Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge Winner!

Dang! You guys are good. I had twelve submissions the the latest Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge and every one of you got the answer right.

The question: In what movie with summer in its title did somebody say: “It’s love, it’s not Santa Claus.”

The correct answer is 500 Days of Summer.

The winner is Lasergirl. I believe she is our second multiple winner. Congratulations, Lasergirl, your $10 Amazon gift card will go out shortly. I want to thank all the new players for joining in the fun. We will do another summertime challenge right after the fourth. Tell a friend.

Jessica B of Book Sake also guessed the correct answer to the additional challenge. The answer was King Kong. You know your stuff, Jessica. Thanks for playing. The bragging rights are yours.

Finally, some of you know that I have been supporting author, Sal Conte, his entire life. It's time Sal got out there and earned a living. He plans to do this with the release of three horror works in October, just in time for Halloween. Here's how you can help. Just scroll down to the post before this one and participate in the Old Skool Book Cover Smackdown. That's it. Costs you nothing. You do that and we will be one step closer to getting Sal off my couch, and into the workforce. Thanks. Peace.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

An Old Skool Book Cover Smackdown

In 1984, Sal Conte’s baseball themed novel, Child’s Play, was released by Dorchester publishing. The successful novel went through several printings and boasted a stunning cover. But that was twenty-seven years ago, dresses with shoulder pads that turned petites into linebackers were stunning back then. In September, Conte is rereleasing both of his old splatterpunk titles, Child’s Play and The Power, along with a brand new short, The Toothache Man.

Sal wanted a modern, updated look for his new titles, something that would catch the eye of today’s horror fan. He enlisted the aid of Dustin Ashe, of Indy Armada to give his old baby a facelift. In the author’s opinion, Dustin did more than just give the little girl a facelift. He made her bionic. I love the cover. But what do you think? This is the first of an Old School versus New School smackdown. OGs versus Newbies. So, will it be Old School #1 or New School #2? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

Old School #1

New School #2

Child’s Play, The Power and The Toothache Man will be available this October for both the kindle and the Nook only for a paltry 99c each. And for those of you who don’t know, Sal Conte is my alter ego. I write YA paranormal romance by day and gruesome horror by night. Buahahahahaaaaaaaa!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Summer Challenge

Today is the first day of summer. But according to calculations, summer starts around noon. So, tomorrow is actually the first full day of summer. Tomorrow is also my birthday. Yep, I’m a summer time guy. I love the summer. I love hot weather. We are coming into my favorite time of year. To celebrate my birth and the birthday of summer, I am hosting a Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge-summer challenge. Unlike our last (Summer Blockbuster movie trivia challenge), the movie in this trivia challenge will have the word summer in its title. The movie, A Summer Place, would be a good answer. But I know most of you haven’t even heard of that movie so it’s not A Summer Place. However, you need to think of other movies with the word summer in their title.

Many of you have found these challenges a bit too easy—at least from where I’m sitting. And so, I am hoping to up the ante with this one. However, I won’t be surprised if seven of you get it within the first hour. But I hope this one at least makes you think, or google movies with summer in their titles. But, like I said, I won’t be surprised.

And remember, while we call it the Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge, you don't have to enter today. You have 6 days to enter. The drawing closes Sunday evening. So everyone has plenty of time to come up with the correct answer. But just one entry per person will be accepted. The winner will receive a free $10 Amazon gift card. On Monday I will draw a winner from all the correct answers, and post the winner here next Tuesday. Are you ready for the challenge?

In what movie with summer in its title did somebody say: “It’s love, it’s not Santa Claus.”

As a reminder, there are a few things you will need to do to qualify. You need to do #1 or #2, plus the three other things listed below:

1) Be a registered follower of this blog, or
2) ...follow me at http://www.evanlowe.com/
3) leave a comment on this blog in the comment section on any of my posts anytime during the week of the current challenge. DO NOT put your answer in the comments, instead…
4) send your answer to me at info@evanlowe.com
5)mention the Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge either on your blog or in a tweet the week of the current challenge.
Do 1 +3,4&5, or 2 +3 ,4&5 and you are entered to win. Remember, you must do four things to qualify to win.

My friend Lulilut, a recent Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge winner, left a trivia challenge for me on my blog. I thought it was tough, but I got it. Wanna take a crack at it?

Which movie pokes fun at writers by having a screenwriter tricked into traveling by ship, but due to overcrowding, has to bunk down in the cargo hold in one of the animal cages to finish writing the script?

