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Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Story - Medicop on Nobilis Erotica

Okay, so my idea of blogging more than once a month hasn't seen fruition. It's that work thing. I also want to give you more content than "what I had for breakfast this morning" (turkey leftovers) and "what I did on my Thanksgiving weekend". Well, actually, that was pretty interesting. The opportunity to write and podcast the story to which the title refers came about more by accident than design - (see the September blog). Basically, Nobilis, of the Nobilis Erotica podcast, asked the four of us in a chat room one night if we would sub for him for an episode in November while he devoted his time to his NaNoRiMo novel. BTW, he finished it today. Congrats, Nobilis!

I haven't written much in science fiction or erotica, but thought, "hell, why not?" Nobilis has a large audience and it would help get my name out there for when I *eventually* podcast my novel. Thanks to Nobilis, his wife, Dee, and Michelle Bekemeyer for giving me some feedback on the story. The writing part was easier than I thought ...

Then, I found out I have  an obsession. Anyone that has music or sound effects disc from Digital Juice will know what I mean. I decided to fancy up the audio with a few sounds effects ... then a few more ... then a little music .... the next thing I know, I was 24 hours into this production of a very short story and it was starting to sound like Metamor City. Oh well, it was fun and it advanced my learning curve on Audacity. My voice sounded a little like I was on the leading edge of a cold ... it was. So, forgive me for that ... if you even notice my voice, that it.

Anyway, it is what it is and it will be out there within an hour of my writing this. I'll post it here as well. Let me know what you think? I'm going back to the novel now .....

Link to Medicop


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chapter 2 of "Bruno and his Imaginary Chickens"

Hi Gang,

Okay, I know I'm way behind on getting this up. Life just got in the way. So, here is Chapter 2 of Wolfgang's story, "Bruno Fenster Saves the World and Still Gets Home in Time for Breakfast". This chapter finds Bruno in the Cafe Lamour meeting a number of interesting characters, getting conscripted into the Army to liberate Urusk, and learning how to tame wild elephants ... all before dinner. The audio isn't perfect, but, hey, it's only the second podcast. I used the same intro and outro as last time and realized that they need to be re-recorded. I have some new equipment and promise to to that for the next one.

In the meantime, I want to give a huge shoutout to podcast author JC Hutchins who's podcast novel, "Seventh Son - Descent" just came out today in print. He was somewhere in the high 200's overall on Amazon the last time I looked. You can find it here: . Find him also on I was lucky enough to win an autographed copy of this book tonight when he recorded an interview on Podioracket. Check it out!

Well, that's all for now. Please take a listen, and please comment. Much more to come as soon as I can get it all recorded. I have a surprise in November as I was asked to put together a guest podcast with an original story.

Ta for now --- Sam

Link to "Bruno" Chapter 2:

Podcast Interview and Book Signing

I recently did an interview with Greg Friese for Everyday EMS Tips. This was to the book, "To the Rescue". The audio interview can be found at and the audio file is at

I also have a book signing scheduled at the Barnes and Noble in Brentwood for January 9th. More to follow on that!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sam on EMS Educast 10-14-09

Featured on EMS Educast last night ... me!

Subject: Why Do EMS Educators Need Good Writing Skills!

Check out this group and their multitude of great EMS sites!!!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

September Update and Mea Culpa ...

Yes, I've been remiss on updating this blog even after I told myself I wasn't going to be a slacker. Excuse: There's been a lot of working, editing textbook chapters (boring yes, but it pays the mortgage) novel editing, and way less audio editing than I would like. I know you're dying to know what's been going on ... (both of you)...

The novel: I did one more editing pass and it's still going through the writer's group. The problem with that, though, is it will take 5 years to read it for them at the breakneck speed of 4 pages a week. They'll hear it on iTunes and I'll have a sequel before that happens. Anticipating the audio production, I've been playing with some ideas for music and sound effects. I bought a lot of great music and sound FX from Digital Juice. I even found a theme song there that's perfect.

