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x0: synopsis and my 3 favorite excerpts

I’m talking a close look at my older blogs, making sure that they are up to date and that they represent my earlier novels well. I’ve added my latest book synopsis and placed a few of my favorite excerpts on a page for permanent reference, and thought I would post these improvements as a blog post as well. Enjoy!

x0 is the first novel in the loosely interrelated collection known as 46. Ascending. Each novel tells the tale of an otherwise normal person coming to terms with having unusual abilities. This page contains a short description of the book x0 followed by three of my favorite excerpts from the first part of the novel. To read more, please purchase x0 at smashwords.com, at amazon.com, or at Barnes and Noble.

Book Description:
The ancient group x0 hides in the shadows until a young
Nigerian beauty forces them to emerge. Thinking that her telepathic abilities
are perfectly normal, this Igbo woman draws upon her powers to seek an ally to
rescue her captive sister. Unfortunately, the telepath she finds is cranky
Texan lady who doesn’t believe in nonsense and who insists that the disturbing
phenomenon in her own mind isn’t there.

Realizing that her sister has become a strategic pawn in a
dangerous game of international politics, she vows to do anything to get the
attention of this uncooperative fellow psychic. As the women struggle with each
other, common links begin to forge these two radically different women together
in ways that even x0 does not understand. They could intervene, but should
they?

Excerpt 1:
Somadina awoke with the wonderful feeling that the lady was coming physically closer. At first Somadina was confused. Then she realized. Of course. The lady was not Nigerian. That possibility had not occurred to her. But it made sense. And for some reason the lady was actually coming to Nigeria. At least to West Africa. Somadina was sure of it and so she sent thoughts over and over to tell the woman that she was now exactly where she needed to be. Somadina then spent two happy days feeling even closer to the woman, working to make her feel happy to be in Nigeria, and trying to find a way to better connect.

Then, two mornings later, she awoke just as sure that the woman was already leaving. What? Yes, she was heading to an airport. But she had just arrived! Who spends only two days in a country?

You’re leaving? You just got here. You can’t go! Somadina knew that she was being immature, but she could not help feeling anger, and disappointment. In the strength of her own emotional outburst, she received the worst kind of confirmation that the mysterious woman had been hearing her all along.

******
With an evening flight home on Wednesday that required a late afternoon departure from the hotel, Lola had decided to sleep in as late as she liked, to spend a few hours by the pool relaxing (no solo adventures into town, she had promised) and to just have an easy day before the nineteen-hour sojourn home. Sleep came and went that night, with an odd blurry feeling of nervousness but nothing upsetting. It wasn’t until morning, when she woke up naturally with no alarm clock, that she felt the sense of turmoil.

You’re leaving? You just got here. You can’t go! It was an unmistakable thought, as clear as if it had come from a distraught lover, needy parent, clingy friend. Anger and disappointment. Even a bit of panic. Who the hell cared if she stayed in Nigeria?

Impatiently, she got out of bed, began to gather together her toiletries. Leave me alone, she thought with vehemence. I do not want to hear from you. Whoever you are. Get out of my head. And then to herself. Stop thinking this is real. It is not. You have a thirteen-year-old daughter and two other kids counting heavily on you and this is absolutely no time in your life to have mental issues. You are fine. Get a grip. Act like a normal person.

She took a moment and sat in the uncomfortable easy chair and forced herself to use the simple mental imagery she had learned in Lamaze classes so very long ago. But instead of picturing a beautiful lake at sunset like they had taught her to do in order to relax, this time she pictured the giant steel doors to a vault, glimmering in a cold artificial light, clanking closed in her head. The doors seemed to work. She got out of the chair feeling better. As she finished packing and headed poolside for lunch with her email and her internet, she felt fine, although strangely alone.

Excerpt 2:
In the days that followed, Djimon discovered how extraordinarily fortunate his choice in a second wife had been. Throughout the drive southwest toward Lagos, sometimes over major highways and twice over bad roads as he detoured for “business meetings,” Nwanyi was not only timid, she asked for almost nothing and did not even seem to expect kindness from him. She stopped her attempts at conversation early on when they were met with stony silence, only asking twice to use his cell phone to call her sister. He informed her curtly that his charger worked poorly and he was saving the battery for important calls. After the second time she did not ask again.

