Daily Archives: November 15, 2008

Interview with Kim Smith.. Author of the Shannon Wallace Mysteries

Today I am interviewed by Kim Smith, Author of the Shannon Wallace Mysteries.

KS: Tell us a little about your latest novel and when and where we can get it.
CM
: My first novel is called The Chosen. It is a Supernatural Horror, set in modern times. It is the story of Alex Manning who is “The One”, well actually Alex Manning is a nice guy, with anxiety attacks who has visions. He doesnt know he is “The One” until he gets wrapped up in the investigation of the Jamiesonn house. Then he is drawn neck deep into betrayal, battling demons, freaky scary ghosts, and falling in love again tossed in for good measure. My novel can be purchased as E-Book from my website http://authorcamilson.blogspot.com, or as paperback through Amazon.com and various other online retailers

KS: How do you balance the creative process of writing with the demands of public appearances, maintenance of your website, and your family?
CM
: Balancing is quite a term to use. For the past month or so I have been working as a recruiter for a research company, so I have not had as much time as I would like to spend with family or promote my book. I have found that recruiting, even virtual recruiting, is as demanding as having a regular job and it has been an effort to do anything else. So when I have had time I try to update my website and various blogs once a week, even if it means taking a whole Saturday to catch up with Emails, postings, and interviews. I am thankful that I have a wife who understands just how complex my life can be. She has stood by me through the hecticness that is otherwise my daily life 🙂

KS: Give us an example of a day in the writing life of. Do you stick to a schedule of X amount of hours writing, editing, answering email, etc.?
CM
: A typical day for me will start with coffee. Coffee kick-starts my mind into gear and when I get around to it, I start answering emails, writing new scenes, and then editing those scenes if I dont like it. There is thins one chapter I wrote recently about a new character I decided to introduce, based on his life and his success with YouTube, but I scratched that entire chapter as it was too close to my own life. So I may yety keep that character and have him introduced in a diffent time-frame. I dont stick to any type of schedule. That would put me into a category of being routine and then the flair for writing wont be as fun anymore. For me, writing comes from the heart.. from inspiration. I have to be inspired to write. Mostly, I find I write best when I have the headphones on and listening to my fav songs on YouTube.

KS: About the great ‘rule’ debate: we are told you can’t do this and you can’t write that. But it is stepping outside the lines that gets many authors noticed and eventually published. What are your opinions on the rules?
CM
: I believe that if you create rules to take something away from the writer, then you take something away from the writer. I would never want to conform to the rules of “you cant do this” and “you cant do that”. Such rules are designed to take away the create talent from the writer, and when that happens, the joy of writing no longer exists and one becomes a slave to what someone else wants them to write. Now where is the joy in that? An author has to enjoy what they are writing. If I was told I could not “do this and that”, then I would not write.

KS: What music do you listen to when you write?
CM
: Typically I listen to my music favs on YouTube. My list includes music from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and today. (Sounds like a radio staion promo, doesnt it!!)

KS: Has a song inspired you to write?
CM
: Different songs give me inspiration. There is a song by Eskimo Joe called Black Fingernails Red Wine. Now when I first heard it I always envisioned that this song would be the main song for my novel.

KS: Do you have a favorite show on TV that helps in moving your muse?
CM
: Not really. I am too much of a critic. I tend to like to watch horror flicks on occasion and being a horror writer I find horror movies far too predictable. I think the style of M. Night Shyamalan is unique. If my book ever became a movie I would want him to direct it 🙂

KS: If you could collaborate with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?
CM
: I have two that come to mind. H.P.Lovecraft and M. Night Shyamalan. First off, Lovecraft was a master horror writer for his day, and even today he still remains the true master of horror. It is a shame that he wasn’t recognized for the genius he was until after his death. M Night is also brilliant. It seems that anything Shyamalan touches turns to gold. So if I could work with any two writers it would be these two. I would write with Lovecraft for the priviledge of writing with someone so gifted, and Shyamalan because I know he would make an excellent movie version of my book 🙂

KS: What is your thoughts on promotion for books?
CM
: Promotion is everything for a new author. Any new author these days has to put in the “leg work” to get noticed by the public. Writing does not end when the book is published, as some may think. It is the case of “okay, your book is released, now it is time for the next level. Promotion, Promotion, promotion”. The life of an author is not easy, unless you happen to be Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or any other author who have made it to “that” level of success. Promoting is not always easy either as you have to get your book infront of the right people, which can take hours of emailing every day.