Social Media: Tweetdeck has a new version that brings up the Facebook update as well as Twitter. From Tweetdeck I can do "likes", open links, and comment directly to Facebook. I can also send the same update to both. It saves a lot of time. I've met a number of awesome people on Twitter including authors and podcasters who have led me to other people. Today I got a "hi" from my friend, Arlene Radasky, who then happened to respond to myself and another person in a tweet. Curious about the other person (and always curious about who my friends hang out with) I went to her profile to find Lou Riddell is a writer and pen and ink artist. I've been looking for a cover artist for the novel and considered a pen and ink drawing. She's going to play with the idea. Wahoo! I also found out that her husband is a writer and used to be a firefighter. I'm now following him and and bought his book on Lulu.

The podcast of "Bruno Fenster Saves the World and Still Gets Home in Time for Breakfast": Well, the author, Wolfgang, decided to buy some of his own recording equipment and learn podcasting. The problem is, he can't seem to get Part "A" to work with Part "B". I told him I would record the second chapter of Bruno just to get it out there. I don't want to look like a "podfader". I recorded it weeks ago but haven't had time to edit the dang thing. I'm really going to try to do that tomorrow. I did have a bit of fun with the character voices so we'll see how it turns out. Who does the third chapter will depend on whether Wolfgang untangles himself from all the cables and figures out his equipment.

I also took on a new project; something really different: I was listening to a reading of Nobilis' "Magical Clothes" and was in the chat room with him and a few other podcasters. He was talking about how he wanted to do NaNoRiMO this year, (National Novel Writing Month which challenges authors to write a whole novel in a month) and he hatched an idea. He asked all of us if we would take one of his podcasts in November as "guest podcasters". This would mean writing a story, recording it, producing it, and putting it up. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time so I was included. This is a great opportunity for me to stretch my boundaries. Although I feel confident to produce a podcast, I'm not used to writing short stories, especially in the science fiction/erotica genre. I grabbed an idea and ran with it though, and I think it's turning out pretty well. We'll see if he likes it.

"To the Rescue, Stories of Healthcare Workers at the Scene of Disaster": The website is up The book can be found at all the usual online places. Amazon seems to have the best price. I went into a Barnes and Noble today on a lark just to see if they were stocking it. I found two copies! What a rush to see something you wrote, in hardback, on a bookstore shelf! The problem is, and maybe it's because Kaplan Publishing does a lot of medical textbooks, is that it was in the medical textbook area. Unfortunately, no one will likely see it there, so I asked my editor if Kaplan can fix that. I also happened to be talking to the community services person at B and N and asked about book signings. It seems they're having a whole lot of book fairs between now and Christmas and will give me the dates. The editor already told me if the authors set up signings and events in their respective areas, Kaplan will provide all the schwag. What fun that would be if a bunch of my local EMS friends, firefighters and authors showed up! BTW, if you do get it, please post a review on Amazon or on a site called Goodreads. If you like to read, it's a great site. I also have an author page there.

Well, that's the update. I hope more than my two followers read this. Please comment and follow this blog so I know you're out there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Website for "To the Rescue ..."

Kaplan Publishing just put up the new website to support the book "To the Rescue - Stories of Healthcare Workers at the Scene of Disasters". It's still a work in progress, but it tells you more about the stories and includes the author bios. Check it out here!

Please leave a review here, on Amazon, or whatever site you choose!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Book!

Sam Bradley's books on Goodreads

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Jack Wakes Up" by Seth Harwood Review

Jack Wakes Up (Jack Palms Crime Mysteries) Jack Wakes Up by Seth Harwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love Jack! He was an actor who fell into the kind of negative behaviors that come with fame and money. Successful in cleaning up his life after a public fiasco that put his career on hold, the money began to run out and boredom was setting in. A meeting with an old friend and a decision to make a few quick bucks sends him off on a wild adventure. This fast paced thriller doesn't even give you time to breathe between one gut-wrenching, jaw-dropping moment to the next. We follow Jack through the streets of San Francisco as his quest pulls him deeper into the world of San Francsico drug dealing, and post cold war European drama.

