Friday, April 29, 2011

Read the Philosophy of Romance Interview of Trent Michaels, West Point graduate and hero of “Reunited Hearts”.

Also Available for Kindle
Today We Welcome Trent Michaels to Philosophy of Romance for our first Character Interview!

Trent Michaels is the hero of Ruth Logan Herne’s Reunited Hearts”—a  book reviewed here recently. We wanted to ask Trent  some difficult questions and we are proud to say he gladly accepted. So let us start:

VINCE: Trent did you take any philosophy courses at West Point? I’m particularly interested in ethics and its application in war.

TRENT: Great question, Vince. Of course, philosophy goes to the completeness of military training on an intellectual and emotional level to complement the physical training. The Introduction to Philosophy is mandated as a core course at the Point, but that was the only philosophy course I took. I’m told it’s similar to civilian courses except for a hefty dose of war ethics as the course winds to an end. 

VINCE: I would say, from my teaching experience, that most college students never take a philosophy course beyond Philosophy 101.  It's not for everybody but having at least one philosophy course is important in a total education.

TRENT:  That's understandable. A favorite saying at the academy is: “The history we teach was made by the people we taught” and in so many cases that’s true, but each man and woman must come to peace with the ideas behind philosophy. The premise of a “just” war. Of fighting for freedom. Of delving beyond applications of war and using applications for peace, like the cool mechanical hinged prosthetic foot the academy recently developed. A local gal, Katie Bascomb, is going to be fitted for this new technology once it’s out on the civilian market, but sometimes the best things developed FOR soldiers are BY soldiers.
VINCE:  Do you have a philosopher you feel comes closest to explaining your view of the world?

TRENT: I don’t know if I’d count Abraham Lincoln as a philosopher. More of a reluctant sage. But as a self-schooled man of low means, he set a high bar for mankind, always questioning himself. Sometimes doubting. Often praying. And yet, once a decision was made, he held firm. I like that in a person.

VINCE: Abraham Lincoln is probably a philosopher in the same way that the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius is a philosopher. Lincoln's a very interesting choice.

VINCE: Do you have a personal philosophy that you live by?

TRENT: I do Vince. I think most men do, don’t they? I believe that God is my compass, my steering companion, my north star. Growing up as an abandoned kid, I never had the parental commitment most of us take for granted. Generally parents love their children. It’s a given. In my case, that wasn’t true, but somewhere inside me was this knowledge and appreciation for God’s love. Christ’s redemption. I think part of my hard work and focus, my urgent will to succeed was to prove myself worthy to God since I was obviously not worthy enough for my parents to embrace.

VINCE: When you were at West Point did you do a lot of dating? I know a lot of women have their sights set on a West Point man.

TRENT: I wonder now where all these women were a few years ago. Sure, I dated some. A few that were almost serious. Nothing quite clicked, but my life was pretty dedicated and fragmented for a while. And I must have missed the hordes of women throwing themselves at my feet. Must have been looking up, watching for snipers.

VINCE: Speaking of snipers, did you ever come close to being killed in battle and, if so, how has that affected your life?

TRENT: No. But I watched a man die, a young marine who gave his life to save three others. I’ve been a more humble person ever since because I don’t know if I could have made that choice, the choice to throw myself on top of an explosive to save those around me. My gut says yes. My heart isn’t nearly as certain.

VINCE: It has been said that only when we are tested can we really know ourselves.  How hard was it for you to leave the service? As a West Pointer, weren't you on the fast track to becoming a General?

TRENT: This is a difficult question. When I entered the academy, I thought I’d be army forever, but as time went on and I learned of the situation in Jamison from my friends the Hannitys (Reverend and Mrs. Hannity stayed in touch with me all those years. Mrs. Hannity sent me cookies. Treats. Cards and letters. A very “Martha” act from a true Mary heart.)  I realized that maybe God had provided the means for an excellent education and learning experience so that I could bring it back home to Allegany County and help those that helped me. It just made sense.

VINCE: It also seems to be working. You are now in an ideal position to make a difference in your community. But did you ever have dreams of becoming a General? It's said that every Senator looks in a mirror and sees a President. I would think West Pointers would look in a mirror and see a General.

TRENT: In the beginning, maybe. Mostly I was focusing on getting through courses, drills, not looking stupid while doing it! But I like working with people face to face, hands-on. A general has way too much desk time for my liking. Now I’m at a desk, but I’m also in the plant, checking out production, working with design teams, pestering Jeff Brennan about getting things right the first time. It’s kind of a joke, only he doesn’t get the humor in it like I do! Electrical and mechanical engineering design guys are an interesting lot. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

VINCE: What military person in history do you most admire?

TRENT: Washington. When have you ever seen a more patient, trusting man in such unlikely to succeed circumstances? Amazing resolve and focus.

VINCE: I have to agree with you. The more I learn about Washington the more I admire him. He was America’s Cincinnatus – the Roman general who would leave his farm to head the army and save the Republic in times of emergency only to immediately give up all his powers when the danger was over and go back to his farm. Washington wanted to do the same thing. There are few men in history like this.

