Posting Links on Facebook? Yep, Folks, I DO Have a Facebook Page After All

Now I’m not being cutesy-wootsy here. I am 66 years old and I have a Facebook page? Heck, it’s even called “OmegaBooks!” I’ve had this page for about eight months and being so “tech ignorant” I didn’t even know one could push a “Facebook” button at the bottom of the post and link to the article on Facebook. Here is the link to the Facebook page.

Now, why does some old lady need a Facebook page? Because I’m learning how to do things MARKETING-wise using a technology I’m not very good at. Why not take the risk and make a Facebook page to help promote my books? After all, I am a month or so away from getting my two printed books Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band formatted and uploaded to e-book sellers. Why not?

About The Prodigal Band Trilogy: The Theme-Good Triumphs over Evil

I began writing a book that would eventually work its way into three books that make up the Prodigal Band Trilogy–Battle of the Band, The Prophesied Band, and The Prodigal Band–back in the late 1960s in diary form as the characters morphed from just a group of guys in a gang or a clique, with or without girlfriends, living on Long Island-then-New York City, to rock musicians with or without girlfriends, living in England. Why the morph? Because of my own interest in rock music as well as actually having participated in a local band for a few months, and having gone to England in 1970, as well as the notion I had the rock bands from England were more worthy overall than American ones (and Brit bands were my fave bands anyway.) These topics have been discussed in previous posts here and on my blog.

The names and looks of the characters were created in the mid-60s with other characters being created in the mid-80s, which was when I started getting serious about the books, which was still just one book novel. But instead of a diary to write stuff that would later make up the book(s), I just wrote on notepad paper with pen.

In the meantime, I had a teaching job–more than one–and children, which of course took precedence over novel writing. Then came the use of an old 48K Atari computer that I typed ten chapters on, and, really, the whole thing was random…this character did this and that character did that and it was as if it was just a satire on the lives and loves of rock musician celebrities. It was funny, but meaningless in a way. At that point in the early 90s what I was typing onto 4.5 inch floppy discs was just a matter of getting these characters out of my head onto printer paper.

I do not remember the year–1992? 1993?–that I went outside one night and the spirit of the theme took over my head, “telling me” to remake the book(s) into a fight between the forces of good and the forces of evil. One problem–if this was going to be about a rock band, Brit or not, then I had to get with ‘the program’ so to speak because by the early 90s I had lost touch with rock music…the last I remembered was punk and new wave of the early 80s. Living in a rural remote area of far west Texas–where country music reigns supreme and rock music is considered by the hardcore fundamentalist Christians out here as some kind of devil worship (!)–I had no idea how rock music was evolving into what in the 90s was called ‘grunge’ or ‘rock-rap’ or ‘death metal’ or ‘emo’ or whatever. Until 1994, when I got a teaching job in a gang-ridden high school in El Paso. The job sucked, but the themes rustling around in the pop culture world of the high school didn’t. The majority of my students were Hispanic and at the time a female singer from south Texas, Hispanic–I don’t remember her name but she was huge among my students–was the rage, as was rap, especially among the few black students I had. But I did have some white kids as well, mostly children of Fort Bliss parents–these kids were into, primarily, Nirvana with Kurt Cobain–a major influence on my characterizations–and grunge groups like Nine Inch Nails and Green Day. All American groups–what happened to the Brits? Well, it turned out, I discovered, that the Brit bands from the latter 80s were still around.

And that, my friends, is why my fictional band, Sound Unltd, stemmed from the 1980s. Originally, they were supposed to be late 60s-70s group, but rock music had changed so much since then that I did not think it would be wise to make them a 60s-70s group.

Then, when I really began to get really serious after resigning the El Paso teaching job and moving back to the rural remote in 1995, I had a decision to make–just write a satirical book making fun of rock stars and celebrities with all the fun of sex scenes, orgies, drug use, and sex-drug-rock-n’-roll themes, or write a book or books exposing the fallacy so many who lived in my area believed to be true–that rock stars are all devil worshipers, and rock music was the ‘devil’s music.’ And more.

