Thursday, February 25, 2016

7 Tips to Build Business

1. Stay focused on your objectives.
2. Study the current marketplace, identify the trends, figure out what people are buying and the consumer tastes.
3. If bills are piling and checks not coming, do not get caught up in the bills. It's a negative distraction and will not solve your financial crisis.
4. Look for as many new opportunities as you can to build business.
5. Consider reaching out and doing more networking.
6. Do more public speaking. Speaking gigs attract business because you are the center of attention.
7. Use speaking to do back-of-the-room sales and promotions.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dear Soul Mate...

I have been waiting for you in the sky-painted night
I have dreamed of you and felt you in my bed
I have brushed the tips of my fingers against my wish for you

I once thought I could persuade your heart
Coax you into my awaiting arms
Yet like a timid creature it moved, it shied away

Dear Soul Mate,

I am waiting
Can you feel me?
Do you know me?
When will you come be with me?

The answers are more riddles
The questions more obvious

Dear Soul Mate,

I have waited so long now
Time has ticked away
Dust become ashes
Timber become petrified
My warm heart melting in the heat

Dear Soul Mate,

Are you out there?
Do you hear me?
Do you want me?
Because I want you!
Michelle Gamble

Three Reasons to Hire a Proper Publicist

1. The media won't take you seriously pitching your own products. When it comes to publishing and self-publishing, the media especially won't take your book seriously. It will just go in the pile of unprofessional "perceptions".

2. Credibility, which dovetails into what the no. #1. You want to position yourself as a creditable professional. This doesn't always apply if you ARE a publicist. I can approach my contacts on my own projects because I have a known publicist.

3. Proper contacts -- your publicist should know who in the industry to contact. It's better when your publicist knows the media people. It makes it easier to get their attention. For example, my contacts know 3L Publishing books are first-rate books. So, when I call and put a book in front of a media person's face, that person will take it more seriously since it's got the 3L logo on it.

Do you need to hire a proper publicist? If so, contact 3L Publishing at 916-300-8012 or email info@3LPublishing.com.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Abused: Chapter 6


