Writer’s Groups

“What did you do since you published your first novel?”

In the past year and a half I joined two writers groups in the Memphis, TN area — The “Memphis Writers” group and the “Malice in Memphis” group. As I have experienced so many times in my life, the age old philosophy of “the more you learn about a subject, the more you realize how little you know” became reality about my writing aspirations. 

The first writers group I joined, Memphis Writers, [insert link] is a bunch of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers with all levels of experiences, successes and failures. I believe the correct acronym for the genre Science Fiction is SF, and for the sub-genre of Fantasy if it includes magic or some unknown forces, is SFF. (See I learned something in the past year.) Wow, what an eyeopener the first few session was for me. I have learned more about writing and publishing from Bill Webb, aka author William Alan Webb [Insert link], than from any other person in my life. Although I might have seen some SF or SFF movies or TV series, remember Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, I don’t think I have read more than a handful of SF novels. (Please don’t ask me for a list.) I am sure I have read the Bible from start to end more times than I have read SF books in my life. 

After a few sessions, I tried to stay away from the group, but I just couldn’t. There was just too much information being shared and I used the opportunity to learn as much as I could. The first time I decided to quit the group was when I attended a session with a guest-speaker everybody raved about.  I had no clue who they were talking about, and forgot his name the moment I left the meeting. He was so full of himself and his personal achievements in the gaming industry, that I started to dislike my ideas of becoming a writer. The condescending way in which he talked down to the small group of writers sitting around him, made me think that if that is what success is, I never want to be successful.  

I started to look for another writers group to join. 

I am glad to say, that I did not quit, and I am still learning from Bill and other guest-speakers he invites. By continuing to attend a writers group focused on a different genre than the one I am trying to write in, taught me how to separate the good from the bad. I continue to focus on the good ideas and advice that will help me to become the successful writer I want to be. After all, I am writing because I enjoy it and not because I am in search of a new career. I already have one, and I love what I do to put bread on the table, and save for our retirement.

Eventually I did find another group, and in 2019 I joined the Malice in Memphis group. This group is focused on the same genre as my first novel – Mystery and Suspense. The group annually publishes an anthology of short stories written by members of the group. If you like short stories, here is a link to the series. At the end of 2019, I submitted my first ever short story, “Moonshine and Bitcoins” to be included in a future anthology. I have not yet heard back from the editor and don’t know if my submission was accepted or not. Watch the space for an announcement and also for when it will be published.

Featured

First Anniversary

It’s been one year since I published my first novel on March 14, 2019 – “When Shift Doesn’t Happen”. Thank you to all my “fans” who took the time to actually read it, and a special THANK YOU to those who went the extra mile and left a review on Amazon (if you purchased it) or on GoodReads (if you got it for free). If you have not left a review yet, why not? What is holding you back? I would appreciate your feedback and comments about the story, the book cover, the blurb on the back, and ways to improve my writing. I know you are an expert about writing and will have some good advice for me.

Hindsight is always 20/20. It seems my marketing mostly reached family and friends. But then again, I did not spend a bunch of money on advertising. I ignored to old saying of “you have to spend money to make money”. I made a whole whopping 162 bucks! Writing is definitely not a get rich  quick scheme for me, and I am still over $1,000 in the hole. I think I gave away more books than I actually sold on Amazon. But, I am happy about it. For me, I started something, I completed it, and in the processed I learned a heck of a lot about the writing and publishing industries. It is like a new world opened for me and I still have a long way to go.

“What did you do since you published your first novel?” you may ask. To explain my silence, I wrote a couple of post. Read the post about “Writers groups” to see what I have been doing, and “Next Up” about what I am currently working on.

Enjoy!

5 star reviews

Thank you readers! I finally got some reviews on Amazon. All 3 of them 🙂 turned out to be a 5 stars! Thank you! I am honored! If you have read the book, please help me spread the word by leaving a review.

IT Consulting can be a page turner..

“A novel about a (normally boring) IT consultant dealing with an unscrupulous staffing company wouldn’t constitute a page turner. But, the author carefully assembles a story which shapes the main character with their background in the military, professional, personal and questionable ethical decisions. The last half of the novel turns into a page turner as all the threads are sewn together with intrigue, federal authorities, stealthy dinner meals and more. Who knew IT consultants could lead such intense lives?”

Amazon MM

Very intriguing! Could not put it down – had to find out what happens next!!!

“As someone who is not familiar with the IT world, I found this book extremely interesting. I could not put it down! I had to see what’s going to happen next!!! The author does a great job explaining the tech consulting world to non techies.

The storyline about Charlie’s life is very intriguing. So many details of the story all comes together and it’s brilliantly written.

I highly recommend this book!”

Amazon MP

Great Story – could not put it down

“I have been an avid reader all my life and this book is a great addition to my library. This book grabs you from the first few pages and pulls you into the life of Charlie, an IT consultant originally from South Africa. If you like intrigue and solving a mystery, this book is for you. Just the right amount of detail to help the reader understand the world of banking, how the pennies add up, and the importance of shift.”

Amazon AP

It’s all about reviews

I started this journey in August 2017 with only one goal – “Complete my first fiction novel”! Little did I know where it would take me physically and emotionally. In the process I learned a lot about myself, family, friends, the craft of writing, the publishing industry, the process of self-publishing,  and rejection.

Thank you to my family and friends who support me by reading my book. I did this for myself with you in mind. I hope you enjoy the story. 

To become successful as a writer, I discovered it is all about marketing, and more marketing! I never realized how important “likes” and “reviews” were until joined a local writers group. I knew nothing, I realized from day one. Then I did what I normally do when challenged with something new. I started to study.

First I read Stephen King’s book – “On writing”, then I read James Scott Bell’s book on  “Plot & Structure”. I read so many blogs, I got sick of it. After completing the first draft I doubted if I would ever be able to publish a book. I send a query letter to 10 different agents. Only one sent a rejection e-mail. The others didn’t even bother to send a rejection letter. I realized then I will have to do it myself if I ever want to publish something. So, I did this for myself and for the few who would read it.

Now that the book is published, I hope you enjoyed the reading. If you did enjoy it, please do me a huge favor and post a review. You can do it at any of the following places. 

Christo.

In English

I got a simple question from a high school friend in South-Africa. Of course the question was in Afrikaans and I responded likewise. I thought it may be a good idea to translate my response for my English speaking friends.

“What is the book about?” he asked. Below is my answer back to him.

First of all, remember it is fiction!! Although people who know me will think different once they have read the book. I used some of my personal experiences from living in a dormitory for five years in high school, being in the South African military, living on campus at university and my first job at a bank to make the story more realistic.

Naturally having been in the military, I had to open the book with a black Mercedes being blown to pieces when it strikes a landmine.

The story takes place mostly in the USA where Charlie O’Neal lives and work as an IT consultant. He is outraged when he discovers how his co-workers, mostly immigrants like him, are being exploited by their employer. In his search for answers and the truth, he is faced with his own past that he tried to forget. The painful memories that drove him out of South Africa includes a secret bank account. The only question is, is the money really his?

But then, there is also the mysterious Sir Archibald from his past that he has to consider? Who is he? Is he working for him? How does the cat fit into the story?

I cannot really say more without giving away too much of the book. You will have to read it.

The book is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle versions. Please get one and give your opinion by leaving a review on Amazon. As we all know, it is reviews that sells books. I will appreciate your help.

Christo

Click on this link to order the paperback version from Amazon.

Click on this link for the kindle version on Amazon.