My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman - blog tour and book giveaway
Posted by Crystal Otto at 1:30 AM
My Name is Wonder is a tale of adventure that will have you thinking from the first page until well after you’ve closed the book. This beautifully written novel chronicles the transcendent adventures of a little goat with big dreams. Join Wonder and his wisecracking guide, the mysterious crow Mac Craack, on a journey through the scenic landscapes of the American Southwest and into the heart of a mindful presence. Along the way, you’ll meet an unforgettable cast of creatures, each with an important lesson to teach.
“…a book for the ages, with profound truths simply stated. First there was Jonathan Livingston Seagull and then Yoda—Now there is Wonder…”
~ Beverly Molander, Minister and Radio Host of Activating the Power of Yes
“…an exploration of human nature and into the allegorical realm that shows us how to be wise teachers and guides…”
~ Paula Renaye, Author of Living the Life You Love
Paperback: 202 Pages
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (September 1, 2016)
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of My Name is Wonder, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes Sunday, October 2nd at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author:
Ronald Chapman is owner of an international speaking and consulting company, Magnetic North LLC. In addition to international accreditation as a speaker and national awards for radio commentary, he is the author of two novels, My Name is Wonder (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016) and A Killer's Grace (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016 and 2012), two works of non-fiction, Seeing True: Ninety Contemplations in Ninety Days (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2008) and What a Wonderful World: Seeing Through New Eyes (Page Free Publishing, 2004) and the producer of three audio sets, Seeing True: The Way of Spirit (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2016, 2005), Breathing, Releasing and Breaking Through: Practices for Seeing True (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2015), and Seeing True – The Way of Success in Leadership (Magnetic North Audio, 2005). Ron provides a wide array of social media content at www.SeeingTrue.com, content for people in substance abuse recovery at www.ProgressiveRecovery.org, and other content from his master site, www.RonaldChapman.com. He holds a Masters in Social Welfare from The University at Albany (New York.) Prior to his relocation to Atlanta, Georgia in 2008, he was a long-time resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After watching your video, I felt like we were long time friends. What prompted you to do a video for your books? What sort of feedback have you received about the video?
Ron: Thank you! That is high praise for the video and the content. My oldest daughter and son-in-law have been advising me on how to tell the story of what I do, and why. They felt the only way to fully express things was in a video which would allow me to weave the story together. And they were so right on that account. It’s just not a simple story, and I don’t seem to fit a genre very well. People have really loved the video. It seems to speak to people very effectively. Since I’m a pretty relational guy, that means a lot.
WOW: Pretty relational? You're so modest. You're very likable and that shines through to your readers and fans!
You're very open about your daughters being step-daughters who chose you. How did that look in the beginning? What do you credit for the close relationship you now have? Was there an "ah hah" moment?
Ron: Now that may be the sweetest question I’ll get since it is about the magic in my relationship with Natalie and Brianne. Someone once told us it was because I have some serious karma with them, and quite a spiritual debt to them. I’m not sure I believe that, but it would certainly explain things! At first, it was quite difficult because it was unusual. And they had every reason to be skeptical. But I remember telling them, “I came to love you, and I made commitments to you. That doesn’t change just because your mom and I are splitting.” Since it all was strange to their mom, it was initially fits and starts. Then it transcended the basis we originally had, and slowly it grew and deepened. One of my spiritual teachers told me they just love me, and that is part of the healing of our past. That humbles me.
WOW:Humbling indeed. Thanks for being so open to sharing.
Please choose one of these excellent quotes from My Name is Wonder and give us a little insight as to what they mean to you personally: “Just when you think you can no longer be surprised, life presents you with a surprise” and/or "the path is every step."
Ron: I’ll take the first! Isn’t that true for all of us? We think we have things figured out, or a clear path to some desired outcome or end point. And it becomes commonplace to us, just part of the background.
We become rather complacent about the magic and mystery of it all. Then something unexpected happens, as it always does. And if we are paying attention, we realize with surprise that it is not what we planned, or anticipated, or even dreamed. And that moment of recognition changes everything. Suddenly all our assumptions are proved to be only guesses, or approximations. With that awareness, our entire experience is altered. With time, we become more and more attentive, and more and more surprised. Life is never what we think, and perhaps we can only understand it in retrospect.
WOW:Life is never what we think - I love that. It's oh so true.
Your book blog tour for A Killer's Grace was your first book blog tour. What surprised you about the tour (good or bad)? What would you say to other authors considering a blog tour?
Ron: It was surprising the breadth of the coverage in many of the blogs. I guess I assumed mostly they would be brief, but then there was a lot of content about the book, background, author bio and in some cases even my author video. Pretty cool actually.
