Daydream Your Novel

Daydream Your Novel

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

Finally, you manage to find some time in your jam-packed schedule. You wrack your brain, trying to force the words out . . . nothing. Or the words appear, but your writing seems awkward, forced. You try again and again, work harder and harder, only to get the same dismal results. Why? You know what you want to write. So why aren’t you getting anywhere?

Because creative ideas can’t be conjured up through conscious thinking. Creative ideas are products of the unconscious mind, and they float to the surface only when we aren’t “thinking” (in the conventional sense of that word).

But how can a writer gain access to creative ideas locked up in the unconscious mind?

By freeing the mind. By daydreaming.

Begin by taking the pressure off yourself to write. Close your ideas, lay down somewhere quiet (if you’re at home, that is), let your mind wander. Envision the scene you’ve been trying to write, let it unfold on its own, relax and watch it like a movie. Then, while that scene is still fresh in your mind, write it down as you’ve experienced it. Don’t worry about making every word perfect.

As odd as this technique sounds, it helped me to write my first novel. It also made the process of writing easier, smoother, less intimidating, and more fun. And writing a novel should be fun; otherwise, why bother doing it at all?

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

I Miss My Characters!

I Miss My Characters!

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

I spent over three years of my life with two special people, Josh and Holly. I knew how they met, how their relationship grew, how they felt about each other. I knew their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, their checkered pasts, their worries about the future.

I knew everything there was to know about these two people. Then one day . . . they were gone.

Josh and Holly were the main characters in my first novel Love Is the Punch Line. Even when I wasn’t writing, they lived in my head. I could see them and hear them so well that they became part of my daily life. So when I finished writing the book, I found myself missing them.

How did I deal with it? I started writing a new novel with a new set of characters I could befriend. But I still miss Josh and Holly. Maybe I should write a sequel . . . .

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

Saving My Bag

Neal3K Handle With Care via photopin (license)

A series of posts by a Toronto-based novelist who’s trying to reduce her carbon footprint by making more thoughtful choices in her daily life.

 By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

I’ve always loved leopard prints; among other things, I’ve owned a leopard print dress, pants, shirt, blouse, sweater . . . even a belt. So when I spied a large brown leather shoulder bag with a haircalf, leopard print front on Banana Republic’s website in the fall of 2011—the bag was part of the store’s 1960’s-themed Mad Men Collection—I just had to purchase one.

I took very good care of that bag, keeping it clean and treating the leather with a special conditioner several times per year to keep it soft and supple. Unfortunately, I discovered that haircalf is very difficult to take care of. The haircalf front of my bag became more and more bald with each passing year, and by the fall of 2019, it looked awful. I was ready to buy a replacement . . . but I didn’t.

Why? For one thing, haircalf bags cost a fortune. Also, the rest of my bag—the leather—was still in decent shape. It seemed wasteful to toss it out, and I didn’t want to hurt the environment. I knew that nobody would purchase my damaged bag if I donated it to a resale store and that it would end up in a landfill.

So I started hunting for a shop that would either dye the bald spots on the haircalf to conceal them or replace the front of the bag with a new piece of haircalf.

None of the shops I approached were willing to take on the dye job. One shop was willing to replace the haircalf panel . . . at a cost that was far higher than the price of a brand new haircalf bag! I was about to give up and buy a new bag . . . then I had an idea: Maybe I could replace the damaged haircalf front with a piece of plain leather.

The owner of the shoe repair shop in my local mall offered to take on the job for the reasonable price of $120 (versus $500 and up for a new haircalf bag). He replaced the damaged haircalf front with a piece of reddish-brown leather that contrasted beautifully with the rest of the dark brown bag. Two weeks later, my bag looked like new.

I now have a lovely bag that didn’t cost a fortune and is much easier to take care of than the old version of the bag. And my contribution to the world’s landfills was minimal: a panel of damaged haircalf instead of an entire bag.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

Sympathy for the Villain

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

Photo credit: License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)<

Ever since I was a child, I’ve sympathized with the villains in stories.

It all began during my earliest years, when I sided with the “villainous” cats in those all-too-common cat and mouse cartoons that used to run on Saturday morning TV. Even though Tom or Katnip had been trying to catch—and presumably, eat—the mouse, he didn’t seem to deserve the cruel and brutal torture that was supposed to be “funny”, but never was.

As I grew older, I found myself feeling sorry for villains in novels, movies, and TV shows. All too often, I became angry when a male character was humiliated in public or a woman was jilted by her fiancé for a more beautiful woman or someone’s job or career was destroyed when a more “deserving” person snatched it away from them.

Whenever I talked about my sympathy for these “villains,” most people thought I was crazy. After all, the villain had done something to deserve his or her fate! And I was supposed to cheer for the hero!

But I wasn’t crazy; I had very good reasons to cheer for the villains. 

In most of these stories, the villains are losers. They’re underdogs who never had any realistic chance of winning. And they’re almost always outclassed in some way by the heroes—the winners—who have some unfair advantage over them, be it looks, some special talent, or even good, old-fashioned “virtue.” Heroes are nothing like real, flawed people with shortcomings, who usually don’t have outstanding looks or talents. And real people don’t always win.

