Do readers like teasers?

First a little clarification…

Let it be

I received an unexpected message from a reader of this blog stating that I shouldn’t be using this forum to promote “causes” instead of my books. I assume she was referring to the wolf entries I have posted recently. I offer no apologies for my occasional wanderings into what I now consider to be a good cause. As I mentioned in another post, during my research into wolves for the second book I discovered a whole other world when it came to the wolves of North America and a lot of it disgusts me. I didn’t realize (as I suspect a lot of people don’t realize) the importance of the wolf in the eco system and have come to appreciate this animal more than I ever thought possible. Wolf-hunters who also call themselves environmentalists simply haven’t done their homework or they are perhaps attempting to justify their primal actions by tagging themselves with this misnomer…but I will remain off the soapbox for now.

I have reached that point in the draft of the sequel to WWM where I’m beginning to spend some time researching options for listing, selling, and promotion of the book. I’ve noticed that a number of self-pubs are using social media to drop in teasers or segments from their new works and I am wondering how this works for them.

As a bit of an experiment I tried including a paragraph from the sequel on the WWM facebook page and I did receive some ‘likes’ and a few encouraging comments. This does feel good to me, that people have taken the interest in what I’m doing. As I draw closer to completion and publication (still a few months away) I think I’d like to tease the readers a bit more but I’m still not sure of the effect it would have.

Do readers like teasers?

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Wolves Getting Booted Back to the Brink

My book “White Wolf Moon” is a light tale about a sixties hippie-type spending his golden years in a small BC town with a white wolf-cross named Ginn. I had been taken to task for my depiction of the animal saying that there could be no way a wolf-cross would have the intelligence or the personality that Ginn has. She was “too smart” and “too tame”. Oddly I have based her on a couple of actual wolf-crosses that I had met in real life. Both were wonderful, loving, and gentle creatures and probably smarter than the people that owned them. In my second book I decided to research wolves both in the wild and in captivity so that no-one could question my depiction this time.
I won’t take the space to get into details of my research…there are thousands of pages available to anyone who wants to glean a little more understanding into this wonderful, pertinent  and most misunderstood creature. My research has validated my claims in the first book and will make the second far more factual and educational, if in a fictional setting.
What I did stumble onto though was the other side. The bullet-headed people from the average Joe to politicians (who have pockets filled with NRA, hunters associations, cattleman, and the like) who simply want to slaughter. This isn’t sport…it’s mass murder. To read about how proud the government is that they spent millions of dollars to bring these creatures back ‘from the brink of extinction’ only to turn around and de-list them is plain, simple stupidity. Their numbers are once again falling fast and soon we’ll have to spend more millions to bring them back…or will we just let them go this time and sit back and watch the gradual destruction of an eco system…all for the sake of money, votes, or the satisfaction of knuckle-draggers who want to prove their virility by the senseless elimination of an entire species. As Jim points out the Yellowstone story is a real eye-opener. If we could only learn from that….

Take the time to read Jim’s post. This is one of those ‘damn I wish I’d written that’ posts but damn I’m glad I read it!

Thank you Jim!

Mike

Exposing the Big Game

When an activist friend asked me to write an overview of the wolf situation, my first thought was: “What a daunting and extremely depressing task that would be.” But having followed the wolves’ story since long before their reintroduction to Yellowstone and the Idaho wilderness, I suppose it’s only natural that I take this on. After all, I’ve covered the issue many times in articles, on my blog, and I devoted two chapters of my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, to the plight of wolves.

At the time I wrote the book’s chapter, “From the Brink of Oblivion and Back Again,” wolves were still federally protected and their removal from the Endangered Species List was just someone’s bad idea that had yet to see its dark day—I never quite realized just how apt that title would soon be. Until recently I remained hopeful that…

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EXQUISITE PHRASEOLOGY

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I’m just over halfway through the rough draft of my “White Wolf Moon” sequel. I had originally set the end of April as a goal but life happens and that became unreasonable so I moved it to the end of May. It seems I’m on track. At this point it’s a combination prequel/sequel although I’m still not sure how it’s all going to fit together. I decided to step back from the writing and read, from beginning to end, what I’d put down so far. As well as an overall reading to see how it flowed and checking for time-line glitches I was looking for specifics.

