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x0 gets a makeover

cleaningI’ve been quiet lately, hard at word on my own personal version of spring cleaning. Top priority has been to get out the feather duster and my high-powered vacuum and make my original creation x0 somewhat shiny and new.

To that end, I’ve created a second print edition of x0, which has been edited to work better as a hard copy. Underlined links and the references to them have been removed, along with a little too much factual material that was included in the original text. As my writing has evolved, it made sense to take this out. All of this information is available here on the book’s website, after all, where it can be updated and better maintained.

I’ve also added more clearly delineated breaks for scene changes and a list of characters. A small number of corrections have been made, but the story itself is unchanged.

I’ve gone ahead and carried some of those tweaks back into my Kindle version as well, and in a few days both Create Space knightand Kindle should be selling the new and slightly more reader friendly x0. I’m excited! I hope that my story will now be more accessible to those who may enjoy it.

The next step is Smashwords.com. This site distributes all of my books to Barnes and Noble, Itunes and others. Because it must comply with so many different formatting requirements, self-published author’s like myself know that it is a bear to get a new version of a book through the Smashwords autovetter. However, it can be done and in a week or two I will put on my best armor and attempt it.

zen2zany 3Within a month or two, the new and improved x0 will have made its way out to all of the various distribution channels and then I will start a renewed publicity campaign for this, my first novel.

Funny thing. As life has gone on and reviews have come in and people have started reading x0 and never said a word about it and all the other usual nonsense that goes with a creative endeavor like this, I’ve come to think of this first book as “not as good as my others”.

Spring cleaning forced me to reread it carefully and to be more objective and less emotional about it. I found mistakes, of course, and things I did not particularly like. But I also found more that pleased me than I expected. This book was written with my heart wide open, and it shows. I’m going to enjoy spending some time with it again, and giving it another chance to dance in the light.

(Read my thoughts on giving my second novel, y1, the same sort of once over. It was a very different experience.)

 

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2014 in writing

 

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Why in the world would you write a book about Nigeria?

Authors note: My third novel z2 is currently on blog tour through the fine folks at Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours. The post below is part of that tour and it appeared a few days ago on Always Jo Art, a fun blog about books, motherhood, and product give-aways. My thoughts were inspired by a post I wrote here back in 2012, three whole books ago. A lot has changed for me since then, but apparently other things haven’t changed much at all.

http://nollywoodonline.info/?p=5After I finished my first novel, x0, I was told that writing about Nigeria was a poor choice because it just isn’t a place that particularly interests many readers. Paris or London would have been better. I found this funny. Lots of novels take place in Paris and London and it seemed to me that the world didn’t need one more. Nigeria, on the other hand, has a plethora of rich stories to tell which are far less known, at least in Texas where I live.

I chose Nigeria originally because I wanted to write a tale of two very different women helping each other. About the same time that I started the book, I also started a new job exploring for oil in the Niger Delta and had the chance to work with many Nigerians. One day I asked my office mate, a Nigerian geologist, to describe to me how his tribe, the Igbo, were unique. He responded by telling me a legend about Igbo slaves coming to America. It startled me at first that he would even speak of such a thing, but in the end I was touched by both the moving story he told, and by the powerful way in that he told it. I tried to capture each of those when I retold this scene in x0.

95As I wrote, I discovered how much the fascinating details of a far off land appeal to me. That meant that I had to find a location for my second book, y1 that was even less well known. Once I found it, I was writing about the remote Pacific Island nation of Kiribati, exactly on the other side of the globe from my first story.

The plot of my third novel, z2, dictated that my characters not wander off too far from Texas, so instead I found a way to let my readers wander around in time. Although z2 never leaves North America, it includes visits to a Mayan village under siege in Guatemala and the camp of eighteenth-century lumberjacks on the coast of Belize.

image014No, I’m not done with my armchair travels yet. There are three more books in this collection and the one I’ve just finished, c3, takes place partly in the isolated Himalayan nation of Bhutan. The one I’m working on now is taking me to the far North, where I am learning fascinating things about Greenland and Iceland.

