Do I believe in 2012? #endtimes #kindle #mayan

Many people, after reading my novel, 2012 The Final Revelation,  have asked me if I believe in the “myth” about the 21st of December, 2012. Will the events depicted in my story really happen? When the predicted 5th age comes, will it really be the end times?

I answer “No,” but with a tiny caveat. I must confess, during my research into this subject,  I occasionally had a wee pang of concern. So many strange things do come together around this time however, I’m a happy optimist by nature, and a realist. The world won’t end for billions of years, when the sun expands and the earth is destroyed.

But, could “mankind” be greatly dimished by some disaster, eh, probably. It’s happened 65 million years ago with the dinosaurs so we can’t be blind to that. Something big will go down one day but, hopefully, it will be far in the future.

The fact is I admire and respect the ancient Maya civilization and their remarkable ability to study time. The most important thing to know about the Maya was their incredible knowledge of architecture, writing, mathematics, and the solar system. They charted the sky, every inch of it. The famous Stone of the Sun, housed in the National Museum in Mexico City, seems to indicate the end of an age looms ever closer.

Why did they do that? Could they see something we can’t? Is it the “end” or a “new beginning?” When is the actual date?

The Maya, and Aztecs who followed, called this the “the fifth and final age.” The actual end date, 21st of December, 2012,  is up for debate. Experts have analysed and done calculations, but whether the exact date is accurate, we don’t know. Perhaps they have mis-calculated? Perhaps not…

In my own novel, I tried to be as factual as possible. My main character, Andrew Cunningham, does not believe in the “end of days”. That makes him real. He’s a regular guy, trying to find the answer.

I am a writer and wrote a fictional story. Whether you believe or not, I find the subject fascinating.

I say let’s all be happy, love, live life to the fullest and pursue your dreams 🙂

Will I be in a ‘dark place’ on December the 21st?

I’ll let you know closer the time 😉

Lisa xox

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#Writing has made me rich… #amwriting

Writing has made me rich. No, not in money but through my characters whose lives, loves, suffering, anguish and triumphs I’ve shared.

I believe, as a fiction writer, we need the ability to take a breath, close our eyes and become our characters, just for a moment.

In this way, one can step into a scene, see and experience things as if you are living it yourself. You can picture your surroundings with complete clarity, respond in conversation, act and react to events and feel emotions.

Being a writer has made me a better person. My own life is pretty darn great but I’ve also experienced amazing things through my characters. I’ve been an archaeologist, fallen into a tomb and discovered great things. I’ve been alone, in a world devoid of people, seen horror, suffered trauma and found love.

All in my imagination.

Writing has made me rich.

Lisa Flaus

Author: 2012 The Final Revelation

I had a dream #amwriting #writing

I sometimes tweet: “If you have a dream, dream big. You will achieve it.”

It is something I believe in so much, I can’t help but keep saying it. A dream is really a hope, a goal. I know some things would be hard, if not impossible to achieve. Here’s some silly examples of my own:

  1. Win Americas Next Top Model. Yeah, right. That just makes me giggle.
  2. Grow taller. Mmm mm, that’s not gunna happen.
  3. Stop eating the chocolate. Nup.

Some dreams though, are possible. With hard work, focus and dedication I believe you can achieve anything.

My dream was to write a novel. Then I thought that wasn’t a BIG enough goal, so I changed it to be “write a great novel that people can’t put down.” That was my dream.

6 years later I achieved the “write a novel” part. Not sure about the “can’t put down” part lol! I hope I did 😉

Dream it, believe it can be done and believe you can do it.

What’s your dream?

Welcome 2012!

Happy New Year everyone!

I have been watching peoples 2012 resolutions so thought I’d set some of my own.

My biggest challenge this year is to complete the sequel to my novel, 2012 The Final Revelation.

It is a mammoth task. My first novel took 6 years from concept to publication and my goal is to have the sequel done by December, 2012. Eeekkk…

Completing this, on top of a busy full time job, blogs, twitter (which I love) and promotional work, will make things difficult.

The good news is I have completed five chapters and know the story, albeit a few gaps in my thinking.

In preparation, I’ve cleared my house of HALF its content. Radical! I’ve cleaned it ceiling to floor, washed every item and given an amazing amount of it to charity.

I have no distractions, no clutter and no noise. The house is bare and I can now focus.

My 2012 resolutions are:

  • Spend more time with my family and friends
  • Do not bring “work” home every night and weekend
  • Eat healthy (that’s a funny one…)
  • Go for a walk every night
  • Be a good writing buddy to Amber Craig
  • Write, write, edit and write until the book is finished.