Despite the fact his own life is threatened, Jack finds finds a resolve and determination he didn't know he had. He's on a wild ride that gives his life a spark it hasn't seen for quite a while. From the bouncers to the drug lords to the cocaine loving Czechoslovakians, there isn't a dull character in the book.

Warning: don't read the last chapter before going to bed ... if you want to sleep anyway.

When you're finished and starting through JWU withdrawals, you'll be begging Seth to publish the next two "Jack" stories in print! Well, Seth? (In the meantime, you can hear them at

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, August 6, 2009

To The Rescue: Stories from Healthcare Workers at the Scene of Disaster

Editors Kerry-Ann Morris and Nancy Harless put together this anthology of first person disaster stories for Kaplan Publishing, and it will be out September 1st! I contributed my Ground Zero story and I can't wait to see what else is in there.

Now, the marketing begins. They will be putting up a companion website, doing interviews with the authors, and we may even be doing some bookstore readings. What fun! These are some of the blurbs they suggested:

Every year, around the globe, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and a host of other disasters devastate the lives of millions. But upon notice of a catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or the tsunamis in Indonesia, physicians, nurses, and EMTs go into action to save lives. These are the stories of To the Rescue.

In To the Rescue, those closest to the scene of disaster share intimate tales from the frontlines about the people they meet and the remarkable obstacles they must confront in order to care for patients under extraordinary circumstances.

To the Rescue provides a fascinating journey into the hearts and minds of the people around the world who save and care for the millions who are affected every year by extreme situations. Heartwarming and inspiring, these are stories readers won’t soon forget.

This book was written in recognition of all those that do this important disaster work. Please help spread the word!

Lots more to follow on this!! See the cover at the bottom of the page ...

Friday, July 31, 2009


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Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Podcast - Bruno Saves the World ...

Direct Link to First Podcast - Bruno Saves the World

Okay, this will be a short one because I just wanted to *finally* get this podcast uploaded. Wolfgang has been patiently awaiting his debut and I know better than to disappoint a crazy German. I have to tell you, though, this first one was a bitch! I have nothing but admiration for those podcasters that manage to post polished, seamless, high tech productions!

I won't bore you with all the techy complications (of which there were many), but I ended up with a number of different pieces to this file including my intro, the music, Wolfgang's story, my outro, then a promo for the Level Zero Movie with theme song. Lesson number one: use the same mic for all the recorded parts. I used the H2 Zoom for the intro and story, then the Snowball for the outro. Even after using Levelator, the difference in sound quality is obvious. Guess I won't do that again.

At least I now know much of what to do differently for the next one. When we get to Chapter 2 of the Bruno story, I have to get Wolfgang to sit still. I didn't realize how sensitive the H2 Zoom mic was, and you can hear the chair squeak and some rustling of papers. I think it was Matthew Selznick that told me to plan on the fact my first 5 podcasts would suck. He was sure right about the first one, but I hope to improve long before Chapter 5!

Nonetheless, I feel good about the fact that I created it, and managed to upload it. Now, I just hope someone will listen to it ... other than Wolfgang. Where do I go from here? I have a recording of some first person firefighter stories I need to edit, and will maybe put up for the next podcast. I really hope a lot more EMS folks will contact me with stories to share. Then, there's the next chapter of "Bruno", and I hope to start soon on the novel. That's the project that will be really difficult. I know I can make it simple and just read the dang thing, but I want to add some production value ... somewhere between straight reading and a full cast and original score. I also know once I commit myself to it, I'll have to continue to deliver. But, more on that later.

Well, that's it for now. It's late but I promised myself to get this out today ... and I did.

Remember, life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but to slide in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a magarita in the other, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "Whoo Hoo, what a ride!"

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Life Part II

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs: Water → food → security → coffee → writing → self esteem. Well, maybe not exactly the way I learned it in school, but it’s close to how it’s being played out in my life.