Around the same time, what with events like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the Oklahoma City bombing–all around the time of a series of Satanic holidays beginning April 19 and ending with Beltane, Walpurgis Night, and May 1–and the so-called “Patriot Movement” against the so-called ‘New World Order’ (spear-headed by both Presidents George HW Bush with his 1989 ‘New World Order’ speech and Bill Clinton’s screeds about globalism throughout the1990s)–I felt it might be another good idea to incorporate an ‘Illuminati-CFR-Bilderberg-type’ organization into the mix, representing the ‘evil’ side…I mean, the symbolism they use–the ‘All-Seeing-Eye’ on the dollar bill and all atop a pyramid with the Latin phrase within-“ANNUIT COEPTIS NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM”–which means, “Announcing the Birth of the New World Order” (or some say, “New Order of the Ages.”). And, having read Biblical prophecy and growing more interested in the possibility that the so-called “end times” were getting closer to fruition, I figured this whole notion of “one world government” was not just some conspiracy theory, but getting closer–and who would lead this one world government? Those who clearly sought power and likely had the money to buy power–bankers and their minions in government and also the media and entertainment industries–and would willingly side with ‘the anti-Christ’ at the end.

Just a note here: the Biblical Book of Revelation, on which so much ‘end times prophecy’ is based, mentions three parts of the so-called “Beast System” which has to exist for all this prophecy to occur: the Dragon (Satan, or the Anti-Christ, or some person Satan/the anti-Christ inhabits), the Beast (which I suppose is a system that supports Satan) and the False Prophet (and there are all sorts of theories as to who or what the False Prophet is!). Thus, it is this notion of an evil system that provides the novel’s notion of ‘bad guys.’ And, according to prophecy, after the anti-Christ comes and sits in the temple in Jerusalem, the true Messiah, Christ–accompanied by a huge number of good angels–returns in the ‘second coming’ to overthrow the evil. Prior to this happening, all humanity must make a choice–side with evil or side with good.

And that, folks, is the overarching theme of my books–my fictitious rock band of world-wide renown must make that same decision before it is too late. The Prodigal Band Trilogy is their journey to that decision, and what they do with it.

Being a ‘Non-Conformist’ Author: You Don’t Always Have to ‘Follow the Script’

In the mid-1990s I joined a local far west Texas writer’s group called ‘Texas Mountain Trail Writers.’ While working on the first printed novel I would call Battle of the Band, I needed ‘tutoring’ so-to-speak on absolutely what had to go into the novel to make it a legitimate novel, to market and sell the thing–that is, get some literary agent to ‘sell’ it to a big time publisher. No literary agent came a-calling, so I had to do it myself.

And this was what I picked up in all of these discussions and even annual writer conferences, which I will now list:

  1. ‘Show, don’t tell.’ Anyone who writes novels or books knows what this means. And I believe in ‘show, don’t tell,’  but there are times the ‘tell’ part has to be used perhaps  more than some would find acceptable, as I discovered finishing up my first book.
  2. Your setting must be a setting one is familiar with. After all, aren’t most of Stephen King’s novels set in Maine, where he is from? (And why do I always use Stephen King as an example? Because other than literary genius Kurt Vonnegut–from Ithica, New York (quite a few of his books are set in that part of New York state)–no writer has influenced me to write than the best suspense-si-fi-horror novelist in US history.
  3. Your characters must be from the setting you use that must be one you are familiar with.  Not all, but many of King’s characters are from Maine, or at least New England.
  4. Your characters, because you must know your characters–especially the main ones–must be part of you and even as you are. (Characterization)
  5. Dialogue–your characters must speak in a way that characters from a particular setting would speak, thus you must know how these characters would speak, which is why they ought to come from a particular familiar setting. Further, you characters must speak in a way that it is obvious for that character and the reader knows that is how the character talks. Use catch-phrases as well.
  6. Genre–this is the item that has and will give me the most headache. My books are not genre specific, but a mix of spiritual/satire/adult-rated R not X/horror/suspense/fantasy, so that could be why no literary agent touched my books–literary agents tend to be genre specific, or at least that’s what I was told by the first published author I ever met, a romance novelist (with plenty of the required ‘sexual tension.’)
  7. Theme–The only way I can describe any theme in my books is this: good triumphing over evil. If it isn’t ‘good vs. evil’ in fiction, then I am not writing it-ultimately, good vs. evil is the only issue that matters to me.
  8. Plot–Within the realm of the physical and mental and real and spiritual worlds, the plot revolves around an 80s-90s rock and roll band that, upon achieving great success, must choose their good vs. evil path, with triumphs, trials and tribulations along the way. Because they are ‘rock stars,’ they are ‘gonna do what a rock star is gonna do.’ Which is why these novels are adult–sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll–and not young adult or Christian or rated G. Sorry about that, but if my characters are going to be real, they’re just gonna have to cuss every now and then, or engage in free sex–and one of my characters is bi-sexual, by the way.

Did I miss anything?

