Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Are You a Procrastinator?

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are all having a good holiday season and a wonderful Christmas. Any procrastinators out there doing last minute shopping? I mean, besides me. :) As soon as I finish this chat with you, I'm off to Wally World and a snatch-and-grab session.

Take a deep breath and relax my friends. I've got a couple of last minute solutions for you. In fact, you can wait until AFTER Christmas. To help you cover all those final-gifts-you-forgot-to-buy oopsies, I'm offering my two books at a Special 99 cent price on December 26th starting at 8 a.m. PST.

This is kind of interesting because if you are a serious procrastinator like me, you may encounter the next level special  of $1.99 on December 27th. And if you are really a bad procrastinator and wait until the 28th, it's back to regular pricing at $2.99. Which are you? :)

Remember to mark your calendar. Pssst--no don't wait until blankety-blank whatever, my dear fellow procrastinator. We all know how that ends.

Blessings to you! And if you get my books yourself, enjoy the read!

VJ Schultz

To Order Go to:
Truth or Dare & Other Tales 
Death of Bigfoot & Other Tales

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Goal setting and achieving those goals we create don't always go together. In 2013, I've set goals and managed to achieve them. Two of those were getting books published as ebooks on Amazon.com and through CreateSpace.

Yes, I can mark those off my list. With the most recent addition of TRUTH OR DARE & OTHER TALES to my Take Ten Tales series on Amazon.com I now have two books published this year. Yippee! And before the year is over, I also plan to have the print edition of TRUTH OR DARE & OTHER TALES available on CreateSpace. Another yippee!

Learning self-promotion and ignoring learned lessons of not bragging on myself is another goal I am achieving. Yippee!

What I am finding out is that reaching major goals is good. It feels good, tastes good, and fits well into my life. I was born to be an author. I always knew I was meant to tell tales and write. Now I get to do so. Yippee!

At the same time as I am focusing on and accomplishing tasks which work toward my writing (and life) goals, I am allowing myself to focus on the other things, too. You know...the joy of washing dishes, the peace of seeing the floor without stacks of papers covering the surface, the pure enlightenment of sitting outside for five minutes in the morning with a cup of coffee and communing with God and nature. Yippee!

Goal setting is not to be feared. Achieving your own goals is possible. My best advice for you is to decide what you most want. Sometimes, it may be big (like publishing a book) or small (like clean dishes). Then set a specific amount of time each day to work toward both the big and the small goals. It may be as little as five minutes or as long at two hours.

Don't stress out and put the whole day toward a goal which may not be quickly accomplished. Small steps will make you feel you are a winner. Yippee!

Mix your goals. Do the dishes...that is a fast and easy goal. Or change the oil in your car...again, fast and easy to achieve. Work in small steps toward your major goals. But always work forward.

Who knows? Next year, this time, you may be telling me about some of your own achievements and giving advice on goal setting. I look forward to it. Together we can shout "YIPPEE!"

Thursday, October 24, 2013


FREE--get them while they are hot! I feel like a street vendor shouting out my wares. DEATH OF BIGFOOT & OTHER TALES, Kindle version, is FREE to download from Amazon.com from October 27th-October 31st. Trick or treat! Come one, come all! :)

Won't last long at this price. Ha, ha. That is one sales sentence I can't stand. What does it mean? Are the things (whatever they are) going rotten? I'd like whatever it is to last a good long time, at any price. Humph.

And don't you hate those "Going Out of Business" sales where the next month it is the same business under a slightly different name? Well, shuck--eeee--darns.  Fortunately, I'm not going out of business. In fact, book number two in the Take Ten Tales series is almost ready to upload to Amazon for Kindle. The editing is done. Today I'm working on the photos which illustrate each of the ten official and one extra stories.  TRUTH OR DARE & OTHER TALES has horror, paranormal and lots of suspense within its pages. Booooo!

Oh, and one sale sign that I've seen several times at the local fairground is "Kids Sale." While I might like to have a child (not a kid = goat), I don't want to buy one. I've thought about going in and asking for one just this tall and with an IQ of 140. If I ever do, I will let you know the results.