6

            Derek Pendergrass was a washed-up, small-time politician from the town of Shingle Springs, California. Derek had been the senior-class president and parlayed his mediocre success into an eventual seat on the City Council. Derek was 32, prematurely gray, and so arrogant that most people who really knew him hated him. Yet he put on an impressive bravado of charm and working-class sophistication that people related to. So when he lost his seat on the council he ran for assemblyman in the California State Assembly in the state capital, Sacramento.
            Once Assemblyman Pendergrass took office his hubris and arrogance was widely embraced by other politicians whose own egos ruled everything they did. That same year Assemblyman Pendergrass married Leona Thorn, a chief information officer at the California Franchise Tax Board. Leona was blonde, blue-eyed and petite with the mouth of a street thug. She could tell anyone off and she never hesitated to let it rip when someone annoyed her. Derek liked her badass attitude and married her within six months of their first date.
            Leona quickly enjoyed the perks of being an assemblyman’s wife, and while they truly didn’t have much money, she began going on outrageous trips to the Grand Caymens, Puerta Vuarta, British Columbia, Hawaii, and nonstop trips to France. Working on an Assemblyman’s wage, Derek didn’t have the income to support his wife’s ever-growing hunger for world travel, adventure and couture shopping sprees. As the bills piled up Derek appeased his wife and figured out inventive ways to charge these boondoggles back to the taxpaying citizens of California. Later when trouble brewed, Derek’s closest confident Will Brandon, another assemblyman would ask him how he could have been so stupid. His answer was fast and direct.
            “Man she’s got the wettest pussy I ever laid the pipe,” and with that one statement Will’s curiosity was assuaged.
            Apparently Leona’s slippery pussy had so intoxicated Derek’s wrong head he had continued for the first two years of his term to inventively charge her extravagances to the taxpayer. It wasn’t until a random auditor who was actually in the building to check out one of his colleagues’ business pursuits did his misuse of funds come to light. The auditor whose name was Jayne Bryan had been looking over some records that looked rather strange. When Jayne began to question Derek’s assistant Lisa, the aroused suspicion pressed on Derek hard. He began to stress that he would be caught, and then what? He had unpleasant visions of prison, which began to weigh on his mind. He wasn’t much for going to jail as most people wouldn’t be.
            This unwanted pressure began Derek’s most unpleasant descent into alcoholism, pills, and inappropriate partying with staff interns. By the time Derek’s fraud charges came to light, he was rarely in the office and his voting record was zero for that term. Leona had left him months before and run off with the sea captain of the Royal Caribbean cruise line. With ever-mounting pressure, booze, drugs, and an impending divorce Derek’s mediocre-life-turned-bigger success was now looking more and more like an absurd political drama.
            But ironically it wasn’t the fraud that brought Derek down, it was the illicit relationship with a high-class prostitute he battered one night. They were partying at the Embassy Suites near the Sacramento River. Derek had spent the entire afternoon snorting cocaine, smoking weed, and drinking whiskey. The prostitute one Fiona Richards AKA as Jasmine Elite had giggled when Derek couldn’t get it up. Derek, who was completely out of his mind, beat Fiona until she was unconscious. It was about that time that Derek passed out and couldn’t remember a thing.
            Booked on battery and assault, Derek’s political career grinded to a halt. He was immediately impeached and thrown out of the assembly for conduct unbecoming. The newspaper headlines revealed the tawdry details of Derek’s ugly personal life. His ex-wife Leona went on record accusing him of gay sex, orgies, and drug-fueled partying with hookers. While some of it was true, Derek realized she was ramping up her spurned wife story just in case it came to light how the money had been misused.
            Fiona ended up dropping the charges after numerous death threats came from sources widely known as Derek’s connections. Derek stepped out of the limelight a disgraced politician and waited to see if fraud charges would be made. In the meantime, his cocaine habit flew out of control. Every last nickel he had went to his dealer. And when Derek’s trust fund, savings and two houses were gone he continued on credit he didn’t have. After his drug dealer’s enforcer Clique smashed his kneecaps, he was hospitalized and unable to walk.
            Now living off disability and in embarrassing poverty, he found himself homeless living off the streets near Oak Park. When the indictment finally went down, Derek was nowhere to be found – he was living completely off the grid. One day a local foot patrolman found him drunk and passed out on a park bench. He took Derek in not realizing that he had captured the errant assemblyman wanted for misappropriation of funds and fraud.
            Semi cleaned up, Derek appeared before the judge – Judge Roberts. The judge looked down at the newly clean-shaven assemblyman and for whatever reason took pity on him. He was sentenced to six months in rehab followed by two years of community service. The local papers including The Sacramento Bee and Sacramento News and Review stridently objected to what they felt was a miscarriage of justice. Judge Roberts though emphasized that Derek had a clean record and years of public service.
            “We all deserve a break,” he said in one particularly anti-Derek article that skewered the assemblyman and accused the judge of cronyism.
            Whatever the court of public opinion meant nothing to Derek. Now completely fallen from grace the nearly 40-year-old former politician felt ready to clean up his life. And this is how he like all of the others found himself stepping out of a Yellow Cab to face the ominous tall redwood doors and the cool Ms. Fisher. She was a staunch Republican and didn’t much approve of the former assemblyman’s corruption. So walking out to greet him was no honor to her. She felt he was a shameful man who got off easy; but her opinions were not allowed so she did her job.
            She looked down at her usual clipboard and when Derek stepped forward to shake her hand she ignored it.
“Cocaine, huh, booze … what else?”
            Derek noticed the rebuff but forced a smile, hoping to charm her for future purposes. After seeing she would be unmoved he responded with hesitation, “Sex addiction.”
            Ms. Fisher nodded, “And …”
            “Nothing.”
            “Says here you’re also a pathological liar.”
            “Huh?”
            “Your first evaluation,” she flatly responded.
            “Oh.”
            “Go on in. Your bags will be in your room. How are you as far as detox?”
            “Huh?”
            “Detox,” she repeated with irritation in her voice.
            “Oh, um, fine.”
            “Hmm,” she studied him. “We’ll wait and see on that one. After you detox, expect orientation to begin.”
            “No, I’m clean,” refuted Derek.
            “Uh-huh,” she wrote something down.
            “What did you write?”
            She looked up and went to the door, opened it, and waited for Derek to enter. Derek still wanted to know what she wrote. He dropped it and looked up at the doors and into the still interior.
            “Fuck,” he said under his breath as he walked into what seemed like the abyss of misery to him in that moment.