VINCE: They say there are no atheists in foxholes. Did being in combat change your faith and belief in God?

TRENT:  Great quote. No. My belief in man’s ability to make wise choices was downgraded somewhat, but I’ve learned a great deal about perspective and reality. One person’s reality affects and colors not only their belief system but their every choice. And it doesn’t matter if their reality is wrong, or fragmented, or has little basis in fact… If it’s the only thing they know, they act accordingly.  We are blessed to be Americans. Amazingly blessed.

VINCE: You’re reached your 30s without ever marrying. Do you think this is a result of being in the service or have you always carried a flame for Alyssa Langley?

TRENT: I’ve always carried Alyssa in my heart. Maybe that’s true of every first love, maybe it was because she was my destiny. I don’t know. But I never came close to marrying, mostly because of time constraints. I tend to be linear. First A, then B, then C… Finding Alyssa again, and being with Jaden and Cory has taught me that linear is strictly a geometric term when dealing with family life. And I’m quite happy to be running circles!

VINCE: I must say that Alyssa is a lucky woman to be loved so much. Did you think it was God’s plan that your son was hidden from you for all those years? How have you dealt with it?

TRENT: No, of course not. It was human frailty. Alyssa made a choice she thought was good for me. I’m a black and white soldier, just learning about shades of gray, but she knows it was the wrong choice. I know it. But having said that, I believe that out of great wrong can come wondrous good and that’s how I feel about my life. That the broken road, or the hidden “Blessings” may have been forged with tears and laments, but we’re together now. We’ve learned and matured. And she looks great in a bathing suit.

VINCE: What are the three most influential books that you’ve ever read?

TRENT: I love Tolkien’s fantasies. The great battles. Good over evil. I’ve actually got (I almost hate to admit this) armies of little Lego men I’ve procured on e-bay that I’ve re-designed to fight the battles. Alyssa thinks I’m a little whacked, but Jaden and Cory love it. I set up our basement rec room as a go-to place for battle. Maybe it’s that little boy in me, still fighting his way out. Either way, it’s great to play with the kids down there.

VINCE: You sound like every kid's dream dad. But go on.

TRENT:  I also admire Max Lucado’s The Crippled Lamb. Cory loves that story and Alyssa and I read it to her all year long, even though it’s a Christmas tale. I really relate to Christ’s beginnings. The humble and dirty stable. A manger. Hay. The chill night, the promise of a new tomorrow. Wandering that field when I was four years old, I was as alone as anyone ever could be until that hunter stumbled over me. He was wearing blaze orange because it was deer season, and I’ve loved orange ever since. Weird how a kid can take on after things, isn’t it?

And Herman Wouk’s Winds of War. I have his whole body of work, and I love the way Wouk turns a story, but Winds of War is my favorite. Now there’s a linear writer for you, but woven with the intricacies of a well-laid battle plan. It’s hard to find a mistake or mis-step in Wouk’s work. And his soldiers are real people. They have real foibles. Real life happening around them in the midst of chaos. Few authors can do that and make the reader feel each step, each page.

VINCE: I can tell you have a love of literature.  I think you would have made a great general. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers about your life?

TRENT: I think the most important aspect of my life now is that I’m home. I have a home, a family, a place. I’m back in Allegany County, I have a job I love, a wife I’d lay down my life for, and a baby on the way. Who could ask for more from the Lord our God?

VINCE: I don't think you've received anything less than you deserve. Thanks for being here today and thanks for your service. It is always an honor to meet a West Point man or woman.

  You can read Trent and Alyssa's story in "Reunited Hearts".

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Read the Most Serious Character Interview You’ve Probably Ever Seen!

For the First Time Ever! This Saturday:

Read the Philosophy of Romance Interview of Trent Michaels, West Point graduate and hero of “Reunited Hearts”.

This is your chance to know a hero like you’ve never known one before! Even if you’ve already read “Reunited Hearts,” you’ll want to read it again after this insightful look at  Trent Michaels.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coming Sunday! The Much Awaited Release of Ruth Logan Herne’s Fifth Book!

Fans Won’t Want to Wait! Small-Town Hearts” Will Release at 12:01 am on May First – But Only at eHarlequin!  

Both the eBook and paperback books (including Large Print) will be immediately available on May 1st.

Notice: “Small-Town Hearts” will be available in book stores in June, 2011. Ruth Logan Herne writes important romances. Now you can be among the first to read her new book!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Self-Publishing eBook Marketing Maxims

Mooney’s eBook Marketing Maxim:

Electronic Self-Publishing has moved the editor’s slush pile to the marketplace.

(Never before in history will so much very bad material be made available for sale alongside the good material.)


Marketing Rules for eBook Self-Publishing

#1 Rule: Seek Credibility – publish at the highest level of credibility that you can.

