After the Food, Friend & Beverage Orgies … Get Ready to Twirl. #bookrelease #donewriting

pondersea

There’s a great deal to be said for the first, fecund, felicitous forays of the Springtime social calendar, particularly in Northern California. The atmospheric stasis occasioned by the weird workings of winter always seems to give way to a somewhat rejuvenated sense of ambition, for me. At the very least, the advent of beach-worthy weather affords various opportunities to commune with friends who are likewise climbing out of their respective doldrums, and this quickening of personal activity and interaction can retroactively energize the artistic work you’ve slogged through for months without much satisfaction or sense of reward. Believe me: the writer seems by turns isolated and interrupted in the winter months — navigating temperatures that make him want to sleep far more than he wants to write and fielding invitations to any number of Food, Friend & Beverage Orgies (aka “The Holidays”) that tempt a craftsman with far more seductive festivity than can be enjoyed hovering over a keyboard.

I’ve been writing non-stop since June 25, 2013, and have completed, beyond my own rather panoramic sense of comprehension, two novels in that time. That’s usually not in my wheelhouse. Normally, I believe a truly worthy long-form work ought to take at least a year to complete, not including a full edit. Nevertheless, the industry has undergone its eighty-eighth metamorphosis in the last ten years or so, and its demands, which seem as unpredictable and arbitrary as the flailing of a multi-headed Hydra, must be met with some measure of mettle and elbow grease. In this sense, the accelerated nose-to-the-grindstone process has been both challenging and revelatory … at least now that my “foolish boat” has sailed around the churning Aegean vortex into calmer waters.

The second of the two novels I finished was delivered to my editor on May 1 after a month and a half of rewrites and assorted fussings and fidgetings. This is the book that will be published in October of this year, with the other novel (the one started in late June 2013) to follow next year, presumably. There will be a reasonable amount of promotion and preening and as much ballyhoo as can be mustered for the October release, and that roll-out promises to be filled with new, perfunctory “adventures” I am certain to loathe, but it must be done. These children must be given the privilege of birth, after all, seeing as how they survived the wordy womb of the author’s addled brain. Let them be fruitful and multiply. Let them possibly even subdue the earth.

That last bit would be nice, in a monetarily metaphorical sense.

News about the new book, from what I can gather, will start to manifest itself in the form of drum-beats about a month from now, with review copies going out by July. I’ll believe it when I see it. Fellow authors–you all know what I’m talking about, here. That being said, much gratitude goes to my agent, the indefatigable KR, and to all who have so not helped me complete these major projects (Just kidding, support-system peeps! Calm yourselves. Have a little mojito. That’s the way. Now chew a couple of Klonopin. Feel better? Sure, you do. Who wouldn’t?)

In the meantime, May is a great month for writers (who aren’t working Spring releases) to take a deep breath before any ensuing literary plunge. Go to the beach, if you live near one. Walk in the woods. Breathe. Get drunk (responsibly) and laugh with a few trusted friends who won’t make fun of your incessant ramblings and do try to shut your mind off for a bit. That’s what I appear to be doing in the photo above, which was taken on May 1, after an impromptu invitation to a bonfire on Carmel Beach, a little shindig put-together by some dear friends — one of whom cooked a fabulously authentic Cajun gumbo (complete with okra and Andouille and all the “fixins”) right there amid the sands to the accompaniment of music, mellifluous laughter and a memorable sunset.

Then again, I could also be undergoing an existential/spiritual crisis of catastrophic proportions in that photo. Hard to say … or remember. Either way, I look pretty good. So it can’t be all bad.

Stay tuned for hijinks galore. Ciao, babes.
__

Jonathan Kieran’s new novel is slated for release in Autumn 2014. Look for news about the book here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Blame Twitter when your kids call you an old drunk. #trends

"Now where'd I put that grilled cheese?"

“Now where’d I put that grilled cheese?”