Monday, February 22, 2016

7 Ways to Improve Your Writing

1. This is a great exercise (one of my favorites): sit down and just write a sentence or better yet take a sentence you already wrote somewhere else. Remove a word that probably isn't necessary. Now do this five more times. Compare the results. Read the first sentence out loud and then read the second sentence out loud. Which sentence is better written?

2. If you want to do a thorough edit, read your manuscript backwards. It can be tedious, but what you're really doing is looking at it word by word.

3. Another excellent technique to edit is to take a piece of paper and cover up the other words. Our eyes has a tendency to wander without us realizing it. Covering up the other words keep your focused.

4. Really great writers typically don't make this mistake, but it's my pet peeve: ending a sentence with a passive verb like is, are, was, would, etc.

5. The infamous passive voice. When you avoid writing in the passive voice your writing will improve. Active voice gives writing what I like to call a "pop". English students have this advice hammered into them from English 1A.

6. Redundant writing and using the same words and phrases over and over again. It's easy to fall into that trap. Redundancy weakens the work. Keep each word or phrase fresh throughout the entire work. Just use your Thesaurus if you get stuck on a word.

7. Finally, no matter what set aside at least one hour a day to write. Many people have day jobs and that can be tricky, but your book will never be finished without doing it. So, whether it's before or after work or even on your lunch break, set aside your writing time.

For more information, contact Michelle Gamble at 3L Publishing by calling 916-300-8012 or sending an email to info@3LPublishing.com. If you would like to hire us for editorial, marketing or public relations services whether books or technical document, we can help you.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Coaching Services

At 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com), we offer different levels of book coaching services.

What is a book coach?

A book coach offers one-on-one guidance, input, ideas to make your manuscript work better, accountability to help you finish, and general editorial feedback.

What are the benefits of a book coach?
  • One-on-one attention
  • Professional guidance and input into everything about your manuscript, including:
    • General editing
    • Comments every step of the way through the manuscript
    • Examples of how to fix structural writing
    • Specific writing samples of what that writing should look like
    • A private lesson and monthly sit down with your coach to review your current work and discuss it.
    • Overall feedback on your work
 Here is a recent blog being written by one of our 3L clients who is using Michelle Gamble to take her new book Grains of Truth from idea to final novel. Elizabeth discusses her experience working with Michelle's help to slowly write her first novel. Please click here to read her blog, which Michelle encouraged her to start to launch her marketing platform.

Want to hire a book coach? Contact us at 3L Publishing at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com or visit www.3LPublishing.com. 

The Abused: Chapter 5


The forthcoming novel being published by 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) is titled The Abused. Eight addicts go to rehab and instead of recovering, someone starts killing off the patients. 

