Top 100, I’ll Take It!

Secret Agent of God

Secret Agent of God

I’m running a promotion on my novel, “Secret Agent of God.” It’s a Kindle Countdown deal for .99 through this Sunday, 9/5. I went to copy the link for a tweet that I was writing and discovered the e-book had hit one of the Amazon Top 100 lists @#66. So I take this as a sign not to quit writing today.

Amazon Top 100 Lists

The interesting thing about writing is that writers think about quitting pretty regularly. For example, I was considering pulling the plug on this blog as recently as last week. I enjoy writing here periodically, but I am not what you would call a “pro blogger”. I guess my reason for quitting was why do it if I am not going to give it my all? Right? The same could be said about writing. Very few writers have the time and resources for 100% devotion to their craft. So why bother?

I think about giving up writing from time to time. It would be nice to have a hobby like painting or airplane model building or quilting. Do those hobbies drive you to the brink of insanity? Do they cause you to talk to or at least mutter to yourself regularly? Do they fill you with doubt and self loathing? Do they keep you up at night? I wonder if a quilter ever wakes at 3:00 a.m., sits bolt upright and then staggers around in the dark looking for the pen and paper that should by her bedside for brilliant o-dark-thirty revelations. I would be willing to bet airplane model builders sleep like babies with flying dreams all night and that painters spend their REM time skipping through the streets of Paris.

So just quit, right? What is the big deal? One less writer in the world…who cares? There are millions of us after all. Except that quitting is simply not an option, is it? We’re compelled to write, even if no one reads what we write, even if we write for a tiny audience. One person is an audience. It’s all about perspective. Keeping the right one will keep you writing.

Thank you readers! Here’s the link if you are looking for a witty, gritty, page turner to keep you up at night!

Book Link: “Secret Agent of God”

Bar Fly Away

Women’s Fiction/Romance

By Eileen Slovak

Nadia was no bar fly, but her roommate Tina fit the profile.

Friday nights at Joe’s Tiki bar in Miami, Tina would routinely perch on the edge of a bar stool, pitching forward, revealing her substantial cleavage, while flipping her false blonde locks at some unsuspecting fool. The dim torchlight masked the pockmarked skin and smoke-stained smile that would cause men to recoil in daylight. Nevertheless, some always sought her sort of promiscuity.

In front of the bathroom mirror in the apartment she shared with Tina, Nadia absently brushed her resplendent black hair. “I’m just not up for the bar scene tonight, T. I think I’ll stay in.”

“For cripes sake Nod, you’ll never get a boyfriend hiding in the apartment.”

I wouldn’t call your one-night playthings boyfriends, Nadia thought.“I’m tired, she said, “and I’m just not…like you, T.”

Nadia dreaded the sounds of Tina’s nightly entertainment reverberating through the thin walls.  As a mid-year transfer to The University of Miami, limited housing options had led to her current residence, but as the new school year approached, she had already begun apartment hunting.

“I know,” said Tina, with her hands on her hips, “I get it. You’re not outgoing.  But I can show you how to get noticed.”

What if I don’t want that kind of attention? Nadia thought looking her roommate up and down. Tina’s reptile-print, tube dress, reminded Nadia of a nature program where an anaconda swallowed a Cayman whole.

“Come on, Nod,” Tina pleaded. “You know I hate going out alone.”

“Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt,” Nadia said applying pale pink lip-gloss to her full lips. Brushing mascara on her generous lashes, she accented her chocolate-brown eyes. She dusted her cheeks with blush, although her flawless, olive skin required nothing.  After adjusting the straps of her stunning black sun dress, she slipped on low sandals.

“I’m ready,” Nadia said.

“Show some skin!” Tina bellowed. “Look at me!”

Nadia resisted saying what she was thinking and instead picked up her purse and followed Tina out the door. As they walked two blocks to the Bar, Tina gulped down a liquored concoction from a large, plastic cup while Nadia looked up at the starlit sky, wishing on each burning light.

“Look out boys,” Tina snorted, “here comes trouble with a capital T!”

Steamy nights meant full club capacity with customers spilling into the streets. Jimmy Buffet’s vocals filled the acrid air. Navigating through a blur of Hawaiian shirts and scanty dresses, Nadia reached the bar, but Tina had slipped away, having found her evening’s mark, she was jigging and singing, “Wasted away again in Margaritaville.”

Moments later with a pink, frozen drink in hand, Nadia slipped to the upper deck, away from the crowd to survey it from a distance. She rested her cup on the deck rail thinking, there must be a better way.

