Tag Archives: “Perceval’s Secret”

Update: Taking Perceval to the Next Level

After 27 days, my Taking Perceval to the Next Level fundraising campaign at GoFundMe has raised $530. I need another $8370 to meet my goal.

My deadline for paying off the debt is May 30. The $0 interest promotion ends shortly thereafter and I’ll be back to paying off interest as well as the principal.

I’d love nothing better than to put this baby to bed sooner rather than later. Not long after I launched this campaign, I received an e-mail that still haunts me, calling this campaign “online begging.” Perhaps it is. Or perhaps it’s an opportunity to be generous, to do something nice for someone who is in need, or to invest in a writer who’d really like to get Perceval’s Secret published as a paperback.  That won’t happen until I’ve paid off my debt.

Taking Perceval to the Next Step GoFundMe Page

Click HERE to donate!

At this blog, I have an Appreciation page where I’ll list everyone who has helped with donations. I’ve run a promotion with giveaways at Facebook, and I plan to run another one soon. I’ll let you know when the next Facebook promotion goes live.

In the meantime, please consider a small donation to this campaign. Every little bit helps!

Thank you!

C. C. Yager

Adam Burns, or Characters that are cut

Not Adam, but close to how I imagined him

Not Adam, but close to how I imagined him

Adam Burns has been on my mind a lot lately. He was an old guy, a bum, a journalist in hiding in a very early draft of Perceval’s Secret.  Evan Quinn met him once, in a wooded area not far from the Minneapolis neighborhood where the Quinns lived. Evan was ten years old. He knew Adam as “Old Man Burns,” the neighborhood drunken bum. The encounter Evan has with Adam brings into laser sharp focus for Evan the danger that his family is in. Adam isn’t really drunk when he meets Evan — he’s acting drunk and stupid — and he tells Evan that his father must leave the country. Later, Evan learns that Adam was murdered, his body found along the Mississippi River, a bullet in his brain.

I killed off Adam Burns and that entire encounter with Evan. In fact, just before Evan meets Adam, Evan and his friend Paul Caine have been hounded and abused by Harold Smith and his gang. I didn’t realize it at the time I cut out that entire section of the draft, but Harold Smith would become Evan’s nemesis in the Perceval series. He survives in flashbacks in Perceval’s Secret as well as in the flesh late in the novel. But I never put the childhood section back into the novel. And Adam Burns was lost, except in my mind. Now he haunts me.

Have you ever been haunted by characters that you’ve cut out of stories or novels? It’s strange. It’s like they want their own stories, they do not want to be forgotten. I have yet to figure out why Adam keeps popping up in my mind. What’s his deal?

When I began work on the Perceval series, it wasn’t a series. It wasn’t even a novel. It was a short story about a ten-year-old boy who wanted to be an orchestra conductor when he grew up, but the circumstances of his life in America in 2048 would make that dream impossible to fulfill unless he left the country, according to Adam “Old Man” Burns. Evan senses that Burns has a secret, and indeed he did. I knew his backstory although I never wrote it. It was enough that it was secret and something dangerous that Burns must protect or he could lose his life.

Adam’s backstory: first of all, Adam Burns wasn’t his real name. He made certain no one knew his real name, including me. He’d been a famous journalist on the East Coast during the Change, the period of time during which the New Economic Party (NEP) consolidated power in America with a permanent majority on the federal and state levels of government.

Like any journalist worth his salt defending Freedom of the Press as well as the Bill of Rights, Adam had reported on those in power, exposing their corruption, greed, and lust for power. He’d reported on their narcissism, comparing them to the greatest dictators of the 20th Century. He knew the NEP cared only about enriching itself and insuring that they got everything they wanted. Adam had reported also on the Resistance, the Underground, and the Civil War. But the NEP wanted the American people to know only what they told them. So they waged war against journalists, arresting many who simply disappeared. The NEP wanted complete control over the media. They silenced the media by any means necessary.

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The people had rebelled — the country was embroiled in a Civil War, with western states seceding, southern states threatening to do so, and Washington slamming shut all of America’s borders. By the time Evan is ten, Adam has been underground for over five years, running for his life. In Minnesota, he thought he’d be safer because Minnesota was a hot bed of resistance, led by Evan’s father, a poet, and Paul’s father, a composer. Artists throughout the country had joined the Underground, the loosely organized resistance movement. They could offer Adam a way out of the country.

