AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

April 19, 2018

TWENTY-EIGHT MINUTES into the FUTURE with Chrome Oxide

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 12:16 pm

Some writers are so ready for the next level that an editor just has to breathe on them and they make the leap. That’s the way I’d describe Chrome Oxide.

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Chrome Oxide and Elaine Ash in Los Angeles, 2018, celebrating his book deal with Superversive Press.

We met at a West Coast Writers Conference in 2017, produced by Tony Todaro. Chrome was sound engineering a panel I was moderating with sci-fi legend Jerry Pournelle, (the last conference Jerry ever did), along with Hugo winners Larry Niven, and Rob Sawyer.

2 Elaine Sawyer Niven Pournelle

A few months later, at a cocktail party hosted by the Taliesin-Nexus group, Chrome walked out of the crowd and asked me to help him polish a collection of short stories. I said, “Sure!” It was obvious that the material had been developed over years. Tremendous work had gone into the clever premises and jokes.

 In Chrome’s view, we would work on 82,000 words-worth of stories and then try to shop the collection. But it came clear in my mind, around the 40,000-word mark, that we had a sellable manuscript. Why wait? I felt Chrome was under-utilizing his writing contest wins and I coached him on how to bump up his bio. He thought I was overconfident, but went along with everything I suggested in his quiet and good-humored way.

 Six months later we readied a query to Superversive Press in Australia. I spent a lot of time getting it focused and boiling the pitch down to the fewest words necessary to sway a busy publisher. We fired it off and it caught Jason Rennie’s eye in a big way. Eleven days later we had a deal. Our major request was a 2018 release. We got it. Jon Eno came on as cover artist, and production ramped up immediately.

INTERVIEW

 Chrome Oxide Headshot

Elaine Ash: When did you start writing?

 Chrome Oxide: In November 2009 I was finally fed up with all the corruption I saw in both political parties. I started a blog, commenting on the insanity. I only ever had one reader, but she loved my humorous take on the world.

 EA: When did the short stories start?

 CO: When I read a novel that I hated. While I had read and liked previous stories by this author, I hated the book and the main character—hated it all so much I decided I could do better. I wrote a flash fiction piece and emailed it to an ex-girlfriend. Her response was that while I had talent, I needed skill. At her encouragement, I joined her writing group which provided excellent critiques. The best was from my ex-girlfriend who critiqued my stories, one word at a time.

 One of the first stories I wrote was “Cop For A Day.” I rewrote it too many times to count and submitted it to the Writers of the Future contest for the quarter ending September 2012. My story was selected as published finalist in their annual book, volume 29. It also qualified as a professional sale by the Science Fiction Writers Association. The following year, and after much editing and countless rewrites, “I Was A Teenage Redneck Zombie From Outer Space” also received an honorable mention.

 EA: Why is the Writers of the Future contest so important to sci-fi writers? Isn’t it sponsored by the Scientologists?

 CO: Scientology does NOT sponsor Writers of the Future.Writers of the Future is dedicated to encouraging beginning science fiction and fantasy writers. Before L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology, he supported himself by writing short stories for just about every genre magazine on the market from the 1930s –  1950s as well as novels. In his will, he funded a contest for aspiring writers. While there may be scientologists in the organization that keeps L. Ron’s books in print and the contest going, they are VERY careful to NEVER mention Scientology.

The contest is important because there is no cost to enter, the judges are professionals (some of the biggest names) in the field of science fiction and fantasy, and there are substantial payments to the winners of the quarterly and annual contest.

Cop4aDay

Artwork by Jon Eno “Cop for a Day”

 EA: How did you get to be in Forbidden Thoughts, the highly controversial anthology with a forward written by Milo, the gay scourge of politics?

 CO: Sheer luck and timing. I continued writing and collecting rejections until I sent a story called “Graduation Day” to a couple of friends in late 2017. One of them told Jason Rennie, the editor of Superversive Press, about it and I was invited to submit. Two months later it got published alongside Larry Correia, Nick Cole, Brad Torgerson and Sarah Hoyt—these writers are famous and sell a ton. Now it’s available as an eBook, Print On Demand and audio book. I get regular royalties.

 EA: That must have given you a lot of confidence. What’s next?

 CO: Not as much confidence as you might think. At a writers’ group level, my material bombs regularly. It’s the buying public that seems to appreciate it more. When you [Elaine Ash] saw the merit in my collection, that was encouraging. Right now I’m finishing edits on the second draft of a high fantasy novel about a couple of California dopers into the music scene who travel to an alternative universe where magic works. It’s titled High Fantasy. The title is a double entendre.  My second short story collection will be started as soon as that’s finished and out being shopped.

