forward nicely. Setting gigantic goals and then not breaking them down into "doable" pieces sets the stage for failure. My motto is "Success is built brick by brick not skyscraper by skyscraper."
 
Stay the course. Listen Friend-Os (and this is especially true of books) prepare to launch your book and stick with it. The most successful authors I know don't give up after the gloss of a new book release has worn off. True marketing momentum and the goal of creating the "snowball effect" requires persistence and determination to never give up. If I've learned anything at all one day it can look bleak and the next day it can all change to the sunniest, sunniest! (Hey, is that a new catchphrase or a new name for orange juice? LOL). I recommend trying one thing and then trying the next. If the first one doesn't seem to produce results, try something else.
 
Value yourself ... it's hard to feel worthy or valuable when people don't seem to recognize that what you do isn't easy and not everyone can do it (contrary to some misguided beliefs). In the publishing marketplace, we've had to deal with a lot of low-end self-publishers who offer ridiculous "publishing deals" for pennies. Many new authors don't understand that Createspace is not a "publisher" but a tool. Our job as we sell our services is to distill the myths, educate and inform clients of our "value" and why working with 3L Publishing is worth the investment. Our books win awards. Look at this year alone. In the Footsteps of Greatness by Josh Mathe won several awards including the Royal Dragonfly award. Just a few weeks ago Norma Jennings was named one of the "50 Great Authors You Should be Reading" and she placed as a Finalist in the USA Best Book Awards.
 
Well Friend-Os ... Happy New Year! Make this year the best it can be!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Things I find annoying

Smudges on my glasses ... don't you just hate it when you smudge your glasses and they don't seem to come clean. Smudges on my contact lenses are annoying too.

Phone calls before 8 a.m. ... that one is just obvious. Unless you're from the East Coast (I'm on the West Coast) you have no excuse.

Phone calls after 9 p.m. ... unless your lover or best friend that is simply too late at night for me.

Running out of coffee in the morning ... that one is just scream-worthy. I must have my coffee. And it always seems like the moment I realize I am out of it, it's while wearing a purple bathrobe and socks. So no way a trip to the local Starbuck's is on the agenda.

Running out of Half-n-Half ... that one is synonymous to running out of coffee. Either problem holds the same "annoyance value". 

People who keep calling and not leaving a voice message ... how hard is it to just leave a message? Quit calling and not leaving me a message; it's pointless and true to my headline, annoying.

If you've read this and nodded then you "feel me" friend. Hope I made you either nod or chuckle. Sometimes I blog just to entertain myself ... or you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Three Things Writers Do to get in Their Own Way

I've coached and worked with writers for years. All facets of talent have come across my desk. So today what I want to share are the top three things I see writers do to sabotage their own success.

Giving up -- yes, giving up is no. #1. At the first sign of low sales or reviews not kicking off enough sales (in the author's mind), some author will give up. They won't feel the project is either successful or successful enough. And to discuss the "enough" word. What is your idea of success anyway? Becoming a no. 1 best-seller? Or is it possible that your book touched and changed one life. Your book made someone's vacation perfect. Your prose made someone happy. We have this view of success in society based on monetary rewards, and don't get me wrong money is important. I just hate to see an author feel like a failure because they only sold 500 copies, which is actually a lot.

Speaking of quantity of copies ... here is the next thing authors do get in their own way -- not enough copies sold. I'm here to share that if you sold 500 copies in this competitive market, you've sold a lot of copies. Imagine 500 people standing in the room, and they all read your book. Wouldn't we call that a crowd? A "crowd" of people read your book. Here is another way to look at it. Your next project will have that extra leg-up when those same 500 people buy your book and then another maybe 1,000 buy the next one. Is 1,500 people standing in a room a crowd? I would say "yes". So don't get down on yourself because you only sold 500 copies. You have to start somewhere.

Flogging your editor because there are a few small mistakes in your book. This one is my personal pet peeve. Here we go with my jelly bean analogy (I use this one all of the time). Take 50,000 black jelly beans. Pour them on a big white board. Now go find the flawed jelly beans. When I use that analogy you won't believe how many people's eyes light up with the realization, "Wow! That's hard!" So, yes editing a 50,000 word novel is hard work and worth about 10 years of bifocals. If someone has the audacity to tell you that on page 50 you have a mistake and you feel really bad and now your book is (in your mind) loaded with errors ... um ... go to jail, don't pass go, and pay your tired editor $200.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why Use a "Writing Coach"

You may wonder what is the difference between a writing coach and an editor. A writing coach is an editor, but his/her process is different than just editing. Why would you use a writing coach?

Accountability -- some writers (and people for that matter) benefit from the accountability of having someone to answer to about their projects. An effective writing coach is there to ask, "Hey, when do I see the next chapter?" Many people achieve goals more effectively when they have someone to push the process.

Professional and Personal Guidance -- a writing coach will analyze and critique your work. It's different than attending a class. Your coach is exclusively focused on your work. An involved coach will sit down and explain the changes or suggestions made for your manuscript. They will go over it with you. You get the benefit of that one-on-one attention to help create a publishable piece of work.

Editing -- your coach is really an editor packaged differently. An educated coach and also someone to correct grammatical and punctuation mistakes and help clean up your work. In the bigger picture though your coach is looking at your work as a whole. The broad guidance and instruction will help with technique, voice, organization, structure, character development, story development and more.

The best possible product -- a coach is the person whose goal is to get your manuscript ready to be professionally published. When you've gone through the coaching process your book will be the best it could be. You will now be in a position to at least know it's an excellent manuscript ready to be sold.

Coaching and being coached is fun -- yes, the writing experience is supposed to be enjoyable. Having someone to bounce ideas around and brainstorm is a pleasant experience with the right coach.

Do you want to be coached on your writing? Contact your host Michelle Gamble at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com. For more information on 3L Publishing, log onto the website at www.3LPublishing.com.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Writing Tips: Building Tension in Stories

After meeting with a new writer about her work of fiction, I had some comments to help her develop her book and its characters. Since her story is a romance I thought I would pick out some of the tips I gave her to help others.

Building sexual tension between characters requires patience. This young writer had her lovers roll in the proverbial hay too fast. Their aggressive pursuit of each other sparked and happened within pages. Instant gratification either needs to be a part of the story somehow or it should be delayed to keep readers turning pages to find out and discover.

