Alice follows her rabbit to a world with different rules. It starts with talking animals. Next, language itself is turned topsy-turvey. She is asked to pay attention in new ways. The rabbit takes her to a place where familiar things behave strangely, and it's almost impossible to explain where she has been
The giants in most fairytales are assumed to be white for one reason- the storytellers don’t say what color they are.
Rapunzel’s mother could not sleep. In vain she tried relaxing her body. Her mind turned so. Her legs felt jitters in them.
Now that OLGA is available as an audiobook through Audible.com, I am sharing some download codes. NO STRINGS ATTACHED.
Write back to receive a free download code from Audible.com! Just write 'AUDIO'. I will send you a code. The code will download OLGA for free from audible/amazon, and can be used to send the file as a gift. 'While supplies last', of course...
OLGA started one rainy day at the train station when I decided to write a little story to amuse my seven-year old daughter and her cousins on a proposed vacation in Maine. I kept writing until I had a short book. I didn't read it to all the kids that summer, but I started reading the chapters as a bedtime story to my daughter.
It is amazing to be able to offer the experience of hearing the story to other families.
When I wrote OLGA, and my other book, I was amusing myself, too, and the story is appropriate for a range of ages. In fact, I've heard the book praised by quite a few teenage and adult readers. That's why I feel I can say that the award-winning story is in the tradition of Narnia (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). I'm a respectful admirer and fan of the author of the those classics, C.S. Lewis. He had brilliant essays about writing for children. His principles became guiding ideas as I grew more interested in children's literature
1) do not write down to (or for) children. Write with them. View storytelling as collaboration between their visionary imagination and your strengths as an adult. Basically, make-believe together, with a child (or the child in your head)...
2) allow morals to develop naturally through the act of story-telling. Use what he calls the furniture of your mind to find the moral. A good story will have good and bad in it.
So, OLGA is an award-winning story in the tradition of Narnia about a cruel and beautiful being called Olga. She captures two impulsive children. They will try to escape her world, but meanwhile she may secretly need their help.
I hope you share the book with a friend or family who would like the story. Tell'em you know the writer. You can 'give' the book to yourself too. It is first come, first serve. Write to me and I will send a code.
Audiobook Listeners who want access to Dillon Samuelson's award-winning illustrations can do that too! They are also available for free by following directions on my website.
Yours, Ted Kelsey
P.S. OLGA was produced by Sandra Murphy, the "Voice Mama" Sandra has made a great preview on Youtube: https://youtu.be/Xn6orAfQpTM
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I am so proud to have Flight of the Hummingbird Literary Services on my side this holiday book season. Here I am with the Marketing Manager after an afternoon at the CREATE Artisan Festival in Cold Spring for Shop Small Saturday. We did good, and sold enough books to cover all the gifts we bought!! (Donuts too)
OLGA got two awards from Readers Favorite this year! Dillon Samuelson (fine artist and illustrator of the book) met me in Miami for the Award Dinner and to take in the Miami Book Fair. Some snaps:
Thanks UBR! It was a weekend I won't forget! ...got a lot of new books to read...
Naturally, and as always, I guarantee fabulous success exceeding your wildest dreams. 😊
1) Underground Book Reviews (reviews with an interesting vetting process.) Nice community. A newletter with articles and author interivews. A contest, but they only enter books that have gotten top reviews by their team.
2) Brag Medallion- they award a mark of quality to well written indie books. They interview medallion winners, do some promotion. Rather slow.
3) Awesome Indies Association- quality medallions, with different tiers. The have writing services. I used writers in the group for 2 rounds of editing, developmental and proof-reading, on my second book. Very reasonable prices for the service.
4) Storycartel- you give away free e-books, receive readers' emails and the possibility of unbiased reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I 'met' a few bloggers, a teacher and other writers through them downloading something I wrote.
5) Onlinebooksclub- Unbiased reviews with s mall reader's fee. It may have gone up recently. I am goodreads friends with a reader I met there. They do promotion, for a fee.
