Friday, August 31, 2012

The Zombie Is A Knockin'

Okay, people!  It's put up or shut up time.  All of you who say "Ooh, E. Van Lowe, we love you so much,"  I have a new series starting and it's success depends on you.  I think this new one is every bit as good as my best selling novels Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel.  If you'd like to check out a sample there's one available at The Bookish Brunette, who was also gracious enough to host my book cover reveal.  Thanks, Ashley.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BlurbQuest IV

Back in early 2009 before my first YA Never Slow Dance With A Zombie had come out, I received an email from my editor at Tor Teen telling me I needed to get some author blurbs for the book.  You know those blurbs you see on book covers or inside.  "Scared the bejezus out of me" --Stephen King. Those things.

I was stunned.  "I thought you guys came up with that stuff."  "No.  Blurbs are acquired by the author." 

And so I set out on my very first blurbquest.  I looked everywhere, wrote many authors.  I didn't get one.  After a few weeks of failure, I tried another angle.  I was new to writing novels, but I wasn't new to writing, so I decided to get blurbs from writers in the genre I knew best.  TV. 

Never Slow Dance With A Zombie is a funny zombie novel, so I reached out to writers who wrote for TV shows with fans I thought would find my book appealing.  I found great success.  I got two awesome blurbs.  Mike Price of The Simpsons wrote: "If this book doesn't make you laugh out loud at least a dozen times, then maybe you're a zombie."

Jim Bernstein formerly of Family Guy and American Dad wrote: "Mean Girls meets Night of The Living Dead, as frightening, tumultuous and hilarious as actual adolescence."

I even had a friend wrangle a blurb from comic book sensation Marv Wolfman, creator of Blade and The New Teen Titans: "Van Lowe's prose is fun, funny, as well as insightful, and his story is filled with the kind of antic bizarreness that definitely is High School."

I was feeling pretty good about myself... until I presented my blurbs to my editor who told me "Only author blurbs or prestigious periodicals go on the cover." 

I was crushed.  They weren't going to use them.

I had called in favors to get those blurbs.  But hey, no worries. That was one of those life lesson thingys. Despite having no blurbs, the book went on to become a Scholastic Book Club selection, was nominated for an ALA Award, and sold pretty darn well. So nah, nah! blurb Gods.

Since then, however, I have to admit, I have gotten the sweats every time a publisher asks for blurbs.  And while I was close to landing one with Boyfriend From Hell, I was not able to land an author blurb that meant anything...until now.  Several weeks ago the publisher of my up-coming novel The Zombie Always Knocks Twice, Imajin, asked for blurbs.  Oh, nooooo! Not again!  I could feel the flop sweat pooling up in my armpits before I finished reading the email.

This time, however, things would be different.  I knew a prominent zombie author whom I'd met on line.  I wrote another big name zombie author blind, and she wrote back "E, I feel I already know you."  Wha??? I even reached out to a prestigious organization.  They all agreed to... write... blurbs.  Hallelujah!

It took me four years and four books to finally get an author blurb. The lesson here is if you stay at it long enough, you will have success.  That goes for getting published or any other endeavor.  Hang in there, friends. 

I want to thank Rusty Fischer, author of Zombies Don't Cry, Amanda Ashby, author of Zombie Queen of Newbury High and The Paranormal Romance Guild for their awesome blurbs.  The blurbs?  I'll share them with you in another post.

I you don't already know, The Zombie Always Knocks Twice is the first in my Hollyweird series.  The cover reveal will either happen today or tomorrow.  It's being done by The Zombie Queen herself, Ashley, The Bookish Brunette.  I want to thank her as well.  Please support me and purchase the book on or after 8-30-12.  It's being released as an ebook first with the paperback coming in a month.  And if you enjoyed this post, please let me know by leaving a comment.

By the way, those awesome blurbs Tor didn't use reside on my equally awesome Never Slow Dance With A Zombie bookmarks. Oh, yeah!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meet Davah Avena

Last Monday I went to the offices of JKE/ATA, the company that optioned my novels  Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel to turn them into a TV series.  My visit was to meet one of the prospective writers chosen to write the Boyfriend From Hell TV pilot.  Meetings like this can be tough on the writer.  There were five of us there to hear her tell us how she envisioned the show.  That can be nerve wracking for anyone.