So, after the move to the Bay Area, my EMS career continued to evolve from Clinical Coordinator, to Regional Trainer, to Field Supervisor. In 2006, I finally left the ambulance business to work for the State of California as a Health Program Specialist doing disaster planning. Gas prices (and a 1.5 hour drive each way from the Bay Area to Sacramento) eventually drove me back to Contra Costa County. Professional independence came as I began working for myself as a consultant. Scary, yes, but the State Community College System where I teach part-time covered the insurance, so that helped. I continued to work with the local fire department and was offered a few other contracts for teaching, quality improvement, and writing. I’m good for a while.

So, I’m back to having this completed manuscript and needed to decide what to do with it. Reading the Contra Costa Times one day, I saw a blurb about the East County Writer’s Group. I decided my seeing this article must be some form of divine intervention, and I hooked up with a great lady named Mel. I figured a writing group was a less painful way of getting my story heard by others, and that honest feedback could help me decide if I should try really to try to publish the book. I found the Brentwood group to be an interesting and diverse bunch, most of them already published authors. Their works-in-progress included personal memoirs about growing up; a modern day saga about a divorcing couple; a thriller about spies in the Middle East; and an interesting vampire story. My fiction was very different than theirs, but I found a level of comfort in sharing my pages with them. They liked learning about a profession they knew little about and were very respectful with their constructive criticism. Better yet, they repeatedly told me they felt the novel really was ready for prime time. Win!

After about 6 months into this, I decided to check out the other part of the group that met on alternate weeks, in Pittsburg. This was another diverse group led by a bubbly, funny, outgoing woman named Carol who writes a senior column for the Sunday Contra Costa Times. Then, I met Wolfgang. The only male in the group, he’s a little shy, loves chocolate chip cookies, has a wonderful dry sense of humor, and everyone loves his eclectic works. An artist by trade, he also publishes a weekly humor column in the CoCo Times, often sharing a page with Carol. He’s published two books: “Touched by Choi”, a thriller with a dark twist; and “A Parallel Universe”, an offbeat collection of cartoons. Offbeat is another great word for his writing. We often wonder what’s he’s smoking when he thinks up with his stuff. We’ve heard parts of the novel he’s working on about the unluckiest bad guy on the planet, a collection of “Twilight Zone” type flash fiction; a story about a street performer named “Clint Mint”; and my personal favorite, a “Mr. Magoo-esque” tale of Bruno, a guy who raises invisible chickens and misconstrues the concept of “date”, which leads him on a wild adventure.

When I shared my enthusiasm about learning podcasting and told the group about the marketing value of social media, Wolfgang was the first one to show interest. In fact, he’s ready to go out and buy his own H2 Zoom and start learning to podcast. I recorded him last week doing the first chapter of his ‘Bruno’ story. If I can successfully edit the thing, it will be posted next week. Then, I’m sure Wolfgang and Bruno will be well on their way to stardom. Wolfgang’s website is He’s also on Facebook and Twitter under writewolfgang.

On a personal note, I’ve found that “putting yourself out there”, “building your brand”, and letting people know about your work does produce a response. I connected with some of the writer/podcasters I’ve been following on Spacebook and Twitter. They’ve been gracious and welcoming despite the fact I don’t have a viable product yet. It seems they remember what it’s like when they were getting started in podcasting and were trying to build an audience.

So, as I write this while listening to fireworks and the barking of three insane dogs, I’ll wait until it’s quieter to work on editing Wolfgang’s story then put it into the feed. Please listen … you’re in for a treat!

