Monday, 23 November 2015

Moving, and Changes, and NaNo.. Oh My!

Once again, I've been neglecting this blog. For my readers and fans, I apologize for that... AGAIN. I could highlight my character flaws, re: procrastination and the ilk, which would be valid normally; however, I have been occupied with some serious life-changing developments the past few months. And, believe me, none is bigger than what I will be embarking on in the next month-and-a-half.

For those who have been following my public profile on Facebook, you know the deal already. But, allow me to shed the light on what will be happening the past few months. When I was in Florida this past April, my fiancee and I commenced the process for yours truly to apply for a visa which would enable me to emigrate to the United States to wed my beautiful bride to be. The process has been long, and quite stressful for both her and I. Of course, the fact I was dragging my feet for a while didn't help matters either. Regardless, it all culminated this past October when I had my final interview at the U.S. Consulate General offices. There were some slight conditions regarding this interview, though: 1) the interview was scheduled for 7:40 on a Thursday morning, and 2) said interview was to take place in Montreal. It should be noted that while I love the metropolis of "la belle province", I have a bit of a history there; a history that relates to some personal problems which I do not wish to discuss publicly. Thankfully, I had some friends who helped keep my nose clean this particular trip, and allowed me to focus on the task at hand. After worrying about everything, within 90 minutes I was granted my visa, and I celebrated by making my way to the Montreal institution known as "Schwartz's" for a smoked meat sandwich. The only downside I had to this trip was the fact a bird crapped on my coat when I walked back downtown from the deli to wait for my train home.

Having said all of that, I am now in the process of scrambling around, trying to find a mover to transport what little stuff I own from the neighborhood I've called home for the past 38 years to my future residence in Florida. On top of that, I plan to be flying down to Florida at the end of this year, with the actual wedding ceremony (at a civil courthouse where we'll be living) happening a week later, to coincide with my future wife's birthday. (Giving me no excuse to forget either in the future for threat of being in the doghouse. And, considering the only dog she has is a cute little Pomeranian, it would be a tight squeeze if I end up in there.) But, that's one thing that has been going on lately.

Book-wise, while my books are still available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats, I found having my eBooks being locked up in what I call "KDP Select Jail" to be too restrictive to my fans. Therefore, I have requested that my eBooks be released from their exclusivity contracts, so they could be listed elsewhere in hopes it would expand my readership. Having said that, two of my poetry collections: Poems for a Winter's Night, and Before I Leave Canada are now listed in the Kobo eBook store, At the present, my two erotic short stories: Boss Bang, and Make Them Eat Wake are currently awaiting approval from Kobo to be listed, as well. By early December, all of my remaining books: Gary Celdom Case Journals: Volume One, Rouge Numbered Week, The Prairie Fire Within, Slammin' on the Rails, and Fiery Freedom: The Complete Saga will be listed on Kobo, pending approval. So, that's what I have written previously, but what about upcoming projects? I'm glad you asked.

As many of my fans are aware, I am an active participant in National Novel Writing Month, or 'NaNoWriMo,' for short. And, 2015 was no exception. As my "Farewell to Toronto" project this November, I decided to write a standalone contemporary (although, I classify it as "troubled") romance novel, which I have titled, A Bolt of Loving. It tells the story of a journalist for a Tampa Bay-area university's newspaper who has been battling an addiction. While enjoying a night out to a Jazz Club with members of his own fellowship, he meets a saxophonist who has been battling her own addiction. What commences is a friendship that evolves into a relationship, with its own share of curve balls thrown along the way, ranging from feuding members of the jazz ensemble to appearances by both the main characters' former spouses, to coping with their addictions. In the end, the story gives hope that love, friendship, and unity can aid in one's personal recovery. I'm hoping for a 2016 release for A Bolt of Loving, once I get settled into my new hope.

I'm not sure when I will be able to write another blog post again, given all the craziness that will be coming my way in the next couple of months, so I wish all of my American fans a Happy Thanksgiving, and everyone around the world a Happy Festive Season, depending on whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or any other religious festival in December. Just take time to share with your loved ones because time is short, and given what's happening in the world as of late, there's no telling what might befall us when we least expect it.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Checking-in After a Crazy Summer

I know I have been silent on here for a few months, and for that, I apologize to my loyal followers. The fact is, I've been undergoing a creative, professional, and personal upheaval since my last post two months ago.