To be honest, I know that exposure does not necessarily translate into interest and sales, but without such exposure the possibilities are much more limited. Sure does get a lot more reach than I could easily get on my own. Thanks for excellent support!
WOW:Thank you so much for your honesty; it is definitely a pleasure to support authors.
Tell us about the cover art for My Name is Wonder. There has to be a story about how this came to be?
Ron: Great question! I was living in New Mexico and was visiting an artist's gallery. There on the wall were the beautiful far mountains above Abiquiu in lovely pastels. I instantly recognized the terrain as that which Wonder would traverse. I bought the painting that day from the artist, Jennet Inglis. Then a few years passed as My Name is Wonder was coming into being. I told a friend in Greenville, South Carolina and she loved the whole goat idea. The next thing I knew she had found me a goat and a crow to embellish it. Then my publisher, Terra Nova, brought it to final design. I love the inspirational feel of it. Very much a wonder.
WOW:Thank you again for your honesty and sharing. This has been such a pleasure.
Tuesday, September 27th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Madeline Sharples showcases My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman on her blog, Choices. http://madelinesharples.com/
Wednesday, September 28th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker
Join Ronald Chapman as today's guest author at Selling Books with Cathy Stucker. Find out more about Chapman's topic: How wonder is not in the world, but in how we see, and thus the perspective we bring, and about his latest book My Name is Wonder. http://www.sellingbooks.com/
Thursday, September 29th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverly A Baird reviews My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman. Find out what Beverley has to say about this moving tale. https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/
Friday, September 30th @ Linda Loves Chocolate
Linda Juul shares her thoughts after reading My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman. You won't want to miss this insightful review. http://lindaloveschocolate.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, October 5th @ The Muffin
Crystal Otto from WOW! reviews My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman. Don't miss this 5 star review of an intriguing and enlightening novel. http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/
Thursday, October 6th @ Renee’s Pages with Tange Dudt
Tange Dudt reviews My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman; find out what she had to say after reading this insightful and moving novel. http://reneespages.blogspot.com/
Friday, October 7th @ Monika Josan
Ronald Chapman's My Name is Wonder will be featured on Monika Josan | a life path today and readers can hear Monika's thoughts as she reviews this delightful novel. http://monikajosan.com/
Monday, October 10th @ Bring on Lemons with Alison Taylor
Educator and mom of four Alison Taylor reviews My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman. Alison offers her ideas and insight about this enlightening and beautifully written novel. http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, October 11th @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business woman and mompreneur Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings after reading My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman - don't miss this insightful blog stop. http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com
Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at email@example.com.
Enter to win a copy of My Name is Wonder by Ronald Chapman! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget next Monday, October 3rd!
Just Say No: When It’s Time to Give Up A Writing Gig
Posted by Cathy C. Hall at 3:30 AM
I just opened one of those two-in-the-morning rant emails from a writer friend. It was a legitimate rant against a demanding editor, and yet she sent another email the next morning.
Was she overreacting? Being unprofessional? Had she turned into some kind of writing diva? Basically, she wondered if the editor’s demands were unreasonable or was she the unreasonable one? She’d come to the old “Is it worth it?” fork in the road to publication.
It’s never easy, the “Is it Worth it?” impasse. In the beginning of a writing career, the idea of turning down a project because it’s not worth the time or money is…well, it’s unthinkable. Plenty of writers would give anything to snag a paying gig, and so, more often than not, the newbie writer puts up with the headaches and hassles.
But then comes experience. And with experience, a writer can afford to say no to those projects that aren’t worth it. And yet, it’s still stinkin’ hard to say no, isn’t it? Maybe it’s because we remember all too well the dry periods when we had no work. Or maybe it’s because we have friends still struggling to get gigs and we feel bad, turning down a job when they’re chomping at the bit for work. Or maybe it’s just all those writer insecurities we love to embrace.
I’m not sure why saying no is so difficult for us. But I have a couple of strategies that I use when I’m having a hard time, trying to decide whether a gig’s worth it (or walking away from a gig that’s become way too demanding). No matter where you are in your career, these strategies can help you, too:
1. Talk it out with a writer friend. Sometimes, we’re over-stressed and overworked and we really are overreacting. But we’re caught in the middle of the firestorm. Grab a friend and have a lunch, or a nice long phone call, or even a couple of ranting emails. Get a fresh perspective (and a second opinion).
2. Give yourself a day to thoughtfully consider options. Take a deep breath for twenty-four hours and do something else. When you come back to the situation, you’ll see things more clearly.