6) Reader's Favorite- reviews and quality medallions. A contest.
7) Wishing Shelf Book Awards- your book will be read by a class or two in England. For adult books they have an adult reader group. You will get the readers/judges comments. And you can have the readers review it on Amazon. There is an award for the best books. Great program, and I have a daydream about doing something similar in the USA based on the model. It is super-slow though. the process takes a year. They have a small vetting process before a book is accepted, I think.
8) YouWriteOn- beta readers. You post chapters/stories. Earn credits by reading and reviewing other people's work. Use those credits to get readers for you. I was dubious, but I found people very thoughtful and honest. It is a time commitment. There is some contest/popularity contest thing there too where the well-received books can get a read from a professional from a major house. Overall, I had a good experience there and if I had time, I would do it again. I haven't done it in a couple of years, so I hope it is still the same.
Beware contests with high fees. Contests in general are dubious. I've listed a couple that I felt were transparent, genuine, and supportive. Reviews are important. Real reviews from real readers. There are organizations that will happily charge a writer a few hundred dollars for a unbiased review. I don't trust them, unless it is something major and establihed like Kirkus. I've never used Kirkus though, so I can't really advise on the return on investment.
"Need inspiration? I’m putting all these ideas for books out there. Let the chips fall where they may"
My first novel was never shared or published. It’s called “Dragon-boats”. In that one, a dissolute solar energy salesman has his own wonder product. Slice-icles, the frozen pizza treat on a stick. I own him, so I own Slice-icles. Yet having no patent, the law would beg to differ.
Oh… Slice-icles… I lose sleep at night over Slice-cles. Some hot summer, when Slice-icles goes super-fad ultra-viral, and I don’t see a penny, I fear madness. I will go mad.
However, PLEASE steal Dragon-boats. Please, go through the hard work of marketing and publishing it. It just might be the best thing that could happen. Only, I pray that you let some fraction of the light reflect on me.
So I’m putting all these other ideas for books out there. Let the chips fall where they may.
1) Cold Fusion - Good title for a coming of age in a cross-cultural Minnesotan family. (Helps if you came of age in a cross-cultural Minnesotan family)
2) Occam’s Needle- A window cleaner loses his equipment, and all contact with outside world. He must learn to survive on the icy peak of the Woolworth Building. Plenty of asides about architectural history. Features raw pigeon scene that nobody can forget
3) East Egg- Great American novel about a Midwesterner who observes what happens when a noveau-riche bouchie type of person tries to infiltrate the circle of old-money bouchie types. Ambition and careless pretension will destroy lives
4) E-Green Digital Revolution - All I got is a killer name for this one here. Non-fiction?
5) Blue Diamond- Story of what happens after an enormous uncut diamond is discovered in Nigeria. Desperate smugglers who would kill for a dollar. A brave laborer who dreams of rescuing a village from poverty. Ambition and careless pretension will destroy lives. Also, the name of a brand of almonds I saw in 7-11. Can we still use it?
