Tuesday, November 1, 2011

'Missing Person -- Returns!'

  Yes, I've been missing from this blog for awhile (thanks for putting out those 'missing-person' posters). Computer problems! Thinking it couldn't happen to me, it did. The dreaded blue screen.

  I suffered with it for awhile, trying all my tricks, remedy's and screaming at it while making lewd gestures. Nothing I had -- worked. So...packing the magic box up I was convinced some other expert needed to work their genius on this, now, piece-of-crap.

  35 days later, picking up the POC, while plunking down my $200, the young guru gushed from across the sales counter, 'I think I got it fixed.' No, no...he may have thought he had it fixed, but no...he didn't. So now it's at the neighbor lady's house, whose day job is heading the IT department of a humongous engineering firm. Hopefully my computer will be back in perfect form within the not too distant future. I love and miss that computer. It's my friend. Except. When it seems to have a brain of it's own, then, there's a problem.

  Using Linda's computer cramps me. It's small, a laptop. At my age (and size), things, all things, need to be bigger. The screen is too small, can't see it. The keys are too close together, allowing my fat fingers to pound more than one at a time. Her chair is terrible. Her work space is miserable...looking out the window at all those leaves. Makes me tired.

  Anyway, that's why you haven't heard from me in a while. BTW, am thinking of creating another, separate, blog containing information about the books I've written, and will write. Having all this information together, I believe, will be much better than separate, stand-alone blogs for each book. I'll let you know when that all inclusive blog is up and running.

  All for now. Thanks for following my escapades in this writing venture. The latest book, 'Bloody Omaha,' is selling a respectable 250-300 ebooks per month. Not bad, I guess. Could always be better. Also, I'm happy to help, advise, or converse with anyone, who thinks they might be interested in doing some writing, themselves. Just drop me a note, here:
garry m graves at gmail dot com.
Regards, --gg
PS -- Do me a favor. Share this blog post with your friends and family. And, if you do, let me know and I'll send you a free PDF version of 'Bloody Omaha' for your own reading or sharing. Thanks.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Character Happens! Amazon's #4 in 'Inspiration' Category

  It pleases me that Amazon has thought to include Character Happens in the category ‘Sports-Golf-Inspiration.’ The unfortunate thing is they don’t list the ‘Inspiration’ category under the bestsellers ranking on the books sell page. That sucks!
  Yes, its ranked 36 and 50 in two other categories… but having it ranked 4th in any category is much, much better. Am wondering why even have the ‘Inspiration’ category if you’re not going to list it with the other two. Geeish!
  Amazon rankings are critical to any books success. They, along with reviews, give the potential reader additional input regarding their purchase decision. Who doesn’t want that?
  Nevertheless, it is always nice to see your book continue to be bought and read by so many people. People who play golf and those who don’t. Remember, this is a book about ‘Character,’ and not necessarily about golf. The five stories are written around the game of golf because, its; A) a fascinating game the whole family can enjoy, B) its a game where you are the referee (so to speak), whereby golfers call penalties on themselves (a real character revealer) and C) the stories are funny, simple, complex, compelling, loving, respectful, joyful, teaching…along with a myriad of other ‘good things’ about golf, life, and decision making.

  You might enjoy Character Happens.  You might even want to recommend it to your teenager. (Its an ebook so they can read it on their gadget – pc, Kindle, Nook, iPad, smartphone, etc…)
‘Character Happens - The 5 Most Important--But Fleeting Virtues,’ by Garry M. Graves

  Thank You, enjoy. And don’t forget to post an Amazon review when you’re done.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Character Happens! 17th in ‘Responsibility’


  Here’s a Amazon ranking category that gives me pause. How so? It’s the sub category; Parenting Morels & Responsibility. This category seems, to me at least, to capture what I believe to be the most important aspect of the book.