3. Ask “Is it worth it?” Yes, I know that sounds a bit simplistic, but there’s really a lot that goes into that question. Is the gig moving your career forward? Or is it just for the money? Is the money worth the work involved? Do you enjoy that kind of writing? Or is the project sucking the soul out of you? Can you see any positives with the gig or just a whole bunch of negatives?
4. Once the decision is made, do you feel good about it? Again, I know it sounds obvious, but if you feel relieved and you can finally sleep, you’ve made a good decision. If you’re still stressed and want to throw darts at somebody’s picture, then you do not feel good about the decision you made. Try again.
Yes, writing is a great job, and the idea that someone will pay you to do what you love is awesome! But sometimes, the job is simply not worth the payout. And it’s okay to just say no.
(And just for the record, my friend walked away from that gig. And she’s a much happier writer now!)
“I can’t sell because all of these editors are in the 20s. No one will buy from me because of my age.”
I’m sure the writer who said this to me is a few years older than I am. I’m also certain that she expected me to go along with what she had to say. The problem with that is that I know too many old mares who are writing and selling. They do it by providing work that isn’t dated. Here are 5 tips to help you start rinsing the grey, literal or figurative, out of your hair.
Tip #1. In your manuscript, single space after periods. Double spaces are no longer required. If they are a habit you have been unable to break, search and replace before you submit.
Tip #2. Have a social media presence. I’m guessing that for 99.9% of you reading this, social media is not an issue. Your presence doesn’t have to be complex but it has to be yours. Not a family account. Not your husband’s account. Your account. That’s what all those wild kids are doing today.
Tip #3. When you write about a broad category, such as the environment, do so in a way that is relevant today. Back in the olden days, it was all about the ozone layer. And that meteorite that wiped out all the groovy dinosaurs. Today global warming is a given. What are the cool kids discussing in high school science classes? Rising sea levels, mass extinction, and fracking.
Tip #4. And speaking of groovy dinosaurs, cut the slang. That is one of the quickest ways to ensure that you sound like a granny. The teen in your story doesn’t have to speak the queen’s English but dated slang, bands, and favorite shows will date you. So will watching television judging by the amount the teens in my family watch on Youtube.
Tip #5. Don’t assume that the editor wants to receive your manuscript by snail mail. As much as I loathe reading on screen, the vast majority of my work is submitted through e-mail or Submittables. Assume electronic and if the editor wants a hard copy, she will let you know.
You may not be able to turn back the wheels of time, but you can make sure that your work is current and relevant. In truth, that’s much more important than how many candles are on your birthday cake.
Friday Speak Out!: The Train that Almost Derailed My Writing Career
Posted by MP at 1:00 AM
by Ann Goldberg
I was devastated.
I’d already written a few travel articles for this publication; my first serious acceptances in my nascent writing career. Now I had just written another one about a train ride that operated twice a day and took twice as long as the journey by car or bus because the train tracks still wound gently round the surrounding hills, unlike the new straight roads which had been built .
This was a tourist’s train ride. It gave a leisurely look at the glorious countryside . To prove how trivial the journey was considered, every station was in the middle of nowhere, with infrequent public transport connections to the nearest town.
The train ran twice a day: 8am and 4pm.
A few weeks after I sent off the article, I heard that the 8am train had been cancelled due to lack of interest. I wasn’t at all surprised. Most tourists are still asleep at that time.
The article was published.
The blow came ten days later.
An email day from the editor stated that he had been informed by his local correspondent that the 8am train no longer operated and therefore my article was factually incorrect and misleading to their readers in suggesting a service which didn’t exist. They were therefore printing a correction and apology in the next edition and of course I would not be receiving any payment.
I was mortified, humiliated – I just wanted to shrivel up and disappear down the space between the letters on my keyboard.
After a few days of beating my chest and wishing I’d never ever thought about being a writer, I suddenly came to my senses.
How dare the editor claim that I didn’t deserve payment? How dare he print an apology and correction about my article! Almost nothing was incorrect. I wrote a scathingly indignant reply.
“Do you realize that there are exactly two incorrect words in the entire article – those words are: (The train runs at ) 8 am and (4 pm).” The 8am train was never used by tourists, or anyone else and that’s why it was cancelled. Every other word in the article is correct. I see no reason why you had to write any apology, and I certainly see no reason why I should not be paid the full amount.”
A few weeks later I received as close to an apology as an editor will ever write. They had checked again with their correspondent who admitted that it was true that the 4pm train still ran and that was the one that tourists probably use.