In other words, real people are more like the villains than the heroes in stories. Unlike heroes, real people know how painful it is to lose. We’re often outclassed in some way by those who have some unfair advantage. That’s why I—and perhaps other people—sympathize with villains, not with heroes.

And also like us, all of those fictional villains probably have a good side and deserve their fair share of happiness! Why can’t their creators—novelists, scriptwriters, animators—find someone to love the villains or give them a shot at a promising career . . . or even let those cartoon cats catch those stupid mice, just for once?

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

New 5-Star Review for Love Is the Punch Line!

Posted by Carolyn Bowen on Goodreads on December 3, 2020: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37507307-love-is-the-punch-line

Love is the Punch Line is a well-written, suspenseful novel. You’ll meet Josh Steinberg a self-loathing comedian with severe depression, problems maintaining his career and a nonexistent love life. Then he meets Holly Brannigan at one of his shows, and when her phone rang during his set, he calls her out and demands she leaves the club. She did; right after throwing a glass of water in his face.

The author, Kathleen Jones, did an excellent job with the dialog, diving in deep to show the honest feelings of the characters. Waves of tension pulsate throughout the novel, leaving you wondering if both the major characters could release their baggage from the past and start over again. 

This is an excellent read with an underlying powerful message — Never Give Up! 

China, Not Paper!

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Photo credit: i_aint_got_no_id jmartin_earth_apple via  photopin (license)

A series of posts by a Toronto-based novelist who’s trying to reduce her carbon footprint by making more thoughtful choices in her daily life.

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

For over thirty years, one of my favourite Boxing Day rituals was a trip to the mall to snap up bargains. And every year, I’d visit card stores, where I would purchase next year’s cards, paper, tags, and bows, all at half price. All too often, I’d also pick up small paper plates printed with festive holiday images, such as vibrant red poinsettias and big white and silver snowflakes.

These cheerful paper plates added colour to our Christmas table, and I loved seeing them year after year. But after dinner was over, these now-soiled, unrecyclable plated were always tossed out. A couple of years ago, I began to wonder what happened to these plates after I threw them out. Did they end up in a landfill somewhere?

Deep down inside, I knew the answer: I was creating waste. And I had to stop. But what alternative did I really have? Good-quality, Christmas-themed china plates aren’t exactly cheap, and a whole set of them would cost a fortune.

But I didn’t need to purchase an entire set; a partial set of dessert plates would do. In January 2020, I spied a set of six small Lenox china appetizer plates (which could be used to serve desserts on) with a pretty green holly pattern on sale at Hudson’s Bay for $112 (marked down from $250). I snapped them up. I wanted to buy six more plates, but they were sold out at the Bay, so I searched online. I finally found them on sale at Wayfair for the higher but still reasonable price of $180.

I now own a set of twelve gorgeous, holiday-themed china plates that will last for years and years, purchased at a fraction of the original price (over $500). And, most importantly, I’ve stopped buying—and tossing—those pretty paper holiday plates that are easy on the wallet but hard on the environment.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

 

Writing the Quirky Novel

 

photo credit: 2009 06 25 Library Bookshelves via photopin (license)

 

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

Most novels fit neatly into a genre: science fiction, romance, mystery. These genres have large and enthusiastic audiences, making them attractive to publishers hoping to sell large volumes of books.

But some novels don’t fit neatly into established genres. Some novels can fit into two or more genres; other novels don’t seem to fit anywhere. And these hard to categorise novels can be difficult to market. So, what’s the point of writing an offbeat, “quirky” novel?

Freedom. Unconstrained by the “shoulds” of conventional fiction, quirky novels give writers the freedom to experiment, to try out fresh ideas, to go wherever their imaginations take them. Quirky novels break rules; even the ones that can be pigeonholed into a genre often break the rules of that genre. Rule breaking is exciting and liberating, and frequently leads to surprises and intriguing insights. What’s more, a well-written offbeat novel tends to be memorable . . . and very entertaining for readers!

Of course, the very uniqueness of quirky novels can make them hard to sell. Literary agents and editors at large publishing houses, sniffing around for the next million-selling blockbuster, usually aren’t interested in them. Authors of quirky novels should consider submitting their work to small presses—which tend to be more open to unconventional books—or even following the self-publication route.

The very existence of a quirky novel is something of a small triumph in a huge universe of increasingly bland and predictable books. As the author of a recently published quirky novel, I know the thrill of seeing a writer’s special vision in print, especially when it’s enjoyed by readers. There’s nothing quite like it.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

Can Indie Novelists Do Book Signings?

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By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

If you’re an indie novelist—a self-published novelist or a novelist published by a small press—you’ve probably had a hard time selling your book. Indie novels are usually ignored by reviewers at mainstream newspapers and magazines, and they’re rarely carried in bookstores because small presses and self-publishers don’t have deals with book distributors.