5

            Frank Haley was a 20-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol. Like most patrolman, Frank loved his motorcycle best. The feeling of the open air and being on the road exhilarated him. He named his bike Mitzi after his first love, a girl he met at the academy who got hit by a tow truck driver who was on meth and didn’t see her on the side of the road. Mitzi died on impact, and Frank grieved his love and gave homage to her by naming his motorcycle after her.
            Over the years his superiors had encourage the astute patrolman to take the supervisor’s test and come in off the road, but Frank had no interest in a desk job. He felt perfectly satisfied to be outside and on the road mostly pulling over speeders and occasionally running into some dumbass who carried pot in his car like it was cigarettes. A few yelling matches with people who refuted going 100 mph and the occasional resistor were among the usual suspects in his daily work. Frank didn’t mind. He wasn’t looking for glory.
            Frank’s life had gone along pretty unremarkably until about a year ago. He had never married since he felt Mitzi was his soul mate and there would never be another. He lived quietly in South Sacramento in a small ranch-style house. His only indulgence in life was supping up his personal motorcycle, a custom-built Harley that he took out on weekends. Yes, Frank was overall a satisfied guy – that is, until the unthinkable happened.
His best friend Jonesy Clark had been a fit guy. He had run five miles a day and watched what he ate. Loved to show Frank his juicer and the various fruit and vegetable concoctions he made. Frank remembered one peach and tomato job Jonesy insisted he drink that he politely dumped in the nearest plant pot when Jonesy was in the other room. Jonesy had been going on and on about essential oils curing everything down to the plague. He was in the other room searching for the Young Living Desk Reference Book. Frank found the nearest fern pot and dumped the horrible drink into it with Jonesy none the wiser.
Their friendship was bonded over their mutual love of “the bike”. They became two bachelors consumed with weekend rides up and down the coast and through the Sierras. Both men loved women, but their friendship became a kind of spouse relationship. The two could be found bickering over bike parts and which destination they would visit that weekend. Jonesy loved the Tahoe area and Frank liked Northern California and Eureka. He enjoyed jetting down the Avenue of the Giants or gliding around Clear Lake. Most of the time the dispute was settled over a coin toss and a quick shot of Tequila.
On this particular weekend Frank won the coin toss and they soon found their long journey ended at Patrick’s Point, a scenic camping spot just north of Eureka. Frank like this campground because it sat among a lean pine forest and sites were carved out of ferns and lush vines. It got cold and foggy at night, but it was fun to take the long staircase down to the beach below. Jonesy naturally ran the stairs for exercise. Frank was always unimpressed by Jonesy’s strident jog down and up those stairs. Almost to make a statement of “who cares how fit you are,” Frank would stroll at his leisure to the beach.
            On this outing Frank was in his usual laid-back mood. Jonesy was already feisty and ready to jog. They were standing in front of the morning fire watching the gray tin coffee pot that sat on the grill begin to bubble up. Jonesy wore a green jogging suit, and Frank had a woolen shirt on with Levi’s. He stood with his hands in his pockets fighting off the morning chill.
            “So, what’s the plan my man,” asked Frank.
            “Do you always have to say that?”
            “Yup.”
            “Christ Frank you sound like a moron.”
            “Thanks!” chuckled Frank.
            The insult never bothered Frank. He knew Jonesy was chiding him.
            “I’m taking a run. How bout you?”
            Frank laughed, “Um no.”
            “Fuck Frank you’re going to fall over some day from laziness and too much cholesterol.”
            Frank grabbed the iron skillet and held up the eggs, “Tell you what! You take your dam jog and by the time you get back breakfast will be ready. That is, if I don’t die of a heart attack.”
            “Eh, fuck you!” said Jonesy as he turned to jog off.
            “See you later Lucy,” called Frank.
            Jonesy held up his middle finger and flipped off Frank, who just laughed again. The morning rolled on and Frank began to scramble eggs. He set the bacon on the grill. BBQ bacon rocked. Then he set out to making hash browns from the frozen packs where the potatoes were squared off already. He didn’t like frozen hash browns as much as the real thing but when camping and limited storage space, he would settle for it.
            He had just sat down for a sip of coffee when campers started gathering at the edge of the trailhead. A lot of tittering and talk was going on. Frank’s “Spidey sense” went up. He wondered what was going on. People seemed in distress. A woman walked past and Frank stood up.
            “What’s going on?”
            The woman shook her head, “Some guy fell off the trail.”
            Frank was alarmed. Fear began to simmer inside of him like the coffee beginning to brew. He wasn’t sure if he should go look or just blow it off. “No way,” he thought. Yet anxiety grew in him like multiplying bacteria. He slowly started to make his way toward the crowd. People were talking. He heard one man say, “Yeah, he’s like crushed.” Now Frank was even more concerned. Crushed? That didn’t sound good at all. Finally, riding on a wave of sheer panic, Frank got to the edge and could see down. As his eyes focused on the mangled body below, he knew … within a second he turned and vomited on the dirt. Jonesy was dead. His best friend and companion of years – dead and mangled on a pile of earth and rocks next to the sea.