6) Degenerate Triangle- Love triangle in Hollywood between a powerful producer, a beautiful starlet, and her hometown beau. A forties-style screenplay with a facelift. A lot of cell-phone and social media references
7) My Gretel, My Hansel- Mother guards children’s lives through a refugee camp, but learns to let them go as they come-to-age in freedom (if you can write like a bastard and know the human heart like a suma-bitch, you can pull this off)
8) The Electioneer- Electoral fantasy about an insurgent presidential candidate who is a puppet of larger forces, but turns the table on them and becomes a hero for the common-man
9) The Postman Always Rings Twice - just change the name. Its already been stolen more than Romeo and Juliet
10) Old, Noisy and Hot- the right memoir title for somebody out there
11) The City that Refused to Die- this is the motto of Sanford, Maine. Run with it
12) Habeas Corpus, Produce the Body… or Absque Hoc, Without This… or Amicus Curiae, Friend of the Court… or Corpus Delicti, The Body of the Crime… or Fructus Naturales, The Natural Fruits… or Jus Sanguinis, The Right of Blood… or Vinculum Juris, The Chains of Law… or Fiat Justitia, Let Justice Be Done- All names for the same Legal Thriller. I think the Latin and English translation sound boss together. A bright young lawyer realizes HER BOSS DID IT AND IS TRYING TO COVER IT UP (helps if you know about law and junk)
13) In the Land of Dust (just a title)
14) Easter Eggs- Just a title. I thought of it after I wrote title 4) East Egg and filched the plot of the Great Gatsby
15) Seen and Believed (title again) Seems inspiring. Or ironic
16) Diaper Derby Palisades… 17) Walkathon St. Louis… 18) Chess Champ… 19) Miss Appetite… 20) Miss Fluidless Contact Lens… 21) Yeast Raised Donut Queen- OK. These are all items from the great photographer Diane Arbus’s appointment book, may she rest in peace. Bit hazy on the legalities of including them here, but what the heck. They’re too gosh-darned good
22) Attack of the 50 Foot Puppy – Pretty self-explanatory. A slam dunk. (Must be able to write for kids)
23) Hood Science- When a family loses one son to gang violence, the other discovers escape through math and science
24) A Jewel in Velvet - Unstable bohemian playboy goes off the deep-end while pursuing a woman who doesn’t see money. Like literally. She can’t make change. She never pays anybody back even when her car was fixed months ago. She never goes Dutch though it’s like the 8th date and she knows his situation isn’t what it used to be. Because she’s a free spirit who lives life by a different set of rules. Reverse the genders, or make both characters the same gender, and you’ll blow this thing out of the water
25) Unguibus, With Teeth- Another winning title in the Latin (Comma) English translation category. I guess it’s a horror book. Or something with ‘adult’ themes. Or both. But I can’t go there
26) Cryptococcus, The Hidden Sphere- And Latin/English again. That’s all I got. I think this one is a sci-fi/fantasy. I love fantasy and world-building, but when I try to write a summary, I sound ridiculous
27) A Scandal of Magnates- a modern farce along the lines of the classic, A Confederacy of Dunces, but it couldn’t possibly be as funny. Or as racist. Or as homophobic. Thank goodness. Come to think of it, maybe all parts of that classic aren’t equally excellent
28) Drink Money- Hack writer and ne’er-do-well kicks around the couches and dreamscapes of Central London/Lower East Side NYC/other fantasy-land where almost no artist can afford to live anymore
29) Zendik- Epic novel following a family home through the generations. The writer on the porch, interrupted by a vision of a rawer time. A distaff uncle who comes to the weather beaten house by the sea, reeking of cologne and promises. A grand-father who spends half the book in the basement worrying about the ‘cracks in the foundation’ and doesn’t get any other good lines. A house that will see time heal all wounds. 500 pages, minimum.
30) Quantum Entanglement- A techno-thriller. Brilliant young scientist fights for his/her life to protect a secret technical development. The tech in question? ‘Muons’. When one is flipped, another flips, irrespective of distance. This will allow information from the commodities market in Chicago to get to New York in under 8 nanosecs. Add a super-fit and super-fine Secret Agent as a love interest. Someone who the hero (or heroine) must learn to trust. Then shake the manuscript vigorously. Be prepared to google a lot of the science stuff
31) A Dry Foot- Young man from Perth-Amboy who has never known his father travels to Cuba to discover his roots
32) Alien Big Cats Disruption- Firstly, not at all what you think, OK? Features no aliens, and no big cats, OK? After that, you are on your own. Might be a non-fiction about how unique individuals can go and ‘Steve Jobs’ it up to take over some industry. Or you can go with the mutant tiger thing
33) Duet for One- Eat, Pray, Love, without all the traveling. Finding love and unlikely beauty in Stamford, CT… or Scranton, PA. Unfortunately, I just googled the title, and it looks like it’s been used already. So… before I get tempted to look up the rest…
I’m out. Phew.
Can’t complain, really. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. The hard work is ahead. I only hope that these will be used for good, and not for evil.