KS: What advice do you have for authors who haven’t quite gotten their manuscript to the next level, which for most is publishing?
CM
: Dont give up! If you have the talent to write, then do it. It does take alot of work to get a publisher, but just dont settle for any publisher. Vanity publishers will certainly take your manuscript and charge you a huge fee to publish it. Same goes for Literary Agents. There are alot of agents who will gladly take your manuscript and offer to reprsent you for a fee. My advice is stay clear of those sharks. Any reputable agent or publisher will not ask for a fee in advance. So do your homework on both agents and publishers. Write a good enquiry letter; Seek out those who publish your genre, check and see if they are currenty accepting new submissions and start contacting them. Yes, you will get alot of rejection slips, but dont get discouraged. I see rejection as being on the right track. You will get your work published if you are determined enough to follow it through to the end.

http://www.mkimsmith.com/blog
http://writingspace.blogspot.com
http://pubd2b.livejournal.com

Be sure to check out the Book Blurb with Kim at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/KimS/blog/2008/11/13/Book-Blurbing

Also in December I catch up with Kim Smith, on BlogTalkRadio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kims

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A Day In The Life Of………

A Mystery Shopper and Recruiter

About a month ago now, my wife and I were hired to recruiting mystery shoppers in certain countries for the launch of the Apple IPhone.

My first thought of this project was that it would be easy. Of course, that was furtherest from the truth as we were met with one complication after another, whether it was technical problems with the website, to answering simple questions that were readily available online… (And of course, not to forget the person who liked to send a message every 5 minutes with questions like “where are you? I am waiting for you to come online!” and “Hurry up. I need to go out!”).

Recruiting is not an easy thing to do in any business, and this is no different. Now, dont get me wrong, I do not mind answering questions and replying to emails, but when one spends 12 to 15 hours a day recruiting, answering questions (to the likes of what I mentioned above) is not something that I particulary enjoy.. Especially when it cuts into time for myself and time for my writing and book promotion.. Both of which I have VERY little time for these days 😦

Still, virtual recruiting has advantages. I dont have to go to an office and fight traffic everyday, and I have got to meet some really nice people online. Both perks of the job..

One thing is for sure, Virtual Recruiting sure beats the days when I had to do telemarketing!!! (More on this later)

Which brings me to my next point. Mystery Shopping (Names below have been changed)

Mystery Shopping. Some have asked me what the heck is that? Well, to put it in the simplest terms as I can. Mystery Shopping is a research tool used by many businesses to measure customer service. It is designed to see if product placement is carried out at a level that is expected. Unfortunately this is not always done, as in the case of Apple IPhone.

Anna and I elected to do the assignments in Samara and Novokujbyshevsk. Doing both areas was a definate conflict of time.

The assignments in Samara were straight forward enough, although the placement for IPhone at the selected stores was not as the client would require. Here is the run down on what happened:

We would enter the selected store, and firstly look to see if the IPhone brand was displayed, either with a large wall poster or IPhone Display. In most cases, the best that the stores could offer was the product was either in a case display cabinet, unable to be used for demo purposes, or they have no product available at all. Worse yet, not one place we visited had any sales material of the IPhone, and most sales associates had no clue when it came to giving us a demo. (Although one individual, Retvek, showed the only professionalism we had seen all day!).