She appeared to be fearful about sex, or at least shy enough about it that although they slept in the same bed at night, she never brought up his lack of interest. As they traveled he saw to it that she stayed covered and had whatever meager food and water she required, and in return she did not complain to him. He figured with satisfaction that she was scared of him and vowed to see that useful condition continue throughout what he had come to think of as “phase two.” Phase one, of course, had been finding and procuring her.

Four days later they arrived at his home, where Mairo, his true and beloved wife with her beautiful Fulani features, dutifully got Nwanyi settled into a particularly cramped and poorly ventilated room in the rear of the house, and promptly assigned her a sizable share of the less desirable household chores that would normally have fallen to the servants. Djimon had to smile. Even though Mairo understood all too well how important Nwanyi was to their plans, and what little husbandly interest Djimon actually had in the woman, Mairo was apparently not inspired to exhibit the least bit of kindness to the Igbo. Now that Djimon thought about it, that was just as well. He would let Mairo inflict all the petty insults that she wanted.

Excerpt 3:
For part of each evening, Lola allowed herself to just sit on the porch and imagine the sound of rushing water and to think about how she now had trouble washing her hair without cringing. This puzzled and even intrigued her a little. She would never have guessed a brief experience like the one she had, which ended perfectly well with no harm done, at least once all the minor cuts and bruises had healed, could linger on in her mind with such intensity.

The sense of panic could be set off by sunlight glistening on a liquid the way it had glistened through the water on the unreachable other side of the canoe, or even by just feeling trapped by riding in the back seat of a two-door car. To a woman who, for most of her forty-nine years had reacted to the idea of mild mental problems and syndromes of all types with “why don’t you just get over it?” it was, well, informative to discover that some things were surprisingly difficult to get over.

When all those doubts and fears would no longer keep her mind busy, Lola’s thoughts would invariably wander off to the strange woman with whom Lola had agreed, bizarre as it seemed, to listen. In spite of that, she had not acquired much more useful information. The woman seemed to be younger, less educated, and probably more superstitious. She also seemed foreign and based on her not wanting Lola to leave Lagos, Lola was assuming she was Nigerian.

She had a younger sister, of that Lola was certain. She was very worried for the sister and lacked the means to help her. Lola supposed that meant resources, maybe money, but also the woman seemed to lack the knowledge to help as well. Was the sister lost? Kidnapped? Had she run-away from home? Certainly she was gone and could not be found.

Sometimes Lola tried to sort of mutter comforting things back to the woman in her head, but that never seemed to help. Lola had not a clue what else she could do.

Other times she just sat and thought about nothing at all. It was one of those times, when her mind was sort of on water and sort of on nothing, when she heard an elderly gentleman’s voice clearly in her head.

Lola? Little Lola Conroy? Good heavens dear, is that you?

Lola searched her mind for knowledge of any older man who might have known her by her maiden name.

It’s okay honey. You’re fine. I didn’t mean to startle you. It’s okay. She could almost see an elderly man backing out of her mind with great care.

Good grief, she thought. Now what?

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2015 in x0

 

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Wearing many hats well

Many hats2We all balance a lot of identities as we make our way through an ordinary day.  I’ve managed girl, nerd, daughter, cook, wife, manager, mother, PTA  president (seriously) and irritable neighbor all in the course of single afternoon. Adding an extra persona like “writer” into my normal mix has challenged me, even more so because it seems to require several distinct pieces of head gear.

There is the wild creative hat that yields stories at traffic lights and helps me type with a manic fury when the ideas just won’t stop coming long after I should have gone to bed. I love that hat, and I wear it whenever I can.

Then there is the careful, tidy little headpiece that I wear when I proofread, edit, rewrite, add links, check everything and check it twice again. What? The font for the chapter five title is twelve not fourteen point? How did this happen? It is a nit picky little hat, but I have to admit that there is a lot of satisfaction to getting something perfect. At least I think it is perfect until the next time I proofread it.