My Life Part I …

No, I won’t bore you with stories of first dates, the epiphanies of puberty, or my political views, but what led me to writing, and eventually to podcasting. So, we’ll just slide through my childhood and young adulthood, then land in 1979 when I became certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. Shortly, thereafter, I landed a job with the local ambulance company. They say Emergency Medical Services work is ‘long hours of unrelenting boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror’. So true, but it’s those moments of dealing with chaos and occasionally finding creative solutions for someone’s dilemma that make you want more. Being there during someone’s worst nightmare and providing relief and comfort for them makes one feel that they’re gaining positive points toward their Karma. After graduating paramedic school, I started doing 911 response work, and spent five of those years working out of a fire station as a contract medic. The field paramedic role then evolved into Field Training officer, Preceptor, then, 16 years later, Company Training Officer. I also held parallel positions as an ER Technician in a trauma center, EMT/paramedic instructor, and disaster medical team member. I couldn’t get enough of emergency medicine.

I’ve always loved writing, but never seriously considered it as a career. I was too busy saving the world. I did manage to write and publish several nonfiction pieces including feature magazine articles. In 1985, I took a road trip with my new husband across the country. While sitting in the car with not much else to do for hours at a time (no iPods, DVD players or vehicle mounted TVs in those days), I started documenting some of my more interesting experiences from the job. Those reminiscences eventually morphed into a fiction piece. My professional life was played out through characters very similar to ones I had actually worked with, and many of the situations they encountered were ones I had personally experienced. The writing of the story became very erratic, though, and sometimes months would go by between sessions. It’s interesting when you do it that way, as when I re-read what I had written months before, I had to ask myself, how in the hell did you think that was good? So, the next draft would become an improvement … then the next one … and so on, until 1996.

That was the year my company was acquired by American Medical Response, which would be destined to become the country’s largest ambulance provider. Immediately, they wanted me to relocate to the San Francisco Bay area. So, busy with a new chapter of my life before me, the book, again, sat idle. Then, in 2006, a strange thing happened. I was driving from the Bay Area to Sacramento for a meeting, and my main characters, 3 firefighter-paramedics, popped into my head and assumed control of my thoughts. They showed me a scene in the book that I hadn’t written or even considered. “Where the hell have you guys been?” I asked.

“What are you talking about,” they replied. We’ve been patiently waiting for you to come back to us. After 10 years, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We intend to hound you until you finish our story.” They weren’t kidding. Virtually every moment that my brain wasn’t fully engaged in some other task, they were there, showing me where they wanted to go. The original manuscript, which was a number of disparate scenes that had yet to be strung together, and was still handwritten. So my first task was to transfer the words to my computer. Re-energized by the new material they had given me, I began writing again. When I finally reached the end, 4 years later, a few surprises materialized. The main protagonist’s strange idiosyncrasies were suddenly explained by an event in his past that even I didn’t know about. An even bigger surprise was that the point of the story became different than what I thought it had been all those years. I was pleased with the final product.

Okay, now what? It’s done (if editing is ever done. Sometimes I think it’s a convenient excuse for never really finishing the book). Was this effort just an exercise for me to document experiences, a tool for catharsis, or did I really believe it was publishable and that other people might actually like it. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this project and it would seem sad to let it languish, forever unshared, on my computer. An author may not have a real concept of whether a story they love would appeal to others. Family and friends will tell you it’s awesome because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. How do you really know if it’s any good? … continued …

Video Bar Focus

Highlighting musician, author and podcaster, Phil Rossi who's first novel is out. Watch the trailer and join the Amazon Rush 7-9-09.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Partners - Odyssey of the Phoenix

Direct Link to Prologue

This is a practice run at publishing in Libsyn and iTunes. If it works, it's my first attempt at podcasting and is the prologue (which I probably won't use) for my book.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Now, I Know What to Do ...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Well, it seems a lot has happened since my podcasting class last week. First decision ... am I going to take this seriously? The fact I purchased and received an H2 Zoom recording device should answer that question. Secondly, podcast what? The obvious answer is my novel. That's why I got interested in this in the first place. The reality is though, it's not quite ready for prime time. Okay, so part of this is just reluctance to put it out to the world for scrutiny. Ideally, I would like to run the whole thing through the writer's group first. Their comments have been very positive and they feel it IS ready for prime time. At 4 pages a week though, it'll take about 2.5 years to get through the whole thing with them.