  Sometimes the real essence or premise of Character Happens! is blurred. Blurred because the storyline is written using a golf setting…and even though I provided a glossary of golf terms, some readers still stumble when reading about golf, or sports for that matter. Actually, using the game of golf to convey the importance of ‘a virtuous decision,’ along with ‘good character development and awareness’ – was my intention from the beginning. There was great method in my madness, I thought.

  Golf is different from other sports because of who enforces the rules of the game. Unlike baseball, football, or basketball, with separate individuals serving as umpires, referees, etcetera…golf is officiated by the player of the game. Most unique! Naturally, this golf-playing environment is a hotbed of character revelation…and perhaps, character development.

  So…this ‘responsibility’ category is meaningful to me, perhaps readers too. It makes me proud that the book is in this group with hundreds of others, now rising to the position of 17th best selling. Even ahead of Dr. Laura, who would’a thought?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scott Nicholson Interview…


  It’s always nice when you get a big name author/writer to come by and Scott Nicholson qualifies in every regard.

Bio:   Author Scott Nicholson has written 12 thrillers, 60 short stories, four comics series, and six screenplays. He's also a freelance editor and journalist. Nicholson has written hundreds of songs and poems and was a musician in a former life. As a newspaper reporter, he's won three North Carolina Press Association awards. Nicholson also won the grand prize in the international Writers of the Future contest in 1999. That same year, he was first runner-up for the Darrell Award. He studied Creative Writing at Appalachian State University and UNC-Chapel Hill. He has been an officer of Mystery Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. He's had the usual collection of odd jobs: dishwasher, carpenter, painter, paranormal investigator, baseball card dealer, and radio announcer. He lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, where he tends an organic garden, successfully eludes stalkers, and generally lives the dream. He's online at www.hauntedcomputer.com.

  Aside from several thriller, paranormal, horror books…too many to list, Scott aids the writer as well with offerings such as: Self-publish or Perish, Seven Bad Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Writers and Why You Need An Agent (Except When You Don't). Spend some time (not much required), and review these articles, some real pearls of wisdom from someone whose been in the business for awhile. Scotts’ gift to you.

  Okay, let’s get to it.

Garry: You’re an accomplished writer...how did you get that way?

Scott: I don’t feel all that accomplished. I’m just a student of the game who has been around long enough to pile up a bunch of stuff. I think I’ve finally figured out how to write a sentence. Ten more years and maybe I’ll master the paragraph. In the meantime, it’s fun to be able to tell these stories.

Garry: Scott, I’m gonna do a one-eighty on you here because writers, particularly self-pubber’s, are always concerned with ‘how best to get the word out,’ and the various vehicles to use, etc., can you speak to that?

Scott: Well, you actually need to be doing that as part of your apprenticeship. As you develop your writing skills, you can be learning about the business and your audience at the same time. That means reading widely, not only in the types of books you want to write, but writer and industry websites. If you hang out in only one or two places, you’ll get a skewed view of things, so sample broadly and don’t fall into the trap of trying to please a few people instead of the big world.

By the time you’ve matured enough to have a novel or book ready to go, you should know enough to get by. At that point, you will need to employ everything in your promotional toolkit—that mailing list or newsletter you’ve been building, the friends in the forums, good old-fashioned advertising and sponsorships, and general visibility. Some of it is traditional—library events and store signings if you’re in paper—and the rest is invention and creativity. It takes more creativity and persistence to sell a book than to write a book. And I don’t mean sell a book to a New York publisher. I mean selling a book to a reader, who in some ways is more discriminating than an agent or publisher. While people in New York merely want to make money off of you, readers want their money’s worth and a good return on the time they invest.

If you are in the self-publishing business, your reader is your customer, and the customer is always right. That one-star review you got? You deserved it, because the customer was right. Think about your reader as an actual human, with all the regular pressing demands of life, and ask why they should spend their valuable time with you. Then deliver.

Garry: Interesting...I, as well as many others appreciate your insight...now, before you go, I want to tap that insight thingy again and ask you for some predictions...it could be whatever you think is important, you know; about the publishing business, trad publishers, distributors like Amazon, B&N, others...whatever you’d like us watch for?