Why Nigeria? Why anywhere. Every spot on this earth is teeming with tales of its own and with great settings for new ones. These stories not only have the capacity to entertain us, but they can also give us new information and a fresh perspective.

 

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Nigeria

 

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Happy 53rd Birthday Nigeria!

My novel x0 was supposed to take place in Saudi Arabia because I wanted my oil industry protagonist to develop a telepathic link with a Saudi woman. It was going to be a story of two outwardly different people who bonded over similar concerns for their younger sisters. Except that every time I started to write, it just didn’t feel right.

http://www.unfpa.org/public/global/pid/1050Meanwhile, I began a new job as a consultant for a company exploring for oil in the Niger Delta. There are many cool things about my current employer, but one of the best is that they are a very African centric company. I found myself sharing an office with three Nigerians, and learning about a country and a blend of cultures that was far more intriguing than I had ever imagined. I am endlessly curious about places far away from Texas anyway, and my patient office mates never stopped answering my questions.

http://nollywoodonline.info/?p=5 This went on for months. Working late one evening, I had to shut out a conversation between a Nigerian geologist at a desk three feet away from me and his younger brother back home.  Apparently little brother had a big test in chemistry the next day and my co-worker was trying to both tutor and encourage him. I used to do that for my sister. “We are so much alike the world over,” I thought. And it clicked into place.

About eight months later I finished my first novel. It tells the story of an American woman who befriends a Nigerian telepath who is trying to help her younger sister. While writing the book I got to learn even more about Nigeria and how it was created by the British and “given independence”  October 1, 1960. These outsiders lumped together millions of people with strong tribal affinities of their own, but with no common language and a great deal of mistrust  of the customs and cultures of the other tribes with which they were forced to share a country. Not surprisingly, Nigeria has had its share of troubles and bloodshed as the individuals within its borders struggled with the structure that had been imposed on them.

http://www.everyculture.com/Ma-Ni/Nigeria.htmlThe Nigerians I know are without exception resourceful and hopeful, and I see this in the country’s history as well. They are now fifty-three years into trying to make Nigeria as well-functioning and peaceful as most Nigerians would like it to be. I applaud them for how far they have come under difficult circumstances and I wish the country and its people the very best. Happy Birthday Nigeria.  As your national motto says, may “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” fill your future.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Nigeria

 

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x0 on 1670 people’s to-read list!

Like most independent writers who have decided to not go the traditional publishing route, I am always looking for effective ways to promote my three novels. I don’t have training in advertising, and in truth I would much rather write than sell. However, if I am going to spend some time trying to get folks to read my books, I would like that time to be as productive as possible.

goodreadsSo far, my best results seem to have come from advertising and doing give-aways on Goodreads.com. After about six months of steady effort, I am happy to see that I now have 77 ratings and 43 reviews (mostly good), and over 2700 different people have selected one or more of my books to go on their shelf of books to be read.

I have been promoting x0 for the longest, and so not surprisingly it has the most reviews and most would-be readers. It’s true that some ratings appear to be random from people who have just joined the site and haven’t read my books and I have no idea why someone would do that. (These people seem to grab about 50 random books all on the same day and often give them all the same rating, be it three stars or five.)

Others, however, have taken the trouble to provide thoughtful reviews with both compliments and criticisms and their efforts are greatly appreciated by this author and hopefully by the possible readers who they help inform.

Check here for news on z2 out in paperback and here for news on y1 making it to the semi-finals of a contest.

 

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in x0 elsewhere

 

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The opposite of anger

From the blog "Caged by Freedom".  Click image to visit.

From the blog “Caged by Freedom”. Click image to visit.

Would it be harder for a real telepath to to hate someone? To kill someone? These are premises I explored in my novel x0, and so I was delighted the find the quote below.

The opposite of anger is not calmness, its empathy.  Mehmet Oz

Indeed.