 EA: How did the pen name Chrome Oxide come about?

 CO: I have always LOVED music. I attended a John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers reunion show at the Roxy in 1982. At that point I decided that I would record bands. I started investigating cassettes. Chromium dioxide was the most cost effective for the best quality sound at the time. When I built my web site I wanted a name that flowed, so I modified it to ‘Chrome Oxide.’

 EA: Thank you.

C&E3 Sharp

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March 29, 2018

John Gwinner – Bestseller Metrics Chief Technology Officer

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 1:00 pm

john.gwinner Headshot           

I am pleased to announce that possibly the best candidate in the universe has partnered with me to develop Bestseller Metrics software/hardware technology.

   John Gwinner is a CTO/VP of Engineering with 15+ years of experience delivering new technical innovations to start-ups as well as Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of Getting Started with React VR, a user-friendly guide to creating virtual reality games, published by Packt Publishing.

   John is an accomplished writer, novelist, screenwriter and educator for the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society and West Coast Writers Conferences. With his experience and higher education in both creative writing and technology, he is well positioned to understand the needs of aspiring authors and adapt Bestseller Metrics to best advantage.

   Welcome John, I am so lucky to have you!

BM Front cover

February 18, 2018

​Jonathan Brown’s Boxing Novel Pay$ Off​

A Dealmaking & Dollar$ post

Dealmaking & Dollar$

When an impressive publisher of biographical fiction needed a writer who could turn in a muscular, sports-savvy manuscript on the life of  ​boxing ​legend Angelo Dundee, they tapped Jonathan Brown. For the uninitiated, Dundee was arguably the greatest trainer that ever lived. He coached Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, and ​many ​more. The Dundee list of grand-champion gladiators goes on and on.

Angelo & Ali

Angelo Dundee (L) and Muhammad Ali, seated

The minute Brown clinched the writing assignment—and the juicy five-figure advance that went along with it—he contacted me. Would I like to edit his work before turning it in to the publishing house editors? Would I??!!

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Jonathan Brown

Brown and I had just finished editing his roaring, rollicking manuscript about drummer Lou Crasher, a struggling black drummer in Los Angeles who is forced to go undercover to bust a musical equipment theft ring. (The Big Crescendo just landed a two-book deal at Down and Out Books). I was familiar with Brown’s stand-out voice, visceral action and relentless pace. As writer and editor, we were a well-tuned, high-octane team ready to rumble on the challenges Angelo Dundee presented with his roster of gloved greats.

The challenge was to bring the softer, more personal side of Dundee, including his family, to the story. It may seem surprising that a rock-‘em’sock-’em tale ​wanted to ​show that side, but family was highly evident in Dundee’s real life, so it had to go in the ​novel. This was one trainer as concerned with ​a​ boxer’s mental health and positive outlook as he was in the physical. The “sweet science” as insiders call the boxing life, is a lot more than throwing punches. The mental aspect separates true champs from those that never rise in the ring.

Angelo & Ali laughing

ALI laughing with the press, DUNDEE to the right, partial face showing. Photo credit: https://twitter.com/muhammadali/status/550742694486867968

In order to land this assignment, Brown submitted a 23-page chapter outline​. After a few back-and-forths, the in-house editors signed off  ​and he set to writing. Two months later, he had 50,000 words which he sent to me. In my first read, I was looking for structure. Did the story rise and fall at the right moments? Did the story flow logically from beginning to middle to end? The answer was a resounding ‘yes.’ Thanks to our intense work on The Big Crescendo, Brown had internalized the rhythm and sequence of a bestselling novel. He was able to transfer everything he’d learned to Angelo Dundee.

 Once I determined that the structure of the story was intact, I made sure each chapter set-up was crystal clear with a few visuals thrown in to paint pictures in the reader’s mind. Then I ​hunted for places where historical details could round out the atmosphere of each chapter. Who was President of the United States during each period of Angelo’s career?  What were the trends in music, fashion and popular culture? Quick references t​o​ famous milestones of each decade were briefly sketched to add texture and depth​.​

One ​aspect that needed no help was Brown’s distinctive dialogue for each character. As a professional drummer, he had an ear for the spoken word that was uncannily realistic. As an editor, my only challenge was preserving the colloquial integrity of the dialogue throughout the line edit, proofing and punctuation.

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Jonathan Brown playing a pro gig in Los Angeles.