But inventors and writers can’t be sure about the future of any of their ideas. We must learn to let go.
Take the 3d printer, which almost right away was used to make guns, instead of heart valves.
Or consider the electric automobile window. Those of us who can remember its inception, probably remember trying to cutting off a sibling’s finger with it, rather than closing the window before a psycho killer got inside while grandma was in the Wawa, as it was designed for.
I went to the library, then the bookstore yesterday. Both were chock full, but not with people. I’ll never do that again. My state of mind and emotional equilibrium are too fragile. That many books in one place is enough to make a body look up, stop writing, and play with their natural-born offspring or something.
In any case, I’m throwing these ideas out there. Unlike what grandma told us about the electric window, they were made to be played with. On the off-chance one of them catches fire… God Bless you, my friend! You made it happen! But don’t go forgetting your old buddy, good old selfless old Ted, ‘K?
Sitting is the new smoking, people. So my fellow writers, listen up.
It’s getting to the point where admitting you’re a writer is like admitting to fleas. Some writers (especially the famous ones, believe it or not) even brag about their bad habits. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the majority of the world prefers to read about how to become healthier and better-looking...
This week, Chronogram Magazine featured my book OLGA in their 2016 Roundup for Young Readers! The editor Nina Shengold and the reviewer Jack Warren really captured the spirit of the story. Awesome! Thank you Chronogram!
Last week, I attended the Tarcher-Perigree Publishing and Creativity Conference for Writers. My thoughts…
This conference held approximately 100-150 people in one room. Workshops, forums, and talks were intimate. You could approach organizers. There was time for questions.
The size of the conference encouraged networking. One could quickly garner what different people’s interests were. I managed to connect with an indie YA novelist who lives practically up the road from me. Having one more local connection has led to trying to set up a local writer’s networking group.
Tarcher is an inspiration/spirituality/parenting/mind-body publisher. There was a big percentage of participants interested in that type of book. That is not my bag. However, the participants were not all in self-help and I met novelists and memoirists. Tarcher’s connection to Penguin allowed the organizers to speak to a range of interests and books.
Keynote speakers were good. Came from Tarcher’s authors. Non-fiction. Mind/body. Inspiration.
Penguin is a big publishing house, and they have a big house mentality. Forums discussed topics like marketing and positioning. It can be a heady, overwhelming world. If you attend, expect to be encouraged by some speakers, but also gain an insight into the narrow concerns of the big-house. Can your book make them money? Can you, as a person, make your book move off the shelves?
Everybody, no matter where they are in the writing process, gets to participate in pitch workshops and sessions (no added cost). That’s an important exercise.
Keep in mind, the actual pitch session will be with a Penguin editor. My sense from chatting to organizers is that they are almost 100% certain not there to acquire any titles. They will, however, give you direct feedback, if you actually want it. No agent pitches.
That said, I think almost no acquisitions are made at writing conferences. Pitches are the carrot dangled in front of writers. I think most people will have a better experience if they participate in the pitches, but be realistic.
Advance registration was about $100. That makes this a reasonable alternative to some larger conferences held in the summer in NYC.
Big house expertise
Tarcher is part of Penguin. I got a better understanding of how a big house works. You will learn about a book’s life-cycle, including the many hands on any individual title. An old adage about making sausage might come to mind … Speakers were definitely top-of-the-field professionals. Including writers, art directors, marketing, sales, managing editors, and a representative agent…
Venue and atmosphere
I commend Tarcher. Everything was very well-organized and seam-less. The aim was truly informational. I didn’t have any sense as an attendee of an alternative motive other than to offer insight into the publishing and writing world.
Would I attend it again? Probably not if the line-up and emphasis remains similar… Interesting, but once may be enough. I had some take-aways about marketing and networking. I am not sure another year would add to what I garnered. However, I will keep an eye on it and may reconsider. Would I recommend it other writers? Yes, if they want insight into traditional publishing or to network.