A quick aside…after a few weeks of calm on the sales front I’ve had a couple of downloads over the last couple of days. If it follows the usual course there should be a few more in a week or so but I’ll have to wait and see. Not-so-aside…last night I met one of the people that downloaded one of these copies. She and her friend became acquaintances of ours due to her son and our daughter developing a relationship. I had been told earlier that she has a background in English Literature and was an intense reader so my heart was beating fairly quickly when she started telling me what she thought of my book. She began reading it on Monday so she isn’t too far into it yet but said she was thoroughly enjoying my “exquisite phraseology”. It’s because of interesting comments like this I am re-reading not only the sequel but also the parts of “White Wolf Moon” that she referenced.

Technically I’m certainly not the most conscientious writer. I try to be more precise on narrative but I love dialogue and I love typing it as people would say it. My dialogue tends to be scattered, filled with a few “ums” and “ahs” and many…ellipses. I write the words the way I hear them and I think it comes across in the final product. In fact that’s one of the common comments I’ve received about the book…“The dialogue feels so real, like I’m eaves-dropping…”

Another lady, an English teacher, told me that she found something refreshing about reading naive authors and my book was one of the most enjoyable she had read. Once I figured out what she meant I was flattered but determined to “beef up” the sequel, to hone the words a little more and try to add a bit of polish, especially to the narrative. The dialogue though will forever remain scattered, imperfect, and… naive. It’s the way I talk, it’s the way everyone I know talks, and it’s the way my characters talk.

So now to the point. As I read the sequel I realize that I have made strides in the narrative. It reads far more sophisticated than the original book. I don’t know if this is a good thing but it feels good to me. This whole endeavor has been a learning experience and one that I kind of wish I’d done with something other than “White Wolf Moon”. I put my baby out there and I now realize that I could have done so much more with it. It isn’t that I’m not happy with the way things have gone it’s just now I see so many areas where a little polish would have made a big difference.

But that’s yesterday. All I can do now is take what I’ve learned and pack it into the sequel…starting with a name. I’m still not sure what to call it but I imagine it’ll jump out at me in the same way the original title did…a dropped line in some improvised dialogue.

From White Wolf Moon (2012): Jenn looked back at Evan. She was feeling more at ease now than ever before. This in itself was troubling. “You couldn’t have picked a new moon to streak?” she asked.

“I don’t have the energy to streak anymore, I can barely waddle.” He glanced quickly about the room. “You’re right; it is pretty bright in here. There’s nothing like lunar lighting…or reflection, to be more accurate. Quite calming, don’t you think?”

“Uh huh.”

“Saturday night it’ll be full. A white-wolf moon.”

“Which is?”

“It is said that those who witness the howling of the great white wolf when the moon is full and high shall be blessed with an abundance of love and harvest.”

“Old legend?”

“I think I just made it up. Ginn sometimes goes a little nutty at full moon though.”

“Oh…she runs around in a state of not dressedness too?”

“Not dressedness? Interesting.”

 

 

R.I.P Carl Perry…

I’ve just experienced a loss and, fictional as it is, I can’t help but feel sad.

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Carl Perry was an ‘aside’ character in White Wolf Moon. He was a band member and buddy to all the other characters going back to their rock days of the early Sixties. While he was not as close to Evan as most of the others he was, nonetheless, a friend. If you have read the book you know that his death was not unexpected but what is unexpected is my reaction to the loss.

I created all these people and I figured a few key strokes to write ol’ Carl out would be easy…and it was. Writing the reactions to his death through the other characters isn’t quite as easy. The surviving characters speak of the good times before it all went wrong and while writing down their memories I discovered incredible depth in this walk-on player. He wasn’t just a name. He was a person with hopes and dreams, mostly unfulfilled. He tried to be all things to all people but at times he ended up being nothing to anyone…just an ‘aside’ character. Evan, Andy, Claire, Danny, and Carol are quick to point out that the Carl from White Wolf Moon isn’t the real Carl. He was a lover and a fighter, a jester and a comrade. He had his foul moments but deep down he was a warm giving caring man who loved his family, friends, and the world in general.

Part of me is amused that five fictional characters have managed to bring life to a sixth imaginary character after his death but another part of me is wondering why I feel this despondent over Carl’s passing.

Yes some of my characters are based on real people but Carl Perry wasn’t one of those. From the beginning he was totally fictional and existed just for filler…to keep the dialogue or scene moving. Like my computer Carl had a predetermined life span and of all the characters from the original, he is one of the two that wasn’t invited to Kamloops for Jenn’s Grad.

No, I didn’t invite Carl back for the sequel but now that I’ve learned more about him I feel a tremendous regret. If the ‘real’ Carl could have been at the after-grad shindig he might have offered up more than he did the first time around. If I’d managed to peel back that exterior and get down to this ‘real’ Carl what more could he have provided the story-line?  I briefly considered remission or a miracle cure solution to the problem but that just won’t happen. It’s too pat and too obvious…and not like real life. Carl is one of those people you wish you’d gotten to know before and based on the comments of the other characters I think he and I might have got along well, had a few laughs and beers as it were.