Finally, Brown felt he had a polished first draft. Soon after, the in-house editors weighed in. “Really delightful” was the leading comment ​prefacing a page of minor notes. The manuscript was enthusiastically accepted, a few small changes requested, and the final draft commenced. This means another satisfying payday is coming for Brown. I hear a family vacation is in the works.

Does this mean Brown is casting around for a new writing project? No​t hardly. While he waits for Down and Out Books to release The Big Crescendo, we are busy finalizing the outline of book two in the series. Brown has ​also decided to self-publish a series of novellas based on the turbulent life of black Los Angeles bouncer Doug “Moose” McCrae, which will serve to marshal a readership and keep social media buzzing until the D&OB release. Brown and I brainstormed this strategic blend of self-and-traditional publishing, then ran it past Eric Campbell, CEO of D&OB for his approval. The green light came back and our plan is now ‘Go.’

D&OB logo

jonathanbrownwriter.com

​Friend him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.brown.79230

CLICK for more on Elaine Ash and her writer clients.

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Elaine, Jonathan and Dan Kelly (Sonia Mauro Brown behind the camera)

 

February 16, 2018

Coming Soon: Dealmaking & Dollar$

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 7:18 am

 

Dealmaking & Dollar$

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December 1, 2017

Year in Review

2017 year review11 (1)2017 year review21 (1)2017 year review13 (1)2017 review four2017 year review five2017 year review six

2017 year review seven

bestsellermetrics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 10, 2017

Plain Princess Jane by Jennifer Milne

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 3:14 pm

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Find Jenni on Facebook

hjsaJennifer Milne

August 7, 2017

Steve Hodel – Homicide Detective, Black Dahlia Murder

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 10:36 am
Elizabeth Little

Elizabeth Little, new prez, Mystery Writers of America, holding her first thriller DEAR DAUGHTER, which has gobbled up first-novel awards.

Thanks to the generous hospitality of Elizabeth Little, current President of the Mystery Writers of America, SoCal chapter, I got to spend wondrous hours at a backyard picnic table with  STEVE HODEL, author of five books based on the Black Dahlia murder. Along for the convo was Maxine Nunes (Dazzled). (Maxine is a mistress of sentence-craft and an author I love to read.)

Maxine & Steve (1)

Maxine Nunes and the great Steve Hodel. Holding down the background are Richard Brewer (left) and Steph Cha (right).

The murder occurred in Los Angeles, 1947, and has been the basis of countless novels, hodel-home-rightscreenplays and movies. The most incredible thing about all this is that the murderer was Steve’s father, Dr. George Hodel–a brilliant and charismatic doctor, who threw parties for Hollywood glitterati, while leading a double life as a secret serial killer.

We dined on fine southern BBQ as Steve revealed that his latest research points to the same Dr. George Hotel as the Zodiac killer of San Francisco.

Every hard-crime writer should know of Steve Hodel and  his work. That he had the guts and fortitude to do the right thing and out his own father as a brutal maniac strains the bounds of my mental capacity (and I don’t say that lightly!)

Thank you, Steve, for your incredible example as a writer, a seeker of truth, and as an honorable former member of law enforcement. Steve’s website. Steve’s books.

E&SHodel2

July 7, 2017

Book Distribution News

Baker and taylorI was thrilled to hear that a librarian in the the great state of New Jersey had already ordered Bestseller Metrics: How to Win the Novel Writing Game. But when I hopped over to Amazon, the sale was not showing. Neither was it showing on Create Space, where this workbook-sized paperback is published. I admit, dark thoughts of piracy and theft bubbled in my mind, but caution prevailed.

I called the helpful-and-instantly-available support staff at Create Space and ran my story past them. It was explained that when the book was published, I had chosen “Expanded Distribution,” qualifying Bestseller Metrics to be listed with distribution giants Baker and Taylor, Ingram, and Barnes and Noble. How about that, huh?Print

There is one caveat to this fantastic perk, however; royalties are tabulated 30 days after Barnesthe production of the book, unlike a sale on Amazon or Create Space, which shows within hours.

Mystery solved with a happy ending.

June 27, 2017

Elaine’s Big Shoot – Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 5:21 am

Even though the Author Learning Center is taping my interview in a rather glamorous setting, they want it relaxed and not too formal. Believe it or not, the picture below is the valet parking area of the hotel (which they pay for on my behalf). Too bad I don’t have a valet parking kind of car. The attendants are going to think, whoo this lady made a wrong turn. After staring at the picture for five minutes I figured out that that grey cylinder thing above the yellow striped curb is where you sit and wait for your car if you don’t want to sit inside on that orange modern-arty chair.