Okay, back to my purpose.  Please do check out the free download of DEATH OF BIGFOOT & OTHER TALES. Please download my book and enjoy the read. Please tell your friends so they may do the same. Spread the word and we will see how many downloads happen during those five days. I promise to report back to you on the results in an upcoming blog.

Now I'm off to find a Great Horned Owl. I need a photo for one of the stories, "Fade Out," in TRUTH OR DARE. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Great Starts

How do you like to start your stories? My favorite start is dialogue. My editor's favorite is action. We both agree that the story must start with a bang and hook the reader in the first fifty words or less.

For instance, from the short story "Truth or Dare" my original opening was:
"I hate you!" Sylvie Long muttered, scurrying down the cracked sidewalk. 

Now I really liked this because questions are instantly created in the reader's mind--who does she hate? Why? Why is she scurrying down the sidewalk? And 'hate' is a strong word, with much emotional power.

Under my editor's advice, the opening became: Sylvia Long heard Ned stomp up the steps and into the kitchen. 

At first glance, I cared less for this opening. But looking closer, I see there are questions here as well. Why is Ned stomping? What is going to happen between Sylvia and Ned (the man who stomps)?  The second opening has an advantage, too, since it introduces two of the three characters in this three-character short story, and the introduction is instantaneous.

By the way, Silvia Long still hates Ned. But something physical is going to happen before she voices that word. The build up makes her verbalization which comes later, even more effective than using the dialogue at the beginning.

When I teach creative writing, I advise my students to make a great opening, one that hooks the reader. The editor or the reader must be grabbed by the throat and pulled into the story ASAP. If that doesn't happen, the reader may only read the first line. As writers, we want the reader to read line one, paragraph one, page one, chapter one, and so on.

So take a look at your own story starts and ask yourself, does this make readers ask a question to which they must have an answer? If you start with dialogue, try a 'physical' beginning and see how it works. If you start with the 'physical' beginning, reverse that and try dialogue. 

Truth or Dare & Other Tales launches toward the end of October! Visit VJ Schultz on Facebook or at Amazon Author Central for updates and more information as it becomes available. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is something I always wanted to do; as a teenager, I planned to take college classes throughout my life on the one-a-semester plan even after I attained the degrees for which I sought. That did not happen. But formal courses are not needed to pursue a degree in lifelong learning.

Although I made sure to select a hometown where colleges are abundant, I rarely had the extra money for paying for unnecessary classes. Still I value education. Indeed, one of the hats I wear is that of teacher. Most often it is as a 'Creative Writing' teacher. 

Teaching is one of the best ways to learn a subject. My belief is that I am a far better writer now than when I started teaching Creative Writing in 1997. To teach is to learn. You can quote me on that, I could use the publicity. Ha, ha.

Why? Recently, I've been pursuing the knowledge of self-publishing as an Indie author. My mind is fairly bouncing with terms and details of e-publishing and self-publishing, the how-to's, why-to's and where-to's. I'm thinking this may be my major.

I hope I graduate with honors. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Milestone Reached -- First Book Signing

A new first--last Saturday I sold and signed four DEATH OF BIGFOOT & OTHER TALES books. That might not seem a huge thing to some people, but it was a milestone for me. Now I have sat on the other side of the table and autographed books for readers. Wow! And wow, again.

Before the event, the Ozarks Romance Authors' conference, all these questions ran through my mind: Who am I to be signing books? What if I spell a person's name wrong? What if I don't sell any books? What if I run out of books? What if I can't think of anything to write in the book?

"What ifs" are a writer's occupational hazard, because our creative minds are filled with those questions. I know mine is, but sometimes we have to turn off that little voice, or we may end up hiding in the corner with our hands covering our heads.

What I learned is prepare as much as possible, then breathe, smile and enjoy the moment. It is kind of like waltzing: learn the one-two-three steps, hold your form, and feel the music. Go with the flow.

I'm happy to say I did not spell names incorrectly, not did I make a huge, misshapen scratchy mess of what I wrote. My signature is even legible, and that really is amazing. Even more amazing is I am looking forward to the next book signing event at Wordfest on Saturday. Psst, hey there. Want to buy a book? Have I got a deal for you. :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Walking the Walk

I am a writer. For the first time in quite a while, I know I am a writer. It is good to both talk the talk and walk the walk.