Anyway, I'm doing my regular Friday firefighter training yesterday and I get a call from my friend,TJ. I'm not using his real name because I didn't tell him everything I was going to say about him in this blog. He tells me he happens to have read my post about the podcasting idea on Facebook, and has some suggestions. Now here's an interesting story in itself. I met TJ in August 2001 when he entered my Emergency Medical Technician class at the community college. That, of course, was a unique semester because I disappeared for two weeks in October to work at Ground Zero with my federal disaster medical assistance team. He graduated and went on to work at the same ambulance company where I was working as a field supervisor/clinical coordinator. A few years later, he showed me something he had written about the student's perspective of experiencing their instructor going off to Ground Zero. It blew my socks off. Later, he showed me a story about some of his experiences early in his career and how they affected him. One thing was obvious ... the boy could write! We began sharing ideas about writing projects we were working on. I encouraged him to keep writing. He did ... right into his own business. He tired of working on an ambulance and began writing for hospitals. Yesterday he tells me his business has morphed into a writing/communications/IT type company. So, getting back to the podcasting thing, he had some great ideas about how to market a podcast, find sponsors, and was willing to help with a supporting website. Go figure. Maybe this thing is really supposed to happen. It's also interesting how my original teacher/student relationship with TJ may now become a professional collaboration.

So, back to the original question ... what to podcast while the novel is in final edits? I checked iTunes to see what was available for paramedics. My first surprise was ... well, me! This blog is up there and people can subscribe to it. I'd better make it interesting (and maybe come up with a new avatar). I found that the iTunes offerings for paramedics consisted of a few educational podcasts, but nothing like what I'm considering.

The idea came from a Facebook discussion I've been having with a local veteran firefighter. He mentioned that most people, even family, don't understand what we (paramedics, firefighters, EMTs, police ... and I would include disaster workers) really go through in our professional lives. It occurred to me that 1. Maybe there are people in the business who would like to share some of their experiences, 2. There are people that would like to hear them, 3. Writing itself can be cathartic when you're working through a tough call, and 4. Maybe the public could learn more (and appreciate) the lives of public safety/EMS/emergency room employees. So, I put the idea out last night to my almost 300 Facebook friends and am already getting responses. I also put it out on my Disaster EMS page on JEMS Connect ( I think it's an idea worth pursuing and it might do something positive for the public safety community.

What else? I haven't abandoned the idea of working on some stories with the writer's group. That's still a viable option. Seth suggested I go back to the beginning of his blog ( and read what he learned as he began podcasting. I'm doing that. There's some really useful (and interesting) stuff there. BTW, as I was talking to some folks on Facebook last night, Matthew Wayne Selznick, another podcast author, popped in to say hi. He's got an interesting thing going at Also, check iTunes for his podcast novel, "Brave Men Run -- A Novel of the Sovereign Era," which attracted 30,000 readers worldwide! Go Matt! I'm learning a lot about the marketing aspect from watching authors like him.

So, there ya go. This time last week I was on the cutting edge of learning this stuff, and this week ... iTunes? Obviously more to come. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't think it's a freight train. Thanks all, for the encouragement so far! Now, it's back to writing EMT textbook chapters so I can pay the mortgage ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So, now what do I do??

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I've had a number of people tell me I should be diligent about not letting this blog go stale. I've been thinking on and off all day about what to write that's interesting enough for my *two followers* to read, and compelling enough to attract some new folks to my site as well.

I've been slogging through the writing of textbook chapters for a medical book publisher. Exciting, no. Does it pay the mortgage, yes. I've been distracted all day by Tweetdeck. It's an application that Seth and Scott recommended during the Author Bootcamp. Twitter applications have become as bountiful as tics on a mountain dog. Trust me tough, this is the one. I have columns that show updates from all the friends I follow, tweets that have mentioned me, and direct messages. There's also a column for recommendations on people I might want to follow. I noticed a lot of writers in there. Then, believe it or not, I have a column with updates for my Facebook friends. One stop shopping. If you put the cursor over a tweeter's picture you can decide if you want to reply, retweet, direct message or "other". A little notice comes up whenever a new message comes in. That was a little annoying at first but it's a pretty sweet application overall. The only downside is trying to provide an enthusiastic reply to a tweet of someone you're following only to be told "that person doesn't follow you". I hate rejection. Scott Sigler, where are you? I thought we bonded last weekend. Well, I have Seth.

