Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stacey Cochran – Writer/Author/Educator, visits…


The following is my ‘stop’ on author Stacey Cochran’s Blog Tour.

Bio - Stacey Cochran was born in the Carolinas, where his family traces its roots to the mid 1800s. In 1998 he was selected as a finalist in the Dell Magazines undergraduate fiction competition, and he made his first professional short story sale to CutBank in 2001. In 2004, he was selected as a finalist in the St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Dr. Susan K. Miller-Cochran and their son Sam, and he teaches writing at North Carolina State University.

Should you have a question or comment for Stacey, please utilize the below comment space provided. Stacey will answer as many questions as possible within the next few days. Please check back.

Without further ado, I proudly introduce Stacey Cochran. Thanks for visiting with us today Stacey…

STACEY: Thanks for having me.

GARRY: With all the components necessary to write a great thriller, like Claws 2, how come reviewers say you’re ‘the best’ regarding ‘Scene?’

STACEY: Someone said I was “the best”? I’m sure they had me confused with someone else.

I’m kidding, of course. The truth is that I pay them.

GARRY: Do you teach ‘Scene’ as the more critical element to your writing students?

STACEY: I’m a big fan of scene writing. It’s true. It’s right up there with character, plot, and setting. Novels where there’s pages of internal monologue or someone’s wandering thoughts in some undefined setting aren’t interesting to me.

A good scene has at least two characters who have different wants and needs, and their wants and needs should conflict. This should be shown through the characters’ actions and dialogue in a specific setting (a car, a bus, a living room, a meeting room for members of alcoholics anonymous, etc.).

GARRY: Stacey, your first Claws book is generating more sales now that Claws 2 has come out -- is this the benefit of having a series?

STACEY: Definitely. And this is something I didn’t wholly anticipate. Seriously. Like when I first conceived of the books as a series, I could not have imagined how they would sell, where they would sell, or how they might work in tandem. In fact, eBooks were not even on my radar when I wrote the novels back in 2004 and 2005. At that time, there was no viable market to sell them.

And so, yes, I was surprised to see how strongly the first novel was selling during the first month of launch for the second book.

In recent weeks, I’ve even lowered the sequel’s price and actually raised the price of the older novel.

GARRY: A lot of my readers who are ‘self-pub writer-types’ are beginning to understand the importance of ‘marketing,’ which even the big traditional publishers are doing less of for their author’s...what word of advice can you contribute about marketing?

STACEY: The single best marketing tool is to write a great novel. After that, though, you’re absolutely right. Marketing is everything. It’s so much a part of everything that I do, I don’t even know where to begin.

I guess the best piece of advice I can give to your audience is to be absolutely fearless. Fear no one. Fear no critic. Fear no establishment. There is a sense among relatively new authors that they don’t want to say or do something wrong for fear of being perceived as a bad author… or an author behaving badly.

The best publicity comes when you’re getting tossed out of a place for doing the right thing. That alone will sell more books in the long haul than any ass-kissing, well-behaved douche-baggery.

GARRY: JA Konrath, I’m a big believer in this eBook thingy, it’s become a phenomena with Amazon, eReading devices, lower book pricing...what does a long-time author like you think about this new ‘industry?’

STACEY: You should read my 2004 introduction to the paperback version of THE KIRIBATI TEST. It’s remarkable to me in that I was basically saying that the time was here for a proletariat group of writers to change major publishing. In 2004.

So in a lot of ways, none of this is surprising to me.

GARRY: Your so damn young with a lot of writing ahead of you...does all this publishing industry confusion encourage or worry you?

STACEY: Great question. I find it immensely encouraging. It is the single most democratic thing to happen in the history of publishing. Period. Readers are deciding which books thrive. That is a good thing.

GARRY: You had mentioned somewhere that you’d really like the Claw’s series to be picked up with movie-rights...what’s happening with that?

STACEY: Realistically, nothing. That said, I have completed one short film project on my own under the Stacey Cochran Productions banner. We are currently shooting our second film. I could (at least in my own imagination) see one day filming the CLAWS movies on my own, if I have to. I could probably shoot the first book for under 200 grand, in case there are any investors in our audience today who want to get in early.

GARRY: Many writers rush their works to publish (like me) less some needed this ‘editing component’ the critical aspect of the book writing process?

STACEY: It’s definitely critical. I can’t tell you how many dozens of drafts CLAWS went through before the final published version. I had feedback from a writers’ group, a literary agent, and nearly a dozen of the best thriller editors in major publishing. And still I spent about four years in the editing phase once the first draft was completed.

GARRY: I see by your site ‘pic-page’ you’ve met James Patterson...tell us about that?

STACEY: I met Patterson at Thrillerfest a few years ago. We were staying on the same floor in the hotel, and we struck up a conversation waiting for the elevator the night of the awards banquet. I think his wife took the photo actually. Inside the elevator.

GARRY: Stacey, please accept my sincere appreciation for you taking the time to participate in my Authors Tour there anything you’d care to say generally?

STACEY: Thank you for having me. It was my pleasure.