Have you set 2012 resolutions? What are you planning? Let me know and I’ll nag you from time to time! 😉

Love Lisa

I’m a library book! Whoop Whoop!

The deleted chapter. #amreading

For anyone who has read my novel, 2012 The Final Revelation, I’d like to share a chapter I removed from the final edit.

It was a chapter I had to delete in order to reduce word count and make the story move faster. When you are writing a thriller/mystery you need the action to occur quickly so the reader gets caught up in the drama. Also, I should not explain what my characters look like in so much detail. I should leave the reader to imagine for themselves.

A lovely person called Cathy taught me that 😉 Thank you Cathy xox

It was, along with other sentences, paragraphs and even characters I highlighted, paused, then hit the delete button.

Oh the trauma!

This was originally Kathryn’s opening chapter. Please forgive any mistakes as this was not part of the final professional edit.

Chapter 2 (deleted chapter)

Auckland Airport, New Zealand

Wednesday, 19th December, 2012

Kathryn Scott stood watching the vast sea of humanity pass her by. The hustle and bustle of people from all walks of life, ages, cultures and characters surrounded her, in a whirl of movement, energy and life. It was almost like she had stepped into an alternative reality, standing still and quiet, while waves of colourful sight and sound danced by.

There was a constant noise, broken only by the occasional airport announcement, momentarily hushing and stilling all other sound. Soft flute music played to sooth the weary traveller and a multitude of different conversations filled her ears.

Kathryn waited.

Of the six hundred and fifty billion people on the planet earth, Kathryn Scott was just one unique soul amongst an assortment of faces, eyes, skin colors, hair styles and clothing. She was undoubtedly a fine looking woman, totally oblivious to the stares and glances of people whose eyes swept over her. At twenty four, she was a picture of health and beauty. She stood tall and graceful. She had long, wavy dark brown hair, softly cascading down her back. She had a smooth fair complexion and her face was one of perfect dimensions, but it was her eyes that stood out most of all, the colour of faded blue denim and framed with long lashes.

Kathryn was happy. She genuinely loved life and especially this time of year, a bright combination of summer, Christmas and holiday time, all rolled together. She loved her family, friends and career, and over the last few weeks, was beginning to feel the initial butterfly stirrings of new love for the man she was waiting for.

Standing on tippy toes, she darted her eyes over the crowd and caught a glimpse of him. He had finally made it to the front of the queue and was standing at the check in counter.

She watched him a while, then her eyes panned down and finally fixed themselves on a stilled baggage trolley parked beside her, overloaded with an array of brightly coloured suitcases. Her mind began to wander, thinking about the previous evening. It had been the first night they had ever spent together in their short, four week relationship. It had been as perfect a night as could be depicted in an award winning romantic movie.

“Sorry that took so long,” Peter said, coming up beside her, “there was a huge queue getting on flights!”

Kathryn felt Peter take his big hand in hers and they darted and weaved their way through the crowds, trolleys and bags, towards the departure gate. A large sign read: ‘Travellers only beyond this point.’ No sooner had they stopped, short of the roped off area, than a loud announcement boomed overhead, ‘NZ507 bound for Christchurch, boarding now at gate three.’

“Thank you, I really appreciate you driving me out,” Peter said, still clutching her hand.

“I wanted to see you off,” Kathryn replied.

“I’m sorry we don’t have time to get a coffee.” Peter glanced down at his watch.

They looked into each others eyes.

“It’s only two weeks. I’ll be back,” Peter said.

“I know,” Kathryn replied, her top teeth catching her bottom lip in a coy, shy gesture.

Peter pulled her close. Kathryn could smell his aftershave and she could hear him breath in deeply, smelling her hair.

Kathryn looked up at him and wondered if he knew what she was feeling. His eyes met hers. He knew. They kissed.

“I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too,” she said.

Peter leaned closer and whispered in her ear, “I’ll be thinking about you constantly.”

“I’ll be thinking of you too. Have a great Christmas with your family.”

“You too, I’ll ring you tonight.”

“Bye.”

They kissed again and reluctantly parted.

Kathryn watched Peter as he made his way through security, her mind full of giddy emotion. She watched him turn to get a last glimpse of her. Peter paused and held the stare. Kathryn wondered if he had changed his mind about leaving and was going to suddenly run towards her. He didn’t. He smiled, waved and walked away out of her sight and out of her life.

Kathryn did not have the remotest idea that she would never, ever see him again.