Cris Ruffolo writes a blog about her life and family (she is a student and a full-time mother raising twins and a new baby) Along the way, she reads a lot of books, and she has been really supportive of my writing. She reviewed my first novel, OLGA, and this month she read my second book SHASHA AND WALLY WATSON VS THE FAKER. As an Indie writer, it is always a thrill to realize that what you write actually can find an audience sometimes! Cris herself writes and keeps her blog quite current. Thank you, Cris! I'm glad you liked the book (even more than Olga!), and it was cool to get some insight into parts you didn't like as much. The ending has a twist, and I am sticking to it as written ;)
This is my first book trailer. I made it using prezi. Then I converted the prezi to video using omnirender. After that, I used windows media to edit the clips, add animation, and add music. I tricked the program a few times to get the effect I wanted. For example, to make the fade into black and white, I made a copy of a clip of myself on a bench one morning. Then I put one copy through a filter to make it look like a line drawing. I then overlapped the original and the filtered copies so that they could fade into each other. Also, I added some sound effects, like the static of a record player on the title screen. Finally, a lot of editing cut it down to about 30 seconds. Has the internet blown up? not yet. But I had fun.
Ted Kelsey wrote Olga, a delightful YA novel that felt like Alice falling deep in rabbit hole and ending up in Wonderland – except that in Olga, it was not just one but two persons, Sally and Jack, who were flown to the clouds, and eventually reached Cloud Castle, by a stuffed elephant – and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, when she discovered another world different from the one she was living in...
I'll be there from 2-5PM promoting books and selling signed copies.
Yesterday, Brandon (Faze2) was at the house and we started talking about trying to be artists, and fathers, and the million other things that the world calls people to be in a single life. And we talked about marketing. Because that's part of the equation. Past the ideals and the thrills of making something that asks you to try your best, there is the yearn to be heard. Now, Faze2 is rapping. I am writing. But the challenges, artistic and commercial, are the same. And Faze2 has a way of making me see how the victories are the same too. What will I take away? "Address yourself to that one person..." He says, and I am left wondering... Is this the same person I knew as a child? Who lisped my name? Who performed on the stairs? Who I watched pushed and pulled by adults things outside of his control? Yeah... How did things get reversed? I'm in wonder, because he has come out so strong, and has come so far on the way to finding his voice so early.
And then I check my email. And I get the good news. My next novel for children Shasha and Wally Watson Vs The Faker has been approved for the "Gold Seal of Excellence for Outstanding Independent Fiction" by the Awesome Indies Association. OK, there is a lot of hyperbole in there...
The seal is not the same as an award. It is the result of a three-stage review process by fellow writers. At this stage in my career, I am not sure it what it means in terms of sales, which are limited and hard-won. It is more about recognition. Indie Writers have to make their little books everything. It will be at least 2 years of work and reworking. So, when peers offer you that precious encouragement, it helps you keep the momentum! Thank you, AIA.
From the Awesome Indies Website: "Books bearing the pure gold AIA Seal of Excellence for Outstanding Independent Fiction are our top books. They have been reviewed by three or more editors who have agreed that these books are outstanding in their genre.
What makes a book worthy of the Seal of Excellence? It’s those that have something extra. Perhaps a strong voice, a new or bold approach, or just a great, well-written story. It’s hard to be specific about the exact qualities, but reviewers know a Seal-worthy book when they read it. One of our reviewers said this:
“To me, reading a fantastic book is like watching an incredible dancer. There are good dancers who perform the music with wonderful technique and accuracy, and I enjoy watching them (4 stars). But the dancer who causes me to live the music in such a way that I don’t realize I’m watching is the true artist (5 stars). An author who draws me into the story and lets me experience it through the actions and dialogue of the characters so that I have a sense of loss and maybe a little regret when I re-enter the real world – that is an author who writes one hell of a book.”"
Well, that's a lot! I can say that I think I wrote a solid book that will make you smile and has a few chills. I hope people enjoy it.
SHASHA AND WALLY WATSON VS. THE FAKER
A most unusual mystery
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