In an effort to keep content rolling on my YouTube channel, I’ve been doing a monthly reading challenge update, trying out tags, reading from books, and showing off my stuff (the little bit that I have). Here’s a haul I shot a month ago but never did anything with. Hope you like it…there are minor bloopers at the end.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords
Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.
Monthly Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?
If you can find a good critique group, cherish it. No author can make their story the best it can be all on their own. We all need someone else’s eyes and impressions at some point, even if we don’t like them. I’m constantly on the search for effective feedback that goes beyond “I liked it,” or “I don’t get it, or “Just add more showing and you’ll be fine.” Luckily, I have several resources at my disposal now, and it’s still a struggle sometimes, but it’s a struggle worth dealing with.
Now for some personal and professional updates… There’s a lot of them.
1) I’ve been experiencing a great deal of family drama lately. If you are a praying person, please send your prayers my way. Otherwise, well wishes are also greatly welcomed.
2) There always seems to be some scandal or drama going on in the indie book industry, anything from vanity press scams, pirated ebooks, and, most commonly, the fight to find space on book store shelves. Recently there’s been an uproar about the new review policy at Amazon.com. Authors are heartbroken over finding that some, or many, of their reviews have been removed. This has many indie authors having to reconsider their partnership with the company and pursue other options.
For me personally, I never liked the idea of putting all my eggs in one basket, but that decision wasn’t an easy one to stick to. I’ve tried so many different promotional and distribution avenues, but the only one that ever paid off was Amazon. I think it’s important for every author to do what’s most beneficial for their royalty gains, and while many argue that they don’t pay the best royalty rate, I recognize that it’s difficult to earn royalties when your books aren’t selling.
There are indie authors out there who are able to build up sales and readers over many platforms and are in a position where they can remove their books from Amazon and still make a profit. To those authors, I say, “what a blessing”. Considering the time and maintenance required to manage multiple platforms and convincing readers to purchase from a different outlet, it just isn’t worth it for someone like me. I whole heartily support any author’s right to manage their business the best way they can and hope that others will understand why I choose to manage mine the way I do.
3) So, I thought that International Authors Day was July 18, but I was wrong. It’s July 14. I’ve created an event for anyone who wants to take part. It’s a come and go as you like Facebook event where anyone can talk about any indie authors they like. Just to be clear, INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS DAY is a celebration of ALL authors, whether traditional or indie. Even if you don’t join my event, please head to social media on July 14 and show an author you love some appreciation.
Oh, and I’m still accepting submissions for anyone wanting to try the blog swap.
4) I finally posted another YouTube video after a very long time.
5) Lastly, here are a two giveaways I’m helping to promote. Please check them out.
If you’re going through some personal drama, let me know and I’ll pray for you or keep you in my thoughts.
Have you considered making a change to how you run your indie book business?
Greetings readers, blogger, geeks, and authors. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Lillian Brummet. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down.
Toi Thomas: Hi there Lillian! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ToiBox Blog. I’m excited to learn more about you and your work.
Lillian Brummet: I am so glad to be here – and can hardly wait to have this discussion with you. 🙂
Toi Thomas: So tell me, who is Lillian Brummet?
Lillian Brummet: I feel comfortable describing myself as a tenacious mid-40’s woman who doggedly goes after goals, even when there are distractions or life interruptions ranging from family to learning new skills in order to carry on to the next step. I have a passion for animals and have always adopted from rescue shelters or taken on abandoned animals as pets. I love bio-dynamic gardening, and can’t get enough of the world of writing. It is important to feel like I am making a difference so even when I am out enjoying nature I can be found picking up litter or pulling out invasive weeds.
Toi Thomas: Well Lillian, you seem to be a very passionate and compassionate person. I can’t wait to see what you have to share.
Toi Thomas: So whacha got for me today?