The "hurry-up-and-get-there" weakness. I see writers do this all of the time. They want to finish their stories and they want to get to the "hot" stuff way too fast. It's like being a reader who can't wait and flips to the end. Problem is when the author rushes to write the story all of those in-between pages suddenly don't exist. Writing takes patience in the author too. Developing the characters and story should be "paced" not rushed.

Character development and place go together. I had a lot of fun with this one and this author's work. It's important to use every piece of narrative to your advantage when you write. Use your character's behavior in a place or setting to convey something about that character.  In this case, the author's character was a neat and orderly woman. So, when describing her home the author had an opportunity to use her home as the way to convey these character traits. For example, don't just describe the sofa. Have the character straighten a pillow on the sofa before leaving for work. You got what kind of sofa the character owns and you convey her neat nature.

My company 3L Publishing does one-on-one coaching with individual authors. It's the best hands-on approach to learning how to properly write either fiction or nonfiction. We enjoy mentoring individuals and making their stories come to life. If you would like more information, please contact us at 916-300-8012 or send email to info@3LPublishing.com. We would be glad to set up a consultation to discuss your project.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Keeping the Pace: How Excellent Pacing Makes a Page-Turner

My partner Scott D. Roberts and I do book coaching as part of our services at 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com). An interesting weakness we often see in writers is the inability or skill to pace their books.

Here are three tips about pacing:

#1 -- Using Too Much Exposition. A big no-no is too much exposition in the narrative that bogs down the writing. You have to keep your eye on what you're trying to accomplish on each page. Each scene, each moment needs to move the story forward or have a purpose in the story. We often see new writers who mistake a great description as building a colorful setting. Your description should only feature that which does the following:

#2. Helps define the scene so the reader understands the place. For example, if you have a scene in an office you need just enough exposition to convey the nature of the office and that's all. This gives the reader an idea of it so they can picture it in their minds. For example, a lawyer's office might have a "neatly arranged law library that any librarian would drool over." That's enough. The reader got it. We don't need to spend two or three more paragraphs describing that law library, especially if the scene isn't even about libraries and has no relevance to your story.

#3. Repeating what you just described in the dialog. If you told the reader your hero entered a bar and ordered a drink, don't have the dialog essentially repeat what you described. The reader got it the first time. For example, don't have the hero enter the bar and say, "Hey, I just walked in the bar," to his friend on the phone. It will bore the reader and bog down your narrative in redundant storytelling.

#4. Dialog that is more of a lecture than a conversation. Listen to how people talk. Most people don't go on and on and on. Unless you intend to make that a character trait specific to one person, it bogs down the work, and makes your dialog weak. People talk generally back and forth and don't use formal vocabulary unless it's a period piece. So make sure you keep the language current to slang and lingo, too.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mistakes Writers Make

When I do manuscript coaching and editing for new and emerging writers, I get a front-row seat on common new-writer mistakes. Here are some of those common errors that can bog down what otherwise would be a perfectly good story.

Redundancy -- the repeating of words or phrases within the same paragraph or even page. Keeping your writing fresh and interesting means you need to abandon your own commonly used words. It can be challenging. Even when we speak we have certain expressions we use a lot. I was working on a book the other day in which the writer used the word "okay" no less than 10 times on a single page of copy. If you can't think of a new way to say something use a Thesaurus, which is my opinion is an irreplaceable tool when your mind is getting tired.

Useless details that bog down the pace of the story. What I try to teach writers is to use the setting as part of the storytelling process. For example, if you've got a character's hometown don't simply describe the place (that's boring). Put your characters in the place and have them react to the place. You can use setting to develop your characters. How does your protagonist feel about the setting? What does the setting tell you about the protagonist's socioeconomic standing? What does it tell you about their traits and characteristics?

Don't repeat in the dialog what you just showed the reader. This redundancy is another problem that bogs down story. Your reader already read what happened. Why are you repeating it in the dialog? The dialog should be a reflection of what happened, but filtered through the lens of the story and how it drives the story forward.

Action vs. stagnant chatting and retelling of what the reader just saw. Each "chapter" or scene needs to make a story progress. If you have two characters chatting in a coffee shop then make sure the conversation is designed to progress the story. Idle, go nowhere conversations will once more not make your book a page-turner. Each chapter, each interaction needs to have a point designed to develop the story or something important about that character that is also relevant to the story.

Would you like to know more about how to make your project a success? We offer editorial services designed to guide writers to produce their best possible work. Please contact us at info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Great Christmas Present for Mystery Lovers

Similar to such recent hits as Gone Girl, Body in the Trunk takes readers backward and forward in time as true crime writer Tess teams up with Detective Phil Harris to solve the murder of a young woman whose body winds up in the trunk of a Toyota Camry. As the team unravels the story behind the murder, the reader discovers through a parallel back story the real crime that involves a passionate affair and love-gone-wrong between neglected wife Mia and a stranger who shows up in her life named Evan.

On Sale for $10.99 at http://3lpublishing.flyingcart.com/?p=detail&pid=65&cat_id=

Friday, November 13, 2015

Passenger from Greece: FINALIST IN BEST USA BOOK AWARDS


Best USA Book Awards
FINALIST: BEST COVER DESIGN
FINALIST: BEST MULTICULTURAL FICTION
Purchase an eBook or print copy at Amazon (click here)

Another 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) book is an award-winner. Joining the ranks of our other award-winning books, Passenger from Greece is yet another example of why authors should work with 3L Publishing. We focus on quality not quantity.

For more information, contact 916-300-8012, send email to info@3LPublishing.com or log onto the website at 3LPublishing.com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3 Quick Tips to Promote Your Book

1. Hire a publicist, which is the "no-fair" tip, but the most obvious. Make sure your publicist specializes in book promotion. You want him/her to have the right connections to the journalists and media contacts who interview or feature author and book reviews. A publicist sets you way ahead of the emerging self-published crowd and earns you credibility as a serious professional.

2. Sign up and attend book festivals. Book festivals put you as an author right in front of the consumer. It's targeted toward readers since it's a book festival, and people love to meet the author and have him/her sign their books. It also gives you an opportunity to see the public's reaction to your book cover and content (what they browse). And doing regional festivals throughout the country gives you a chance to build a national following by introducing those parts of the country to your work. Book reviewers are often at these festivals too, and it will give your book direct exposure to them.

