Crowdsourcing?

You see it everywhere now, crowdsourcing. First it was cool new inventions that needed start-up cash, then struggling artists that needed a good push toward stardom, and always charities. Now you see people wanting you to fund what used to  be regular expenses. A guy has to fix his truck. This girl always wanted a horse.

The one that gets me is the independent author who is begging asking for an all-paid self publishDistant Trees of a book with unknown quality. I’m a big fan of self-publishing, all my books are that way. Right now, I have a great deal of anxiety over whether I can afford to enter a prestigious contest – one that will also judge my five books as a series. It would boost my credibility and maybe encourage a few book buyers. If I won. Hmm.

I have not been able to afford professional editing of any of my books; I would love to but that would run thousands of bucks for each one. A substantive edit is heavily pushed at Indies, I am bombarded with smiling Editors who assure me their service will make by book shimmer in Tenembrasperfection. My cover designs rely heavily on royalty-free photo sites, not the dazzling Graphic Designer outfits that lay on heavy persuasion that the cover is the BIG THING.GREEN.Dig.BadgeWIN

I, like a multitude of others, abhor spending my time and money of a book somebody slapped up on Amazon with little or no editing. I have been burned and am very wary now. Some covers look like grade-schoolers did their darnedest. You can’t even trust the reviews because unscrupulous authors buy them by the hundred – a practice Amazon is now cracking down World of Our Ownon. To avoid that pitfall, I studied hard and used local amateur editors. I edited several times over the span of months. I paid for cover design. To validate that approach, I have won or placed in several contests, though none for cash prizes.

Download 090915 078Should I get on IndieGoGo or some other site and explain that my books show what happens when the climate changes, how it affects the folks a hundred years from now, about how desperate people make bad decisions? My books will enlighten the public! Give me $10000 to get CadillacNeighbors editing and a professionally designed cover! Give me marketing funds! Give me the moohlah to enter big-time contests…

I can’t see doing that. Perhaps I’m too independent or too proud. I did order a complete set of my books to send to that contest. Maybe I’ll win!

What Would You Do?

blog june 040I’m putting the electrodes to this old blog to attempt revivification – there’s a word for you. Here’s the premise: Creative folks like to do things their own way. Here, I’ll tell you how I tried to do something, how I attempted to solve a problem. Comment if you like or help if you can; I get stymied.

I only get to be home on the weekends, something about needing to work and my job is an hour and a half away. It made more sense, with calculations and references, to buy a cheap place up there to live in during the week. Fine, but that means I only get home late Fridays and need to leave early on Monday morning. Hence the need to maximize my chore time.

I write science fiction. To give me enough time for that, I need to be efficient. I also don’t make the big bucks, so whatever I do I need to be frugal about it. For example, I repurpose the plastic jugs fruit juice comes in to bottle my wine – it’s worked okay for years now. You might say I’d save more if I didn’t have any wine at all. My quality of life view includes both ales and wine. I’d have more time if I didn’t write, too. Don’t go there.

blog june 082There was a Hostess outlet on my way home from work in town for several years, so I bought the best 50 cent loaves they had. When Hostess went belly-up, I dug out my ancient bread machine and made some substandard items. Quality of life: What would I rather have? Buy pricey bread at the store every week or invest in my own means? I chose the latter and now make bread I love.Hovel 002

On the other hand, I lived in that house in town with no heat or cooling, no running water and no gas. The electricity in the 100+ years old place was scary and would not support even a small microwave. I cooked dinner for the week at the cabin and ate it at work, using the office microwave. Yes, the water in the toilet (I packed water from the cabin or work) would freeze every winter. I lived in austerity for eight years. When Ma needed to move in, I had the money saved to fix the place up. I had meant to do that anyway, eventually.

I have solved a ton of problems…whether in the best way or not may be disputed. Still, I’m not too proud to tell you folks about it anyway. Writing all of this out is therapeutic. And who knows, maybe I’ll get some good ideas back from my readers. That would nifty, by golly!

A Planet of Our Own – Ready and Waiting!

Hark! The third installment in the Elise t’Hoot series, A World of Our Own,  is now buyable in print and in the ever-popular Kindle format on Amazon. Elise and her comrades find out that Independence isn’t easy. There’s guerrilla action and alpine adventure…of course Elise gets run through the wringer again.

