Getting it Right: Hot Air Ballooning

Writing about hot air balloonsOnce upon a time in another life I worked for a premier hot air balloon company in the Napa Valley. In between selling rides, acting as crew, and working as the morning ‘hostess’, I toyed with the idea of flying a hot air balloon for a living and took lessons from a patient and really brave pilot. Needless to say, when I realized the time and monetary commitment involved I soon abandoned my dreams of guiding passengers on a floating tour above the region that I had grown to love so much. In those days, even though you only needed to complete 10 flights and 35 hours to be licensed as a commercial pilot, most balloon companies in the Valley required a minimum of 500 flight hours before they’d even consider hiring you. Five hundred hours takes a LONG time to add up when most flights don’t last more than an hour or two, and several companies required 1000 hours of flying in the Napa Valley itself.

So, in case you’ve been looking for that unusual element to include in your nascent manuscript, here are some pointers to consider when writing a scene which includes your character riding/piloting a hot air balloon. First, some terminology: Continue reading “Getting it Right: Hot Air Ballooning”

Finding Readers with Yasiv

We’ve located your target audience!

As authorpreneurs, I think one of the major challenges we face is finding our audience. I know I had a heck of a time figuring out my target demographic when I started writing the Kate Jones Thriller Series. Who was I aiming at…er, I mean for? Who did I think would enjoy reading about a woman who made a huge mistake in her 20s and has been on the run ever since? With guns. And explosives. And really bad guys chasing her?

Did I mention guns?

I couldn’t really market them as romances, although there’s certainly some of that in the books. I toyed with the mystery moniker, but that didn’t fit either. So, I settled on thriller and action/adventure. But when I looked at the types of books in the thriller genre, I realized my character wasn’t your typical stoic, quiet-but-lethal dude. In fact, Kate’s got some issues and isn’t real quiet about them. My other character, Leine Basso, is more along the stoic and lethal lines. Both have boatloads of courage, though, and the storylines are fast-paced and action-packed, which can be found in most thrillers.

Enter Yasiv. I just ran across this site the other day and I’m still playing with it, but I think it’s going to help quite a bit in identifying the demographic for my books. Rather than guess what my target audience might be, Yasiv gives you a visual rendering of the actual connections to a specific product on Amazon—in this case, your book. Continue reading “Finding Readers with Yasiv”

Two Sides to Every Story

I recently ran across a couple of articles describing a joint DEA/FBI/PD task force that busted several people working for one of the big Mexican drug cartels in the U.S. One article was all about how the operation was one of the biggest busts in that state’s history and how it put a nail in the coffin of a powerful cartel in particular and drug running in general, and went heavy on blaming the drug cartels. The other piece took a different approach, citing drug use statistics and the toll it takes on everyone involved, and blamed America’s addiction to illegal drugs for the escalating cartel influence in the U.S. Of course, the truth is somewhere in between the two extremes, and it got me thinking how this related to writing and the indie community (yeah, I see connections everywhere—even when the link is wafer-thin). Continue reading “Two Sides to Every Story”

Fences Schmences—Why Going Indie Was Easy

Lately I’ve seen several comments in other forums where an unpublished writer mentions they’re not sure if they should self-publish or go the traditional route. As an indie writer who has friends in both camps, I realized that their indecision was due to a lack of knowledge of each process.

Now, before all you experienced indie (and traditional) authors excoriate me with your “How the heck can a writer STILL be on the fence about this?” I want to remind everyone that they were newbies once and there’s a whole lotta information out there, some good, and some that smell worse than crab guts left in the garbage for longer than five minutes on a hot day (yes, I left them in the house overnight and yes, we almost had to move).

In an effort to help make this decision easier, I’ve listed some important considerations when contemplating whether you should go indie or try the trad route. Continue reading “Fences Schmences—Why Going Indie Was Easy”