My first fiction book DEATH OF BIGFOOT & OTHER TALES is out both as an ebook on Amazon and as a POD print edition. Good reviews are coming in. The second book is underway and is scheduled to be launched by the beginning of October. I am walking the walk I have always dreamed of doing.

My only regret is that my mother passed before I got this far and before she could hold my book in her hands. She always encouraged my ambitions.

One thing that I have learned is don't wait to follow your dreams. The words may be often heard and said, but the wisdom is true.

My compilation of short stories would still be scattered manuscripts in my file drawer had I not been in a car wreck last December in which someone ran a red light and t-boned my car. While I am a walking miracle, having suffered only a bruised temple, various other bruises, and the lingering effects of whiplash, I know I might have been killed. God was looking out for me.

My close call made me think. What would have happened to all my writing? All those stories I had fun creating, the stories my friends and family enjoyed?

So, I did it. I set a goal to publish my works and I am in the process of achieving that goal. Fortunately, I have enough stories, long and short, for several books. Plus I am writing more. So, I don't see this endeavor ending any time soon.

I am a writer, an author, and I keep writing...and I am walking the walk.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Books of Paper vs e-Readers

Books feel substantial. I enjoy the heft of a book made of paper. The volumes have a certain feel and texture. Books have an energy all their own, almost a life force. They help raise our children, teach us wisdom, and get passed from generation to generation as blessings.

I own a Nook. Mostly it sits in my desk drawer. The habit of picking it up and reading books from this electronic device has not come to me. It is still a cool thing and miraculous because it contains a vast amount of knowledge within such a small space. A whole library resides therein. Amazing.

Because I am publishing my books on Amazon.com, I purchased a Kindle Fire. I am looking forward to holding it and playing with it and, even, reading books using the device. As soon as it arrives, I will start creating the habit. After 21 days using a Kindle to read books should not be strange, because it takes 21 days to create a habit.

I shall not give up reading books printed on paper. While I may enjoy the fun and convenience of my Kindle, I am loyal to the friends of my childhood. Still, I am excited by my new Kindle. I almost can't wait until it reaches my door. Making a new friend is always fun.

How do you feel about books, Kindles, Nooks, and other reading devices? Any tips on apps to get for the Kindle Fire?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Social Media Madness

Social Media Madness has bludgeoned me into submission! I surrender. Between Facebooking, Tweeting and Hooting, my mind is buzzing. Do you know what I mean?

What the heck are #hashtags and why do I want them? Is there any real purpose in posting to Facebook? Or in Tweeting on Twitter? HootSuite helps, but it is another thing to learn. AKKK!

Okay, now that I’ve let off some of the steam created by overheating my brain, I can be calm. Social Media is a good tool. Deep down I know it is worthwhile. 

This week, as an author with books coming out soon, I set out to tame my fear of these forms of communicating. After all my author page on Facebook and my Twitter account will help to get the word out when DEATH OF BIGFOOT & OTHER TALES is published.

These are blessed times we live in because information can be communicated in seconds all around the world. No longer do we have to depend upon a runner from settlement to settlement, sailing ships ferrying news, Pony Express riders carrying letters or the U.S. Post Office. Click, click, zap and what do you know?

So, my nerves are more settled now. My mind is at ease. Ah.

If you are curious about my author page on Facebook it is at www.facebook.com/VJSchultz  and you can follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VJSchultz if you would like to do so.

How do you like Social Media? How does it help you in what you do?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Best Cover for DEATH OF BIGFOOT & Other Tales

Hi--What fun! Today I worked on the cover for DEATH OF BIGFOOT and have two that I like. Which do you prefer?
VJ Schultz

Friday, July 19, 2013

Does Bigfoot Really Die?

Hi Everyone,

I'm blaming it on Bigfoot. Yes that is the reason I've been lax in posting. DEATH OF BIGFOOT, my new ebook which is due out on Amazon by the end of August or sooner, is one reason my words haven't been flowing here.

That story and nine other tales of suspense, mayhem and whatnot are keeping me on the edge of my seat with learning how to ePublish. I've managed to slice out a space for an Author page on Facebook, too, under the name VJ Schultz at www.facebook.com/VJSchultz .

Now does Bigfoot really die? Would I be that cruel? :)

Have a wonderful day!
VJ Schultz