3. Do a blog tour using a tour service. This one necessarily generate a lot of sales, but once  more it will give your book exposure to different audiences. Use it to get your name and book out there so you gain name and brand recognition.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Promote! Promote! Promote!

When business starts to wane, jump in and use the adage "outflow gets inflow". Many motivational books suggest you focus on gaining business vs. losing business. Whenever I face the slippery slope of decreased sales, I do the following:

1. Promote to my existing mailing lists some kind of special deal. Run a special seasonal deal or sale of some kind and promote it to your lists. This often has the results of spurring people to remember to think about your business and gives you exposure.

2. Follow-up on existing opportunities. I want to comment on this action in particular. Business people tend to leave opportunities on the table due to lack of follow-up or any kind of follow-up program. My rule is simple: follow-up with a handful of people per day. Set a goal such as following up with 5 people per day. I know it can be uncomfortable if you've been persisting with the same 5 people. but what do you really have to lose? What do you have to gain? I like to follow-up until I receive a definitive answer.

3. Be honest: let people know you need business. Just by opening up and sharing that you need business will often spur someone who has been on the fence to get started on their project or ask for your service. Nothing wrong with letting people know you're available.

If you would like to work with 3L Publishing or you have a publishing or marketing project, please contact us at 916-300-8012 or send email to info@3LPublishing.com. You can also log onto our website at www.3LPublishing.com.

Friday, November 6, 2015

3 Ways a Book Creates Opportunities for Your Business

I always tell business people that writing a book and the value it brings your business isn't measured by individual book sales. It's measured by opportunities. Here are three "opportunities" having a professionally published book can do for your business.

1. Subject Matter Expert. Whether you feel like an expert or not is beside the point. A book in people's minds means you know enough about a particular subject to write about it. Subject Matter Experts get asked to do the following, which provide more opportunities ...

2. Speaking Engagements. Speaking to a group makes you the center of attention. The aforementioned expertise creates credibility. Credibility impresses people. And speaking to a room gives your company exposure to the audience members. And what does exposure do?

3. Attracts Business. Now you've gained credibility and had an "opportunity" to share your expertise and business acumen to a group (audience). Exposure to your business, product, or service, gives you what? "Opportunities" to win business.

So let's do some math. Let's say you've paid $5,000 to get your book done. And let's assume you provide a service such as consulting or marketing or even something like architecture or some other professional-level service like accounting. How many clients do you need to attract to gain return on investment for you book? One, two, three? And you can do back-of-the-room sales with your book. Whatever the number it's probably not that many and with that, it's worth investment.

Contact 3L Publishing at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com if you want more opportunities for your business.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Body in the Trunk



Chapter 3

I attended an annual multimedia trade show in New York City at the Convention Center every year. My company M Marketing and Graphics bought a 10 x 10 booth, and we always seemed to sit across from this Japanese electronics company where the diminutive Asian sales girls wore five-inch heels presumably to make up for their lack of height. I marveled at any woman, short or not, who would dare to wear platform shoes for more than an hour much less 10 hours on a cement trade-show floor. I, on the other hand, wore my comfortable, flat Mary Janes to match my slim black skirt and lavender silk blouse with silver buttons on the two breast pockets that gave it sparkle. I tucked it in with a wide belt with silver infinity clasps in the center to give it a modern, chic flair.
I loved trade shows – the energy and meeting potential clients face-to-face. Most of my life was spent in my home office at my computer working on graphics and illustrations for marketing campaigns. So when I came out of my “cave,” it felt wonderful to talk and interact with interested clients. I also appreciated the time away from my parental duties and the ever-increasing bland and numb feelings toward Paul. He never made these trips easy. He complained he would have to take care of the girls, and I better not stay too long. Although I was expected to earn full-time pay to contribute to my 50-plus percent of our bills, it never seemed to bother him to demand I take all the kid duties.
 Of course, the now-dual interruptions to pick up the girls meant that I still needed to work later to make up the difference; however, Paul also required I end my workday on time to spend time with the family. He complained nonstop if I worked late. Then I would intentionally go out to eat dinner with everyone only to find Paul comfortably sitting in front of our 56-inch flat-screen TV with our kids, watching Power Puff Girls or Sponge Bob Square Pants. He allowed everyone to eat in front of the TV even though when I was a child we sat down for dinner and talked. No talking took place during our dinner routine; but I better damned well be there to eat with them lest Paul come back and yell at me until I acquiesced just to get him to stop.
The craziness of those conversations frustrated me, too.

“You need to eat dinner with us,” he scolded as he crashed into my office.
“I’ve got a deadline.”
“All you do is whine and nag, you know that?”
“What?”
“Nag, nag, nag, nag.”
“What?”
“Get out there and eat dinner with us.”
“I’m not …”
“Nag, nag, nag, nag!”
“I don’t …”
“Nag, nag, nag.”
I would just get up and try not to look at him for fear of the last, “Nag!”