A couple staggering toward the stairs bumped the rail sending Nadia’s drink toppling over. She reached up too late to retrieve it. A waterfall of pink slush landed squarely on a young man below.

“I’m so sorry!” Nadia called down, her long hair waving in the breeze.

Dumbfounded, the man looked up. The right shoulder of his white shirt soggy with the pink mixture, he flashed Nadia a brilliant smile.

“Where I come from,” he said, “its good luck when a beautiful woman spills her drink on you.  So, if you don’t let me buy you another, I’ll be ruined.  What do you say?”

“Is that really true?” she asked walking down the stairs toward him.

“No,” he said, looking into her eyes. He took her hand on the last stair. “I’m Santo,” he said. His eyes remained fixed on hers. He wore his dark hair on the long side and the now wet shirt showed off his fit physique.

“I’m Nadia,” she said.

“Well Nadia, I wish it was true. But one look into your eyes tells me I could never tell you a lie.”

“Then, I say yes,” she smiled and that was how Nadia met her future husband.

-The End

Artistic in the District: Part Nine, A Photo Story Prompt

As I’m running in circles this week trying to prepare for my second of three book fairs tomorrow at the Calvert library in Prince Frederick, Maryland, events.html this will be brief! It’s a quick photo essay of my more artistic pictures. I’ve also begun adding cute sayings to some curious photos and some quiz photo’s about Secret Agent of God on my Facebook page. If you are into that sort of thing feel free to Like it. Here’s a preview of some of my photo’s, which total over 5,000. I had to think of something to do with them, didn’t I?

A good photo should elicit some feeling in the viewer, don’t you think? I often wish my eyes could be the camera. I don’t really care to see the world through the lens of a device. It takes something away from the image somehow.

I think what makes a person respond to a photo has as much to with the person as it does the photograph. Our personal view of the world, our experiences, our mood are all factors in how we view what we view.

Each of these photos could be a story prompt. This is what I think when I look at pictures. A single snapshot in time is only part if the story. What else is there? What if? What other? Who was there and what were they doing? Then what happened? Where were they going and why? Who did they meet? Were they running away from something or someone? Or running to something or someone?

So what do you think?

Thanks for reading! And always stay curious!

 

 

 

 

Are You a Facebook Flop?

Facebook F+

Facebook F+

 

If you’re not a Facebook superstar, fear not! You likely have other strengths.

In the scheme of marketing things, my Facebook fan page is NOT growing in leaps and bounds. I opened it, because it was one of the many things marketing experts tell authors we must do to sell more books! Well…I think my personal page was a help in letting my friends know that I did in fact finally finish and publish my novel, SECRET AGENT OF GOD. Much to my surprise, many of my friends purchased the book. I rather expected to give copies away to my nearest and dearest, but they beat me to it. Now if I had thousands of ‘friends’ I can see where this might be a place where people sell tons of books. But does anyone really have thousands of friends?

I actually personally know all the people on my Facebook page and I hang in there because among my small group of good people, I might actually lose touch with some of them if I was not there. Time zone differences and my multiple moves have made Facebook necessary.

As far as fan pages go, I think the successful folks in this arena truly love Facebook and are not like me, suspicious by nature and private to a fault. They like sharing. They like getting personal with just about everybody.

In my Facebook beginnings, five years ago, I was so paranoid I refused friends I didn’t know especially well and deleted people who didn’t communicate with me regularly. Suffice to say, I did not really get it. Most of my very best friends refuse to join Facebook at all. Many of us feel forced to take part.

But to the Facebook lovers, maintaining their pages is not work. To them, it’s fun. Now the new push is to start your own Facebook group. I participate in a few of the groups, but do I want to be responsible for one? Not really. Time is the real factor here. None of us has an infinite amount, so where do you spend yours?

This makes me wonder, is Facebook really for everyone? More importantly, if I feel this strongly about it, Is it even where my fiction audience lives?

I have developed a twitter addiction. Of my 3,113 followers, 80% come from Twitter. Approximately 16% come from WordPress and about 4% come from Facebook. Which means, this is already where I spend my time. Why turn myself inside out trying to be someone else?

While some people may handle both Facebook and Twitter well, most tend to fall into one camp or the other.

Writers love Twitter because we can show off how well we write flash fiction and catch phrases. It’s like Facebook for nerds. I’m sure I’ll catch hell for saying that, but I find a real discrepancy in content between the two sites. Facebook on any given day is ripe with messages about friendship, moms, sisters, confidence boosters, pictures and films about cats, dogs and babies. On Twitter I find news, poetry, art, and quotes from the great thinkers, writers, and historians of our time.