For those who have been following my personal life, I'm currently in the process of attempting to obtain an immigration visa that will allow me to marry my beautiful fiancee, Catherine, and move in with her down in Florida. However, in order to do this, some sacrifices had to be made. The big one was me leaving the organization who had been my primary employer for the past couple of years. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with them; unfortunately, because of the long, and sometimes unpredictable, hours, it didn't afford me the chance to focus my attention on working towards obtaining this visa. As it stands right now, my goal is to move Stateside sometime in October. The thing is, in order to meet this goal, I have to get off my "fat, buttery ass" (to steal a phrase from my roommate), and get the stuff done. I must confess, it is a very daunting task upon me, considering this involves leaving the neighbourhood I've called home for the past 37 years, but this is an exciting opportunity that has come my way, and to waste it, would be devastating to my emotional psyche. I just need to, in the words of Larry The Cable Guy, "Git-R-Done!"

That being said, I have found some time to tap into my creative side, and done a little bit of networking in the process. Fresh on the heels of my first author signing event at Sexy in the City: Toronto 2015, I recently attended my second signing, the Ignite Your Soul Author Event in London, Ontario, Canada, back on August 8th.



Me pimping my wares at Ignite Your Soul 2015 (Photo credit: RG Photography)

The event was smaller, and more intimate than the earlier event in Toronto, but I was able to meet some new contacts, and reconnect with a few of my fellow authors from SITCTO2015. It was a fun day, but far too short for me, as I had to boot in back to Toronto right after the signing; missing out on the After Party afterwards. *sadface*

However, at this event, I was able to debut a new book: my third poetry collection under my C. D. Melley banner, entitled Before I Leave Canada. Those of you who follow the fandom of my favourite television series, Due South, will recognize that the book title is a nod to a song by one of the main composers for the series, Jay Semko (of The Northern Pikes fame), Before You Leave Canada. The collection details my thoughts, feelings, and experiences during the months of June and July 2015 as I prepare to wind down my life here in the Great White North, and start anew in the sunny south. But, BILC wasn't the only thing I have been working on during the past couple of months.




My steamier persona, Crimson Nuage has been poking my brain recently, as well. One day, in a flurry of creative whim, he penned a short story that is only available as an eBook for Kindle units and apps. The story is called, Boss Bang, and it's a tale about a lowly mail room clerk who has had enough with his immediate supervisor, so he takes his complaint all the way to the head of the company, but after an incident during the discussion, the main character is given a proposition where if he doesn't follow through, it would cost him his job. It's a short romp with the hint of lustful romance you come to expect from the mind of The Dirty Red Cloud. 



So, what's next on the creative docket for my triad? Well, there was some sad news recently, as the original work-in-process I had for the fourth Gary Celdom book was lost, thanks to the steps needed to upgrade my laptop to Windows 10. This means, I had to start the story anew, and hope to God I remember the bulk of what I had previously written. In the process, I've started work for a spin-off novel, featuring Gary's best friend, Phil Bennett. The story will be set post-Celdom IV, but pre-Celdom V. Also, Crimson has been prodding my creative cortex again, and a new short story is in the works. This will be a steamy story featuring a different dynamic than he's used to writing, but is shaping up to be quite a read of young "experimental" love.

That's all for now. I'll try to post more regular updates to this blog, but like I always say, "There are many guarantees in life, but life, in itself, is never a guarantee." Until next time...

Sunday, 14 June 2015

It's the Sunday Morning After...

Well, although I confess I was nervous as frak going into Sexy In The City -- Toronto 2015, it turned out better than I thought. Yesterday, was my first ever author signing, and to say it was an adventure would be an understatement.

In all, 40 authors showed up to sign their wares, and unload some swag. Alas, I didn't possess any of the frills, save for some rack cards I had ordered. My wonderful fiancee (and PA, who couldn't make the trip up from Florida, alas) had ordered me some special handcuff charms to hand out at my table. Unfortunately, they didn't arrive in time, so I had to do the best I could with what I had.