Our writer, however, was really vivacious and full of smiles.  I liked her immediately.  We went to a conference room, all of us on one side of the long table across from the poor writer.  She was unfazed and proceeded to tell us how she would present the series, and also gave us a primer on the different ways to pitch it to different networks.  She knew her stuff.

By the end of the meeting we were all in love with her.  We knew we'd found our writer.   And so, without further ado,  I am happy to introduce you to the writer of the Boyfriend From Hell TV pilot, Davah Avena.

This photo was taken last Friday when me, Davah and JKE/ATA manager-creative development, Heidi Mueller, met in JKE's beautiful break room to further discuss the show. Davah was a writer and story editor on NBC's Medium for two seasons.  I loved that show.   I also loved Davah's pilot Armed & Psychic, about two sisters, one cop, one psychic.  The script had a sense of humor that reminded me of my own.  And look at that smile.  You guys are falling in love with her already, just like I did, aren't you?

The journey to getting on TV is a tricky one, and I'd like to take you along with me.  To get on TV, the first thing you must do is find a writer who is on THE LIST.  Networks have secret lists that aren't all the same. It's like an exclusive night club.  If you're not on the list, they won't take your pitch.  We know that Davah is on the CW, ABC Family and NBC lists, and these are key places we'd like to take the show.  So we're in good shape there.

That's Heidi above.  Her passion about seeing my books become a TV show is one of the reasons I'm with JKE.  She's a great development exec with an excellent feel for what a youthful audience wants to see on TV.  She's convinced my books will make a terrific TV show.  I hope she's right.  Thanks for your support, Heidi.

The three of us met and discussed what would be different about the series from the books.  I liked the new stuff, and if the show gets on, you'll be in for some neat surprises.  One thing I'm sure everyone will like is Davah's desire to give both Guy and Matt a larger role.  I can't tell you how many people have written me saying they needed to see more Guy.  Now you will.

Me and Davah.  I know, I am wearing the hell  out of that hat.  What can I say, I like it.

The three of us had a great meeting of the minds on Friday, combining elements from the books with some new stuff.  By the way, Davah loved Ibwa from Earth Angel, so expect to see more of the little red demon as well. 

Next step is for Davah to work up the pitch.  She says it will take a week.  In the mean time, Sheree (my manager and producing partner) and Steve (president JKE/ATA) will be setting our first pitch meeting.  I'll keep you posted. 

I hope you enjoy my peeling back the curtain of the inner workings of Hollywood.  I know most people outside of the community have no idea how a show gets on TV. So come with me on this journey, and hopefully next spring, we'll have something to celebrate.  I also hope to do an interview with Davah down the road so you can get to know her better. 

If you enjoy stories that take place behind the scenes in Hollywood, you will love my up-coming novel The Zombie Always Knocks Twice.  It's the first book in my Hollyweird series.  The book is due out on August 30th.  That's all  for now.  Man, I am having one exciting August.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Proud Papa

Today I'm not E. Van Lowe the author.  Today I am playing the role of proud papa. The rock band, Year of The Dragon, opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Staples Center last night. My son, Latif, is the YOTD bass player. The Staples Center is where the Lakers play. It's the largest venue in the city. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that my boy would be rockin' that stage.

The crowd gathers for the Chili Peppers
Little do they realize what's in store

That's my boy rockin' out with the red guitar.
Hey, I have those same red shoes

Eventually the Chili Peppers came out
and really rocked.  I'd like to believe
it was my SON who got the party started

Father and son share an embrace between bands.
He's standing two steps below.
Yes, he is that much taller then me.

It was a great evening for both of us.  I'm still smiling.  Thanks for such a great night, Son.  I'm sure all you parents out there know exactly how I feel  :-)


Friday, August 10, 2012

Today Is The Day

As I reported in yesterday's blog post, today and tomorrow will be the last days you will be able to get Boyfriend From Hell (ebook) FREE on Amazon.  The link is below.  Tell your friends.  I'd like to say they're going fast, but it's an ebook so I won't run out.  Even so, come Saturday at midnight, the price goes up forever.