Anyway, since Twitter posts have been more easily available, I'm picking up a lot of articles, blogs, websites and good ideas on writing and podcasting from the people I follow. I've been thinking about how I'm going to launch my podcasting career. My novel, going through final edits, was the main reason I considered doing this. I'm petty sold on what I learned last weekend in terms of the difficulty of publishing a first novel through a print house vs the more fun, easy and less expensive means of podcasting it and building a fan base that way.

When I enthusiastically announced my intention to podcast my book to my writer's group, many of them gave me the 1000 yard stare. It wasn't to quell my enthusiasm, but they had no idea what podcasting was. It reminded me that I've been so entrenched in the world of, iPod, iTunes and social media for the last few years, that I've fallen out of the mainstream. Does this mean I'm officially a geek?

One of the writer's club members was sincere in his enthusiasm not only hear about it but to take part. He's published several books, has a few more in the hopper and is also an artist and a columnist for the county paper. He has some wonderful humor material that would be just the right length for a podcast. The larger idea was to have a podcast for the whole writer's group and highlight different members each week. That idea met with a varied response. One podcaster-author friend reminded me how time consuming the production would be, another said "just focus on the book", and yet another thought it was a stellar idea. The fact is, the book isn't quiet ready yet, so I have to give this some more thought.

Then, there's the reality of putting the book in cyberspace for all to hear. The mechanics are much simpler than I thought, but I have to get over disliking the sound of my own recorded voice. We were told a "straight read" would be fine for the first time out if people like the book. You can get so caught up in music and sound effects that the story gets lost. Trying to do a production with guest voices is only for the foolhardy or those with much more time and patience than I have. I do wonder though, about managing different voices in the book. I have several characters with accents. Maybe I should do a test run and see what people think. I don't want my listeners to be so distracted by crappy accents that it detracts from the story.

The biggest psychological hurdle, even more than giving away the book for free, is the fact that there will be people who won't like it. There are parts that are dark and edgy and won't appeal to an average reader. This isn't "Alice in Wonderland". It's more like 'firefighter going through dark night of the soul'. I guess I have to expect that I will have negative reviews. It's all part of the game, eh. An expression I heard lately was something like "you can face negativity or just live in obscurity." I guess it's a modern take on "nothing ventured, nothing gained". So true ...

And I was worried about having enough to write tonight ...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Author's Bootcamp

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I remember how Baby Boomer pre-teen girls kept their most personal thoughts written in a small book secured with an equally small lock and key. This was to keep their pre-pubescent revelations out of the hands of little brothers. Thank God there was no internet back then. The worst he could do was share the curious findings with a few young friends. Now, when one blogs, thoughts, feelings and opinions go out to the world. Quite intimidating, actually. Well, I'm not here to tell you about my pre-pubescent musings, but about the Author's Bootcamp I attended over the last two days in San Francisco.

In way of introduction, I'm a published non fiction writer and am doing final edits on a novel. It's a story that pulls heavily from my career as a paramedic. For the last several years (since that same little brother gave me my first iPod), I've fallen in love with the world of iTunes, podcasting, and those who share their novels through that medium. I watched their careers blossom and listened to their struggles as they tried to convince print markets that building an audience by *giving away your stuff* actually does make sense.

