Exceptional Review of Apocalypse Now

Vietnam War

Apocalypse Now is one of the “best” movies ever made, in my opinion (acknowledging that “best” is in the eye of the beholder, though there are a lot of people that think this). More than that, it is a brilliantly told story, albeit the storytelling is via a movie. Of course, it is a retelling of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In case you have missed it, the story is about the descent of one man into insanity to confront another who has already descended to that place.  Who knew there is an exceptionally thoughtful review of it on YouTube?

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From Battle Cry to Bestseller

Amazon best seller list New York Times Bestseller Youth In Asia Battle Cry Leon Uris

So this was cool… Last night one of my 12-year olds asked me what was my favorite book when I was her age. I told her Dune. The other book I thought of, though I was a bit older than 12 when I read it, was one of the few books I’ve read several times. It was Leon Uris’ Battle Cry. It is the story of Uris as a young man in the Marine Corps in some of the most vicious fighting in the Pacific during WWII. Though the book rambles a bit and is a bit choppy, I was deeply impressed by his depiction of coming of age in combat. I was also engaged by how he showed the development of the unit. A bunch of young men became an unrelenting fighting force.

My Vietnam War novella is small in size and stature compared to Battle Cry, but my story is also about young men coming of age in battle. In some ways, I’m sure, my novel is a product of Battle Cry and many other stories and life events.

For those of you who don’t remember him, Leon Uris was one of the big names of fiction in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. His books consistently hit the New York Times Bestseller lists and were made into movies.

I never imagined I’d see my first novel side-by-side with his on Amazon’s bestseller list, but it happened today.

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Creative Writing Professor Takes Time To Give Every Student Personalized False Hope – The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

It is hilarious, but also sad. If you aspire to anything in life you need training and mentors. Unfortunately there are people who are either incompetent and don’t realize it, or incompetent and preying on your desire to improve yourself. This is why “selfhelp” books are such a huge business. “How to Get Rich!” or “How to lose weight!” or “Enjoy the Best Sex of your Life!” So given that I spend a lot of my time blog writing, I thought I would share this one. Read this and enjoy it, and all credit to The Onion, but also take it to heart…

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Dune and Writing Rules

Writing rules, Writing workshop, Adverbs

In my writing workshop a long debate broke out about adverbs. Why they are evil, when they are needed and when they are not. The participants even offered example sentences of good and bad use of adverbs and when they are and are not needed for clarity.

This is killing me…

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Stephen King On Writing: A Review

 

Stephen King On Writing, Carrie, Misery, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Art

I’ve not posted much recently. I have been heads down writing and reading to improve my craft. One of the books I’ve read is Stephen King’s On Writing. As a maturing writer,  I’m attentive to writing, but also writers. I have long avoided this book because I really do not care for King’s writing. And to be honest, after having read this, I still don’t care for his novel writing.

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Grammar Checkers and Style Checkers: Can they help?

Woman writing, grammar, edit, editing

We are writers, not editors

Few of us think of ourselves as editors. Of course, we all want our submissions to be grammatically correct and stylistically clean and easy to read while being true to our voice. It is hard, though, to get it right. The great news is that there are powerful tools that can help, some of which are free.

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9 Steps to great book reviews from top Amazon reviewers

Like many writers, I spent a lot of time worrying about how to get published. Once I did publish my story, I quickly realized I needed book reviews. Under no circumstances would I pay for Amazon reviews. Now, after a year, I have gotten 38 book reviews. That may not sound like much, but they are all legitimate, and more than a fourth of them have been from Amazon’s top reviewers (“Top 100”, “Vine Voice”, etc.). And 24 of the reviews have been 5-star reviews. The rest are 4-star reviews with just 1  3-star review. This is important because it will help drive sales forever. How did I do it?

amazon review, book reviews, getting book reviews, best way to get book reviews, how to get book reviews, how to get amazon book reviews, book review sites, book review blogs, book ratings, book blogs, booklist, nytimes books, Amazon Reviews, best seller, bestseller list, 5 star
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How to write a book? Practice to improve your craft


Writing Practice, Sci Fi, Writing Science Fiction, Writing Sci Fi

I saw a question on a board the other day asking what does it mean to “practice writing”? This could be several things, but my view is that there are three things I practice. And to be clear, I think all writing is practice. Even the things I publish are not perfect. They were just good enough to publish.

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How to Successfully promote your new book (what has and has not worked)

Woman, Thumbs Up, How to sell more books

The topic of “how to be successful” publishing a book came up in a recent discussion. You are probably here because you have either published a book or are are about to, and you want to learn as much as you can about how to increase your book sales. Having published my first novel to a 4.6 “star” rating and flirting with the top 1% of sales and now having made it to the top-10 of five bestseller lists, I thought I’d share what I have learned.

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Amazon cracking down on fake reviews (serious writers should rejoice!)

Combating fake reviews, Amazon to crack down, book writing, book publishing

I don’t normally do much off-the-cuff editorializing on my blog, but I’m intrigued by Amazon’s recent announcement that they are going to attempt to get rid of bogus reviews.

I think it is a great news. This means that serious novel writers will have less BS competition out there.

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Tips and tricks to sell at least 1000 books

Book marketing, book selling, bestseller, best seller, fiction, novel

I greatly value good writing, and I will always consider myself an “aspiring” writer no matter how many books I eventually publish. So far I’ve published one novel. From this experience, I’ve gained insight into book marketing and promoting that I am happy to share. Most importantly, I better understand that there are specific tactics and techniques that can help me — and you — ramp your sales faster.
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3 great guides to help you move your blog up in the SERPs

SEO Optimization, blogging, SERPs, Keyword Search, Neil Patel

So you are an aspiring author and keep hearing that you need a “platform” if you want to publish, which usually means a web presence. But you are new to the world of blogging, or maybe you already have a site but are not getting very many visitors in spite of cranking out a few blogs? Want some help that is free and clearly explained? Here are the 3 best, easy to use, and free guides that can help you.

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Vietnam War novel: New Video Trailer

Hey everyone. Wanted to let you know that I have just released a video trailer for my novel of the Vietnam War. Titled Youth In Asia, you can read more about it here. Obviously the intent is to help market my book. So give it a  look and let me know what you think and if you think it will help promote my novel. Thanks! Allen

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Book Signing! 23 May. NW Houston.

Copperfield Book Store, Houston, Book Signing, Writing Craft, Novels, Book Writing, Novel Writing

Wanted to let everyone know that on Saturday, 23 May, I’ll be at Copperfield’s Books to sign copies of my new novel, Youth In Asia, and to chat with customers about books, writing, the writing craft, how to write a book, showing and telling, the gobs of money writers make, and all related topics. I’ll be there from 11 – 3, so — if you happen to be in NW Houston Saturday afternoon, please stop in and see us.

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