            In the following months Frank became consumed by grief. He had never had someone this close to him die, and certainly not be killed in such a horrible way. Mitzi had been a brief love affair, but not a lifetime of shared memories and friendship. Witnesses had said Jonesy was gliding swiftly down the stairs when he appeared to lose footing. He had stumbled, regained balance, and then for some reason lost his balance and tumbled down the cliff like a bouncing ball. He fell hundreds of feet to his swift death.
            Frank kept replaying in his mind the events of that morning. He wished he had gone running with Jonesy. Maybe he could have helped him. Maybe he could have grabbed him. Maybe he could have saved his best friend. He replayed that morning in his mind over and over again. He obsessed day and night. Everyone on the force became worried about the mild-mannered Frank who was so obviously distraught.
            Soon Frank could no longer manage to get out of bed in the morning. He called in sick more days than he worked. He had racked up a ton of sick days from his 20 years on the force and never taking a day off much less a sick day. He slept and ate and slept.
            Finally after nearly two weeks of absence, his riding partner Lucas Miller stopped at the house. Lucas was an African American with a tall, lean build and a wild reputation for kinky sex with the ladies. It was rumored that he hosted orgies at his West Sacramento home, but no one on the force was ever invited. Lucas was good about keeping his work and private life separate. Frank and Lucas got along well, and Frank didn’t mind Lucas’ liberal attitude and beliefs. Lucas always voted Democrat and any law that would legalize anything “funky” as Lucas described it was always on his agenda.
            Frank let Lucas in the house that day. Lucas stared in shock at his once-tidy friend’s home. Old pizza boxes, dirty glasses, and clothes were strewn everywhere. Frank had clearly checked out of life. As Lucas walked in he kicked aside a McDonald’s bag and out flew green French fries.
            “Ah man, that’s nasty,” said Lucas. “What the fuck Frank. You’re living in filth.”
            Frank, who was wearing nothing but a dirty black pajama bottoms, looked at his partner and shrugged. He didn’t care anymore and that was obvious.
            “Jesus man! You got to get over this thing.”
            Frank sank into his littered sofa and hardly noticed the Coke soda can that rolled across the floor after he inadvertently kicked it. Lucas came over and sat on the edge of the soiled sofa. He put his elbows on his knees and looked with deep concern at his partner. He pulled out a baggy of pills and threw it at him.
            “Take those,” he urged. “You’ll feel better man. Help you forget.”
            “What?” questioned Frank as he inspected the bag filled with white pills.
            “Yeah man. Just take ‘em.”
            “What are they?”
            “Oxycotin,” the word spilled off his tongue like it was nothing. “Takes the edge off everything. You’ll see. You’ll be back working in no time.”
            “Are you serious?”
            “Man, you want to lose your job? Fucking take the pills. Once you feel better it’s all good, right?” Lucas slapped Frank’s thigh and got up. “Just take ‘em,” he urged.
            Frank studied the baggy for a moment. He had never done drugs. Lucas left him there to look at the pills.           