It was great fun figuring out how the different characters would respond to  adversity. Elise crashes into frozen mountain peaks at the same time Mort and crew struggle to make some progress with the sun-blotter volcano. Barto bravely takes the reins as the Amigo handler and loses control when the whole mess of them is dropped into the liberation of Alcatraz.

What about the indomitable Alvin Wing?

Elise finds bounty for Tenembras, and something even more precious, then nearly loses it all. Ricky’s psychotic episode just about does him in, blood-stained lullaby and all. Doc Trogden learns what XXX means on a whiskey jug. Naomi gets out of jail scot-free and vows to be a happy single, for all of two seconds. Lottie Floating Feather of vicious tomahawk fame shows her more peaceful side. A World of Our Own introduces odd characters (Potters okay, but Eskimos?) and really gets inside the characters’ heads. 

Here’s one of my favorite parts (although it sends poor Ricky way off the deep end…):

A Grand Birthday Present!

What personal thing could I wish for on my birthday? Well, getting a fabulous review on one of my books is a wish come true. Tenembras just got a grand review by Kirkus Indie…Here it is:

TENEMBRAS

An Elise t’Hoot Novel

Wall, Mary Ellen
CreateSpace (428 pp.)
$14.99 paperback, $2.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1469942995; April 24, 2012

BOOK REVIEW

A rollicking interplanetary tale of cunning, gumption and the human spirit.

In the not too distant future, Earth is environmentally wracked, with much of its population corralled in refugee (i.e. prisoner) camps or dispatched to colonies on far-flung planets. Wireless-network monitoring and mind-reading scans are the norm, tactics for totalitarian “Patriots” to rein in rebels who revere the Constitution and to keep earthly ethnic and geopolitical loyalties alive in outer space. After one outpost goes down in flames, spacecraft arrive on the planet Tenembras with a doomed settlement’s few remaining vestiges—the exact nature of which must stay off the Patriots’ radar. The band that rallies to protect the payload is wide-ranging enough to warrant the introduction’s playbill-like character list. At the group’s core is Elise t’Hoot, a gutsy technological genius and all-round survivor with a knack for bridging language and cultural barriers between peoples, not to mention between her species and the nonanthropomorphic aliens who are infinitely better-intended than most humans. Not immune to the ravages of harsh politics and terrains, t’Hoot succeeds as a poster child for girl power. Wall’s (The Distant Trees: An Elise t’Hoot Novel, Pre-Elise, 2012) Kentucky roots and pride help illuminate her heroine and the folksy, fast-moving narrative, which pits greed and oppression against ingenuity and the basic goodness of humanity. Her high-spirited, irresistible storytelling extrapolates an all-too-possible future from current political and environmental conditions. She fleshes out this could-be world with pitch-perfect dialogue and characterizations, song lyrics that enhance the plot instead of stalling it, and an astute yet accessible command of technology, science and human nature. Despite its length, this unflagging novel invites a one-sit reading.

A stellar sequel that can stand on its own.

Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744

Tenembras!

Tenembras – Find Out What Happened!

Hey! The next book in the Elise t’Hoot series is ready and waiting for you. Tenembras tells what happens to Marta when she gets to where she was headed in The Distant Trees. The core characters get to show who they really are: Barto the Seneca Police Chief, Alain Cartier the Ag King, Dear Mr Crannog the Nuke Director, Naomi … well she she shows her character all too well. Those Amigos get to work and and start making a real and good difference in the pathetic lives of the Tenemras exiles. Tenembras lets you see how the luckless lot might have a shot a making livable lives for themselves. By the way, if you thought The Distant Trees was a bit cerebral, Tenembras has much more action and gets to spread out over a planet.

Acclaim for The Distant Trees!

Close enough for me, anyway! I just got notification The Distant Trees won the Science Fiction category of the Green Festival Bookfair! I’m sure the competition was fierce and the field immense, yet the dark horse got to the wire first…I suppose it’s apparent the Kentucky Derby just ran. Nontheless, I needed a little validation and this win is a great one.