My table at #SITCTO2015. (My apologies for the blurry photo; my coffee hadn't kicked in yet.)

That being said, it was a wonderful day-long event. (Made even longer for me by being awake since 5 in the morning, and having to lug my books down the stairs of my building for 12 floors due to the crap elevators in it, "but that's not important.") I was able to touch base with some great authors from the romance genre who came in from across Canada and the United States, and a new fan base of readers and bloggers. And, in a rare instance, I was able to meet up with an old friend, who was appearing at the signing, too.



The beautiful and talented Allison Cosgrove, and some yutz in a pink shirt.

I would like to thank the organizers for putting on this signing, so a tip of the Stetson to Christine Stanley, Tricia Daniels, and her PA, Karen Hrdlicka. You gals made me feel welcome, even if I stood out a bit like a sore thumb by being the only guy author in a room of hot and budding romance writers. However, everyone was so warm and welcoming. Although, I think I did my part by being an unofficial AMA (Ask Me Anything) for the out-of-town authors wondering where to eat, and where the nearest LCBO locale was. (For my Dueser friends who attended RCW in 2008, "No, I was NOT in charge.")

Will there be another author signing for me coming up in the future? That's hard to say. I know there are two coming up later this year in Ottawa and Montreal, but there's a wait list for those, and with my emigration file just in the toddler stages of processing, it's hard to tell when I'll get the green light to be Florida-bound. One thing is for certain, should the opportunity arise again, I'd be enticed to sign-up for another event, as long as the expenses are reasonable. (So, call me a dreamer?)

Monday, 18 May 2015

Taking The Plunge

I have to confess something to you, my loyal readers of this blog. There are some things in this crazy world of being an independent author that I admittedly suck at. The main one of these reasons is marketing my books. Yes, you would think that in order to sell my wares, I have to learn "the art of hype", and I've done the best I can and allow, but there are things I could always do better at, if not more of. Alas, working three part-time jobs at the current juncture takes away from some of those promotional duties. However, that is about to change soon.

One of these tools is to engage the reading public. Now, I've done my share in doing so on social media: i.e. Facebook and Twitter; although, I admit, I haven't been tweeting much lately. But, it hasn't done much for my non-existent sales. Some of these authors do so at signing events. Unfortunately, these events are like a start-up business, and requires a reasonable amount of capital: table rentals, inventory, swag to hand out, etc. It can prove to be a costly venture. But, as an adage of business goes, "It takes money to make money." So, after a fortunate break, and noticing how decent my last pay cheque was, I've decided to throw caution to the wind, and sign up for my first ever author signing event.


Yes, I know this poster will be shocking to most of my normal blog readers and family, but if you have read my two romance novels, The Prairie Fire Within, and Fiery Freedom: The Complete Saga (Both available in paperback, and for your Kindle units and apps off of Amazon.), you know that I have dipped my toe into the genre. So, what in the world has possessed me to join 44 other romance novelists (All women, I might add) for this big event? In a few words, timing and opportunity.

As most of you know, I am hoping to move to Florida later this year to be with my future wife, and after attending "Word on the Street" here in Toronto a few years ago, the allure of having a table at a book fair was a personal goal of mine. It would afford me the chance to interact with my existing readers (Well, which few I have.), and meet new ones; thus, growing my reader base. I was looking into doing WOTS this year, but when I saw how much they wanted for a table rental, I balked at the idea. I would have to sell a cornucopia of books just to break even.

Things looked bleak until I came home from work one night last week, and saw a Facebook post by one of my author friends, Christa Simpson, who shared a notice of the above event, stating a few spots had opened up for it. After doing some research, and noticing the table rental was 1/3 the cost for WOTS, I cautiously threw my hat into the ring. I have to admit, I am a little uneasy at the notion that save for cover models and personal assistants for the other authors in attendance, I'm the only male listed on the program. However, I'm going to put my best foot forward, and try to grow my audience. At the same time, it might drive me to complete some of the Works-In-Progress that I have sitting on my USB Flash Drive, gathering digital dust. (Including, the long awaited sequel to TPFW, whose first draft is still half-finished, and hasn't been worked on in over a year, but three jobs, and two other personas will take one away from that.)