 

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in empathy

 

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A Believer’s View of Telepathy

Writing x0 took me down the path of researching telepathy and in October 2012, I posted about the skeptics point of view.  I offered the most compelling arguments I encountered against the existence of any sort of extra sensory perception.  I also pointed out that while writing x0 I had come to appreciate both the the desire for truth and the effort to help others avoid scams that appears to compel telepathy’s strongest detractors. The fact is that a wide variety experiments, conducted thousands of times over decades, have failed to produce convincing evidence that telepathy exists. And some of these folks have really looked.

From Crystalinks.com

From Crystalinks.com

And yet …… according to a 2005 Gallup Poll, about one third of Americans believe telepathy is real.  These believers are more or less evenly divided among age, gender, race, income, education and region of the country. Don’t believe me? Check it out here. This prompts me to wonder whether we are such a wishful species that some of us will accept an appealing idea as true even after multiple experiments appear to disprove it, or whether many of us choose to ignore massive amounts of data because our own experiences suggest a different truth. Websites such as Crystalinks suggest the latter.

Part of the problem, I think, is that tests for telepathy tend to center around conveying information.  What color of dot am I thinking of? What number between one and ten? Quick. Concentrate. Answer. Yet no one I am aware of claims to have ever had a mind to mind transfer of this kind of information. Rather, telepathy is a gentle nudge, an added awareness that involves feelings, not facts. It speaks in symbols, like dreams. It whispers of primal sensations, leaving you sure of the essential emotions, but vague about the rest.

So it did not surprise me to learn that the one test for telepathy that has shown statistically significant positiveganzfeld results is the “Ganzfeld” experiments in which one person is shown photos and film clips and tries to send a sense of the feelings behind these images to the receiver. The receiver has four choices, and after 6700 tests receivers made the right choice about 28% of the time.  This is instead of the 25% one would expect. Impressive? Frankly, no. Not to you or I.  But to a statistician, it is. In fact, if you assume, like the book x0 does, that everyone can project their feelings but only a telepath can receive them, these results suggest that about 3% of the population is somewhat telepathic.

But how? The human brain is a complex electrical and chemical device.  Companion book y1 discusses how  neurotransmitters travel through the brain carrying thoughts and feelings with a precession that is astounding. Might it not be possible for another brain to detect some of this activity? We smell each other. Our eyes can detect light from a star a billions of miles away.  Our ears hear a whisper that corresponds to a pressure variation of less than a billionth of the current atmospheric pressure. Are we so that sure we know of every type of sensory receptor that every one of us has?

How contagious is the fear felt around a campfire where ghost stories are being told? The anger of a mob, the exhilaration of sports fans, and the growing confidence of a group on the path to accomplishing something great all give testament to the idea that we catch feelings from one another.

From Wired

From Wired

A researcher in Sydney recently finished a five-year study monitoring brain activity during therapy sessions and used electrodes placed around the head to investigate how two people can become physiologically aligned. And  according to an article in Wired, the U.S. army is investigating ways to wire brains to communicate “pre-speech” thoughts. And in spite of the fact that we all know that we pick up countless tiny clues from each other that can be misconstrued as telepathy, sometimes the feeling that there is more to it than that is overwhelming.

Other work has suggested that after two people spend years together, their brain waves become more similar. It’s late, and I’m about to go curl up in bed with the man I have slept next to for the last three decades. I know him almost as well as I know myself, and as I drift off to sleep I sometimes have a sense of knowing how he is feeling.  Am I picking up some of those those tiny body language clues? Of course I am. Am I using my knowledge of him and of the kind day we have had? Certainly. Is there something more?  Maybe ….  just maybe.  I’m open to the idea, anyway.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in telepathy

 

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Wow — I made a top 10 of 2012!

Wahoo  — here’s one thing I can check off of my personal bucket list!new year

Shedrick Pittman-Hassett  is a writer, blogger, librarian and book reviewer par excellence and was kind enough to review x0 way back in May of 2012 on his blog Serial Distractions.  He just came out with his personal “Top Distractions of 2012” and — yes — x0 by Sherrie Cronin came in at 10 of 10.  (Hey, that is still making the list :). )

For nine other great reviews and nine additional interesting reading recommendations, please check out his blog here. And have yourself a wonderful New Year’s Day.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in x0 elsewhere

 

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