            Three months later Frank was a complete drug addict. Oxycotin was but one of his drugs du jour. After enjoying the incredible numbing effect of Oxycotin, Frank easily moved to heroine after they busted a runner coming up Highway 5 to make a delivery. Frank initially swiped just a little, and found he loved the instant high and the sensation of caring about nothing. At first he thought he could handle it. He would only inject the junk at night or on weekends; but a casual dalliance soon got out of control.
            The final meltdown came on the eve of Jonesy’s death. Rather than face his pain, Frank injected and snorted heroine. He then downed a handful of Vicodin he had procured on his own after faking back pain, and before he knew it he was floating in midair. Lucas found his partner in the locker room at work with frothing vomit coming out of his mouth.
            This is how Frank came to find himself being dropped off by Lucas in front of the rehab center the same day as Deacon. Like all the others Ms. Fisher met him out front. She had her intake clipboard with her. She looked at it and back at Frank.
            “So, the hard stuff, huh,” she bluntly said.
            Frank nodded. He felt ashamed and was already feeling like shit. He knew detox was next, and since he had busted more than a few addicts in his time he also knew it would not be pleasant.
            “I see we’re going to put you out so you can get off the “H”,” she said.
            Frank nodded again.
            “Hmm… sign here.”
            “What’s this?” asked Frank.
            “It says you understand that if you use heroine again after we put you out to detox you could overdose and die.”
            “Oh,” replied Frank who easily signed it. He didn’t fucking care if he died anyway so why not.
            Once he signed, Ms. Fisher led him through the same doors as the others.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Abused -- Chapter 4


This is an excerpt from Michelle Gamble's forth-coming novel The Abused being published by 3L Publishing in the summer of 2016. The book is about eight addicts who go to rehab only to have one of them start killing each other off.
 
4

            Deacon Curio was a good-looking Italian with smoldering hazel eyes and sensual lips that most women ached to kiss. His beautiful ringlet curls he kept short so they created a generous wave in his black hair. He was born in Italy and raised in the United States when his Aunt Milliana fled their hometown of Revenna. They ran away from her nephew’s abusive father Samuel whom Deacon resembled so strongly they could have been twins.
            Dorothia, his mother, had suffered years of abuse at his father’s hand. Young Deacon had witnessed one particular fight in which his father kicked Dorothia so many times it seemed death should be imminent. The fight erupted after Samuel accused Dorothia of an affair with the local cobbler to whom she had developed a quiet friendship while Samuel worked in the leather mill. The cobbler Roberto Toscano had begun stopping by their small villa and dropping off lavender flowers because Dorothia loved the fragrance. It was true that Dorothia fantasized of running away with the much older Roberto, but she had restrained herself. She was a devout Catholic who believed in fidelity and marriage for life.
            One afternoon an unfortunate encounter with Roberto led to the suspicion, which sparked the infamous beating. Samuel had fallen off the top of one of the leather-stretching machines and sprained his ankle. While he protested and didn’t wish to go to the medical center for treatment his superior insisted. This medical appointment ended much earlier than his shift, and Samuel came home just as Roberto was walking out of their small villa. The two rivals simply nodded at each other, but once Samuel got inside and saw the most beautiful lavender arrangement imaginable he knew that his wife was at the very least cheating on him in spirit.
            The fight that ensued involved screaming and crying and kicking, as Deacon cowered under the dining room table with his head down and his legs pulled to his chest.
            “Mama, Mama, Mama,” he cried over and over.
            But Dorothia couldn’t come to her son. She was now on the floor of the bedroom with blood dripping out her mouth. Deacon would never forget that day. Samuel walked in and leaned down to see his son. He reached out and firmly pulled the boy to him. Deacon cried and cried until Samuel swiftly slapped him hard against his soft cheek. This horrible act brought Deacon to his senses and he became eerily silent.
            His father said in Italian, “Women will only bring you misery.”
            Then Samuel got up and went to the gun cabinet. He took out a rifle, glanced at Deacon with a cold look, and walked to their bedroom. All Deacon heard next was a single shot. Then Samuel walked out, leaned the gun against the countertop, pulled chicken risotto out of the small fridge, and sat down and began to eat. Deacon was so scared he remained under that table. A day would pass until Samuel returned to work and Aunt Millianna would find her nephew catatonic under the table and her sister dead in the other room from a single gunshot to the forehead.
            His aunt immediately ferreted her young nephew away, and when Samuel showed up at her house a day later demanding she return Deacon, Milliana called the authorities. A trial ensued and the patriarchal-driven judicial system set the bastard free on a technicality. Aunt Milliana didn’t wait for him to be released. She had made other plans months in advance, and he took her nephew to the New World where she changed their names to Cartwright and made a new home in the California community of Santa Kendra.
            Deacon’s personal demons seemed to mount over the years. The loss of his mama in a violent crime and his father’s abuse weighed on him. As he grew to manhood he became strikingly handsome, and soon the girls were all over him. When he met Violet Anderson he was smitten. Violet, a local vintner’s daughter was gorgeous and voluptuous with a figure most women wished they had. She had absolutely stunning strawberry blonde hair that hung in perfect ringlets down her back. Her porcelain skin was unblemished perfection and her stunning light green eyes could make any man’s heart melt. She was funny and sweet – and Deacon fell passionately in love with her.
            On their first date he brought her a dozen white daisies and by their sixth date he brought a dozen red roses and a one-karat diamond ring along with a proposal. Violet though at the tender age of 21 wasn’t ready to get married. She liked Deacon, but she was almost a senior in college and planned to follow in her father’s footsteps and work at the local Beringer Winery. In fact, her internship would begin that fall, and she was excited to begin her new life.

