Friday, April 27, 2012


It was like being in an abyss
Tormented, Stricken
There was no relief
Freedom was a dream
A senseless wish
A wraith
A cloud of smoke blown
off by the four winds

I still hear his voice
and i cringe
I hear his shouts
And the sounds are like
knives stabbing the inside of me
I stand on the edge of a precipitous cliff
Looking out to sea
I can barely believe I am free

To the east
At a point on the horizon
Where the eyes
Can barely meet
Dark clouds race towards me
And i flee
I hear his voice again
And this time
He condemns me
As he did in years past
When i was flying without wings
Who is he?
His name is DAD!
But this time he won't find me
Cos i morph into the winds
Flying to a place where only God can find me

A voice alone

I am the voice of one
Who walks alone
The voice of he who
some say has no home
The one who they say
has no where
Or no one to call his own
Many i know
Wonder why this is so
How can this voice
This one
Who speaks with such depth
Such spirit
Like parseltongue is to serpents
Walk the barren wastes called mother earth
On a quest
With no one to help
Or even to care
Or be there
But the voice knows
The voices grows
The voice searches for something
Other voices do not know
This thing makes him grow
Makes him glow
And it is this singular thing
That makes him walk alone
I am the voice of the soul
The voice of one who knows
That there is no home
Until this goal
Is brought to a definite close
I am the voice.... And for this i walk

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Author Interview (and Book Giveaway): Alec Nevala-Lee, Author of THE ICON THIEF


Author Interview (and Book Giveaway): Alec Nevala-Lee, Author of THE ICON THIEF

Below find a Q&A with author Alec Nevala-Lee, who is celebrating the release of his thriller, THE ICON THIEF, (Signet, March 2012). In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls THE ICON THIEF an “cerebral, exciting debut.” It’s his first book, and I always enjoy spotlight up-and-coming authors on my GLA Blog. Read on to learn more…

GIVEAWAY: Alec is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within two weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before.

What’s the book about?

An ambitious young art analyst, a British investigator, and a Russian thief are caught in a murderous race to solve the mystery behind an enigmatic masterpiece by the artist Marcel Duchamp. It’s a conspiracy thriller set in the New York art world.

Where do you write from?

My wife and I just bought our first house in Oak Park, Illinois, and I work mostly at home. However, The Icon Thief was primarily researched and written in New York.

What were you writing (and getting published, if applicable) before breaking out with this book?

I spent several years as an associate at an investment firm in Manhattan before leaving to focus on writing. My first novel was a 225,000-word epic set in India, still unpublished, which I’m hoping to rework one day in a somewhat more manageable form. Before the release of The Icon Thief, I’d also published a fair amount of short fiction, mostly in the magazine Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

What was the time frame for writing this book?

I’d wanted to write a novel about the New York art world for a long time, and I had done the first round of research several years earlier, while still working at my old job. After I began writing The Icon Thief in earnest, the first draft took about a year to finish, followed by another year of revisions. Halfway through the process, the stock market crashed, forcing me to rethink much of my research on art investing—and ultimately to revise the novel to take place in the summer before the financial crisis.

How did you find your agent?

When I first came to New York, I roomed for a year in Queens with two fellow members of my college literary magazine, one of whom was working with my future agent, David Halpern at the Robbins Office, although I didn’t query David until much later. (By then, I had actually spent a year revising my first novel with another agent, but we parted ways without going out to publishers—and rightly so, I might add.)

What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

I was interested to discover that much of the editorial process has largely been outsourced to agents, with the publishing houses themselves more concerned with the business of packaging and selling books. In my own case, I spent more than a year revising the novel with my agent, while the subsequent rewrites with my editor—a very smart and capable guy—took only a few weeks.

I was also surprised when my editor asked if I could turn the novel into a series. Originally, I’d conceived The Icon Thief as a self-contained story, but I ended up signing a deal for a sequel as well, and I’m currently writing a third and final installment. In retrospect, I can see that it makes a lot of sense from a publisher’s perspective—it allows you to build an audience—and I’ve been grateful for the chance to spend more time with these characters. But it has definitely taken my work in some unexpected directions.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

Although my first novel was never published, it taught me a lot of important things: how to outline, how to crank out the necessary number of pages each day, and especially how to cut. As a result, I’d like to think that I’ve acquired some good habits, and I’m very disciplined when it comes to deadlines and revisions. This came in handy when I ended up with nine months to deliver a sequel to The Icon Thief, which had taken more than two years to write.

On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?

I wouldn’t have gone out with a draft of a debut novel that was 225,000 words long. I would have made sure that I saw eye to eye with my first agent before spending a year on rewrites. And I would have started much sooner.

Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing the build a platform and gain readership?

I blog every day at I write mostly about the creative process, with occasional excursions into movies, literature, and pop culture, and I was recently surprised to discover that I’ve produced well over a book’s worth of material over the past year and a half.


What’s next?

My second novel, City of Exiles, will be released on December 4. I’m about halfway through the third book, currently titled The Scythian, which I’m scheduled to deliver in six months for publication in 2013.

GIVEAWAY: Alec is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within two weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before.


They make me laugh

They make me sigh

I shake my head when i look into their eyes

These strange females that God gave to be our helps

Making us most times end up needing HIS HELP!