SPAM vs Promotion #writetip #amwriting

I am a letterbox SPAMophobic! (Is there even such a word?) I have a NO JUNK MAIL sign displayed. It wasn’t only the constant stream of “buy me, buy me now!” mail I used to receive that made me put that sign up. It’s the fact that I would nearly weep when I had to throw away a vast amount of papers, flyers and pamphlets!

PAPER WASTAGE = Cut down trees 

It really did wind me up!

I can handle twitter spam. It’s not so bad. I can just choose to ignore it and it doesn’t waste paper 😉  The truth is that many of the people I follow on facebook or twitter are also first time, or experienced writers trying to sell their product and that’s okay with me. I often go and have a look. I’m a reader too, so I’m interested in other peoples work.

There are examples of novels that have caught my eye through tweets. Their messages worked for the author because I purchased! But why did I? It was because of the genre, the description, the cover or the author. The person is really interesting, fun and engages with me. I like them. That makes me interested in their work, so I buy the book.

However, from some, I receive the same message over and over again. My Facebook and Twitter walls are a stream of advertising. If these posts becomes too much, I simply un-follow them (twitter) or unlike their page (Facebook). Mostly, I tolerate these commercial interludes, as interspersed in their “I have written a book – go buy it” messages, are inspiring, funny and moving posts that I enjoy reading.

So my problem is, as a first time author, I now also have a product to sell

“Oh no,” I gasp in horror  😮

What do I do? I can’t spam. It goes against the grain. I can’t cope doing it. I don’t like it. It’s just not me.

I spam and then I can’t stand myself!

So, how does someone like me then sell their own product?

I have tried a couple of techniques:

  • SPAM – I feel guilty and barf into a paper bag.
  • Don’t bother, the book will sell itself. Mmm mm, yeah right!  There is no doubt about it, talking about my book definitely increases sales.

Anyone out there who is currently writing a novel will have to face this when your own book is published. There are some things I have learnt along the way:

  1. Don’t spam the same message over and over – it just annoys people. Vary the messages promoting your book as much as possible not just repeat the same one. Once your followers have seen it once, they don’t want to see it another 100 times.
  2. Be interesting and show people the real you, so they want to follow you and hear what you have to say about life, and not continuous spam about your product.
  3. All writers, traditional or self-published, need to find that unique marketing factor, and target the right audience with the right message. OK, so twitter makes it impossible to target just some of your followers, but point 2 addresses this, in that you can provide something for all of the people who follow you. In my case, my 11:11 fetish, writing experiences, my interest in 2012 and just being my normal silly self.
  4. The main thing I have learnt is that, at the end of the day, when people tweet about a book, I want to know “What’s in it for me?” “If I’m going to pay money for something then how will reading this book benefit me?” “Does the subject interest me?” “Does the writer interest me?”

Let’s look at point 4 a little closer. How about I change my marketing plan and think through the eyes of the consumer:

  • The story took many years to write and has been professionally edited. It is 124,000 words, 39 chapters, 220 pages – Value for money
  • It is a unique telling of a familiar topic – 2012, archaeological discovery, end of mankind, apocalypse based story – Originality
  • It contains factual, interesting information about the Maya civilization,  Maya Calendar, archaeology, solar system, 2012, religion, survival – Knowledge building
  • The genre is wide, a combination of thriller, mystery with an underlying love story. It is set in New Zealand, Palenque, New Yorkand Mexico City– Suitable for a wide audience
  • Hope reins supreme and our human will and ability to survive is paramount. Even in our darkest hour the light is always there. It describes how people suffer grief and survive through it – Inspirational  
  • There are some good Amazon reviews up (thank goodness!) – Reviews

Now I have to figure out how I convey these messages to people, only using 140 twitter characters. Any ideas? As a follower of authors (or other marketers), what tweets catch your eye? What makes you interested in their products?

If you are a writer, either published or about to publish your own book, what are your techniques and marketing plans? Do they work for you?

Have you thought about your own consumer or customer and how your product will meet their needs?

Meanwhile, I think I’ll do a tweet about my cat. She’s really funny 😉

Lisa 🙂

Author Interview: L Carroll

This is a repeat of an interview Amber and I recently did for our blog, authors block.

I loved the novel Lor Mandela: Destruction from Twins (5 stars!!) and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to ask author L Carroll some questions about her writing experiences and the new book in the series, Four Hundred Days.

Lisa, thank you for joining me on my blog.

 Thanks so much for having me and for your support on the “Four Hundred Hours to Four Hundred Days” tour!