So, here is where I ‘go off the reservation’ so-to-speak. ‘Show, don’t tell’? Who gets to decide if you I don’t show enough and tell too much? Folks, I have NEVER read a novel without some ‘tell,’ okay? Read JRR Tolkein’s “Silmarillion’ some time…there is so much ‘telling’ in that book that one would think one of the greatest novelists ever couldn’t write a novel to save his life! But of course, he has to ‘tell’ about how the elves and what not came to be, from what heavenly spirits, and the rest. Then you have books loaded with dialogue–in fact, one friend-turned-book-critic once told me that my two printed books had too much dialogue! “Too much telling,” she told me. After all, dialogue is kind of like telling, right? In my opinion, however, nothing SHOWS a character like his or her dialogue, and how he or she says it!

Where I really go off the reservation though is setting, for actual setting and in terms of where the characters are from and how they speak. I intend to fully explain the whys and what-fors of this issue in posts I have already written and just need the right time to post (since I am busy re-typing/re-writing my two printed books for e-book formatting purpose for sale on Kindle, Nook, Lulu, etc). But for now I will sum it up–since my characters are in a rock band of the 80s and 90s, and since I grew up in the 60s and 70s when British rock reigned supreme for the most part (beginning with the Beatles), and since I spent about two months there in mostly the southeast (Brighton area) and also met three twenty-somethings from Tyneside (Newcastle, of course) and I just loved hearing that Geordie accent… Okay, you get the idea. But just to make it a bit easier for me to deal with creating these books, roughly half of the settings in all my novels are in the US, either New York City or California between LA and San Fran. I grew up on Long Island and lived in NYC. I have visited southern and central California and know several folks from there  (and my brother and his family used to live near Silicon Valley). A number of supporting characters are Americans. Finally, for the most part, my Brit rocker characters spend most of their time in the most affluent part of England, which just happens to be the part of England I am most familiar with–the southeast, including the affluent county called Surrey. Thus, one really cannot accuse me of not knowing the settings and the ways of speaking (though I do use slang words every now and then that are more American than Brit, and one big mistake I made originally in the printed books was listing the dates American style instead of Brit style: instead of writing ‘the 15th of July’ I wrote “July 15.’ Or used the term ‘called’ instead of ‘rang’ on occasion…any slang terms I screwed up in my first two books will be rectified, I hope, in the e-books.

Finally, as I will explain in my posts that will be posted as soon as possible, my entire life generally does not ‘follow the script,’ and I’ve been for the most part a non-conformist my entire life.

Keys to Formatting E-books for EPub and Various E-book Platforms Besides Kindle

I do hope that the author of books who also has the desire or urge to format their printed books into E-Books isn’t just considering formatting for Amazon Kindle. For one thing, Amazon’s payout looks to be a pittance compared to some of the other platforms, especially Lulu. Now I do intend to format for Kindle because everyone and his or her mother has a Kindle device, right? And I know it is a very good idea to format for Kindle–for one thing, a friend of mine who downloaded my Prodigal Band FREE PDF complained that it was hard for her to read the PDF on her Kindle! That is likely because the Kindle Create format is different from a PDF format, which is simply an export from Word or WordPerfect. So, to satisfy folks who only have a Kindle reader which uses MOBI formatting, I will just have to accept a lower payout. Oh well, such is Amazon and it’s money-craving owner, Jeff Bezos, who will never have enough money (and, BTW, he is NOT “the richest man in the world”–which he knows and that is likely why he craves more and more money…it’ll take him years to catch up to the richest man in the world, which is the head of the Rothschild Banking dynasty, not Bezos! Bezos is “only”” worth a trillion or so. Rothschild, who OWNES the Federal Reserve Band and other central banks, is likely half-way to quadrillionaire status….a quadrillion is a one followed by 15 zeros! or the number 10 to the 15th power!). When you have this kind of money, money becomes meaningless in a way.

In any case I have finished formatting Battle of the Band for Lulu’s EPub format which also allows e-book buyers to purchase the e-book from other “partners” such as Barnes and Noble’s Nook platform, Apples iBook, the various Smashwords outfits such as Toshiba Book Place, Kobo and others–and even Amazon! (Just not for Kindle Readers..one would have to download  another e-Reader such as Calibre E-book Reader.)