For fellow professional “Tweeters” who languish in realms reserved for those not nearly as famous and gifted as the demure Kardashians, participation in the chaos of Twitter can sometimes seem like an exercise in abject futility. Sure, it’s easy to trade a “Follow” for a “Follow” and confect the illusion of skyrocketing Worldwide Cyber-Popularity, but when someone boasts 100,000 followers simply because they engaged in the tedious trial-and-error strategy of following hordes of strangers and then waiting for them to “follow back,” no one is really fooling anyone these days. And “good luck” when it comes to discovering comprehensive and meaningful Twitter content to share (or RT) when your homepage is filled with a previous day’s worth of 100,000 streaming, screaming tweets tweeted by tweeters as preoccupied with quantity-over-quality as you are. A humongous cache of Twitter followers gained in this manner has its place as some sort of vaguely impressive statistical calling-card, certainly, but as everyone else catches-on to the trick, the chances of disseminating valuable information that has a chance to be noticed and appreciated grows ever more unlikely and the reason to even bother doing it grows ever more pointless. Little wonder that industry observers are highlighting this practice as one of the chief liabilities in Twitter’s recent, highly publicized mudslide toward the Cesspit of Irrelevance.

Regarding the social network’s ultimate fate, the jury is still out and huddled in feverish deliberations, in my opinion. There are still great things to discover and great connections to be made on Twitter. I do, however, agree that the only thing we’re proving via the exponentially relentless “Follow for a Follow” approach is that our thumbs are exceedingly industrious, or that we’re staying up way past bedtime in some claustrophobic home-office nook, a half-eaten grilled cheese draped, soggy and forlorn, across a plate beside us, with a wine glass as empty as the bottle that filled it four times in the past hour alone. We are wrapped in our blankets, shivering slightly, with the light of a computer screen casting its ghoulish green glow around our mesmerized faces until we look like something a wayward passel of Shakespearean rogues might discover in a misty midnight bog, perched over a cauldron and eager to cackle an arcane, eldritch prophecy that’ll make no sense to anyone (at least not until the end of the play). We, however, are not waiting in the dark for wanderers eager to hear us say our sooth. Oh no. We’re slogging through the list of 3,759 people we followed on Twitter earlier that day and are now doing the abominable drudge-work of “unfollowing” those who had the temerity not to return the favor.

Tomorrow, the ophthalmologist will have more than a few choice words about those knock-off Luis Vuitton handbags (each with its own matching fanny-pack!) dangling underneath our eyes like the swollen overflow from a storage bin that even the most wiry and resourceful of veteran airline stewardesses could not manage to secure on her very best day. Yep. And the doc will really rip us a new one when it comes to the state of our failing vision. We’ll deserve every last bit of that tongue-lashing, but with a proud jut of the chin and a haughty shake of the vibrating, coffee-addled skull, we’ll each look at the ophthalmologist with those red, swollen eyeballs and say:

“But I’ve got 65,000 Twitter followers, Doctor, and you only have twenty-two. Ha! I know that because I followed you yesterday and waited for you to follow me back, but you didn’t, even though I could plainly see that you tweeted something between the time I followed you and the time I checked for your follow-back, so of course I had to unfollow you, and you were one of the last people I followed that day, anyway, so if you want to blame someone for my deplorable eyesight, blame yourself for not following me when you first had the opportunity, because every time someone doesn’t follow me back I have to stay up late to make a couple of extra maneuvers to ascertain why they didn’t follow me initially and then make a decision between continuing to follow them in hopes that they will return the follow or else unfollow them completely, and I have to do it in the dark or else I’ll wake-up the kids and I don’t want them to come out of their bedrooms and catch me drinking that much wine. So it’s your fault I can’t see anything anymore. Follow what I’m saying?”

Yeah, yeah. Go ahead and pay your doctor’s bill with an air of smug triumph (you earned it!) and be sure to make a quick stop at BevMo on the way home, but get the big box of wine instead of a puny little bottle this time. Boxes never tell embarrassing tales of overindulgent emptiness. A box of wine will always look “FULL” … at least until somebody has to kick one out the door in their bedroom slippers toward the overstuffed recycle bin. Then the jig will be up, sure, but you have plenty of time until then. Maybe even a couple of hours. Remember: you’ve got a long night ahead of you — a night of building Worldwide Cyber-Popularity. And building illusions makes a body thirsty.

See you round the #hashtag cooler!
___

Jonathan Kieran’s new novel is slated for release in Autumn 2014. Look for news about the book here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Before Launching Your Online Storefront: 3 Guidelines to Spare Your Sanity

Launching Your Online Storefront: 3 Guidelines to Spare Your Sanity and Help Build A Convincing Foundation posted by Jonathan Kieran

It doesn't need to lead to Rogaine, friends!

It doesn’t need to lead to Rogaine, friends!

