Sunday, July 31, 2011

Amazon set to launch services in India next year

Amazon, for all its shortcomings has been very good to me. This year with Amazon, my novels in both the UK and here in the USA have taken off. It happened in February and March. Especially Into the Basement, it has shot to number 1, in kindle>graphic novels>horror in both countries. We all know someone if not ourselves that own an ebook reader. I use an ipad and access books through the Kindle app and ibooks.

But something else is happening that has a huge potential for an author’s income. Foreign markets are opening up. Most of you know earlier this year Amazon opened up book distribution to Germany. Now they are going into India. I need translators…

I was very lucky this year; a Turkish publisher approached me. They have edited, translated and given Into the Basement, a new title; Sadist. That one word really sums up the essence on “Basement.” Plus, the cover is creepy! Check it out at:

Here’s the announcement about India:

Amazon set to launch services in India next year
Ishan Srivastava, TNN Jul 26, 2011, 11.04am IST

CHENNAI: World's largest online retailer, is set to enter India, riding on the second wave of ecommerce boom in India. Amazon is in discussions with leading Indian e-commerce players like, and, among others and may enter the market as early as the first quarter of next year.

All the best

Monday, July 25, 2011

Software Program to Write Better

It hit me the other day I haven’t talked about what tool I use to write with. By tool I mean software program. I use Scrivner. I know, kind of a strange title. I wondered about that myself. It’s a medieval English occupational surname for a 'writer', a clerk, especially one who writes and copies books and manuscripts.

The Scrivner team is small, looks like about five people headquartered in Cornwall England. The program was developed by one of the team to help him and I’m quoting here, “get a grip on my writing, notes and research, to organize it and start putting it all together like a jigsaw.”
I’m a Mac user and Scrivner was built for the Mac. Therefore it’s stable. I understand there is a Windows version on the way. There isn’t an iPad version yet but with a few third party apps you can sync and go mobile.

Scrivner is simple. It’s a word processor and project management tool. Here’s how they describe Scrivener on their website: “you can enter a synopsis for each document on a virtual index card and then stack and shuffle the cards in the corkboard until you find the most effective sequence. Plan out your work in Scrivener’s outliner and use the synopses you create as prompts while you write. Or just get everything down into a first draft and break it apart later for rearrangement on the outliner or corkboard.”
I like the corkboard concept. This is where you can store index cards. I use one card per chapter. It’s how I plan out my novel. For reading all the index cards I switch to the outline, helps me take my plan to the next level.

Oh yeah, there is even tutorials on YouTube. How convenient is that?

It’s worth checking out. I’m on my 6th novel using Scrivner.

all the best
Norm Applegate

Monday, July 18, 2011

7 Writing tips! Powerful effects you can use now!

If you've been following my blog you know I post writing tips. That is mixed in between all the horror thriller suspense book stuff. Oh yeah, some film and movie stuff too. What I've posted below is really cool. These are some excellent tips for adding motion to your writing. 

The following rhetorical tools enrich writing by eliciting a primal emotional response in readers:

1. Alliteration

Alliteration, the pattern of two or more words within a phrase or sentence that begin with the same sound, is an effective form of emphasis that adds lyricism to even straightforward prose and influences the mood.
Alliteration can be delivered in consecutive words: “They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different, and difficult places.” Or it can recur with gaps of one or more nonalliterative words: “Squaring our performances with our promises, we will proceed to the fulfillment of the party’s mission.”

2. Assonance

Assonance, akin to alliteration, is the repetition of vowel sounds in a phrase or a longer passage: “The clamor of the band addled them.”

3. Consonance

As the name implies, consonance refers to repetition of consonants — specifically, those at the ends of words: “Their maid has spread the word of their deed.”

4. Onomatopoeia

This term refers to words that are sound effects, indicative of their meaning or otherwise imitative of sounds: “A splash disturbed the hush of the droning afternoon.”

5. Repetition

Repetition is the repeating of a word or phrase to produce a pattern or structure that strengthens the cumulative effect of a passage: “When I find you, I will catch you. When I catch you, I will cook you. When I cook you, I will eat you.”