Under the circumstances they were going to print another correction confirming that the original article was in fact correct and the train service still operated – and of course I would be receiving my payment in full.
I learned two valuable lessons from that episode.
Always keep your editor informed of any changes in the information you sent, however small.
Editors aren’t always right.
* * *
Ann Goldberg is a writing coach helping writers and potential writers get published. She works together with you to write the best possible essay or article suitable for the market you are aiming at.
Anna also writes essays and memoirs as well as articles on Judaism, parenting, writing,home and time management and Israel travel.
For more details see http://anngoldbergwriting.com/blog/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/anngoldberg1.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Would you like to participate inFriday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
How to Create a Book Review Schedule that You'll Actually Stick To
Posted by Crystal Otto at 12:01 AM
I’ve been reviewing books for a long time, but it wasn’t until I got involved in product reviewing that I got organized. Hopefully I can pass along some tips and tricks that will help you get organized without getting overwhelmed.
• Set Limits; I updated my blog and my website to indicate that hard copies of books will take priority over e-books. If I were to accept review invitations from every author willing to send me an e-book, I would have to read 3 or 4 books each day. That quite frankly is too much like work.
• Determine Your Reading Speed; each book is going to be a little different, but it’s generally safe to say you are only going to review books you find interesting and you’ll probably read 1ish pages per minute in most cases (the national adult average reading speed is 300 words per minute). If an author tells me their book is 240 pages, I know I’ll need to set aside 4 hours to read.
• Understand the Expectation; if the author has an expectation that your review will be ready in a week and you have 3 other books to read, your kids have sports, and your garden needs tending, you can respond and let them know your turn around time. If that won’t work for them, then you can pass on that book and wait for the next one. The last thing you want to do is say “I’ll let you know when I’m done” because there is no sense of urgency for you the reader, and the author will likely be waiting on pins and needles for your feedback.
• Mark your Calendar; I mark my calendar the day the book arrives (if it’s a physical book, I take a selfie and post it to Instagram too) and generally speaking I allow 2 weeks’ time for reading, preparing the review, and posting. I literally “check in” the book and pencil the review on my calendar for the “due date”. I have large colorful calendars in my office. Each book has its own calendar and includes pertinent information as well as the important dates mentioned above. It keeps me accountable to myself and helps me achieve and exceed my goals!
• Under Promise & Exceed Expectations; When I worked in the corporate world, I disliked salespeople who would over promise and under deliver. I’ve carried that through and I like to tell authors I’ll be done by such and such a date and then get in touch with them a few days or a week prior and let them know I’m completed. It’s a win for the author and it certainly will build the reputation of the reader/reviewer. There may be times you are busy and don’t get done early, but the author will still be elated you got done on time! I hope some of these tips will help with your reviewing. What have you found that works for you? What have you tried that doesn’t work? I would love to hear from you!
Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 2, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.
When a new acquaintance learns that you are a writer they invariably ask, "What have you written?"
It has been two decades since I was first paid for my writing. The list is long. I have written articles, interviews, and essays for magazines, newspapers and blogs. Companies have hired me to write everything from product descriptions to annual reports to brochures. I have led writing workshops, written speeches and promoted authors. I even wrote a non-fiction book and contributed to a dozen others.
But too often, people react to my career with an awkward, "Oh...but have you written anything I could read?"
Over the years I have come to realize that this is code for "a novel". Have you written a novel?
For much of the public writer = novelist. All of the other writing that they are exposed to everyday flies under their radar. After all, a large percentage of what we read each day has no "author" noted. Even when you are listed as an author it often goes unnoticed by readers. As I was told on my first day as a newspaper stringer so many years ago, "Only your mother reads the byline."
But novels...they have the writer's name right there on the cover. Books are even shelved according to the author's last name. People remember (sometimes) the name of the author of the novel they're reading. Is this why so many writers keep plugging away at a WIP or rue the unfinished novel, despite successful writing careers? Does a secret part of ourselves want that recognition?
On most days I'm happy being a writer that no one knows. Crafting a great phrase, delivering what a client wants, just getting a new idea is enough. But then there are days when I want the world to know I'm a writer. I want my name on the cover! So I keep plugging away at that novel even though part of me realizes that my talent may be elsewhere on the writing spectrum.
Interview with Flash Fiction Winner, K. Alan Leitch
Posted by MP at 1:00 AM
K. Alan Leitch is the author of six novels (in addition to the embarrassing one that he wrote in his twenties, to which no writer should ever admit). He has studied Technology, Education and, most recently, English Literature at Oxford University. After twenty years of teaching in high schools, it is surprising that it took him so long to discover a passion for writing Young Adult fiction: passion that he hopes will be evident in his forthcoming novel, entitled Labels. Having also written Science Fiction, Mysteries and dozens of short stories, Leitch is currently learning the slippery ropes of the publishing industry, with the support of the amazing community here at WOW.