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I cut Evan’s childhood section when I realized that I was writing a novel and I needed to restructure it to focus on his adult life, what eventually became Perceval’s Secret. Now I find it a bit ironic that Evan carries a dangerous secret in the novel, one that could cost him his life. So perhaps Adam did survive in the importance of keeping dangerous secrets.

That Time Again: Writing Update for June 2016

Summer has arrived with a vengeance this week!  Yesterday was 91 degrees here with dewpoints in the 60’s and intensely oppressive.  But I love the longer days of light and feel more energized to write during the summer.  I promised myself last December that I’d do a better job of posting updates about every six months or so, whether or not anything had changed. While nothing extraordinary has happened since last December, nothing terrible has occurred either.  Not that I lead a boring life, or maybe I do….

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Perceval Novels:
More reviews at Amazon for Perceval’s Secret and I’ve asked several other book reviewers to review it for me. Charles Ray gave it a nice review here. Sales continue to be slow at Amazon, and none at Barnes & Noble or Kobo.  I found the novel on sale at an online store that I had not asked to sell it, but learned after contacting them that they have a selling agreement with Kobo.  If you have not yet bought your copy (only $2.99!), please do, and give it a read.  The reviews continue to be good to excellent!  I’d love to hear from readers through reviews at Amazon and B&N, or at Goodreads.

As for the other novels in the series, I’ve pulled out all my files for Perceval’s Shadow, the second novel in the series. My plan is to revise it this summer, then move on to finish the first draft of Perceval in Love, the third book (I have half the first draft done already).  I continue to write notes as I’ve gotten ideas about the other novels.  I’ve decided to definitely set Novel 4 in America as a contrast to Evan’s life in Austria.

Marketing:
Working as hard as time allows on marketing and promo for Perceval’s Secret this year.  Doing a lot of research into free marketing and promo, especially online.  I need to talk more about the novel and hand out the postcards for it far more than I do.  Still need to utilize the marketing/advertising tools at GoodReads, LinkedIn and Publishers Marketplace.  Time has not been kind to me.  I continue to promote the novel on Twitter and Facebook.  I’ve been writing more posts at the Perceval Novels Facebook page, too.  Please go and like it, and visit often for updates on the novels.

Indiegogo Project:
The credit card debt I’d been carrying from production, publication, and marketing expenses that I incurred to publish Perceval’s Secret as an e-book has been transferred to a different credit card to take advantage of 0% interest for 15 months.  I’m now paying off the principal rather than having the interest eat into my payments, and I continue to pay more than the minimum each month.  This has been a huge step in the right direction.  I’ve also been revising my Indiegogo project — the website has changed the format for their project pages. I have it about half ready to launch now, and need to record videos for it.  I hate asking for financial help through crowdsource funding, but I don’t have the resources to deal with this all by myself.

Short Stories:
I continue work on the science fiction short story, Light the Way.  I’ve taken down the two stories that were on Wattpad, The Negligee and The Light Chamber, and will be revising The Negligee. I had one of those “lightning strikes” of an idea for that story, and I’m eager to work on it.

Essays:
At the end of last year, I decided to stop writing “Word Power” essays monthly for Mensagenda. It was a volunteer gig, and I really need to bring in more money with my writing. I continue to write posts at the Eyes on Life blog (as Gina Hunter) and here at Anatomy of Perceval.  My focus at the Gina Hunter blog has become a bit fluid: I continue to write “The Successful Patient” posts, but in addition I want to focus more on the experience of being one of the Working Poor, so it’ll be about economics, money, working, etc. I think.  Life as one of the 98%. This is still in development.

Paid Gigs:
I’ve written two essays about my personal experiences with classical music for ClassicalMPR.org so far this year.  I will continue to pitch ideas to them.  In addition, I continue to search for other places that will pay me to write about subjects that interest me (or that will pay for fiction).

Yager Editing Services:
I finally launched the website for this small business at the end of March.  Not long after, I received what I thought was my first project proposal for proofreading, but it turned out to be a guy trying to scam me out of about $3000.  Fortunately, I figured out the scam so I didn’t lose any money, but it was a very depressing and discouraging experience.  These scammers believe they don’t hurt anyone because they’re actually stealing from big banks, but that’s not true at all.  I was excited to have work for this business that would bring in good money that I really needed.  This scam hurt me a lot.  I’m not giving up, however.  I just stopped marketing and promoting the business. I know that I”ll need to ratchet that promo up again, probably at LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

The Successful Patient:
I’ve been thinking about this memoir project a lot, even though it’s on a back burner this year.  I continue to be amazed by how my mind works.  I’d like to get something down on paper this year, to get it started.  I think it’d be an excellent book to have out there and would sell well. Its structure still bugs me.