There are two very important formatting issues one must address when using the EPub formatting tool, the Guide which can be downloaded here. One is using the “Styles” tool when using Microsoft Word (best to use the newest version, but I used Word2013): the Title, Copyright, and Intro-Preface-Foreword-About the Author pages and other intro pages MUST use Heading 1, while Chapters must begin using Heading 2, and subsections using Heading 3. And a lower Heading must NOT be above a higher heading–and all Headings must begin on the very top line of the page (the regular printed words use Normal, with paragraph spacing). And speaking of paragraphs…

If your paragraphs are NOT formatted correctly, your book will be rejected…

This is because EPub format does NOT allow numbered pages and the way it is formatted is how the Table of Contents is created. If your Headings and paragraphs are not formatted correctly, the Table of Contents is garbled, and your book  will be rejected.

It is extremely important to follow exactly the Lulu EPub Guideline PDF book. Make sure you use either “In Line formatting” or “Block”…In Line for novels and Block for non-fiction, or whatever. Finally, format your paragraphs the same way for not just “normal” Style, but Headings 1, 2, and 3 as well, according to the Guide. Hint: Use indent only for Normal, and keep Headings 1, 2, and 3 at 0.0 indent.

Hints: One, click on the paragraph symbol at the very top of the document on the Home ribbon next to the W (Word Doc) and the refresh circle, and a “paragraph” window comes up. Follow the instructions for each Heading or Normal Style guideline. Two, once one’s indents and “First Line” under the “special” function are established, right click on all Headings 1, 2, and 3 as well as the Normal Style boxes and you will see in all cases the “Modify” function. In each case left-click on Modify and choose font (Times New Roman, Garamond or Ariel are the only fonts allowed; I use Times New Roman) and font size, with Heading 1 being the largest and Headings 2 and 3 being smaller, and Normal being the smallest (I use 36 for Heading 1, 24 for Heading 2, 14 for Heading 3, as well as italics, and 12 for Normal). After fonts are dealt with, then click on the Format button below at the left and do what you did for the original “paragraph” function (or just use this tool and forget the “paragraph” tool, it’ll work either way). But you must do this for EACH of your Styles Headings and Normal.

Finally, there are instructions for auto-typing and auto-formatting that the guide says must be done as well. Go to the main menu under the FILE TAB. Click on the Options tab, and then click on the Proofing, then click on Auto Correct Options, then follow the instructions in the Guide regarding “Auto-Format” and “Auto Format As You Type.”

To make sure you are formatting correctly, click on the little “paragraph” symbol in the “paragraph” box right next to where the “Normal” square is in Styles. You will then see the various “Paragraph” symbols up and down your page. Larger symbols must come before the smaller ones in order.

One last thing–do NOT put your cover art (or what Lulu calls “marketing image”) on the very first page of your book! The very first page MUST be the Title page! You will submit your cover art separately, and guidelines for cover art (number of pixels and size and colors) are a whole other set of instructions! If you don’t want to spend days and weeks creating your own cover, go to pexels.com and download your COPYRIGHT= and ROYALTY-FREE image which you can then modify with your book title, edition, and author name. And one last thing–your Title page MUST only include what’s on the cover, or your cover must only include what’s on the Title page….that is called “metadata”…

Project Alert–Will Post More About My Books Soon (In Case You’re Wondering)

Right now I am working on turning my printed books, Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band into e-books. That is, they need to be formatted for e-book purposes and sold through e-book outlets (several, in fact, not just Kindle or Nook.) That is, I have to re-type them! My printed books in 1995-6 and 1997-8 were formatted for ancient floppy discs on an ancient Macintosh LC475 computer using Mac OS 7.5! Both Mac computers (mother was an early PowerMac with Mac OS 8), both desktops, have had their hard drives removed and sold as scrap. Since I can no longer access these ancient computers (I now have a laptop with Windows 7, and no floppy drives anyway!), I am re-typing both books. Hopefully, Battle will be finished by the end of the year –and keep in mind, I have to format it according to specifications of the book seller, including a table of contents and a new cover.

Why? Because multiple people want me to do this, and because since I live way out of town it is not easy to go into town every time I have to send out one of my printed books. Our Post Office keeps weird hours, the price of gas is high in these rural areas, and my vehicle right now is not in good shape!

Here, and on my book blog, I will as soon as possible post articles about not only the characters and the story itself, but the factual events and historical narratives that these books are based on and drove me to write them. As I am re-typing Battle of the Band, I am realizing just how satirical it is! Since I’m not really into genres, the genre of “satire” might work for this one: genres–satire, horror, spiritual, adult.

But not “adult-adult” if you know what I mean. And I am taking out all the “f”-words if you know what I mean. The “s”-word is staying. My characters are my characters, right? Folks, I’ve never met a man who didn’t cuss–ever Christians cuss a lot!

