Monthly Archives: April 2014

Welcome to an Interview with Susan M. Toy

Another interview with my friend Susan Toy – she’s beoming quite popular…maybe you should read her book!

barsetshirediaries

Welcome to an Interview with:  Susan M. Toy

Author Susan M. Toy Author Susan M. Toy

 

Author of:  Island in the Clouds, a Bequia perspectives novel

Island in the Clouds Island in the Clouds

 

A brief synopsis.

The dead body in the pool is putting a serious dent in Geoff’s morning. An ex-pat property manager on the Caribbean island of Bequia, Geoff doesn’t want a spotlight shone on the secret past he left behind in Canada, but now he’s the suspect in a brutal murder. With no help from the inept local police force, he’s drawn into investigating the murder himself, to clear his name. As Geoff finds out more about the circumstances surrounding the killing, and he and his loved ones find themselves in danger, he begins to see a very dark underbelly of the place some people call paradise…

Part travelogue, part mystery, Island in the Clouds takes a long, hard look at the reality…

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The Write Stuff feature – Susan Toy

This is what it’s all about…authors supporting other authors. My friend, author Chris Tucker spreads the word about my other friend, author Susan Toy…

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Do You Ever Wonder if You’re a Good Writer?

“Good taste is the first refuge of the non-creative. It is the last-ditch stand of the artist.” ~Marshall McLuhan

Writing is a bi-polar occupation.

It can fill you with pride, confidence and satisfaction that you never thought you’d feel (ask any author how it felt to hold that first book in their hands) and it can make you feel unworthy of teaching basic composition to second graders (for more on this, ask an author who gets a rejection letter or a scathing review).

drama

Since the release of my first novel in 2009 I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many authors and I haven’t met one yet who hasn’t ridden that roller coaster of emotions.

Some jumped off and went in search of pursuits with more predictable results, but most of them hung in there and ran back to get in line for another ride.

I guess that’s what separates the men from the boys.

Recently, an author friend of mine sent a manuscript to a prospective editor. Said editor has a very impressive resume and my friend was looking forward to his reply. I will let her tell you the specifics (click here), but suffice to say that he was less than complimentary.

No – that’s being nice…he was only slightly above insulting.

The response he sent (I read it) was very polite, and professional, but it wasted no time, or words, in telling her that he, and I’m paraphrasing here, wouldn’t touch her book with a ten-foot eraser.

As I read his response I wondered how she would react to it. Believe me; it would have discouraged a lot of up-and-comings… giving up

Not her.

She said (paraphrasing again) that she was taking his comments as suggestions of ways in which to improve her book, not as an excuse to quit, because she felt that she was a good writer regardless of what he said.

That is the kind of attitude you need if you want to call yourself a writer, because as sure as you’re sitting there, you will encounter people who don’t like your work. They will tear it down like it isn’t worthy of lining a bird cage.

They’ll tell you, in every way imaginable, that you aren’t a good writer.

Screw them.

Being a “good writer” is an imaginary and totally arbitrary title.

Writing is an art-form, and as such its quality, or lack thereof, is completely based on the taste of the reader.

Like listening to music or looking at paintings, one man’s Led Zeppelin is another man’s Van Gogh.

opinionPoint being…there is an audience for every style. The thing to remember is that writing the book is the easy part—finding your particular audience is the real challenge.

You are a good writer…and a bad writer…we all are – it just depends on who you ask.

 

As always – Thank you for reading

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Wanted: Members of Team Ike 2014

 Remember last year when I sold tee shirts to help with the editing and printing costs of Unfinished Business?

Many of you – appropriately dubbed Team Ike – were wonderful enough to help me out by buying a shirt – and then you got a free book when you posted a picture of yourself sporting the shirt on facebook.

shirt collage

Well – guess what?

My latest novel, tentatively titled Protect This, will be released in August – and after the success of last year’s Team Ike shirt campaign I have kicked it up a notch…

This year’s model is bound to be very popular!

Feast your eyes on this bad boy…

2014 shirt front   2014 shirt back

It’s available in 3 styles and 2 colors and it has a beautiful tropical themed logo.

It’s a fund raising campaign so here’s how it works (for those of you who didn’t participate last year):

  • The shirts will only be available until May 4th
  • If the minimum quantity of 65 orders is not met there will be no shirts printed (no money will be charged for orders placed)
  • You will not be charged any money until the campaign reaches its goal

 

To reserve your shirt click here.