            He drove her to Mt. Tamalpais, the location of their most recent bike ride where he had made a picnic with prosciutto, Gouda cheese and green grapes. He drove her the scenic route up to the top and stopped right where the fog famously blew across the landscape like rapidly moving clouds. It made quite a spectacular scene. On a clear day you could see all the way across to the Pacific Ocean. On a day like this one, it was damp and cool with the sun occasionally peeking through the fog layer.
            They were standing at the lookout point when Deacon grabbed her by both hands so she would face him. He then slowly got down on a bended knee and produced a navy-blue velvet ring box. Violet’s light green eyes instead of lighting up went dark and scared. It was not the kind of look Deacon hoped to see on her face.
            “Um…” he stumbled realizing she looked unhappy. “I … I love you, and …”
            Before he could finish the sentence Violet broke free from his hands and ran to the edge of the highway. She immediately stuck her thumb out for a ride down the mountain. Deacon chased after her.
            “What are you doing?”
            Violet pivoted on one of her black strappy heels and unleashed her wrath. “You don’t listen at all, do you?”
            Deacon felt confused. “What?”
            “I told you how many times about the internship? How many times about my goals. Didn’t you hear a word I said?”
            Deacon froze, “No, I … I just wanted…”
            “What? For me to play wifey in some stupid fantasy?” she harshly admonished. “I’m 21-years old. What the hell are you thinking?”
            Deacon felt tears begin to well up in his eyes, but he didn’t want her to see his pain. So, he froze out his feelings. He took the velvet box, shoved it momentarily in her face, opened it to reveal the gorgeous platinum ring, turned, plucked it from the box, and hurled it over the cliff.
            Violet’s mouth opened wide, but then she was too disgusted to say anything. Within a moment, a small BMW pulled up and Violet ran off to climb in. She left Deacon standing there in both hurt and utter shock. The girl he had just seen was not the same girl he had fallen in love with. This person he didn’t even recognize as he saw her strawberry blonde head disappear into the car.
            It was that very moment Deacon “Curio” Cartwright began his fall from grace. Two days later and at least two gallons of wine and whiskey finished off, Deacon was taken to the nearest hospital for alcohol poisoning. When asked he would say he didn’t remember a thing about the drinking binge. All his friends knew was Deacon was sick and Violet was gone.
            But it didn’t stop with the booze. Soon Deacon was mixing alcohol and any pill he could find. The day he showed up to work wasted and vomited on the car sales room floor where he worked as a Mercedes salesman was the day they fired him. It was also that day that Deacon drove his black Mercedes down Highway 101 near Petaluma and rear-ended a Toyota Corolla and ended up fully crashing into a blue Hyundai. The woman in the Hyundai was severely injured and nearly died.
            When Deacon went before the judge for a DUI with aggravating circumstances, no amount of sympathy would go his way. The woman showed up in court with a neck brace and a testimony about this speeding Mercedes weaving all over the road. Deacon was sentenced to six months in rehab followed by 360 hours of community service since this was his first offense. His driver’s license was suspended for two years.
            This is how Deacon Cartwright found himself stepping out of a Yellow Cab to face the two same tall doors that only the day before Pete had stared at.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Benefit of Book Coaching and Writing Tips