My other least-favorite thing about our life involved perpetual yelling. I knew Paul was home every night when I heard the front door open followed by a deep baritone voice and ritualistic crying. I would look up from the computer and sigh. Yes, Paul was home right on time and on cue with the negativity and raised voice at our girls. The theme typically revolved around homework. Giselle, my older one who was in the sixth grade, was a sensitive and sweet girl. Daddy’s screams inevitably led to cries and then another door slam to her room where she disappeared and buried herself in her computer games.
Travel to these trade shows also represented escape from those daily rituals I had come to despise. More importantly it got me away from Paul and the yelling and comments that came when I appeared in the room. The remarks ranged from disparaging observations about my blonde hair (he wanted me to dye it brown) to remarks about my slim figure that he didn’t appreciate. He commonly told people I was anorexic, which I was not anorexic, but I had an extraordinary metabolism. I’m not sure if by telling people this he was justifying his own growing girth, which he added to by heaping so much food on his plate it overflowed the sides. I tried not to pay attention to either the weight gain or food consumption. I said little about anything these days. Between the bland, numb feeling and constant work demand to make more money to pay what now amounted to more than my 50 percent of the bills and more like 70 percent of the bills, I was too tired to care.
Just then a blonde, tall man with bluish-green eyes who wore a perfectly tailored navy-blue jacket, brilliant purple tie that was a complementary color to the jacket, and jeans with a leather belt with an “E” for a buckle walked up. He stopped to look at the graphic designs on display on the royal-blue Velcro walls of my booth. He was specifically gazing at the logos I had created over the years for various companies. He had a blonde goo-tee that he ran his fingertips through as he studied the work. It was one of those goo-tees where he carefully sculpted it and shaved his cheeks fresh and clean. His skin color was light but rosy and healthy-looking. I wasn’t really attracted to blondes, and I wasn’t exactly attracted to him at all until his eyes shifted from the art to me. He gave me this quiet, contemplative look, which I didn’t take for anything more than a stare except his eyes sparkled at me. I noticed the glisten in them like high-quality diamonds. Although even with that thought, I quickly dismissed it.
And then I felt this odd sensation, and I flashed on this vision: I was a bride standing on a beach about to approach my groom. White flowers were woven in my hair and I held a single white lily as a bouquet with a white ribbon tied on its stem. I tried to make out the groom’s face, but he was too far away. And then I felt a tug and returned to the present.
“You do branding?”
“Huh?” I replied and shook off the sensation. “Yes. We’ve done many Fortune 100 companies,” I said as I pointed to a big-name corporation. “My name is Mia.”
“Hello Mia,” he smiled at me again with that same gaze of interest. “Name’s Evan. I’m looking for a partner in my design studio. I need someone who can handle the corporate branding campaigns.”
“Hmm,” I said. “I’ve had partnerships before. They didn’t go well.”
At that comment, Evan turned to face me. He seemed to size me up and nodded as he thought about what I said.
“Maybe you didn’t find the right partner … Mia,” and with my name stated again he put his hand in his pocket and smoothly flipped out a business card.
“Drinks?”
I took the glossy card and with slick, black Garamond font letters: Evan Garner, Vice President, Garner Media.
I looked back up at him, “Drinks?”
“Yes, tonight back at my place at the Hotel Gansevort along Hudson River Park. Meet me in the bar. We’ll talk shop.”
“How funny,” I said.
“What?”
“I’m staying there, too.”
“Yes.”
“Yes?” I frowned at him.
Evan smiled, “Nine work?”
“Um, all right, okay,” I replied and felt puzzled as I looked at the card again.
 When I looked back up I saw his back as he walked smoothly away toward the front entrance. His gait and air suggested quiet confidence and certainty, but also casualness with his hands stuffed in his pants pockets. He almost looked like someone who had too much cavalier bravado – maybe something else, too. I couldn’t put my finger on it. My cell phone rang in my purse under the sales counter and called my attention away: it was Paul. I looked at the name flash on the phone and groaned. I didn’t want to pick up so I hit ignore and looked back up to find Evan completely gone.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book!


When I open my presentations, I ask two questions: “How many of you throw away books in the trashcan?” I follow up that question with the next one, “How many of you throw away brochures in the nearest garbage can?” The second question provides the audience’s a-ha moment.
Most people feel value when they buy or are given a book. A book has weight. It has pages. It has merit. It conveys the perception of knowledge and expertise and time and money to publish. A feeling of guilt or at least a sense of environmental responsibility overcomes the desire to toss all that time, money, expertise, and most importantly “paper” into the garbage can.
On the other hand, how many flyers, tri-fold brochures or one-sheets create such a moral or ethical dilemma that you actually feel guilty to throw it away? I’ll be honest. I’ve thrown away countless brochures. I even curse when someone shoves a flyer under my car windshield wiper because now I have to find a garbage can so I’m not a litterbug (anyone raised in the ’70’s era of trash propaganda knows what I mean about litterbug guilt pangs). Meanwhile, I can only think of one time I deposited a book in the nearest trash receptacle – and that was because the author bored me with a bad sales presentation. I figured if she couldn’t even speak on her subject with intelligence, what were the chances her book would be more interesting?
Truth is when people either buy or are given a book, they are unlikely to throw it away. In fact (and this is the real value), if the reader doesn’t need the book or can’t use it, he or she will give it to a friend. This is the other a-ha moment when audiences responded favorably during my presentations. The pass-around rate on a book harkens back to that old Faberge commercial, “and she told two friends…” Not only do authors get mileage out of the first point-of-purchase sale, but also the pass-around benefit makes a book even more attractive – especially to business owners or those authors who wish to become subject matter experts to support their businesses. Brochures go away. Books last and are passed around.
This concept alone should convince entrepreneurs and executives to publish a book. In fact, a book’s value proposition to any business far exceeds its shelf life. A book is your entrée to new opportunities AKA sales and customers. I am about to cite the extreme value proposition that is sure to cement your desire to publish a book. The opportunities are so amazing I don’t know why when a book doesn’t cost that much money to publish that a smart business executive would not publish one.
When I share this information I am speaking from experience. My business books have built our publishing company 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com), and sometimes even paid for the book’s cost in mere hours off press. The first thing I teach anyone interested in publishing a book is VERY IMPORTANT:

Do NOT measure the individual book sales as your return on investment! Measure the OPPORTUNITIES (e.g., speaking to attract business, media exposure, new sales leads, etc.).

My third book Vanity Circus came off press, and I took it to the Book Expo of America held annually in New York City. The first person I handed a copy to; she took the book with her on the train ride back home, read it, and by the time she reached the station, she called me and a $20,000 deal was cut. The book cost $6,000 to produce and publish 500 copies. Do you think after that one contract I needed to sell the other 499 copies to make a profit? That book sold dozens of other copies (and some were giveaways), and many more contracts were derived from those sales. It made a lot of money. I still have 200 copies I decided are dated and will discard. Do I care that I have 200 unused copies? The answer is simple: NO.
My other favorite case study comes from a client who shared this story. He published his first book (a niche book). A few months later he reported with excitement he had a new six-figure income executive position. How? The company’s owner read his book and loved it. A job offer soon followed. His second book (another niche book) he reported more excitement. He said the book had resulted in at least a 200 percent return on investment. He had sold it during workshops, made new connections, and seized opportunities.
What else does a book do to open opportunities? It creates prospects that would otherwise not exist if you didn’t have a book to sell or giveaway that supports your business. What are these opportunities?