No prize for this one, just bragging rights. Thanks Lulilut, for a terrific challenge. Good luck, and please tell friends. We need more players. If we can substantially up the players, I will substantially up the prize. Then it will really get interesting. Peace.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Even Indy Publishers Get The Blues

Some of you may recognize that I cribbed my post title from a Tom Robbins novel I read (and loved) way back when I was in college. For those of you who don’t know the book, click on Tom’s name. Now for my confession. This isn’t a post about my Indy publisher’s blues (That’s him in the photo up top, BTW). This is a post about my own blues, caused by something my publisher went through. The cause of our blues. Returns.

My publisher, White Whisker Books, is the brainchild of my friend and colleague, Christopher Meeks. He named the company after his cat, which has one white whisker. Chris originally created White Whisker to publish his own work, that hadn’t yet found a main stream publisher. Chris published two books of short stories, and a novel. All received high praise from reviewers. Chris’ books were selling well. He was both a critical and financial success. Chris decided to expand his little publishing house. He has four titles coming out this year, including mine. He was on a roll.

Then one day in April, Chris came home to find several large boxes in front of his garage. The boxes were filled with books--his books. Inside the boxes, Chris found 500 returns, some were of books he’d sold three years ago.

A little primer on publishing: publishers send books to a distributor who then sends them to book stores. Publishers print the books based on perceived orders. Book stores receive books on consignment, meaning they do not pay for them. They pay for what they sell, and the rest are returned.

Okay, so far that sounds fair. But let me ask you something. If you bought a blouse, and kept that blouse for three years, could you then return it? The store thinks you like the blouse. The distributor thinks you like the blouse. The manufacturer thinks you like the blouse, so much so that they spend the profits making a whole bunch more. Then one day, two and a half years after your purchase, you’re watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and see that one of the housewives you hate has a blouse similar to one you purchased three years ago. So you decide you don’t like the blouse and take it back. Really?

Returns! Oh, nooooooo!

Doesn’t it seem unreasonable to expect someone to accept returns after three years? Yet in the book business returns after three years are okay—no problem. Chris thinks my new novel, Boyfriend From Hell, could do very well, especially considering how well Never Slow Dance With A Zombie sold. Good news ,right? Well, maybe not. He sent me an email after receiving the returns saying that if he got five thousand returns of my book we could very well go bankrupt. So, after much exploring, Chris decided to make my book non-returnable. For Chris' post on returns go here: Returns.

And that is why I have the blues. I love being published by Chris. He is a great guy, and a good business man. But when book stores see a book is non-returnable they are less likely to order it. Even though my last book sold well, bookstores will be reluctant to stock Boyfriend From Hell, because if they don’t sell it, they cannot return it. With all the changes in publishing, I am sure the returns problem will work itself out some time in the near future. But for now, if you are thinking of buying Boyfriend From Hell, either order it online: B&N, Amazon, or as an ebook available on kindle, Nook and ipad. And if you like going to your local bookstore, no problem, just tell them to order it. If you would do that for me, you can keep me from having the blues. I’d love to hear your comments on this. Thanks.

Oops! I almost forgot. I will be having a Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge next Tuesday. I ran out of time this week. But for those of you who like all things Hollywood, I want to introduce you to my friend Rebecca's blog, Hollywood Daze. She has celebrity news, vintage Hollywood as well as trivia. Please drop by. Just click on the link. Now I'm out.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting Down with Drew Carey

One of the perks of being a member of the Hollywood show biz community is that I get invited to cool parties. Friday night I got to attend Drew Carey’s, The Price Is Right wrap party. Drew really knows how to throw a party. This one had a 70s theme. Check out the Saturday Night Fever couple and the lighted dance floor. Brings back memories, doesn't it... Okay, I know you're too young. But it brings back memories for me.

I was soo happy to get out Friday night because I’d been knee deep in the first draft edit of the Boyfriend From Hell sequel. I needed some fun time. I danced the night away to songs like Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” and Kool And The Gang’s “Get Down On It.” Many of the guests came in period costume. Most of them weren’t even born yet, but there they were in halter tops, platform shoes and Afros. There were even some roller skaters. Sorry the photos are dark, but I took them with my iphone.

I don’t have one of Drew, but he was in costume as well, looking his Dirk Diggler finest, complete with bushy mustache and mutton chops. The highlight of the night was K.C. and The Sunshine Band performing.

K.C. looked way out of shape, but he moved across the stage like a young man. I thought he might have a heart attack. All-in-all it was a fun night. I think I’m going to play some 70s or 80s music at my Boyfriend From Hell, launch party in September. I play music at all my readings. I try to make a party out of them. And with 70s or 80s music, you can’t help but dance.

The launch party is taking place at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena. All are invited. I hope Vroman's is partial to music and dancing. I will give you more details on the party as we get closer. Now… Ugh! Back to... Ugh! editing… Ugh! Why can't these books just fall off the top of my head?