Scott: I’ve gotten out of the prediction business because they all seem stupid and outdated about five minutes later. This is an entirely new thing, a cosmic shift in communication, and it’s out of everyone’s control. I love it. The more radical and freely I approach it, the better I do, and the more fun I have. So I’d say try not to get locked into a certain way things should be, or the advice of people who think they know what they’re talking about, because nobody does. Fortune favors the bold.

Garry: Great...thanks for coming Scott.

For those of you who have commented or have asked Scott questions, he will be back intermittently the next couple days to answer. Alternatively, here is a link to Scott’s contact page on his site with an explanation on how to contact him privately.

the red church web image 100 speeddating100 LiquidFear300

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Scott Nicholson visits Wednesday, March 30.


  Please mark your calendar—Wednesday, March 30, 2011. This date signifies a visit to this blog-space of an accomplished and exciting author, Mr. Scott Nicholoson, speaking about his latest work, perhaps some things currently in progress…along with some general comments about the book publishing industry.

  Interested persons to include; published and non-published writers, existing authors and publishers, as well as mystery/thriller/horror readers. All are invited to this open event, 3/30/11. Don’t miss it – pass this event info on to others you know.

  Scott will answer your most thought-out questions so bring your inquisitiveness and scholar. Thanks, –gg

Free excerpts from Scott. ‘Speed Dating with the Dead’ (An urban fantasy thriller by Scott Nicholson) ‘Red Church’ (Horror)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baylor study emulates Mr. Obvious…

Mr. Obvious

  This article title caught my eye this morning, ‘Honest, Humble Workers Associated with Higher Job Performance.’ I wondered what a heavily-researched scientific study might contribute in promoting my book further, Character Happens! Always on the lookout for supporting studies, white papers, et al, I figured this might aid marketing efforts.

Think I’ll look a little further.

Writer, Laura Walter, EHS Today, said this…

“While honesty and humility might be good attributes to have in a friend, they also could have positive implications in the workplace. According to a recent Baylor University study, the honesty-humility personality trait is a unique predictor of job performance.”

Ya think?

A Dr. Wade Rowatt, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience (sounds to be a heavy-hitter, but???), at Baylor, who helped lead the study, said this…

“Researchers already know that integrity can predict job performance, and what we are saying here is that humility and honesty are also major components in that…This study shows that those who possess the combination of honesty and humility have better job performance…In fact, we found that humility and honesty not only correspond with job performance, but … predicted job performance above and beyond any of the other five personality traits like agreeableness and conscientiousness.”

Baylor researchers found individuals who scaled as being more honest and who possess humility scored significantly higher in their job performance…defining honesty and humility as those who exhibit high levels of fairness, greed-avoidance, sincerity and modesty.

The study, they agreed, had implications for hiring personnel by suggesting that more attention should be paid to those applicants who tested high in possessing these particular character attributes, saying…

“Honest and humble people could be a good fit for occupations and organizations that require special attention and care for products or clients. Narcissists, on the other hand, who generally lack humility and are exploitative and selfish, would probably be better at jobs that require self-promotion.”


Not the study. The study is not incredible, it’s the fact that a this learned professor, this monolith of a university, thinks they have discovered something…something we all knew. Peeshaw.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sherlock Holmes style…wha?


  Here is a tentative book cover for my fiction writing…yes, I said fiction. It’s time for a new journey into some other venue and given that I’m a Sherlock Holmes junkie, I figure it’s a natural. As always, readers will decide their acceptance of this project by voting with their ‘click to buy’ selection of this new offering. As it should be.

  Am thinking of using a pen name, re: Henry H.H. Hittlebloome. Sounds English doesn’t it? I’ve researched the Hittlebloome name and have found nothing, which is good in many respects. The name sounds English old country, circa 18th, maybe 19th century. Perfect.