Part-time Job:
I continue to work part-time at the customer service job this year. I’ve expanded that position into receptionist work at the same employer and am looking forward to a raise in July. I really enjoy the receptionist work, and I’ve been thinking that if I need to find a fulltime position, I’d look for a receptionist position (or maybe an editorial assistant).

Reading:
For 2016, I signed up at GoodReads for another Reading Challenge and chose 36 books to read over the year.  There’s a mix of books on the list of fiction and nonfiction, science fiction, mystery, and literary, books in my personal library, at the city library and on my computer.  A friend gave me an e-reader last December that I’ve loaded with ePub books.  It doesn’t accept Kindle books.  I find that I still prefer to read printed hard copy books, and I especially like to read on my work commutes.  How I’d love being paid to read!

Health Update:
I had several sick days in April with lung and GI issues that was apparently an allergic response to something in my living environment.  I’ve since begun a deep and thorough cleaning of my apartment, and my health has improved.  Otherwise, with autoimmune diseases, the most frustrating symptom is fatigue, and that’s been especially intense this year. Fatigue challenges my schedule every day.  I’m doing a very slow taper off prednisone to insure that I won’t have any disease flares, but I’m still experiencing muscle pain and joint pain that responds to heat nicely.  I’ve gotten out my yoga DVD, I’m walking a minimum of 30 minutes each day, and I’m figuring out where in my schedule to put the yoga and my Falun gong practice.

President Obama Agrees With Me

Atlantic cover april2016In the April 2016 issue of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg writes about the interviews and conversations he’s had over the last ten years with President Obama, and his reportage on Obama, in his article, “The Obama Doctrine.”  Goldberg provides glimpses into Obama’s thinking, his reasons for the decisions he’s made in the past seven years and how he views America’s role in the world.  He also writes about Obama’s beliefs about the future of America.  I wasn’t surprised to read how thoughtful and pragmatic Obama is in his approach to his job, and that he’s a realist about some of the world’s hottest spots.  This article really shows just how much Obama has accomplished during his presidency, in spite of dealing with a Congress that would rather say no than take responsibility for anything, including positive change.

Despite terrorism and the issues in the Middle East that threaten to dominate America’s future, Obama believes that the Pacific will play a larger role, including China.  It really thrilled me to read that.  We agree that China will be an important player in the geopolitical situation in the future, which anyone who’s read Perceval’s Secret already would know.  China continues to play an important role in the subsequent novels in Evan’s story.

What is the future?  Where does it come from?  Most writers of the future rely heavily on technology to show the progress of humanity.  But what about the social aspects?  The psychology of humanity?  What is their future?  I’m more interested in the sociological and psychological progress of humanity in the future and what that looks like.  It was a surprise that Obama is interested in those aspects, too.  I agree with him that human behavior, thoughts, and beliefs have a far greater influence on geopolitics and humanity’s progress than technology.

63-Free-Retro-Clipart-Illustration-Of-Man-Carrying-Big-Bag-Of-Money-With-Dollar-SignAmericans’ relationship with money — what they think about it, their emotional attachment to it, and their beliefs that surround it — is right now shaping human behavior in this country.  But America is not the only country in this world that has a relationship with money.  Just take a look at each country that makes up the Middle East, for example.  Or look at China’s economic revolution since the death of Mao.  Money drives a lot of human behavior.  All people want a good life and money can give it to them.  Humans all over the world believe money confers power on those who hold the most.  Those who have the least amount of money have issues with the wealthy.  One of the most interesting sections of Goldberg’s article concerns Obama’s recent trip to the Pacific and people that he met there, contrasted with how people in the Middle East respond to the circumstances of their lives.  In the Pacific, people want to learn, they want to improve their lives, and they work to find ways to do that.  They’re not attacking their neighbors or America.  In contrast, the Middle East has given us terrorism born of deep resentments that certain Middle Eastern countries are trying to export to Asia and the Pacific.