Our first stop was Megafon in the downtown. Walking into this store was the exact same as going to a bank. You stand in a queue and wait for a teller. I wont go into full details on each assignment, but let’s just say that of the 6 locations all over Samara, this took us all day to get done as we had to wait for a tram or buss to go to the area we needed.

Okay, onto day two of assignments. Our only assignment was in Novokujbyshevsk. Simple? Not really. Novokujbyshevsk is only about 50 kms from Samara, however, the best way to get there is by train. So off we went to the train station. Upon arriving at the station we had the joy of waiting an hour for the right train to go to Novokujbyshevsk. When it finally did come, we spend the next 90 minutes on the train, then once in Novokujbyshevsk, we had a 20 minute wait for a taxi-bus to go into town. Needless to day, travelling 3 hours for a 50 km trip I was not impressed with at all!

Well, what can I say about Novokujbyshevsk? I think with all due respect, and not to offend anyone, Novokujbyshevsk is a town that is on the borderline poverty, and for anyone in this town to be able to afford an IPhone would literally cost them 4 months salary (or more). (Granted, that is taking into account if an individual happened to forego the basic living expenses such as food, power, and rent). Obviously Apple did not think to much when it came to product placement. They should have targetted cities where people could afford such luxuries. Not small towns where the streets are pretty much deserted at 3 o’clock in the afternoon!

Novokujbyshevsk reminds me of a town that one would see in a b-grade horror flick… you know the one I mean here… Hardly anyone on the streets apart from the local teenagers, old buildings where blood sucking vampires lurk, and tumbleweeds rolling down the main street…. Now if you can imagine this, that is how I would describe Novokujbyshevsk. In Samara it is common to see homeless dogs, but not in that town. In Novokujbyshevsk it is common to see stray cats…. Hmmmm, makes one wonder just what they put in those hot dogs 🙂

Needless to say, we did our assignment and higtailed it out of there before the sun set (Who knows what could happen.. especially in my imagination 🙂

So for a simple assignment, the trip took 5 hours travelling time, there and back. And then when we got home, I had the fun of catching up on the dozens of emails I had not replied to the day before. (Not to count the ones for my book, which I Still have not managed to get around to replying to yet!)

Now for something completely different, I thought I would add my own review of a PS2 game I played recently, which is, a recent release (I think).

The Simpsons for PS2.

Okay, without adding the walkthrough details, this game is pretty cool. There are 16 levels in this game, with all characters based on the tv show. Each level has hidden objects and missions, and some levels have the added fun of a mission within a mission.

It takes a bit to figure out what you are meant to do in some levels, but in all this is a cool game for young and old alike.

Although this is not normally the type of game I would play in my down-time, I would recommend this for anyone who is a fan of the show. Watch for the Dance Off with God on level 16 and the cool end scene. There are cameo appearences by itchy, Scratchy and Matt Groening. Highly addictive, and the scenes are just like watching the tv series. The graphics are well down and alhough it makes numerous references to upcoming games and tv shows, I would play this again.

Bitten By Books Carnival Winners:
Bitten By Books Haunted Bloggy Carnival was a huge success with thousands of dollars in prizes given away to contestants by some great authors.

I want to thank the following people who have each won a copy of The Chosen:
Merici Habib
Rachael D.
Theresa Dell
Jennifer Savage
Amber Katze
Jean Delehant
Sena Sagani
Carrie Parker

Your copy of The Chosen is on its way!

Finally, to do my own take-off of Jerry Springer here, I will add my Final Thought:

Balancing life as a Husband, Recruiter, Mystery Shopper, and Writer certainly is a challenge. I have come to understand the challenges other recruiters would feel in similiar roles, and certainly, Performance Based Recruiting is something I should know already, considering I used to work for Lou Adler (And got to meet the guy on one occasion when he was in New Zealand), but alas it seems the older I get the more knowledge I seem to loose :-).

Must add a note to self : Learn to relax more and not feel responsible for the needs of a company when family needs come first 🙂

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