  Naturally, I wanted it to be similar to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writer of the Sherlock Holmes series. If you’re going to write fiction like Doyle then maybe you should have a name like him. Also, am hoping to style the writing in a Sherlock Holmes-esque fashion with a deductive reasoning bent, similar to Holmes, but with a present day setting, 21st century.

  Because the ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,’ was such a incredible classic I figured ‘the mystery styling's of Jake Spade,’ would sound…uh, current. Thinking the words, ‘mystery styling’s’ as a substitute for ‘The Adventures of…,’ would be a perfect replacement for the original and yet convey a present day setting. Yes…I realize it’s a funny title and maybe it doesn’t need to be funny. Yet, I’m thinking the title needs to speak to those who want funny (today)…who need funny (now). So, there you have it. Who knows, maybe I can cross-market the book as a coping stratagem.

  This information is made available now as: 1) an introduction to my writing fiction, re, mystery/detective/investigative/thrillers, and 2) your opinion about the books cover and title, and pen name, and (insert here)… 3) because I want those people who follow my escapades, to be informed of what’s coming in 2011.

  Am thinking of releasing episodes (under the books title), in a 15 to 20 thousand word segments, making them available as they are written one after the other, after the other…then later compiled into one large offering. This method keeps the ebooks cheap and I dig that.

  Okay, here’s your task: tell me what you think (comment section below), about…the book cover, the title, the pen name and/or whatever you feel you need to comment on.

  As always…Thank You for buying my books. And, Thank You for your support.

Respectfully, Garry M Graves

Monday, February 28, 2011

Interview @ blog, ‘So, Write,’ Wednesday March 2nd

  On Wednesday of this week please take some time and visit writer, G.P. Chings’ blog, ‘So, Write,’ where Ching interview’s me about my book Character Happens!. And, my self-pub experience.

  Here’s reason enough:

  …another diversion from Facebook, interesting tidbits about the book, quasi-interesting tidbits about the author (me), opinions about the self-publishing book phenomena, super-secretive-interesting things about…(its secretive, you have to visit on Wednesday).

  The book cover above is G.P. Chings’ new spring 2011 novel, ‘The Soulkeepers.’ Take some time now and read the description of this new novel, here.

  Finally…don’t forget the interview Wednesday, March 2nd.

Regards, Garry M. Graves, Author, Character Happens!, now $.99

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Character Happens! The ‘Revised’ Edition…


  Pictured is the new cover for the ‘Revised’ Character Happens! book.

  The book is being revised for many reasons, to include; a sub-title more descriptive of the books context, artwork more congruous to the theme, revised Foreword and Afterward, revised back cover and new yellow overall book cover. And, specifically revised text/developmental editing with enhanced graphic inclusions.

  Character Happens! discusses the concept of personal character and decision making…all wrapped within a golf storyline. The newer subtitle; ‘How Golf Teaches You (and your children) About…’ will more aptly define for potential readers the content of the book. At least better than the previous subtitle; ‘The 5 Most Important—But Fleeting Virtues.’ I was relatively happy with this first subtitle as it was received well by many readers, however, it didn’t include the two key concepts this newer subtitle does: ‘How Golf Teaches’ and ‘your children.’ In my opinion, those two phrases are magical and will be incredibly important in the books marketing. BookCover12010

  Replacing the angel on the original cover with the new 1700’s era illustration; the golfing couple conversing with the younger caddy person, is quite illustrative of the books title. The picture reminds me of the ‘Old Course at St. Andrews.’ A definite improvement to the new book cover.

  As many of you know, with some bringing it to my attention…the original text contained some errors; misspelled or misused words, missing words, other grammatical and developmental faux-pas. So the book needed some revisions. Being an ‘Indie’ or self-publisher, as I am, it’s not such a monumental task in making these adjustments to a previous work. And that I will do…hopefully targeting potential reader’s better, more complete.