But indie novelists can sell their books in bookstores. How? By doing book signings.

Do this before you approach bookstores

First, create two documents to publicize your book: (1) a tip sheet and (2) a press release. You can find templates for both types of documents online.

What is a tip sheet? A tip sheet is a summary of your book; it includes an image of your book’s cover, the ISBN number, price, format (print and ebook), publication date, publisher’s name and logo, number of pages, and a couple of brief endorsements from reviewers.

What is a press release? A press release announces the publication of your book. It includes the publisher’s name and logo, a brief synopsis of your book, the author’s contact information (phone number, email address, and mailing address), endorsements from reviewers, and a link to your book’s media room (if any) on your author website.

Once you’ve created your tip sheet and press release, copy them to a USB, take the USB to a print shop, then make 25 colour copies of each document.

Which bookstores should you approach?

Strange as it might seem, chain bookstores are usually more welcoming to indie novelists than indie bookstores. Indie (non-chain) bookstores rarely carry indie books—they’re either too specialized and/or they’re biased against books that weren’t published by big houses.

Get your novel into the bookstore’s online catalogue

Once your publicity materials are in order, try to get your book listed in the online catalogue of a bookstore chain. Your book won’t be available in the chain’s bricks and mortar stores, but customers will be able to order it online.

Find the website for the bookstore chain you want to approach and search for instructions for new authors. For example, Indigo Books and Music, Canada’s largest bookstore chain, has a special webpage titled “FAQ for Authors” (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/authors-faq/). Authors who want their books added to Indigo’s catalogue must send an email that includes the title and ISBN of their book to newauthor@indigo.ca.

After you send your email, you might be contacted by a manager requesting additional information on your book (such as the list price). She or he should be able to help you get your book listed on the store’s online catalogue.

After your novel is listed on the bookstore’s online catalogue

The next step? Try to arrange a book signing at one of the bookstore chain’s locations.

First, order 10 to 20 printed copies of your book. Then order a box of padded envelopes from a company such as Uline (https://www.uline.ca); you’ll need them to protect your books from wear and tear when you take them to the bookstore.

Next, check the bookstore’s website for locations near you; be sure to jot down the address and the manager’s name. Visit individual locations and bring a printed copy of your book and your publicity materials with you. Once you get to the store, try to speak to the manager, show her or him your book, and leave copies of your publicity materials. Ask the manager if you can do a book signing at the store and try to get his or her email address and phone number. When you get home, send an email to the manager, thanking him or her for their time, and attach electronic copies of your publicity materials. Then follow up with the manager by email or phone in a couple of months.

Your book signing

Once you’ve scheduled a book signing, send an email to the manager, confirming the time, date, and the number of copies you’ll be bringing. You can also attach a PDF of the book’s cover to your email and ask the manager to incorporate it on a sign announcing your book signing. The manager might also send you a consignment contract if she or he wants to carry additional copies of your book at the store.

Write a brief pitch for your book—a spiel that will make your book irresistible to customers—and try to memorize it.

Bring 10 to 20 copies of your book (in the padded envelopes) and 25 copies each of your tip sheet and press release to the bookstore. You can also bring a copy of your pitch, just in case you haven’t memorized it.

Get to the store at least one hour before your book signing and leave your books and publicity materials with the staff.

The bookstore will usually provide a desk to display your books and publicity materials, along with a small desktop sign announcing your book signing (which might include an image of your book’s cover) and a chair. But don’t just sit behind that desk; pick up a copy of your book, walk through the store, and approach customers. Ask them if they enjoy reading novels in your genre. If they do, show them your book and deliver your pitch; if they don’t, thank them for their time and leave them alone. Be sure to tell customers who have shown some interest in your book that you would be happy to sign their copy, but don’t sign the book until the customer has paid for it.

Always thank customers who purchase your book. And since book signings usually run for 3-4 hours, sit down and relax for a few minutes at least once an hour.

At the end of your book signing

At the end of your book signing, let the store’s staff (including the manager) know that you’re leaving, thank them for their help, and ask them how many copies of your novel were sold that day. If you have a consignment contract with the store, find out how many copies of your novel are being kept in the store’s inventory.

When you get home, note the number of copies you sold, along with the date and location of the store and the number of copies in that store’s inventory (if applicable). If you don’t receive a cheque for the books you sold within three months, follow up with the manager of the store by email or phone.

So, why should I bother to do a book signing at all?

Book signings can be difficult and stressful; bookselling is tough, especially for novelists, who tend to be introverted and uncomfortable with crowds. But the rewards are often worth the effort, especially for indie novelists, who can get some insights into readers’ tastes and find a new audience for their books.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT  Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line) and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0) Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room at https://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

Glowing 4-Star Review for Punch Line on Amazon!

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Reviewed in Canada on Amazon.ca by Ruby Densmore on June 18, 2020

(See https://www.amazon.ca/Love-Punch-line-Kathleen-Jones/dp/1945181338#customerReviews)

Excellent read. I couldn’t put it down.

Nice love story between two people who didn’t believe they were worthy of love.