A marketing platform—a book becomes the centerpiece to build your marketing platform, which will promote your business. A book provides a theme and content to populate your platform, which includes newsletters, blogs, social media, websites and more.

A news hook creates exposure to your name, company or service—a book creates news; real news that the media can feature. It gives you something to tie to a greater story at large. For example, a book about reinvention could be tied to the headlines for New Year’s resolutions. A book about a social issue could be tied to an “awareness” issue such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Exposure or increased visibility—the book and your name in the news and on the Web increase awareness of your name, book, product or service. More people hear about you, and the benefit snowballs into more interest in you and more “followers” or “friends” on social media. More exposure on social media generates more interest in current and future products (ultimately customers and prospective sales).

Qualifies you as an expert—now you are identified as an expert on your topic or subject matter. What happens when someone thinks you’re an expert? You get asked to speak in front of groups and share your expertise. What happens when people think you’re an expert and they see you in person speak (and you’re an especially persuasive, interesting or entertaining speaker)? People hire and buy from experts. Now you have two opportunities once closed to you before a book: speaking engagements and exposure to potential customers and clients. The media may even invite you to share your expertise for interviews, and what does this mean? It means even more exposure to your name, product or service.

            After I just outlined this fantastic sales pitch, you are probably convinced you need a book for your business or to support your profession. Yet maybe you’re not a writer or you are a writer but a so-so one. Maybe the idea of 200- or 300-page books just scares you. You want to run right out of my presentation or put this book down now and forget it.
Forget your fear. Don’t be scared. Don’t run away.
What I’m about to do is describe the specific value of what a book does for a business, how it does it and why, and then I’m going to calm your nerves. Publishing with a reputable and knowledgeable publisher or book coach doesn’t have to scare you. Many different techniques can be used to produce your book, including ghost writing for those who don’t want to write at all.
Now there are many scams out there. You will want to protect yourself before you ever work with any publisher through knowledge and education. The easiest way to see the quality of a publisher’s books and products is to ask for samples. Publishers can’t hide the truth in the final product. Make sure you ask to see samples. Let me tell you something depressing: an author who shows up to work with my company 3L Publishing and sadly shares his or her rip-off tale. Now this person is working on a shoestring budget or cannot afford my services. I wish I could help him or her, but I am in business too and cannot cut a deal because he or she got scammed. Regardless I feel badly for this person each and every time I receive that phone call.
So I hope now you realize that in fact Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book, and you will be well armed to go forward with information to achieve success and avoid common pitfalls. I’m going to give you all the information you need to make a sound decision, and then I am going to share specific case studies of authors/entrepreneurs/business people whose books created unprecedented opportunities for growth and success. By the time you finish working with us and taking advantage of our consultation, I am certain you will be clamoring at my door utterly convinced Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book.
For more information, contact us today (ask for Michelle or Scott) at 916-300-8012, send email to info@3LPublishing.com or visit the website at www.3LPublishing.com.
                       


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

3 Things a Writer Should Know

1. Every writer needs an editor including the publisher who uses three editors on her own book, Body in the Trunk. The day you think you can see all the mistakes is the day you get awarded "God-Spell" ;) LOL.

2. Selling a book bundle takes the same amount of time as selling a single book, so bundles are great and net more income. I always say it takes 10 minutes to sell $14.95 or $30.95. You might as well offer a bundle and make some real money.

3. The cover matters more than the content. Yes, no riots, please. People are drawn to your book by the cover. We're a visual society. Always make the cover draw them in.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

SACRAMENTO-BASED 3L PUBLISHING GOES GLOBAL



SACRAMENTO-BASED 3L PUBLISHING GOES GLOBAL
3L Publishing, publisher of award-winning fiction and nonfiction, signed its first international Foreign Rights Deal

Sacramento, California—3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) signed its first international Foreign Rights deal. The first deal signed with India-based publisher Manjul Publishing procured the Foreign Rights to the book The Power and Light that is You by Linda Lee. With this first deal signed 3L Publishing officially offers international Foreign Rights deals for all its author to reach out to the world.

The book actually was so good that two India-based publishers bid on it, and Manjul Publishing won the bid. It will thus be available in English and Hindi. The Power and Light that is You is a book designed to guide readers to become more aware in their lives and begin to understand the value and importance of their choices. It teaches readers how to shed old belief systems and mindsets, as well as to recognize that much of what happens in life can be changed by a simple choice, a choice based on how enlightened, powerful and brilliant ways of thinking can change how they are being and living.

3L Publishing President Scott D. Roberts successfully attracted and negotiated with a Foreign Rights agent who made this deal possible. “We expect many of our other titles’ Foreign Rights to be purchased by international publishers in the coming months,” said Roberts. “We’re very excited to see the company’s award-winning books available around the world. The sale of The Power and Light that is You is just the beginning of a powerful collaboration with our agent.”

3L Publishing is a boutique publisher that has numerous best-selling and award-winning books in its catalog. The company is a hybrid publisher that crosses the best of self-publishing with traditional publishing to produce quality books. 3L Publishing also provides traditional publishing for authors who have a qualified following of readers. Next year in 2016, 3L will be introducing Stephen Marinaro, AKA TheSalonGuy, freshman effort, a memoir chronicling his rise to fame and what he learned along the way.

“I am excited that the company I founded in 2006 has gone global,” said Michelle Gamble, CEO of 3L Publishing. “I never imagined we would be anything more than a domestic publisher. I thank Scott D. Roberts for his ambition and vision to spread our messages around the world.”