Thanks again to Stacey Cochran. His next tour stop is August 30th, at this blog location.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Author Tour features…Stacey Cochran, 8/26/10


Please mark your calendar—Thursday, August 26, 2010. This date signifies a visit to this blog-space from a very distinguished author, Mr. Stacey Cochran. Stacey is the author/writer of several books besides teaching writing at the university level, as well as hosting an author interview show on local TV.

Stacey will discuss his current book Claws 2 (Thriller-Present Day-A+ Scene Development), now available at Amazon. Additionally there will be pointed questions relative to the writing and book industry.

Interested author/writers, publishers and readers alike are invited to this open event, 8/26/10. Don’t miss it!

Stacey will return to answer your most thought-out questions so bring your inquisitiveness and scholar. Thanks, --gg

Monday, August 16, 2010

‘Honesty – Defined for the 21st Century’, Release Mid-2011


Here is my next personal development book; Honesty – Defined for the 21st Century. I anticipate a spring-summer release in 2011. Below is a tentative outline of chapter topics:

* Review of historic literature (Aristotle)

* Review of current best seller (Radical Honesty), Amazon’s #1 seller present day under ‘Honesty.’

* Review of noted individual’s and what they have written and what others have written about them. (Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Socrates, Twain, Churchill, Reagan, Clinton, others)

* A first-hand case study of a teenager who when finding thousands of dollars on the street, returned it to the proper authorities.

* From aforementioned, a chapter discussion, perhaps even a definitive statement or prescription on how better we might enjoy more ‘honesty’ in our lives.

The plan is for the book to be 200+ pages (paperback) with a suggested selling price of $15.95. Also, and certainly first in order will be the eBook @ $2.99.

Lastly, should anyone wish to send me your thoughts on the books topic, references or possible literature inclusions or exclusions, please do so. Also, I will need a new set of proofreaders, specific to the theme as well as qualities necessary in construction of works in the personal development genre.

It is intended this ‘Honesty’ book be the second in the series of my offerings with the character focus. Please accept my humble THANKS for buying and reading Character Happens!, my first noble offering -- hoping to inform, entertain and communicate my special blend of character understanding, present day.

Thank You for your support. With your help this new ‘Honesty’ book will introduce a new fresh perspective. Any comments appreciated.


What are "The 5 Most Important--But Fleeting Virtures?"

Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion and Humility.

.....this is a portion of the "introduction" or prologue to the book (not yet completed) with your comments.

The books title; Character Happens! The 5 Most Important—But Fleeting Virtues, describes my belief these five important virtues (Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion, Humility), are sporadic in use and diminishing in personal character. The books message is in recognizing this “fleeting” nature and from that reinstitute a more virtuous choice in your decision making.

The paradox of the two words; Character Happens, with another two words: “S### Happens”* (decorum prevents use of actual word) is not without merit. My belief is that observed human character is much like, well...s###! This kind of observation can be disconcerting at times. So confusing that society can hardly make the distinction between the two words and there obvious different meaning. Individuals make virtuous and un-virtuous choices/decisions for innumerable reasons, both consciously and without deep thought. If we postulate; can an individual make a 'more' virtuous choice in life’s decisions should they want to do so? Answer—perhaps. How does one 'reinstitute a more virtuous choice' into their personal makeup...making the response more automatic? Answer—practice. With a concerted effort at 'practice' I individual might just develop a more 'repetitive' decent response...much like grooving a golf swing.

I love golf. I think the game is like no other. The five stories that make up Character Happens! have a golf storyline. Some readers may not be able to relate to the game of golf or its vernacular or for that matter, why people...a large number of golf. Too bad! You should try it sometime...because it’s more than a can be a life experience. The golf course environment alone is enough to put most people at ease.

Golf is a game played by the individual as opposed to being a member of a team, like baseball. Baseball has umpires who enforce the rules of the game. In golf you are the umpire. Because of this unique method of enforcing the games rules—golf is a “hotbed” for testing the players character...their honesty, their integrity, their courage and sometimes their compassion. And, because all golfers started from knowing nothing about the game; like how to swing, how to putt or chip... they also learn of humility. Now doesn’t it make perfect sense that a book about character would juxtaposition a storyline with the game of golf? Anyway, I thought so.

There are five stories, one for each virtue. The book has six main characters that make up a group of what I call 'golf buddies.' The storyteller, Spencer Madison, in reality is me. Well, somewhat like I have a better golf game than Spencer. The five others vary in age, gender, education, religious beliefs and definitely personality. The 'binder' of the group or what brings them together; golf.

The reader will hopefully discover in their own lives a similar incident with one of the story’s in Character Happens! If not, that’s okay the stories are earnest while humorous, carefree yet compelling. And, I believe each chapter or story makes a 'point' in this wonderful, wacky, dynamic world in the 21st century.

The stories are fictional as are the characters. Names, personalities or incidents are fictional and in no way resemble or refer to a living person. I’ve used paraphrasing of many authors’ ideas and concepts and have referenced them in a special section. Because of these references and the specific genre where the book is to be found, it’s categorized as a non-fictional, personal development book.

for the language but this word best describes the thought I want to convey. In Forrest Gump the term was used to describe situations that happen to all people for no particular reason.