Lillian Brummet: Well, I am the author and co-author of 5 books to date with a 6th book coming out February 2014, and another book (the 7th) coming out this upcoming fall season. My first books are a 2-book series titled Trash Talk – It’s Easy To Be Green and they deal with all the r’s of Zero Waste (rethink, reconsider, rent, repair, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, rot, resources). I have a book of about 130 poems titled Towards Understanding that tells my story of overcoming a rough childhood, moving in with myself and finding a passion and purpose in my life. The other 2 books (Jump Start For Writers and Purple Snowflake Marketing – How to Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd) are for people interested in learning about the world of writing. The most recent book is Rhythm and Rhyme, which will be coming out in February, is another collection of poetry.
Toi Thomas: A writer with a cause who also writes poetry, I’m very impressed.
Toi Thomas: So where’s the motivation behind Rhythm and Rhyme?
Lillian Brummet: This book is a collaboration of both my more recent poetry work and also my husband and co-writer Dave’s work. He’s a musician and has written many songs for various bands he’s been in over the years and he has grown to look at this writing in a new way because song lyrics are very similar to poetry, and visa-versa. So it is really exciting to see his work reaching the public in a new way. I’m very proud of the poetry in this book that I’ve written too – it is more mature, more confident, and just as emotional as the first book I put out. The poems deal with relationships, nature, and challenges readers to think about having a purpose in life and making a difference. Some of the more emotional pieces deal with ailing parents, suicide and other more intense experiences.
Toi Thomas: This sounds like a very emotional and personal piece. This is the kind of book that seems to help people in unexpected ways.
Toi Thomas: Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?
Lillian Brummet: I love this question! My office tends to be a fairly tidy but not overly immaculate place; clutter distracts and overwhelms me, so a clear area opens my mind and I can focus on the tasks at hand. I tend to write in silence, but sometimes have ambient music or nature sounds or soft classical music playing in the background; any music with a beat or lyrics will only distract me because I love music so much I can just disappear into it and time warps without anything getting accomplished. I tend to be organized – I use excel files to keep track of contacts and projects, media events etc. and perform follow ups every few months to make sure that no opportunity slips by. I’m a list-maker, so every day I write down the tasks that take priority over other things and focus on getting those done first. Any opportunities are recorded in a separate file so I can follow up on them when time allows.
Toi Thomas: I’m so giddy right now. It’s no secret that I’m a little geeky and love comic books, but I also totally geek out over organization. I love to ask this question just to see what amazing tips I can get.
Toi Thomas: What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?
Lillian Brummet: This is an interesting question. I used to be a professional book reviewer, reviewing up to 600 books annually – I did this for 7 years and enjoyed the challenge of evaluating the publisher, printer and author of each book. I did a lot of research and learned a lot of interesting things. I’m also a voracious reader, so while I no longer do book reviews I still read constantly. Being a member of the media I get a lot of books that way too. Point being – I learn from every book I pick up, each author will have a unique expression style, they each have an interesting color palette they work with and I enjoy learning from them, being inspired by them. Even when I spot things I don’t like or don’t appreciate or mistakes that were made – I still learn from them. I’ve often felt compelled to return to book reviewing, but the schedule won’t allow it just yet – perhaps in a year or two.
Toi Thomas: That sounds really cool. I love to read, but with all the life throws at you, I can’t imagine reading 600 books in one year. I do, however, agree with you in that I learn something from every book I read.
Toi Thomas: Whose brain are you just itching to scratch?
Lillian Brummet: Does it have to be just one? (she laughs) I am a very curious person and have done a lot of interviews in my time both as a radio host and blogger, but also in the past when I worked as a staff writer. If we are talking ultimate fantasy it would have to be one of the following global heroes: Albert Schweitzer, Rachel Carson, Wangari Maathai, and David Suzuki.
Toi Thomas: I know; this question isn’t very fair, but oh well. It seems like you worked it out pretty well. Four heads to scratch isn’t too bad.
Toi Thomas: What’s your ideal reading spot for your next highly anticipated read?
