Saturday, June 30, 2012

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Friends and Foes? A Dan Madison and Mike Madison Adventure by Bracy Ratcliff
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Madison Adventures

I readily, humbly, admit I am an amateur novelist/writer. In the strictest sense, I guess, I turned pro when I sold the first copy of Mike Madison last October, but my skills are simply not big league (indulge me a baseball analogy). There's so much more to it than I first thought--it's not enough to have a good story and competent literary skills. It takes practice, perseverance, thick skin, imagination, and the ability to step back and take an objective, critical view of your work; and, if you go the self-publisher route that I've taken, it takes relentless self-promotion, something that I find a little embarrassing. Both recent releases are out there--on dozens of online retail sites, in eBook and paperback versions, but Amazon, for example, has over 8 million books available; so how do potential buyers find my books amidst the enormous mountain of stuff? I've read, and read, all the advice on building an online presence and I've sort of followed the suggestions. I have a blog on the biggest 'reader' site, I have a personal blog, I have a website, I have LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts--but, how do people find those? I have growing numbers of followers, contacts, on the social sites, but they don't seem interested--certainly not interested enough to buy. If you Google my name you'll get pages and pages of links to my sites, my book reviews, blog posts, but that hasn't helped. Next, I'm planning to send copies to my local newspaper and ask for reviews, I'll send some requests to a couple of popular blogs, and I may even do a little advertising. I have a coupon for some free Google ads and I've assembled some rudimentary video graphics for a Goodreads ad or you-tube post. An acquaintance who has had some modest success has recommended Facebook ads, so I may try that as well. It seems a lot of work, and expense, without much guarantee of results. The point of this is not just to whine that I'm not selling books (though that's a big part of it). It's more to offer my take, to anyone reading, on the art and business of book writing. It can be extremely satisfying to hold that first copy in your hands or to see it on the shelf with your name on the spine, but there's a tremendous likelihood that only you and your immediate family will read it. There are some tips I can offer that will increase your chances of success--write what's popular, include fantasy stuff--vampires, dragons, wizards, post-apocalypse world, and some graphic sex. Make a cover that would make my mother blush--something with scantily clad, well-endowed people, in a passionate embrace, or at least something suggestive. As an indie writer/self-publisher you'll not be successful trying to sell "G" rated novels (at least not today, in 2012). John Grisham can do it, but not a rookie no-name writer like me. But, I won't give up. Check out the great deals on Mike Madison, Intrepid Explorer and Friends and Foes?

Review, "Fevre Dream" by George RR Martin

Fevre DreamFevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did not have high hopes for this vampire story. I've seen dozens of movies, read dozens of books, even worn vampire costumes for Halloween parties--the subject is old and in my opinion over-done. However, this one was a little different. Joshua was, by the common definition, a vampire, but with a conscience. He fought and defeated the 'thirst' but fell prey to a more powerful bloodmaster; and, if not for his human friend might have died. The story is set in my favorite place in the world, along the Mississippi River and in the swamps around New Orleans. That was enough to keep me interested. I grew up in that part of the country, 100 years after the events in the book, but the swamps are still there, still mysterious, still hold secrets all these decades later. A lot of us share Captain Marsh's love for the River and the paddle-wheel steamers even though the only ones left anymore are strictly for tourist excursions. It still adds to the entertainment value, in my opinion.

What I found most appealing, though, was the struggle between good and evil. Julian, the evil bloodmaster, didn't see anything evil about his "species" killing to feed the blood lust--in his mind he, and his people, were a higher life form than humans and fed on humans (he called cattle) just as we eat beef or pork--and that made him all the more sinister. The friendship between Joshua and Captain Marsh proves as powerful as Julian's distorted Darwinism. The end is good, but not 'happy' by my definition.

I recommend this, and Martin's others in the genre, to most readers; though there are some controversial elements referred to that are part of life in the era and this might insult some readers.

View all my reviews

Sunday, June 3, 2012 Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Friends and Foes? A Dan Madison and Mike Madison Adventure by Bracy Ratcliff
Enter to win

Friday, June 1, 2012

Official Release

Friends and Foes?

Volume 2 of the Dan Madison and Michael Madison Adventures is now available--follow the link above to buy directly from publisher.  Check for Kindle eBook edition.