How I see the future in Perceval’s Secret was extrapolated from what I saw happening in the world several years ago.  I did a great deal of research into futurism and futurist thought, and what trends in human behavior form the basis for the future.  The human relationship with money is one trend that I chose to use.  China has invested deeply in American business and government (through Treasury bonds).  What if China decided to cash in all its investments at the same time?  During my research I found only one mention of such a scenario, and the conclusion was economic collapse and disaster for America.  So, I concluded, the American government at the time would do whatever was necessary to preserve the economy and its power.  Very little of this scenario rests on technology.  It’s all about human thought, belief and behavior.  Humans will create their own future reality through what they think and believe.

As I read Goldberg’s article, I found myself thinking about the current election campaign and the candidates vying for Obama’s job.  I wondered how many of the candidates would read Goldberg’s article, understand the vocabulary and its intelligent prose, and comprehend the true dimensions of the job and just how well Obama has done with it.  It scares me to think that years ago I imagined the rise of a candidate much like Donald Trump who wins the election and proceeds to turn America into a dictatorship with the complicity of Congress, closes America’s borders, oppresses the working population and protects the top 2% of the wealthiest Americans.  Sound familiar?

Promotion and Marketing

CCY_PercevalsSecretCvr_FNL-960x1280.131107Back in the spring of 2014, just after I’d published Perceval’s Secret, I spent over $3000 on marketing with AuthorBuzz but saw no return on that investment in terms of sales. As a result, I’m now carrying that marketing cost as a debt, along with all the other costs for the e-publication of the novel.  Sales of the novel haven’t increased, so I’m now in the process of finding the best way to pay off that debt.

In marketing terms, I know that one of the obstacles I must overcome is being an unknown author trying to market a first novel. What I have learned since the spring of 2014 is that this obstacle cannot be overcome by traditional marketing.  This obstacle requires marketing creativity.  And this is where I find myself today.

free

At the moment, my only rule for promoting and marketing Perceval’s Secret is that it must be free.  So what are my free options?

Facebook: Yes, if you go the traditional route at Facebook, it will cost you.  But I’m learning that there are other ways, such as a free public page to promote the novel. I set one up back in 2014 and have been working on pulling in “likes” and readers ever since.  It is a much slower process than I expected.  So….

Recently, I joined an Independent Authors support group on Facebook.  It was free, but by invitation only.  I’d been following the blog for this group for some time — the posts there are helpful — and obtained an invitation through that.  Now I’m trying to carve out the time to participate at their Facebook page in order to keep Perceval’s Secret front and center there for the other participants.

Then I ran across another Facebook page that is devoted solely to promoting the books of independent authors.  It is for Speculative Fiction.  I plan to get Perceval’s Secret up there also.

Other Social Media: I’m not very good at using Twitter but I found a service  through another blogger that may be helpful.  Haven’t had the time to research it.  I need to do more at LinkedIn, too.  As a member of a lot of groups, though, that’s a daunting thought, especially with my limited time.  Still working on finding ways to fit more social media into my schedule and not lose writing time.

Photo courtesy Mashable.com

Photo courtesy Mashable.com

Bloggers: I would love to attract the attention of book bloggers interested in Speculative Fiction who’d be willing to read Perceval’s Secret and review it.  I’m in the process of compiling a list.  Then I’ll approach them via e-mail, I think.

Book Reviews: I continue to seek out review opportunities.  Just sent the novel to a reviewer.  I need to do more work at Goodreads in support of this promotion.  I’ve encouraged readers I hear from to write reviews either at Amazon or B&N/Nook, where they bought their copy, but many don’t feel qualified.  All it takes is a couple sentences like “I read the novel and disliked/liked/loved it because…. I’d recommend/not recommend it.”

Word of Mouth: This can be the best and most effective kind of promotion, but is notoriously uncontrollable.  When I’ve heard from readers, I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about the novel.  I’ve encouraged these readers to tell their friends, family, post on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  How to ratchet up the “buzz” on the book? Still looking for good ideas here that are free.

Other ideas: I recently read an article from NPR about Andy Weir’s experience with The Martian.  It gave me some ideas that I’m following up on.  First was to get my novel in front of the audiobook publishers that published Weir’s novel.  I’d been so focused on print publication, I’d forgotten about other formats.

So the promo/marketing work goes on.  I’m always looking for new ideas and things I could do for free, so I’m open to any suggestions that may have worked for you.  Please put your ideas in the comments section below and send me an e-mail.  Thanks!