 

But wait!!! There’s more…

Like last year – once the campaign is successful and I reach my goal, not only will you be the owner of a wicked-cool tee-shirt, but I’ll repeat the same offer…post a picture on facebook of yourself wearing your beautiful Team Ike tee shirt and be eligible for awesome prizes (free books). If you’ve read all of them – get one as a gift for that special someone in your life! (or donate it to a library)

If you are inclined to share this blog I would appreciate it very much – and I am always willing to return the favor.

I truly appreciate you support – whether it’s buying a shirt (or 3) or by simply sharing this blog post and helping spread the word.

 

To reserve your shirt click here.

 

Now – in case you have been living in an underwater cave and don’t know who Ike is (I know – unfathomable) you can read a little about him here.

IKE3

As always – thank you for reading

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Short Story Contest : Follow Up

Back in February I announced the “Second Quasi-Annual Blindogg Books Short Story Contest”click here to refresh your memory.

Let me start by saying I would like to thank all those who submitted entries…as usual I received some excellent stories.

Unfortunately, I didn’t receive enough entries to make a real contest out of it – so I made an executive decision…Everybody Wins.

bears trophy

That’s right…just like modern-day Little League where every kid gets a trophy just for playing – everybody who submitted a short story to the contest will have their story published.

The only difference is that instead of having them in my next novel (tentatively titled Protect This and scheduled for an August 2014 release) they will be included in the collection of short stories I am currently writing to be released before Christmas 2014.

I started writing short stories about my main character, Ike, back around Christmas of 2013 at the suggestion of my friend and fellow author Armand Rosamilia. I plan to have around 20 stories in the collection – and now I will have five or six more.

Ike shirt front

So that’s the latest news on the “Second Quasi-Annual Blindogg Books Short Story Contest” – and once again I would like to thank all the entrants for submitting their stories, and truth be told, I’m glad I don’t have to decide on the finalists. It would have been too difficult!

The short story collection will be called “Ike for All Seasons” and it will be available before Christmas!

And speaking of Ike – in the next day or two there will be another Ike tee-shirt campaign – get ready to make your Ike fashion statement!!

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Now Biff, Don’t Con Me (the story behind my next Ike story)

A few weeks ago I turned my TV on in the middle of an ION Television marathon of the program Leverage.

Even though the show originally ran from 2008 – 2012 this was my first time watching.

Since there wasn’t really much else on, I decided to watch an episode and see if it was any good. The first episode had me interested enough to watch the second, and before I knew it I had watched five more.

leverage

The show was basically a rehashing of Mission Impossible (one of my all-time favorites), with the biggest change being that the Leverage crew was not employed by a covert government organization…they were a group of con-men, grifters and thieves with a penchant for playing Robin Hood.

I really enjoy the way the team uses confidence (con) games to restore justice after a rich and powerful bad guy has screwed a “little guy”.

Flashback…When I was 13 the mother of one of my friends took us to see The Sting (Paul Newman, Robert Redford – 1973). Most of the movie was way over my head, until it ended, and I saw that final puzzle piece drop into place, completing the picture of the ultimate con. I left the theater thinking it was about the best movie ever.

Today, nearly 40 years later, I still think it’s one of the best movies ever (Jaws notwithstanding).

Where am I going with this?

Good question…

Yesterday (April 2) was the 40th anniversary of the night The Sting won seven academy awards, including Best Picture – a fact I shared on my Blindogg Books facebook page’s daily “On this day” in history post.

Sting

Last night I watched an episode of Leverage before I went to bed and the combination of the two must have triggered a subconscious response, because when I woke up this morning I had an idea for a new Ike short story (not the first time I’ve gotten inspiration from a dream).

For those who don’t know, in addition to releasing my seventh novel this summer, I also plan to release a collection of short stories about Ike before Christmas. I’ve already written seven stories for the collection, this will be number eight. My goal is to have at least 20.

Ike is developing quite a following so I’m bowing to pressure and giving his fans something to hold them over until book number eight.

So what was my story idea?

Not gonna tell ya…

If you want to know the story you’ll have to buy the anthology when it comes out, but I will tell you that there will be two con-men who think Flagler Beach would make a good place to set up shop…until they run into a complication named Ike.

Ike shirt front

The “research” for the story has me hoping that my computer’s search history is not being monitored by law enforcement.

Interesting side note…con men have been around for a really long time – we’re talking centuries, probably longer – but many of the classic cons haven’t changed much at all. It’s pretty fascinating stuff, and goes to show that, while we may think the human race has advanced over the years – for all intents and purposes human behavior hasn’t.

That’s about all I have for you today…

 

 

As always – thank you for reading

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