Scott Sigler is one author who has not only made that leap and published a number of novels, but made it to the new York Times best seller list. He went to publishers with a solid fan base including people who were willing to make a grass roots contribution to his success by helping to build his website, create art and merchandise, or do viral marketing through the internet. Do people do that for Stephen King? Does Stephen send them e-mail updates or personally respond to their posts and tweets? Scott does. Seth does. Seth Harwood is another writer who just broke into print with his novel, "Jack Wakes Up". He's putting a lot of time and effort into marketing his book, and is a genuinely nice guy who is sincere in his desire to help other authors become successful

How did I get there? Following a link from Twitter (from Seth, I believe), to the Author Bootcamp website. It was explained there that "Scott & Seth want to share their method for building an audience
before you approach publishers and agents. If you can show that your work has fans, fans that will buy your books, it changes the game and elevates you in the eyes of publishers." It seemed to be just the right time for me with a book almost completed and wondering what I was going to do with it. I decided San Francisco was only a short train ride away and that this class might give me the knowledge and encouragement I needed to take my efforts to the next level.

We started before the class with "homework" which included gathering pictures and bios, then downloading music and the specific programs we would be using. We came with our laptops and headsets. Interestingly, it was a predominantly MAC crowd. It was also a small class, which was great. Scott and Seth talked about their own writing careers; the state of publishing; how to understand blogs, hosting, domains and RSS feeds; and the most fun ... actually recording a short piece of text and adding intro and outro music. We learned how to manage the software, fade in, fade out, normalize, and do stuff I thought you had to be a major techie to manage. Seth worked 1:1 with the MAC people and Scott with we PC people. Wow, what a sense of accomplishment! I was so inspired, Seth loaned me his H2 recording device to play with at the hotel that night. That was another thing that fostered a lot of questions ... what device do I use? There were three of them that we experimented with. Seth and Scott were very clear on the ones they preferred, which, unfortunately, weren't the same. Decisions, decisions.

Day two found us feeling much more comfortable as we launched into a discussion of "what do we do now with this first podcast we created". The nice thing was that accounts were already set up for us on blogging and host sites. The only glitch for me that morning, was when I started having Internet Explorer connectivity problems with my PC. Maybe it's time for a MAC. Seth swears these things just don't happen to him! Scott wondered if there wasn't virus (or poltergeist, I was thinking) lurking in my Sony Vaio. One of the other students, deemed the technical advisor for the day, was able to give me the electronic file for Firefox, which seemed to resolve the problem.

I really enjoyed the afternoon which was about marketing your work (or in Scott's word, "pimping"); creating and sharing promos; social networking tools;; and how to build (and keep) an audience. Although they followed a schedule, they were flexible enough to understand and adjust to their students as far as our writing , publishing , and computer experience went. They answered all our questions and shared anything we wanted to know about what it was like in the beginning of podcasting (what, four years ago?) The other thing Scott made clear was that podcasting is still a cutting edge phenomena. There isn't a lot of people who have figured out that this is a great way to build a following. It's not just throwing up a website, that your publisher might require you have, and let someone else manage it. It's constantly blogging, researching what's out there; and making yourself visible to your audience through your own website and the social media sites. They told us to use our author name liberally to build our "brand".

At the end of the second day we were all pretty much on information overload, but happy and satisfied with what we'd gotten out of this class. Although Seth was tired (keeping up with Scott's high energy is a challenge), we ended the day with some food and drink and casual conversation. We all learned more each other as writers, and where we're planning to go with our careers. The nice thing is that I can still stay in touch with them through the Author Bootcamp website forum.

As I reflect on this today, I know I'll always think of Seth and Scott as my mentors and credit them for giving me the tools and inspiration to help me become successful. If anyone out there is considering taking advantage of this class, check the schedule at They plan to take it around the country. If you're a writer and want to learn the secrets of marketing in the new world, take advantage of this opportunity and remember these three words: Content, consistency and promotion. If you're not sure what they mean in the context of writing and podcasting... well, I guess you'll just have to take the class!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

First Post - Author Bootcamp

Here at Author's Bootcamp with Seth Harwood and Scott Sigler. It doesn't get any better than this.

First episode (right click to download)

Here is a link to the practice piece