As part of the promotional tour for this upcoming event, I will be participating in an author takeover on the event's Facebook page (Found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/933642903330017/ ) this coming Sunday, May 24th at 8 pm, Toronto time. I plan on talking a bit about my books, and holding a few fun games where participants could win a signed paperback copy of The Prairie Fire Within and Fiery Freedom: The Complete Saga. The only requirement to win the paperbacks is that you have to attend the signing event in Toronto on June 13th to claim your prize. But, for those who can't make it to "T-Dot" for the event, I'll hold an eBook giveaway or two, so you won't feel left out.

I hope to see you at my Author Takeover event this Sunday, and if you're going to be in the Toronto area on Saturday, June 13th, come on down to the Sheraton Centre, and meet me and 44 other wild authors. It should be a blast; although, I have promised my fiancee that I will behave. (But, where is the fun in that?)


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Back to Life.. Back to Reality...

Sometimes it's good to get away from it all, so you can take some time for yourself and those you love.

This was the case earlier this month when I took a long overdue vacation to Florida to visit my dearest Catherine, and our two cute little "fur babies": Timbit (a 2-yr old Pomeranian), and Duffy (a 10-yr old Yorkie). Considering Catherine and I hadn't seen each other since she was here for RCW 139 (a Due South fan convention here in Toronto) last August, needless to say the two of us had a lot of catching up to do.

The time away was great. Catherine and I were able to reconnect, and I was able to get a reasonable amount of work done on the fourth Gary Celdom adventure. Alas, like the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end", and I had to return home to Canada. (And, in the process, some really crappy weather compared to the heat and humidity I experienced in Florida.) The only saving grace is the next time I will return to the U.S. will be for my marriage to Catherine and eventual relocation (fingers crossed).

Unfortunately, when I reintegrated myself into my three paying jobs and volunteer gig, my writing had slipped by the wayside, As a result, I don't think I will be able to reach my goal for the April session of Camp NaNo this year. (Falling roughly 7,000 words short of my intended 30,000.) What's more, a reddish-hued plot bunny decided to come hoping past my consciousness this past weekend. And, you know what that means, fans of my risque genre... Crimson's waking up!

I've started putting my fingers to the keypad on my laptop, and began writing what I hope will be a new serial from my erotic romantic side. At last check, I have almost 5,000 words written on it. I just hope you will like what the perverted persona has in store.

Speaking of Crimson (and my other alter ego, C. D. Melley), this weekend (May 1-3, 2015), I will be holding a special Kindle sale for my U.S. fans. I'm calling it a "Spring Fling" Sale. (Okay, I know Spring started back in March, but with the weather we've been receiving in Canada so far, it's now more like traditional Spring weather.) For 72 hours, you can pick up Kindle copies of my two full-length romance novels: C. D.'s The Prairie Fire Within (first time EVER on sale on Kindle), and Crimson's Fiery Freedom: The Complete Saga. Both books normally retail at $2.99 US ea., but for this special sale, you can pick up your copy of either for 99 cents US ea.! That's a 67% savings!

The sale starts at midnight Eastern Time on Friday morning and runs until midnight Sunday night, so if you like to read romance from a poor white Canadian male with an identity crisis trying to make it as an author, check out these two titles while they've been marked down.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

If You Want S'more, Scream It Out Louder

For those who have followed my writing "career", you'll know that most of my creative output was produced during certain months of the year when the good people at the Office of Letters and Light (OLL) in California run their month-long writing challenges: NaNoWriMo (short for National Novel Writing Month), and Camp NaNoWriMo.

The original NaNoWriMo -- which was created in July 1999, but moved to its current place of November on the calendar in 2000 -- tasks ambitious writers to produce a 50,000-word novel within 30 days, and in some instances, develop a caffeine addiction in the process. In 2011, OLL opened up a summer version of the challenge called Camp NaNoWriMo. "Camp" is set up the same as the November version, but with a few tweaks.