For more information, log onto 3LPublishing.com, call 916-300-8012, or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.
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ABOUT 3L PUBLISHING
3L Publishing is a domestic and global publisher. We offer both traditional and hybrid full-service publishing. We specialize in working with first-time and emerging authors. Our company mission is to strive for excellence in every aspect of publishing, from writing to editing, and from illustrations to graphics.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Body in the Trunk



Chapter 6

            I sat at the small, black desk with the white bucket chair in my hotel room. I kept looking at Evan’s card as I sat in front of my laptop computer now online. I kept wondering about him. How did he know I was in this hotel? Did he see me earlier? My phone rang: Paul’s name appeared again. It was a three-hour time difference. He never called me on the road. One time I went on a three-week vacation to see my cousins in Wisconsin, and he hadn’t called me the entire time. My cousins had never asked about it, but I could tell they had thought it was strange. Paul just didn’t seem to care anymore – out of sight as they say.
            “Hi, what’s up?”
            “Lulu is crying all day. She has a cold and doesn’t feel good. You need to come home!” he flatly demanded.
            “Paul, I can’t come home from New York City because Lulu has the sniffles. I spent $5,000 on the booth space alone.”
            “Can’t you get your manager to come out? What’s-her-face … Ellie?”
            “No, she’s on vacation in the Turkish Islands. Really Paul? You can’t handle your daughter’s sniffles for one day?”
            The phone went dead. He hung up on me like he routinely did when he deemed the conversation over. I held the phone away from my ear and looked at the screen.
“Love you, too, honey,” I sneered aloud.
            I got up, went to the bathroom, and stared at my reflection. Most people said I looked 10 years younger than my real age of 40. I had put sunscreen on my face since I was 16-years old, and good genes prevented my hair from going gray, although I colored it anyway to brighten it. I got my eyebrows waxed bi-weekly and had those unsightly facial hairs removed with laser treatments. I was vain at times, but overall not really. I knew I was beautiful only through constant comments from other men not Paul who rarely said anything nice. I wondered if Evan thought I was attractive. Well, what did that matter anyway? I was married. I sighed and felt tired.
As I stood staring in the mirror my mind wandered and then all of a sudden, I felt air on my neck, and I looked in the mirror again. Evan was standing next to me. His full lips and mouth got close to my ear, and I could hear his breathing and felt warm breath on my neck. It sent a chill and tingle down my spine. And then it felt like a pull and yank, and I was back in front of the mirror – alone.
            I stood straight up in shock and looked around. No one was in that room with me, but I had felt him, had seen his image in the mirror. I looked around, confused and uncertain. I had never experienced something so strange. I sucked in oxygen and paused. I looked around again. Yes, I was totally alone. What happened? Now though it was like Evan crept under my skin or plugged some invisible tether into me. I kept thinking about him. I wasn’t sure if I was troubled or not, but the slight touch of his lips against my neck left me with a sexual longing – a hunger which five minutes before hadn’t seemed possible. Longing for what, though?
I looked at the phone. It rang. “Evan,” I whispered.
I went to the desk and picked it up. The number was unfamiliar. I picked it up. “Hello?”
“Are you ready?”
“What? Who is this?”
“Evan.”
“Oh, hi, ready?”
“Yes, to come up to the bar?”
“Yes, I’ll be there shortly.”
“Good,” and he hung up.



Friday, October 23, 2015

Body in the Trunk


Buy it for $5.99 on Kindle (click here)
Buy the print version (click here)

Chapter 5

The first time Phil sat and sized up Tess was at the Starbuck’s across the street from the station house. He found her cute, energetic and maybe a little ditzy; he wasn’t sure yet. Her strawberry blonde hair and bright green eyes sucked him in. Some guys loved women’s eyes, and Phil was no exception. You had ass men, tit men, and eyes guys – he loved eyes. His ex-girlfriend Diane had the most brilliant hazel eyes imaginable with curled, thick eyelashes. It also didn’t hurt that she had one of those amazing, hot bodies with big tits and a perfect, tight ass, but undoubtedly her eyes won. She could seduce him with one look.
“Those were the days,” he chuckled to himself as he sat and waited for Tess to bring the tea and coffee to the table.
Tess ambled over to him. She was holding each cup in her hands. She carefully placed Phil’s “Tall” tea in front of him, pulled out a chair, and sat down. She took a tense sip from her Mocha Grande and began to explain what she wanted to Paul. He sat across and listened to Tess nervously talk. She kept twisting the ends of her long hair and fidgeting with pink sugar packets.
“I saw you on that cable thingy show, you know what is it … Freedom-something-or-another?”
Free Access.”
“Yeah, that one. Okay, so you know you were talking about a body you found in some trunk. What? A Camry, right? Conservative car.”
Phil smiled at her, reached across the table, and placed his calm hand over the top of hers. She stopped moving the sugar packet and looked up at him. Their eyes met. He removed his hand.
“Yes, what about it, what’s your name again?”
“Tess.”
“Tess, what do you want to know? I probably can’t tell you much because it’s still under investigation.”
“I want to … um,” she pulled her hair behind her left ear and looked down. “I want to write about it. You know, true crime.”
Phil sat back, grabbed his white cup filled with hot water with a teabag string hanging off the side. “I see … you a writer?”
“Well, all right so I’m not published yet, but this will be my big break!”
“You’re not a writer then?”
“No, um, yes, yes, I’m a writer,” she asserted as she found her confidence to just to say yes. She giggled and continued, “I was an engineer first, though.”
Phil nodded and kept observing her. “How does one go from being an engineer to a writer?”
Tess waved her hand down her body as if she was showing off a showcase on the Price Is Right.
“Do I look like an engineer?”
At that Phil allowed a slight grin to form on his lips. “No, Tess you do not look like an engineer.”
“Thank you!” she smiled. “I have a brilliant math mind, though. Well, whatever … look I just want to know if you’ll let me shadow you? Learn about the investigation.”
“I’ll check in with department protocol on the media, let you know.”
“Really?” she said in the sweetest, most delighted voice.
Phil found her endearing. She looked to be in her early 30’s but she had this childish, wonderful quality about her. He liked it. So many women were jaded by bad relationships, life’s hardships, horrible treatment, but here was this impish, cute and sweet woman that he almost wanted to call a girl, but she clearly wasn’t a girl. She kept talking with a restless, uneasiness about her. He wasn’t sure why she was so nervous, and she just went right back to playing with her hair.
She explained how she wanted to travel and see the “real” world. Phil kept thinking how the real world wasn’t so pretty. He thought about last week where he had walked into a low-rent apartment in South Sacramento, and there had been so much garbage on the floor, he had to kick it away just to get in the door. And the rancid smell of decay and rot had filled his nostrils until he had grimaced. A toothless woman with acne scars and sunken eyes had been arrested for turning her kitchen into a crystal meth lab. He came to find out she was all of 25 and had looked closer to 50. Drugs did that to people – and that was the “real” world. “Not very glamorous,” he thought, but here was this naïve woman ready to take it on with rose-colored lenses and dreamy fantasies.
“I don’t know if you’ll find what you’re looking for.”
“We don’t know what I’m looking for,” she replied with a grin.
He chuckled, “Guess not.”
She tilted her head to the side, “You married?”
He raised his empty ring finger, “Do I look married?”
She glanced at the ring-less finger and smiled, “No, but some men don’t wear their rings, do they?”
“See a tan line?”
“No.”
“Not a very good detective, are you?”
She laughed and shook her head.
He continued, “Not married, don’t have a girlfriend. She met some nerdy Russian with a big dick and left me.”
“Does that mean you have a little dick?” smirked Tess.
“Ah, I guess I should amend my sob story.”
Tess got up on cue, extended her hand to which he shook it, and said, “Yes, you should.” She glanced at his package.
He was impressed with her balls and laughed, “Yes, I will!” He winked at her.
“Have a great day, detective,” she sauntered off with a grin on her face.
He watched her leave. She had a great ass for sure. Then he took one last gulp of his tea and thought, “I’m going to enjoy her.”
Later on, he did go back to the community relations department to ask protocol. He got approval with restrictions, of course, but she would be allowed to do research and write her book. He had called her back a day later, and his affirmation of participation had been met with a wonderful squeal of delight. He had held the phone away from his ear as she had started rattling off questions.
“No, no slow down. Let’s meet again tomorrow evening at The Mix downtown, all right? You can ask me all you want.”
“Oh, yeah sure. Do you mind if I record it?”
“Not at all. See you at seven?”
“Uh-huh.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Daily Cup