A. First seek the best ePublisher, with the highest editorial standards, who will take your work.

B. Random sample eBooks being offered in any eMarketplace before you publish there.

C. Avoid the ‘slush-pile’ ePublishers if at all possible. (These publishers take anyone’s book.)

#2 Rule: Appearances Count!

A. A professional cover has never been more important. Look like a traditionally published book. Show you are professional.

B. Traditionally published authors should always state this fact in all ads. For example: “Mary Penn, author of “A Divorce of Convenience", a Harlequin Romance. (Readers need to know you are capable of being traditionally published.)

C. make sure your eBook is correctly formatted. Nothing says ‘amateur’ louder than highly visible typos.

#3 Rule: A single bad product is deadly!

There is a saying in advertising that “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.” (With good advertising many more people will try the bad product and the bad word of mouth will kill the product before the manufacturer can fix it.)

A. you don’t have to eat a whole egg to know it is rotten.

B. don’t release a bad product or a product not ready for prime time. It could kill all future sales to readers who have been exposed to it.

#4 Rule: Endorsements Mean More for eBooks!

The name of the game is credibility. Endorsements from known, published authors are invaluable. Traditionally published authors should network with each other in providing quotes for other authors.

A. endorsements should be prominent in all ads.

B. endorsements should be included in the first few pages of the eBook. (Show the reader that this eBook is really worth reading. If they don’t actually read it, they may not buy another one of your books.)

#5 Rule: Buy credibility by running ads in traditional media.

For example: for a romance novel, run a small ad in "RT Book Reviews". Then advertised on the internet: “As advertised in RT Book Reviews”. (The really bad books will be published by ‘slush-pile’ ePublishers and have little to no money spent on advertising.)

#6 Rule: "Target Marketing" is Now Absolutely Essential.

Target marketing is creating your advertising in such a way as to best attract the most likely prospects for your product. You want to attract the attention of the people who will most likely buy your book – if only they just knew it existed. Your goal is not to attract the attention of the most people.

A. you simply have to get the attention of your best readers. It is far better to run an ad that drives away 90% of the readers of the ad if that same ad gets the attention of 90% of the prospects for the book. The best prospects will buy the book.

B. let the reader see what’s in the book that is of special interest to that reader. If the book is by the sea, show seascapes in the ad. Show the features in the book that have a natural following like: pets, kids, trains, lighthouses, planes, exotic locations. These are visual aids to attract the attention of the best prospects. Show these on the blogs where mention of your book is made.

C. Instant identification. If your eBook is about vampires, then the reader should 'see' and know this within 2 seconds of looking at the ad. Use whatever art is needed to do this.

Look for More eBook Marketing Posts to Come.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Famous Quotes: X

Who Wrote These Quotes: Me or Someone Famous?

(1) “The difference between editors and lemmings? Lemmings don’t always run into the sea”.
Clifford Irving or Vince Mooney

(2) The title to a work of writing is like a house's front porch.... It should invite you to come on in.
Angela Giles Klocke or Vince Mooney

(3) "Authors would do better if they would listen more to their readers and less than to their characters".
James Scott Bell or Vince Mooney

(4) "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
E.L. Doctorow or Vince Mooney

(5) “I felt so guilty about how badly I treat my characters, that I wrote myself into a story and let one of my character’s kill me.”
Mickey Spillane or Vince Mooney

(6) "The best children's book writers are not people who have kids, but people who write from the child within themselves."
Andrea Brown or Vince Mooney

(7) “Writing a novel is like trying to solve a very long mathematical equation. Changing anything can change everything else.”
Carl Sagan or Vince Mooney

(8) "Writing is rewriting. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes. To fall in love with the first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing."
Richard North Patterson or Vince Mooney

(9) "It is with words as with sunbeams -- the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn."
Robert Southey or Vince Mooney

(10) Writers used to learn their craft from reading the greats. Now they teach each other in support groups. Somehow I don’t see this as a way to greatness.
Barbara Kingsolver or Vince Mooney

(11) “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
Elmore Leonard or Vince Mooney

(12) The less a writer has to say, the longer his books.
John Grisham or Vince Mooney

(13) "Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending."
Longfellow or Vince Mooney

(14) The key to writing successful YA is to keep the adults out of the story as much as possible.
Beverly Cleary or Vince Mooney

(15) Mid-grade readers don’t have short attention spans, they just have low boredom tolerance.
Judith Viorst or Vince Mooney

            Answers Here

Answers to Famous Quotes Quiz IX Now Posted

Go Here to See all the Famous Quote Quizes with Answers.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Read My Guest Blog at 'The Seekers' -- Over 100 Comments!

Vince and wife Linda in Andes at Amazon headwaters

The Topic: “How Best Selling Authors Achieve High Rewards-Per-Page (RPP) Scores."

Come to 'Seekerville' Now! Read the Post & Over 100 Comments!  Lots of Rewarding Information!  

Learn How Well Your Writing is Rewarding Your Readers!

Remember: “What Gets Rewarded, Gets Done!” Writing that Rewards Readers Gets Read!