Twitter is not as much of a popularity contest as Facebook. A business person may have as large a following as a celebrity. So, do you spend the bulk of your time Facebooking, WordPressing, Tweeting or Instagraming? Do the math. There’s strength and truth in numbers.

And if you’re feeling charitable, please “Like” my page!

Looking for a fast-paced, thriller with a touch of romance? Uncover the SECRET!

Thanks for reading and keep writing!

Artistic in the District: Part Two

The focus for part two of Artistic in the District is the blending of two art forms, writing and photography.

Self Portrait, Arc de Triophe, Paris

Self Portrait, Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Some of my favorite blogs are those featuring poetry or a story combined with an artistic photo or photos. In a sense, almost all bloggers strive to accomplish some form of this. These seem to allow a peek inside the mind of the writer. Perhaps, the poem or story itself begins as inspired the photo. Either way it is a wonderful combination. Here are some I follow and some just recently discovered. If you know of any other artistic blogs you like, please feel free to recommend them.

Hortus ClosusFriendly Fairy TalesSource of InspirationPoesy plus PolemicsBroken LightThe Neophyte PhotographerMr. Modigliani’s Private StudioRadiating BlossomsThe Mirror Obscuramaxada mandalaBjorn Rudbergs writingsthe Book of Pain, and Il mio giornale di bordo

Contemporary art is an evolving art form. In a similar way, the art of blogging evolves. I have seen more and more of these blogs spring up due to the popularity of this form. Perhaps because we readers are all so busy, we seek the quick fix a photograph provides. An excellent photograph will move us to some feeling, sensation, or memory. Adding on verse only makes the photo more appealing in that it gives voice and offers words for contemplation.

I enjoy taking pictures but I am not a photographer. Taken by my husband, the photo I selected above is of me descending the staircase of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris . I love the idea of ordinary things becoming extraordinary because I am looking at them from a different angle. Art is about vision. The beauty is that we all have a unique experience. We all have a story or two to tell.

Looking at this photo, I noticed for the first time, there is someone else on the staircase below me. Who was that person? Where was she going after she finished her sight-seeing tour? Maybe she went to meet a friend in a local café. Maybe for a rendezvous with a lover? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Happy writing all and thanks for reading.

Preview: page 99 of #SAOG, e-book .99 on Amazon

I was reading about the page 99 test on http://www.page99test.com/ and decided to give it a whirl. It’s an interesting concept although I guess it’s not really new, it was new to me. Readers read your page 99 and then offer feedback and or decide based on this page whether or not they would be interested in reading the rest of the book. My husband has a copy of my book on his desk and a co-worker picked it up and read page 99. This is what started me thinking about it. It makes sense, because in my book, this is about the halfway mark, and some pivotal things are happening in the story here. Although, taken out of context, can you judge the book by it;s page 99? Anyway, here’s my page 99 excerpt from Secret Agent of God:

 

“That’s weird,” she said. “I haven’t had a problem all day.”

She had her arm wrapped with an Ace bandage. Another message came to me like a flash of lightning: “Her boyfriend hurts her.”

Makeup covered up the remains of faded bruises on her face. She couldn’t get the card machine to work, and the line behind me snaked around the market. I started to hyperventilate. I pulled out all of my cash to pay for my small basket of groceries, and sprinted out of there. Maybe I should have done something to help her. That thought still haunts me.

Speaking of haunting, I’d read that spirits can wreak havoc on electronic devices. It has something to do with them being all made out of energy. Wonderful, so now Spirits were following me around the grocery store and whispering things in my ear. I only hoped I wouldn’t start seeing them next.

I hated not having control over what was happening to my body and my mind. Father B. was still traveling around Italy. Maybe I should’ve gone with him. I could’ve stayed there; and been a runaway. Only how do you run away from your own mind? I checked the listings for psychiatrists in the area to see if any of them worked on a sliding scale.

 ***

    I wake up to the hum of an engine and the sound of the tires on the driveway stones again. A car door opens and slams, the front door creaks and heavy feet pound the floor. Outside of my room, Ape and English bark at each other. It’s just how they communicate. I stand with my body against the wall, listening to their language. Tonight, I’m sure they’re talking about me. I hear Ape say, “Zahera.” English’s voice is louder. Maybe they’re arguing about whether tonight is the night they’ll kill me or not.

Now English sounds pleading. I know he’s been keeping me alive and he has his reasons. What I don’t know is exactly what those reasons are.

 

Thanks for reading!

Click here for the full story Secret Agent of God.

#SAOG #Janice