The pictures are of the Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Whenever I think of green, I think of Keukenhof. Millions of tulips (and some other flowers) of every shape and hue arranged artfully, with clever sculptures and seating dispersed throughout. Is it any wonder that the heroine of The Distant Trees is a Dutch girl? Hint, Hint, the buttons to the right will help you buy the book and read it so you can judge for yourself!

Today’s Patriots vs the Patriots of 100 Years From Now

A reader asked me what the heck I had against the Patriots, the conservative Republican-ish party since I lambast them in my books. I have nothing against those folks! I wrote the stories before the Patriot Movement got into the news so much, the name is serendipidous. I chose to name the bad guys Patriots because patriot is a cherished concept in America; to be a patriot shows a deep and abiding love for what makes America great. In my story, the economy went to pot when the climate-changed weather and rising sea started tearing up the coastal cities. Here’s an excerpt:

“We had a neighbor at our first house that had a Fiat Mobius that he swore ran on olive oil. He’d say, ‘Essstrrra virrrgin olive oil’, rolling those r’s. It was a real showpiece, grass green, low to the ground, convertible.”

“They made an electric version of that, didn’t they?”

“Yeah, but it didn’t rev, and man oh man he liked to gun that engine. Ended up stuck on some tracks and got smithereened by a freight train.”

After a few minutes of reflection, Doc said, “I wish I could forget the first panicked coastal evacuations, with all the pollyannas out in full force while everybody kept saying their town was ‘another New Orleans’. I got so sick of hearing someplace was ‘another New Orleans’.

When people got fed up with political dithering while the storms got worse and displaced coastal folks looked for shelter, they allowed a coup. The ringleaders used the Chinese-Capitallist model and to make the overthrow palatable, and they named themselves the Patriots. They eliminated the Congressional posturing and the reign of lobbyists, but also savaged Freedom of Speech as well as other Bill of Rights freedoms. The Freedom of Speech movement (News Front or Freaks) was spread far and near as a grassroots means of taking the government back and that’s a main element of the books – the struggle of the news Front organizartion – the true patriots – against the usurping Pats. Here’s another excerpt:

Marta worked at digesting this information, linking what sounded like facts to other things she’d heard. “And you? You were sentenced for asking the wrong questions? About Holland?”

“Sweetie, how do you think I know this stuff? And about those other blacked out colonies? I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck and ask a few questions to the schmo on the street corner; I was a member of News Front. Heard of them?”

“You were News Front?” Marta sat up ramrod straight, a jolt through her spine and a flood of pictures racing across her vision. Suddenly the ambient lighting was painful; she closed her eyes. In a scared little voice she said, “I saw News Front people, I have nightmares about them.”

“Where?”

“I saw them at the refugee camp in Nijmegen.”

Naomi, shocked speechless for a good minute, whispered, “You saw them? Nijmegen is in Holland. You’re talking about the South Netherlands Mega-Camp. Why were you in Nijmegen?”

It was the tyrant Patriots that turned interplanetary exploration and colonization into punishment for the Freaks and gave the elites somewhere to dump the millions of people displaced by the sea or by the elites.

Honest, there’s no connection to current political parties and as a former US sailor, I respect the Americans who fight for our constitutional rights in words and in deeds, whatever their affiliation.

To read it for yourself, go to 

amazon.com/author/maryellenwall

TaDa! My New Book IS HERE!

Y’all I am giddy with excitement to have my wunderbook The Distant Trees out amongst the heathen! I’ve come to think of these sci-fi, interstellar travelling characters, even the weird aliens, as real folks and have kept writing down more of what they’re getting up to, they never seem to quit. That’s unless I kill them off, traumatic, that. The good guys get mangled up sometimes, but the bad guys … well sometimes they get off scot-free. C’est la vie!

Buy it at

https://www.createspace.com/3716971

At least until I can figure out how to work these durned widgets. Thanks!

The Distant Trees, Aw-right!

How about a sci-fi tale set in the next century featuring tyrannts, underdogs, illegal aliens, outerspace aliens and great gobs of erudite adventure? Maybe The Distant Trees is for you!  This blog will talk about my science fiction books, world travel, nature and the joys of drinking homebrewed ale and wine. Welcome and keep in touch!

https://www.createspace.com/3716971

Judge for yourself, buy a copy, and Thanks!