The prospect of promoting a product or professional service on the Internet by launching a storefront and social media network is daunting to a lot of new entrepreneurs. On the one hand, there are literally millions of consumers out there willing to be engaged and more than ready to spend their money and, quite frankly, they don’t even have to like what you’ve got all that much. Indeed, with a quality product and a compelling image, tagline or description, you have every reason to count on the power and magnificence of human impulse-shopping when it comes to your target audience. This is a fact. A recent study by a British company called Npower concluded that the average person spends $114,293 in their lifetime on impulse buys. That’s a lot of books, jewelry, sundresses, chocolate-covered grasshoppers, Easter bonnets or whatever it is you’re trying to vend in cyberspace.

Think about it! You have something to sell and there are vast numbers of real people ready to buy what you’ve got. If you can successfully connect with a just a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of that enormous and captive cyber-audience, your success is fait accompli. In the bag. You can start thinking about whether you want that summer-house built on the lake … or by the sea. You can send your mother-in-law on that Two Year Cruise Around the World you’ve she’s always dreamed she’d take. Humans need food, water and sleep, and even the offering and acquisition of those necessities can be diversified and marketed in hundreds of different ways! Everything else pretty much falls under a broad spectrum of luxuries that command wildly varying degrees of priority in human life. You know it. We all know it. Bottom line: there are millions of people who are ready to buy your stuff on a whim, even if they don’t know it, yet.

Having achieved the realization that you already have hordes of online customers waiting to give you their money, your first glimpse at the other side of this coin is a lot more challenging and not nearly as gratifying. People completely new to the business of launching and then promoting a solid Internet storefront had better be prepared for imminent dental work and possible hair-transplants, because there shall be grinding and gnashing-of-teeth, along with several tufts yanked directly from the scalp by your own gnarled Claws of Frustration. You may even find yourself baying at the moon, from time to time, wondering how you got outside in your pajamas at midnight … with a half-empty bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Why? Because your own online customers, though plentiful, do not know who you are, what you do, what you’ve got to sell, and they don’t know where to find you. Face it: at the beginning, you don’t have a shop with open doors and attractive salespeople beckoning while pedestrians browse one inviting storefront after another at the local outlet mall. You’ve got to build your online store (or brand) and then you’ve got to direct as much traffic as possible to your retail site while always keeping your target audience in mind. In order to do this you must be able to effectively navigate and coordinate a bewildering network of cyber “street signs” and social media systems.

Discouraged? Don’t be! There is a fabulous upside to this far more intimidating aspect of online commerce and the ascent begins with that fact that others have gone before you and are willing to share their triumphs so that your tribulations will be as minimal as possible. Below are three straightforward guidelines that I hope will help to illustrate this truth while sparing you and preparing you for the exciting process of launching your online commerce adventure convincingly. Whether you are a confectioner getting ready to unveil your line of delectable sea-salt caramels or an author dying to find an audience for your sensational new “zombie romance” novel, these things will help ease the burden of befuddlement as you build a solid foundation for future success online.

POINT 1. BE READY TO WORK HARD … BE READY TO GET STRESSED

Remember when I mentioned dental erosion and hair-loss above? Well, it doesn’t have to get that bad, but above all else be aware of the fact that launching any successful business involves discipline, hard work, dedication and at least the willingness to wrack your brain when it comes to problem-solving and thinking of answers that just might dwell outside your emotional comfort-zone. I have encountered a great many people who think that just because they’re at home in a bathrobe tap-tap-tapping a keyboard their business efforts are somehow going to be magically less “real” then the efforts of brick-and-mortal business people. Think again. The husband and wife downtown who just opened their postal-service store are having some sleepless nights and they’re barking at each other. Maybe they’re crying and throwing stuff at the walls even as I write. Guess what: the same thing is going to happen to you. Deal with it. If you’re not feeling the heat, you’re not getting anything done. The rewarding aspect of this reality is that the experience of stress is telling you that you are accomplishing things and that you are moving in the right direction. As you launch your entrepreneurial enterprise, be mindful of how you are managing your stress. Let’s not kid ourselves. You’re not going to come out of this looking younger. Make your online store a smash-hit and then pay for a plastic surgeon later. In the meantime, try to eat as well as you can, take some strategic time-outs to hit the gym or go for a brisk walk to clear your mind and dispel pent-up energy, and then get back to work. Most of all: BREATHE. You’ll thank yourself for looking after your health, even in little ways, as you fight hard to launch your dream.