Lillian Brummet: I could spend my life lounging on my deck, in my yard or in nature by a rambling waterway (creek/river) or mountain lake – with a stack of books. Reading is a favorite activity and I am open to most topics and genres because I enjoy expanding my mind and trying new concepts out. I really want to get my hands on more books by Trevanian and also the second and third books of the Verdant series by Troy Denning; those will likely be the next books that I purchase.
Toi Thomas: I’ve not read any Trevanian, but this Verdant series looks interesting.
Toi Thomas: What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?
Lillian Brummet: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series J
Toi Thomas: Yeah, those are pretty good ones.
Toi Thomas: Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?
Lillian Brummet: Definitely. Absolutely.
Toi Thomas: Alright then, here we go.
Toi Thomas: If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Lillian Brummet: Rat Race, Old Dogs, The Saint, Lord of the Rings, The African Queen… Chronicles of Riddick… hmm – How can I pick just one? (she laughs)
Toi Thomas: I know, another hard question. I like messing with people. 😉
Toi Thomas: What makes you geek out?
Lillian Brummet: I absolutely disappear in the garden – I love getting creative, delving through garden catalogs, magazines, books… it is a huge passion of mine but one that I don’t have a lot of time for.
Toi Thomas: I think I would really enjoying gardening, but I don’t have the space, time, or money for it. I do, however, have a gardening Pinboard on Pinterest. One day I’ll have my dream garden.
Toi Thomas: When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?
Lillian Brummet: For energetic music to clean house by or to dance to: heavy metal bands or hair bands from the 70’s-80’s. For emotional connection: some of the best of songs by Eurhythmics. For creative music: Sting, Billy Joel…
Toi Thomas: I love it. I totally get down with the whole mood music thing. There’s a song for every occasion, mood, and task.
Toi Thomas: What’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had, to date?
Lillian Brummet: We invested in a 23’ RV trailer – I have really enjoyed taking this out. It is like a hotel on wheels, you can cook all your meals, a private bathroom, and best thing is you can camp almost anywhere if you need to. I like the ability of just pulling in and setting up camp – as opposed to unloading the back of the car, setting up the tent and the tarp and a privacy screen and, and, and. I really do love camping, but leisure camping trips – I’m not a fan of rushing around or keeping busy at that time.
Toi Thomas: How fun. I have dreams of going RVing. Maybe one day.
Toi Thomas: Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?
Lillian Brummet: Well, we just moved to this property 3 years ago and now in our 4th year here – so we’ve been working hard toward the future of being able to have this place where we want it. Initially we made the home as eco-friendly and energy efficient as we could afford to do, put in the garden beds and compost bins, and built a fence and a deck and a parking area for the RV. Over the next few years we will paint the interior and exterior of the home and create landscaping, ponds, fountains, more garden beds… The plan is that in 4 more years we’ll not have to do anything here except the odd maintenance job and can really enjoy what we created here.
Toi Thomas: That sounds so pleasant. I wish all that and more for you. Thank you so much for sharing with me today.
If you liked this, check out the video interview we did afterwards. Hear a sample of Lillian’s poetry and learn some of her expert tips.http://youtu.be/225_vUEIGDc
Okay readers, blogger, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more fromLillian Brummet, check out these great links:
This is a Youtube clip of a radio interview. While there are images that do shift a bit from time to time, this is not a visually stimulating presentation. However, the interview is quite thorough, informative, and entertaining to listen to. The entire interview is less than 15 minutes long and offers great insight into the experience that is the Eternal Curse.
Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel releases worldwide on February 18th,
so be sure to check it out and enter my Release Day Giveaway!
There have been a few inquiries about the changing covers of my book as well as theories about how I got to where I currently am in this process of being a published author. Because of the interest and my desire to set the record straight, I decided to sit down in front of a camera and address the story of my story, head on. I hope this video clears up some things and promotes interest in my book.
Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel releases worldwide on February 18th,
so be sure to check it out and enter my Release Day Giveaway!