 1. What first inspired you to become a writer?

Well, I’ve always enjoyed writing, but never in a million years did I think I was going to be doing it professionally. About seven or eight years ago I had a dream which I thought would make a great movie or book. As I pondered the dream, I thought, “I wonder if I could write a book.” That was how it all started.

2. For your first novel, Lor Mandela: Destruction from Twins, did you outline a story board first, or write and see where the story took you?

Have you heard the expression, “You just throw a bunch of mud at the wall and see what sticks”? This accurately describes how DFT came together. In the beginning there was no outline to speak of, and I’m sure that’s the main reason it took so long to write.

Funny Story… My family and I are in the process of moving right now, and I just packed up my office. In it, I came across a box stuffed to the rim with old “Destruction from Twins” chapters that never made it into the book.

Needless to say, “Four Hundred Days” was thoroughly outlined BEFORE I started writing.

3. Can you tell meabout that light bulb moment when the story first came to you? Or, was it more of a gradual development?

“Destruction from Twins” was one of those light bulb moments, for sure. The bulb popped on when I had the dream that I mentioned before. Chapter sixteen in DFT, “The Journal of Kahlie” is the written version of that dream.

However, “Four Hundred Days” falls into the gradual development classification. It began its progression even when I was still writing DFT, and continued almost until its last chapter. My original outline ended up being pretty close to the actual story, but there were definitely some last minute plot tweaks along the way.

4. How did you come up with the title(s)?

I tend to do this weird thing when I write. I pick a random letter from the alphabet, and then sort of invent a word in my head. That’s how the title of the series, “Lor Mandela” came to be. It wasn’t my only choice, though. I wanted the name of this beautiful, distant planet to sound somewhat ethereal and mysterious. Using my “pick a letter, any letter” method, I came up with about…oh…maybe half a dozen names that, to me, sounded otherworldly & then wrote them all out side by side. Lor Mandela was the one that sounded the best, and looked the best in print.

As to the names of the books themselves, “Destruction from twins and so it must end,” is the first line of the prophetic riddle, the Advantiere, which runs throughout the book. The name “Destruction from Twins” didn’t come about, though, until the book was in the final stages of editing. Up until then it’d been called, “Lor Mandela & the Trysta Advantiere”, but I decided that it was probably not a good idea to have a title where the only discernible word in the English language was the word “the”.

“Four Hundred Days”, started out as “2121”, but — as it turned out — the number 2121 didn’t even end up being a part of the book. Once you read 400, you’ll have a pretty clear idea as to why the title is what it is.

5. One of the first things that drew us to your book is the stunning cover picture. Is that model anyone you know or was it designed for you?

Thank you! Actually, the cover of DFT was designed by Trisha Fitzgerald, a very talented graphic designer inGermany. When she sent back the original proof it featured a girl who looked quite a bit younger, and who didn’t really have the look I was going for. I ended up hunting down the picture of the girl who is currently on the cover at a stock photo repository — so, no. I don’t know her, but I think it might be fun to meet her someday.

6. Do you have any interesting writing quirks you could share with us? 

Oh…too many to list! I’ll just tell you about the two writing quirks (or rituals) that I have.

First, I have to be in a good mood when I write. I’m not sure why, but even when I’m writing the dark stuff, I have to be up, up, UP! If I’m grouchy or bummed about something, I own a goofy pair of glasses that I force myself to slip on. They’re these awful white, plastic, pointy things, with rhinestones all over them, and no lenses. All I have to do is look in the mirror or confront one of my kids while I’m wearing the “crazy lady glasses”, and joviality is sure to follow!

The other thing I do is act out scenes. I start each writing session by re-reading the last chapter I wrote, and then acting out the next one. This helps me visualize the scene, and helps make it more real when I write it. I’m a horrible actress, though, so I try to avoid being seen. Unfortunately, I get caught by someone or another in my house more often than not!

7. How long did it take you to write Lor Mandela: Destruction from Twins VS Four Hundred Days? Was it faster to write the sequel? Do you feel you learnt from your experience writing the first book?

Destruction from Twins took almost six years from start to finish. (Eek!)

When I first started writing, I was working as a District Manager for a large home furnishings retailer, overseeing 10+ stores, and putting in 60-80 hours a week, so there wasn’t much time for writing. Not only that, but — as I said before — I really didn’t have a plot to follow. Then, about four and a half years into the process, I was forced to retire due to an illness and suddenly found myself with many unoccupied hours. It was then that I really dove in, came up with an outline for the remaining chapters, and went to work on DFT. From that point, I finished in about eighteen months.