  For those interested…I need beta readers, or proof readers. With several other sets of eyes the comments are plentiful and immensely helpful. So if you a mind to help and have the time, you can reach me here. I promise all who participate with me a ‘new’ and ‘improved’ copy (print or ebook) of Character Happens! Free!

Many Regards, Garry M Graves

Character Happens! Bloody Omaha (Both $.99 @ Amazon)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Character Happens! (the book), finally #1


  Character Happens! finally, surprisingly…reaches number ONE.

  Sure…it’s selling price is $.99, but so what. Sure…the category is specifically defined; Books, sub-category Sports, sub-category Golf, sub-category Inspiration. So what! I’ll take it.

  Some will say; ‘it’s an ebook, not a real book.’ FYI, ebooks are selling better than hardbacks, better than paperbacks, better than audio-books. People are buying and reading more books today…and it’s because ebooks are cheaper and now the reading devices (Kindle, Nook, iPad), are plentiful.

  Regardless…at 2:53 P.M., Tuesday, January 25, 2011, my first book reached the #1 sales spot on some obscure category on Amazon, making me feel good, once again, about this writing endeavor. It encourages me…and in this day and ‘age’ it’s nice to be encouraged by something.

  So, if you’ve a mind, click on the ‘Inspiration’ link above that takes you to Amazon’s listing in this category. Oooops, too late, Character Happens! has already dropped to second place. Still…you’ll see plenty of books trailing behind the number two slot, so I’m ahead of somebody.

  For those who’ve bought the book, you have my appreciative THANKS. For those who have not yet read a ‘character’ book with a golf storyline, then click here. You might think the $.99 is not such a bad investment.

  Many Regards, Garry M Graves

Thursday, January 20, 2011

‘Book Review’s’ -- how important are they?


  Reviews? Just how important are reviews in aiding your decision to buy something today?

  If you’ve ever bought anything from Amazon then you’re aware of their product rating format; one to five stars with five stars being the best, blah, blah, blah. They go to great lengths in soliciting your rating after a purchase, regardless the product; TV’s, camera’s, shoes, whatever. Amazon is recognized for being the biggest book seller in the world. About 40% of all books sold. It’s always helpful (and informing), prior to a purchase, if you can read what others have to say about the book. And, how the reviewer tagged the books rating, one to five, in their opinion.

  Some are crude reviews with slights about the books storyline, grammar,  scene/character/plot development and even the catching of misspelled or missing words. It’s not that the slight review is unwarranted, what is is. Most of the time, book review’s contain positive (or negative) comments that aid the next buyer in their buying decision. This, IMO, is a good thing.

  Here’s my point.

  My two books, up on Amazon, have few reviews and ratings, too few. Sure, the last book, Bloody Omaha, has only been out less than 30 days. I’m just saying…reviews are important to buyers…so if you can take a moment and write a review (on either book), then maybe someone else might do the same. Think of it as…paying it forward. You’d like to know what others think about that 60” 3D HDTV, before you hit the buy key, wouldn’t you? So, write a review on whatever you buy. If the site does not have a review format, you might want to give that some thought as well.

  Writing a review at Amazon is painless. If ever you’ve bought something from Amazon, anything, then you’re allowed to post a review (on whatever) regardless if you bought the item from Amazon on not. Specifically, its called ‘having an account,’ to qualify for writing a review.

  If you don’t care to buy my books just to write a review, fine. I’m not asking that. In fact, if you want my books free then let me know and they will be sent to you, in a PDF file for reading on your computer. Not good enough you say…(you like to hold the printed book in your hands), then email me and I’ll send the first 25 inquirer’s a free printed paperback book.

  Not so fast. You have to promise to write a review on Amazon. Good or bad, positive or negative. Your rated-review is needed and most important.

  Thanks to those who have bought the book(s)…now all I need is your review.

Many Regards, and have a great 2011. –gg

Amazon Book Links: Character Happens!  Bloody Omaha

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)...email 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 believe...an 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 people...love golf. Too bad! You should try it sometime...because it’s more than a game...it 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 me...as 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 too...as 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.