It’s the third writer’s hat that just doesn’t seem to fit me very well. It feels to me like a loud gaudy thing and I hate to put it on. It is the hat of sales. Writers of all sorts, whether they produce self-published works, short stories, or trade novels found in the front racks of brick bookstores, all have to get out there and sell their wares. Fiction is a product. If you want to be read, and I do, then you need to convince people to read your work.

Now that d4 is off to my real editor and I have promised my family and myself that I will pause and breathe before starting the next book, I decided to play with this awkward hat for awhile. I returned to scouring writer’s forums for ideas to increase purchases and I finally let myself take a long hard look at my sales statistics. Yes, this area could use a little more work..

x0_sw final

Click to get x0 for free at Kobo

Turns out I sell books in places I have never heard of. Thanks to my opting in for everything at Smashwords, the ebook distributor I use, I can be found at a cool new online store called Inktera. You can also find me at Scribd, this great new service where for only $8.99/month you can read all the ebooks you want. I have got to get out more.

Even better, I made a list of thirteen new ideas to try to increase the visibility of my books. The first was to do an interview at Smashwords. Please check it out, I think it turned out pretty well. The second was to make my first novel free for awhile, ideally to generate sales of my other books. I decided to give this a try, and you can now grab x0 FOR FREE at Smashwords, or at another surprising site called Kobo.

How is this free thing working out for me? Well, when I posted on my Facebook page that x0 would be free for a short time, 915 people liked it. 915! That is probably a record for me for number of people ever liking anything I have ever done. However, how many have downloaded it? Zero. That’s right. Not one, so far.

As I look at this post, I think I see the problem.  If I was better at wearing that sales hat, this post would have started off with FREE BOOK in big bold letters at the top. Instead I started it out by writing what I thought was more interesting. Oh well, I’ve still got eleven more ideas to go. I’ll try to do better with the next one.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in writing, x0

 

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Free books! Free paperbacks! Free t-shirts!

I feel like I’m writing advertising for a furniture store close-out, but in fact it is time for this author to act like a marketer. My first book, x0 could use more exposure and reviews. It’s not a book for everybody. Woven into a plot about two telepathic women are stories about Nigeria, facts about the oil business and an imagined website that explains to the reader how telepathy really works in the strange world of x0. Some people have really loved it and you might be one of them.

These reviews on Goodreads capture the novel well. Give them a look and if you think this is a story you might enjoy, please go to smashwords.com where you can download x0 in many formats all for free by using the code FT88E when you check out. It’s that simple.

tshirtWould you prefer a free paperback copy instead? I make these available to reviewers. Kindly drop me a line at lola.zeitman@gmail.com and let me know who your are, where you normally post your reviews, and where you want the book sent. If you do frequently review novels, your book will go out the next day.

Or come like my Facebook page Number 46. Ascending and talk to me there.

Finally, there are free t-shirts involved! I will send the new x0 shirt shown here (sizes S through XXL) as a thank you to anyone who posts a review of x0 at two of any of the following: Amazon, Goodreads, Library Thing, Smashwords, or your blog. I am looking for honest reviews, and trust that you are articulate and basically kind but cannot be influenced for the price of a free shirt. It will be my thanks you to you for reading the book, no matter how you feel about it. Once you have posted the reviews, contact me at gmail or on facebook and let me know your size and your address.

I hope to hear from you!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in x0

 

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Qi — the best Scrabble word ever

scrabbleI used to play a lot of Scrabble as a child and I always hung on to a U until the Q showed up. It was a strategy that paid off.  Then I took a break from the game for a few years, until I discovered various online word games that approximated Scrabble (close but not so close that there is copyright infringement, you know the ones). Not only could I now play any hour day or night, but I could find opponents, good opponents, willing to do the same. Better yet they were from India and Australia and all sorts of exotic places and some were happy to chat with me about where they lived and what they thought about life.The world was now my oyster. Wahoo!

The very best part, however, was discovering all the wonderful letter combinations that were now considered words. ZA.  Acceptable as short for pizza though I have never heard anyone of any age actually use it. KI. A plant from the South Pacific. But the very best has to be QI. More useful than QAT, QAID, QOPH and QWERTY combined, I used it happily for over a decade without having much of clue as to what it meant.