“Four Hundred Days” only took a total of fourteen months, and was much easier to write! Like I said…for me, the outline was crucial. Also, after having gone through the editing process with the first book, I was on the look out for mistakes as I went along. This produced a far more polished final manuscript. When it came back from editing, there were just tiny adjustments to be made, so I must be getting better…at least grammatically!

8. We recently wrote a blog about “writers block”. Have you ever experienced that and, if so, how did you keep yourself focused and get back on track?

Fortunately, I don’t experience writer’s block all that often. For me, when it does happen, it usually is caused by one of the following: lack of sleep; a self-imposed deadline; or life’s little stresses. When it’s lack of sleep, there’s nothing that fixes it, except, of course, sleep. After a good night’s rest or a nap, (yes, I do nap in the middle of the day sometimes), the ideas usually start to pop back into my head.

As far as the other stresses go, I have two methods. One, I take a bath. Some of my best ideas come to me while I’m relaxing in a nice warm tub! And two, I write anyway. If I can get the basics of the next chapter down, I can tweak the words later—once they are flowing nicely again. Often, just having a rough (or even a VERY rough) draft is enough to jump-start my brain. At any rate, I try not to freak out about it too much. I believe that panicking only makes writer’s block worse!

9. Who is your favourite character to write about and why?

Definitely Lortu… He’s creepy, mysterious, and can disappear and reappear in shadow. Plus, he has traits that make him more animalistic than human, he rules a massive clan of nearly lawless Shadow Dwellers, and you never quite know whether he’s the good guy, or the bad guy.

10. We look forward to your upcoming book Four Hundred Days. Can you share anything about it with us?

Sure! Here’s a brief synopsis:

“Four Hundred Days” follows Audril Borloc, the heiress to the Lor Mandelan throne, as she disobeys her father the High Ruler, and sneaks away to Earth to save one of her dearest friends from an evil tyrant. Her journey takes her to the haunted cells of Alcatraz Penitentiary; a creepy abandoned sawmill in the Midwest; and back to Lor Mandela, where she learns that sometimes friends can turn out to be enemies, foes can become allies, and just because someone dies, it doesn’t always mean that their dead.

11. Where can we buy the books from?

These are the links for “Destruction from Twins”.  “Four Hundred Days”, will be available on July 15th at both CreateSpace.com and Smashwords.com, and will be available on Amazon, B&N, and a bunch of other websites about 2-3 weeks after that.

In paperback off Amazon or here off CreateSpace and available in ebooks formats here off Smashworlds and Barnesandnoble.

Lor Mandela

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. Destruction from Twins is a fantastic read and I can’t wait to read Four Hundred Days!!!

BRING IT ON!!!

Lisa 🙂

6 years to write a novel, then you wait for the reviews… #amwriting

I believe there is a comparison between creating a novel and having a child. Although I carried my little lump around for 6 years, when I held a real book in my hand it felt like my own child that I knew and loved.

I created it.

So precious, so beautiful.

Once it’s born you wait for the reviews. “So cute!” “Looks just like you!”

So, every so often, I visit my Amazon page and see if a new one has been posted. I can see the review count at the top of the page and, when the count has gone up, I freeze…

Then, I nervously scroll down and read it…

Are they going to tell me my baby is ugly?  :-O

I’ve had 20 reviews and so far, so good. When I read them I smile, say “Thank you God,” and feel happy that people liked my story. All that effort was worth it.

They think my baby is cute.

I love reading. I have always been fascinated with an authors imagination and the incredible ability to create stories. I especially love those ‘special’ books, the ones when, late at night, I’m tired and say: “Get to the end of this chapter Lisa, then you can sleep,” then I keep reading, “Just one more chapter…”

I wanted to write a story like that, a story that would be hard to put down.

Did I achieve it? I’m not sure yet. It is still early days.

Every book, even the best ones, get good and bad reviews. One day, I will receive a bad one.

It lurks there now, waiting…

Your book is ugly.

I don’t like your book.

How will I feel when I read it? I honestly don’t know. I do understand that all comments, especially the critical ones, become part of the learning process. This is my first novel and like any new author, we improve with time and experience.

I say that now, trying to sound strong!

I will let you know my reaction when it happens 😉 It will make for a funny blog!

Although a few of my Amazon reviews are from people I know, the majority are from strangers. Thank you! If you happen to be reading this, I really appreciate your feedback and for taking the time to put up a review. It means the world to me xx

Have any of you received a bad review? What did it feel like? Were you sad, angry or hurt?

What should I be prepared to feel?

Cheers, Lisa