I have been coaching a new writer whose book is titled Grains of Truth. It's enjoyable to work with a first-time writer, which is one of the specialties of 3L Publishing. We like to work with people from the beginning of the process to the end. I always tell writers it's better to use our consulting and coaching at the beginning of a project vs. the end. The reason is time. A new writer who is inexperienced can easily get off-track. When they bring a fiction or nonfiction book to us and it got off-track then they often feel discourage because all the work has to be revised. If you start at the beginning we can guide, coach and provide our expertise to help you write a winning first draft.
 
The number one benefit of using a book coach is accountability. When you start a new project and get distracted, you might find it easy to quit working. With a coach you will be encouraged and held accountable for your goals. Just having someone who is invested in your success can help you achieve it. I worked with my partner Scott D. on my book Body in the Trunk. Now he is reading along with my new project The Abused. I share this with you so you realize that even the CEO of 3L Publishing uses someone to help. I am by no means above having outside advice. If you want to know more about our coaching services (we do it for all creative projects including screenplays), send us at an email to info@3LPublishing.com.
 
So a few insights and tips to help you get started on a project of any kind. It doesn't always have to be a book, but we'll use the book model.
 
Table of Contents - the "TOC" (as we like to call it) is the road map to the entire book. In fiction this is less important (in fiction it would be your story and plots). The TOC provides your guide. You know where you're going to start and your intentions to end. With a solid TOC you won't have to second-guess your organization and structure. Speaking of ...
 
Organization and structure matter - the reading experience depends on the organization. Sound organization keeps everything so it makes sense (or you suppose it makes sense). Every book has a beginning, middle and end. Readers have expectations that your book will have these elements and in that order. Breaking the rules of structure is a tricky endeavor. I don't recommend new writers attempt to break structure until they know what structure involves.
 
Don't break the rules till you know the rules. There are two ways to break the rules: (1) knowingly and cleverly and (2) ignorantly and foolishly so you look bad. When a writer has obviously broken the rules it is, well, obvious. When they think they know the rules (and they don't) then messing with the rules of grammar, punctuation and style is a sure way to get the critics to trash your book. In the movie Finding Forrester, William Forrester teaches his young protégé this essential truth. I smiled and nodded. He discusses the use of the conjunctions "but" and "and" to start a sentence. It's a great little grammar lesson embedded in a movie about literature and writing.
 
If you're looking for some great resources to help your writing, use Grammar Girl for those rules we just mentioned. She's the most accurate and easy to understand. If you want to learn general information about overall writing and style, try AP Style. It also contains legal information about things like Fair Use and copyright. AP Style can help answer overall questions vs. grammar. It demonstrates usage, punctuation and grammar. Both Grammar Girl and AP are excellent resources to have in your "tool bag" of tricks.
 
And my most important tip of all:
 
Know what you don't know and look it up.
 
Why does that mean? Hubris and over-confidence do not serve anyone when you're trying to get it right (as in editing a book). I used to play this game with my dad called "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" I always won. Want to know why? While my dad knows way more than I do in general, he doesn't know when to admit he's not certain. On the other hand, I know when I don't know and "phone a friend" (if you remember the show then you know what that is) comes in handy when you want to get it right. So ... use your "phone a friend" when you want to get something right.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Titles vs. Subtitles

The book cover and the title are your first marketing messages to grab potential readers. A great book cover counts as much as the title. In the nonfiction area in particular, a subtitle holds equal weight. You can have a creative title, but your subtitle must spell out what your book is really about. 

So here is a lesson most authors should embrace:

 It's okay to have a unique title for your book as long as your subtitle says what the book is specifically about.

You don't need to make the subtitle "sexy" either. If the book's main title is so eclectic that the reader won't honestly understand it right from the start, then the subtitle should spell out the rest. Our Foreign Rights Agent Nigel emphasized this tip. He said book buyers need to know in less than a second what your book is about or they'll pass it right by and move on to the next.