As a publisher, the no. #1 comment I hear continually is ... "Everybody has a book in them."

While it's true we all have a story to tell, that comment doesn't address the professionalism required to make a book a reality. Using the various methods available to others to get their books out of them, it's true everybody can, in fact, have a book published. But that requires the realization that to get a book into the popular culture, it needs to be treated like any business endeavor -- and any business endeavor requires professionalism to do it right.

If you can't necessarily write, but do have a story to tell, you can do the following:

Hire a ghost writer -- Did you know many books aren't written the author whose name is shown on the front. A ghost writer is a professional writer who can make your story not only structurally make sense, but also grammatically work. A ghost writer knows how a book is supposed to be written, and there is no guesswork involved. This gives your project the highest possible odds of being published because it's done right the first time.

Hire an editor -- if you've written a manuscript already, hire a professional editor to clean it up. Even professional writers need an editor. Even this publisher needs an editor. You can't see the forest from the trees.

Graphics -- let the professionals design your book. The cover is often the most important element of a book to draw in readers. Cookie-cutter templates and stock photography can show up on another person's book. Let the professional use his/her knowledge and background to get it right.

Make sure a legitimate publisher puts your book out into the mainstream. Many authors think that Amazon's CreateSpace is a legit publisher. It's a tool. And there are many such tools like that one out there.

3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) is a hybrid publisher that crosses self-publishing with traditional publishing to provide authors a professional outcome. Contact us today at 916-300-8012 or info@3LPublishing.com if you want your book done right the first time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Body in the Trunk


Purchase the eBook versions on Kindle (click here)

Chapter 4

Evan returned to his clean, white and sterile-smelling hotel room decorated in black, gray and white colors. He hadn’t been able to think of anything but Mia since he laid eyes on her. It was unusual for him to give any woman (even the most beautiful) much more than 10-minutes thought.
Mia though was different. “Why?” he wondered to himself. What made this blonde woman any more special than the hundreds of others he had fucked and left? He didn’t really know to be honest. She was definitely gorgeous, but again, he had fucked world-class beauties in his time. A wealthy father and three handsome and older brothers guaranteed that bonus. Models, A-list actresses with fake tits, puffy pink lips, and white, shining teeth with bodies so hot most men would get hard with just one glance at them. He licked, tasted, fondled, caressed, and banged them all. So to him, beautiful looks were almost mundane.
He kept wondering, “What? What about her?” It wasn’t like him to get “schmoopy” over a woman. What was it about Mia that she just got right under his skin and made him obsess like a teenage boy with his first crush?
He went to the mirror and looked at his visage in the reflection. The hair on his head was as thick and blonde as it had been since childhood. He never had any trouble getting dates or making girls’ hearts melt. His buddies were never half as lucky or blessed with his good DNA that kept him with little effort muscular, chiseled and model-looking handsome. His best friends often asked Evan his secret to success with the ladies. Evan just told them, “Pay attention to the details, man.” This statement always led to more questions to which Evan would gladly just show them.

They were at the local Irish pub (this was during his college days at Michigan State University), and he spotted his friend Leslie at the bar with three of her girlfriends. Evan motioned to his buddies, Roy and Steve, to follow him. The group of guys led by Evan ascended upon the girls; Leslie was the average-height, curly-haired red head in the middle. She was cute with brown freckles on her reddish tan skin. Evan tapped her shoulder. She turned around, her light green eyes lit up, and she smiled in recognition since she knew him from her economics class.
“Hey,” he said coolly. “You ladies hanging out?”
They all nodded in unison, which amused Evan. He turned and introduced Roy and Steve, who stood there like clueless idiots with their mouths gaped and eyes wide. “Pathetic,” thought Evan, who gave them a look that meant “watch,” and they became rapt on his every move.
“So hey Leslie … Wow! Nice blouse,” he reached out and fingered the collar and stepped closer. “Great color on you,” he cooed in a low, gravelly, sexy voice. “And did you curl your hair? It looks beautiful. You look gorgeous, and so do your friends. Best looking women in the room,” he said with a wide smile and so much charm it just seemed to drip off him.
Leslie smiled proudly and said “Thanks,” as she eagerly embraced the compliments. Then all of her attention went to Evan. Her body shifted toward and into him like a Lego. He matched her stare with his own. She started flipping, twisting and fingering her long hair. Pretty soon, she was touching his bicep in ownership, too. They were caught up in a deep conversation of some sort while the other two guys watched in awe and still couldn’t manage to say one syllable to her friends. While Evan managed to ferry Leslie off for some action, the other two guys remained behind while her friends tired of their useless staring and drifted off toward two hot guys who had just entered the bar.
Later that night after Evan returned to their frat house from a tryst in Leslie’s dorm room, he educated the boys with one simple clue to his success, “Dudes, it’s all about details,” he smugly relayed again and grinned. “She was hot. Five times, guys, five times.” They gave him the proverbial nods and grins of approval followed by chugs of beer and pensive, confused stares. Of course, the guys remained just as ineffective with the girls as ever, but Evan tried.