But I’m sorry Carl…no call from the Governor this time old friend.

Wolf lovers…give it a rest.

 

Your bleeding heart blogs, comments, and photographs of butchered lobos are wasted on those who should be taking notice. In fact these outcries provide a particular and peculiar self-satisfaction to those who participate in this noble sport of wolf hunting…wait.

Sport? I must be clear on the precise meaning of the word before I fling it about. This is only one definition, there are plenty more…most with the same characterization.

Sport: Noun, an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes in play against another or others equally equipped in an environment designed to provide a level playing arena.

I can’t honestly say that I recall seeing any wolves or wolf videos that showed them in possession of high-powered semi-automatic assault weapons with scopes that can pick out footprints on the moon. To be fair and clear, I’m not saying there aren’t any…just that I haven’t seen them. Come to think of it I’ve never seen a wolf flying a helicopter over a pack of humans in order to “pick off” as many as it could in as little time possible…but then I may have missed that one too.

To truly call this a “sport” we must take the two equally equipped with what nature has provided them combatants and put them in a level playing arena. Any idea what will happen to the unarmed hunter in this scenario? Probably nothing…there are only two documented cases of wolf attacks on humans that resulted in fatality in history but 327 people in America have died at the paws and jaws of domesticated dogs in just the past twenty years. And if you’re a bear or cougar hunter…well, never mind. It’s probably best not to level the playing field.

Man is the only animal that kills for pleasure or “sport” and, surprise of surprises, man doesn’t always restrict himself to other species. Yet it seems we pride ourselves on how far we’ve come from being animals. Ain’t evolution grand? Actually it is…except for those out there that appear to have skipped a rung or two on their way up the ladder. These folks are the braintrusts that will quickly point out the statistics and videos of the harm these noble animals create but are just as quick to debunk outnumbering statistics that justify the wolf’s place in the eco system. In researching the wolf for my new book I watched a lot of videos regarding their behavior and, in doing so, saw many examples of man’s inhumanity, cruelty, and plain ignorance. One video featured a wolf that had been caught in a leg-trap. When the hunter approached, the wolf crawled to its feet and began wagging its tail, sensing a rescuer. Said rescuer had a beer in one hand and a rifle in the other. Three shots were fired, two into the hind quarters inflicting unnecessary pain and finally the third into the head…after an appropriate length of time spent swigging beer, mugging proudly for the camera, and laughing at this poor animal trying to stand. These are images that I know will stay with me forever even though I could never watch them again. Another that will probably haunt me for a while is one where a girl, perhaps five years old, is standing over a raccoon pointing a handgun at its head while Dad encourages her. His voice is clearly heard in the background: “Come on shoot, it’s only an animal….” What kind of father does this? I suppose it would be one that skipped a few rungs. The cruelty that this man shows not only to the animal but to his daughter is unforgivable. Teaching a five-year-old that a life, any life, is worthless is a crime.

Yes I’ve heard the plight of the cattle ranchers in Montana and the like and certainly I would expect they would take measures to protect their stock but this seemingly all-out massacre of wolves is ludicrous. Hunting them into the high ranges by helicopter and slaughtering dozens at a time isn’t about protecting stock, it’s about ego and proving your suspect manhood…crawling into their lairs and shooting or gassing pups isn’t manly or macho, it’s simply killing for no reason…and holding up your prized over-sized phallic black weapon while proudly grinning over a wolf carcass that, at the very least, suffered a countable ten bullet wounds is just plain sick.

The Russian parliament is debating a flat out ban on this type of hunting…they beat us to space and they’re winning this race too. There are countless petitions for people who wish to speak out against this mindless possible extinction, at least one here in British Columbia. It seems that the majority is no longer being as silent on this issue and it’s about bloody time. We can only hope that when society and/or government finally realizes that this world can ill afford to lose yet another species there will still be a species left to save.

Forgive me my introduction, obviously now is not the time to “give it a rest”…I just wanted to get this off my chest and grab your attention…as do these folks:

Stop the British Columbia Wolf Hunt!

Grey Wolves Should be Protected, Not Hunted!

Exposing the Big Game

Good Wolf facebook

Rescue the Mexican Gray Wolf

Wolf Angels facebook

There are, of course, many more sites dedicated to the preservation of the wolf. Take a little time to check some of them out and add your support if you are so inclined…thank you. I shall climb off my soapbox now.

Mike