They call us bad... And this is sad

Because they do things which are a tad

Silly (no offense)

We tell them truth... They call it lies

We tell them lies.... They call it truth

I love her die.... She runs a mile

I treat her cruel; a bitch in truth

Only then does she want to be my boo

So true

She knows she is the only one she goes aloof

But i have ten others besides her

She fights for me and crawls through the roof

I have a plan ... A vision

That will take me to my promised land

But at the start i have little or no cash in hand

She scoffs and races off

With the other dude with the cash who sleeps with her and discards her like rubbish in a trash can

Is it any wonder that when i am rich and famous riding in the stars i do not take her serious and i use her

And then she calls me bad

She then runs to church and prays to God

Who looks down on us with love

I am not sure he even understands how their mind works

Guys face your work!

Gals... Sigh! I'l say no more

Friday, April 13, 2012

Social media and time management tips

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
How I Handle Social Media: Time Management Tips
Writers are busy people. If you don't believe me, check out my list of the 8 jobs of modern writers. We have to do our own promotion, networking, accounting, sales, negotiating, filing, and, oh yeah, there's that writing bit too. And if we're not robots, we've probably got real lives too--and maybe even a day job to pay the bills. How do we fit in social media?!?

Is there a way to add an hour to the day? Like leap hour?

As a parent of five kids between the ages of 10 years and 10 months (and split between two states) who has a day job and a real life, I can totally relate to this situation. Now, I think everyone has a different angle or strategy for handling time management, but here's what I do.

The Power of Making Lists
First, I make daily task lists--with each day's tasks on a separate piece of paper. It's taken some time, but I've figured out how much I can comfortably complete each day--with a few unexpected daily surprises thrown in for good measure. I try very hard to avoid overachieving each day, because that practice usually backfires and causes me a lot of stress.

When I finish each task, I cross it off my list. Then, I allow myself a few minutes (up to 15) to check my social media accounts. I'll jump on Twitter and Facebook to see if anyone's contacted me first. Then, I also do a quick scan of what's happening in the world via my social media streams.

During these small breaks, I might link to a blog post from one of my blogs. Or I might share an article from another person. Or respond to a tweet. But when my time is up, it's up; and I have to jump back into my tasks list. (By the way, this blog post is on my tasks list--as is my Cub Scouts leaders meeting later tonight.)

It All Adds Up
Over time, these small breaks add up to a big investment in social media. Plus, they are more meaningful, because they are spread throughout the day (as opposed to an hour of social media power).

I consider social media just one part of my day, kind of like checking my e-mail (which is a-whole-nother story altogether). In fact, it's such a routine and minute part of my day that I don't even include it on my task list. I just know that I'm going to do it.

How about you? Do you feel you're investing too much time in social media? Not enough? Be sure to share in the comments.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Writing a novel when you are real busy

How to Write a Book When You’re Really, Really Busy

I am, as my mother would say, “a busy little beaver.” While writing my most recent novel, I was working full-time, going to school at UCLA and training for a 50 kilometer footrace. I also slept, ate, saw friends, posted on Twitter and Facebook, blogged, belonged to a book club and watched a number of “Mythbusters” episodes.

With that kind of schedule, one question comes up a lot, especially from other writers: “When do you write?”

Guest column by Ashley Ream, who got her first job at a newspaper
when she was 16. After working in newsrooms across Missouri,
Florida and Texas, she gave up the deadlines to pursue fiction. Her
debut novel, LOSING CLEMENTINE, which sold at auction, was a
Barnes & Noble debut pick and a Sutter Home Book Club pick. She
and her books have appeared in L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine,
Bust Magazine, the Kansas City Star and Marathon & Beyond Magazine.
She lives in Los Angeles where she works at a nonprofit, runs
ultramarathons and is finishing her next novel.

The short answer to that is most days after work and on weekends when I get behind, which happens more often than I’d like to admit. But what I think these folks mean is: “How do you write enough?” The truth is I plan. I plan extensively. I have a spreadsheet. People don’t seem to believe this, so here it is for my second book, which I recently finished.

When I start a new book, I sit down with my calendar and block off all the days when something out of my control will make it impossible for me to write that day. Sometimes I have to travel, sometimes it’s a big project I know will drain me, sometimes I have a family commitment. Whatever the case, I don’t kid myself. I know when I’m not going to be able to get my word count in. I also take two days a week off to have a life and do all the other things that aren’t the novel but are part of the writing business, like writing this article. So now I know how many days I really have in the next several months to work.

Then it’s just math. Do I have a deadline? In this case, my agent wanted me to have the book done very early in January. I’ve done this enough to know I like two editing passes, so I figure that in. How much time does that leave for a first draft? Divide probable word count (a little over 100,000) by number of days to get words-per-day. In this case, it’s 2,000. I ask myself “Is that reasonable for me?” In my case, it is. Every writer is different, and it’s not much help to lie to yourself.

Then I stick to it. I rework the schedule only if something shocking happens in the manuscript. That happened in this book. I trashed 50 pages and a complete outline when I realized my main character needed to age 10 very important years. Sometimes I have to be flexible, but I don’t allow myself to be lazy. There’s just not enough time. If I don’t get my pages done during the week, I pay for it on the weekend. There went my days off.

Writing a book is hard. Writing a book while having a day job is harder. Writing a book while having a day job, hobbies and a life requires a strategy – a strategy and a spreadsheet.