6. Rhyme

Rhyme, the matching of identical or similar word endings in sentences of prose or lines of poetry, needn’t be limited to lyrical contexts: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

7. Rhythm

Rhythm, the deliberate manipulation of syllabic patterns in a passage, like rhyme, should not be consigned solely to poetry: “The eager coursing of the strident hounds and the sudden pursuit of the mounted men drove the bounding prey ever on.”
When employing one or more of these techniques in your writing, keep these points in mind:
  • Be sure they have intrinsic value to the content and do not simply showcase your cleverness. Employ them in moderation, and be true to your voice and the tone of your writing.
  • In serious expository prose, no more than one or two instances will help readers retain important information or strengthen a memorable conclusion. A more casual, lighthearted essay can afford a few more tricks, especially as mnemonic devices. A humorous piece allows you to be more indulgent, but an excess of use can quickly become wearisome and counterproductive.
  • Study the masters, take note of their restraint and originality, and use those lessons as points of inspiration for your own applications of these techniques.
Author of:

Source for the article: Dailywritingtips

Friday, July 8, 2011

Indie Author Released in Turkey

In April I received an email and thought it was a scam. In fact I’m still waiting for the hit. An editor for a Turkish publisher saw my novel Into the Basement on AmazonUSA and UK and wanted it. Come on, horror in Turkey? What did I know?

Basement is currently #1 on Amazon USA and has been in the top 5 on Amazon Uk since March.

We exchanged emails, worked the deal, I signed the contract and this week saw the cover. I’m thriller. The name for the Turkish release is: “Sadist,” very creepy.

Sadist will be available in two weeks at 94 D&R's, KÄ°TAPSAN Book Stores and in other bookstores throughout Turkey. Also from these websites:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Indie Film Making

I asked director John Botelho to give us some background on filming the trailer, Into the Basement. This short clip serves two purposes; it's a book trailer and we have been using it to generate interest in turning Basement into a movie. We are still working the movie project; but it's a tough road. I've included a link at the bottom to the trailer on Youtube. 

Here's what John Botelho had to say... 

We began scripting the Into the Basement trailer in early January of 2008. Our initial vision for this trailer was to have Actress Megan Lynn strapped naked to a table while the camera does a 360 degree dolly around her. The set was suppose to be a basement and the shot was going to be in color with a strong concentration in blue (we were going to use a blue lens filter to shoot it). Our lead Killer was going to be in some sort of surgical outfit and the audience was only going to see the back of him.

The finished product was much different than this....

We shot the trailer on a Monday in mid February of 2008. Since we did not have a secured basement for our set (basements are very rare in Texas), we decided to shoot it in a tool shed. It was the coldest day of 2008 (about 10 degrees) and we relied on the set lights to keep poor nude Megan Lynn warm. The shed was only about 5 foot by 8 foot, so our 360 dolly was out of the question. I decided to have the Production Assistants tie Megan to a flimsy poster board on the wall, while the camera concentrated on different angles and close-ups of her body.

To set the tone for the shot we took a busted lamp (it was only an electric wire and outlet), hung it from the ceiling and swung it. The actual moving light you see on Megan's body are high powered flashlights that were moved by Production Assistants. 

This piece was shot using a Cannon XL1. I decided not to use the blue filter because it seemed to blur the shots in low light. Besides, I had already begun thinking black and white for this trailer.

The Killer in the film was played by Production Assistant Chris Frausto. I chose him because he looked the part and showed up on time for the shoot. It's all about being at the right place at the right time in this business. 

When I edited the Into the Basement trailer, I used IMovie on a Mac. I filtered the shots with black and white and old style film effects to give it a creepy feel. The sounds you hear are all from the IMovie data base. I liked the backwards reel to reel sound because it kind of felt like someone scratching a blackboard. And the music seemed appropriate with the subject matter. 

Why was the last scene in color? My first two horror film were both shot in black and white, and I knew that anyone who knew my work would immediately think that I was going to shoot Into the Basement in B&W. I put the last scene in color to say to those folks: "HA!!! I fooled you. I am going to shoot this film in color." Besides, it gives a cool effect to the short piece. 