POINT 2. AVAIL YOURSELF OF THE BEST PROFESSIONAL ADVICE YOU CAN FIND FOR FREE AND BE PREPARED TO SPIN YOUR WHEELS NOW & THEN

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get cutting-edge advice from professionals who have become super-successful in the world of online commerce. In fact, you don’t need a dime to avail yourself of the latest, greatest tips and how-to suggestions. All you need is your computer and some well-delineated time set aside specifically to do streamlined research about those who have already succeeded in launching your type of online business. Look at the people who have soared doing exactly what you want to do and find out how they did it! Don’t just give their success-stories a cursory glance. At the outset, spend a week engaged in hard-core detective work and draw-up an outline that you can build upon and use for handy reference. When your online business is launched, don’t stop exploring. Continue to spend one or even two days a week studying and making notes. Narrow your scope of research as best you can and tap into a few online discussion groups that are well-organized, moderated and pertinent to your kind of product or company. Ask polite questions of people who have a solid, all-around online storefront and/or social media presence that impresses you. Are you going to make some mistakes and spin your wheels in directions that take you nowhere? Absolutely. The point of maintaining a solid discipline of research into the successful strategies of others is to keep those “wheel-spinning” interludes as brief as possible. The more you know, the more swiftly you will be able to move forward during the trial-and-error process and the better equipped you will be to recognize potential errors you’re making in the first place! That’s a natural part of business and you should expect to experience this. Use information as your all-purpose weapon against ruts and roadblocks.

POINT 3. HIRE PROFESSIONAL DESIGNERS AND CONSULTANTS IF YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES

Most everyone realizes that launching a business requires some form of investment, whether it be time, pounds of flesh, heaps of money or all of the above. If you do have some money to spend and have already adapted the attitudes and work ethic described in Points 1 and 2, then this piece of advice follows rather effectively as a matter of course. Okay. Let’s take stock of things. Stress is being experienced and managed without marriages crumbling, minds melting, pets running away and dishware being smashed in shattering episodes of high-drama. You’re in the zone and handling it. You’re having a reasonably painful amount of fun. You’ve done tons of intelligent research and you’ve sifted and selected the best bits of strategic advice from proven winners. Presuming that your product is ready to be sold, you’ve also made some decisions about how you want your online store and your social media presence to look, the tone you want to project, which trajectory you want your company to take (at least at the start) and when you want to get things up and running. Now is the time to look into professional design services, seeing as you have finally reached the stage wherein you are able to articulate your vision effectively to professionals who will appreciate your hard-earned clarity and who will therefore waste none of their time, your time or your MONEY.

You’ve got the “pearl of great price” in terms of knowing what you want and what has worked successfully for others who have wanted the same thing you do! You’ve done your homework and can now employ experts to help actualize your professional vision online. In the course of your research you have heard about a few companies (web-designers, marketing associates, PR consultants, et al.) who have helped clients enhance a specific e-commerce vision and achieve certified results in keeping with informed expectations. Do some more research. Look into the companies and related services thoroughly and discern which packages best fit your budget, your plans, your product and even your temperament. Set up conference calls and get to know the people who might be instrumental in helping you achieve an impressive launch for your store and sewing-up any loose ends you may have missed in your own explorations. That’s what they are there for. Ask questions, even if you think they are stupid questions. If possible, talk to people who have worked with a given design/consulting firm in the past. What did they like about this company? What didn’t they like? A brief Google search will reveal clients comparable to yourself and a little more effort will get plenty of references you can trust. If a given company seems to have a lot of a la carte services beyond your budget, ask them if they can go the prix fixe route and if they are willing to tailor something as all-inclusive as possible that won’t break the bank. The key here is being judicious. A careful, well-scrutinized selection of expert services from tried and true professionals can make the difference between bringing your online commercial vision to life … or obscuring it hopelessly, out of the gate.

Good luck, aspiring entrepreneurs! It takes a lot of work to launch a solid foundation for your online storefront and coordinated social media network, but following the three guidelines above will hopefully help lessen the stress and improve your chances at a time when getting the project off-the-ground properly is, by far, the most crucial part of the ongoing and adventurous journey.

__________________________________

All Rights Reserved. Jonathan Kieran 2013