Meanwhile, my online words games began to shape my writing as I began my first novel x0. My relationships with my community of unseen kindred spirits gave me ideas for the worldwide organization x0 and helped me design its imaginary website. An accountant in England who I play with regularly served as a model for the British tax accountant who shepherds Lola and Nwanyi safely on to a plane at Gatwick Airport. One British woman who beats me regularly was even a beta reader for x0, and her husband chipped in with an amazing job of proofreading. My world of happy telepaths was a reflection of my own happy hours spent making words worth lots of points while chatting with people I enjoyed.

Click here to visit flowingzen.com

Click here to visit flowingzen.com

But I still didn’t know what QI was.

And then last week I spent five entire days learning about my qi. Turns out qi is the modern spelling of chi, an Anglicized attempt to capture the Chinese word for the life force or energy within all of us. While I am only a beginner, I did learn enough to understand that moving ones qi in healthy ways while meditating and doing light rhythmic exercises is both invigorating and relaxing. At least it is to me and apparently it is to many others. So it turns out that I’m a real big fan of QI, I just didn’t know it until last week.

Kind of ironic, isn’t it?

For post-vacation thoughts on change, click here.

For post-vacation attempts to hold on to the joy, click here.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 1, 2013 in oneness, x0

 

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Hugs and kisses?

From the bridal website Just Jen

From the bridal website Just Jen

No, the title of my first novel is notHugs and Kisses”, and the truth is that my story could probably use a few more of them. Rather, the title of this book has always been “One” and its plot has always been about the ways humans are alike. You know, at some level we all are one.  Somehow, that theme wasn’t as conducive to love stories, much less hot sex scenes, as the themes of my other novels. Hopefully a suspenseful plot makes up for the relative lack of kissing in this book.

So why isn’t it called “One”? Well, somewhere along the way I decided that “One” had been used too often for it to be my book title. One is a wonderful sounding children’s book about colors by Kathryn Otoshi. One is a metaphysical fable for adults by Richard Bach (remember Jonathan Livingston Seagull?)  1 is the exact number of people it takes to make a difference in a delightful 80 page treatise by Dan Zandra and Kobi Yamada. One is an exciting sounding new suspense thriller from J.A. Laraque. You get the idea.  And that’s not even thinking about books called “The One” which are another whole matter.

So in an attempt to be clever, I decided to call my first novel “x raised to the power of zero”. I’m a geek you see, married to a math teacher, and x raised to the power of zero is one. Isn’t that cute? What I wasn’t counting on was (a) an awful lot of people have no idea what x raised to the power of zero is and (b) you can almost never type a superscript anywhere that matters. This includes on my own blog, and anywhere at Amazon, Goodreads, and every other avenue for publicity that a beginning author can turn to. Out of necessity my book became x0 because I couldn’t get it to show up any other way.

Worse yet, at smashwords (the other main sales outlet for independent authors) it is required that the title start with a capital letter and include lower case letters, meaning that one cannot call a book either x0 or X0. Unless one contacts a smashwords rep directly and pleads, which of course, is just what I did.

So now family and friends call my book “ex oh” and strangers sometimes call it “hugs and kisses”. It gets confused with Ashley Whitaker’s book xo about a woman with Turner’s Syndrom and Aspergers and my searchers often find Jeffery Deaver’s thriller xo about a stalker instead.

You’d think I would have learned my lesson about giving a book a title with a superscript in it. But no, apparently not.  I went and called my second book “y raised to the power of one”.  Why? Because it equals y.  But that’s another story.  Please visit my other blog Fire Dancing for Fun and Profit to hear more.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in x0

 

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Enter on Goodreads to win a free paperback copy

Winners anywhere get a paperback book mailed right to their door. Click on the flag of Nigeria below to enter

flag

Nigerian Flag

(The Flag of Nigeria was first officially hoisted on October 1, 1960. The two green bands represent the forests and abundant natural wealth of Nigeria while the white band represents peace.)

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in x0

 

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It’s a real book!

x0_sw final little

Click to see

Gulp. This writing thing just got more real for me as today x0 became available in paperback.  Check it out here. It’s 328 actual paper pages. It even comes with free shipping. Just like any other real stuff you order. How cool is that?

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in x0

 

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