YES!!! THERE WAS AN ADULT VERSION TO THIS TRAILER!!!  I know many of you have heard this.... And yes it is true. The original version of the Into the Basement trailer had a fully framed close up of Actress Megan Lynn's shaved vagina. Unfortunately after showing this version to a handful of friends, I decided to cut the shot out of the trailer. I felt it was just too much. The only thing left of the shot in the final trailer is a quick glimpse of Megan's hip turning sideways. 

Oh... And yes... We still have the cut footage somewhere in the vaults of Triad Pictures.

Watch the Trailer:

Get the ebook $0.99 on Amazon:

-J.L. Botelho
July 5th, 2011 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Indie Author Editing

I've just finished reading John Locke's, "How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months." Excellent marketing ideas. I'd like to see authors like John Locke talk more about their writing and editing process. Is there a systematic approach or do they feel their way through it? I'd like to think there is a repeatable systematic methodology that all of us can model. 

Below are some components that could be part of an editing model. After you've written your first draft, you know you're going to go over it again. I go through my material at least two more times. One, looking for plot and character gaps and the second review is to tighten up the work. But what do you look for? It seems like there are so many checklists and guidelines it's easy to be overwhelmed. I found these to be great suggestions. 

I've finished a draft of my new thriller novel. I'm calling it, "Shockwave," just as a working title. Of the items listed below, #4 grabbed my attention. I'm going to do a "find," for the phrases; “there are” or “there is.” If they come up, I'll read the sentence and edit it, make it tighter, more concise. Seems like a quick way to improve my writing.

Check them out see if they help.

1. Remove Redundancy

Avoid double-teaming terms like “a period of one week,” “end result,” “free gift,” and “personal opinion.” Watch for phrases that echo the quality in question: “oval in shape,” “larger in size,” “shorter in duration,” and the like. Omit redundant words that are already implied as part of an abbreviated term, such as machine in “ATM machine.”

2. Reduce Phrases to Words

Replace a descriptive phrase following a noun with a one-word adjective that precedes the noun: “People who experienced at traveling know better than to label their luggage,” for example, can be revised to “Experienced travelers know better than to label their luggage.
A modifying phrase, similarly, can be reduced to a simple adverb: “Sympathizing with her concerns, he nodded in response to her complaint,” for instance, is more concisely expressed as “He nodded sympathetically in response to her complaint.”
Delete extraneous phrases such as “which is” and “who were,” as shown here: “We drove down Lombard Street, which is considered the crookedest street in the world” is easily simplified to “We drove down Lombard Street, considered the crookedest street in the world.”

3. Omit Gratuitous Intensifiers and Qualifiers

Use adverbs that intensify or qualify in moderation: “They had an extremely unpleasant experience” isn’t accurate unless a subsequent explanation justifies the intensifier extremely, and “I was somewhat taken aback” isn’t necessarily an improvement on “I was taken aback.”

4. Expunge Expletives

“There are” or “there is” is a weak way to start a sentence. “There is a telling passage toward the end of the story” lacks the focus of (and the more vivid verb in) the sentence “A telling passage occurs near the end of the essay.”

5. Negate Nominalizations

“The report gave an analysis of the accident” uses a phrase where a single word suffices. (This is known as a nominalization, or smothering a verb.) When you see a “(verb) a/an (noun)” construction, convert the noun into a verb and replace the phrase with it. In this case, “The report analyzed the accident” is the more concise result. As with deletion of expletives, a stronger verb is an additional benefit.

6. Delete Superfluous Phrases

“At the present time,” “for all intents and purposes,” and “in the event that” are just a few of many meaningless phrases that clutter sentences. Trim them to tighten your writing.

7. Avoid Cliches

Likewise, “face the music,” “litmus test,” “tried and true” and other timeworn phrases add nothing to your writing but words; they’re useful only for padding a word count, but instructors and editors (and readers) will notice.

8. Eschew Euphemisms

Generally, words that disguise concepts degrade language, which is all about expressing, not repressing, meaning. For example, “collateral damage,” in reference to warfare (and, by extension, to all interpersonal relationships), invites derision. However, use of some euphemisms, such as those for human disabilities, is a well-meaning effort to preserve the dignity of the disabled, though some people argue that such cosmetic wording actually harms people by diminishing the seriousness of their condition, or that it is for the benefit not of the disabled but of people who would rather not be reminded of the disabled.

Latest novel: First To Die

Source: Dailywritingtips