Valet parking

An Author Learning Center interviewer made contact, and I was impressed with the amount of research she put into my career and background. These people really check you out! Look at this….

Here are the suggested questions for your interview. Responses to each should be limited to around 4 mins. or less to keep the content convenient for viewing by our members.  Please let me know if you have any concerns or have any other talking points that you would like to cover:

·         Your latest book release, Bestseller Metrics: How to Win the Novel Writing Game, has been called “Moneyball” for novelists. Explain how this patent-pending system works and how writers can benefit from using this approach. How did you go about creating this system? How do you see this impacting the publishing industry?
·         You’ve helped hundreds of writers – both emerging and established – prepare their manuscripts for submission to agents or publishers. What are the key elements that make a manuscript stand out to an agent or publisher? What are the most common mistakes that you see new writers make in their first manuscripts?
·         How important is it for new writers, especially, to consult/hire a professional editor? How should they go about finding the best fit for their genre and writing style, and what can they expect when working with a professional editor?
·         You’ve had great success writing award-winning, crime fiction stories under the pen name, Anonymous-9. What was your reason and strategy for establishing this pen name? Two common questions from our community are A) when to use a pen name and B) how to be successful when using one. What has been your secret for effectively marketing work under your pen name, while also promoting your editing services and other work under your business name, Elaine Ash?
·         What is noir or hard-boiled fiction? Where/how can writers in this genre best reach their target audience?
·         Reviewers have said of your award-winning Hard Bite series, “Hard Bite singlehandedly stretches the boundaries of modern noir fiction”, and of your short story collection, “A9 has the most unusual, vivid, colorful, complicated, and freaking fun imagination you are ever likely to come across in your lifetime.” How did you get started writing in this genre and how do you keep the intensity and edginess to your writing interesting and fresh?

Isn’t that something? It all happens on Thursday. Wish me luck! Elaine Head '17

 

 

June 26, 2017

Elaine’s Big Shoot

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 6:04 am

Elaine Head '17On Thursday I’ll be shooting a lengthy interview with the Author Learning Center. They discovered Bestseller Metrics all on their own and contacted me about being a “featured expert” on their site (if all goes well, of course). I can even use their professionally produced clips from the shoot once they get edited, at no cost.

Believe me there’s more to this than meets the eye. The helpful on-camera tips they sent (below) mean my new outfit is out the window. No white jacket, which “glows” on video. Back to the closet for outfit two!

Tips For On Camera Appearances.  (Copyright Author Learning Center 2017)

You’ll be wearing a microphone – Be aware that a lavaliere or lapel microphone is attached to your clothing. Keep that in mind when choosing your outfit.

Focus: While on camera, focus on the person interviewing you or the camera person. Do not look straight into the camera. Pictured below: The set for the shoot.

TidesAdditional Tips:

  •  Bring water, as you might find your mouth gets dry when nervous.
  •  Bring your book or other promotional items in the event that you get a chance to showcase it on camera.

1. Tone: Casual. No need for suits. The idea is that the audience is getting to connect with you personally.

  1. Clothing Patterns: Wear a solid colored outfit, nothing with wild patterns (especially tight patterns like pin stripes or hounds-tooth, which can cause optical illusions on screen, or busy patterns and shapes – they draw the audience’s attention to the outfit instead of you).

    Clothing Color:

    1. Pick a color for your clothing that isn’t the same color as the background you’ll be sitting in front of (no pink tops in front of a pink wall).
    2. Avoid wearing black, white, bright orange or bright reds (white glows, black can wash you out, red is too saturated and can bleed into other parts of the picture, giving the same effect as they can bleed in your wash). These colors can cause problems on video.
    3. The best solid-color shirts are: blue, beige, off-white, etc. If you wear a bright white shirt or blouse, make sure to wear a darker jacket over it.
    4. Avoid too much bright to dark contrast – either the bright or dark color loses detail. For instance, pure black and navy blue clothing will lose all detail and appear like a solid dark blob.
    5. For men: If you’ll be wearing a tie, simple is best – Bring several options. Avoid complex patterns, thin lines, or bright reds and oranges.

      Tip: Presidential Candidates always stand in front of a royal blue curtain background because that color happens to be the most flattering to most skin tones – It literally makes you “pop” out of the background. It’s also a good color to wear close to your skin. A royal blue blouse or shirt will make you look terrific.

       

      Interesting huh? Tomorrow I’ll post the interview questions they’ve prepared for me.

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