The Reality of Why I Wrote My Books–I Had To.

Divine inspiration–something!–caused me to go outside within the beauty of star-surging sky around midnight in the early 90s and receive a “message” to finally get those rock band characters out of my head and onto paper, and then computer. God? Angels? Spirits? Because it was not the devil or demons–the devil or demons would not want me to create a trilogy about a rock band fighting evil (and, after a miraculous event in 1997, accept Christ as Savior!).

Now my characters could not be goody-two-shoes-types or boys who could never do wrong or only sin occasionally. They could not be boys like we have out here in far west Texas that claim to strictly follow the Bible and wear jeans or regular pants and button-down shirts, having sisters and mothers that wear nothing but long skirts and their hair up in a knot…Mennonite, but not Mennonite. Folks, does a Christian writer have to write fiction only with “God-fearing” (or not) characters?

Now, a Christian writer can write what he or she wants and however God guides them, but darn it, before I truly became a believer in Christ I was a sinner. Period. I cussed like my characters do. I had sex out of wedlock, which is defined as fornication, I think. I also dabbled in the occult for a short time (until the occult scared the living daylights out of me!). I also dabbled in atheism, but, again, God made sure this wasn’t going to become a permanent mind set! I could spend all day telling how and what and why God gave me messages and events that set me straight.

And I will say again why my main characters make up a rock band–because growing up in the 60s, rock music was one of my main connections to the world and my friends and classmates and generation. Listening to the Beatles and others, watching shows like Ed Sullivan and music-act shows I cannot even remember the names of, reading in pop culture mags about this or that rocker, buying LPs–you know, vinyl records–learning and playing guitar and being for a short time in an actual rock band that didn’t accomplish much, but still…and having friends who dated other rock band members that also didn’t accomplish much… If not for that, my teen years wouldn’t have amounted to a hill of beans! I would have been a depressed teen-aged girl with no hope of ever fitting in. Being a non-conformist is fine, but being a non-conformist exclusively is never a good idea for a teenager. It is the teen and early twenties years where one must explore the world around them, and then make decisions–hopefully the right ones.

And my books follow that proper narrative: six teen boys discover their music abilities and talent and, given a lack of prim and proper upbringing, more or less, take advantage of that talent and aim at rock and roll stardom, fame and fortune, not realizing that stardom, fame and fortune are double-edged swords and can lead to evil. And, mirroring the reality of evil in the music business that I have done extensive research on starting in the 70s, especially as relates to the hidden agendas of those who ultimately run the business and still do today, I can honestly say that my characters and the story lines and plots of the Prodigal Band Trilogy accord with this research and truth regarding the business of recording and performing the music that has influenced young folks from the late 1950s onward.

These three novel works are partially based on factual events of which I will state in future posts on this site as well as my OmegaBooks blog.

I will now bring up one truth that appears in the Free e-book The Prodigal Band, as relates to ‘prayer rituals’ performed as the ‘master disc’ is produced–the master disc, both in the pre-digital age and today’s digital master age, is ritually ‘prayed’ over by the makers of the disc (recording artists, producer, engineers, and record label personnel, for instance). The link to the video below features John Todd, who, in the 60 and 70s before he became a believer in Christ, participated in these rituals as a big shot with Zodiac Productions. Zodiac Records, a major label in the 60s and 70s, had several top rock band acts. The link is below.

John Todd exposes master disc prayer rituals.

There are more videos on this topic as well on YouTube.

Breaking News: Cost of Shipping Will Be the Same for All 50 US States

After sending copies of Battle of the Band and the Prophesied Band to various US states including Hawaii (but not Alaska, yet), I have discovered that basic rates for shipping to the various contiguous 48 states and Hawaii (by boat, that is–by plane it would be more expensive, and I do not want to add $3 or $4 more to the shipping cost…the packages they would be shipped in cost a little over a dollar)–that various shipping rates are basically the same, roughly $4.50 whether to Texas, Oregon, New York, or Hawaii.

Note: I was shocked to find how cheap it was to send a book to Hawaii! But it did take a while before the recipient got the book. Volcanoes, maybe?

Therefore, as one will see on the Bookstore page, all shipping costs for one single book will be $4.50 as long as it is being shipped within the US, and costs for shipping for both books will be $5.00 (since two books are being shipped in the same package).

Overseas costs will not change until I determine what the shipping cost to Canada or Europe would be. Keep in mind, both books are in the English language only.