First, and most important, participants have the option of setting their own word count. This means, they're not bound by the mandatory 50,000 words in a month criteria. If they feel they can only hammer out 20,000 in the month, they can set that as their word goal. What's more, there are two sessions during the summer one can partake in. This year, people have a choice to participate in either April, or July, or both. But, in the event of ones partaking in both sessions, each month has it's separate word count goal.

To help add to the fun, participants have the option of opting to be put in a "cabin". This is a small group of fellow writers the budding writers are partnered up with to help cheer on, share in their miseries of Writer's Block, or offer up solutions to whatever "plot bunnies" might scurry past them. The groups could consist of their friends who are taking on the challenge, fellow writers who are doing the same genre, and/or random mash-ups the "Camp" algorithms match up with you.

The April 2015 session will start this coming Wednesday, but if that's too soon to come up with an idea, sign-ups for the July 2015 session will start in June. For more information, you can check out the Camp NaNoWriMo website at: http://www.campnanowrimo.org

As for my writing plans during next month's session, I plan to continue work on the first draft for the fourth book in my "Gary Celdom Case Journals" series, with this month's goal to add 30,000 words to my manuscript. It should be an interesting month ahead as I will be busy the first two days with work and personal commitments leading up to a 2-week vacation to visit my sweetie/editor.

To my fellow Camp participants, may the plot bunnies stay under control, and not multiply at a rampant pace.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Lox of Love for Gary Celdom (Sorry, for the bad pun)

A couple months ago, I did a special contest where people could win personally signed copies of Gary Celdom Case Journals: Volume One and Rouge Numbered Week. All the participants had to do was name a new character I'm introducing in the fourth Gary Celdom book that I'm currently writing (with a hopeful December release). Admittedly, getting the right answer was difficult because the person had to be well versed in Due South trivia. But, after giving a decent amount of hints, I was able to obtain my two winners. One hailed from Iowa, the other from Israel.

While I wasn't sure how my books, which centered around my personal fandoms, would be received by an audience halfway around the globe, I still sent the signed books to Israel. Needless to say, it proved slightly costly at first, but I felt it was worth it in the end. I say this because the lucky young woman, Miss Julia Stolyar, provided an honest review of my work, and went one step further by asking me for an interview.

It turns out, Julia is the author of two blogs: Cultureroll -- which she writes in Hebrew, and Soft Power, Softwhere in English, She wanted to interview me for her blogs, and me, being the nice Canadian that I am, graciously participated it.

In the end, I garnered a favourable review of the Gary Celdom series (although, I should admit I changed the names of some of the teams in Rouge Numbered Week, so I wouldn't have a lawsuit on my hands.), and earned a new fan in the process. Now to make sure I don't disappoint her with Celdom IV.

To read Julia's Culureroll blog in Hebrew: http://tinyurl.com/njk7n2o 
To read Julia;s Soft Power, Softwhere blog in English: http://tinyurl.com/plygsj8







0

Saturday, 7 March 2015

I'm Poet and I Know It

Greetings, readers.

I know I've been quiet the past few months. (Darn you, real life responsibilities!) But, that's not to say that my pen has been silent.

Last month, I put the finishing touches on C. D. Melley's second foray into the world of poetry. The latest collection -- which I have entitled, Poems for a Winter's Night -- features 24 new poems; including a few which detail my feelings and thoughts in the aftermath of returning to my vices for a short period.

For those wondering what I'm talking about, I offer this as a sample...

Relapse          

I don’t know what came over me
I couldn’t help myself
But, now here I am
Back at square one.

The bright lights beckoned
As did the familiar chime
They called out to me
To return once more.

Some people might say it was caused by stress
Others say I wanted to go back
Regardless of the reason
The allure was too tempting for me.

With a scratch of the latex
Later by a push of a button
And 20 months of recovery
Went down the drain.

So, here I am
Back at square one
One day at a time
I start the Road to Recovery again.

© 2015 C. D. Melley

--

Paperback copies of the collection are available at - http://www.amazon.com/dp/0993773230/  However, if you own a Kindle device or app, you can score your eCopy at - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TSI3LR4 

What's more, if you've enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (now available for Canadian eBook shoppers), you can download your copy of Poems for a Winter's Night for FREE. So, if you like poetry from a raw guy who still a Canadian for the time being, pick up your copy today.