BTW, for all my Hollyweird Tuesday Trivia Challenge friends, I buried a movie trivia tid bit in this post. Do any of you know what movie? Drop it in the comments if you do. No prize, just bragging rights.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Springsteen & Me: Taking Control of Your Writing Career

For those of you thinking this is a post about Bruce Springsteen and me, let me say right here that it is not. I do not know Bruce Springsteen. Of course I know who he is, but until quite recently I hadn’t followed him. So, if you’re interested in Springsteen’s music stop reading now. This post is about how Bruce Springsteen inspired me to take control of my career, and how those of us who are creative can learn from what he did.

In October of 2010 I was having a beer with my publisher. But he wasn’t my publisher then. He was my friend. I didn’t even realize Chris was a publisher until that conversation. Christopher Meeks is a writer who I met attending grad school at USC. We were both aspiring writers on the—then, fledgling—Professional Writing Program. Chris told me he was publishing one of our old professors, acclaimed playwright and novelist, David Scott Milton.

Chris learned his publishing skills working for Peter McWilliams, and has gone on to self-publish two short story collections, a novel and a play. For more on Chris and Peter McWilliams go HERE.

During that conversation in October, Chris mentioned an HBO documentary he’d seen about Bruce Springsteen. It seems after the success of the first album, Springsteen realized he was under the control of his (then) manager. As is typical (I guess) in the music business, the contract Springsteen signed gave his manager total creative control forever. That didn’t sit well with Bruce. In fact, he gambled his future on ending that contract. Springsteen decided he could never record again under those conditions.

Bruce, along with the members of the E Street Band were young, and hungry—but not hungry enough to give away creative control. He’d rather go back to obscurity than turn his ideas over to a gatekeeper. He was an artist. An artist needs to control his art. He didn’t record for three years.

They could have caved to the pressure and made a living, but he stuck to his guns, not recording for THREE WHOLE YEARS. The special is about those years and the first album they recorded after he waited out his manager. Springsteen called the album “a meditation on where are you going to stand.”

I was impressed with the story my friend Chris told about artistic integrity. Luckily, one Saturday afternoon I was flipping channels and saw the documentary was again on HBO. I watched it. It is a brilliant special. It changed me. The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town. The documentary is acclaimed for how he created the music. I love it for the message it sends to those of us struggling out here in the creative community.

Soon after I saw it I asked Chris and White Whisker to be the publisher of Boyfriend From Hell, along with the two other novels in the saga. Why? I was with Tor, a division of McMillan/St. Martin’s Press—a Big Six Publisher. I loved my editor. My first novel , Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, sold very well. But I was not happy with the relationship. There was a disconnect. My editor loved my second novel, but her boss didn’t. They pitched me something else. I went to work on it. But every time I would do a reading or let someone read Boyfriend From Hell, they’d say, this is a great book. So I asked Chris to take a look at it. Fortunately, he thought it was a great book, too.

Me, I think it’s a terrific book. But I am the author. What do I know? I want to let you, the reader, decide. I can’t do that if it’s not out there. One of the E Street band members said “Bruce is a man with a vision, and at the same time he’s a man in search of a vision.” That is exactly how I see myself, constantly in search of the vision inside my head. But aren't we all like that?

When the Never Slow Dance With A Zombie movie option lapsed, I decided to shop the movie myself. I want to do it as a musical. My agent and many others don’t get this idea. Dancing zombies! Come on! That’s a great idea. At least it is to me. I don’t know if I will get it done, but I am in control this time. It feels good.

I am thankful that Chris is delighted with Boyfriend From Hell. Just as many of you decided what cover should go on the book, I want my work in your hands, and not the hands of some gatekeeper. Mind you, I had already published two horror novels under the pseudonym, Sal Conte, back when I was in grad school. I have a twenty plus year career writing TV and film and have been nominated for both an Oscar and an Emmy. So I knew my work wasn’t crap. But can I write paranormal YA?

Like Springsteen, I wanted to be in control of my ideas. I was inspired by him to take control of my career. Is the book good? You will let me know. Can I have a career as a YA author? You will let me know. I’d rather hear it from you than some gatekeeper.

Today I found out the ARCs will be in on the 13th. Reviews will follow. I will know very soon what people think of the book. I am now in total control of my career. I’m not a kid. I need to do everything I can to make this damn thing work. It’s daunting yet exciting. I feel invigorated. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you in advance if you leave a comment. I hope some of you will. I hope all of you read the book. I also hope this inspires some of you who have been sitting on the self-publishing/Indy-publishing fence to take a stand. We can be each other’s cheer leaders. Take control of your careers.

That’s the story behind Boyfriend From Hell, and how I started taking control of my career. Here we go.