Readers can sample one of his award-winning humorous thrillers at http://www.textnovel.com/story/Starlite-Lanes:-We-Bowl-for-Democracy/7398/, and will soon be able to access more samples of his work at k-alan-leitch-author.tk. Often an American at heart, he is actually a Canadian transplanted happily to Australia, where—along with his wife and several wild lorikeets—he watches a river that never freezes go by.
interview by Marcia Peterson
WOW: Congratulations on your first place win in our Spring 2016 Flash Fiction competition! What key elements do you think make a great piece of flash?
Keith: Not that I am any kind of photographer, but I fancy that Flash Fiction is as close as a story can come to being photographic. Readers need to know characters through their actions and words, rather than their histories, and each detail of a setting must somehow contribute to the plot or the themes. Achieving this requires, I suppose, some level of exaggeration…very much as one might emphasize color and tone in a photograph’s subject.
WOW:How do you approach a story? Do you start with an image, character, situation etc.? This particular story of yours seems like it required some research.
Keith: The core element of any short fiction is, to me, an emotion. At a moment that I am touched deeply—by a friend’s gesture, a news item or a television show—I try to examine the causes of that feeling, and a very different situation often develops that might cause similar feelings.
In the case of "Mixed Colors," though, the plot developed differently; I was actually inspired by a group of children, who told me that rainbows and policemen were opposites. Someone like my character, Kiet, emerged almost immediately: a man who wants to be kind, but has a job that largely prevents his kindness.
So, I guess that starting points vary, but it is important for an author to expand upon whatever intrigues him or her, no matter how minor.
WOW: What’s your revision process like? How much editing did you have to do on your flash fiction piece?
Keith: I probably edit too much. The version of "Mixed Colors" that won the contest was officially Version 3 of the story, with dozens of passes for each version. Part of this is due to further inspiration; I travelled to Việt Nam, and experienced the eeriness of the Loa Phường first-hand, so I had to include it. Part of this is because I am known, to some, as a “grammar-Nazi,” and I almost cannot bear to write with grammatical imprecision, even in the name of artistic license.
Of course, I also have some trusted friends, particularly one named Alison, who are willing to read the stories I write and tell me when they make no sense. Sometimes, this results in rewriting passages that my lonely author’s voice had convinced me were beautiful.
WOW:It’s interesting that you write both flash fiction and novels. Do you work on both at the same time, or do you alternate, focusing on one project at a time?
Keith: Isn’t a novel just a series of Flash with “To Be Continued…” tacked between them?
Of course, that is not true at all. Short stories, especially Flash, focus acutely on minimal elements, while good novels interweave countless details to connect them in sometimes surprising ways. Writing Flash can help me get through some writer’s block when stumped on a novel, but the two really are very different. My short stories tend to feature literary characters that reflect an average reader’s life in recognizable ways, while my novels are about a bowling team fighting a Cuban terrorist, Driver’s-Ed students preventing a presidential assassination, and a teenaged girl psychically discovering that her psychiatrist is a misogynistic murderer.
See the difference?
WOW: You also mention that you’re currently learning the slippery ropes of the publishing industry. What has your experience been like so far?
Keith: In a word: “Discouraging.” In another word, “Rattling.” I have discovered that the first contract in an author’s inbox is not necessarily the one to sign. There are publishers who are mostly hoping to sell authors copies of their own books, others who skip the editing process entirely, and still others who want to sign authors up for courses. Of course, there are many publishers—probably a majority—who genuinely want to benefit from authors’ good writing by signing fair deals, so what I have learned, above all, is that seeking the help of an experienced agent is essential.
There has been a very uplifting element to my experience, and that is the connections I have begun to forge within the very supportive writing community. Experts and “Gurus,” such as Victoria Strauss and your very own Angela Mackintosh, have patiently advised me about the standards of the industry, and what to look for in a contract. I am significantly better educated, thanks to these professionals, than I was even a few weeks ago. The blogs of such experts are “required reading” for anyone just starting out.
WOW:Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Keith. Before you go, can you share a favorite writing tip or piece of advice?
Keith: Find a home for every idea. A humorous quip of dialogue, a description of a sunset, a really cool name: none of it is wasted energy. A story can be built around anything that inspires us…even a bowling ball.
*** Our Fall 2016 Flash Fiction Contest is NOW OPEN!
For information and entry, visit our contest page.