Click here for your FREE COPY.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Final Boyfriend From Hell Giveaway

When I was a boy growing up in New York City, there were these electronics stores on 42nd Street that were going out of business.  They had big signs saying things like PRICES SLASHED and EVERYTHING MUST GO!  Thing is, these stores were going out of business for 10 years, until the city demanded they stop announcing that they were going out of business.

That's not the case with Boyfriend From Hell.  This is the end of my Amazon KDP trial period.  If you read my post about my KDP experiment, Put Up Or Shut Up!, you will know that I was doing this experiment for the summer, and at the end of the month summer will be over.

Friday and Saturday I will be giving Boyfriend From Hell away for FREE for the last time.  If you've heard anything about this Best Selling, highly regarded paranormal novel, you know that this giveaway is a real deal.  Lots of people give books away on KDP, but not too many give away novels that have reached #7 on the Amazon's children's ebook list.  Not the free list... the PAID list. 

I'm telling you now, I am not crying wolf like those stores on 42nd Street.  You won't see me back here next month singing the same song. Friday and Saturday, August 10th and 11th, is the very last Boyfriend From Hell KDP giveaway.  On Sunday it goes back to its regular price where it will remain.  My publisher has even suggested raising the price when the TV show comes out.  That's right, if you don't already know, Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel have been optioned for a network TV series.  We just chose the writer.  I'll blog about that next week.  Today I am here to say get the book now.  If you have friends who've mentioned it but don't have it yet, tell them about this last chance opportunity to get an awesome novel for FREE.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Dead Fish Tacos Society

Down the Pacific Coast Highway, across the road from a gorgeous stretch of azure blue Pacific, sits the funky sea food eatery Neptune's Net.  On Monday afternoon, a group of us literary types gathered for lunch, book talk, and our monthly schmooze.

I always enjoy doing this lunch because most... let's just say, NONE of my friends are novelists.  Many of my friends are not into books, and while they support me, they have never read me.  In a way, this is a good thing.  It gives me a life away from books.  But if I didn't have Twitter, there would be very little book talk in my world.

This little club meeting started about two years ago, when my mentor and former USC teaching colleague, Shelly Lowenkopf, suggested we meet for a regular lunch.  Shelly resides in Santa Barbara, and me in the good ole hills of Beverly.  Shelly suggested something half way, so we would both have a similar drive.  Neptune's Net sits on the border of Malibu and the Ventura County line. Perfect.

Shelly's impact on me and my career began the week I moved to Southern Cal and walked into his class at USC, The Literary Market Place.  That class was an eye-opener, teaching us everything about the world and business of books.  There was no writing in that first class, although I would later take a novel writing class with Shelly where I began writing my first published novel, the cult 80s horror hit, Child's Play.  Shelly hounded me to complete that novel.  Obviously I'm glad I did.  Who knows where I'd be today if I hadn't finished it.

Our little group has expanded to include my book agent, Toni Lopopolo, when she gave up the East Coast last summer, and moved west to Santa Barbara.  That's me and Toni in the photo above.  This week we added two new members, my White Whisker Books publisher, author and friend, Christopher Meeks, and publishing art director, Deborah Daly of Daly Design.  Deb and Toni met when they both worked at St, Martin's Press in New York, the big league of book publishing.

Chris was putting the final touches on Shelly's The Fiction Writer's Handbook (Deb designed the cover) and brought along a pre-ARC for us to see. 

I was like a kid in a candy store with all the book talk swirling around me.  By the way, if you're a fiction writer, this is a must have book.  It is not an instructional manual.  Instead, it is chock full of juicy tid bits every writer needs to know.  A reminder to us all not to lose our craft as we go through our daily grind of turning out pages.   If you'd like to win an ARC, there's a giveaway going on right now on GOODREADS.  The book is quite inspirational for all writers, including early writers. That's Deb and Shelly below.

Chris also brought along his cousin Liz, a fifth grade teacher from Aurora Colorado, who needed to get away from the cloud of gloom that has settled over that city after the shootings, so she could be in a positive frame of mind when school began.  Liz had no interest in lit-talk.  Her main interest was marveling at the ocean, and that big ole lobster in front of her.

Days like Monday make me feel like a real writer.  It was so inspiring, when I got home, I took a nap and dreamt about finishing my new manuscript  ;-) Ya gotta love the literary lifestyle.