Now he was a seasoned sex god and the guy most would call a “womanizer” or “player”.  “Mia,” he whispered in his thoughts. How was he going to play her and win this game? She was beautiful and pleasing to the eyes with a long, lithe body and legs that in his estimation “went on for forever.” When he had walked up to the booth and looked her right in her crystal blue eyes, he felt something instantly familiar almost like déjà vu as if he knew her already. It was a queer sensation that from the moment he shook her hand he felt a jolt pulsate through him like a sudden shock one might experience from static electricity and touching another person. He had immediately gazed into her eyes, and her eyes flickered back at him. The attraction was so immediate and intense he had to force himself to focus.
Any other woman he typically wondered what it might be like to have sex; but this one he had fantasies of true, deep and connected lovemaking – something Evan felt sure he had never done. Yes, he had nonstop and often fantastic sex, but he never got emotional over women. In fact, he had a habit of immediately dumping a woman who appeared to get too attached. He didn’t want to deal with genuine feelings nor did he want any real, emotional neediness of any kind exhibited from a woman toward him.
He wasn’t a big fan of major attachments. He favored himself indifferent to the women in his life. Yes, he felt friendship and some level of care, but he largely never allowed real bonds to form. Deep, connected sentiments posed a danger to the barbwire fence he forged around his heart. He had a keen ability to compartmentalize his feelings and control them. He needed, no he had to have absolute control to turn on and off any feelings toward a woman. Control gave him a cold distance and objectivity that enabled him to leave when things got to be too much or he felt vulnerable – and he didn’t like vulnerability.
He refused to spend too much energy on one woman. He used the excuse of wanting a variety and liking women too much to go further in any relationship than perhaps living with a woman, which he was already doing. Yet strong, affecting attachments threatened his style of living free and experiencing quick and pleasurable trysts – this is what he told himself anytime something “felt” like it might go too far.
Mia’s mere presence made him feel an instant sense that the distance he labeled his emotional boundaries had been miraculously and without explanation breached. Moving past this line would make him enter a vast, clouded valley where the bottom was fogged over. Could he go there? His basic reaction was instantly no. He didn’t want to go there – it was not the point. Even if he wanted to explore the unknown, the wisdom of coloring outside of the lines was careless and stupid given his mission.
He became more thoughtful for a moment. He questioned his own humanity. Wasn’t love a part of being human? Wasn’t needing companionship natural maybe even primal and as basic as sexual urges, too? His mind raced with questions about his ability to even have a healthy relationship.
A few years ago, he had run into a woman who had turned out to be a therapist. They were both in a bar in Tucson, Arizona at the famous Hotel Congress. Evan was there on business. He was staying at the Westin on the outskirts of town. Friends had told him to stop at the hotel, and he had decided it sounded intriguing (it was supposed to be haunted). Sitting at a long, tall table with stools on each side, he had intentionally sat across from a dark-haired beauty with intense gray eyes that narrowed on her iPhone as she had texted someone. After he had managed to catch her attention, he found out her name was Annette. 

He and Annette immediately engaged in a casual flirtation until Evan slipped up and admitted he was a little “girl crazy” and didn’t really have any lasting lovers. Well, except one, and he didn’t love her. Annette eyed him with sudden dogged and unusual interest that immediately shifted away from anymore fun flirting. She visibly shifted body language and looked at him with a renewed, more clinical interest.
“And why do you suppose that is?” she asked almost too casually.
Evan felt disconcerted as he realized his plan to find out what was under her sheer vanilla-colored blouse where we could see a hint of lace was derailed with this serious question. He measured in his mind whether to escape now and shift over to the cute blonde in the far corner with sweet freckles across her nose and a busty figure that appealed to him or stay and face this firing squad. As Annette eyed him with close interest, he decided why not play along. The cute blonde was just getting her first drink, and he expected she might be there a while longer.
“I don’t know. Why do you suppose that is?”
“Did you have a cold mother? You know, highly critical, cold and remotely loving only when she felt like it?”
Evan’s mother had passed away when he was young. He remembered very little about her, but he did recall she wasn’t the hugging type. His family was wealthy, and his mother loved her gin and tonics and the occasional smoke but only after dinner and with wine. He spent most of his young childhood tucked away in the nanny’s quarters where she virtually ignored him and plunked him in front of endless episodes of Sesame Street. He remembered more about Burt and Ernie and the famous “Rubber Ducky” than he did of his mother spending any quality time with him. And his mother and father traveled a lot. His brothers, triplets, were older and they had each other.
He looked at Annette and realized he didn’t want to have this conversation – not now and not here. He suddenly became uncomfortable and acted coldly as he tossed some bills down on the table deliberately in front of Annette as if he were paying for her time. Annette looked at the money. She got his number.
“Evan, you seem like a great guy underneath all that ‘baggage’. You cannot continue to use women, fuck them, and leave and expect to have a fulfilling life. Maybe if you get to the root of your problems, and they are problems believe me, you will find not only the right woman, but your promiscuous lifestyle will bore you. After a while sex is only sex – a physical, momentarily satisfying act. Now intimacy, love, caring and real closeness are not only infinitely more satisfying but way more pleasurable. But you won’t know until you’ve had it.”
She reached in her purse and extended a card that Evan only waved off.
“Well, if you want to get a little more self-aware …” she said with a casual shrug as she realized Evan was temporarily a hopeless case.
Evan sneered at her, looked at her card, and headed off toward the cute blonde.

After that encounter he had given it some thought and wondered if perhaps he was avoiding falling in love to protect his heart from potential pain he might not be able to handle. For the most part, he had always managed to keep a cool distance from those kinds of reeling feelings. Yet today these exact kind of forbidden emotions got awakened from the quiet slumber in his heart. Mia made him feel like he was falling off a precipice into uncharted waters of fluid and flowing emotions that were moving much too fast for him to keep up the swim. He was drowning in them – and he didn’t like it. He wanted to shut off the source of the raging water before it became too wild and rapid – out of control … his control.